The Best Mothers

Even though I seem to have missed Mother’s Day by about a week, Moms deserve to be celebrated and recognized every day.

I really have the most wonderful mom. As I get older, and I navigate my own challenges and try to do things that seem hard to me, I often think of my mom. I wonder how she managed to do all that she did for us. She worked (and still does) so hard to give us all that she could. She is a shining, incredible example of love, courage, thoughtfulness, generosity, and sacrifice. She taught me to be strong and independent. She taught me that hands are washable, and I can work hard. She made me believe that I could do anything I set my mind to. She has always loved and supported me, no matter how questionable or unconventional my plans seemed to be, and I know that she always will. I am so grateful that I get to be her daughter.

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Mom, you are beautiful. In every way. I love you.

Marrying my husband meant that I also became part of another family. I feel so fortunate to have the most wonderful in-laws. I recently learned that they tell people I’m not their “daughter-in-law” but their “new daughter.” How sweet is that? They have showered me with so much love, kindness, and thoughtfulness, it truly feels like I have been part of their family forever. I know there is so much I don’t know about their family, but I do know that my mother-in-law did an incredible job raising the man of my dreams and for that I am so grateful.

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Aren’t they the cutest?

Finally, recognizing the mothers in our lives wouldn’t be complete without celebrating my grandmothers. They are the glue that holds their families together, and the most wonderful grandmothers I could ask for. I think their hearts might actually be made of gold. They have done and continue to do so much for their families.

Graduation Grandmas

I’ve been thinking about mothering a lot lately. I’ve come to the conclusion that all women, regardless of whether they have children, have the divine ability to mother. Every woman has the ability to literally change the world through her capacity to do what only a woman can do: mother those around her. Women can lift where they stand by caring, nurturing, loving, and reaching out in ways that only women can do.

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Happy Birthday To My Love

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May 7 might be one of my most favorite days of the year. I get to celebrate the birth of my most favorite person in the whole world, my wonderful husband. Put that celebration on top of an opportunity to make him feel a little uncomfortable by unwanted attention and praise, and it makes for a pretty good day.

This year I thought a lot about the years that led up to the beginning of this new one. I wondered about all the experiences and people who have made him who is he today. I couldn’t be there to experience all those years with him, but I am so grateful for all those who did get to be part of those years. I can’t help but feel so grateful for all that he did to make himself the kind, thoughtful, generous, handsome, funny, intelligent, hardworking, and faithful man that he is today.

In celebration of his special day, we picked up some Arby’s. (we were a bit pressed on time, but it sooooo hit the spot) That had to have been the cheapest birthday dinner ever, ringing in at a whopping $12. After dinner we went to see the new Avenger’s movie.  He was like a kid in a candy store going to see the movie.

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I’m never quite as super-excited to see action and super hero movies like he is. Generally though, I find myself surprised at how much I enjoyed the humor in the show, and last night was no exception.

It was a special evening celebrating the birth of the best part of my life. I have no doubt that this will be another year of big decisions, growth, opportunities, and special memories to look back on.

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I can’t wait to spend the next 28 with him. (and the next 28…and the next 28…and the next…)

March Little Things

Even though April has come and gone, I really wanted to do a “Little Things” post for March. At least I’m not doing this in June, right? I just love being able to pull together all the photos from small moments that don’t necessarily need an entire post but are still worth remembering.

The first of what will hopefully be many “baking days” with my dear friend Ali. She is very talented in the kitchen. When she opens her bakery, I’ll be sure to let everyone know.

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We made cornmeal lime cookies. I loved them. Grant, not so much. That just meant more for me, right? Yep, I ate them all.

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Can you guess which cookies Ali glazed and which I glazed? (Hint: Ali’s are pretty)

The annual Twin Cities Auto Show was waaay more fun than I thought it would be. We learned something about navigating an auto show though: Don’t begin in the section with the luxury cars. Those Hondas and Toyotas just won’t have the same appeal once you finally get to them.Lessons learned. (But those Jaguars and Mercedes were ah-mazing)

IMG_7671IMG_7684Look at that smile, like a kid in a candy store.

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I told him he could get the truck if he really wants it. Seriously.

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Because House Hunters has become one of our favorite shows, it seems only natural that we would also spend some time at the semi-annual Parade of Homes. This is the equivalent of an auto-show only for house. There are hundreds of new or newly remodeled homes around the Twin Cities to go and see. Of course all of them for sale, and of course, even though we ventured away from the bustle of the city, the homes were all really expensive. It’s so fun to look around the homes and get ideas about what we really think is important and the designs we like.

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What would March be without a little St. Patrick’s day celebration? Because St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Sunday, I took some extra time to prepare a festive dinner for us: Irish Beef Stew with Cream Cheese mashed potatoes on top, and of course, I used my green Le Creuset dish from my wonderful husband. The stew was deeeeelicious.

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Unfortunately for us, during March we also failed miserably in our attempt to host some new friends for Sunday dinner. A couples notes to self: 1.) make sure  you change the kitchen clocks when daylight savings time happens 2.) make sure you check the quality of your salmon before you intend to rely on it as the main attraction for your Sunday dinner. It’s a good thing our friends are so nice, and we could offer them good ice cream for dessert.

These spilled peppercorns were the perfect end to the not-so-perfect dinner hosted by the Borens.

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I finally took down all the Christmas cards that were covering our fridge and the wall next to it. I just loved having all those Christmas cards up and being able to look at the faces of dear friends and family. Having them up made everyone seem not quite as far away. Fortunately with wedding and graduation season upon us, our fridge is once again being filled with beautiful, smiling faces.

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Of course it snowed…

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But then we went to North Carolina, and we found some amazing green grass!!

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My foot = SUPER white.

If you got through all of that, you’re a champ. Let’s hope I can get a little things post up for April before this month is over!

Which wolf are you feeding?

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I recently learned a story of an old Cherokee man teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One is evil: he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good: he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

There are some powerful lessons to be learned from this story. One of the most relevant for me right now is the responsibility that I must take for my emotions and my thoughts. Inevitably, the wolf that I choose to feed, is the one that will win. It’s hard to admit, but there are times when the good wolf doesn’t win. This is especially true when I give in to fear, anxiety, negativity, self-doubt and criticism. At times, it can be so hard to feed the good wolf. And honestly, sometimes it’s just easier to choose the evil wolf.

I’m learning that at times, it can take a lot of courage to choose the good wolf. Courage to choose the good wolf, often requires a step of faith. It might be a small step or it might be a giant leap, but choosing good requires faith. Reading over the grandfather’s description of the good wolf, I realized that the good wolf embodies the qualities of Christ, our Savior. If we are seeking to make the Godly choice, we will choose to feed the good wolf, as difficult as it may be. It sometimes takes a tremendous amount of faith to choose those good things like humility and kindness, but by choosing the good wolf, we can show that we have faith that our trials have the potential teach us and lift us in ways we can’t understand.

I hope that this blog will be more than a we-did-this-and-then-we-did-that-kind of blog because I don’t feel like that completely captures our life as it should be remembered. Posts like this, which are devoid of selfies and descriptions of fun things, will hopefully remind us that through our challenges and bumps in the road, we have learned, we have grown, and we continued to move forward.