catching up.

The last few weeks have been, well, a little busy. Lots to do, lots of traveling, and as much as I have enjoyed it all, I also really like looking ahead at my calendar and knowing that I have the next three months to sleep in my own bed. Almost three months, anyway.

Here's a quick recap:

-- 1 --

My sister Katie married her boyfriend (now husband) Vince in a gorgeous cabin (the Tea Room) at Gambrill State Park the weekend after Easter. The original plan was for a small ceremony with just family, with a big reception/cook-out in August at their house. But with families as big as ours, even small ceremonies can have nearly 50 people.

(Katie, me, Kelli)

-- 2 --

Two weeks later, I met my mom and sisters in Ocean City for a women's retreat.

-- 3 --

I got home from the retreat Saturday night, then hosted a baby shower for my friend Kelly on Sunday.

-- 4 --

The next weekend I headed to Rockbridge for the district youth retreat with some of the coolest girls I know. Vince and Jon were there doing all sorts of cool sound and stage things, and Ally came with the group from Emmanuel. It was fun to see Jon in his element - at one point, I was so proud of him that I leaned over to someone I had just met and said, that's my brother.

Ryan, Jessie, Andrew, Rachel, Heather, Kristin, me

But the very best part of the weekend was something that I'm not sure I can articulate, though I know I'll never forget it. I watched as my niece Ally and my brother-in-law Vince both met Christ. It was a priceless moment that completely caught me off-guard, and I still tear up every time I think about it. Someday, maybe, I'll be able to actually be able to put it into words.

-- 5 --

Less than 48 hours later, I was back on the road again, headed to Ohio to visit JB & Iris (my friends who are missionaries to Russia, home on furlough), then Pennsylvania to visit James and Bethany and meet their adorable new son Ethan.

Ethan (wearing an outfit I bought him - thanks, Beth!), me

Since I was driving to Frederick on my way home, I made a last minute decision to stop and surprise my mom. Shortly after calling to wish her a happy Mother's Day, I called Katie to let her know that I was coming to her house for dinner, and to ask for her help with setting up the surprise. It was late when I finally arrived home, but the surprise on Mom's face (and getting to talk to my family while we rehashed all that happened at the retreat) was well worth it.

-- 6 --

And now I'm home for at least a little least until the end of July. Between then and the end of September, I have a few more things planned - Kelli's graduation, Katie and Vince's wedding reception, the missions trip to Gabon, and Kelli's graduation party. 2010 is a big year for our family.

-- 7 --

Whenever I'm traveling, or just have a few weeks where I'm not home much, I always need some downtime to recover. For most of this week, I've been completely unmotivated. I'd look around and think of all the things I need to do (need being a very subjective word there), not feeling like doing any of them, and just laze around watching TV or surfing the web. I had no motivation to do anything.

But, Thursday (yesterday) was my birthday. I'll be celebrating with both friends and family this weekend and next week, so I spent Thursday evening at home. And because it was my birthday, I gave myself permission to do whatever I wanted - and ignore all of the things that I should do.

So, I started shoving around furniture in my guest room/office, trying to come up with an arrangement that I like better. Then I decided to print out graph paper online and measure out everything, and start playing around with different layouts.

And you know what? It worked. Not only did I have fun, but I also had my motivation back. So I made strawberry bread (a big failure that I think was my fault - more on that later) and strawberry sauce (all of which is more cooking than I've done in weeks - and I normally love cooking!).

Of course, that means I'll spend most of tomorrow getting the guest room back into shape, since Katie, Kelli, and Jacob will here in 24 hours...

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