A Personal Note

I’ve been considering several potential posts, but all of them revolve around an event in my life and rather than telling it in bits and pieces over several posts, I decided to do one post about it, then do several reflective posts. It will be easier this way. So. Diving in.

A little over a year ago, I received a letter in the mail from my school.  Not a totally unusual occurrence, but I had no idea what it was about.  I only got through the first sentence before stifling a scream.  The letter read:

“Dear Student:

We would like you to consider a semester abroad studying in Canterbury, England…”

And that was the beginning of one of the biggest adventures of my life.

It’s been a dream of mine to travel, particularly to Europe.  There are just so many places to see.  So many adventures.  The little bit of travel I had done, family vacations, China, Seattle, they had only made me fall deeper in love with traveling.  But it was something that I really saw as unfeasible, something that wouldn’t happen for a long time.  It would cost too much, so I’d have to wait.

So when this letter showed up in my mailbox, in was not even an answered prayer, but it was a dream come true.

Getting to live in England for three months was amazing.  Those three months probably rank up as the three best months of my life.  I traveled more than I have ever traveled, made some incredible friends, experienced things I couldn’t have imagined, and grew exponentially.

Basically, I lived with a family in Canterbury, England for three months while studying at Canterbury Christ Church University. As a part of the curriculum, we were bussed to a different location every week that corresponded with something that we lectured on.  On the weekends, I usually travelled with friends or on my own.  I ended up getting to London about 5 times.  The places we visited included Bath, Eastbourne, Margate, Wales, Paris, Rochester, Bruges, and Dover.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have gotten to have had this incredible experience.

And now, with this knowledge, we are ready to proceed. 😉

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Thankful For

I’m…

thankful for family.

thankful for sunsets.

thankful for my puppy.

thankful for work.

thankful for warm blankets.

thankful for music.

thankful for my piano.

thankful for my piano teacher.

thankful for ideas.

thankful for understanding friends.

thankful for sibling parties.

thankful for being redeemed.

thankful for love.

thankful for laughter.

thankful for life.

thankful for beauty.

thankful for the country.

thankful for working together.

thankful for blood, sweat, and tears.

thankful for late nights and early mornings.

thankful for inside jokes.

thankful for knowledge.

thankful for wisdom.

thankful for grace.

thankful.

 

 

love,
Allison

(What are you thankful for?)

What’s Up?

So.

I’ve been gone again.

Busy.

Life happened.

I’ve been working.

Doing school.

Helping at home.

Catering my cousin’s bridal shower. (Loose use of the word “catering.”)

Attending my first birth.

Photographing my first birth.

Taking the knife to my closet.  (The old ugly stuff has to go!)

So.

First things first.  I am working at a fun little salon in town two days a week, four hours a day, as a receptionist, and cleaning.  Actually, this is the first week I have worked two days.  Which I am really excited about.  I like it.

School and life it pretty much normal, so not a whole lot to say about that, except that I’m loving school, as usual.

The shower went well.  It was great to see everybody up north.  For the dessert at the shower, I made mint chocolate brownie bites, lemon poppy seed cake, and Mom made coffee punch.  Yum.

Last night, my good friend had her sweet baby, and I was blessed to have been invited to the birth, and it pleased God to have all the circumstances happen exactly right so I could go!  I am so blessed to have gotten to be there, and it was wonderful.  She had asked me and another young lady to take some photos during the birth, which I found quite enjoyable.  What a blessing to record that special moment!

My closet has been getting too full. Not just that, but after doing the Botkin ladies’ beauty webinar, I have really been thinking about what I am wearing, and trying to look nice.  To be honest, some of my old clothes aren’t really nice.  So I have decided to start paring down my closet, then filling it with things that look nice and that will look good on me.  I emptied a whole bunch yesterday morning, which made me surprisingly slightly apprehensive?  anxious?  teary? not quite sure which.  But the first cut is the deepest, right?

So, that’s what’s been going on.  I’ll be hoping to post a full post about the shower tomorrow when I process the pictures, or at least in the very near future.  So look for that.  In the meantime, here are some photos of the closet-cleaning!

 

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The first pile to go

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One side of my closet, after the first clean-out (hopefully not the last)

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Fun new hairstyle I tried, and wore all day, and it didn’t give me a headache!  Which made me SO HAPPY!  (I usually get a headache when I where my hair pulled back, usually at the base or near the base of my head.)  What do you think?

Friday

I had grand plans of posting about our trip to a you-pick blueberry farm this evening.

And then tonight happened.

But nothing really happened tonight.

I was in the kitchen prepping dinner semi-early, and Meiling and Noah were outside.  They had two Frisbees that they had gotten at the County Fair last night (we worked there yesterday).  They were the kind with the big hole in the middle – just large plastic rings.  They weren’t throwing them at each other, they were using them to…um…do things.  Like the put a long stick thing through both, then one carried one Frisbee and the other carried the other.  They hung things from them, dropped things through them, carried things with them.  And they showed us many of the poses.

Mom and Dad were behind me, just chatting, discussing (among other things) plans for tonight.  There weren’t a whole lot.

Once I had gotten dinner pretty much ready, I headed out the door to go pick up Drake from work.  On my way, I stopped at Sonic to get a medium cherry limeade, since Mom had a token for a free one, and she told me I could use.  So I got it.  A whole medium!  It made me feel so grown up.  A soda AND driving.  If myself 4 years ago could have seen me then, she would have asked who that person was, because there was no way that could have been her.

Earlier today I ran something over to a friend’s home.  After I had gotten over halfway there, I realized I had forgotten what I was supposed to take to them.  So I had to go home.  And it made my trip that much longer.  But I actually kind of liked it.  It was one of those beautiful days, not too warm, clear blue sky, just a few white, semi-wispy clouds, and all the colors oh-so-vibrant.  And there is just something  wonderful about flying down a country highway, windows down, radio playing, hair flying.  It almost made me half glad that nobody was home when I got there, so I just had to leave my things there.  No one needed to see THAT crazy hair.

That feeling carried over to my trip to get Drake, and the soda.  It was so beautiful.  After I grabbed Drake, we chatted on the way home.  He said that, since it was Friday, everyone there was joking, and having more fun.  It just added to my feeling of a relaxed, happy Friday.

When we got home, Mom and I were outside, when I heard some music.  And it sounded like it was getting closer.  Dad appeared around the corner holding the speaker from inside, music blaring, with Meiling and Noah behind him, bearing Frisbees.  We all started throwing the Frisbees back and forth, to the happy music.

And then Mom lit the burn pile, and the smoke outlined the sunbeams that were straining through the trees.  I ran inside to get my camera.

I took a few shots of the smoke, and then laid down in the grass, and took a few self-portraits.  They are among my favorites.  Not because they are amazing.  Because they capture the moment.

It wasn’t anything that we did, or really anything we did.  It was the feeling, the mood, that prevailed, that is what made it memorable.  The relaxedness.  The laid-backness. The love.  The feeling of family.  The whatever goes feeling.

We have been running almost nonstop for the past two weeks.  And I have been feeling pressured to do more school, and to be more busy (if that makes sense).

But the other day, Meiling and I were home alone.  And we were sitting on the floor in the family room, making friendship bracelets.  After that, we were going to read “Little House on the Prairie,”  which we call Laura.

While we were sitting there, I kept feeling like I should go do something productive.  School.  Prep for our trip.  Oh, I am sure that my room could have used a cleaning.

But I really just wanted to stay there.

And then it kind of hit me.  It’s summer.  I don’t ALWAYS have to be working, busy.  And this was one of those times that I was going to remember for a long time, if not forever.  And I don’t want to squish that, brush it out of the way, with “what-I-really-should-be-doing.”  School.  Cleaning.  All great things. 

But in the end, what do they mean?  What do they count for?

Meanwhile, I have a little sister who won’t be seven forever.  And what do I want her to remember about me in 10-15 years?  The older sister who was always closeted up with her books, saying, “SHH!  Please shut the door when you leave!”  or as the sister who took time to read, to make friendship bracelets, bake fun things, do projects.

Oftentimes, Drake, Noah, and I talk about all the things that we used to play.  The forts.  The games.  Like pretending that we were orphans (our parents had been killed by monsters – more specifically, their bites, I think), and we had to move from room to room, being orphans with no home now.  (Side note: we actually didn’t remember this one, but I found it in an old journal, and it TOTALLY sounds like something we would have played.)

And Meiling doesn’t have any of those memories.

Now we’re doing school, driving, going to work, running errands, cooking, programming, building, and other what-not, while Meiling is being her little self, at the same age when we were playing in cardboard boxes, cooking pretend food, and taping paper facial hair on one another (I don’t think I ever wore any of that).  And she doesn’t have any memory of that.

So I want to be the sister that takes time for her.  If not to play in cardboard boxes and make paper facial hair, but to at least take time out for her.  Read to her.  Participate in her make-believes.  And give her some of the memories that we have.

And tonight was one of those nights, in a way.

Just a random, fun memory.  Not perfect, but wonderful in spite of the imperfection, maybe because of it.  Or maybe because it seemed so great.

That was today.

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