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The Ballerinas

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The Ballerinas

My favorite little mirror-image ballerinas are turning FOUR this summer.

Somehow they have the most perfect natural blonde highlights and their eyes are as blue as they've ever been. And even though I've known them since they were born, this trip to see them was essentially the first time we've ever met.

It's the first time they've really been old enough to carry on conversations and remember who I am.  I'm officially "Aunt Jo" and it's the best.  We talked about all kinds of things and they asked me questions about my sisters and my house and laughed with me and it was kind of surreal.  

I woke up one morning listening to their little voices down the hall.  The shy one was trying to convince the not-as-shy one to wake me up.  I pretended to keep sleeping while thinking through why life there at Krisi's house seemed so different.  And then it made sense: For the first time since we've been reeeealllly close, Krisi and I are BOTH living in a good season of life... at the SAME time.  

There have been many, many seasons where we've laughed so we didn't cry.  Or we cried and then we laughed when there was a little break here and there.  But this time we laughed because that's exactly how we both felt. 

This feels like joy to me.  Unexplainable joy. 

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Smoke, Mirrors & Humble Pie

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Smoke, Mirrors & Humble Pie

Sometimes the beauty -- and magic -- of a photo goes completely unnoticed...until I slow down and spend a little time editing it. 

I love being surprised by my own work.   I could have sworn she was looking out a window, but then I remembered there wasn't a window there, just a mirror between us.  

The light was coming from somewhere else. 

This is the kind of photo that humbles me.  I don't remember trying to capture the light that way, it was an accident.  Eliminates my ability to take any credit. 

And isn't that the beauty of capturing light?  

The light was never mine to own in the first place. Not even the ability to find it. 

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One Year

Today marks one year.

One year of "us".  You and me. 

One year ago, right at midnight, we took this photo.  Do you remember?  I've been holding on to it for 365 days, waiting to share it with you.  

I know it doesn't seem like the best of photos, but it's one of my favorites...ever.  Why would such a pixelated iPhone photo of our faceless reflections be one of my favorites?  Well, it's the only photo we took that night, and it just happened to be in between two of most amazing moments I've ever experienced.  

Right before that photo was taken, we walked along the Henley Bridge in the freezing cold.   I remember like it was yesterday, standing there thinking to myself for the first time: "I could marry this man."  

Moments after taking it, I found myself sitting across from you, next to a fireplace in the Old City.  I listened as you broke our giddy silence and began to tell me the story of the previous months and the journey of watching from a distance.  For quite a while I had a "no boys allowed" sign on my forehead, and you were wise enough to give me space. 

That night, you grinned from ear to ear as you talked about what you saw in me, and I felt at ease.  Your words weren't fluffy. They were full of depth and curiosity.  They invited me on an adventure with you.  And somehow, through a combination of my deep respect for you and a little unexpected courage, I agreed. 

365 days later, we're here:  ring on my finger, still learning what life together looks like.  And I'm convinced: This past year has been my favorite adventure.

Been thinking a lot about what all I've learned about you since last January.  Mind if I share a few?

1. You're a trigger puller. 
You're not afraid of risk, nor of imperfection.  Well, not nearly as much as I am.  You don't need to wait on all the stars to line up before you begin, and I admire that about you.  We'll probably always wrestle over when it's okay to pull the trigger, but I like that you're working on buying it while I'm still inspecting it.  You're teaching me to embrace imperfection for the hope of greater joys. 

2. You're not afraid to be competitive.  
If I'm honest, that kinda terrifies and confuses me, but I've learned that it makes you extra great at two things: owning a business & being my card playing partner.  Working alongside you to run great businesses brings me so much joy.  I'm so proud of who you are and it's been amazing to watch you develop as a business owner.  We just need to find a few friends to play Canasta or Spades!  

3. You dream like it's your job.  
You've always got the exact number of items on a to-do list that can be accomplished for the day, plus one.  You'll probably always spend two weeks writing out next year's goals.  But I've learned that your insane ability to plan is all a part of creating a deeper and greater vision for your life and those around you.  I like watching you dream... and then watching those dreams become a reality.  

4. You're always curious. 
I used to wonder if I'd ever find a man who could handle my questions in such mass quantity.  Little did I know I'd find a fella who came with his own set of questions and would even help refine my curiosity.  You are a lifetime learner and it brings me so much joy to watch how your curiosity drives you to know and love others more. 

5. I'm a HUGE fan of you.  
 I'm most thankful for the ways the God of all creation has used this adventure we're on to draw us into deeper relationship with Him.  There has been so much that I didn't expect to learn on this journey, but I'm glad we're digging deeper through both the good and the hard.  

I really, really, really, really like being with you.  Even when I'm mad at you, I still strangely want to be with you. I'm sure that will come and go through the years, but I'm convinced you're the one I want to be mad at...and the one I want to laugh with (or at, at least when it comes to your wide variety of accents, particularly that creepy gas station owner one!). 

Some day very soon we'll hear wedding bells.  In the meantime, let's keep making coffee, wedding photos, deep friendships and the occasional funny faces.  And we'll continue learning what being in rich relationship is all about.  

Here's to "us" and many, many more years ahead. 

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