Happy Birthday, baby

Happy birthday Dan!
You are 30 today, and it certainly suits you so far! We are in Ireland, sitting in the lounge of our hotel bar, a historic b&b steps from the harbor in Kinsale, listening to live music and drinking Guinness on a red couch. This morning we kissed the Blarney stone together which was silly but I'm glad we did it, then we shopped for sweaters that still smell like sheep in the fields of grass and bought fresh cheddar and smoked salmon at the farmers market.
I have loved every minute of the life I've lived with you so far- what an adventure!
You are so handsome, brilliant, funny, and sweet. I'm so happy to call you mine, to be with you forever and always, and to celebrate you today!
What do you say we stay in an Irish castle and party like kings and queens!?
Happy birthday, baby!
I love you around the world and back again.


The Stylish Irish

i am on the hunt for the perfect (faux) leather jacket :)
I need a big ol' scarf!
I have dreamed of this day for 25 years.
A quarter of a century's worth of longing, wishing, hoping
6 months of planning, strategizing, researching
... and yet I stand before my closet and exclaim...
"I have nothing to wear!"

...enter Pinterest.

 cute cuffed red pants, striped scarf, and vintage camera

aqua, jeans, grey...fresh and so clean, clean!Cutecasual chiclight brown blazer, light wash jeansfall-ow me!pretty yet predictableboho-casual with a touch of bling
tomboy pretty birdcaraz striped scarfboots bootsdress + tights + bootsDress, scarf, tights, bootslips, tights, boots, dress.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.  16. 17.

Today is packing day and slightly overwhelmed is an understatement. I've been so busy picking out bed&breakfasts, researching historical sights, and memorizing menus of local pubs, I haven't given my wardrobe much thought. Now, I am fully aware that I am limited to roughly 25lbs of luggage if Dan and I are going to try and squeeze into one suitcase, so the trick will be picking items I can easily wear several times.
Or we could always get to know the interior of a quaint Irish laundromat!

Obviously, the added pressure of knowing each day will be cataloged for all eternity doesn't help, but I've been warned that the only things I'll actually be wearing are as follows:

I would so wear these rain boot liners... if I had rain boots and lived somewhere cold, but those are just minor details.  I need a casual, hooded rain coat. This is SO tempting, and still available in my size....will think on it today. $50.

Bubble Umbrella 

... although I'll probably look more like:




well, so be it! 

I cannot believe this is already happening... time has flown! 
And it's hard to believe it's been a year since we were getting ready for our last adventure abroad!

Can't wait to see you all again soon and tell of our adventures!

Have a very happy St. Patty's Day friends!!


make him famous.

Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Deuteronomy 16:20

By now many of you have probably seen the following video plastered all over Facebook or on the internet; it has spread like wildfire in less than 48 hours and has reached hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, with the hope of fulfilling one goal: bringing Joseph Kony to justice. 
It's a total bandwagon and I really hope you will join me in jumping on it. 

Who is Joseph Kony? If you were able to answer this question prior to this 30-minute segment- a video produced by a group of young guys  from Southern California who, 10 years ago, began sharing the stories of "invisible children" in Africa who are being oppressed, enslaved, demoralized, and murdered as a result of guerrilla soldier groups - then you are a rarity. For some, this is the first time you may be learning about the 26-year long war that has been devastating areas of central and northern Africa, and you're not alone. 

After watching the video, I was moved, devastated, enraged, in awe, and infuriated... but not because I had never learned about the LRA, child soldiers, and the atrocities committed over time by this rebel group. No, I was outraged because I have read books (A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah), taken college history and political science courses, watched films (Ezra, 2007), and have the original Invisible Children documentaries sitting on our book shelf... but I still could not have told you much about "Joseph Kony". I felt ignorant and blind... "how has this been going on for a quarter century and nothing has been done to stop it?"... because we haven't known any better. The filmmakers understand this; their whole point is that most of the world is unaware of the scope of the damage and seriousness of the war, and that we've been kept in the dark. Their goal, simply, is to spread awareness and seek justice and an end to the war in that area of the world through one simple step: making Joseph Kony a household name

"Making him famous" in 2012.

How are we going to do this?
 Like so: spreading the news, sharing the video, representing our beliefs in a cause so much greater than ourselves within our own, tiny corner of the world. By using the venues we have: jobs, blogs, clubs, families, friends, communities... we can donate to the cause, we can volunteer our time, we can simply educate ourselves on recent history and current events... 

we can "change the conversation of our culture". 

"We have reached a crucial time in history where what we do or don't do, right now, will affect every generation to come. Arresting Joseph Kony will prove that the world we live in has new rules. That the technology that has brought our planet together is allowing us to respond to the problems of our friends". - Jason Russell


three is a crowd.

If bad things come in 3's we are definitely due for an upward shift in our luck...
I'll try to be brief... but boy, do I feel a vent-sesh coming on. 

1. Yesterday during a work meeting I looked down at my left hand and noticed a dark.empty.hole where one of my diamonds should have been. It's one of the tiny ones on the outside that can be fixed, but it still made my heart sink into my stomach. I'm so careful with my rings- I don't wear them to sleep or in the shower and I clean them regularly. I guess this stuff happens but it makes me sick to have to think about getting this fixed, especially when our bank accounts have been recently drained from my real estate broker expenses and our upcoming trip. Super timing. 

sad. dark. empty. hole. 

2. Last night, as I was coming down stairs to turn off the lights before going to bed, I stepped off the stairs, rolled my ankle, and heard a sickening snapping sound. I felt nauseas and basically face-planted on the floor from the pain. Dan was there in a second with an ice pack. I'm convinced he teleported because I don't remember hearing him come down the squeaky stairs. I laid on the floor with my whole leg throbbing, ankle swelling like a purple potato, for what seemed like days. I tried moving my toes and squeezing them to make sure they weren't numb. Its not broken, thank God, just an intense sprain. I wanted to cry but couldn't from the shock. Eventually Dan actually carried me- up our angled staircase, without smacking my head or foot on anything!- to bed and propped my leg up, and I remember him reading to me until I fell asleep- something I didn't think I'd be able to do with the pain I was in. He's pretty amazing... how quickly I forget sometimes.

This morning I woke up, still with a swollen purple potato for a foot but I could see where the sprain was by a massive egg-shaped bruise on the outer top side of my right foot.


I can't put any real pressure on it but I'm able to hobble around and I pulled on a brace to help with the swelling. Then I put on my old Toms- the fraying and stretched pair I almost tossed last week- the only shoes I can wear at the moment... and got ready to go to court. Yes, court.

3. Here's a long one... Dan was going to contest a bogus parking "ticket" he got last month that has been a total nightmare. Shocking, right? Seriously, I'll spare most of the details but basically over the course of a month he's written letters and done everything he was supposed to, and going in person was the next step. 
Now- although few things are more annoying than parking tickets, I don't have an issue paying them if I was in the wrong : not feeding my meter, parking in a street-sweeping area... It's a part of city life (that I'll never miss). But this was a case where the parking "attendant" issued a completely bogus ticket, then they actually added a duplicate charge for the same "offense". What a mess.

After Dan contested it, they responded in writing that they reduced his ticket by 75% because "he had evidence that he was right"... What kind of logic is that? Anyway- so we go downtown to the huge, beautiful city building where all the city employees are enjoying their 9:40am coffee break in the "atrium" after an hour of "work"... we go into the office where there are 6 people behind a counter- we're the only ones there- and theres a laminated sign telling us to take a number and have a seat. Literally. 
Kind of like when you go to the DMV or the Post Office or through airport security and 20 people are working but only one terminal is open? Weird.

No one even looked at us. 
Then we were finally directed to the "hearing room" where  the woman (?) behind the desk just stared at us while Dan gave his "case". She finally said to Dan, "I will remove the duplicate ticket, I'm happy to do that for you" and I snapped, "of course you will! It's your mistake!"... Then she said Dan was still responsible for paying the reduced fee or he could schedule a court date... (why'd we come here, again?). He asked why it was reduced and she literally said " because you're proving that you are right"... Obviously... I snapped again, "well if he's right why are we paying at all?!"

She responded,  "now we're just arguing back and forth and not getting anywhere"... I  turned to leave and yelled spoke loudly as I walked down the hall, "as tax paying, home-owning, hardworking, voting, jury-duty-serving citizens I am absolutely disgusted with this backwards system, but if that's how the city insists on paying its employees to not do their jobs,  so be it!" 
When I was really wanting to yell "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!"

I have red hair, people. 
While Dan was paying the fine I told everyone in the office- "hey thanks for all your help, lunch is on us today!" just for my last bit of closure. 

Anyway. I'm still mad. Dan is furious. And we are looking forward to being on House Hunters International when we move to new Zealand soon. Dan doesn't even want to buy anything except on Craigslist so we avoid sales tax, we'll see how long that lasts. I rarely get involved with politics but I have had enough of the backwards nonsense that is the government. Why are we paying 25 salaries for 2 jobs? Why did I count 8 homeless people on our 1 mile drive home when not one government office has laid people off in this economy? Why are roads torn up and construction projects go unfinished while our capital gets a new coat of gold plating
Can't help but wonder if there's a way to do it better.

Meanwhile... I'll get down off my little soapbox and resume my recovery position. Foot elevated. Frozen peas in place. 14 episodes of Ellen to catch-up on. 
It's a gorgeous 70-degree day again so if I can hobble outside for a bit I'm hoping to do something about my ghostly complexion. 

Thanks for stopping by!!
-the purple potato.


where's my worth?

I told you I would share more about how this past Sunday's sermon stirred me, so let me begin.

~We just finished eating a delicious dinner, a bottle of cheap wine, and watching the Voice... 
Husband is now watching the Nugget's game and squeezing the cat, who he believes is his "good luck charm". It's almost 10pm and a pile of dishes is yet to be done.~

Ok, now that you're caught up on my evening...
In a nutshell, the sermon was about how Christians tend to view ourselves as inadequate and incapable of good. We tend to veer on the side of failure, accepting ourselves as "only sinners", bound for brokenness. In reality, we are still perfectly designed beings, created in God's own image, destined for a full and satisfying life on this earth. The only aspect that differentiates the world we live in from the one we were made for is that sin rules where the Lord once reigned. 

Although sin was ultimately brought into our world through choices made by both man and woman, it is not a platform for God's wrath against us. In scripture, God never curses humans... He curses land, regions, countries, and theories,  but never one person or another. Not only does God view us all as complete and perfect reflections of His beauty and grace, He chose to pay "top dollar" for us at the ultimate auction of life- Christ's death on the cross. When we were at our lowest, ugliest, most sinful, useless, and broken state, God bought us back, brought us home to Him, by paying more than  we may ever fully understand. If we were good enough then, we are good enough now... no matter what we have endured or done

I often see myself through stained lenses, splattered with the residue of guilt and shame- a walking example of what not to do or who to be- instead of seeing myself as worthy of the ultimate sacrifice.When we deny the value that God has given us, we are ultimately denying the price He paid for us on the cross. God looked down upon us, when we were furthest from His light and saw hope! 

He looked at us and said "despite all the pain you have caused me, and caused each other... and though you may continue to cause such pain... you are worth loving. You are worth life!"
So he gave it back to us.

Knowing this should be enough, right? Knowing God's grace extends beyond anything we could do/not do or say should be enough to keep us from trying to "win" or "earn" this value... or trying to manipulate our minds into believing something our hearts are unsure of... Yet, I still seek my value from others, and worse- from things. Instinctively, I turn inward and look at myself... I want to hear affirmation- that I am worth loving no matter what- from my husband, my family, and my friends. I want to hear that I am worth fighting for, and regardless of my sin and failure- worth the highest price. 

 I am selfishly human- I want to be affirmed, I want to know that I am accepted. I know that words are meaningless without the grace of God and yet I wish that I could hear them come from the mouths of those I elevate above myself. I struggle with seeing myself as "good enough" because everything I am, or believe I will ever be, is forever tainted by the mess of who I was
I have made mistakes I wish I could undo, I have ventured where I wish I had never gone... but it doesn't matter in God's eyes. His grace has covered it all. My brokenness is made new.
  His love remains the same. 

Why can't I accept THIS standard in my life. Why can't I view God as the sovereign judge He is? Why do I continue to believe that I know what I truly need- and how to get it? 
I continue to seek my value and worth from the things I can control- appearance, standards, achievements- things...that I have worked for. That I have earned.

I have fallen backwards, and yet I am right where I began. I am- you are- worth loving exactly as we are. Nothing can ever make the Lord love us less, or more, and we are still the beautiful bearers of His image. 

Let's live as the perfect, complete creatures He designed us to be. 
Let us... simply stop trying so hard.

Monday's Music to My Ears: Michael Kiwanuka

Every once in a while I hear a song that instantly captivates me.
Last week Dan and I happened to be in the car on our way to meet friends for dinner when this song came on the radio. Within the first few seconds- literally before I even heard the lyrics- I was Shazzam-ing it and downloading the e.p. on iTunes.

Michael Kiwanuka
"I'm Getting Ready"

The melodic simplicity of the guitar, the pure richness of his voice = perfection.
He reminds me of Van Morrison (Into The Mystic) and Otis Redding (Sitting on the Dock of the bay)
mixed with a little Ben Harper with hints of Ziggy Marley.

Apparently, I'm a bit behind on my revelation as this incredible new artist was on tour with the Adele in 2011 and won the BBC Sound of 2012 poll. 
...and I'm sure this is only the beginning of his career.

Take a minute to check out Michael Kiwanuka and support his music. It's so refreshing, in a world dominated by electronics and special effects, that pure talent is still so powerful.


Michael Kiwanuka

thanks for coming by, happy monday to you.


an off day.

Today is definitely an "off" day. 
My body can't seem to catch up with my brain, I feel drained of energy and motivation, and little things are really getting to me. I can't really explain where this feeling is coming from or what I think would make it better- in fact, on the outside today seemed as good a day as any:
We slept in (well, til 8:30-gasp!), drank coffee and watched tv, played with the dogs, went to yoga (dan too!), grilled veggie burgers and ate outside in the sun...in t-shirts!, planned for our upcoming trip, and went to church.

But the reality is that I got up, made the coffee, took the dogs out, did dishes left from the morning day before when he had bible study at our house, and got annoyed Dan was still in bed.
 Later, I offended my husband when I criticized his "improper" bleach-to-detergent ratio when washing our white towels. 
By a miracle, Dan obliged to join me for a yoga class at noon... but we didn't make it past the front desk before snapping at each other because I told him not to leave his wallet with his shoes in the lobby.
When we were outside having lunch we started bickering over something ridiculous and one of us may-or-may-not have actually poured their beverage onto the other's lunch. 
Then we went to church, which was great- I really enjoyed the message and felt like it was something I really needed to hear. I'll share more on that later.
Dan didn't really care for it.
While driving home, I suggested going to eat (we used to make a point of Sunday nights being "us" time after church, and went to eat together and talked about our upcoming weeks)... Dan wanted to eat at home. 
Silence. Yes, of course I wanted him to read my mind.
Yes, of course, I would have loved for him to turn to me with a smile and say "ya know, I'd love to go to dinner!". Yes, of course, I wanted him to ask me why I loved the sermon... and I could tell him how it moved me.
Of course, I wanted to be selfish!

Long story short. It's almost 9pm, neither of us have eaten dinner, and we're on two different stories of our house, on computers.

Trust me... all of these details really don't matter, and I definitely wrote this all out and deleted it more than once, to spare us all from the menial nonsense. 
But ultimately... this is reality. Life is full of nonsense and things we wish we could take back.
 Reality means there are days when our dots don't all connect and when it all just.ain't.happening

The worst part is when these days just happen, no matter how you try to stop it.
You can step back, breathe, try to laugh it off, say sorry, move on...
but it doesn't quite go away.
Like a fog that just lingers and distorts everything just enough.

Anyway, I know tomorrow will be better. Yesterday was better. 
...Just like the days before yesterday and days after tomorrow...
But today... is an off day.
And while I would've rather not written this post, I needed this. 
Writing has always been my first outlet, and no good day is worth any more than bad days, they are all part of life; they are for documenting, not dwelling, they are for learning from, not leaning into.
I hope to look back to this with grace and clarity and greater appreciation for small victories; "good days", and "better moments". 
That's all.