For Everything...Thank You

Dear Lauren,

How long ago my last post seems--as though a lifetime of living and a full capacity of changes have transpired in the intervening 7 weeks. In that time, we spent two family vacations together...

We turned 24 together...

We attended two bridal showers together...

We planned, we organized, we stressed, we talked, we laughed, we cried, we stayed awake, stayed awake, stayed awake (keep calm and don't sleep!). Not just you and I, of course--you and I and Mama and Melanie and Susanna and Sarah. Somehow in the past seven weeks, we lived life fully, crazily, intentionally, and beautifully.

I'm still smiling over the "Hen Party" (the Brit term for a bachelorette party) you all threw for me.

And I'm still crying over the speech you gave at my wedding.

Wedding? Did I forget to mention that somehow--by the grace of God and a whole lot of cheerful elbow grease from my dear family and friends--Joel and I were married on August 30? Yes, I know you were there--my rock as always--but you know I just can't help mentioning it in case anyone eavesdropping on this letter might not realize.

A more beautiful, precious day I couldn't possibly fantasize. Everything about that day was an emblem of love--the incredible love I felt from you and Papa and Mama and Melanie and Susanna and Micah and Jonah and Sarah and so many other dear family and friends. And of course and especially, the day served as a covenant between Joel and I and God of our love and commitment to one another.

Yes, I know you know all about that too. And the honeymoon in the San Juan Islands; I showed you pictures of that perfect week, didn't I? The week in which hardly anything went wrong and God blessed us above and beyond what we could imagine? While I was relaxing and enjoying marital bliss, there you and the rest of my family were back home, packing up wedding decorations, packing up wedding supplies, packing up wedding clothes, packing up wedding rentals, packing up wedding purchases, packing up borrowed wedding items. And then you packed me up, lock, stock, and barrel--packed my room, my clothes, my books, my junk, my dishes, my gifts, my everything, so that by the time Joel and I returned from our honeymoon, my room was cleaner than it had been in months and strangely empty. What a labor of love that was, and it continues to awe me.

And then, after a lifetime of happily dreaming over brides and flowers and dresses, and three months of bustling employment and overloaded schedules, the long-dreaded morning dawned, and suddenly I was saying goodbye to all of you. I cried intermittently throughout the cross-country trip. I am overjoyed to be Joel's wife and to be with him at long last, yet heartbroken to be 3000 miles away from my family. It is a wonderful, beautiful, happy time, and a sad, difficult, bittersweet time too. 

I have a Maryland driver's license (with my new last name!) and address now, a cute little yellow house to call home, a welcoming and kind church body, and the most wonderful, amazing husband with whom I am madly in love. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be delighted to share hundreds of pictures and scores of memories from the whirlwind wedding weekend until anyone still reading this corner of the internet cries "Please! No More!"(yes--"One Bright Corner" is officially resuming weekly Tuesday posts).

That can wait, however. I'm writing you this morning because I love and miss you and Papa and Mama and Melanie, Susanna, Micah, and Jonah. Thank you so much for all the love you poured into me and all the sacrifices you made for me. I love you all!



Wedding Plans!

The invitations have been sent, the bridesmaids' dresses have arrived, my dress is nearing completion, and praise the Lord--plans are coming together! It's now 31 days and a wake up until the wedding, and life is shifting into high gear between wedding plans, summer trips, and packing up my life for a cross-country move. Please forgive the lack of attention to this corner of the internet the last couple of weeks. In the next month, we'll be posting some of our favorite "oldies but goodies" from five years of blogging, and in September we'll be back in full force, wedding pictures in hand!


American Pie Love

Here is an enlightening insight into the way my brain reasons:
1. It is a fact that Pie is the best food known to man. 
2. The Fourth of July would not be the Fourth of July without Pie.
3. Logically, the only thing better than saluting a flag and singing about your flag and eating Pie is…eating Pie that is a flag! 

With this logic, and inspired by this idea, I rolled up my sleeves and dubbed myself Betsy Ross on the morning of the Fourth of July.  Since I am certain that all of you are as pie-crazed as myself, I'm taking you along for the ride! 

Start with your favorite pie crust recipe.  (Mikaela shared the best gluten free pie crust recipe in the world here!)  After chilling, roll it out and place in your pie pan.  Next, fold a strip of aluminum foil and place in the pie pan to section off about a quarter of the pan for the blue part. 

Now, measure out 5 cups of freshly-picked-from-your-garden raspberries and 2 cups of freshly-picked-from-your-friend's-garden (with permission of course) blueberries. 

In a separate bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon juice (See full recipe at the end for amounts).  Add 2/3 of this mixture to the raspberries and 1/3 to the blueberries. 

Add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar to the raspberries, to taste (and taste, and taste!). 
Now for the fun part!  Pour the raspberries into the large section of the crust, and don't worry like I did when some juice seeped through.  When it's all done, you won't even be able to tell--I promise! 

Now pour the blueberries into the smaller section, and then don't forget to remove the aluminum foil!

Next, roll out your chilled top crust.  Cut 3 or 4 strips of dough about 1/4 inch wide. 

Use a star shaped cookie cutter to cut several stars. 

Place the stars over the blueberry section first, then lay the strips down, pinching the edges into your pie crust edge.  When it looks all purty, crimp your pie crust edge to take it over the top!

Now pose it for the camera!

After chilling the pie while the oven preheats, bake it at 400 for 15 minutes, then 375 for 45 minutes, or until the crust browns.  (Helpful tip alert: I was grateful that for once I remembered to put a cookie sheet under the pie in the oven, so I didn't have a mess to clean up!)

I'm fairly certain that first face means: Hold the bus--that is the best pie I have ever tasted!  

After adding a little of this and a little of that to create the pie I wanted, I was pretty pleased with my concoction if I do say so myself!

 With our bellies full of pie, we headed off to our park to watch the 20 minute fireworks spectacular along with some friends plus everyone else in town!

I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July!  Beneath the joy of celebration and delicious food, this holiday always brings me to tears when I contemplate it.  For the reason I am free to worship Jesus, free to eat a pie with my family, and free to celebrate without fear is because of God's providence and because of patriots no older than me who loved freedom more than comfort. 

The Recipe
1 pie crust (both top and bottom crusts)  Recipe here
5 cups raspberries
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
5 Tbs cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4-1/2 cup sugar, to taste

Spread one chilled pie crust in pie pan and keep the other one in the refrigerator.  Section off 1/4 of pie with aluminum foil for the blue section.  

Measure berries into two separate containers.
Combine sugar, cornstarch, spices, and lemon juice.  Add 2/3 of mixture to the raspberries; add the remaining 1/3 to the blueberries.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more sugar to the raspberries, to taste.  Mix well.

Pour raspberries into large section of pie.  Pour blueberries into the smaller section.  Remove aluminum foil.

Roll out remaining crust and cut about 4 strips about 1/4 inch wide.  Cut about 5 stars with a star shaped cookie cutter.  Place the stars over the blueberry section first, then lay the strips down, pinching the edges into your pie crust edge.  Crimp pie crust edge.  

Chill pie in refrigerator while oven preheats to 400.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then at 375 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.  

Let cool, then enjoy!



Lauren and I were spending the day in Portland, combining business with pleasure as we're so talented at doing. To hit only the highlights, you would think it was a charming, uneventful day: drop siblings off where they are reenacting, visit Schuback's Violin Shop, wile away two hours at Powell's bookstore (with Stumptown coffee in hand), pick up a few groceries at Trader Joe's, have a late lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory, and then pick up siblings and head home. 

Except we got lost. Horribly lost. Multiple times.

When I got my license, GPS was not a commonplace car accessory, so I learned to manage with MapQuest (I have a horrible sense of direction). But in recent years, I've been spoiled with a talking device that tells me when and where to turn and even recalculates like magic when I take a wrong turn. This time, however, Mama was using Mabel (our GPS), and bereft of our gadget and even a simple street map, Lauren and I did the best we could with our printed MapQuest directions (neither of us are quick to jump on trends, so we also didn't have the aid of a smartphone). Did you know that MapQuest doesn't recalculate? Or tell you what you did wrong? Or help you detour around construction? Our day ended up looking like this:

  1. Drop siblings off.
  2. Take a wrong turn, but get back on track within five minutes, and arrive at Schuback's.
  3. Spend 30 minutes driving the 3 minute trip to Powell's (no, there was no construction or traffic).
  4. Uneventful drive to Trader Joe's--hooray!
  5. Spend 60 minutes driving the 9 minute trip to Spaghetti Factory (there was construction, but that only added five minutes to our trip), including getting on the wrong freeway, ending up in the wrong part of town, making a lucky guess to get back in the right part of town, driving back to Powell's (where we KNEW where we were) three times, and discovering that Portland's streets are in alphabetical order in NW Portland.
  6. Take a wrong turn, but get back on track within five minutes and pick siblings up.
  7. Uneventful drive home--hooray!
Remarkably, Lauren and I did more laughing than crying, and we weren't horribly late to anything. Even with the ludicrous amount of time spent off the beaten path, we still had a delightful day.

I couldn't help but think of all the times when I feel just as lost in life as I did that day in Portland. When every moment seems fraught with stressful decisions; the road ahead is foggy and imperceptible; the directions seem unclear; and even my fellow sojourners don't know the way. But if life is a journey, it is certainly not a trip through a maze of big-city streets, where the destination is solely dependent upon my navigational skills! 

Life is much more like a voyage: I and every other Christian are traveling in an immense ocean liner, steaming to the edge of the world. Our passage was purchased by the blood of Christ, and our destination is heaven. Certainly, the web of hallways and decks and rooms are daunting, and we often falter, finding ourselves separated from our fellow Christians and seemingly from the Captain Himself. But we have only to go back to what we know to be true (hint: prayer and Scripture!), before all is right again and we are walking in Truth and Light. Yet all the while--even when our heart races and our stomach fills with the familiar dread of being in unknown territory--the Captain has never abandoned us. We neither leave the ship, nor are we truly lost. Even in the moments when we find ourselves in a dark pit in the deepest bowels of the vessel, we are still cruising at maximum speed for heaven. 


Because Quotes Are Like a Lay's Potato Chip...

...you get not just one, and not just ten, but thirteen of my favorite quotes.  These are mile-markers of my last year: some marking times of tears, some stubborn sin, some silliness, and some the most profound truth that I've yet known.


{If it were possible for C.S. Lewis to be over-quoted, I could be accused of such an infraction.  But since he can never be over-quoted, I will merely hope you enjoy him as much as I do!}








When I read this last quote, I picture Corrie Ten Boom remembering being huddled in her Nazi concentration camp cell, awaiting her own death.  I picture her saying this because of that remembrance, and I am humbled.  

What quotes have changed your perspective?

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