what’s been goin’ on

The last time I sat to write a post, it was blizzarding outside. Today is predicted to reach temps of 100 degrees, and the sun is filtering through the trees into my studio. I’m writing in part because I recently received a kind note from a reader wondering what had come of me during the past three months, and in part because I’ve been storing up thoughts for awhile now, waiting for the time and motivation to write a proper post. Today is the day.

So, the biggest news first, I suppose. As of yesterday, I’m 17 weeks pregnant. Baby is due in December. My pregnancy has been a piece of cake, and I have no complaints. No morning sickness, no heartburn, no real discomfort (yet). I was super tired early on, but my second trimester arrived and so did the return of my energy. We are truly excited and happy, though it all feels a bit surreal still! I haven’t done much (anything) to prepare, but that will come. Lately, life has just been busy, and I’m happy that baby is safe and sound, growing away inside me.

In other news, I’ve really turned my focus to my strategy / planning work for my church. I still have a few design projects, but once they are wrapped up, I likely will only book freelance jobs here and there. I feel certain and sure that the Lord wants me working in the church for now. It is a strange feeling of certainty, because, while I feel very at peace with it, it is also entirely outside my comfort zone. I say all the time that I don’t know what I’m doing working at a church, doing ministry. But in our weakness, he is strong. And I think that’s the point. The Father knows what we need. He knows my areas of strength, and he is using my gifts, but in a way that causes me to rely on him moment by moment, in a very profound way. Never in my life have I been so uncertain of my future, but so at peace. I have no idea where the road ahead leads. No idea what my life will look like in a year, or even six months. But isn’t that the fun of adventure? Not knowing what’s around the bend? Learning to wait, and trust, and pray and be patient while the Lord works has been the theme of the past several months of my life. I want everything NOW. I want to know what’s coming, when it’s coming, why it’s coming…and I don’t want to wait for anything. But I’m learning that the Lord is never late. He is not ever even slow. His timing is perfect. And being patient in trial – whether it’s a huge, life-altering trial, or the small, mundane trials of daily life – this is where faith is built and worked out.

All of these things… the pregnancy, the work I’ve been doing and what the Lord has been teaching me… they’ve given me a strong desire to live in the present. Not fearing tomorrow, or worrying about the effects of yesterday. Life is in the here and now. Learning to live in the moment, to fully take in and immerse myself in the taste and sound and texture of the moment that is right in front of me has been a discipline. But I’ve found myself so much more connected to those I love. So much less anxious over things. I’ve been away from the blog, because, frankly, I don’t feel like I have much to say. The things I think about and want to share, I’d rather share with a good friend over coffee. Not that I don’t love writing, or sharing with you, my readers… it’s just… the real people in our lives, how often do they get neglected in favor of social media? Too often, I think.

So, for now, my friends, I am going to be away for awhile. I may still write occasionally, but I’m not sure. Thank you all for your readership over the years. It’s meant the world, and I’ve made some very good friends through this blog. Until next time…

-B

b*daily :: abandoned wholeheartedness, home, summer, etc.

I’m sitting at my desk, looking out the window at a full-blown, Minnesota blizzard. Putting that out of mind, because if I dwell on it, I’ll fall into grave depression, especially considering the fact that three weeks ago I was sitting on a perfect beach under a hot sun in St. Lucia. Our trip was great. Just what we needed. It was adventurous, to the point of some dangerous, insane moments on back “roads” (not recommended–or rather, strictly forbidden–for tourists). Yet it also full of relaxation. Time-free days. A complete step away from reality. A pause from opposite schedules, stress, and this endless winter. Now we are home, and again immersed in routine.

There are many things I’ve been thinking, and wanting to write about. But as I sit here, my mind feels blank. I’m in the midst of transition, caught in betwixt and between design work for B*SPOKE and strategy work for my church, knowing the direction I’m heading in, but unable really to move closer to the one while the other still has a hold on me. There are other things in my life, too, that feel suspended. Frozen in time and place. Stuck. I am craving a clear direction from the Lord, but he seems silent.

As I was flying home from our trip, I was listening to a song, and a lyric caught my attention… “you were made for abandoned wholeheartedness”. It awakened something in me, a strong, intense desire to be utterly abandoned in all I do. Both feet in, holding nothing back. I want this abandonment in my relationship with Christ, in my marriage, in my work. I don’t want to dabble anymore. I want to know my purpose and calling and lose myself in it. The very idea of abandonment involves LEAVING everything for something greater. What does it look like to be abandoned to the Lord? What does it look like to be wholehearted in marriage? In work? In friendships? I think it involves a death of self. It involves losing your own desires, and coming alive to a greater cause or calling or purpose or person. How do I get there? How do I lose myself, knowing that I will actually find myself on the other side if I’m losing myself to the one who made me, knows me, has my days written in a book? These are the questions I’ve been pondering, the things that have been aching within me.

I’ve been reading a steady stream of C. S. Lewis lately, and his commentary on heaven and eternity has also awakened something in me. This longing for home that is almost palpable, and this strong sense that home is not here, and never will be HERE. Have I mentioned the other tattoo I got? I don’t recall now. It’s on my arm, just above the dots, and it says “not yet home”. This is a theme for me, the idea that we are just passing through this earth. Our stay is momentary, and then we will be home. TRULY home.

Separately and on an unrelated note, I made a list today of the things I’m looking forward to this summer. I could almost taste it as I penned the list in the back of a notebook. Some things to dream of on this very snowy day… kayaking, biking, baseball games, barbecues, bare feet, boating, sunrise, mom’s garden, flowers in the window-boxes, waking up early, fresh foods, farmer’s market, Saturday brunches, lake cabin, camp, concerts, jean shorts, swimsuits and wet hair, warm sun on tan skin.

b*chic :: this is what i will wear

In three weeks, I will be getting on a plane and escaping this white winter wasteland! There will be beaches and sunshine and heat, glorious heat. Also volcanos and mountains and mud baths. St. Lucia is the destination, relaxation is the name of the game. Thinking about what to pack, and this outfit is ALL I want to wear. I don’t know why, but it is shouting VACATION to me.

 

Sunglasses by Ray Ban, $140  |  Vintage cotton V-neck tee by J. Crew, $29.50  |  Bubblegum Knot Bracelet from Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer at Anthropologie, $198  |  Denim short by J. Crew, $79.50  |  Plane Jane flat by Nine West at Piperlime, $69

b*eats :: good food

Time for a foodie post! As promised last week, brief restaurant reviews are below, my dears! Click the restaurant name for link. Eat up!!!

Haute Dish
location:
 Washington Ave, North Loop, Minneapolis
park: across the street in the pay lot ($5)
cost: $$$
atmosphere: comfortable, trendy, loaded up with hipsters!
cuisine: midwestern american (gourmet comfort food)
opinion: It’s cozy, warm, and a unique crowd (hipsters, mostly). The menu isn’t huge, but everything on it is spot on. The food is hearty, comfortable…chef-inspired midwestern, is sort of how I’d describe it. We had the HD Classic and the Steak and Potatoes. The HD Classic was FANTASTIC. It includes their most popular dishes… a salad that made me want to die, it was so amazing. Mac n’ Cheese (NOTHING like mac n’ cheese, but so, so amazing). And braised short rib with green beans and tater tots. I’d highly recommend getting this because you get to try so many things… share it and then get another side or entree and you’re set. Ask the servers to describe everything, because just hearing the descriptions of the food is fun. I’d DEFINITELY go back. And I’d highly recommend this one.

Union
location: Hennepin Ave, Downtown, Minneapolis
park: parking ramp on 9th below Crave
cost: $$$
atmosphere: slick, polished, trendy
cuisine: american
opinion: This place is new and popular right now, so it might be hard to get in on a weekend. We somehow snagged a reservation in their rooftop dining room. It’s all glass and has a great view. The rooftop was cold and noisy (in the winter), so if you go, sit in the main dining room. The service was excellent, the food was quite good. The menu is decent sized, and they cover a range, from salads to steaks. I’ve heard rumors of their donut holes… something about bacon and vasterbotton cheese. Sounds amazing, but I haven’t tried them. Definitely a fun place to go.

Spoonriver
location: 
2nd Ave, Mill District, Minneapolis
park: 
street parking (metered)
cost: 
$$
atmosphere: 
modern, sparse, organic
cuisine: 
organic american
opinion: 
This place wins on location alone. It’s just across the street from the Guthrie, and a stones throw from Gold Medal Park. It’s sleek, and yet not stuffy. Bright colors, fun textures and an alternative crowd of hipster-servers make this a great spot for a casual, but tasty, breakfast, lunch or dinner. I went for brunch on a Saturday, and had eggs and sausage, because I can be boring like that sometimes, but my friend had their french toast, and it was TO DIE FOR.

Patisserie 46
location: 
Grand Ave, Minneapolis
park: 
street parking (not metered)
cost: 
$$
atmosphere: 
rustic, cozy, warm
cuisine: 
bakery
opinion: 
Another amazing brunch spot. I had their scrambled egg and spinach crepe, but one glance at the racks and racks of fresh baked breads, croissants, cakes, cookies, muffuns, soft pretzels, panatones, cakes, scones, and more told me that perhaps this was not a day to strive for healthy eating. The place was crammed with locals of the neighborhood, sipping coffee with a newspaper, feeding kiddos, or typing away on laptops. It was hard to get a table, but well worth it. Loved the food, and the tasty eats.

Bar La Grassa
location: 
Washington Ave, Warehouse District, Minneapolis
park: 
valet (only $5)
cost: 
$$$
atmosphere: 
classy, industrial, modern
cuisine: 
italian pasta bar
opinion: 
The only thing I knew about Bar La Grassa before going was that Genevieve Gorder hits it up when she’s in town (she’s a Minneapolis girl, you know?). It’s a trendy place, and I’d heard good reviews, so I checked it out on a busy Friday night with a friend. The food was great, good wine, kind of noisy, but it was an okay noisy…lots of energy, and a fun place to go with friends. Not a great date spot, though. Loved the art and the style of the place.

112 Eatery
location: 
3rd Street, Warehouse District, Minneapolis
park: 
pay lot across the street (super spendy if there is a Twins game or concert), on the street or in a lot one block north (only $7)
cost: 
$$$
atmosphere: 
classic, warehouse, traditional, warm
cuisine: 
american
opinion: 
112 is the sister restaurant to Bar La Grassa. James Beard Award Winner, Isaac Becker is the chef behind both these hot spots, and he really puts out a good plate. If you go to 112, do yourself a favor and get the burger. I know it sounds boring, but trust me, it’s not. There are plenty of other amazing things to try (beef tartare, anyone), but the burger is really one of the things they are best known for. This place was a fun spot for a date, though it was packed and we had to sit at the bar. Still, the food was great and I’d go back.

Trevail Kitchen & Amusements
location: 
Robinsdale, Minneapolis
park: 
street parking (not metered)
cost: 
$$
atmosphere: 
funky, fun, trendy
cuisine: 
um, well…
opinion: 
Really don’t have words to describe this place or my experience there. I went with two girlfriends, waiting an hour to get a table, and then embarked on a 2+ hour adventure. Together, we made our way through a fifteen course tasting menu (plus two bottles of wine and a cheese plate). The food was INSANE. Beyond. Each new course was surprising and delightful and unique and sometimes just plain WEIRD (one course of dessert included these frozen “pop rocks” that exploded (literally) in your mouth). It was an experience, to say the least. All the servers are chefs, and watching them work in the open kitchen is highly entertaining. Let’s just say there is dancing and singing and lots of hooting and hollering. If you haven’t been, YOU MUST GO.

Tilia
location: 
43rd Street, Linden Hills, Minneapolis
park: 
street parking (not metered)
cost: 
$$
atmosphere: 
classy, vintage, casual
cuisine: 
modern american
opinion: 
This was another place I ventured to for brunch. Ate their cubano sandwich and nearly died. It was so good. Really loved the sparse, vintage modern look and feel of the place. Each other my brunch buddies LOVED their meals. I would definitely return to check out their dinner menu. Quite good, quite good!

b*daily :: catching up

Here’s what’s been on my mind and what’s been happening ’round here lately:

1) I am listening to the “80s love songs” station on pandora right now. I swear I was born in the wrong decade. Love 80s power ballads, baby!! They make me wanna get in my car, roll all the windows down and sing at the very top of my lungs. “I CAN’T FIGHT THIS FEELING ANY LONGER!!!”

2) Thinking about going somewhere warm. Do you have any recommendations? The only requirements are hot sun, cool surf and a white sand beach. All I want to do is sit in the sun, drink a pina colada and read a bunch of books.

3) You absolutely MUST check out this site. It is the project of one of my clients. I know, lucky, lucky me. She is amazing, and has been a total JOY to work with!

4) One of my college buddies is now a fitness coach, and I’ve been working with her to restructure my fitness plan and get some accountability with my eating habits. I have always worked out consistently and have gone pretty hard at it, and I’ve always been pretty conscious of what I eat. BUT, I have to say, having someone checking in, and seeing my weekly reports has kept me SO MUCH more motivated and on track. My goal isn’t really to lose a certain amount of weight, just to develop some healthier patterns that result in becoming “wicket fit”.

5) I have been reading through Jeremiah in the Bible. And I have to say, I really love the Old Testament prophets. Today I was struck by these verses…

For thus says the LORD: Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous. There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you. All your lover have forgotten you; they care nothing for you; for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy, the punishment of a merciless foe, because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant. Why do you cry out over your hurt? Your pain is incurable. Because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant, I have done these things to you. Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured, all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity; those who plunder you shall be plundered, and all who prey on you I will make a prey. For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the LORD… – JEREMIAH 30:12-17a

What I love here, absolutely love, is that although our guilt is great and ours sins are flagrant, and although we deserve every bit of punishment the Lord could possibly give us, he is merciful. Just look at his tenderness. He says there is no medicine for our wound, no healing for us. And yet, at the end, he promises to restore health to us, and to heal our wounds. He is our only remedy, and he loves us enough to turn away his wrath and just punishment for our sins, giving us the ultimate medicine for our wound in the form of his perfect son dying in our place on the cross. It is utterly magnificent and our only hope.

6) Switching gears a bit… If you’re local and have any interest in the foodie scene, I have some INSANE recommendations for you. I’ve been hitting up some great restaurants and my taste buds are very happy. Here is a short list of recent faves. I’m going to try to write a post with a short review of each other these:

  • Haute Dish
  • Union
  • Spoonriver
  • Patisserie 46
  • Bar La Grassa
  • 112 Eatery
  • Trevail

7) More house projects are happening. It seems like we get motivated for these things in the spring. Even if it’s only once a year that something happens around here, I’ll take the progress. We are currently working on our upstairs hall. Painting trim and walls and hopefully ripping carpet out and hanging frames eventually. Fun, but not.

8) Chocolate. I’m still eating fancy dark chocolates, but I’ve been very bad about keeping track of them. I MUST have made my way through close to 200 varieties though. Who’s counting, really? If you have favorites, I always love gifts of chocolate.

9) I think there was something else I was going to talk about, but I don’t remember what it was. So this is all for now, dears. More soon! Restaurant reviews next week, I think.

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