Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Memories 2: It's the little things...

   Paul and I looooovvvveee Starbucks. Much of our time together is spent there studying, reading, and going on dates. We can't get enough and many week nights we don't even have to discuss what we are doing, we just decide which Starbucks we want to go to. With the exception of Barnes and Noble Bookstore, it is our favorite place ever. Ever.
   So last night Paul and I decided upon the 114th and Dodge location. We got there and never even had a chance to read or talk because we immediately saw several people we knew. One of the first people I said hello to was a lady named Renee who I had actually met at the 172nd and Center Starbucks a few months ago. She noticed I was reading a Beth Moore book and we started chatting. Long story short, Renee's husband runs a construction company and because of the poor economy has to be on the road most of the time. I could so relate because during the months of October -December Paul was traveling almost weekly running Wellness Clinics. She and I talked for almost an hour. Renee is a precious woman who is a believer and really encouraged me with her sweet countenance and authentic heart for the Lord. We even hugged goodbye when I left that night (keep in mind this was the first time she had met me). After I talked with her I had excitedly called Paul and told him I felt like just had a divine appointment that the Lord had sent to encourage my heart.
   Seeing her at the 114th location was a pleasant surprise because I got to introduce her to Paul. She (like us) spends lots of time at Starbucks since her husband travels. We all talked briefly and then Paul and I went and sat down at our own table where we became engrossed in another conversation with a friend. 
   30 minutes into our conversation with Grant (the friend we ran into), I looked over at her table and she wasn't there anymore. "Hmmm, I didn't even get to wave goodbye," I thought, but didn't think much more into it. About another half hour went by and all of the sudden, Renee walks back through Starbucks doors with two Barnes and Noble sacks in her hands. "I'm sorry to interrupt if you are chatting, but I felt like I was supposed to give you these," she said. In each of the two bags there were four books. The same four books were in each bag, one set for me, the other for Paul. I was floored, completely dumbfounded by her thoughtfulness and generosity. The eight books she had bought were at least $100 and she didn't even know me that well. She went on to say that the Lord had laid it on her heart to give us these books on marriage, prayer, and faith and so had rushed to Barnes and Noble and back hoping we would still be there when she returned.
   The reason I wanted to remember this story was because I was surprised how it made me feel. It was as if the Lord had dropped her into our path this night just as an act of love to show us we were on his mind. My prayer the last few weeks has been that the Lord would make his love more real to me. Also, Paul and I have been really praying into our futures and trying to discern where we are supposed to be. This simple gesture seems to represent the guidance and care He is providing during this interim period of seeking. It reaffirms what we know to be true: that God promises to lead and guide those who are submitted to his will.
   Finally, this provokes me to look for ways to bless people and be an expression of hope and love to those around me. Really, it only takes something small to leave a big impact.

Travels, August 2010: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

   At the end of this past summer Paul and I took our first “real vacation” with out dear friends Nick and Angie Delaney. Let me just say that half the fun of this trip was that we enjoy Nick and Ang so much. They are the kind of friends that you can spend an entire week with and still love being together once it is over. Their friendship has truly enriched our lives and we adore them.
   Cabo was simply a ball. We got to stay at an amazing resort because Angie’s parents graciously gave us a week of their vacation time from their timeshare. We spent the week laying out at the pool, exploring downtown Cabo, eating, jet-skiing and meeting new friends.
   Nick is a VERY gifted cook and would make us amazing meals. We are incredibly spoiled by his talent. As a matter of fact, during our first year of marriage we probably would have withered away to bean poles without the Delaneys generously having us to dinner at least once a week.
   One of the most memorable points of the trip was when we purchased a time share… yes, I know… You heard right. We PURCHASED a timeshare. We really tried hard not to. We went to several time-share presentations just because they give you free stuff. However, we found a deal we couldn’t pass up and together, with the Delaneys purchased two weeks a year in Cabo and two weeks at any of their affiliate international resorts. We are happy to report that we are guaranteed Nick and Angie's friendship for the next 30 YEARS because we suckered them into buying a timeshare with us. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Current Reads: 3

So Long, Insecurity “you’ve been a bad friend to us”
By: Beth Moore

   I have this group of girls that meets every other week. We are all in similar seasons of life (newly married, some with kids, but all done with school). We go through different books together and meet to discuss and share our lives with one another. It is truly one of the most life lifting blessings to have the opportunity to meet with other wives and pray for each other, talk together, and journey towards greater freedom.
   “So Long, Insecurity” is the first book we have gone though together and it has been impacting my heart in many ways. Firstly, it seems to have drawn out every insecurity that I have ever experienced in my entire life. I find myself more vain, more self-conscious, more competitive and easily offended these past few weeks than I have ever been. And I don’t think it is an accident.
   I believe the Lord is unveiling the eyes of my heart in order to show me my natural propensities. Without Him, I am a royal mess. Without Him, I am prone to fear. Without Him, I am relentlessly hard on myself.
   The good news is that I don’t seem to be alone. My wonderful fellow book club girls have been open and honest about the obstacles they face that keep them from experiencing genuine security. Together we are learning tools and truth that will turn us into secure women “clothed in dignity and strength.” I am excited and committed to being secure in my identity in Christ, because the truth of the matter is: my life is not about me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Baby Steinbach

    I am so happy to make the first pregnancy entry for this blog. My sister-in-law Amy is expecting! She and her husband Andrew have been married for a year this January and just found out a few weeks ago that a baby is on the way. We are so thrilled for them and cannot wait to meet baby Steinbach who will have such wonderful parents.
    Amy and Andrew have had a charming love story. They dated since 8th grade and for many years maintained a long distance relationship when Andrew’s family moved to Knoxville, TN. When the Lanphier clan (myself included) went to Knoxville two summers ago, Andrew proposed to Amy and there was nothing more special than to witness their love for each other and the Lord. Andrew and Amy are truly amazing examples of loving Christ. What’s even more encouraging, is that because they are ridiculously talented, I will be able to ride on the coat tails of their coming fame for the rest of my anonymous life. 
    Their wedding was a whole other story. Both Amy and Andrew (shall we abbreviate AnA?) are THE BEST SINGERS EVER (to borrow from Paul’s favorite phrase). No, seriously, they have an amazing gift. They serenaded each other at their wedding ceremony and even sang a duet. Believe you me when I tell you there wasn’t a dry tear duct in the building.
    What made their wedding even more emotional was that AnA moved to Tennesseee after the wedding. While we were so happy to see Amy happily married to Andrew, we have sorely missed a vital part of the family. We got to stop up in Tennessee this past June on the way to a family vacation. It was such a blast to spend the brief time together that we did.
    So basically, we are so happy for AnA and Baby S and are FERVENTLY looking for a music pastor position for Andrew in the sprawling Omaha metropolis once he graduates next December… Just kidding AnA- no pressure. But seriously, if someone knows of anything speak with me privately….

Friday, December 3, 2010

Memories 1: My 23rd Bday

In keeping with the theme of this blog, I have decided to document my 23rd birthday. I feel like I must preface this entry with disclosing some important information about myself. I am extremely, dramatically, and irrationally nostalgic. It all started about 14 years ago when I was 9 years old. I remember standing at the top of the stairs in my childhood house on Valley Circle and my dad telling me that my time living at home was halfway over. In my little 9-year-old brain he was one step short of handing me an eviction notice. I almost started singing an orphan song inspired by Oliver Twist or little orphan Annie, but instead I burst into tears. I am convinced it was this point in time that my nostalgia took root.
It continued throughout the years as I became acutely aware of the passage of time. In high school, I took a whole week and mourned the end of my childhood. I was very concerned about growing up and leaving the “summer of my youth” (thanks Elizabeth) behind. I also grieved the end of college, the end of my singleness, the end of living in my first apartment with my husband, and selling my first car.
All this to say, that last summer my approaching 23rd birthday loomed in front of me and I was scared. If you happen to have stumbled across this blog and think it is ridiculous that I am upset about turning 23 just bear with me. I hold onto each season of life so that I can savor and remember it once I am in the next season. Hopefully this is not unhealthy, but the good news is I always have wonderful memories and feel more present in my current state of life because I know the present is where I will form my new memories.
So the day before my 23rd birthday I was in a major funk. I was lying on my bed in my room crying and Paul came in and was concerned. He listened to me weep about how my youth was flashing before my eyes and how I wasn’t ready to be 23 and grow up. I am done with school, in the working world, and was feeling fearful about everything ending and increasing responsibilities. Paul reassured me that the future was going to be even better than I can imagine and the Lord had great plans for us… blah blah blah. No offense, but I wasn’t in the mood to hear it and was set on wallowing in my nostalgic self-pity for a little longer. Since it was a Sunday night we had to leave to go to his parents for our weekly family dinner. He seemed very eager to get there on time and I was a little annoyed he was rushing me (I stopped to talk to a neighbor).
You can probably guess the rest, we get to his parents and he had planned a surprise birthday party for me (which he later told me he had thoughts of canceling since I was so upset about turning 23). All of our families and close friends were there. I was shocked and blessed. It was touching that Paul had the foresight to plan for a birthday party knowing how I was apprehensive about the big 2-3. He also had everyone go around and share an encouraging word about me. This is a tradition we have done a long time in my family, but it was humbling to be on the receiving end of affirmation. It was well worth it, because the memory of what Paul shared will always bless me. It’s one of those memories you want to treasure because it eased the anxiety of my birthday. It was one of the most wonderful birthdays I’ve ever had. All I have to say is if 23 was this hard, I can’t imagine what lengths he is going to have to go to for my 30th

Monday, November 29, 2010

Current Reads: 2

Here is what I read this week:

Loving Frank. In one word: conflicting. A love story that is morally wrong, but you find yourself hoping it works out. The end is a shocker… you have to read it to believe it. I liked that this novel is based on the life of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Props to my Aunt Meredith for recommending it over Thanksgiving break.

Life’s Golden Ticket. In one word: profound. This book does a wonderful job of incorporating positive life principals into a story form. I highly, highly recommend. I read this book in one day.

Travels, Oct. 2010: Burlington, Vermont

One of the reasons for starting this blog was to remember all of the travels that we do. It seems like we go somewhere at least once a month now. Traveling is my favorite thing to do. If I was paid in airline tickets I don’t thing I would even mind.

A perk of Paul’s job is that he gets to travel all over the country running wellness clinics. When he got asked to go to Vermont we decided that I would come along. We worked the clinics during the day and explored Burlington in the evenings. I have always wanted to visit the New England states and let me just say, Burlington, Vermont fulfilled my every expectation. The town has an adorable downtown that boasts shops, cafes, and restaurants that are locally owned. We found the most amazing restaurant that cooked pizzas on flatbread in a primitive stone oven with all organic ingredients. We ate at Flatbreads two times in one week.

Let me just take this opportunity to say that my adorable husband slings around the phrase the “best thing ever” very loosely. Some of the best things ever are (but not limited to): Chick-fil-A, his nieces, movies, books, my new Sorel boots, Red Mango, time with his family, and any other experience, restaurant, or movie that makes him happy. One of these days I will come up with a list of synonyms so that he can express his glass-half-full outlook in various ways, but for now we will just say that Flatbreads was “the best thing ever.”

What I want to remember about Vermont is how beautiful Lake Chaplain was when we jogged on the bike trail. The natural beauty is truly breath taking.I want to remember what a good boss my husband is. He is so natural at leading and directing those around him in a way that affirms and values them. It was fun to see him in action.Another fun memory is getting to visit the Ben and Jerry's factory. 

The very best part was getting to spend quality time with my husband. It may be cheesy, but he is amazing. Paul encourages me, inspires me, and makes me feel energized by his zeal for life. I think I could even have fun with him if we were vacationing in Iowa (no offense).

The picture above is part of Shelburn Farm's property bordering Lake Champlain.

Travel Ratings:

Relaxation Factor: 8
Food Factor: 10
Entertainment Factor: 9
Natural Beauty Factor: 10
Overall: 8.5

Monday, November 15, 2010

Current Reads: 1

So I have a really big book bag that I carry around with me practically everywhere I go... This is what I am reading NOW:

This book satisfies my need to learn. I have decided to branch out and read more biographies and historical books. I read the classic Emma by Jane Austen over the summer. Like I stated in my first blog entry (see "Here goes nothing" entry) I miss college and all the learning that comes with it.
Haven't started this book, but I am curious to what they will say and if is practical for the average person to apply. My interest in nutrition is fairly recent. The last year or so I have discovered that I really enjoy learning about how to keep my body healthy through the foods that I consume. It is a work in progress, but I'm sure I'll post more on that later...

This book breaks down 14 Superfoods that are amazingly beneficial to the human body. I am actively trying to incorporate more into my diet. It is fascinating and has caused me to eat a lot of blueberries!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Annie Alice

My sister is the first person I am writing about in my blog. I think I picked her first because she is always on my mind. She lives in Austin, Texas with her son-cat Audi. She loves him so much that she pays astronomical vet bills to keep him healthy and lets him get his cat fur all over her cute clothes.

Annie and I are about as opposite as winter is long. She is artistic. My idea of being creative is trying a new restaurant. Annie is athletic. I have nearly all participation ribbons from my track and field days. Annie is musically cultured. Coldplay and country are nearly all I listen to. Annie has a perfect JLo butt… I have chicken legs and a flat butt.

Our relationship hasn’t always been as loving as it is now. As children, I would pinch her cheeks when I got mad and then bribe or threaten her not to tell mom. She really ticked me off when she would steal my days-of-the-week underwear, especially when I would find it in her dirty clothes pile.

There have been many highlights… like the stellar human videos we would perform for my grandparents at Christmas time along with dances to Amy Grant songs. When I was in 4th grade, our family moved downtown to 32nd St and Annie and I had our own bedrooms for the first time. I would always beg her to sleep with me. She sometimes gave in. We didn’t let the distance of separate rooms keep us apart, we devised a knocking code with a specific repetition of knocks meaning a certain message. For instance, 3 knocks meant, “I love you.” Five knocks meant “I’m sorry,” (I used five knocks a lot). To also cope with our separation, we put a shoebox in our bathroom that served as a mailbox. We left notes to each other frequently and sometimes even gum. We called ourselves the ‘sending sisters.’ I loved having a sister.

What is remarkable about Annie is that she has a magical quality that draws people in. She is a freethinker and has a wild heart. Annie feels deeply and cares about those she loves deeply. We have the kind of sisterhood where we can go days or even weeks without a long conversation and then pick right back up where we left off. I think about her all the time. I care about what she cares about. I want to take every pain or potential threat and use my own body and heart to shield her from it.

Annie is an incredibly gifted dancer- I’m not just saying that. You can feel the emotion in her movements, the passion in her heart. When I watch Annie dance, I feel like the world is right. Our grandma Alice loved watching Annie dance. Annie loved grandma Alice. Grandma Alice loved Annie. I sometimes think, “wouldn’t Grandma be so proud of Annie? She would probably find a way to get Annie on a reality dance competition.”

That’s the other thing about Annie. She is incredibly loved. She has a family that adores her. One family dinner cannot go by without someone saying, “I wish Annie was here.” Annie completes the family. She is our treasure and brings so much color our world. Annie Alice, I love you.

The Boots

There have been these snow boots that I have wanted since forever. Well, maybe not forever, but for sure since my feet experiences the chill of non-insulated Charlotte Russe boots. I thought about getting them last winter, but since I was in school and not working I decided to hold out. I ordered them off (15% discount AND free shipping)... They are an investment, but well worth having toasty toes all winter long.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Here goes nothing...

So I am scared for several reasons.

1) My life is passing so fast that I feel like I might wake up tomorrow and be a grandmother. No, seriously- I have nightmares about this.

2) I am fiercely nostalgic and while I do journal, I typically treat my personal journal as a bible study and prayer tool. It occurred to me when I was sitting at Barnes and Noble last night reading a biography (perhaps I'll mention whose biography it is in another post) that I cannot believe I am out of school... prepare for tangent: I am done FOREVER with school if I so chose to be. No more tests, no more studying, and no more excuse to buy a Starbucks every single day. I'm pretty heartbroken that it's over and I feel like it lasted all of two minutes. It was then I realized that I was going to forget the seasons of my life if I don't document them... end tangent.

3) Third fear (don't forget I'm listing why I am scared), I do NOT want to be one of those people who obnoxiously updated their blog all the time and is boring. I have been thinking about creating a blog for years, but have lacked the courage. Now begins a new day.

All this said, I am taking the pressure off myself because this blog is for me. That way I don’t have to apologize for what I write and will feel free to share about the mundane small things in life that bring me joy. Bottom line: I am forcing myself to take the time to remember all of those little moments in life that when they are happening you think: “I wish I could hold on to this moment forever.” Blogging lets me do that. Blogging allows me to hold onto more moments.