Push Aside the Curtains

Looks like my New Year’s resolution is going to be harder to keep than I thought.

Shoot. I’m not off to a good start.

Anyway.

The summer is over in my book, because school has started. I did have a long list of things to do for the summer. But the only one I HAD to accomplish was curtains for the kitchen. And the mission was accomplished the day before I had to return to school.

Ahh, nothing like the last minute.

We moved in a year ago. It came with some “vintage” blue gingham curtains. I did not prefer them. Neither did Rob. He took them down straightaway. And in return put up some leftover curtains from his old place.

Here’s an example:

You will notice the fantastic roller blinds at the top. And also these curtains that he picked up at a KMart in midtown are a little short all the way around.

The kitchen sink was no better.

 

Yeah. We don’t even have curtains over it. At one point I had some cute dishtowels from Anthropolgie hanging over the rod. But they didn’t really help the situation.

We spent a great deal of time the first several months checking out curtains at every store we walked into. They were too short, too long, too bland, too expensive. Man, this process was not as easy has I had hoped.

I kept thinking to myself, “I could sew something better than this.”

The reality is I couldn’t, I can’t. For several reasons. I don’t know how to sew. And I don’t have a working sewing machine.

But my dear friend, Kim, offered to help me. And I finally took her up on it. Her kids started school a week earlier than me. This worked out well for us. She sent them off to school and then scooted on over to my house.

I picked up the material the night before from Ikea (and maybe shared a cinnamon roll with Kate). It looked like this:

And on Tuesday morning, Kim brought her nice sewing machine and set up shop.

 

We had our work cut out for us. Two school days to get these two windows done. I just wanted simple rod pocket cafe curtains, so we didn’t use a pattern. But Kim took off and started to work – measuring, adding, cutting. She talked through it so I could catch on with what she was doing.

Then, she started to sew. I watched her do the first couple. Then, she let me try my hand. My straight lines were, ummm…okay. However, they weren’t okay enough that I felt comfortable letting them become my curtains. And so, I became Kim’s “special helper”. Although the curtains are not a true representation of my own handiwork, I’m okay with that. The tag team approach allowed us to work faster. I could iron while she worked on sewing.

Here’s how the end of Tuesday looked:

A whirlwind in the living room – the ironing board was set up behind the couch.

But we had one set done and the rest were close:

 

I did cut out the ties by myself 🙂

Kim came over on Wednesday morning to finish up. She was rushing to get them done in the morning, because I had to leave to pick up mom from the airport around 11:30. It felt like that moment on HGTV when everything is almost done but not quite and they shoe the homeowners out of the house. It felt like a big reveal when I got back with mom.

And I LOVE them. They are absolutely perfect. They give privacy and light. The best of both worlds.

Here’s the big reveal…


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Please disregard the dishes drying in the drainer and the lighting. Also, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day please appreciate the free press. Geranium scent is the best, please sell it at Target.

And here’s one last pic I took while I was cooking later that day. I could resist…the light, the tomatoes the curtains. Ah, I felt so content.

Life is good when you can push away the curtains (not snap the blinds) and let the sunshine   pour in!

 

 

New Year’s Resolution

As a child, I can remember that moment when I realized that the academic year did not line up with the calendar year.

I looked at my Gramma perplexed and said, “What do you mean? It’s a new year, but I don’t start a new grade?”

This did not seem logical to me.

She patiently tried to explain it again. And I accepted that the year would change, and I would stay in the same grade.

I have never really fancied resolutions at the turn of the calendar year. It didn’t really make any sense to me. But, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always made a list for the beginning of the school year.

As a student they were…

Keep my desk neat.

Not lose so many pencils.

Make the honor roll.

Be organized.

Be early.

Have my stuff by the door the night before.

Pack a lunch the night before.

Pick out my outfits for the week – make sure they’re washed and ironed.

Wait a second. I think these were all my Gramma’s ideas. She hated the idea of scurrying in the morning. But she loved to see me succeed – and if keeping my desk neat got me there, we were going to work on it! (“Did you make sure your desk was neat before you left school today?”)

As a teacher, I still try to do most of these things. My Gramma’s ideas to make her life easier have severely rubbed off on me.  Just ask Kate and Rob, they don’t care for my stuff by the door.

I loathe packing a lunch- so I (usually) do it the night before.

I usually have a good idea about what I want to wear. And I love it when the ironing fairy shows up (that used to be Gramma, now it’s Rob).

My desk stays neater.

I’m usually early.

I still lose pens.

My documents folder is insanely organized.

And as long as I’m a student, I will always strive for the A(+).

But I’m adding one more to the list this year…keeping up the blog. Yep. I’m making it a resolution. I’ve severely failed blogging in the past. But now, it’s a resolution and it will be resolved.

At least once a week. Maybe more, but at least once. It will be about a hodgepodge of things. Whatever strikes my fancy…school, stories, travels, food, adventures. I know. I know. I’m breaking all of the blogging rules. But these writing muscles need to be stretched again. And I gotta start somewhere.

So, here goes nothin’.

Captured Joy

Yes.

It’s true.

I’m picking up the blog again.

I fell off the bandwagon once again. But I’m picking myself up, dusting off my pants and ready to climb back up.

I would like to say, that I’m quite certain the wedding pushed me off. It swung it’s, “too much to do in too little time” battle ax. The rest is history.

I would also like to say, that I stopped writing because there were some aspects of the wedding I didn’t want to give away yet. There were some parts that I didn’t know how they were actually going to turn out. And so…I kept them a secret.

Now that it’s all said and done, I can start to share parts of that crazy journey.

First up…our photographer.

When Rob and I began planning, we wrote out our priorities. Separately, we wrote the aspects that were important to us to for not just our wedding, but in starting our life together. If you’re planning a wedding, I recommend this. We really poured our hearts and dreams into these narratives. When we lost focused, when we got stressed, when it all got crazy, I would go back and read our priorities. It was always a surefire way to get me back on track.

One of my top priorities was a photographer. I had very specific attributes in mind…creative, someone who captured the moments I was sure to miss, 8 hours, printing rights, someone I could trust, and of course, a reasonable price. We found Piney River Ranch through a photographer’s blog on a whim. Her photos were beautiful, creative and she was on the table. In fact, she was the only photographer I had on my list for awhile.

But then, one day, I was scrolling through some pictures of the Arndt’s “Tetons and Yellowstone” pictures on Facebook. And there she was…our photographer. Lauren Johnson, fellow Trinitarian, friend and photographer, was living in Denver. I had completely forgotten about her move to the west. This revelation was a glorious moment. She was everything I asked for in a photographer…and more! We had her booked long before we had our venue nailed down!

On the day of, she and Kylie (also a Trinitarian) were absolutely amazing. Not only did she get all the pictures we requested, but they went above and beyond. Lauren and Kylie were creative. They kept our day running on-time. And, my favorite, when taking a group photo they both would take pictures with our guests’ cameras too.  Guests could have purchased the same picture online, but they took the time (and lost the money) to take the pictures.  They also stayed a little bit longer until after Rob and I left…getting some of my favorite photos! (#520—I heart you, Meaghan Peters!)

Annie Leibovitz once said, “I wish that all of nature’s magnificence, the emotion of the land, the living energy of place could be photographed.” The place we chose for our wedding was truly naturally magnificent…breathtaking in fact. The emotion of our wedding day was pure joy. Rob and I wanted our wedding to feel like everyone was celebrating with us, not at us. And that feeling was accomplished. There was so much JOY at our wedding.

Our photographers, Lauren and Kylie, captured both the amazing awe-inspired beauty of the Gore Mountains and the incredible joy that filled the ranch. As you scroll through the pictures, I hope you too can be inspired by nature’s magnificence and feel the energy of joy that filled our wedding day.

Thank you Lauren Johnson and Kylie Watters for making our incredible day last a lifetime! I absolutely adore all of them.

If you would like to enjoy, please go to:

http://www.ljohnsonphoto.com/Weddings

password: robert

I will be posting pictures in the (not so near) future. Some photos are so incredibly awesome that the story behind them must be told. In due time, you’ll get the story behind them. But for now, feel free to enjoy.

 

The Last Week of March

It seems to me, that death has been everywhere these past couple of months. I can’t begin to list the emails that have fallen into our emails at school. I’ve always heard that death comes in 3’s. This year it seems to be in 3’s or 6’s and maybe even 9’s. Most of them, I have not known personally. But each one has had an impact on someone around me.

Over spring break, I went to New York. It feels weird to enter this big city and yet feel at home. I’m learning to understand it more and more (one subway line at a time). But mostly, it has a feeling of home because Rob is there. I fell in love there.

For the first time, Rob and I were able to travel to Long Island without the help of the railroad. We rented a car and could leave, stop and go on our own timetable. This was a lovely experience. One of our Long Island stops included a visit to the cemetery. His mom passed away many years ago– Long before she could see him graduate from law school, to see him buy his first home, to see him get married. We stood there for awhile – sharing in the sadness, but feeling the healing.

As we drove out of the cemetery, I got a phone call from Kate. She told me that Mrs. Bell had passed away. I’ve been trying to write about this for a week now. But yet the words can’t seem to describe how precious the Bell family has been to the Goebels. We come from a small church. And in this church, you are family. This family has loved us.

I’ve been trying to remember a specific story about her. But they all get lost. They jumble together. There are just too many moments for a family that was always an important part of my life. Dinners around their table, her weekly violin encouragement, watching her serve in the church and seeing her paintings around town. Her daughter, Jan, is one of the most influential people in my life. Growing up, I wanted to be just like Jan. I watched how she acted, how she did her hair, what clothes she wore, and how she cared for other people. Now I know, that what made Jan such a great role model, was the role model she had in her mother.

The Saturday night before Mrs. Bell died, my mom went over to sit with her. She kept her company while her husband went to see their grandchildren sing in a concert. I am glad my mom had that time with her. When my mom got home, she called and told me all about their conversations. They talked about the wedding, and how Mrs. Bell had worn a pillbox hat when she got married. She also told mom that she was ready to go.

The next day, I was scheduled to do the scripture reading at church. Wouldn’t you know, it was I Thessalonians 4:

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words

I couldn’t help but think about Mrs. Bell as I read these words before the congregation. My voice was shaky not because of nerves. But, because I knew her time was coming near. He is not a God of coincidence.

A week later, I boarded a plane trying to put into words in an email to the Superintendent what this woman meant to me. I was desperate to attend the funeral. To grieve with my family. As I buckled my seatbelt, approval was granted.

This all happened the last week of March. A wave of emotion sweeps over me every time I hit this time of year. Seventeen years ago, I babysat Diana on the last Sunday night in March. She was a sweet third grader in our church. We were also family. Our moms spent a lot of time together. She was just like a little sister to me. And I mean that with my whole heart. We ate egg salad sandwiches and watched The Fox and the Hound. And just a few days later, she was gone.

I remember standing at the cemetery at her funeral. The sun was bright, there were birds chirping and the ground was soft beneath my feet. But there was still a winter’s chill in the air. As we drove to Mrs. Bell’s funeral, the air felt the same. Winter was passing away, and spring was trying to push through. I am grateful for those little things, that even though we are in our grief, we have hope. Despite that we feel cold, empty and that deep sadness of winter, God has given us hope in a spring. We have the hope of life returning. Eternal life.

It’s About Time…

The truth is I not only toyed with the idea of a blog in June, I actually registered for this blog in June. And here it is…the end of October. I get all caught up in what my first entry should be. I feel like it should be memorable and thoughtful. And so time passed by.

But I think it’s about time I start blogging. I’ve begun a new journey. A crazy journey. And you might as well come along for the ride.

I’m engaged. My fiance lives in New York. I live in Illinois. And we’re planning a wedding in Colorado. I don’t know if you noticed, but that’s three different states. It’s also three different time zones.  It’s three different reasons to make me really consider an elopement package. Some of these posts could get a little interesting.

When someone has good news at school, the lucky teacher brings donuts and a clever poem to put in the teacher’s lounge. I couldn’t believe this moment was here for me. I’m not one to love the center of attention, and I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of love and support showered on me in those 30 minutes. It was pure jubilation.

Except for one Debbie Downer. Someone asked when we were hoping to get married. And I was saying, “Next summer, hopefully in July…” when I overheard Debbie Downer say, “Well, that’s not very much time” and caught her negative eye roll and shaking her head out of the corner of my eye. I tried not to let her pin pop my good mood balloon, but I would be lying if I didn’t feel a little panicked in that moment…

…Because Rob is only here for one week each month, and we only had a few days left. There was no more time to just sit and marvel and soak in being engaged. We had to hit the ground running. In three days, we made a budget, a guest list, opened a joint savings account and decided on a state. We also went for ice cream two out of three of those nights. There are some things you should always make time for.

On another note about time, I love to write—but I hate to edit. It’s true. I’m a third grade teacher who loves to overuse commas and use fragments and weird word order. I know this is a fault. But if I ever write a book, I promise I will get a really good editor. But please don’t judge me on any grammatical or mechanical errors. If you make me worry about your judgement, this will never get done. I don’t have time to go through this with my purple felt-tipped pen. Thank you.