19 Years Later

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1996

Happy Anniversary, Marco! Can you believe it has been 19 years since our wedding? The day was perfect. The temperature was an ideal low 70s and the New England leaves were just starting to turn into their gorgeous fall foliage colors. That morning, as I got ready, I scarfed down Dunkin’ Donuts and prayed I wouldn’t stain my dress. Spoiler alert, I didn’t!

Katie Beth, our flower girl, was so tired. It was nap time and she looked at me before walking down the aisle and said, “Auntie! Hold my hand!” Her dad rushed over and took her hand and walked with her. I love that memory; she was my buddy.

I walked down the aisle to Over The Rhine Rhapsodie … and there you were. My best friend. Oh the butterflies!

5 children, 3 states, medical emergencies, work trips, vacations, major job changes, leaps of faith, fights, laughter, death, and more. I hasn’t been easy. I can’t even put into words our journey because it would be a book. It is all worth it to be with you. I hope you feel the same.

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2017

So, Mr Gardner, here’s to another 50 years. You’re stuck with me. I was wrong on the day of our wedding. I thought I couldn’t love you more than I did in that moment, but I was naive. That was such an innocent love. Now, I love you madly and deeply and so much more than I ever thought was possible. There are still butterflies. No regrets. Happy anniversary, my love.

~Andrea

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Something of Value

My husband hung 2 white shelves in my kitchen for me. They are the type of shelf meant for decorations. They look perfect.

The night he hung them we were all in bed and suddenly an enormous crash woke us up. My husband and I went flying down the stairs to see, in utter dismay, one of the shelves fell. The anchors were still in the wall, but the shelf managed to fall and everything on it crashed to the floor. Oddly, the decorative sugar bowl didn’t shatter. Neither did the clay bird my 15 year old made in kindergarten. The mold of the 7 year old’s hand broke a little; the base and one finger. The finger I can glue back on. Everything else shattered.

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The upper shelf fell at 1:30 AM. A part of me wishes I had taken a picture of the epic mess it made. 

Someone mentioned to me how sorry they were that all my stuff broke. What I found interesting was that I wasn’t sorry at all.

Back track 4 years ago, I would have been so upset had this happened. I love elephants and one off the items that shattered was my little black elephant statue. The teapot my mom sent also shattered, as did the heart I made in Bible Study. I would emotionally attach myself to objects all the time. Why? Why did I have this attachment? I think it was a learned behavior. We are taught to put extra value on items that can reference any memory, emotion, or family history. However, none of these objects, aside from the heart, really had a meaningful story behind it. The story behind the heart is one I can simply pass down to my children, no object needed.

So what changed in the last 4 years? Why am I suddenly able to emotionally separate myself from objects I was once attached to? I think it was an evolution really. Over the last 4 years I dealt with so many unknowns, inconsistencies, changes, and more. I learned nothing is permanent or reliable no matter how hard you try to keep things “as is.” It took 4 years to learn this lesson and the comment from one person to realize I learned it.

So what does it mean? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Frankly, I don’t think it is falls into either category. I think it is great to have sentimental attachments, but to a degree. We can’t attach ourselves to every little thing in our lives. We become obsessed.

I also think it is unhealthy to have zero attachment anything at all. We are humans and we are made to have feelings. That is one of the major distinctions between us and animals; and even then some species are closing that gap. But I digress …

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Some things help you remember moments more clearly; helping to to treasure the important aspects of life. 

Back to my shelf … Bummer the teapot, elephant, and heart broke, but it is OK. They are just stuff. However, had the hand or bird been shattered, I know there would have been tears. Why? Because, God forbid anything to happen to one of my children, these precious pieces of art that they hand made transport me to the time they made them. Their joy at showing me their amazing creations. Knowing their hands carefully crafted the items. I can see the pudgy kindergarten hands of my now 15 year old. I can see the sparkle of excitement in the eyes of the 7 year old. I remember odd things, like what they were wearing, and these objects help my brain to keep those memories fresh and focused. Sometimes we NEED the physical reminder so we don’t forget.

I understand this post is mostly babble to you and that is OK. I am realizing what things really matter in life because not everything can hold value, but I am also learning it is OK to have attachment to some things.

~Andrea

Deliberate

planner

My new planner, stickers, and an inspiration journal, which actually goes with a different planner, but I loved the layout.

I am challenging myself in 2017. I have a word that will define my year; deliberate. I have 3 verses from the Bible to focus on (they go together and also go with my word); Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” and Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” and Psalm 20:4 “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

I have a new top-secret life plan (it is currently between Marco, God, & me), I have a new planner, a new journal, a new determination.

Back to deliberate…
I have always been a picture-taking Momma. I am also a person who throws useless junk away, but I tend to do it in moments of anger because there are messes and stuff just laying around. I want to be more organized about it; more deliberate.

I am also going to be deliberate in my memory-catching. Each day I want to take a picture with a theme. There is a catch though. Each picture has to also have a story. Whether personal to me directly or one of my kids, my husband, my brothers, parents, etc. It simply can’t just be a random picture. It will be interesting how I make some things more than just a random picture. I got the picture list from a Google search (get it HERE). It is not my list. I do not credit myself with it. Do not give me credit in the creation of the list. I do not own it.

I also want to be more deliberate with my purging. Currently I toss stuff that simply angers me because it is in my way in that moment. I want a method to my purging madness. It will not be everyday; just a few per month. The point is I want to be deliberate.

I am going to test run this challenge in January and take it month by month and tweak it as needed. I am not sure if I will post daily or weekly. That is why January is my test run. Here is my January schedule.

January 1 — photograph favorite color & purge clothing, shoes, hats, scarves, etc
January 2 — photograph a circle
January 3 — photograph an animal
January 4 — photograph a favorite item
January 5 — photograph something delicious
January 6 — photograph myself
January 7 — photograph inside fridge
January 8 — photograph a wall
January 9 — photograph a bag
January 10 — photograph 2 things
January 11 — photograph time
January 12 — photograph a leaf
January 13 — photograph people
January 14 — photograph a path
January 15 — photograph where I sleep & purge in side toys
January 16 — photograph music
January 17 — photograph mail
January 18 — photograph today
January 19 — photograph a shape
January 20 — photograph something white
January 21 — photograph growth
January 22 — photograph in my town & purge DVDs
January 23 — photograph this is mine
January 24 — photograph what I do
January 25 — photograph in the backyard
January 26 — photograph yum
January 27 — photograph I can’t live without
January 28 — photograph a sign
January 29 — photograph shadow & purge old bikes, scooters, skates, etc
January 30 — photograph hello
January 31 — photograph something colorful

I will leave you with my favorite saying that I made into a picture.

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~Andrea