Porter Camping Trip

Last night we went camping. Sure, the forecast predicted a low of 20 degrees, but we’re very brave and outdoorsy.


We camped in our living room because the space heater in our bedroom was leaking toxic fumes every time we turned it on. On any normal night, we’d probably just bundle up and sleep in the frigid air, but this week has been a battle for the bed clothes, which leads to icicle toes and eventually gangrene.

We didn’t pack much, only a few cookies and a bottle of water in case we got thirsty. There were no rodents or bugs, which is pretty rare for any camping trip, and we pretended the lamplight on the ceiling was actually the moon. The gas fueled space heater served as our camp fire and we were missing nothing. Except the outdoors.

Not bad for our first camping trip as a married couple. Or at least a good way to practice for a real one.


In Appreciation

It must have something to do with human nature, but it’s really hard to fully appreciate something until you haven’t had it in a while. Here are a few things we’re thankful for this week:

1. Time together.

We love our families and holiday festivities, but for the last 2 weeks, we’ve either been working or traveling. Last night we went to dinner and spent a few hours together over mexican food. Then we drove around and talked about 2011, our goals as a family, and where we see ourselves this time next year. It was much needed, and much appreciated.

2. Weekends off.

When I started my job a few months ago, I knew that working weekends would be part of it. Though after working weekends at the church the whole year before, I have to admit I was ready for a break, especially in our first year together. In the next few months, we’re going to try an every other weekend schedule at work, leaving me free to hang out with my husband or make a few spur of the moment trips to Oklahoma or Houston. I can’t express how great it feels to have just a little more weekend time. And I still have enough work time to keep me appreciating it.

3. A clean house. 

Yes, yes, we love Christmas decor (well, at least I do) and yet there’s something nice about boxing it all up and having a normal home again. Sure, I’ll miss the twinkles and the wreaths in the windows, but I do enjoy everything it represents to put it away until next December. Because again, who can appreciate it if it’s on display all year long? 

4. The Classics

Each road trip we take to see family is about 4 hours in length. Sure, we enjoy a chat sometimes, but about halfway through we hit a wall and are ready for a little inspiration. We usually turn to This American Life since we can’t agree on music to listen to, but this trip we made a discovery. Enter Free Audiobooks app. Since it’s free, you have to do some searching for quality recordings, but it makes the time much more adventurous. Especially when you choose something like Around the World in 80 Days. 

What’s something you’ve really appreciated lately?   

A Porter Style Christmas

Our holiday weekend consisted of some pretty basic things which included eating, last minute shopping (for each other) and eating some more. We played games, we opened gifts, talked about “the good ol’ days,” and laughed a lot. Here are some pics and a little loot we came away with.

Kyle’s dad and bro…suave.

All the kids gathered around papa Kyle for story time!

(most of) the Porter/Goodwin fam including the latest addition…and someone in the top right corner who apparently wants to be an addition…

Kevin in his sock monkey onesie.

Jen opening her new pride and joy. Good thing too since Kyle traipsed 8 mile and had to negotiate with some people of questionable morals to snag that bad boy…

It’d be a lot “cooler” if those headphones were actually plugged into something…

All the fun we could handle…

Snow Day

We were watching the news during lunch at work yesterday when they started a 10-minute segment on the snowstorms in Europe. They showed distressed travelers in dank terminals, piles and piles of snow flurries, and basically mass chaos everywhere within a 3-mile radius of most airports.

All I could think was, “man that looks like fun.”

I love traveling. I love adventure. To me, being stranded in an airport for days at a time means I get to read all the books I haven’t had time for (because I’ve been traveling, duh), write down the full weight of the thoughts flooding my mind (because I have no other agenda), and dream about my life any way I want it to be.

NOTE: All the people who fly on planes weekly for business (hi dad!) are shaking their indignant fists at my romanticism and infatuation with travel right now. Hey, I never said I wanted this as a job.

So my first thought after I thought about how fun Christmas in Heathrow would be, was “my gosh, Jen would want to kill me if we were in an airport for more than 2 hours.” Seriously, she would want to slay me with a sickle.

Jen doesn’t…how do I say this lightly without ruining our first Christmas… “deal well” with activities like this. She’d much rather be curled up next to the fire gas heater with a cup of peppermint tea at our apartment.

I take this to mean I was simply blessed with copious amounts of patience and wisdom and she was given coal in her little fruits of the spirit stocking. I judge her for not being as spiritually mature as me.

Then I thought about what I would do if that airport was, instead, a fabric store and I was trapped inside because of a blizzard.

SIDE NOTE II: It sounds like I’m kind of indulging on half-truths and exaggerations for this post but I really did have all these thoughts within about a 40-second period during lunch.

I thought about a fabric store and a blizzard and where I would be at mentally if I was trapped inside and I came to the conclusion that I’d either try to pluck my eyeballs out with a cro-hook (thanks Google), or paper cut my shins until I was bleeding so bad every paramedic in Dallas was shoveling snow outside to help excavate me. Then I thought about what a wonderland Jen would find that situation. The fabric store entrapment, not the eyeball plucking.

So maybe I don’t really have a lot of patience. Maybe I just like airports. And maybe I need to stop getting mad at my wife when she doesn’t handle the same situations in the exact same ways I do.

Maybe I need to never think about paper cutting my shins ever ever ever again.

Come back later today when we announce the winner of the TOMS live (well…”live”) on our site at 1PM CST. We’ve picked a winner but we haven’t told her (or him) yet so it could be you. See y’all at 1.

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Thanksgiving Adventures

Our Thanksgiving Weekend photo essay.

Minus the essay.

Jen looking dapper in a shirt she claims I used to wear.

This was just a precursor to the real carving of the weekend: a 200-lb. 9-point deer, which my father-in-law shot and tried to get me to help “clean its insides out.” I opted out and left for Stillwater to go to the OSU OU game before he could show me how exactly one goes about doing that…

The color all leaves should be.

My “no, I’ve done nothing for 3 straight days and yes I’m about to bail on family time to go hang out with my friends…is there a problem?” look.

Jen and I felt bad for like .009 seconds that we didn’t actually make anything for Thanksgiving. Our consumption to creation rate had to be one of the highest of 20-something Thanksgiving couples all over the Southwest.

Our Christmas Holiday drink of choice.


Back to your regularly scheduled posting tomorrow.

Camping is Intense (get it?)

I went camping this weekend with three of my better college friends. They’re the kind of guys it’s easy to rekindle (no pun intended) good conversations with around a weekend of hiking and other manly things (like driving 20 miles from our campsite to watch the Oklahoma State game at a Buffalo Wild Wings). They’re also the kind of guys who aren’t ashamed to borrow camping supplies from their girlfriends/wives, so we didn’t have to go far in the conversation before humility came up.

Anyway, here are 7 unsolicited thoughts on marriage from 4 guys who have been married a combined 36 months. Grains of salt and such…

1. Pursue who you actually like – file this away under the “don’t over-think it” category. The idea of liking someone is fun, but it’s vastly different from actually liking who that person is. Especially when you have to get to live with them 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

2. Continue to romance – This is something we all admitted we struggle with. It’s just so comfortable to fall into the “let’s just hang out, cook dinner together, and read every night” routine. Romance is different. It’s emotionally strenuous. It’s necessary.

3. Learn how she learns – As the male is the de facto leader of the pack, it seems to us that to understand the way your wife learns things is an effective way to lead her to the places God would have for both of you. Then again, we also gleaned hours of entertainment from burning plastic spoons so maybe “us” and “leadership” need to get reacquainted.

4. Ask “why am I doing this?” – This goes hand in hand with #3. In fact, I think asking “why am I doing this?”, honestly answering, and changing our actions based on that answer would solve 75% – 99% of all marital fighting. But we’re human so it’s not always that easy.

5. Love her generously – All four of us commented multiple times about how wonderful our wives/girlfriends are about submitting to our leadership and playing the beautiful role God would have for them in the relationship. It’s easy for us to take this for granted and yet in today’s world where women are idolized for all the wrong reasons it’s up to us, as guys, to lavish our girls with praise for their humility and honor.

6. Be consistent – The most difficult of all these if only for the longevity needed to accomplish such a task. It’s funny (and not funny) that 35 years of consistency can be thwarted by 1 minute of indiscretion. Success = prayer + humility.

7. Protect at all costs – The tie that bound this weekend was how much we, as Christians, come under attack. And the (sometimes) humorous punch line was that these attacks aren’t always from who we would deem “enemies.” During one of our long talks, one of the guys said, “Satan works in creative ways” while we all nodded in agreement.

As we stared at the fire’s embers deep into Friday and Saturday night, we thought about how to protect our marriages, protect our wives, and protect our hearts from spiritual warfare. We went camping to have a weekend with the boys and it turned out (as it usually does…) to be all about the girls. I think God was laughing at us and smiling too.

I think he likes camping trips to be like that.

What would you add to this list?

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Jen’s Vacation Top Five

Last week we were walking in yellow snow (the good kind- see below) and drinking hot beverages in the mountains. This week I have to blog my little bobo off because husband carried Marriage Project all the way up the mountain and back down again. All so I could have a vacation. My literary hero.

Today, because you couldn’t come with us, I give you my 2010 Vacation Top Five.

1. Walking out the back door onto the deck that overlooks the mountains.
Enough said.

2. A re-awakening of my caffeine addiction.
Coffee and I used to be besties. Then someone convinced me that decaf was better for you, so I made the switch. Last week I drank at least three cups of regular coffee every day, mostly because my mom is an addict and no one questions her. Probably because we’re all too busy with the giggles and high fives that caffeine produces. Me and coffee? We’re back.

3. The miniature vehicle trip I took up mountainous cliffs with my sister.
She drives like a madman which makes me feel like I’m going to die, then feel like I’ll die from laughter.

4. Bishop’s Castle
Deep in the woods of Colorado, a crazy old man is building a castle. He’s been building it since 1969 and he lets you come see it for free. He yells things at you like, “Wake up people!!!! 9-11 was an inside job!!!” or “You’re all sheep being led by the government into the evils of democracy! Baaa… baaaa.” Everyone makes fun of him, but I sort of feel a sad connection with him, like maybe we should be friends. Maybe that’s why Kyle debated so heavily the ring thing. Whatever.

5. Yellow Snow
The trees in Oklahoma turn reds and oranges, but the aspens in Colorado all turn a bright sunny yellow. And if you walk through them while the breeze is blowing, it’s like you’re standing in a yellow snowfall. Like you’re in a magic spell. Or on Mars.

Your favorite vacation memories? Bring ’em on.


Signing Off For 10 Days

We’re out of here for nearly a fortnight. Today, we’re headed up to Stillwater for a Thursday night affair with Texas A&M and then tomorrow it’s on to Colorado for some fly fishing, book reading, and general relaxing (Jen’s exhausted from 4 days at her new job).

Don’t worry though, the posts will go on! 365 days is 365 days. Or it’s 525,600 minutes, but you get the point. We interviewed each other, taped another SportsMentor (to go along with #1, #2, and #3), left some links, and there’ll even be a surprise guest post mixed in at some point. Stay tuned. Until then, though, this is what’s exciting us about our first vacation as a married couple (and with the in-laws :)):

Fly-fishing with the father-in-law. If this ends badly a simple RIP on my Facebook wall will suffice.
Reading this, this, this, and this (even though we’ll probably only get 10 pages in on the last one before keeling over for lack of theological insight).
Helping sister-in-law set up her Scentsy booth at a fun festival in La Veta.
Running for fun in the mountains rather than out of necessity for my workout.
Working on some super-secret new content for this blog. Pins and needles baby.

Peace out until next Sunday, enjoy the posts every day…and feel free to talk amongst yourselves via the comments section while we’re gone.

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