Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday. Countdown to 30!

Once again I have 20 minutes until the day is over, but I can't forget my daily countdown to tomorrow, my brother's 30th Birthday!! Check out the previous posts to see what they are all about and to celebrate my brother with me :)

Jason, BG, and Ricky circa 2004, Marble Slab

I'm gonna keep is short and sweet tonight since my brother is actually about 20 feet from me laying on the floor of my living room talking to Wesley. This is one of my favorite pictures of BG. Mainly because these three guys are seriously funny and the memories that we made with them in college are very dear to my heart. I don't know how many games of disc golf these guys have played together. Or how many video games BG and Jason have played (and continue to play) with one another. Words with Friends is a hit too, although I think all three of them are cheaters and use that Words with cheaters app or something. Haha.

Anyways, That is my picture for today of my bro. And That wasn't really a story.

Can't win 'em  all. :) Happy Birthday week, brother!

xo, jade

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday. Countdown to 30!

Nate, Jason, and BG at the Seeger wedding 2006
Hey! Y'all thought I had forgotten about today's post, huh?? Haha....I still have 40 minutes left of Wednesday.

Today was actually a nutty day and I didn't hardly sit still at all. We had our small group over and it was Shayna's birthday, so we celebrated with sparkly cupcakes and a mashed potato dinner :) It was yummy. The recipe I used for the bbq chicken was snagged from Pinterest. Lovely.

LA, May 2003

Anyways, moving on to my brother's birthday week post. The pics that I chose are kind of weird, and kind of random, but I absolutely love them. They don't really relate to one another at all, but they are some of my favorites.

BG and I didn't really run in the same circles in high school. He jokes that he didn't even know he had a sister until college, and we laugh, but it makes sense. We NEVER hung out. Mostly because we were incredibly different people back then. When I got to college, BG was a good big brother and took me along with him to different functions and BSM events. He even introduced me to Nate, my beloved husband. They were pals, I'm sure you've heard me gush about the story enough....but I owe a lot of my college relationships to my brother and his encouragement to me while I was on the cusp of adulthood.

The guys in the Seeger wedding May 2006
In Tiffys dorm Winter 2002
 BSM banquet with BG and Jamie, May 2007

So it satisfies me now, after all those lost teenage years, to have the same circle of close friends now. He's one of my best friends. And Nate is my best friend. And Jamie is our other best friend. We also have lots of friends who have gone on to get married and have babies. Our friend Jena is newly engaged (to an amazing guy) and we are excited to celebrate with her this coming May. Other friends have moved on, some to new adventures, new jobs, new relationships. We are all living life in a busy, sometimes frustrating, sometimes wonderful, way. But we all have each other. I know that if I ever were to need something, I could call up any one of the people in these pictures and they would help Nate and I out in a jiff. And BG has always been one of the best of friends to these people. He opened up his home so often. He cooks for us. He always drives people around. So these pictures make me grin because it shows how much fun we had in college, and how those relationships we made were forged with authentic living, human mistakes, and triumphant perseverance. I celebrate these relationships. And I'm glad that BG and I have become so close through the years. I really have a ton of college pics and I want to post them all so badly, but I wonder if it would bore you.

 Haha! Finished, and with 5 minutes to spare!
xo, jade

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday: Countdown to 30

Ok! So I'm back with another fun-filled memory and/or fact to compliment some pictures of my brother. I'm posting a pic or two every day until Friday when my brother turns THIRTY!!! Woohoo! You can trackback to the previous post to see Day 1.

So the favorite pics I'm posting are from the first time that my brother held his nephews. I love looking through the birth pictures of my boys (c-sectioned kiddos) and I just feel SO blessed because both boys have been SO loved and SO cherished since before they were born and I couldn't wait to see what BG would be like with his nephews or nieces. He's always been great with kids, they seem to swarm to him whenever he's in a group of them. Probably because he still plays video games and likes to buy toys.

Uncle holding Wesley: January 2008
Uncle holding Spencer: October 2010
Anyways, Wesley is constantly saying how Uncle is his best buddy and he cries for him on a regular basis. Since my brother doesn't live in town, he generally will stay with us when he visits. Wesley's favorite thing is to RUN to wake Uncle up in the mornings and jump on him. The last time BG was visiting, he left early at 5am before Wes was up and when Wesley came running down the hall to find his uncle, the tears that I had to deal with were a sight to behold.

So great was his disappointment that his uncle had left so early. It was sad sad sad.

BG has been great with the boys since the beginning. We teased him for not wanting to hold Wesley that first day, but babies are a pretty scary thing. He held him though and I could tell they were kindred spirits from the beginning (or whatever manly counterpart to the Anne Shirley reference would be haha). BG had to be in SA the morning I delivered Spencer, but he drove straight to town as soon as he was able and held his little nephew without hesitation. He helped entertain Wesley while we were stuck in the hospital and hung around the whole weekend.

To say that my boys love their uncle is an understatement for sure.

So there you have it.
Stay tuned for tomorrows countdown to 30!!

xo, jade

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday. Countdown to 30!

My big brother is turning 30 on Friday. It sort of surprises me that we are at that time in our lives where we are leaving another decade....yet again. The transition from the single digits to the double digits is exciting. That 10th birthday party is sort of a big deal. You don't see yourself as a little kid anymore.  Then the leaving of the teens and the entrance into the 20's is similarly exciting, only even better because NOW you are really an adult. I was engaged at 20. And married by 21. That's nuts.

I still have a few years before I hit my 3rd decade mark, but my brother is right on the cusp of it. Nate is between BG and me, so he'll be the next to leave the 20's in our crowd. He's pretty pumped about it....I think. Jamie and I are pretty freaked. We had a hyperventalting conversation with Jena and Bianca last, really. Frightened. And then just a few nights ago I had the same conversation with my friend Abby. We are all excited. Sorta. :)

 As for my wonderful brother, I think he's pretty much gonna rock the transition. I've also decided to do a blog a day revealing a memory or a fun fact about my loveable big brother and a favorite picture or two. I have about a trillion pictures of EVERYONE. Even your Second Uncle twice removed.  Seriously. I'm just crazy like that. Great-grandma Clementine? Yep. Got a picture of her too. But Brandon's tag is definitely one of the most prominent in my photo archives. Lotsa pics of the bro.

So here are a few pictures from our trip to Canada in the Spring of 2005. We were serving some international youth from East Africa, doing after school tutoring and relationship building.

BG on an island on Lake Ontario. Toronto, Canada Spring '05
BG and I were, weirdly enough, on the same team and walked a few blocks, caught a train, took a few buses and finally would make it to the homes of these teenagers. It was a great experience. The contact that we had there was a great guy. He and BG had some good conversations and we really enjoyed the work that we did.  I think that's when I discovered I had a fear of heights. These condos that the students lived in reached high to the sky and I pretty much would get so nauseated from the view. Haha.

 Also, no BSM trip is complete without a trip to a ball game (courtesy of Wayne Dillon) and a few games of Disc Golf. Our team found an amazing park to explore complete with an amazing disc golf course. A small group of us stuck together and took a ferry to this island park on Lake Ontario and spent the afternoon admiring the luscious landscape and playing some dg. (Not me. I hate the sport. I throw like a girl)

BG in Toronto Canada, Spring '05. Jays Baseball Game.
It was a great day and we left the park running full speed for the ball game where we were meeting the rest of our group at. Wayne scored us some killer seats and we had a great time. Even though my fiance and my other bff Jamie couldn't make the trip, it was definitely one for the books. I think BG will agree that it was a fantastic experience and the pictures are some of my favorite. Our good friends became engaged on the trip also and BG was their chaperone. Haha. It was fun.

My favorite pic of the whole trip though is of my super manly brother laying in a field of dandelions with a flower in his mouth. Haha. That's one confident man, alright.

Happy Birthday Week, bro! See y'all tomorrow for the continuing countdown to 30 for my brother!

xo, jade

Thursday, September 22, 2011

{Calling Out Your Name}

"I feel the thunder in the sky. I see the sky about to rain. I hear the prairies calling out your name."

I can't say that I have a favorite line from this song that Rich Mullins wrote. Calling Out Your Name is my favorite song that this man of miraculous joy wrote.  When Rich died, I was young. So young in fact that I still was struggling to comprehend what death really meant. But I did know that we were worse off than he. For he had entered glory. And we were without him. I do remember grieving that loss with tears and questions. I was only a newly saved 13 year old girl with frizzy hair and LOTS of questions. And though I did have many questions, I didn't question the songs that this man had written, because of the truth that I felt in the very fiber of my being.

I have probably purchased nearly every Rich Mullins related album that has been released since his entrance to the Kingdom, and I've adored all of his previously released albums (of course!). But still, anytime I listen to Calling Out Your Name, I weep.

Mainly I weep for the earth. Because it's changing so much that we are losing much of what God intended for it. But still, it knows. The wind, the sun, the rain, the glorious, glorious lightning that holds thunder's hand.....nature has always spoken to me. Probably because I'm an artist who can't help BUT absorb the world around her. Cityscapes can speak to me, but never in the same capacity that a storm rolling up the beach would have on me. (Though you must know by now that my love is passionate about the forests and the mountains.)

I've spoken of (often enough) about my affection for the musician, writer, and artist that is Andrew Peterson. Shayna grows tired of me constantly babbling on the genius of his lyrics and storytelling abilities. My cute husband, who never really cares much for lyrics and puts up with my storybook obsession very patiently, listens to my animated recounting of a recent AP song that touched my heart.

I feel very similar in my affections for other artists like Vicky Beeching, Bethany Dillon, and Christy Nockels, but there is something different about Andrew Peterson's music that reaches out to me. I told Jamie two nights ago (when we foolishly stayed up until 2am catching up on the past few weeks of life) that when I listen to AP's songs, I FEEL like I wrote them. I feel like my heart is speaking out and singing THE STORY to the world. (except, you know, when he's singing about his wife. haha. Then, I feel like their relationship is similar to my own lovely story with Nate and I smile and wonder at the friends we might possibly be and how fun a game of Catch Phrase would be)

Anyways, it clicked. I often listened to Rich Mullins growing up and felt like what he was singing was something that had written. His songs would resonate in the very depths of my being and I felt a chorus of angels following me around grinning as foolishly as I.

All this to say...the world just about nearly imploded when AP released his newest LIVE album "Above These City Lights" and the song "Calling Out Your Name" was on it. I just about fell of my rocker. I was up late, just barely crawling into bed, checking the tweets on my phone, thinking about the conversation I had just had with Jamie, and I saw that the album was released on iTunes already. (it was this late in the early morning hours) and I saw Calling Out Your Name on the album list.

I've never seen AP in concert, so I was unaware that he covered this song ever at his concerts. So great was my delight upon discovering that my current favorite storyteller had (published? released?) a cover of my favorite song!

I checked out You Tube for a potential video of AP singing it, so that I could play it for you all. But truly, buy his record "Above These City Lights". Buy 'em all. You won't regret it. (fun fact: his son drew the cover art)

So here, below the lyrics by Rich Mullins, is the wonky, slightly blurred, but still so fun video of AP singing my favorite song.

Well the moon moved past Nebraska
And spilled laughter on them cold Dakota Hills
And angels danced on Jacob's stairs
Yeah, they danced on Jacob's stairs
There is this silence in the Badlands
And over Kansas the whole universe was stilled
By the whisper of a prayer
The whisper of a prayer

And the single hawk bursts into flight
And in the east the whole horizon is in flames
I feel thunder in the sky
I see the sky about to rain
And I hear the prairies calling out Your name

I can feel the earth tremble
Beneath the rumbling of the buffalo hooves
And the fury in the pheasant's wings
And there's fury in a pheasant's wings
It tells me the Lord is in His temple
And there is still a faith
That can make the mountains move
And a love that can make the heavens ring
And I've seen love make heaven ring

Where the sacred rivers meet
Beneath the shadow of the Keeper of the plains
I feel thunder in the sky
I see the sky about to rain
And I hear the prairies calling out Your name

From the place where morning gathers
You can look sometimes forever 'til you see
What time may never know
What time may never know
How the Lord takes by its corners this old world
And shakes us forward and shakes us free
To run wild with the hope
To run wild with the hope

The hope that this thirst will not last long
That it will soon drown in the song
Not sung in vain
And I feel thunder in the sky
I see the sky about to rain
And I hear the prairies calling out Your name

Whenever I play this song for Wesley, his eyes always grow big(especially when the thunder is mentioned) and he grins just as wide as I. He doesn't know just yet that what that feeling he has seeping in is the spirit of God speaking to the song in his heart, and I pray that he and Spencer will never lose the wonder that is God's beauty.

It's a good song. And I understand that not everyone is built the same. My friends often smile politely as I gasp on and on about the beauty of this song and it's lyrics or that, but I know God made me this way and he knows how I delight in the beauty of his creation, the excitement that comes with pursuing Him, and the stories and the songs that resonate in my heart...

xo, jade

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Gnome By Any Other Name

Wesley's face is the BEST
Our little Gnome Family
I know that my blogging has been slim to none lately. What with wedding season coming to a close and the fall rapidly-ish approaching, I've been sort of bouncing around with the free-er time and the happy cooler weather. And when I say "cooler" I mean, the heat index is no longer 113, and the actual temp is no longer 107. It's been a glorious and steady low 90s and we actually had some magical rain. It was amazing.

Two weeks ago our friends Shayna and Jacob had a joint birthday party for each other. It happened to also be a costume party, which sort of sent me on a frenzy finding the perfect costume for our family. It was a kid-friendly party, so naturally I wanted something that we could all be.

My dear sweet husby was absolutely NO help. Hahaha. He wouldn't make any suggestions that actually made sense. BUT we did finally settle on Gnomeo and Juliet. It was a pretty cute movie and originally the boys were going to be Benvolio and Toad (the mushroom) but we decided to just make them be our little Gnome babies. Mainly because I felt bad one getting a hat and not the other. Plus I knew Spencer wouldn't keep his mushroom hat on and Wesley really wanted to be a gnome. So thus, the little offspring of Gnomeo and Juliet came to be.

The Party (notice I capitalized it) was a great success. We set up a sort of photobooth (butcher paper on the wall and a tripod) with my camera and had great fun with it. We laughed a lot, had a costume contest (with really ridiculous categories) and had some tasty cake. I think we adequately celebrated Shayna and Jacob and made some fun memories too.
Gnomes in love: Juliet and her Gnomeo

 So there you have it. Our Gnomeo and Juliet family costumes. They were super cheap and easy. The hats were 75 cents each and hot glued. Nate made his beard out of a towel. Hahaha. The most expensive thing was my red tights. :) But they are super cute and will probably be worn again.

I told Nate yesterday that I really wanted to throw a halloween party this year in honor of Spencer's first birthday. I am sort of mulling the idea around in my head....

It's still hard to believe that my little baby is going to be ONE in a month. It's exciting and sad...mostly bittersweet. I am excited to celebrate with him, my sweet little gnome baby :)

xo, jade

Sunday, September 04, 2011

A little bit of fall

Ok, it's no surprise to many of you that I am squeaking with anticipation of the fall weather. Summer in south Tejas is just too miserable and I long for the falling leaves and cool bite of autumn. Nate and I were married on a bright, freezing winter day and we honeymooned in the glorious mountains of Estes Park, Colorado.

I geek out whenever I see snow. I am automatically transported to the first memories of Narnia that I had as a child, daydreaming of stamping through the snow under the bright umbrella that belongs to dear Mr. Tumnus. Our linked arms and friendly chatter would warm my heart and I would just grin in joy over the wonderful moment. The snow always dredges up these old, wonderful memories.

And yes, I can likewise stand at the edge of the beach on a hot summer day and imagine seeing Eustace, the dragon, flying overhead and maybe, just maybe, glimpse the Dawn Treader nodding in the distant waves.

Yes. The weather has a deep impact on my senses and can almost always draw me back to Narnia.

This summer has been the hottest of my memory. I never remembered running around the neighborhood in 107 degree heat. We lived outdoors as kids, but our streets have been quiet as people attempt to stay cool. The swings are empty at the playground around the corner from our house and the basketball court only has a few brave players every now and then. Now that school has begun again, it's even quieter.

Our weather forecast for the week!
I was surprised to see that the weather might take a turn for the better this week. I saw on my google homepage that we are going to actually drop into the 80s! For this winter girl, I couldn't be more ecstatic! I feel slightly ridiculous to be so animated about a 15-20 degree drop, but seriously. It's been so hot.

We are taking the boys to the mountains this winter. Wesley's first ever to see snow. I know he will be so excited to experience it and to see the great mountains. He is one who appreciates all the wonders of God's earth.

Ah, so excited am I.

What are your favorite seasons, what weather do you most anticipate throughout the year? And does weather ever affect your nostalgia as it does me? :)

xo, jade

Saturday, September 03, 2011

[on weddings]

I am on serious wedding overload. The emotions, the beautiful moments. I just am swarmed by the images burned into my head of beautiful dresses, gorgeous flowers, kissing couples. It's a wondrous occasion to be a part of and I ESPECIALLY love sharing in it with people I love. <3

I am so blessed to know so many caring, encouraging, and joyful human beings.
Tonight's wedding was no exception. It was marvelous.

But for now, I'll sleep, and dream of cupcakes and sparkly shoes, and lots and lots of laughter...

xo, jade
"To love at all is to be vulnerable"--CSLewis