It's been raining for something like 36 hours. Last week, almost every day was cloudy and gray, and the weekend topped off the drabness with legitimate rain.
I'm not bothered by it. Actually, it's been fun. Last year during this time, I was getting ready for end of course tests with my Biology students, anxiously anticipating the wedding and was dreadfully sad about moving to Texas. With all of that going on, I didn't really notice the winter. There were a lot of other things on my mind.
After the honeymoon skiing in Idaho, and the weeks of joyful but strange transition into married life- "oh! you live here too! ha!- it seemed like spring sprung quickly in Texas. Either I was preoccupied with change or the weather fooled me, I can't remember accurately, but I don't remember weeks of gray, cold, rain in 2010. In any event, it's been sort of a challenge this week to stay warm and dry and bring color and fun into our home.
I won't go into every detail, but will just highlight some of the new things we've been up to. Here are some favorites from the past few weeks:
1. Soup: I didn't like soup much for years past, but now that I am the primary feeder and budget-organizer, soup and I are becoming pleasantly well acquainted. This week's favorite was from the January issue of Better Homes and Gardens- New Year's Dumpling soup. It was really easy to make- frozen potstickers, vegetable broth, soy sauce, sesame oil, carrots and green onion and was delicious and warm going down.
2. Color: BHG's February issue is all about color. I liked looking through the pages a lot, but had already started incorporating color into the house just after Christmas. I've got some healthy house plants- two luscious cabbages, deeply purple at the moment and another leafy plant (I can't remember the name) that's striped with pink! And of course there's Calvin, my long-time house-plant that I think is a philodendron, but I'm not really sure. While Andy and I were purging our bookshelves on New Years Day, we came across an old book from the 70's called 200 House Plants in Color. It's fantastic! In there, I found a plant called Rhaphidophora aurea and it looks a lot more like Calvin than the philodendron pictures that I've seen. In any event, I learned all about houseplants, and am especially excited to pursue the following options for next year (didn't get a quick enough start this year) tulips and/or crocus, narcissus, and an indoor orange tree! But aside from the foliage, I'm also a big fan of wearing color when it's gray outside, so I've been donning my hot pink scarf when I head out, and I've got my favorite table cloth on the kitchen table. It's a French provincial style with lots of colorful blossoms. I got it at the Holly Day Fair a few years ago and is one of my favorite purchases I ever got from there. I'm also trying to keep lots of colorful fruit out on the counter- both good to look at and good for us!
3. The Idiot. Nothing is much better than curling up with a good book in weather like this. I've been wanting to read Dostoevsky's The Idiot for years, and haven't made the time. I'm not even 100 pages in, but I'm enchanted already by the Christ-like Prince Myshkin and the parallels to social "normalcies" that Dostoevsky bravely mocks in this book that will surely be a life-changer.
4. Date night. Even though it's been cold out, Andy and I have gotten to go out two nights this past week. One night was a planned date-night, and we went with the tried and true movie night option. We saw "True Grit" which was well worth the 9 dollars. I loved Maddy Ross's character- bold and candid and on a mission- and I adored the language. Whoever wrote that script deserves a slap on the back. It was thoroughly enjoyable language- something that's hardly encountered at the movies, which is a shame. The second date night came as a surprise from my friend Toi, who graciously offered us her Friday night tickets to the symphony because she and her husband were unable to make it. It was an unexpected surprise in many ways because not only did we get to do something out of the ordinary, but apparently the event itself was different for the Austin Symphony. The first half of the performance was a historical look at Dvorak's 9th symphony, and included details about the influences on this most unique and beautiful piece of music. The historical details were read by three actors, and there was a slide show that depicted pictures from Dvorak's muses for this piece- his own Bohemia, Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha, Negro spirituals, and even the bird songs of whippoorwills and robins. After intermission, the symphony played the 9th symphony which was a truly rich experience, having just had the historical background explained so eloquently. But, as always happens, I ended up getting lost in the music- which is as it should be- and I was carried away into my own memory rather than to Bohemia or the American West.
5. Quality time. My favorite for this week has been the time I've gotten to spend with my person. Andy and I intentionally stayed in all day yesterday, after we both got home from leader's meeting. We played the playstation 3 that Grant gave us for Christmas (thank you, Grant!) and watched episodes of the Office on the Netflix stream. We ate pizza and then tried to "work it off" by laughing our way through P90X cardio. We talked about Jesus and what we've been learning and even sang some of our favorite songs from the Stone and our leader's hymnal. And this morning, we've spent cuddled under covers and Cocker Spaniels, reading and making a list of the things we want to learn and the places we want to go. This afternoon we're on a mission to get Andy a new book and Grant a record, then church and spaghetti night with friends at our apartment.
One of the lessons that I learned from Hezekiah this week was that when showing off the blessings that the Lord has given, be sure to give Him all glory. And so, I just want to say that I am thankful to God for soup and color, beautiful words and music and my sweet friend, Andy. To God be the glory for the things He has done! There are too many blessings to recount all of them, but the greatest blessing of all is to know that His love is mine to behold and nothing can separate me from that.