Sunday, August 26, 2012

Busy People

Mmmmm, this is an interesting Sunday. I am in running shorts and a tank top sucking on a cough drop and alternating between freezing to death and needing a blanket, and suddenly feeling like I'm on fire and tossing it off. I am indeed the carrier of the cold... at least, I hope that's all it is! It started up Friday night when I started to have a sore throat and just got worse since then. Yuck. Not how I like to spend my weekends.

I was warned by my coworkers at the daycare. Most of them said to take vitamins because they too got sick within a few weeks of beginning work. You cannot even imagine how many vehicles of germs there are in that one little building. I've worked with toddlers all of the past two weeks, and they have no concept of covering their face when sneezing or coughing. They let snot run all down their face and squirm and run away when you try to wipe it off, lest we actually look like we take care of them when their parents come to take them away. They put pretend plastic food in their mouths at their pretend cooking time, and then offer me a taste by trying to smash a shiny wet fake cookie between my lips. They are adorable and I really do pray over those little cuties as they run around that their futures would be great, but coughing up goo is the sacrifice one must make to be a part of their developing little lives. In short: I have an awesome job up here, no matter what!

We have been so busy lately up here in the Mitten. I didn't realize how much working even part-time would affect what our house looks like, haha. It was impeccable for our housewarming party last Saturday (HALLELUJAH!) but now is a disaster, with my tissues on the ground (GROSS!) and some laundry backup. Yikes. Someone please invite themselves over so we have an urgent need to get on the ball with household cleanliness. I am letting Martha Stewart down.

At least, in that respect. As for interior decorating, she should be proud -- we finished that monster map wall art and managed even the hardest part, hanging it up!

We were seriously on crack to make something so heavy before thinking about how to affix it to the wall. Good grief. We blew a decent bit of money trying out different wires, hooks, and buying a stud finder until we got it pretty doggone secure. Rest assured, house guests, it will not topple over and give you brain damage! It was all worth it when people kept telling us how awesome it looked at our housewarming party. :)

Speaking of that party, it was so much fun! Thanks to all our friends and fam that came to hang out with us! We ended up with so much food leftover that it was just silly, and were out by the bonfire till about two in the morning, but that's the sign of a good time, I think. I have to add that the honey brough from Uncle Mike and Aunt Nancy's bees -- yes, they really do have their own hives and everything! -- is soooooo good! I do love some good honey on my toast.

Other than that, it's just work, work, work, for us both. And for me this weekend, lots of "severe cold" medicine and tissues. I haven't gotten this sick in years. Thanks, little kiddos! 

Love, Lara

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Yesterday's headline: Happy 1 month-aversary to Darin and me! (YES that is grammatically correct people) Wow. So weird. It's yet another one of those times that on the one hand, time flew, but on the other, I feel like I've been married for a long time. I am used to seeing Darin when I roll over and wake up in the morning... in those last quiet moments before we have to be running out the door to some place. I am used to putting the toilet seat down, which is not this huge pain that some ladies complain about. Our giant sink full of dishes commemorates a month that we have to take care of this house and pretend to look like mature adults!

Last night, Darin and I were sitting on our office floor chillaxing and reflecting on our marriage and our walks with God so far. Both of us realized we've taken so many things for granted that it is shameful. We so often doubt that the Lord can bring amazing things to pass when we have ample reassurance of His truly breathtaking power and love for us! I know for myself that there are plenty of things I ceased to thank Him for when I forgot about it, and that is a pitiful thing.

First of all, I am to be so thankful for our home. It is beyond anything we could have dreamed with our little poor people budget. We can't wait to have people over more often, and are praying for big hearts that seek plenty of times to do it. And I'm thankful that God gave me a talent and strong passion for cooking and baking -- it gives us an excuse to make some people come finish off my experiments! (If they are not disgusting, of course. Usually not.)

As I went through a list of lots of things I need to continue to thank God for -- a job, health, family, friends, etc. -- of course I dwelled on how thankful I am for Darin. What happened next was that I was completely wonderstruck with our story, and that we could be here today. How could a Florida girl end up all the way in Michigan like this? It's honestly a huge miracle in my eyes, that this all began because we were on the same conference in Panama City Beach. Darin couldn't even afford to go; his friend Andy paid the three hundred or so bucks needed because he really wanted Darin to come. I almost studied abroad in Istanbul, Turkey over that week, but because my dad was so vocally against it, I decided to wait on that trip and do something else. Big Break, magnet of all who wander at Spring Break, you brought us into your grasp through a game of volleyball. My roomie Ashley at the conference met Darin playing on the beach and introduced him to the rest of us later. And that was that. We were getting married.

I am thankful that we met in this miraculous way, and that we survived a miraculous long distance relationship. The wait to see each other was at times torture, and the dropped calls and Skype issues were enough to make me scream. We stayed together in a miraculous way.

I am also thankful that Darin is even alive today and that we got married at all. In February, when he was living in East Detroit, someone in his neighborhood got into a dispute with someone they knew and pulled out a massive gun to fight back. As they duked it out, Darin's car was in the crossfire at that moment. (If you want to see a really scary looking vehicle come check it out. Still has the holes, haha.) If he'd been coming home at that moment, or was still in his car, he'd be done for -- there's a hole at head-level in the passenger's window. We joke that we wish that person had shot the engine out so that Darin could get something new, but I never stop and think about the grace God showed us in that moment. Everyone was okay. No one got hurt. Darin and his neighbor reconciled and shared barbecue.  It is the craziest story we probably have, as Darin got to share to one of our elderly neighbors here who noticed the bullet holes, and we really should never stop praising God for His providence six months ago.

Now we both are working married people with an exciting new season in life. What could I even ask of Him? Probably prayers more along the lines of these Jon Foreman (and originally, bible) lyrics that come to mind:

Won't you create in me a clean heart, O God
Restore in me the joy of Your salvation
(Psalm 51)

It's a theme that pops up a lot in my life, so I keep writing about it! I hope it keeps popping up for you too!

Love, Lara

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fun in the D

This morning I couldn't stop myself from going through all my travel photos. (I am employed and start work next week so this bit of Thursday laziness is okay by me! Just to justify my bum actions to myself... sigh.) I think the little map on Facebook caught my attention and had little pins on the places I've been, and it made me nostalgic about all the really cool things I have been able to do already in my lifetime.

I really am the most blessed, lucky girl in the world, in my opinion. I can't believe that at age 22 I've set foot in so many countries. I got to see Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower, hear Big Ben chime, cross Latinski Most (the bridge where Franz Ferdinaned was assassinated in Sarajevo), jump between boats in the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, and so much more. Even seeing the awesome things within the U.S. is so exciting! I rode the carousel in Central Park and wandered around Alcatraz, and put my hands in Marilyn Monroe's prints on Hollywood Boulevard. I really treasure experiences like those. If it came down to it, I'd sell most of my clothes and things if it meant I got more memories and tried so many new things.

I know it will be a while before Darin and I are able to "travel" again. We would love to go to the Balkans and visit my friends and be total tourists someday. I personally would love to go to Thailand and China and Tanzania but we will not get too far ahead of ourselves, ahaha. Luckily, I am getting more than my fill of new adventures while we are somewhat homebound for the time being!

Darin found out about a Mustache Day at the DIA in honor of a new Dali exhibit, so we went with some friends to enjoy some art... and then brewskis at the Motor City Brewery. I had me some Ghettoblaster for the first time, yum!

I promise someday, I will use a real camera and not be so Instagram-tastic. It's just so easy.

And then, for the next fun thing...

D totally surprised me yesterday by coming home with tickets to the Tigers vs. Yankees game! I was so excited -- I said that I was thinking I wanted to go for my birthday present this year. (I needed an occasion for my Verlander shirt!) Since the Tigers would mostly be away in September, Darin picked out some awesome seats and we had such a good time! I am learning things about sports. ;) We lost but it was a great game anyways. Plus I am a cheapskate gross girl and kept my cup as a souvenir. Whatever! I will start a Detroit weird souvenirs hoarding club.

Every day, I become more and more convinced that God knew what he was doing setting the two of us up and making it so that I would need to move up here for the beginning of our marriage. I really do love this place. Detroit has character that other cities don't have. There is history, former opulence, an all-American feeling, urban flavor, grittiness, and pride. Growing up in Florida, things are mostly too new for that. Our old things are Spanish forts and the winter homes of the famous people from up here. (Seriously -- Henry Ford's winter home was in Ft. Myers I think, haha.) It has a special place in my heart, but now, Detroit does too. I may live about 3 minutes outside the west city limit so it's pretty close. :)

Hopefully, one day, we will be adventuring overseas again, whether just for fun or specifically to share the gospel, but until then, I am thankful to have "smaller" adventures here in Michigan to tide me over!

Oh, and because I sort of mentioned it hit-and-run... I am indeed employed now! I am starting next week at a daycare! It is such a relief. I am starting part time so I am still looking around for other ways to fill that time and make some more bacon but it is better than alternating between going on a cleaning frenzy in our house and then lying around like a couch potato. Anyways, more stuff to come!

Love, Lara

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Real Life Begins

I am seriously in a high place of thankfulness right now. My life up here in Michigan so far as been incredibly blessed and promising; the Lord is continuing to meet needs (and just plain wants) that we have had.

First of all, I am in a great position for getting a job very soon! I'll speak more on this later, but have applied to a few places involving child care and have been given paperwork to turn back in and hopefully be employed. Today I braved the needle again -- TB test, the least awful but still a needle -- and once the results come back I can hand all that in! I AM SO RELIEVED. It's interesting how the best opportunities that have come up do involve young kids. That is not what I went to school for and hasn't been my job application focus this whole time but the doors opening are in this direction, so I am excited to move this way and see what is coming my way, because I know it's for a reason.

Also, Darin and I have already had a great deal of community and friend time sent our way upon returning home. We've hung out with several friends and lots of family, and have gracious dinner invitations headed our way to spend more time with people up here. This is something I have been praying for long before coming to Michigan. The hardest thing to leave behind in Florida has not, shockingly, been the weather or Cuban sandwiches, but definitely friends and family for company. Not only is it awesome having Darin around approximately 91839182 times more often than when we were dating, but also connecting with his friends and hopefully making them my friends too! YOU HAVE TO. YOU LOVE ME. :)

I am really loving life up here so far! The weather has been beautiful -- I can't believe how cool it gets at night, haha. There are some super cute bunnies in our yard that I'm sure gardeners hate but I love watching them hop around. Our house is so cozy and is coming together one bit at a time. I am getting used to where things are and finding new spots for hanging out. Darin and I really liked dollar beers at Chesley's down the street and walking to the park near our house after dinner. I am also an mPerks gangsta at Meijer and you KNOW we're living large with fancy groceries and whatnot. Woohoo!

The best part is knowing that we have plenty, but we sure don't need it. If it were taken away somehow, we would still have a God-fearing family in this house (or another house). We know we don't need it all and that our circumstances don't have to be this good to believe in God's faithfulness to us. Being content is all the more reason to rely on Him.

"I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13 (I love when this verse is in its context!)

Can't wait to bring more of the Clintons' adventures as I start working and we head out on the town more often for different things!

Darin hung up all our instruments on the wall in our office and it looks so good!

Yesterday's sushi and Batman date since Darin got a day off :)

My ADVENTURIN' KICKS!!! I finally did the Chaco, Southern delight but bane of my poor husband's existence. Darin, I promise it'll be worth it when we do our outdoorsy business and my feets are happy!

Love, Lara