The One Where She Fell In a Hole, Et Cetera

Top Ten things I’m pondering on this beautiful late summer morning…

1) Where in the world did my lovely red 1 tsp and 1 Tbsp measuring spoons disappear to months ago??! It is a mystery. I thought for sure I’d find them in the move. But no. They are MIA forever. Lucky for me, I have 2 extra measuring spoon sets. One of which is passed on from my grandma–the metal kind with pretty, colorful handles. *love*
2) I fell in a hole yesterday morning. No joke. There was a piece of garbage in a rut on our front lawn. I stepped over to pick it up and plummeted to the bottom of a crevice in the earth’s surface. Ok, a bit of an exaggeration, but this hole (covered mostly by overgrown grass) was at least a foot deep and about 2 feet WIDER than I anticipated. Kevin laughed at me.
3) How do friendships start? And how do they stick? I was thinking about this yesterday too. 
4) Somewhere along the way I became a coffee drinker. HOW did this happen?! I’m not a daily-drinker by any means. BUT I can drink Kevin’s strong coffee concoctions and smile. 
5) I thought I would be grossed out when he ordered a Starbucks Venti iced coffee with a shot of hazelnut and room for milk. Blech. But no. It was amazing. We shared this drink with happiness on our faces.  
6) But nothing beats the indulgence of a Hazelnut Frappuccino with REAL Whipped Cream and Caramel drizzled on top. Help me, now. 
7) Why is it so hard for me to compile reasons I would be good for such and such a job? I’m realizing how I don’t think very highly of my skills and I tend to downplay my talents in everyday life. But when it comes to competing for a job, you’re supposed to play yourself up, right? It’s going to take serious practice for me.  
8) I’m still waiting. Wondering. What does God have for me? The options seem endless now, but I’m learning lessons through the journey, the waiting process, the patience testing. Thanking God for giving me peace (when normally I’d be freaking.) 
9) It’s been a four Sundays in a new church. A month since I’ve last participated in leading the worship service, week after week, year after year. It’s been good to stand with the congregation and worship without distractions of “What note am I playing next?” or “What was that transition again??” or “Should I be singing a different harmony right now?” But I think I’m ready. Ready to be used for what God created me for–leading in worship. Excited after planning with the worship teams last night.   
10) I hope this batch of 100% Whole Wheat bread turns out even better than the last. Rising high above the edge of the pan. Just asking to be eaten. (recipe soon!)
What are you pondering today?

The One with the Friend I Needed

{friends! only 2 days to enter the Scrapbook Software giveaway
Just as I needed that lovely date night with my husband, I discovered a need for quality time with a girlfriend. Or, rather, God knew what was necessary to fill my spirit with His grace. 
Friendship. Time together. Souls sharing. 
One of my great new friends, Denise, wanted to spend some time together, and we decided to take a walk (closer to a hike) through this glorious cemetery. It sounds creepy, yes, but this is the most amazing places to visit, to picnic, to walk, to photograph. The roads are seemingly endless, curving this way and that, steeper and steeper. The grounds are carved into incredible levels, adding dimension and unique character to the tree covered acreage. And after taking in the beautiful weather, the rich history, and the good company, we headed to Tim Horton’s. I indulged a bit in a hazelnut frappuccino topped with real whipped cream. Yum!   
And through all this we shared stories–some that were small and silly and others more life changing. And my heart was filled with exactly what it needed. Listening. Laughing. Being open, encouraging, relaxed. 
I am thankful.
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I’ve been pondering friendship–How they begin, how they take root, how they matter. What are your thoughts?

The One with the Fancy Schmany Date

{My Memories Digital Scrapbook Giveaway going on through Wednesday!}  

Sometimes I just need carefree time with my husband. Outside our predictable, routine life that I love so much. (I really do.) But when he says, “I think we need a date night,” I fall a little more in love with him. (AND when he shows me a buy one entree get one free coupon for Ruby Tuesday, I am all for it. This man knows the way to my heart. Good food. for cheap.Oh! and did I mention we were using an anonymous gift someone had sneaked into Kevin’s pen cup who knows when and who knows how long ago. THANK mysterious gift-giver!)  

He was gone for the large part of the day–8am to 4:30pm–at an introductory spiritual retreat for his new Seminary program. You know how I spent the day. It was nice to have some alone time, but I loved having thoughts of our date floating around in the back of my mind. Yes, it’s always nice when it comes dinner time and don’t know what to make and he suggests a date. But having this night out planned in advance, complete with an email invitation? I mean, seriously. That’s romance to me. 
When he arrived home, I quickly changed into the cute dress he bought me on our anniversary. This necessitated a outfit change for him, which he wasn’t totally stoke about, but he seemed to think it was it to have me in that dress. *grin*  
And we were off. Coupon in hand, maps drawn up (we’re new to the area, give us a break!), me hoping I wasn’t going to freeze in the restaurant. (Freezing temperatures really put a damper on my enjoyment.) 
Thankfully, Ruby Tuesday had chosen an appropriate temperature and we both ordered the perfect meals. Steak, cheesy mashed potatoes, and onion rings for him. Chicken, steamed broccoli and balsamic tomatoes for me. 
For dessert? We took a stop off at Sam’s Club (where I felt WAY overdressed), did a bit of wandering and bit of shopping, and shared a $0.97 ice cream cup. Yeah. We’re those people. And we like it that way.
Through all of this, there was gloriously deep conversation and amazingly rich laughter. My favorite combination. 
A seriously perfect night
And now, in thinking over this summation of our evening I’ve come to the following conclusions–I like coupons. food. advanced planning. and talking and laughing with my husband. 

The One with the Book Worm

Today I
…started book seven of Harry Potter after finishing half of five and all of six in the last week. This is an impressive record for me. Can’t. Stop. Reading.
…didn’t have time for a full blown, well-thought-out blog post because of my intense reading regimen. So you’re getting this list. 
…was disappointed that the “Farmer’s Market Downtown” signs seem to have been misleading. 
…met our neighbors, Eddie and Carol. At least I think her name is Carol. Darn it. They remind me a lot of Tom and Donna, our lovely neighbors for years and years during my growing up years.

…almost burnt my perfect granola because I absentmindedly turned the oven to 325 instead of 250. eeep!

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…got all dressed up for a date to Ruby Tuesday with my husband. Someone anonymously left us a generous gift in Kevin’s pen cup (who knows how long ago) with a typed note saying “Take yourselves out to a nice dinner. You deserve it.” Well thank you very much, friend!
…painted my toenails bright pink. 
…managed to resist the adorable stray kitten’s cries on my back porch. Even after she ran up to greet us (probably smelling our leftovers.) We are calling her Sphinx. 
…reminded all of you to go enter my Digital Scrapbook Giveaway!!

…received tons of helpful job advice (and had some fun conversation besides) from my wonderful father-in-law. 

On Grace, Everywhere

See God everywhere. Be on the lookout for His gifts, His grace. And once you start seeing, more are exposed. It begins with a sprinkle, then steady drops, then it pours. God pours out so much blessing that there is not room enough for it
And all He wants is our thanks. To notice what He’s doing. Be eager to find Him at work. It’s a beautiful game of hide and seek we play with our Lord. 
It may be hard at first. How can there be blessing, grace, when we don’t have enough money to pay the bills. Or when a grandmother dies. Or when she’s run so far from Jesus she denies Him. 
How? 
In the darkest hour, when we feel most vulnerable, God Almighty scoops us into His loving arms. It is in despair that we search for Him, recognize our need for Him. Yet He is always there
So notice Him in the everyday. In the laundry time, the lullabies sung, the lattes shared with friends.
He is in all, with grace. For you. 

Simple Thanks

[don’t miss out on the digital scrapbook software giveaway!]
friday favorite things | finding joy
On this cool, overcast Friday, I am finding reason for thanks
fun conversations with a mom who loves me from my head down to my toes
finding a few leftover freshly baked cookies from a recent Etsy order
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friends–both near and far–who have me on their hearts and don’t hesitate to pray. and support. and actually pursue opportunities with me in mind. 
Friendly’s cookies & cream ice cream and peanut butter sauce (drool) and the friends who love us enough to share.
husband who consults me in his decisions, values my opinions, wants to know the deepest me. 
God who reveals to me–one at a time, little by little–all of the ways He cares. 
Giving up euchariesteo today. 
this post is linked up with Finding Joy’s Friday Favorites

Digital Scrapbooking {giveaway}

giveaway now closed! but even if you don’t win the MyMemories Suite, there’s still a deal awaiting you. Simply follow this link, purchase the suite and use the coupon code STMMMS86322 when you check out for $10.00 OFF the scrapbook software PLUS another $10 coupon for the MyMemories store!

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For the past many years, scrapbooking has been all the rage. I remember going to Creative Memories parties with my mom when I was in high school. I absolutely loved it! Over the years, I collected many wonderful scrapbooking tools and put them to good use. I finished my wedding scrapbook, a Kevin & Mel: The Dating Years, and am part way (a few pages) into a college memory scrapbook. I love sitting down with piles of pictures, sorting, gathering, prioritizing. Then clipping and cutting, trimming and taping everything into place. I love clean, simple layouts with important facts written in the margins. I enjoy using pieces of our wedding cards for accents, or that ribbon that tied another marriage announcement. True scrapbooking. 

But all of this requires time. LARGE chunks of time. 
And space. An area where you can spread out, undisturbed for hours at a time. 
And clean up. Oh the clean up. But hey, it is SCRAP booking after all.
Beauty comes at a price, my friends.

But it doesn’t always have to. There’s the miraculous thing called digital scrapbooking. Most of us keeping folder upon folder of pictures on our computers, right? And maybe, maybe 5% of them are good enough to get printed. Then only a handful of the printed photos will get used in the ever-dreamed-about perfect scrapbook. 

With this computerized version of scrapbooking you have NO mess! You can come back and scrapbook whenever you want and click SAVE if you’re not quite finished. With jobs to go to, friends to be with, meals to make, kids to care for, husbands to love, the physical form of scrapbooking just may become obsolete. Or at least a once-a-year activity. :) 
Amazon.com rates MyMemories as the top digital scrapbook software on the market. It’s easy to use and not to hard on the wallet. So go check it out– mymemories.com–and see what all the fuss is about. 
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Now, get this!! MyMemories is giving ONE my lovely readers a free copy of their scrapbook software. Yes, please! 
If you would like to be entered to win simply leave a comment on this post telling me why.
For additional entries (be sure to leave a comment for each of these–)
1) subscribe to kevinandmel.com or become a follower
2) tweet the following: “I just entered to win @MyMemoriesSuite digital scrapbooking software from @adorkablemel. Enter here: http://bit.ly/rbTCt0”
3) check out my Adorkable Recipe blog and tell me what you think I should bake next!

GIVEAWAY CLOSES WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31ST. 

—–BUT WAIT, there’s more!!——
Even if you don’t win the MyMemories Suite, there’s still a deal awaiting you. Simply follow this link, purchase the suite and use the coupon code STMMMS86322 when you check out for $10.00 OFF the scrapbook software PLUS another $10 coupon for the MyMemories store
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Top Ten Best Recipes from this Summer

For something fun and simple, I thought I’d share ten of my favorite recipes that I have posted on Adorkable Recipes this summer. Brown Eyed Baker inspired me with her list, and then Oh!Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday rolled around for the perfect opportunity! I hope you love this little compilation as much as I do! :) 
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Do you have a favorite food or recipe from this past summer? I’d love to hear about it!

Finding Communion

For many months now, my perspective has been changing. Learning to live fully, appreciating every good and perfect gift, finding God even in the pain. His blessings are everywhere, one thousand gifts every day, waiting to be discovered. And my thanks, my notice, blesses Him in return. 
My eyes have been opening to these gifts, to living life in communion with God, in eucharisteo. To be endlessly in a state of thanksgiving, finding the grace given in every moment. It becomes an eager hunt, looking, searching, everywhere. 
Rain pouring from rooftops.
Water cold on my tongue. 
Husband’s kiss. 
Sweetness of a cookie. 
Lovely flower bursting from the cracks in the sidewalks. 
And even in hard times, in darkness, when all hope feels lost, He is there. Our great God has gifts to offer us even in the suffering, through the tears. And I’ve been finding Him. When I search for Him, for His grace, for reasons to be be thankful, even as I find myself weeping, God shows up. But no. He has always been there. It was me all along who didn’t see, who was too consumed by grief, anger. Eucharisteo–endless thanksgiving–opens my eyes to Jesus and the gifts His presence pours out on my life. He becomes salve. 
The counting never ends. In hanging clothes on the line, cleaning crumbs from the floor, washing dishes, making beds. The opportunity to worship is just waiting to be discovered. 
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Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts opened my life to fullness. 


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The One with an Observation

There is something to be said for observing the small nuances of a new place. It’s lovely to be able to point to the few subtle differences from town to town. Though so much is standard, predictable, understood, each group of people lives together in a unique way. Community
This new town is quaint. If you live in the village, you can walk just about anywhere. Sidewalks lead to the Post Office, the bank, the local diner, even Walmart. Churches tower at every corner. Presbyterian. Free Methodist. Catholic. United Methodist–all within blocks of one another. Many of these establishments have historical value, all of them unique in their architecture. Steeples touch the clouds. Brick lines the walls. Stone covers the sidewalks
And one of these churches has bells that chime, announcing the hour with music. The first ring is 8am. Then at 9am, noon, and 6pm the chiming is accompanied by a hymn or two. Sometimes I sing along. Other times I don’t notice its song. And every Sunday at 8am, two different churches have bells ding-ding-dinging in a sort of a battle of the bells escapades. 
I’m sure there will come a day when I won’t pay much notice to these bells. I will have their songs ingrained in my daily rhythm. But for now, I smile
It’s lovely, living in a small town.