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.

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Follow-through

Remember this post from a few weeks ago? Well I didn’t, but Kyle did.

The great thing about blogging every single day- rain, shine, or sleepiness- is that you can make a pretty legit looking blog. Forget what it says, I’m just impressed that it doesn’t look like one of the bazillion that has been abandoned somewhere in the world wide web. I currently have two. The difficult thing is remembering the things you do write about and actually putting them into action. It’s like going to church on Sunday. I can usually do a pretty good job of implementing the week’s sermon until about 7pm on Sunday night. And Monday will see my heart turn on a dime.

A friend from college recently messaged me and said the following words: “I have been reading your blog, and have decided that your husband is probably fake. Men like that don’t exist. So I’m requesting that you put some stuff on there to show the real side of him–what he smells like in the morning, etc. Thanks.” So here goes.

He doesn’t smell good in the morning.

He never shuts his closet door, and his shoes are everywhere. It’s like he wears three pairs at once and hides them strategically for me to find. And put back in the closet. And close the door.

He spills coffee on the counter every morning and doesn’t wipe it up.

He’s really attached to his couch, which sags in the middle and smells like college boys. I try to decorate it with lots of pillows but they just get thrown on the floor.

He gets out of the shower before drying off, so there’s always water on the floor, and he sets his alarm for 4:45am, but snoozes until 5:30, which means lots of awake time for me.

He’s not perfect, but neither am I. We both struggle. But we’re both realizing that life isn’t worth much when it’s lived hiding behind good intentions. Kyle wrote me a letter as a congrats for making it two whole months being married to him (and actually mentioned his own smelliness in the letter. See- not fake at all). And in leading by action, it holds me accountable to everything I’ve had intentions of doing.

How will you follow through on one thing today?

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Dream Small

We were sitting on a plane flying on our honeymoon to Hawaii. I was a century of pages deep in a Malcolm Gladwell book when Jen nudged me on the shoulder. I thought she might be changing her guarantee of a Nigeria vs. Chile World Cup final when she pointed to a section of an article she was reading about this group of guys in Maui who grow, raise, and sell taro chips. The quote she was was pointing at went something like this: “We have been very successful with our business and have grown enough to expand our market. However, we are dreaming small, we are keeping our business under control, and providing very quality products to our customers.” Note: I think I wrote that “paraphrase” as if the guy was Asian, not Hawaiian. Go back and read it with an Asian accent in your head and try to not laugh.

Anyway, we aren’t here to dissect native dialects. The point is this: this guy passed up more money and greater glory because he’s always dreamed small. I could barely believe I was reading the words he was saying. It was borderline heretical to everything I’d ever been taught, everything I’d ever believed. Here was this Hawaiian farmer raising cane and spitting a blasphemous theory that flies in the face of the teachings of all the great leaders and wondrous inspirational figures we’ve ever known. The craziest part was that it kind of started making sense to me.

We have these friends who live in Perry, OK, population 5,230 (not including cows). They own and manage a cleverly named coffee shop and just started a church there. I haven’t discussed it with them in-depth but I don’t think they have any aspirations of taking down Starbucks VIA an Oklahoma-based-breakfast-serving-church-gathering coffee shop. And I think if you were to ask them that’s probably not what they want either.

I enjoy pretty simple things. I love to write. I like to throw the baseball. I enjoy books. I’m fascinated by small businesses. I’ve fallen for the state of Georgia. My life is not some grand melodrama played out on a bright stage in front of the whole world. I love my wife. I like to take trips. I want a dog. And I’ve started dreaming small. I’m beginning to understand that life is not meant to be lived boisterously. It’s meant to be lived by doing that one thing you were put on Earth to do, and to do it well.

I want to encourage those of you who have been so faithful in reading this blog. Stop dreaming dreams that would make Rupert Murdoch blush. Dream small and carry those dreams out. Dream well and perform masterfully. Be faithful with the one or two things God has imparted upon you that you do better than anyone else.

At my wedding I had a short conversation with my high school baseball coach about what he was up to, where he was working, how he was doing. Last I had heard he was employed at a corporate tree-trimming company. He stared at me after I asked him what he was doing as if I should already know: “I just took another head coaching job in Houston, Kyle. I was put on Earth to coach baseball so I guess that’s what I have to do.” There was a shade of sarcasm in his voice as if he was laughing on the inside at the very notion that he had even tried to have a different job. He could coach anywhere in the country, at any level. But he chooses high school because he dreams small, lest anyone scoff at the notion that his dreams not be adequate with the cultural norm. Never have I had so great a non-related influence on my life. He taught me the great devotions and the great enthusiasms. Because he dreamed small I learned to know both victory and defeat.

Dream on.

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Engagement Week (Part 5)

Clue #5

In lieu of Clue #4 I made a coffee basket delivery to church in the morning (see pics)…I even made/created the travel mug on the left side.

Clue #5

This was the clue on the inside:

Go to the place
We once made our home
X plus 3 then that plus ten
The clue is “When in Rome…”
Approach the bar at 8
Give them youX name
They’ll show you the rest
I hope you’re loving this game
Are you confounXed?
CXn you not see?
The place Xou must go
Is a place people ski

Aspen Coffee is the answer of course. X plus 3 then that plus 10 is the address (1323, “when in Rome” = Roman numerals). So she’ll go there tomorrow night and I will have already been there. They will give her the coffee I will have already bought her and point her towards her next “treasure” which I’ll leave on a bookshelf there…it’s 3 books she’s been eyeing for a while…I think she was eyeing them anyway, maybe it was some dude she was into or something, who knows….

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4