Sunday, December 4, 2011

Movement and Contentment

This morning, while sitting out on the balcony looking out at fog blanketed Bellingham Bay, my mind settled on the word, "Home". Around me was, a Christmas tree in a bright orange 5 gallon bucket waiting to be hung up, a little red tricylce, the bbq with some utensils still hanging on it, squash nestled up next too a little decorative lantern on the table, my planter of mint, and the birdhouse (which has yet to house a bird). It was most definitely not perfect out there on the porch. Not the type of scene you would see on a design website or in a magazine. I sat in a green camping chair. And I was home. Coffee in hand and husband inside making breakfast, I breathed in deep and realized that although there has been so much movement around us this past few weeks; of furniture, people, and places, we are in a place that we love and trust that it is exactly where God has us for now. We can rest in that instead of looking ahead to what's next or what's better.

The Movement:

Three Trees has officially shut it's doors: An era in downtown Bellingham's world has ened. The Three Trees Coffee Shop is closed. Envisions's Ministries (the Christian ministry funding the place) is still alive and well and the church will still meet on Sunday evenings but the downtown livingroom is gone. So many times the characters that frequent that place have come up in my writing and will continue to in my heart always. It was the type of place where anyone, from anywhere, with any story to tell could find a spot at a table...and be heard. The Coffee shop also has a unshakable spot in my heart as it is where Cameron and I met...the first place that I saw this oddball artist sculpting stone at a table in the corner. We will miss you Trees.

The Meyers are in the little room again: We have a housemate again! It's fun to truly live life in community with others. There are challenges of course as you walk alongside new folks but too many positives out weigh any negatives, that we adopted a friend as a roomie. This did put us back on the south side of the house into the smaller room (with no view) but to be able to walk out to the kitchen and gaze out the huge window at the mountains is nothing to complain about.

Friends are awaiting their house closing: Our dear friends are still waiting for their pending home buying extravaganza to end. Meaning: they are anxiously awaiting being allowed to move into the house they are buying. For now, they live here too. Musical beds is the name of the game! Shuffling suitcases and mattress...pulling out sofa beds and cramming the fridge as full as we can.

Kids have new bunkbeds: The kids have bunkbeds! Quickly they were turned into a cave with sheets up and Christmas light strung around them. For 2 (pretty hip and cool) teenagers, they did great impressions of little kids having a blast playing in a make believe fort. We hope eventually for the kids to each have their own room but this is where we are right now...and they seem to be okay with it. The only complaint I heard was over who's mattress was more comfortable.

The Contentment:

We get creative, and have fun doing it. A few nights ago, I got overwhelmed with all the movement and the people and the changes. The only solution was to climb in bed, watch some TV and go to sleep. Some nights are like that. But since then...people have settled in and slowed down into a smoother rythmn. I can enjoy the funny things when people live in close quarters and can run around at the park across the street and play tag (yes, I still play tag) Man, am I thankful to have a 7 year old step daughter who loves to play tag!

We cook great meals, sit down together discussing...well, tonight it was Pink FLoyd, wreath design, and memory foam). Kids are eager to make Chai Tea concentrate and deep friend cherries and have curry on wheat thins.

Saturdays can be spent snow shoeing up at Mount Baker and a seriously dynamic father daughter duo can have a blast together jumping off snowy hills that stodgy-step mom (hah) is too nervous to slide down on her bum.

God is Good. Cam and I have gotten into the habit of listening to Tim Keller online; his sermons are fantastic! The other night as I sunk into my pillow, Kellar was explaining how the Goodness of God frees us from worry. God is not only the only one who truly knows what we need, He is the only one with the ca to give it to us. We ask so many others, and bang our heads against every wall trying to get it for ourselves. He knows and He gives. He is Good and He Loves us. Simple truths really but the implications of believing these are stunning. At least I have been stunned at the many ways and many circumstances that I practically don't believe. But we grow. This year, God has challenged me in completely new follow Him into the unknown, trusting that He is Good, and He loves us.

Accepting HOME this morning was a new acceptance of His goodness and provision, not just some wonderful "self discovery" or anything. It was His grace allowing me to see where He has us. Thank God....for all of this.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simple Pleasures

This last week was about the simple things. Generic and cliche as it is, I am breathing them in deeply. During the next few weeks, there will be more transitions and new possibilities so easy days and pretty views are cherished. There will be nothing profound here just some snapshots of things that have made me smile recently:

1. Open Mic Night at the Three Trees: There will be only 1 of these left before the place closes its doors and is transformed into a tavern (guh, just what this college town needs)This has been an incredible place for so many, becoming the downtown "livingroom," and meeting place. Here are Mitch and Ken version of "Down on the Delta"

2. My collection. Until a few days ago, I didn't know that I collected anything. But I do. Small bud vases. They are just pretty. Dusk is especially fancy when viewed through the antique glass. Other than my lovely man, they are the first thing I see when I wake up and look out the window at what the day may hold.

3. Date Night & Concerts in general. Cam and I went to see The Cave Singers, an accidental Seattle band who put one quite a show Friday Night. In true Bellingham fashion, there were LOTS of beards, flannel, ski caps, and brown boots. Lead singer played the melodica. That's fun. Also fun was watching Cameron react to somehow ending up behind the bounciest, loudest, flalingest two girls in the crowd. She stomped his toes with her (very cute) brown boots. I laughed (while i tried to not), she laughed (obliviously), and he smiled (that sarcastic, "i love this" type of smile). We had fun!

4. A window with a view. This never gets old. Each night displays different colors and patterns. They are especially crisp and bright this time of year. Nuff said.

5. Mucky walks on Sehome Hill, giggling to myself about all the dingleberries on the bushes. Since it's almost Thanksgiving it seems about the right time to decorate the house for Christmas so I went foraging. Holly branches, check. Cedar branches, check. Spruce branches, check. Dingleberries (hehehe) check. Just enough to home make a wreath (it ended up just a evergreen mustache with a bow, but looks just as festive on the front door). Being that I live in Bellingham which is an extremely environmentally conscious town, while walking i was preparing my defense in case I encountered someone personally offended that innocent branches were being snipped from unsuspecting trees. My approach: only clipping one off of each tree. A longer walk, but that was just fine on the chilly, frosty, perfect day.

For now, that's it. The aim is contentment and these things help. Trying to just find moments and images each day and let them soak in.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

There are too many similarities between this blog right now and the house plants in my condo. I am well intentioned. Honestly. Now, I am not sparking this little laptop up and lettin my fingers fly because the words that come out will probably do any one any good. It is not a narcissistic attempt to find my fifteen minutes of virtual (or viral) fame. Writing is good for me, so is reading. So lets just view this blog post as a watering can full of plant food and water given to my limp flowers in hopes that they'll perk up for at least a day. Its worth a try. And. I found the plants in an ally on a dumpster on a day when I was really needing some flowers in my life. So they have served their purpose and there's not much to loose.

It's been nearly 7 months since I've written on here. I can sum them up.

May: prepare for wedding festivities. Family fun. Big party, pretty white dress, hunky man waiting for me at the end of the isle, good food, lots of dancing. Honeymoon in Boston, Maine, and Cape Cod. A true New England tour complete with lobster feasts and a sunset cruise and a visit to the SS. Constitution. (i like boats. Become a wife and momma (or a steppie, depending on the lingo you prefer)

June: Normal spring/summer fun here in B'Ham. Farmers markets, frisbee in the park, camping up on the Nooksack river, garage sales. Perfectly fine things to do with your NEW HUSBAND AND STEP KIDS (from here out will be referred to as "the clan."

July: More summer exploration: Larabee, hiking, lots of work, become a liscenced bar tender and tend my first bar. And probably my last. find rope swings and swim at the local lakes. Oh, and I turned 28. Which i was afraid would feel old. But my husband is 35 (he looks young), so I feel young and spry!

August: Work, splashing in lakes, wishing I had a dog, work, interviewing for new job (for the 4th time this year...ugh), work, then a lovely annual family camping trip to Gold Basin.

September: Labor day weekend at the Farm in Port Townsend that Cameron's sister and brother in law live at. Play with llamas and fling apples at a barn. So nice. Reconnect with some friends that I've been distracted from. That whole newlywed thing I suppose. ;) Weddings number 3 and 4 of the summer. Get my first "real" haircut in probably 5 years. Oh did I feel sexy!

October: Life slows to a manageable pace, like it's supposed to in autumn. Kids are back in school. Work (which by the way almost always will refer to the non-profit work that Cameron and I are doing. my real work is not so exciting...well its exciting in a prime time sitcom type of way...think The Office) slows before a big push for the community training. YMCA visits are more frequent as the sun is starting to set EARLY.

November: And here we are. My doctor prescribed,"Exercise" to me on my last visit to still my reeling mind and to ground me a bit after a whirlwind summer. I do. Some. Not enough probably. But now it's dark at 4:30 pm and the cold wind is not as inviting to pop out for a run. It was also suggested to me recently to take care of myself...which means...spoiling myself with tasty warm beverages, candle light, warm baths, time to read and write(ahem, hence I am plopped down in front of my computer), and quietness. I've set some goals.

1. Write weekly on this thing. No matter who, if anyone reads. And for real writing regularly. Like the pen and paper kind.
2. Read a book every 2 weeks-ish. Fun ones. Not the non-fiction learning ones I am normally drawn to.

Becoming a psuedo momma and wifey have taken some learning but my man and his kiddos are incredible. The kids are a riot and a joy and don't even get me started about my adoring Husband. There will probably be a post just about HIM.

For now, here are some pics from a drizzly walk we took before heading into church-ish at the Three Trees Coffee Shop. Thank God for that place.

Until next time.
Here's one for laughs. She fell. Really.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The View from Here

It's the first day all year that Bellingham has gotten above 50 degrees. And it's sunny! It's the type of day that we Bellinghamsters dream of. People are out in tank tops, skirts, Chacos and are sporting their $5 sunglasses at the swarming farmers market. The day is lovely. Today thought, I am wrestling with a cold, and the chilly breeze. I must rest, but I want to run, explore, wander, play. I am inspired today by some friends of mine who are so good at resting. At truly enjoying the stillness and wonderful spots of beauty around them, regardless of their mood or health. Happy with a great book and a nice view. Right now, I am surrounded by both.

There are 35 days until I will be Mrs. Robin Marie Crispulo Meyer. These moments of solitude will be few and far between in the next month. Here's to them!! Looking forward to one of these this evening too!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Texas Toast

Here's to a lovely trip to Texas! Lots of little adventures and a lot of " texas _________"
In conclusion. Texas is very different than Washington. We all had a blast. Stories to come in the next post.

Staring down a Squirrel

No, this entire post will not be a story about a squirrel. But for some reason a moment yesterday which only lasted about one minutes was the most impactful of the day. I am not good at being sick and yesterday I was sick and at work. Thankfully, it was the sort of day where I could truly just stare at the wall or out the window for a long time before anyone would notice that my mind was completely somewhere other than the Recovery Center. My attention would be shaken back into the moment when some frantic and demanding person walked in with an arsenal of questions. One particular woman caught my attention quickly when, as my coworker was trying to patiently explain a frustrating reality to her...she snapped "Don't SpeaK!" to the sweet girl next to me, behind the counter. We both blinked a few times in shock then I tried to explain to her again the situation as my colleague walked away so she could contain her giggles. Someone could turn the lobby at a drug and alcohol treatment facility into a pretty successful sitcom, I am convinced.

Back to the squirrel. At 4 o'clock, it was time to go home and I was waiting for Cameron to pick me up from work. (We are exploring the idea of far so good). Out on the sidewalk in this little residential neighborhood, I was just pacing, trying to un-fill my mind from the days conversations. A little rustling and squabbling snagged my ear and I looked over at this big squirrel with a full mouth staring right at me. Giving me the sort of look you give someone when they are obviously in your way and you are obviously quite annoyed at them for being there. He must have been a cartoon squirrel to be so expressive and vocal. That look. I was blocking his path to the tree. With a deep sigh and an eye roll (I'm assuming) he went the long way around, gave me a "so there" look and scurried up his apple tree. Those 60 or so seconds of interacting with a squirrel (I told you I am yes, I may have been delusional). brightened my day, shook my mind back into reality and also challenged me to take the time to notice quick moments, sounds, or settings. They can change our mood. They can teach us something. Or at least, some funny moment can remind us to hear others voices. That silent moments are not just for thinking of what to say or do next...they can be times to listen.

Here's a few photos of Texas too! Thanks to my mom and Jeff for an amazing trip. My legs are still peeling from sunshine that got soaked into them (aka, Robin got a sunburn!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

to resume

…..To Resume.....

Rather than trying to fill in every gap in the last 6 months of life here in Bellingham. I think I will just give a brief overview of the main happenings, in a few different categories. Mostly, this is a chance to let anyone still interested know that the Ibhuloho blog is back in action! That word, which originally came to mind (thanks probably to the Holy Spirit), meaning, “a bridge” truly proved to be a theme carrying through the entire year in South Africa. Funnily enough, that theme is translating also into life in America. More on this coming up later in this post.

From then until now:

Days in the first few months were long and overwhelming. There is no way to describe what exactly was overwhelming about them other than to say, everything. I did not know how to deal with the normal daily demands. After a few months of living in Pretoria I had adjusted to the stresses and joys of each day there, but apparently hadn't retained my ability to function in the US. Cameron was adjusting too and the two of us made quite an emotional pair. We felt like little emotional tornados who occasionally bumped into the people around us or others. Some times, and these were the best, we were one tornado, understanding and whirling with each other able to understand and assist the other in trying to move forward not just spin in one place.

Obviously we've made it. And things are wonderful now. We're getting married!! Cameron was brave enough to propose on Christmas Eve, up on the rooftop where we had our first date 1 ½ years earlier. He offered me a gorgeous, C.CrispuloMeyer original green amber ring and I fanatically accepted.

Some highlights since coming home have been:

A Meyer family camping trip to Gold Basin. We played in the clay, hiked to the ice caves, and cooked some delicious meals on cast iron over the camp fire. The kids collected licorice root and we drank as much “licorice root tea” as we could swallow.

Monday night, cooking club. Also known as the Culinary Experimentation Club headed up by our friend Darren, Krista, my new roomate Kat, and Cameron. These have been lovely evenings of creating new, fun foods and some old classics. To check out the successes, look at Christa's wonderful food and travel blog: She has gorgeous pictures and captivating stories of a winter all over the world and some yummy home cooked meals we've concocted right here in the Northwest.

Re-exploring this amazing town, the “City of Subdued Excitement.” Cameron and I have had a good time seeing this city again, together! The walk to boulevard is a favorite, the Blue Horse cafe has a great jazz night at their art gallery, we chill at the Three Trees Coffee Shop, and forage at the local second hand shops for treasures or materials for projects.

Getting reconnected with the community at Redeemer Church. Some good friends that I left welcomed us both back with wide open arms and a sparked interest in the issue of Human Trafficking, in our community and abroad. God has been doing a great work here. When we first returned from South Africa, the hope was to get involved in some work that was being done in Bellingham in regard to countering human trafficking, but what we found was that most everyone who was participating in work was going down to Seattle to do that work. It is happening here though! Six months of praying, talking with people, looking around, and thinking has brought us to a place where we, along with our friend Laura Converse will be starting an organization called, The Bridges Coalition. Again, more on this at the end of the blog.

A Christmas trip to Vancouver. Some failed attempts to find Salsa dancing and live music left Cameron and I eating corn chips, drinking home made rum and coke, and dancing in the living room looking out over a lit up Vancouver.

Working a “normy” job again. 8-4 as a receptionist in a drug and alcohol recovery center. This is absolutely the most challenging job I've ever had. There will be stories.

I've been having fun learning to cook with more ingredients than just rice, pasta, and veggies from the street vendors. A few hits have come out of the the Moosewood Cookbook. This restaurant in Ithaca, NY has not failed me yet. Lemon-tyme bisquits topped with monterey jack cheese and bacon on a foggy saturday morning. We sit on the couch and look out over the bay with fresh coffee in hand. My home right now has a window to watch the water shift colors slightly as the weather changes. Each day it's different and this view never gets old. This spring and summer, I'll keep a record of the variety of colors in the stunning sunsets.

A Noticing

A bumber sticker on a car in the Fred Meyer Parking lot on a friday afternoon at 4pm.

“Love People, Cook them Tasty Food.”

I agree.