Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

I've no shame in the admittance that I am a helpless romantic. Not only do I delight in spousal romance, I enjoy any excuse to shower my family and friends with love. It is a personal goal that all those I hold dear know how special they are.

Several years ago I wrote my parents individual love letters thanking them for their hard work and sacrifice throughout my life. In those letters, I was able to write down the things I had always felt, but never had the chance to share. I was able to uninterruptedly acknowledge how blessed my life is because God placed me in their care. Six years ago this month my mother went home to the Lord, but I've never wondered if she knew how much she meant to me. 

Valentine's Day, like any holiday, is celebrated first by preparing my heart. I like to reflect on the reason for the festivities and set the mood with decorations....
Each year, I add to my collection of hand-made decorations. This year, I made simple, paper-heart snowflakes.
Thank you for the flowers Deb Saneford of Coffee & More. (I just LOVE that woman!)
Wax and tissue paper hearts, filled with glitter, hang in the arch between the kitchen and living room; last year's project. ;0)
Master Bedroom
And who doesn't like a good party? My homeschool co-op got together on Friday, the 11th, to celebrate...
As always, my children (far left) are posing for the camera. ;0) Such spunk and personality. I sure do love 'em!
"Mailbox" bags ready to receive Valentine's...
Belle makes paper-heart snowflakes...
Hello, sweetheart.
Richard can hardly wait to read his mail...
Sarah, Juliette, Isabel
Amazingly, these hearts were formed from random tire marks in the parking lot...
On Saturday, the 12th, Dale and I ate a romantic brunch at my favorite restaurant...
 We reserved "the vault" for what proved to be a very special and memorable dining experience.
The Vault

 We spent the rest of the sunny afternoon with our children at the playground, followed by a walk along the river.

Dale teaches the girls how to skip rocks...
Belle gives it a try...
Juliette is determined to get it right...
Richard has no interest in skipping rocks. He just wants to DIG in them!
Belle found Kermit!
On Sunday, the 13th, Dale drove to Illinois to purchase our new vehicle...a 2003 Dodge Durango. Happy Valentine's Day to us!!!

 Our mini-van, affectionately known as "Annie", has a faulty head gasket, so we were {{forced}} to sell her for this beauty. She is the nicest car we have ever owned, and for that I say, "Thank you, Lord." We feel completely spoiled.

To get the car, Dale & our friend, Jon, left at 6 am and didn't return until 1 am the next morning. This is the first time Dale & I have been that far from each other in five years. I was concerned about how I would feel to not have him near, but I spent the entire day with my friends. Though I did feel incomplete at times, their presence gave me a sense of belonging and eased my anxiety as I waited for my Love's return. On this day, I realized just how dear and cherished each one of our friends have become. And again, I find myself praising God.
So what do a bunch of girls do when they get together? Eat chocolate and watch chick flicks, of course! We watched The Secret Life of Bees while all the children happily played elsewhere. 
"I feel like I'm where I'm s'posed to be. I really do. I just need some time to figure out why." Dakota Fanning as Lily
I feel this way about our move to Missouri. There is no denying God has poured out His blessings on us, but I often wonder what big plans He is working together for His glory. I understand that I may never know His purpose in moving our family thousands of miles from all we've ever known, but it's still fun to guess. And, of course, it's possible that the greatest purpose doesn't effect our family at all, but perhaps it lies in the families I pray will come. You know; all those grand babies I'm hoping to have!

On Valentine's Day, I created a treasure hunt for the children. They searched through the house for clues like this one:

and this one: 
For Belle
For Juliette
For Richard
It turns out Juliette had a little surprise of her own. Her second top tooth become extremely loose...
until finally, she asked me to push it out. I knew it had become beyond bearable at that point because she doesn't like people touching her loose teeth.
What a cutie!
I hope your Valentine's Day was filled with joy and love. I took all my decorations down today and the house seems so bare. I may just decorate for St. Patrick's Day. I think I'm 1/6 Irish, so why not?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Coffee at the Bank

I find much excitement in finding little spots in my world that inspire and delight me. If I'm being honest, it doesn't take much. ;0) But, the more I get acquainted with my new town and its surrounding areas, the more charming havens of comfort I find. "Coffee and More at the Bank" is one of those special places. Coffee, breakfast, and lunch is served daily in a historic building that once was a bank and then a lumber company (or perhaps it is the other way around?)
And believe me when I tell you the food is just as appealing as the unusual atmosphere. Owners, Deb and Wayne Sanford, stand out from all others with delicious "home cooked meals in just a few minutes wait". 

I get giddy at any possibility of eating there and try to make every excuse I can think of to do so; lunch with Dale, breakfast with out-of-town family, a much needed mom's morning out. 

Such was the case last Saturday, Feb. 5. I met two of my girlfriends, Rebecca and Angie, for breakfast. 

The bank's atmosphere invites quiet conversation. Meaningful conversation coupled with a good cup of coffee and a delicious meal shared with great friends invites comfort and peace for the soul. What I'm trying to say is, it was a BLESSED morning!

I want to invite you to take a look around and see what all the fuss is about...
Come On In!
Stained-glass sign above entrance...
Simple wreath adorned with coffee related antiques...
Bar stool seating at old teller stations
The Vault
Guests can reserve the vault for private dining during special events. Dale and I have reserved it for this Saturday to celebrate Valentine's I said, any excuse. ;0)
Table Centerpiece
Sometimes I like to sit and soak in all the wonderful details of the room, like this simple white coffee cup and saucer used as a sugar bowl/table centerpiece. The red bow is a perfect contrast to the black and white checkered tablecloths.

A quaint, corner coffee shop....good friends....tasteful decorations....
a historic building...interesting architecture....delicious food....

I believe joy and contentment come from appreciating the simple, 
ordinary things in life and acknowledging that all good 
and perfect gifts come from the Lord. I live my life with this conviction....and life is good, my friends. :0)