.:. in and out of season .:.

…you will have your music. December 26, 2008

Filed under: Marriage,Nat — Ellen @ 10:00 pm

img_4310My husband has such a gift for making things really, really special.  He loves the element of surprise, he loves details and the logistics of planning a holiday, and he loves showering me with gifts and meals and letters and special unexpected things.  I mean… Nat only has maybe four faults (along the lines of “didn’t put the toaster away in the usual cabinet – on accident”) and sometimes I am so in awe of his goodness that it is overwhelming.   His love for me has brought such joy into my life. 


Our first christmas was filled with beauty.  I woke up to an apartment full of candlelight and a delicious breakfast (chocolate chip pecan pancakes) and  then we cleaned up and Nat read the Christmas story out loud.  We opened gifts from each other, starting with stockings and ending with the “big ones” – a timbuk2 bag for nat, and boots for me.  

The most beautiful present of all was the very last one i opened – a small flat box.  Inside was a fifty dollar bill, a letter, and a printed email.  the letter said, “This is an iou for one piano.  I will find the right one, I will rent a truck, and move it in.  As soon as possible, you will have your music.  I love you, Nat.”  The email was one from a woman who Nat had come SO close to buying a piano from, but she had sold it to someone else after all.  He had wanted to have it all set up on Christmas day to surprise me.  THAT was the overwhelming part… and I may have shed a tear or two over that, and for how wonderful his heart is.  

We fell asleep on the couch for a while after that, and then woke up and went to Starbucks – we had wanted to walk, but the one by us was closed – and got 

big soy lattes and a french press for my dad.  We spent the evening at my house in Winfield and had de-licious lasagna and cookies and eggnog and opened even more presents.  I got a HUGE surprise when at the very end my dad pulled from behind his back a box and said, “Well, this looks like the last one!”  It was the CAMERA LENS that I had been looking at – super zoom, super awesome…they all went in on it, and I am SO happy to have it!!!  I could not believe that I forgot my camera last night, but I have been playing with it today, and it really is incredible.  I feel like it’s getting a whole new camera.  The zoom is seriously long, so I need to take it outside where it can be more useful.  So far I just have super close-ups of all the trinkets in our apartment.  = )



My dad loved his french press, and mom loved her box of things and the wedding photo book we had made for them.  Bryan was happy with his gift card, and Gary started playing his Lego Indiana Jones game right away.  I JUST LOVE PRESENTS!!  I love giving them, choosing them, buying them, making them, opening them, watching people open them…. I love everything about them, and I love that about Christmas.  


So, I am just tickled to death that we still have three more Christmases to go – Wisconsin, Sioux Falls, and Dawson.  Which equals a lot of travel, many, many hours of driving, and many hours of good quality time just alone together which we love, need, crave, and thoroughly enjoy.  


And…. on an entirely different note altogether, we are getting TATTOOS!  On our ring fingers, and possibly another one(s) but that is a secret and a surprise.  







today just as it is

Filed under: goals,life in general — Ellen @ 6:00 pm
Tags: ,

[this is from december 19th, but i accidentally hit save instead of  publish]


i am headed to the social security office to officially change my name,  but i sat down here to get directions and wanted to write real quick.  i was feeling so off earlier this afternoon, and already tired of the snow, hating our car for not having four wheel drive, for the wheels spinning, for driving in circles for 45 minutes looking for a parking spot i could fit into.  feeling hurt and angry from an email i received recently that held a typical, nasty jab that reminded me of why i am so glad to be done with that, and here – but glad in a bitter way, not a pure way.  i felt like my pants fit too tight, my eyes looked tired, my hair felt  gross…  hugely out of sorts. i dropped off nat’s shoes at the hospital, parked at long last back at home, and am now dreading heading out again, knowing the tires will spin, guys might have to dig me out (again) and that this name change, and changing documents at Starbucks, will probably be complicated and time-consuming.  and i want to pack us up, clean, and leave for Tulsa right this minute.  


and i am just stopping right now to recognize that this is a moment to not let emotions take over.  this is a moment where i do not feel joyful or peppy, or on top of things.  yet i have to be disciplined to keep going, to be grateful, to get up and move my hands and arms and feet to be productive, to clean up the apartment before we go, to get in the car and patiently grind my way out of the parking spot, to pack our suitcases and pack traveling snacks, and to be loving, gracious and a helper to nat.

and it isn’t really along the same lines… but this quote grabbed me by the shoulders again and gave me a shake today:

We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we’re called home. 

-Jamie Tworkowski





.:.inklings.:. December 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ellen @ 12:08 am

i have been working out at this gym for the past couple of days… we have a free week-long guest membership, and i am milking it for all  it’s worth.  they have a climbing wall, pool, and all kinds of cool gear, and it has been so great to go there after work, or with nat later at night, and exercise and sit in the hot tub.  i think that we will be buying a membership to a gym in the next few weeks – if not this one than a different one, maybe a little closer to home.  i have noticed a change in me the past few days, a level of calm and energy at the same time, that i haven’t felt in a while.  exercise does that to everyone, i know.  i guess with the cold weather i have stopped doing much activity altogether, even running fewer errands, and my body (and mind) have missed it.  i LOVE how occupied watching music videos keeps me while i am running… so motivational!

something i heard in a sermon a few months ago keeps resonating in my heart:  “do not be a slave to your emotions.”    i repeat it to myself sometimes when i can feel steam rising in my chest, or my mind fogging with annoyance or worry.  “ellen, do NOT be a slave to your emotions.”  in no way, great or small, do i want this to be true of me, and i know the strong tendency in myself to be emotion-based, and i know that i can pawn that off as being “passionate” or “free-spirited” or any number of desirable traits.  i am learning that it is not desirable to God to be so driven by my own faulty feelings and moods and swings of emotion.  how often i let others dicate my feelings, and allow circumstance to change my mind and my heart…  that is not truth-based, and it is not a wise way to live, and i want to discipline myself to be passionate and free-spirited, and in tune with truth, and with what I am feeling so that I can confront it and CHOOSE it, or decide against it.

and, random, but i kind of hope nat and i never own a tv.                  

so many have said, “i just like it for the community aspect.”  i don’t know about that…..i think i would agree more if i liked a number of shows as much as i like Lost, but i don’t, and i know it sounds old-fashioned to say, but i find 90% of things on tv really trashy, and i am disgusted by how desensitized i have come to be about that.  i guess i don’t really want to make a strong case against the trashiness of tv right now… really, the root of what i mean comes from loving the peace that is here, and the conversations we have, and how distraction-free it is, and as a result, we don’t feel the need to compare ourselves to the rest of the world because of what we watch – – i do enough of that without it.  i am just glad for it, and i don’t think i will be too sad if we never own one.  

oh, anyway….

our dreams of moving to alaska are seeming to take on a little more shape lately, due largely to the fact that Nick is in town, and we have been hanging out with him a lot and talking alaska constantly.   there seem to be endless opportunities and options for us there, as far as jobs/ministry/schooling, and then there is the adventure, and the beauty, and the friends and family, and the active lifestyle of living in a place like that… we are longing for it, and longing for another adventure, while we are so free and mobile… and i think it could happen!  i can transfer to another Starbucks starting in April, and our lease is up in October… perhaps in between there, or a little after… or another time altogether.


for now, for today, i am going to work on our christmas gifts, and i am going to bake some oatmeal bread, and i am going to enjoy the feeling of a tired body, the freedom from being enslaved to my emotions, the peace that comes from no tv, and the dreams of alaskan adventures.  


and i will also be dreaming of the warm sunshine.



*~*: a week in photograph :*~* December 12, 2008

Filed under: decorating,life in general,Nat,newlywed — Ellen @ 5:48 am

a visual of a very sick little Friday.  she is better now, thanks to new litter.



hmmm… to christmas card, or not to christmas card?



still life of our table.  fruit only lasts about 3 days around here.


some people take attractive photos of themselves.  i came up with this one in the car the other day…



whoulda thunk a tree that looks this long and thin could branch out to be 10-12 feet around!?



cheese, cheese, always there is cheese.



pretty first christmas tree:



loving life in the benz:







: fickle friday + usual things : December 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ellen @ 12:16 am

had a fantastic day at work yesterday, working mostly by myself out front as Guy was busy and the store wasn’t. i made everything REALLY clean, and got to make drinks and talk to people. it was relaxed, and i felt for the first time like i really knew what i was doing, and could run things well.

when i got to my car, however, it would not start, as i had left the lights on all day long. mary came to my rescue, thankfully, and now i am home safe and warm and glad to be out of the blustery weather.

oh, and yesterday was our four-month anniversary!

i have had an unusual amount of alone time lately, since i’ve been opening at work pretty often, and that used to be kind of hard, but these days it has been really wonderful. i’ve rediscovered my love of reading, and running is getting a small comeback as well, so it has been good.  

we put up our christmas tree last night.  when we went to pick one out we decided we wanted it to be tall, but not too wide.  well, they look much smaller all bundled up than they actually are, so it is both tall and very wide.  but that’s ok.  we did a little rearranging, and it fits nicely in a corner of our living room.  we decorated it with white lights and all blue, turquoise, white, glass and purple ornaments.  it’s really pretty, and we had a wonderful time putting it up and being very classic-christmasy with christmas music and sparkling juice and everything.  Friday is doing surprisingly well with it today.  Once the tree was up and decorated she immediately began climbing it and batting ornaments off the branches.  We sprayed her with water thoroughly every time, and when we woke up this morning it was all intact, and she hasn’t touched it all day.  

I should also mention that she pooped on our floor on 4 separate days last week, and would bolt ferociously around the apartment after/during each episode.  One night Nat and I took turns keeping her barricaded in the kitchen, and when she looked like she had to go we would hold her in her litter box.  The next day I got new litter and new, natural food, because I have learned lately that cats are extremely particular, and can change their preferences at the drop of a hat.  I washed her litter box, filled it with the new stuff, moved her food and water to a new place, showed her everything, and she has been back to normal ever since.  Fickle Friday makes no sense.

All righty, well I am going to clean up around here and get ready for company.


sick kitty : arts + crafts : quiet December 4, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ellen @ 8:54 pm

that is my day today so far.  when i came out into the living room this morning, nat was busily and quietly cleaning up after Friday, who had had accidents ALL over the apartment.  he didn’t want to wake me up to deal with it, sweet man, and i can only imagine what a disaster it was before i got there.  we quarantined her to the bathroom with her litter box and water bowl, and i did some online research on what to do: no food for 12-24 hours, just water, and after that a rice and boiled chicken mixture in small portions.  she seems to be better.  after no accidents for 3 hours i let her out into the living room, and she seems to have turned into the cat of our dreams since being sick.  SUPER chill, obedient and sweet.  

i am about to head out the door to help my friend Beth create things for a sale they are having to raise money to adopt a little girl from China.  I am looking forward to some crafting, and I love her kids a lot. Today is our friend Brent’s birthday, so Nat is going to hang out with him after work.  i’m going to try and make some kind of cake or cookie or brownie creation, but i am out of flour, so that could be interesting.  

I am not working today or tomorrow, and today has been the most relaxing day.  I feel really introspective, calm, and productive, so after seeing Nat off to work and finishing cleaning up after Friday, I made coffee, read my way through a great, insightful book, and have done some small chores like opening all our shades and putting all of our poor dry/half-eaten plants in the sunny spots.  i’m going to go for a run soon, and i’m genuinely looking forward to it, which is a little unusual.  

good days sure do deserve celebrating! and documenting.  

n67600641_30547110_8495onward and upward!