another set of eyes

first of all
thank you for the supportive response to my post about my marriage.
it was hard to post.
after-all i did have to go through the extra step of getting it approved by reedo and then, of course, the conversations that would follow a post like that :)
i am really glad i did it though since apparently i'm not the only one out there who feels like a lame lady who apparently has to work HARD at just being my husband's friend!
i was glad that you all piped up to comment too because then other people saw that and saw that lots of people feel the same way and that just helps sometimes, ya know?
i think marriage being hard work can be surprising for some.
especially if you had a pretty romantic idea when you got married (or got married at 21 or something...not naming names)
so, anyway, thanks for that.

i think feeling not alone in your thoughts and feelings is one of the reasons blogging is so therapeutic.
and that brings me to another idea that i have been having lately.
which is revolving around me trying to figure out my own motives for things and then analyze them..surprise surprise!
i ask myself why i like to take photos and then share them.
and i think the answer is that i want to see the beauty around me and try and capture it (like i've said before) but then, wouldn't just taking the picture be enough?
but i like to show you.
and i think, why do i show you?
and i have to tell you that lots of times my kids do or say something brilliant or i capture one of their beautiful faces with my camera and i STILL think, after 9 years, i have to show my mom...
she would get this.
after all these years i have learned to manage the loss of being able to share with her.
i call my sisters.
i have good friends.
and guess what?
i've realized lately that sharing with you and getting your feedback really helps fill that void too.
so i took this picture.....

and thought...
i can't wait to show....YOU!
i mean WOW!
isn't she so beautiful?
(ok, its not quite the same as my mom...i wish i could just look at this picture with her and exclaim about it with her....but, on the other hand i am so glad to be able to share it at all)
so thank you friends.
thank you for being another set of eyes.
it makes me feel less alone.
it really does.
and that is Jesus business in my life.
trading loneliness for joy.



hey! i'm moving into the opera garnier!

from my very first day in paris i knew that this was going to be my favorite place.
we didn't even really know what it was when we stumbled into our hotel, half asleep.
we just knew that it was the closest landmark to figure out where our hotel was in the sparkling, confusing, supposedly romantic maze of a city.

we had traveled for a whole day and our heads were fuzzy and i was dreading trying to stay awake to try and fight the jet lag.
so we just started walking around in the general area of where we were staying.
and thought we could just pop in and see what the opera garnier was about.

i was so amazed at the detail of every room.
the carving and the painted ceilings.
the way the sunlight spilled into the long hallways, empty and echoing with your steps.
it was relatively empty and i didn't even understand how lucky that was as i stood alone in a round side room, closing my eyes and imagining that i could go back decades and decades and see how the people must have looked and acted in those magic halls.
looking down on to the paris streets from the balcony.

later as i pushed past crammed groups of people in the louvre and Versailles i realized that the lack of crowd in the the opera was one of the reasons that it was so appealing.
that first day we spent about two hours going through.

looking out from the scarlet, velvet lined boxes at the stage, imaging being in the audience during a ballet or concert.

 then surprise surprise, we find out that this was where the main ceremony and banquet for the verizon part of our trip was to be held!
we did get to see a lovely taste of ballet and hear some beautiful music as well!
then as we left the performance we walked into the banquet that was surrounded by groups of string performers on every balcony.
i feel silly trying to describe it.
i tried taking some photos with my phone
(don't worry, i didn't look too dorky since it was a large group of phone people and some of them had a similar idea...)
but not even my real camera could capture how incredible that night was.
it was magical.
the music, food, and location all together just took my breath away.
i felt like i was in movie.

so, that being said.
these first pictures are of that first day.

and here are the few little phone images i took to try and capture the magical fairy night....

so, i think i might move in....



thirty one years ago my life changed forever.
i became a big sister.

when i was almost 2 years old, my sister Valerie was born.
and i had a playmate for the rest of my life!
we did everything together.
and if you don't believe me....i can show you!

 we dressed alike and held hands and had the same friends and played with the same toys for a long long time!
i am so blessed to have had her in my life.
can you see where i get my love for taking pictures of my kids!?

valley girl. 
i am so glad you were born!
you are a shining star!



real paris love, not the perfect marriage

so here the honest truth.
being married is hard.
i feel, at times, mystified by the couples out there who seem to be perfectly matched.
when they pipe up saying that they married their best friend.
i don't know how to relate to it.
my husband is cute and sometimes funny and a hard worker and determined and sometimes doesn't like what i like and really organized and a little fancier than me and a bit perfectionistic and very active and super snuggly and sometimes hurting and so incredibly loving to our kids and at times tries to be thoughtful to me and sometimes he's my friend and sometimes he's not so much my friend.

if you asked him, he'd probably tell you that i am creative and messy, and full of ideas that many times don't make sense, and emotional and well intentioned and confusing and trying to do what i should and sometimes shy and not affectionate enough with him and in my own head a lot and talking frequently about heaven and "things that aren't here" and putting a great deal of my everyday effort into mothering and sometimes a woman he likes and sometimes a woman that frustrates him.

i love him so much and i am also hurt by him at times.
too often we are caught up in our jobs and forget how to be kind.
too often we just look out for our own interests in the giant mess.
we hurt each other.
it makes us both lonely sometimes, i think.

so there we are.
a very imperfect couple goes to paris.
it was beautiful.
i thought i'd have a little time on my own, but i was wrong.
we were together every minute.
and it turned out just right.
paris has few temptations to lure innocent mountain bikers away from wives.
and i didn't feel super confident on my own anyway (didn't want to get lost)
so we explored every place we could together.
he really wanted to see the louvre and Notre Dame.
i wanted to find some macaroons and this little antique shop i read about here.
we walked and walked.
i climbed the stairs of the Eiffel tower for him.
he walked BACK to the antique shop with cash for a painting for me.
we stopped for coffee whenever he wanted 
he took me to the flower stands and let me take pictures while he bought the tulips.
on this trip, we were friends.
and i think that i will have the memory and hopefulness of that in my heart for the days ahead that may not always be as "friendly"
life does go on.
and we are not on paris time anymore.
but i want to keep these photographs in my line of vision as much as i can.
and remember the gift of paris.

(there's a part of me that wanted to sum this whole thing up with a lesson. 
like giving your marriage over to the Lord.
or promising that Jesus has is all in his hands.
and while those ideas are true and helpful at times, i am not as much a teacher as i am someone who wants to share as much as i can and be as open as i can without violating another's trust, in the name of freeing anyone who has similar feelings and wants to feel not as alone.
thats why i'm sharing this personal business and that is also why i'm not trying to bring it all to a perfect synopsis. so, there you go. these photographs are the way that i personally deal with my feelings right now. and i assume i will have more to say as my life goes on.)



a million reasons...

there are a million reasons why i maybe shouldn't have let my kids stay home from school today.
there are a million reasons why i maybe shouldn't have gotten them donuts either....
(the bazzilion dollar recent dentist report being just one of them)
there are a million reasons (day light savings, jet lag, lady nonsense) why i am so tired by two o'clock everyday this week that it is all i can do not to just close...my... eyes....
sometimes all those million bazillions of reasons need to be let go of and we've gotta to just do what we've gotta do.

i needed a day with my kids to just hang out.
jumping on the bed, playing legos, snuggling, watching old episodes of the backyardigans, eating tons of strawberries from the farm, watercoloring, wearing my ugg boots all day and....

getting some donuts.

(ok ok, because of said recent dentist visits, we DID brush three times today and floss at night!)