Trout Season

Last year Shane teased about standing shoulder to shoulder on opening day, until on my first cast, I reeled back in a lovely, little rainbow. What really began, besides friendly competition, was Shane joining in on one of my traditions. I can’t believe that, with all the build up to the moment, that the time is now long passed by and it is May.

I had gathered snacks the whole week before, this included a desperate search for peach rings at a big, blue chain store. Did you know that there are no peach rings in the Clarion, Pennsylvania Walmart? At least they had Shane’s other requested treat, pull-apart Twizzlers, which were a huge hit with my nephew, Marcus. (Note to self: before they ever come visit, pick up chocolate milk and pull apart Twizzlers.)

So I had done all this searching for snacks and had even gotten sweet rolls from my favorite local bakery, which I promise to gush over in another blogpost, intended for a breakfast. Well, on our way to my folks, Shane and I stopped at a little local market, where, first off, we scored peach rings, but Shane asked if we could take the little camp stove to cook breakfast while we waited to cast. When it was agreed that we probably could, we grabbed some delicious, garlic bacon to fry up.

Saturday morning, we loaded up all the food, and oh, yeah, the fishing stuff and headed to Parker Dam State Park. We brought the sweet rolls, heated them in the camp stove, and ate them while we waited for the bacon to fry up next. It was a quiet, cool morning, with the sun promising to shine, which was good being that my brother and sister-in-law were headed up with the niece and nephews.

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The shore was crowded with family and friends of all ages. Groups sitting side by side, apologizing when their kid’s line crossed over three stranger’s own line. We cast for the kids in our own party most of the time, but now and again, we were the ones apologizing and correcting a crooked cast from a kid. Even my Grandma Hayes and aunt joined us that day, my grandma wanting to take advantage of her lifetime license.

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After the hustle and bustle of keeping an eye on the active kids, catching trout, and snacking all morning, my dad, Shane and I headed to the quieter creek setting and hit both Laurel Run in Parker Dam and Moose Creek on the mountain. Moose Creek was one of the places where I first got to see Shane and his best friend Scott in their truest form. It was good to finally go back there, remember that day with Shane and Scott, but also to make new memories.

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Something that my whole family thrives on is quality time. After listening to The Five Love Languages book with my parents and Shane on our way to Chincoteague one summer, we all decided it was one of the top, if not the top language of us all. I am so lucky that we all have that in common, it is easy to fulfill when you all have the same goal, shared, quality time. But, I also have to back up and say how fortunate I am to have a husband and parents who would all listen to that book together and enjoy discussing it afterwards.

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With out intending it to be so, I have to summarize this entry by saying it is one full of thankfulness. I am thankful we found peach rings and pull-apart twizzlers that the kids enjoyed and for the breakfast we had. I am thankful I got to see the joy on the kid’s faces as they saw trout pulled from the water at the state park I am thankful for, Parker Dam. I am thankful it was a sunny day after all the crazy weather that lead up to it. I am thankful for the quality time spent with everyone at Parker Dam and the quieter quality time at the creeks later that day.

Thanks Best Friend

I told myself that I would finish three books by the end of December. When it comes to December goals, being the salt, giving, adding finishing three books didn’t seem like a stretch. The only issue is, I get distracted fairly easily while reading, because a point from the book will remind me of a song, another book, or a Bible verse and I will head off in that direction to look up those lyrics, line or verse.

It seemed important I set a goal on these particular books because I’ve been immersed in two for some time now. The first one “The Meaning of Marriage” by Timothy Keller was a pre-wedding gift from my cousin and bridesmaid, Carlie. “The Mercy Prayer” by Robert Gelinas is the second that I began soon after Scott passed, and am very close to finishing it. Finally, I am half way through “Be the Gift” by Ann Voskamp. While all of these books are handling a different topic, I am thoroughly enjoying the overlapping facts I am discovering.

Ann’s book has challenged me to be the gift through word or action, living a life daily given. Meanwhile, Robert’s book, more about prayer, really challenged in chapters six and seven to live on the border, to serve those who we might not normally serve. I combined those two ideas to how can I give to those on the border, how can I reach out and give to those I wouldn’t normally. This has been a challenge of sorts as I have shared how I can be shy and it is far easier to stay with in our comfort zones.

After reading a chapter about friendship in Timothy Keller’s book, I couldn’t help but begin to draw lines between this idea of giving from Ann’s book to giving in an intimate relationship such as a marriage. As the marriage book put it, a relationship where your partner should be your best friend, willing to be there for each other during your christian walk, help each other, and have the ability to be truthful with each other.

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I’ve come to really find out, you give a lot when you are in a marriage. Giving of yourself requires mercy, pity, and kindness, all carry a sense vulnerability. What if you show mercy, pity and are kind and you get no acknowledgment for those actions given? Giving and receiving no thanks can jade us towards the opportunity to give again. It can be an easy cycle to fall into of giving, getting hurt over the thankless response to our kindness, then with-holding a gift of kindness, and finally, in turn, becoming bitter and thankless ourselves. Something couples can easily fall back on is the go to statement of, “You don’t appreciate all I do.”; in other words, you don’t appreciate all the time and effort I give. I give up my time to make our lives better, your life better, and when is there a thank you given in return?

With these three books ideas really beginning to weave together, I thought instead of getting hung up on the thankless part, what about me giving thanks? For I am certain I do not say thank you for everything Shane does. When it comes down to it, I feel blessed that Shane often does come to the dinner table and says thank you for cooking, so what is something I can thank him for daily? Because I want to give in our marriage too, I want our marriage to benefit from my December goals of being the salt and giving.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

If I can gift that appreciation to him daily, well, studies show that can go a long way. Out of the many studies on gratitude, one  found that couples, after receiving gratitude, noticed that their partner was more responsive to their needs; overall, they were more satisfied with their relationship. Meanwhile another study reported that saying thank you strengthened a women’s marital commitment while it protected them against the negative effects of poor communication during a conflict. Could it be that just kicking things off by saying thanks can get the ball of communication rolling?

With Shane being so great at saying thank you every time I cook, maybe I can start there and say thank you for noticing and giving me feedback on what I do make. It may seem small, but at the end of the day, I love that I am married to my best friend and I do get to go along my christian walk with him and we get to help each other shine. Our marriage isn’t void of thank you’s, but when reading study after study of the positive benefits of being grateful has on a couple, it couldn’t hurt to add a pinch of thank you’s here and a dab of gratefulness there.

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Picture’s from a sort of engagement “shoot” we did while on a hike with my folks

Blue and Orange

Reminders of thankfulness

With so many incomplete rooms in our home, I like keeping the dining room table looking neat and like we could sit down at it. So Friday as Shane plugged away at work, I opened a box marked “Katy’s Ceramics”. To be completely honest, none of the stuff was great. It was from a summer semester I took of it, and though I was making good stuff, on some the glaze didn’t work out, running and sticking to the kiln, while others had little stones in the clay that popped big chips in my finished pieces.

So the decorating of the dining room table actually began when I flipped over the beautiful table runner gifted to me at my shower to the blue side and set it on our table. It needed something else, so I got out a lovely ceramic bowl someone else got me, being it was so lonely, off I went to the “Katy’s Ceramics” box. Pitcher after pitcher, tea pot after teapot got pulled out, and I played with them all until I came up with the ones that would stay, I added height and texture with some metal bowls, another gift, then added the bright pops of orange. Yet another gift I might add.

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I went to bed that night feeling pretty pleased with my table that looked like it belonged in a home where two people live, so the next day I woke up energized and let Shane sleep in as I made some Frangelico French toast. This list of flavors added to the egg soaked bread may evoke some thoughts of the holidays, but we enjoyed it on a regular, old March saturday just as much.

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Frangelico French Toast for Two

  • Four slices of hearty bread
  • 3 eggs, or as needed
  • 1 Tablespoon Frangelico liquor
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla butter flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Whisk the eggs together and the remaining ingredients
  2. Dip and cover the bread in the egg mixture, transfer to greased, heated pan and cook until no longer runny, and bread bounces back with a soft press

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After a hearty breakfast and a nice visit from my sister and brother in law, we headed up to their property to pick out logs for our closet. We have many grand plans for our walk in closet, and we actually got really good headway on this project. I think we tackled that “to-do” list better this Saturday and Sunday, we worked together well, and even got to the painting step.

All weekend I was reminded again and again of how grateful I can and should be. I got to make our dining room table look inviting, and only had to purchase some blue flowers to finish the look I was after, we got to go pick out logs from our sister and brother in laws property, in turn, helping them clear some trees, and we patched and painted walls. In the end, we figured out where Leah would be staying when she came to visit. All of this got me smiling and excited, from the blue and orange center piece I made to the newly painted closet. Shane joked and said, “Are you happy because we finally went and picked out logs.” Yes, that made me happy, but more than just happy, I was thankful we could. I think thankfulness precedes real happiness.

Had I just been happy over the logs, the happiness would’ve faded when we came back and I realized the logs really just added one more thing to our over crowded basement. Had I just been happy over the paint, I would’ve quickly lost that bounce in my step after realizing we would need another coat. Had I been hinging my weekends happiness over dressing up my dining room table, it would’ve faded when I looked up at the dark, burgundy walls surrounding my bright little table.

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I love verses about thankfulness. Some tag it in on the end, like oh, and be thankful. But I am going to include one that says in what ever you do to be thankful. I like that, because as I sit here at my dining room table, I am thankful for every piece of flawed ceramic’s, for they still look beautiful, I am thankful for each and every thoughtful gift that adds colors and textures to my home, and I am thankful for all the relationships behind each one of those gifts.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him