A Winter Mantel

I am not a decorator by any means.  This is our first home with a fire place, and we are enjoying it.  Andrew is an excellent fire builder.  We have a fire once a day at least.

So we have joined in with other bloggers’ fun and are trying our hand at mantel decor.

Here you can see our first attempt from this post on Fall Mantel decor

Here is our winter/Christmas mantel.

Our fireplace itself is not as pretty, but thanks to my brother and his family, we have this super intense fireplace gate, and we are very safe with a one-and-a-half year old.

We are loving changing our artwork around with the seasons, highlighting different pieces.  This one is a Lucy Loomis.  It reminds me of growing up in Vermont.

Looking forward to all that this season holds.



Linking to The Lettered Cottage


40 for 40 {Experience 40!} : Family Photo Shoot

Here is one of our “family photos” just before I left for college.

I have found myself peeking in on other peoples blogs in these days, and have been particularly interested in other people’s family photos.  Here are a couple that I liked from ashleyannphotography.com

So for my 40 for 40, I thought it would be a great time to get professional shots of our family.

We started by asking a friend, that didn’t work, we found a photographer we liked, but that didn’t work.  We asked another friend.  And then we asked another friend, my mom’s husband Skip.  But it wasn’t really fair . . . he had a lot going on, we met as the sun was setting, and Cole is a handful and then his parents could not seem to get on the same page . . . so our photo shoot was a beautiful setting, day, time of day . . . but the Sharpteam did not perform.  Here are some out-takes from our “photo-shoot”

When it comes to sending out our Christmas Card, we are committed to being in the picture (for now), because I most like to receive Christmas cards not only of pictures of my friends’ kids, but with them in it . . . so we do have a Christmas card coming to you, but it is not any of these.

I am still grateful we did our little “family photo shoot”

And though he is hard to snap a picture of, this little guy is scrumptious.





40 for 40 {Experience 39} : Reunite with Janeen

In 1999 I moved to Matamoros, Mexico for the summer to work with Adventures in Missions.  I lived in a house with 14 other women.  They were the Mexico interns.  I missed my good friend Kelly’s wedding to be with them throughout orientation . . . but one of them missed orientation all together.  I was doubtful of her commitment and her ability, she was only 18 years old and was late because she was at her High School Graduation.

But from the moment I met her, I adored her.  She is and was one of the most capable and beautiful women I know. Allow me to introduce you to Janeen.

Janeen is celebrating 30 this week.  She was born in 1980.  We celebrate the big decades together.

And we are now celebrating over a decade of friendship.  Here we are in 2000, once again in Mexico when she came to visit me.

Over the years we have connected in a number of different places . . . Georgia, Texas, New York, Boston . . .

Here she is with Ben at one of my favorite places, Halibut Point.

And she came to see us and stay with us  . . . so good to reconnect . . .

Cole was enamored, and so am I.  Thank you, Janeen for celebrating this decade with me!

Check out Janeen’s beautiful photography here . . . .

40 for 40 {Experience 38} : Find Jane


This is my elementary school.  I grew up in a small town.  I went through twelve years of schooling with many of my classmates.  One of them is Jane.

I have loved Facebook, it really has allowed me to reconnect with lots of friends from the past.

Jane is not on Facebook.  Often when I would “become friends” with people from high school they would ask me about Jane.  It always reminds me that I am sad to have lost track of her.

We were good friends in high school.  For years we ate lunch in the French Room with Katy.

We had “a song” that we would sing with our friend Kelly inserting our names into it.  I loved Jane.

Back in September when I decided to do 40 for 40 I announced that I would be looking for Jane, and since then many people had chimed in on where she might be . . . but all through October none of those leads panned out.


So this week in the midst of running errands I just did it . . . I tried her old phone number from high school.  I still remember it.

Her mom answered and within minutes I was dialing up a number in a nearby state . . .  and there was Jane!  She sounds just the same.

I found Jane!

And I found out that for a while we lived within ten miles of each other in Massachusetts!  She sounds great.  She is married with two little boys and is working at an Ivy League School.

With all the technology at my fingertips, a number from the 1980’s helped me find my friend!





40 for 40 {Experience 37} : Embrace Fall

I love autumn.  I grew up in Vermont.  I loved those crisp fall days, growing up it meant performing in the Sound of Music (which I did every year from 9 – 18) and celebrating my birthday.  It is a really special time of year.

I find that the seasons are certainly speeding up.  And this summer we purposefully embraced summer by taking a picture every day in July.  It was a wonderful little experiment that did help me embrace each day, making clear memories all along the way.

I wanted to capture fall just a little as it has sped by . . . here are some autumn moments . . . 



40 for 40 {Experience 36} : Write the Exes

This poster hung in my friend’s room in college. I had something similar in sepia.  Images calling us to love . . . reminding us of love . . . encouraging us to love.

Falling in love is a tremendous experience, one that shapes us and changes us.

I have fallen in love three times.   The third time was the charm, I am deeply in love with Andrew and am so grateful that he is my life partner, and the one I get to adventure with.  I am also grateful for what I learned about love from those two other relationships.

Andrew has never met either of them, though I wish he could . . . for those two boys respected me and loved me and taught me and being in relationship with them deepened me.

The first time I fell in love I was sixteen and in high school . . .

My high school boyfriend was a Christian and he introduced me to faith and God and an entirely new perspective on life and its meaning.

In college I fell in love with the boy who played Arthur Dimmesdale to my Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter.  One of my friends referred to him as “the alternative guy.”  He had a poet’s heart and loved language in a way that inspired me.


My hope was always that I would remain friends with my exes . . . that was not to be.

But for my 40th, after dialoging with Andrew and contemplating what was left to be said, I decided I wanted to write both of these guys and thank them.  I am grateful for how my life shifted because of being in love.  I am so grateful that my story includes these two.  I want them to know that what I hold on to at the end of the day is gratitude.

So I wrote them.  Each received a short note.

I surprisingly did hear back from one of them.

So I am grateful for what was.

And am eternally grateful for love number three . . . a man of faith and depth and greatness.

No more posters needed.  I have found deep and everlasting love.