Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Late January

Five things I'm grateful for this week:

1) Taking advantage of the random 70 degree weather by taking a drinky date with husbandman at Local on their back patio. $3 drafts and $1 off wine = yes please.  It's back to the cold and dreary today, though.

2) This dreary January is almost over. February is a little closer to Spring, and one step closer to saying goodbye to winter and being trapped indoors.  The gray skies are just sapping all my energy. I'm so ready for a bit of sun on my skin.

3) Hangouts with the Petermann family last night. Not only are they awesome, but I've not yet really meet anyone else in Memphis who know what the words "keifer", "kombucha", or "doula" mean. Finally someone who doesn't think I'm a total loco here for trying to be healthy without all the meds.

4) I found my new favorite place to work when I can get out of the apartment.  I know I already wrote an ode to Muddy's Bake Shop, but seriously that place is the best. It is easily my favorite place in Memphis. It's cute, quirky, delicious, the owner always has crazy wigs, and it's a wonderful work environment.  Oh, and not to mention that they have $1 coffee with free refills. Yeah, I know!

5) The new neighbor and her tiny little fearless Chihuahua puppy named "Soldier".  Normally I consider them rats when they are that small, but this little duder was pretty cute. Especially since he was the perfect size for my friend's kid. Totally stealing your photo, Danielle.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Patient Love

Those mornings when you wake up and feel as if you are more tired than when you went to sleep.  
When your eyes are puffy and you are cranky. 
When you spent a whole day cleaning and wake up to a mess in the sink and the dog spilled his food and water everywhere and tracked dirt in. And pooped on the sidewalk again. 
You're out of breakfast food. 
It's raining.  
Out of mascara. 
Your husband made you french press coffee, but now it's cold because you took too long cleaning up the dog's mess. 
It's Monday and you're facing another uneventful, drab winter week. 
You're making lists of why your morning is sub-par because you're in a bad mood and want to wallow. 

Praise God still, oh my soul. His Grace is sufficient even in the low moments. What a beautiful morning we have, for the sun rose, we have air in our lungs, and a love far greater and richer than we could ever deserve. My life is not my own, it's Yours.  I have the choice to focus on the failures, or I can Praise Him for another day to experience His Grace.  

When your eyes are on yourself, it's easy to be disappointed. When your eyes are fixed on Christ, you will never be without joy for a second. I pray that even if I have to learn this lesson a thousand more times, I will never be so hardened as to think that this weary soul is too far from God's patient love. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Coconut Berry Smoothie Recipe

Coconut Berry Smoothie Recipe - The New Tobins

Usually I'm pretty low-fuss for breakfast... when I eat it.  I know breakfast is important, but most days I'm not hungry when I wake up, or too lazy to make anything. At best, I'll venture to make an egg or 2 real fast and feel proud.

I have a dear friend who I know that wakes up every morning and makes herself a smoothie to take to work. That always sounded good until the blender part. I have no room on my counter for it to sit, so it always involved lugging it out of a closet.  It also may sound silly, but I pretty much love cleaning about as much as I like being mauled by a grizzly bear. The fruit always sticks to the sides and the blade threatens to slice my hand open at any moment. I had just decided it wasn't my thing.

This morning, I was feeling more adventurous. Still in pj's I wandered to the kitchen and absentmindedly looked int he fridge for an egg.  I then noticed my half a can of coconut milk that I hadn't used after making some coconut rice. While wondering what else I would use that for, I came up with an idea: maybe I was going to attempt a smoothie today. If it failed again, then fine. At least I had tried, right?

I managed to scrounge up some yummy items from the fridge, 90% of it I always have on hand anyways, and got to work, not expecting too much. The end result really surprised me!  It is now the most delicious smoothie I've ever had!  Not too sweet, no weird texture, just deliciousness in a glass.

Smoothie close-up - The New TobinsIt looks so pretty, too! Like confetti in a glass, and it's super healthy. I feel much more full and refreshed than my normal egg deal.

I may now have to rethink my aversion to blending. Plus, if you immediately rinse the blender off with warm water when you are done, it's way easier to clean later. No fruit particles stuck to the glass near the scary blade. Success!

Maybe I will try this more regularly. Anyone have any good smoothie ideas for me to try?

Coconut Berry Smoothie
Serves 1

1/2 can (roughly 6 oz) Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Organic Blueberries
1/2 of a Banana
2 Tbsp Organic Whole Milk Plain Yogurt
1 Tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil
6-8 ice cubes, depending on how you like it.

Toss all the ingredients in the blender and blend well until frothy. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Beauty in the Waiting

One thing that I have been quite guilty of is always looking forward to a time in the future and forgetting to enjoy the present. It's barely winter and I'm already pining after springtime. I daydream about the green sprouting grass, flower buds, songbirds, and sunshine. Not to mention that Jon graduates in May, then we move out of this tiny and drafty apartment, then we go to Europe. How could I not look forward to all that?

This anticipation can become unhealthy for me, and I have to constantly remind myself that God's Grace is present today in this moment. This is a season of growth, challenge, and learning.  The sense of dissatisfaction slips in slyly, and will jade everything if I'm not careful. There's a feeling that there's not a whole lot going on here these days. Try as I might to keep occupied, the days have gone from feeling like routine to a bit of a rut. It's partly being stuck inside, and partly because Jon's been so busy. Partly because I find it embarrassing that the most exciting thing I have to say is about string cheese. That's a bit deflating. Lets be joyful in the little things... like fun packages in the mail. I got some new tights! It's ok if my most impressive thing all week is string cheese or tights, right?

Thanks,!  They are awesome

Meanwhile, Jon has been a busy bee. Last Thursday was his last day of Lead Teach.  Lead Teach is the part of the program where they go from being observers and co-teachers to teaching all of the classes all day for 2.5 weeks. This includes all the planning, teaching, and grading.

Let me tell you, those weeks dragged. Jon was up late every night grading over 100 essays a night, as well as crafting lesson plans. In some ways it gave us a taste of what it will be like when he is teaching full time next fall. I helped him with sorting papers as much as I could and would offer up back rubs and coffee in the wee hours. And prayed. There was a lot of prayer that he would not give into exhaustion, that he would seek his strength from Christ, and that he would see even more why he is pursuing this profession.

Now that Lead Teach is over, it's the long stretch before graduation and spring. Here's to hoping that I can enjoy this time and find the beauty in the anticipation, rather than only the agony of waiting.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy Things

Hi. It's Friday! Eeeeee!!!

It's a great day because the gloom has passed and it's sunny and 70 here. So. Weird. But I'm eating it up. I've thrown all the windows open and am just letting the light and fresh air pour in.

While I'm not normally a fan of processed foods, I've also got some string cheese. Oh, how I love peeling and eating string cheese!

Thanks also to some dear friends for my new mugs. There has been an abundance of tea consumption in this house lately.

It's the simple things.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Even though this week has brought more mild weather, I am still thankful for the times I can cozy up with some warm tea and cuddle with my pup. I used to suffer with depression when the nights got longer and the cold seemed to seep into my bones.  No amount of warm socks and scarves seemed to fight off the gloom that would settle in.  Something about the pervasive dark, cold, and sleepy nature forces me into a reclusive creature.

I finally feel like I can embrace the winter a little more lately. Maybe it's because I pretty much always have a kettle on for warm tea and a blanket wrapped around me. Despite the cold, I force myself to take Mac on a walk from time to time just to be in the daylight before retreating at the early dark again.  Being able to walk outside is definitely one of the more freeing parts of working from home.  Whatever it is, I feel refreshed by not being so debilitated this season.  The stark trees look more beautiful than I can remember, the crisp air more refreshing than piercing, the overcast skies less ominous. 

Another help is when I get the treat of working somewhere other than the apartment, such as a coffee shop or a friend's cozy home. Even better when the friend's home has tea. Did I mention I really love tea in the winter time?

We thought the transition after Christmas from Richmond life back to Memphis life would be a really hard one, but honestly, I think there was a relief in sleeping in our own bed with our own routine. We loved seeing everyone immensely... but it proved to be quite exhausting to be spending every moment we could with someone.  There is a benefit to returning to one's own home, and just being. 

I also realized something that I don't think I had fully grasped before: that regardless of the distance, my friends are still going to be my friends. I had become so distraught with the thought of them living life without me and I no longer being a part of their daily lives. I didn't want to be forgotten or to miss out. What struck me most deeply about our trip home was that we could just pick up where we left off. 

Maybe that's what has made this winter the easiest... the freedom to finally really be in Memphis and making the best of what is here. We finally have found a sense of actually being where we live now, where we are. Winter or summer, rain or shine. We still have each other and we have our friends from across the miles, as well as near. That's enough to keep me warm and cozy any day. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 In Review

A year ago today, I started working at my current job doing Graphic Design. It was a day of excitement, intimidation, and an overall refreshed feeling that comes with new years and new beginnings.  So many big things happened this year, and I have much to reflect on.

Here's a brief recap:

January 2012 - 
Started my new job
Got into a car accident when a man ran a red light
Spent our last few days with our dear friend Betty before she passed

February 2012 
Jon's mother got married

March 2012 
Our dear friends the Capeharts got married in Kitty Hawk
Jon's Birthday
Visited Memphis for the first time for Jon's interview with MTR

April, 2012
Jon accepted admission to the Memphis Teacher Residency, and we prepared to move

May 2012
Jon graduated from VCU
My 25th Birthday
Our dear friends the Folkes got married
With many tearful goodbyes, we packed up our lives and moved to Memphis, TN

June 2012
2 year anniversary of being married
Built a desk
Grappled with homesickness

July 2012
Celebrated the 4th at a Redbirds baseball game
Started running again
Visited Laurel in Nashville
Watched the Olympics!

August 2012
Jon started his first day in the classroom teaching 11th and 12th grade English

September 2012
Started to settle in finally, tore apart the kitchen
Ran 7 miles

October 2012
Visited Richmond for the first time since moving
Jon's brother got married
Won first place in the MTR Costume contest, dressed as Mary Poppins and Bert

November 2012
Started baking my own bread
First business trip
Thanksgiving with MTR friends
Got our DSLR

December 2012
Visited Boston, DC, Richmond, and Va Beach in the span of 3 weeks
Christmas at home
Our dear friends the Goods got married

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