Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week of Lists: Things that leave me in awe.

Or a few of my favorite things...nothing like things that leave you in wonder.

Our dad took this photo of a daisy-pretty ridiculously detailed...
1. Squirrels on electric cable.  Talk about balance.
2. The way my husband loves me.
3. The petals on a peony. Or any flower for that matter.
4. The way of a storm.
5. How a beautiful flower turns into an apple, peach, pear, etc.
6. How a baby starts out as two people. Pick wisely.
7. Jesus and what He stood for (See #10)
8. Fields of grass/straw/mustard seed. Rolling hills.
9. How beauty always trumps pain.
10. Stories of forgiveness/redemption.
11. The color turquoise. And yellow. And stripes...oh yes, stripes.
12. How eternity is built into the soul of every person.
13.  Oak trees. In a field.
14. Crying with a friend.
15. Grace.
16. The joy my sister has.
17. My friends-totally unconditional.
18. The love of my parents.
19. 60 second nail polish.
20. Logistics.
21. Books you can't put down.
22. People's stories.
23. Movies like Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea and Pride & Prejudice

Best verses to sum this up: Psalm 139:1-6

1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,    too lofty for me to attain.

What things totally move you?  Make you wonder?  It is kind of like the "glad game."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Week of lists: What I will always fight for.

This is huge.  All of this is huge. I am tenacious and have lessened over the years but there are certain things that I pray I never stop being passionate about.  And please, if I ever try to justify something and change what is written below because of a situation, PLEASE call me out on it.

So I know a gun doesn't describe fighting super well but you get the picture...PS: I was shooting at basalt rock-tough chick.

PS: For the record, I strongly dislike real fighting (you know, WWF stuff).

Things I will always fight for:

1) Standards. I will always be the girlfriend to tell you to raise your standards. Not the ridiculous ones like, "-make $2M a year, have bright blue eyes/6'4"/Italian, etc" but the real ones: a man worthy of respect, someone you are attracted to, someone who challenges you, someone who will fight for you, someone who sees you as the wonder that God created you to be.  Plus, standards help other people step up and sometimes people want to be told they were/are meant to be something great :)

2) Marriage.  I will always fight for this. Why? It reflects a relationship that God created and because of that it is BEYOND sacred.  Meaning, don't mess with it.  I know my husband and I will experience hard times but I pray you will always fight with me on this (even if I ever start to make situational remarks).  My heart will ALWAYS be for reconciliation.  I have seen the power of forgiveness (read "Same Kind of Different As Me") and I want to experience that beauty throughout my life.  Seriously, go read that book.

3) Forgiveness.  Again, read the book above. True story. Then read this post.

4) Fathers.   Being Fathers. Men, being men.  I meet with four different women who didn't really have fathers and just this last Saturday night I prayed with two different ladies who's fathers are continuing who their fathers were (alcohol and abuse).  Please, if you are a man, make that your goal to be a man of courage and to love your wife and your children as Jesus loves us.  You will change the world through your home.  I have a fantastic dad-but his dad wasn't at all.  My dad changed their legacy.

5) Beauty. I want people to know what this world was created to be and why that crazy desire in our hearts for beauty never ceases and is insatiable.  It penetrates every chasm of our being because we were created as beauty-in the eyes of God. May we never cease to see it: in everything.

What are things that you would fight for?  What statutes do you have that you want others to make sure you maintain, even when the waters are rough?

xoxo, Anna (and baby)

PS: We are 18 weeks! And wow, I can feel this little one! I think our baby is secretly a ninja.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A week of lists: Random things learned at home.

So I thought that this week would be a great week for lists. No, I have no particular idea as to what they will be but I so do hope they will encourage you in some way!

xoxo, Me

In being a stay-at-home wifey I have learned the following:

1. Do not go to Costco at lunch time.
2. Do not go to Costco on the first day the coupon book comes out.
3. Target is bound to lead you to someone you know and to items you do not need.
4. Another thing about Costco: it is best to go with someone- accountability (ie: my sheepskin rug).
5. It is easier to waste time than it is to make great use out of the time I have been given.
6. Go to antique stores outside of Portland.
7. I am not good at book clubs.  If I love a book I finish it in 2-3 days and have a very hard time going a chapter a week.
8. I miss the country. Running in the country, the views in the country, the smells.
9. Libraries are the best (and if you pay taxes, you likely pay $200-400/year for them so use it!)
10. I am not allowed to have Pirate's Booty in the home.  It disappears.  All during the hours my husband isn't home.  Also, no Oreos.
11. It takes a lot to learn to not isolate yourself and to reach out as often as possible.  I am a people person but I am also a total independent and need to remind myself I am here to serve others, not myself.
12.  I am blessed. I hope I will say that in all circumstances. Please hold me to that.  I always want what is right to be right-not situational.
13. I don't miss my job.  Not one bit. I was certainly thankful for it while I had it and now I am thankful for where the road leads next. I do miss the gas card...
14. Berry farms have odd hours.
15. Grace is abundant in my life and my friends prove such.
16. Beauty is compelling to everyone.  Everyone.  Something fascinating about that thought...
17. The Bible never gets old. It gets hard to read somedays but it does not get old. Amazing. I have so much left to learn and am grateful for the grace to be becoming who He already knows I am.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Visiting Albany.

A few weeks ago my mother and I set out to Albany to visit Matt's mom and meet up with him for lunch (I seriously felt like a little kid getting to meet up with my boy for lunch).

We had such an amazing day, although the baby had me a slight bit tired.  His mom and my mom, who adore each other, both bought me one maternity item.  Of course they aren't really maternity but I figured they were "growth-potential" garments (I am avoiding the maternity clothes for as long as possible).

Our day was filled with antique stores, consignment shops, viewing the kitchen remodel at the Normans, American Dream pizza, and lunch with handsome. I even got to see the job he is in charge-it is epic.

I feel so blessed-also, both sets of ours parents (and our brother and sister-in-law) have already volunteered to be part of our remodel!

xoxo, Anna (who's belly is definitely showing. I haven't been great at taking pics but I will soon!)

Husband's job. The Education Hall at OSU.  I think my husband is super cool...

Matt's mom seriously taped out the entire future layout-I see where my husband's creative side comes from!

Their future cabinets! They have had the same kitchen for 36 years!

Their floor tile, countertops and cabinet colors. Soooo fun!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Home.

 Closing date: September 15th

What?!?!  I know.  Crazy/awesome/fantastic times for the 2.5 person Norman Family.  It literally dropped out of nowhere (kind of, story below) and we just knew we were supposed to say yes.

*We will be spending a month remodeling so we will be sure to show before and after photos  (I just love things like that!).

John Mark and his wife have literally been praying Matt and I would end up in their neighborhood for months. We kind of giggled about it but probably should've considered it more (he is a pastor after all and his wife is like an angel :)).  John Mark called us four days before we were off to go on our anniversary trip and said he was out running, saw a garage sale (two doors down from them) and asked the couple if they were planning to move. Turns out, their daughter already has a home for them in San Diego, he was dying to retire, and they could go whenever but hadn't put the home on the market.  Of course, he got us their number and we saw it Monday and Wednesday (we left for vacay on Thursday).

The entire trip we prayed and talked through it because it just all seemed so right and so out of nowhere.  We felt that God was saying "yes" mainly because of three things: 
1) It wasn't what we had planned (boy have I learned that one...). 2) It wasn't at all what "I" was looking for. I am rustic/cottage style chic and the home is mid-century ranch.  But then again, I did say I would never marry a man who drove a Subaru and look at what happened there!  He even proposed in his Subaru...pretty sure God has a sense of humor. 
3) People had been praying and it literally was specific to what they had been asking.

Thus, with no realtors involved, just a sweet couple who offer us coffee/drinks every time we enter their home, we came to an agreement, got some papers from Matt's dad (lawyer), Matt did the inspection, and "poof," we have a home effective September 15th. That also happens to be the date of our 20 week ultrasound (and no, we aren't finding out :)).

The before/after pictures ought to be great because the home was built in 1966 and barely touched since then.  I will be sure to blog about the month of remodeling and let you all in on the new home.

PS: If you want to google the style of home, it is a "Rummer" or like and "Eichler" if you are in Cali.

I love it when God makes things so clear.  Strange how it always tend to be right when we don't plan it...I should start getting used to this.

Here is a pic of the atrium of a home that looks very similar.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting. Again.

I met with a dear friend today and we were talking about blogging and since she is an encourager, I left there feeling that I needed to be better at this "blog" thing.  I am trying to post things from years ago because 1) It proves God's faithfulness. 2) It shows the importance of being earnest in what you know is a better way.

Here it is.  Another blast from over three and a half years ago.  I wrote this long before Matt and I met/got married/etc.  It is SO worth it.  

*Note the "antiquated" references to an IPOD and movies coming to DVD (netflix!).  

Enough not said.

Worth the wait: great love.

It's amazing to think of all of the things that we are willing to wait for in life. Let me just make a list to reiterate the point (feel free to add):
1) a new I-Pod
2) a new Nintendo/Wii/Xbox/PSP, etc.
3) a vacation
4) a movie
5) a movie to come out on DVD
6) a sporting event
7) 401k/roth/hedge fund maturation
7) ...

We are able to wait for quite a few things that we know will provide more pleasure, excitement, money, and fulfillment. Myself, being 27 years old as of last week, has seen so many people wait for so many things. Sadly, there is one thing that very few people wait for.

Great love.

That's right. Not just “love”-the one you see on Friends or any other large sitcom, but "great" love. Also, not the one that I have often replaced with lust: the first time you see someone that is completely wrong for you but you are greatly attracted to that person. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to make those lustful situations become a great nothing. (Word for the wise: you can only make something great if there is something to work with.)

I have always believed in it because I was raised in a family that followed after the greatest illustrator and perfector of this great love, Jesus Christ. Whether or not you believe, I can promise you that a belief in Jesus definitely raises your standards and rests your head very softly on your pillow every night knowing that grace is new every morning. My parents taught unconditional love and more importantly, practiced it. So many people enter relationships to have just "love." Something like great love seems to be too much to wait for and the risk is apparently high because it involves time (in a plastic surgery sensitive society, time and gravity seem to be our enemies). I guess we wait for the new IPOD, XBox, sporting event, etc. because we know it will eventually come. There is proof in the marketing that it will be there one day.

The marketing I follow is a slight bit different. It is an antiquated yet modern book that holds in itself 66 other books on that same subject, Great Love. The Bible, something old that holds something new for any heart that is willing to find it. We are an instant gratification society: probably the reason that sex tends to constitute a relationship (don’t worry, that will be touched on later). The Bible talks about this amazing, sacrificial, unconditional, unexplainable love for thousands of pages with personal “great love” letters from the Great God.

I have my doubts in this wait for Great Love but that is only because this world doesn’t know how to believe in anything. Luckily, my doubts are overshadowed by faith. Sometimes I try to create love (not great love, just love), from nothing at all because I want to feel that emotion. Of course, settling for just love leaves me with just that. Nothing “great,” just love by itself in a normal, everyday world sort of way. It is in those moments where I have to pray hard and remind myself why I wait for this thing called Great Love. I wait because I don't think the Bible would exist if this idea of Great Love was not real. Also, I believe in greatness because it is part of a system: below average, average, great. Well, trust me, I will wait for the best of the best even if it takes all of my time. I will travel the world, take any job I want, make great friends, fall in love with fashion trends, read and pray my way through a great life that will hopefully, one day, be interrupted by Great Love.

It does exist. I don’t read the fairy tales just because it was something to do when I was young…I STILL read them because reaching for something great makes my life close to ethereal. I have seen certain friends that have this Great Love and it makes love look punitive in comparison.

My story is written by God’s highly capable hands and in such craftsmanship, “Great” is the only thing that is allowed.

Greatness is great. Average is average. I am not a brain surgeon but I am pretty sure I would choose the former versus the latter.

“Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.” Hans Christian Andersen.

Are you willing to live it?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Glacier-for sure.

Here are a few photos from the second part of our anniversary trip. Also-please go to the national parks. You will love them! And I say that objectively...

Oh, and we are 16 weeks now! I will start showing photos when they are consistent-one day I have a little pouch and the next it is gone.  I would say the best word is "thickening" as babycenter.com so eloquently states. (My husband thinks they shouldn't tell women they are thickening-he thinks it alludes to pudding.  Update: I wrote this yesterday and by the afternoon, the bump was in town.  Legit. For reals.

Hope you all had an amazing weekend and enjoyed the half days of sunshine.  Apparently it is a new weather trend...kind of like half-day kindergarten.

Yes, he is that hot.  

Oh, deer!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Banff. For R-E-A-L.

Matt and I got back from our road trip (ridiculously awesome thing to do for a one year anniversary) this Wednesday and had such an incredible time.  We were so in awe the entire time by 1) perfect weather. Seriously, 75 degrees-perfect blue skies with polite white puffy clouds. Crazy how prayer works... 2) God's creation.  It is unfathomable in every aspect how astounding His majesty is.  Unfathomable. 3) Marriage: the beauty that time affords and the depth to which you can really respect and love someone.

Here are a few shots from the trip (just Banff in this one).  I also brainstormed different topics while on the trip for future little blogs.  Oh, and did I mention within the last two weeks we pretty much (Lord willing) bought a home? Oh, and we are 15 weeks pregnant.  I think we should get a puppy, too.

Lake Louise.  The most beautiful water.

On a 4.4 mile hike up to the Plain of Six Glaciers.

PS: We didn't stay at the Fairmont in the background. It is crazy awesome.

What happens when friends aren't traveling with you and random people take the photos.

And of course, the sunsets were like this every night-both parks.

Lake Moraine.  Another ridiculous view.

The view from the top of Sulphur Mountain, Banff.

My artsy husband.

Crazy.  Don't you appreciate the perfect marshmallow parade?
Glacier (fluffy clouds abound, glaciers and gorgeous water once again...and a snow hike!) to come.

xoxo, Anna N