A Merrier World

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I overheard my parents having a conversation recently after hearing about the lottery winners on the news:
"It would be so great to pay off all of our debts."
"And we could give half the money to the church, and to the OCMC" {Orthodox Mission Center}
"I don't even think I'd want to move into a bigger house. Maybe we could just buy a second home..."

Yea, I would not say no to a second home if it looked like this.

It made me laugh inside.
And not because I thought they were being silly,
or that I was above them or anything like that:
It was because Peter and I had the same conversation about a month ago.
It went the same way-
We'd give money to the church,
Pay off our school loans,
Send our children to good colleges,
Help out our loved ones if they've fallen down.

And in theory,
Throwing money at people and problems seems a brilliant idea.
Money always makes people happy, right?

right. Not exactly.
We've all seen how The Great Gatsby ends
{ok, maybe Baz Lurhmann hasn't. He kind of lost the plot there...}

And I know this is not a new rant;
We live in a consumer society, I get that-
We have the freedom of choice,
and we must always have the Next Big Thing.
In fact, we must have ALL THE THINGS,
if we are to eventually find happiness.
That's what the commercials are saying these days, anyways.
Merry Christmas to all, right?

shout out to Allie Brosch, whose book happens to be one of my gifts for a certain sibling...ahem. 

I've noticed a lot of bloggers post 'wish lists,'
They maybe thinly veiled under a guise of 'for that special someone'
{i.e. things you WISH that he'd wear}
or a little less subtle
like what you'll be buying for yourself with your crisp Christmas bills,
'your prize for being good all year'....

Don't get me wrong;
I'm all for a proper gift guide!
For one, I've gotten at least three gift ideas from these kinds of posts,
Many of which are pretty spot on and have some great ideas for what to get for loved ones
{Joanna Goddard's very often hit the nail on the head.}
And I am DEFINITELY victim to this consumer mindset.
My closet is literally spilling over with stuff,
And yet I still feel like I need more, somehow;
This essential cardigan or that absolutely necessary cognac boot
{c'mon, self, you live in Florida. You do not need leather riding boots. let it go}

The truth is,
We really don't need all the things,
I doubt we even need most of the things.
And we certainly don't need to win the lottery do good and to live a good life
I mean, look where it gets Thorin Oakenshield,
The King under the Mountain, when he wins back his piles of riches and gold, and the arkenstone.
{hint/spoiler alert: it doesn't get him very far}


 Anyways, the best I can do is repeat the words of another who is wiser than me:

"if more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

You know where that's from, don't you?
Have a blessed Christmas, everyone <3

Music Monday

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hope everyone had a great weekend

I find this song incredibly uplifting when I'm feeling down and out.
{you'd be surprised how much that happens during the holidays}

But hey,
The sun still rises, even through the rain.

The Perks of Delaware

Friday, December 20, 2013

When Peter first told me that he had an interview for a job in Delaware
I was not quite sure what part of Canada he was referring to.
That's a gross exaggeration.
My geography is not THAT bad.
{it's pretty close, though.}

I was conservatively excited for him,
seeing as I know nothing about the state.
This trip definitely made me a convert.
Delaware has some great culture to offer
If not in its own borders than in the very closely neighboring states
{Peter literally runs through Maryland on his weekly route}

The Brandywine Museum is one example.
OK, it's in Pennsylvania,
but it's 30 minutes from the border,
so in my mind, that counts.
They have an excellent collection of Wyeth family paintings,
{Andrew Wyeth and family, best known for Christina's World.}
since they are from the area,
and a decent collection of other artists as well.
I loved this still life of antlers and a rifle and hunting coat:
 This one definitely reminded me of the film UP.

 I thought this was a cool photo. And despite my face, I really did have a great time.
The problem is, half of what the Brandywine Museum has to offer is outside of the museum itself,
Including the Wyeth Studio and a beautiful garden.
So I'm looking forward to going back when it's a bit, eh...warmer outside.
I know, I know.
Spoken like a true Florida wimp Girl.

Peter showed me around his lab a bit during the week too.
I always said I could never be with a man with a 'typical' job,
whatever that meant to my young impressionable teenage girl brain.
Safe to say that I got what I wished for :)
We also spent a lot of time cooking

This man.
He makes me laugh.

And of course, eating.
 Shout out to Ali Baba for the most amazing salmon and heart-shaped falafel!


One of our last stops on the trip was to Longwood Gardens.
{Also apparently in Pennsylvania. Whoops.}
We did a quick tour outside,

And to be honest
I was pretty disappointed..
There just wasn't much growing or flourishing in the cold weather.

Until we came to the greenhouses.
From the moment we stepped inside,
I was sold.
These greenhouses are gorgeous enough to rival those in Kew Gardens,
and that is saying quite a lot.

My favorite part was actually the bathroom.
No, really,
It was flanked by these huge green walls of ivy and ferns.
Simply stunning.
 So obviously we had to take photos...

and I have a very awkward  duck-like posture

We learned a lot about
each other on this trip.
For example,
Peter loves hydrangeas..

It was such an incredible place.
And yes,
I know it's in Pennsylvania.
NOT Delaware.
But I still think it counts.
three cheers for the thievery of boyfriend's hats and gloves!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Dad got all three record players in the house working again
Which means we're both rediscovering old favorites, like this one:

It also happens to be playing on some random credit card commercial
Which inexplicably makes me cry every time I watch it.
{Don't ask. My hormones are very confused these days...}

Tomorrow Peter leaves for London.
The day after Luke comes back home.
And then it's Christmas!

I'm definitely looking forward to celebrating Christ's birth at church Christmas eve,
then lounging around with my family Christmas day.
We have a tradition of breaking our fast after the 24th service,
While reading the gospel of the birth in the bible.
Then we each open one present
{usually some awesome book from our parents that gets read the same night- nerd much?}
and have a relaxing Christmas morning opening presents and lounging in our pajamas.

We don't get up at 6 to open our presents anymore,
But I still look forward to that precious time with my family each year.
I was in London with Peter's family last year, and it just wasn't the same
{though I did steal their tradition of Christmas crackers to get the party started this year :)}

What are your family traditions?
If you're not Christian, how do you celebrate the holidays?
{a Jewish friend of mine gets Chinese food and watches movies,
which sounds pretty nice and relaxing to me!}

Thanksgiving in the Frigid North

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We only spent a couple of days up in Massachusetts for Thanksgiving
But I'm really glad we did.
In spite of the heinous 11 hour drive through heavy traffic and slick icy roads,
We came in near midnight to a gentle snow fall.
And that magical calm remained with us for the duration of our time there.

It was great to see my brother, for one.
We were best friends growing up.
He moved up there over a year ago now, and since then we've all missed him terribly.

For another,
my cousins live on a large strip of land in Western Massachusetts
On which my Aunt Maggie has a huge garden, and raises chickens,
and is essentially an all-around badass
{she once asked for a truckload of manure for her birthday.
How many girls do you know who would do such a thing?}

Peter and I were more than happy to help with chores around the land.
He was quite keen to get on the tractor

And I was happy to feed the chickens and collect their eggs :)

This is me with my cousin Katia.
She is a pretty hilarious and clever girl
Hence the blurry laughing photo :)

In spite of the cold, we spent  a lot of time outdoors
It was just too beautiful outside not to.

Peter and the Michelin man 

Not my boots. 
But I totally wish that they were.

My Uncle is actually Peter's Godfather.
He was kind enough to take us to the log cabin my cousins grew up in.
It's now being used to start and Orthodox Christian Mission
It was such a beautiful, peaceful place,
the perfect little spiritual home in the woods for prayer and reflection.
It was also really sweet to see my uncle, 
A high school football star,
Teach Peter a little about the sport

And of course-
The feast!
It was a lenten Thanksgiving,
Meaning turkey was replaced with fresh baked fish,
Sweet potatoes, and heaps of autumn vegetables
{A few left over from my aunt's last harvest}

Great food,
Good drink,
And the finest company West of Worcester
What more could you want?

Peter and I are both so thankful,
Not only for our weird and wonderful immediate families 
{and they are pretty darn wonderful}
But for the extended relatives who made us feel so welcome and at home this year.
We are very blessed.

Thanksgiving break

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hey Guys!

I guess it's about time I shared photos from over a month ago. Now or never, eh? ;-)

I spent most of the break in Delaware with Peter.
So these are the photos from that part of my trip.

And when I wasn't huddled under bundles of layers trying not to freeze, like this:

Yes. This is what
Florida sunshine
ultimately does to one's

I had a pretty awesome time!

We found the coolest pub in Lancaster, PA, run by two Irishmen from Cork.
They had Magners, so obviously I was a happy girl :)

 The Lancaster Market was quite impressive.
it was my first exposure to the Amish people and culture,
but had so much more than that to offer
{as evidenced by Peter's falafel and frappe from a Greek kiosque}

 Peter loved this herb and tea market
And the pub {Tellus Three Sixty}
was attached to a cute little shop
{double win!}

We ended the night with this gorgeous sunset.
It could not have been more lovely.

Next up, the Brandywine Museum...