MARRIED: HAYDEN + ADAM

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Dear Thursday,

Usually, this blog serves as a virtual journal of sorts. I only post my personal, week-to-week stuff here, as a creative outlet and for the sake of remembering—but this morning I’m making an exception. Try as I might, I couldn’t make myself limit this wedding to ten photos on Facebook.

As a perfectionist coming to terms with the fact that we all have to start somewhere, I’m so grateful for couples willing to take a chance on a photographer just starting out in the wedding industry. Hayden and Adam were kind and relaxed, and their backyard wedding was intimate, thoughtful and fun. The whole day felt like a celebration! Learn more about Hayden and Adam’s incredible story on Hayden’s blog, www.themerkelmiracle.com, and meanwhile, take a little tour of their wedding day.

Their joy is contagious.

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RECIPE: CHOCOLATE BANANA ‘ANYTIME’ SHAKE

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Dear Thursday,

I don’t know when I became such a homebody—probably I always have been—but lately I find that my favorite kind of days are the regular ones: quiet, uneventful, with nothing on the agenda but laundry to fold, Gilmore Girls to watch and a protein shake for lunch. I could spend my entire weekend this way, let alone Thursdays.

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My favorite protein shake is not inspiringly original, but it’s my go-to for morning, afternoon or evening—whenever I need something delicious and quick that’s good for me (in other words, almost everyday.) I don’t often use measurements in my kitchen, least of all when I use my blender, so consider the list of ingredients below a general guideline and add or take away whatever you like—and enjoy!

CHOCOLATE BANANA ‘ANYTIME’ SHAKE

  • Frozen bananas (1-2. I buy several bunches of bananas at a time, peel them, cut them in halves and store them in ziplock bags in the freezer.)
  • Cocoa powder (about a tablespoon.)
  • Peanut butter (about a tablespoon.)
  • Almond milk (1/2 to 1 cup—enough to help the ingredients blend together, but not so much that the shake becomes liquified.)
  • Cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon or less.)
  • Coffee ice cubes (3-6 cubes. Whenever we have leftover coffee from breakfast, I pour it in an ice cube tray and freeze it.)
  • Chia seeds (about a tablespoon.)

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WHAT I HAVE TO SAY

Dear Thursday,

I don’t feel like writing today. I don’t have anything to say.

But I’m saying something anyway.

I’ve made a pact with myself: that every Thursday, no matter my mood, no matter my motif, I will write something and I will post it on this blog. This will be my weekly exercise; my method of combating perfectionism, laziness and the all-or-nothing attitude I have about life that keeps me from creating.

Writing is hard. I’d much rather sit and think of all the things I could write about, than attempt to put clumsy words to my ideas. I’d far prefer to fiddle with the details of something I’ve already written, than write something new. It’s easier to do nothing at all—when I’m feeling insecure, unmotivated or uninspired—than to drudge up stuff that’s hard for me to articulate. Sometimes I have something difficult to say, and I don’t know where to start, or how to say it. Sometimes I don’t like how I say it. Sometimes I don’t think I have anything to say at all.

But I always do.

Even now, I do.

And I didn’t think that I did.

And that’s what I have to say today.

 

 

 

MICROADVENTURE: THE OREGON STATE FAIR

 

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Dear Thursday,

With the exception of one year of college and a few months of marriage spent two states away, I’ve lived in the same rural community my entire life. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to experience life outside of the little town I grew up in—maybe it’s because I’m naive to the rest of the world, or ungrateful, or too stubborn to see the advantages of living where I was born—but all I’ve ever wanted is to leave this place.

All I’ve ever wanted is to live somewhere that everybody in town doesn’t already know my last name. All I’ve ever wanted is to explore new places and meet new people. All I’ve ever wanted is a really big, exciting, exotic adventure—away from here. But the longer we live here, and the better I learn to embrace just how little control I have over circumstances in our lives (including, but not limited to, where we live)—the more I appreciate and seek out what Jordan likes to call “microadventures”.

For us, a microadventure is just what it sounds like: an adventure—that is something new, different or unexpected—on the micro level. Breakfast at a new cafe downtown is a microadventure. Camping under the stars in our front yard is a microadventure. Driving down a road we’ve never been on is a microadventure. This summer, I wrote down a list of microadventures we wanted to do together (go to a rodeo, see the new Bourne movie in theaters, soak in one of Oregon’s natural hot springs, etcetera) and week by week, in no particular order, we’ve been crossing items off of my list.

The Oregon State Fair was microadventure #3 on that list.

Neither of us had been before and we had rather grand expectations. It didn’t live up to our lofty standards, but it did provide all of the fair essentials: homemade art exhibits, 4-H animals and exceptional hand-dipped corndogs (as remarked by Jordan, the gas station corndog connoisseur.) We spent the night before at a KOA cabin with friends, playing mini golf and roasting hotdogs, and the morning after with more friends, eating pancakes and drinking coffee. The whole weekend was a reminder to me that I can be thankful: thankful for friends with a sense of humor and a passion for fried food equal to our own. Thankful for campfires to sit around at night, wooly-headed sheep to pet, lively conversations and new memories. Thankful, especially, for the idea behind microadventures: that new and fun things can be found wherever you are, whatever you do, and that life holds so much good. All I’ve ever wanted is to leave the town I live in, to move on with my life—I spend too much time daydreaming about living in Canada or Montana or Maui, and I know it. But this Thursday? I want to remind myself:

I’m thankful for the place I’m in.

(P.S. Prepare yourself for WAY too many photos of chickens and horses and sheep.)

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T-SHIRT GIRL

 

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Dear Thursday,

I’ve always been a T-shirt and jeans kind of girl. There are few childhood photos of me in anything else. As a kid, I was the definition of a tomboy, never without my signature ponytail and always barefaced and sun kissed. Even now, when I’m home alone, you’ll find me with my hair, too long, pulled back in a braid; the freckles on my nose exposed—not dulled by powder or foundation—wearing a worn-out pair of jeans and an old T-shirt shirt from my husband’s side of the dresser. Sometimes I wonder: if this is how I dress and what I look like when I’m most comfortable, isn’t this who I am? Why do I smear on eyeshadow and dust my cheekbones with bronzer on the weekends? Why do I dig a skirt out of my closet and a pretty, girly top to wear before going out in public? Does dressing up and looking cute really make me feel better about myself, or would I feel more secure in my usual T-shirt and jeans, because a T-shirt and jeans is who I usually am? Do clothes matter? Does mascara make a difference? Is appearance worth anything?

I want to look good. I don’t want to be a slob. But I also want to be myself, regardless of social standards or trends. How can I do that—how can I own my T-shirt and jeans, bare face and ponytail without sacrificing my God-given femininity? Because a woman is what I am, but a tomboy is who I am.

I want to be both.

A HORSE OF COURSE

Dear Thursday,

I’m practically a modern day Laura Ingalls Wilder. Living in my little house on the prairie, blue sky and open space all around me, loyal dog, loving husband, garden plot in my front yard—what do I need that I don’t already have?

Why, a horse, of course. *

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*These are not my horses. (I just wish they were.)

 

RAINY DAYS ARE FOR WRITING LETTERS

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Dear Thursday,

It’s raining today. For me, rainy days are for writing letters.

I believe in words, being intentional and the disappearing art of the tangible. Writing a letter is all of those things. As fun and as useful as social media can be, I unapologetically loathe the culture of convenience and insincerity it contributes to, and I’m protesting. I’m writing letters. A letter in the mail may not seem like much of a rebellion, I know, but I think a letter in the mail means astronomically more than a “like” on Facebook—and honestly, that’s all I’m aiming for: real life relationships and creating something tangible once in a while. Words, and using them intentionally. Taking time to send something to someone I care about instead of posting on my Instagram account. Because just as scrolling through Wikipedia doesn’t equal reading a book, getting a letter in the mail and getting a comment on Twitter will never be comparable.

My rainy days will always be for writing letters.

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