reading round-up returns!

[What We’re Up To]
This week started with Aaron home for the MLK holiday, so we painted the ceilings in the entire upstairs of the house, and then spent a huge (for us) amount of money purchasing new flooring for the main floor. We’re cutting off the bottom of our door casings to prepare for the installation, and Max is extremely helpful in his supervisory role.
photo 1Aaron is working even more than he did during his PhD, which makes for very rough days and sloooow progress on the DIY front, but when we actually can work on a project, it’s a great way to spend time together and (bonus) have a better-looking house.

We also had a noteworthy birthday for Aaron — the big 30! — celebrated with his favorite dessert, Guinness Cake. I had forgotten he didn’t like icing on it, so now I am left with an entire bowl of homemade frosting in the fridge. Forget the “Whole30 Food Challenge” so many people are doing in January… I’m just trying not to gain a Whole 30 Pounds lick-by-lick off the spatula.

[Surfing the Web] 
Mommy-Blogs: There’s a big thing I wondered about how motherhood would change me: would I start enjoying “Mommy Blogs”? After five months, the answer is still NO.  I know now that wasn’t  that I couldn’t read them because I was so sad about not having a baby myself… It was just that, beyond the fact of my own desires to have a baby, I still thought reading regular things about other people’s kids were kind of boring. Every so often I’ll find an article or post that resonates, like They Should’ve Warned Me, which beautifully mirrors my own experiences with a baby, but I still skip posts about “basic updates on pregnancy and child growth/development.”  I do really, really like kids, I just don’t find it particularly noteworthy or entertaining that some stranger’s five month old can roll over. (I, of course, gush over Annie’s milestones to my mother on a near-daily basis.) I also have problems with monetized mommy blogs, which usually make me feel like the child’s privacy has been violated, and I don’t see the point of making money because you took pictures of your kids eating spaghetti or something like that. Hannah Anderson’s article on “Women’s Discipleship and the Mommy Blogosphere” communicates some of my previously unarticulated frustrations about how often legalism flourishes in that setting, with a noted lack of sound theology and critical thinking in most cases.
Life and Death: I thought we would have some family funerals this year, and three weeks in to 2015, I’m on pins and needles expecting to hear of our second family loss. I’m still chewing through some of the thoughts on A Far Green Country: Looking Past Uncertainty Towards Eternity. And This post about how life is like a pregnancy and death is a birth is just… profound.
Christianity and Education: No matter where formal education takes place in our family, the curriculum will include a strong emphasis on formal logic and the creeds and catechism of historical Christianity. Here are 7 Reasons to Teach our Children Church History from an evangelical perspective. And this article about the theological differences in the Christology of orthodox Christianity and Mormonism is, in my opinion, a fabulous illustration about the necessity of critical thinking and a thorough understanding about whether a difference is “denominational” or “ultimate.” How many people would read the statements about Jesus from the Mormon perspective and think they were consistent with evangelical teaching?

[People I Actually Know]
From my friend Hannah — What They Should Tell You When You Are Dating. (my alternative title: The Things People Who Believe In Courtship Forget About What It Takes To Sustain A Relationship For Your Entire Life. Other alternative title, if I had written it: Why I Will Encourage My Daughter To Date At Least A Few People Before She Gets Married.)

[Books] 
A chapter from The Jesus Storybook Bible and a complete read-through of the Pout-Pout Fish are daily occurrences. I love it.
I’m discussing Desiring God’s compilation “Mom Enough” with some friends, and enjoying a more balanced look at motherhood in light of the gospel than is promoted in most Christian arenas. You can download a PDF for free!
I’m working through What’s Best Next by Matt Perman — definitely not aimed at stay-home-moms, which means it doesn’t always feel immediately applicable, but very useful thoughts on the gospel and productivity.

[Music]
We sing lots from Andrew Peterson’s Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies, and we’ve been enjoying the original Fantasia on Netflix during the day. (That might count as watching? Annie definitely watches the screen. But it’s just classical music and fine art rolled in to one, right? So it’s like baby education multi-tasking?)

[Fun]
Here’s a look at ordinary (some gross, like the foot of a fly) things under a microscope.

Happy Weekend, friends!

 

Sickie Blogging – Happy Fall!

Nothing inspires a thought such as, “Oh, I guess I could update my blog after a month to reassure people I’m not dead,” like being in bed with a nasty fall bug and a series of exhausting half-finished projects taunting me while I am home ill.

What has life been like in the past weeks? Busy. We remodeled the bathroom entirely. Our family had another wedding in Michigan, making it my fourth trip back-and-forth across the midwest this summer.

Aaron is feverishly working on his dissertation. My piano studio is keeping me so busy that I have a waiting list of students who would want to take lessons if I had a slot available. We have been working very hard for years, and these successes are marvelous gifts. In a way, this feels like we are getting that second burst of energy at the end of a race, as though the light at the end of a tunnel is blindingly bright.  We’re also doing some re-dreaming about the next phase of our life after he graduates, and discerning how to walk best with our desire for a family, our location, and our vocations. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to look like we had planned, but God has been very gracious to close and open doors in a way that takes some of the agony out of making these big decisions. A saving grace in some of these hectic days is that we have sold a significant amount of our stuff online, which streamlines some parts of life while we’re settling into a Fall that’s turning into a whole new kind of adventure.

autumn

Autumn is my favorite season, bringing the delights of soups, sweaters, candles, plaid, roasted acorn squash, hot wassail, and bonfires to accompany the witness of nature: God ordains a lot of beauty in seasons of ending and loss. I’m really thankful that is true.

{concerning marriage} entertainment

{Yesterday I shared about the crazy process of planning for a wedding and life, and today I have some suggestions about the media’s vision of marriage. Be sure to check out the first post and watch for a few more coming!}

Several years ago I started watching Glee, which made sense because I’m a musician and lots of my friends watched it and wanted to talk about it. But I had to stop watching when the choir director was part of a subplot developing positive romantic tension with another teacher instead of his wife. My best friend was in the middle of getting divorced even though they were homeschooled, parentally-approved, rule-following, supposedly all set for life, bla-bla-bla. (Remember that planning thing? Not foolproof.) I knew that no matter how atrocious the original wife was portrayed, the show was selling a lie that marriage or divorce aren’t a big deal. The pain for a one-flesh-tearing-asunder that wasn’t even mine didn’t feel fun or entertaining, and the experience profoundly changed how I thought about TV and movies.

It’s not a surprise that Christian marriage is counter cultural.  A religiously-oriented life of permanent sacrifice and fidelity is perceived as an attack on freedom in a world that worships the profane trinity of me, myself, and I, and our entertainment reflects this. When you watch commercials, women are often caricatured with artificial physical beauty and men are mocked as idiots. This Discover commercial…? Rude! It would be really offensive if the genders were reversed. 

When you get back to the regular programming, romantic leads on a TV show “can’t get married” because it “ruins the tension” of the show. So unrealistic. Legitimate marriage has plenty of tension. Married or single, chances of building a good life are better if you avoid passively receiving the idea that marriage is a joke, or that a romantic high is the ultimate fulfillment of your existence. I’m not going to tell you what not to watch! But I think negativity about marriage and family slipping under the radar poses a greater danger of messing up a life than most straightforward steamy scenes or course joking. With that in mind, here are a few movies and TV shows I’ve found encouraging…

1. The Sound of Music. Watch how Maria and Georg transform through the story, growing as individuals and strengthening each other while caring for their family and living bravely in adversity.
2. The Harry Potter Series – Molly and Arthur Weasley, parents of Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny. This is a great couple who built a life of modest means overflowing with love and respect for each other.
3. The King’s Speech. So much appreciation and encouragement! And a story of personal growth that happens in the strength of their day-in-day-out marriage, not a fantasy relationship.
4. Julie & Julia. Apparently this all falls apart in her second book, but the movie is really sweet and shows two different married couples building each other up in love and encouraging each other to be their best self.
5. Shadowlands. Kind of corny, but this is a great look at love and loss from the life and writings of C.S. Lewis and his wife, Joy Davidman.
6. Father of the Bride I and II. Also corny in a different way, but hilarious and positive. There are lots of real-ish life fights and making up, and a commitment to a lifetime of love throughout.
7. Duck Dynasty. All the married couples here have lots of fun joking around and showing that marriage is worthwhile, exciting, and meaningful. (Also, if you ever think your husband is gross, this show will give you a good dose of perspective. Or maybe that’s just me.)
8. The Office – Jim and Pam Halpert. This couple has always been a favorite because their romance was based on friendship and personal connection, not an immediate physical fling. Especially in this last season, their heartfelt reconciliation after months (years?) of hurt feelings, which resulted in some marriage counseling and a conscious choice to live out 1 Corinthians 13, from a flashback of their wedding, with each other was beautiful. 


Is there plenty of trash on the show? Yes. (I totally watched all the seasons anyway. I’m not telling what to watch or not watch.) But how often do you see mainstream media showing the key to succeeding in marriage is to be patient, kind, forgiving, humble, hoping the best for each other, and not failing no matter how hard it is? How often do you see a “couple” saying they have worked together every day for 9 years (a Hollywood eternity)  and their family is the most important thing in their lives? That all happened on network television during the last season, and I think it’s encouraging.

Jim and Pam

A rare attitude coming from network TV!

I’m sure this list could be much longer! Are there any other ideas for refreshing and uplifting marriages in entertainment from you guys? I mean besides the most obvious suggestion, which would be a reality TV show of the two of us, of course. iowa movie

{concerning marriage} planning

With our fifth anniversary and the family weddings this summer, I’ve been mulling over some ideas about marriage, and I’m sharing some thoughts from conversations with friends and sisters here. I know just enough to spout off a few things but I am basically a five-year-old telling a newborn baby what life is all about.

Everyone’s busy asking, “So how’s the planning going?” There is so much to talk about, to dream for, to plan on when you are getting married.  We even read a book about 100 things to talk about before engagement or marriage, encouraging discussion to ensure we prepared for an impossible number of topics. This is well-intentioned, but I think it can accidentally promote the lie that careful planning means you can control the outcome of your days. Is he planning to propose?  When is the wedding? Where are you going to live? How will you split the holidays with your families? When do you want to have children? Will one of you stay home with them? What about adoption? Are you going to homeschool? Do you want to travel? Go back to school? Start a business? Buy a house?

Of course, you need to talk about these things, and many others, but you should keep them in perspective. Is it wise to marry someone who doesn’t share your vision for life? No.  But it is not wise to marry someone based only on your shared vision for life, either. If circumstances (incomplete list of possibilities: test scores, lost jobs, surprise pregnancies, barrenness, illness, financial hardship, natural disasters, change of heart, governmental collapse, death in the family, End of Days) alter or disrupt that dream, you want to cheerfully weather uncertainty together.

Also, you want unity and agreement when starting life together, but a healthy marriage should spur your maturity, and this usually results in changing your mind about some things. This probably includes things you think are really important right now. It’s good to grow in surprising directions and to be ready for your spouse to do the same.

When I was engaged, I thought I was moving to California for a crazy few years that were supposed to include a shoebox apartment, working for a year, starting a family, and earning two Masters degrees between the two of us, and not necessarily in the order a reasonable person might think. We had done lots of careful planning, and after the deployment we felt like we had grown up quickly, anxious to get our external situation caught up with how we felt inside. Obviously, that’s not what happened. Who plans for hardship? Who plans for messed up military schedules that mean moving to a land of ice and cornfields instead of SoCal, or long PhD programs, church problems, war recovery, faith crises, depression, miscarriages, long years in bad jobs? No one. But that’s our real life. In the breakdown of the original dreams, there have been lots of good things we hadn’t expected, too. The gospel is crucial here: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ (not in a prayerfully coordinated marriage!) shall all be made alive. There are problems in life – they’ll be there in marriage, no matter how carefully you select a spouse and plan your life, and they’d be there if you were single. If following all the “rules” or carefully planning meant anyone could avoid trouble, it would nullify what God says about humanity and salvation. So when things are messed up, it’s not because we didn’t prepare enough or should have anticipated better. When things work out well, it’s by God’s grace and not because we had our ducks in a row at any point. Either way, you just take it and go with it.

The surprising news: With the right attitude, all this planning is the kind of test that prepares for real life. I’ve found that persevering in marriage calls for lots of dreaming and re-dreaming. And the important part of the planning is not the plans themselves, but the teamwork and unity that grows in the process. In light of this, enjoy the planning and dreaming! Because getting married means you will probably be doing a lot of it for the rest of your life.

[Just for kicks, this was taken five years ago this week. We even look like babies to me.] honeymoon2

ready, set, go!

Since moving to Iowa five years ago, a full day’s drive away from both sides of our immediate family, Aaron and I became the family outliers. We’re the furthest away from everyone else, and we’ve made that long journey back several times a year, sometimes in very inclement weather. (I still have bad dreams about the “New Years ’09 Road-Trip from Hell.” It involved fog, blizzard, icy roads, my first ticket, traffic delays, construction, an electric thunderstorm, more fog, mixing up the direction of the time change, all between the hours of 10:30p.m. and 9:30a.m. Never. Again.)

If we know anything now, it’s how to road-trip well on a budget. So when it was time for the first of at least three summer drives back to Michigan, I was prepared. For best results, fill up on gas the day before leaving, then pack a cooler. Squeeze a little water out of  water bottles and freeze them for 4 hours prior to leaving; use flexible icepacks; bring a combination of good food like carrots and trash like Salt & Vinegar chips; and plan at least one real “treat,” like the Greek Gods brand honey yogurt, which tastes better than ice cream.  All of this is about the same price as stopping for lunch without risking that awful feeling of sodium overload.   roadtrip

Outdated technology necessitated a “hipster” GPS:

downsize (5)

The first part of the weekend included celebrations for Aaron’s brother, Jack and Caroline. While, of course, there was plenty of Bachelor partying, rehearsing, setting up, marrying, eating, and dancing, our main responsibilities are pictured here. I bossed the wedding party around before they made it down the aisle; Aaron’s responsibilities as a groomsman paled compared to his cherished role as Chief Niece Spoiler/Teaser. (The root beer is closed. She is probably contemplating at this very moment how silly it is that adults think it is a treat to suck on cold aluminum cylinders.)

wedding weekend

I also made a fabric banner to compliment the Hobbit-inspired tent reception, and I think it turned out well.
banner

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the sweetest, happiest couple on their big day. It was an action-packed weekend full of setting up and driving around, and I only managed to get a few pictures … they are all of the toddler. Despite the lack of photographic evidence, this weekend was an answer to prayer. We had been hoping for this wedding since we first met Caroline, before they were dating!

We drove from the reception straight to my parents house and arrived well past midnight so I could host a bridal shower for my sister, Beth, the next day. I picked a “Lovebirds” theme, and it turned out very cute!beth's shower

And of course, we made it to Lake Michigan for a little while before driving back. I think you can tell which people pictured don’t have regular beach access. Ahem.

family beach

We are so thankful for a safe and happy trip. It was exciting to start celebrating this summer of love and family!

Outpost Memories

We spent some time last night with college friends swapping stories about our days at Hillsdale College, and I felt a pang of regret that I didn’t mention something in my last post. Yes, it’s cold in our house sometimes now, but it’s nothing like the house Aaron lived in during our Senior year.

The Outpost, as everyone called this house, was a special place. I have heard it was a dignified dwelling in it’s heyday, which was supposedly just one college generation — a few years, really — before us. However, when Aaron came back from Iraq and moved in to one of the upstairs bedrooms, it was clear that the former grandeur had faded. We (six guys and the girls who visited frequently) soon began referring to this house as “The Slum,” and the landlord, unfortunately, “The Slumlord.” The occupants discovered that, among other problems like the porch collapsing,  the walls were as thin as cardboard. When the weather chilled they could only afford enough heat to keep the pipes from freezing.

the outpost

This was pretty problematic. One time it was SO COLD that Aaron and I both sat on his bed under the covers slurping our hot chili dinner before premarital counseling. I think his room-mate felt a little uncomfortable with that arrangement. Turnabout is fair play – one time we came in and saw him with his girlfriend huddled under a makeshift tent of a blanket over a space heater. On another occasion, a group of us watched a movie piled on a couch in our own sleeping bags.

Sorting through these photos brings back so many memories! There were nicknames for several of the house’s occupants and various special ladies, a mouse that drowned in the sink of dirty dishes, and plenty of the things you’d expect from a bunch of guys living in a house together: chore disputes, strange smells, and even some bathroom drama. Those guys did put on a special dinner that winter before a dance, which was the nicest the place looked all year.

outpost dinner

It’s good to remember these humble beginnings, though I’m sure our memories are a little more fond than we would have suspected during the Outpost days…

Outpost driveway(Isn’t she a beaut!?)

great things He hath done!

I recently asked if we could go on vacation all the time, and, as life would have it, this summer it was high time that some of our college friends got the knot tied. Since we drove twelve hours from Iowa to Kentucky, stayed in a room by ourselves and didn’t do much cooking, I think we can safely call this trip a vacation. The bride, Hannah, who was one of my room-mates at Hillsdale, is an artist and photographer so I tried to take lots of pictures in her honor. (It was the snap of the button that was in her honor, not the end quality of the shots.) After arriving back home, we realized we have lots more memories than photos! Of course!

Aaron and I had our fourth anniversary during the festivities, and it was a delight to commemorate the special day with such a joyful wedding weekend. We’ve been in separate countries for two of our anniversaries, so it seemed quite trivial to complain about the fact that we were spending our time at the bachelorette parties instead of celebrating a romantic evening alone. (Party preparations for the ladies were so frenzied that we kept calling the boys’ shooting-grilling-drinking-and-cigar gathering a “Bachelorette” as well.)

The hours the wedding support team spent preparing food trays for parties, wrapping shower gifts, running errands, cleaning the outdoor reception pavilion, dipping flower balls in tubs of water, practicing piano for the ceremony, wrapping twinkle lights around banisters, scrubbing chairs, and tying tulle after driving twelve hours to get there was a tangible witness of our commitment to support Hannah and James in their marriage as the months and years pass. We were entirely thrilled to see so many college friends and participate in this happy wedding!

Since there was a little bit of empty time on our agenda before the wedding, we explored the gorgeous area and went hiking by the Kentucky River. You can note my oh-so-appropriate foot attire. Kentucky hiking is a little more intense than Iowa hiking!

As slightly older friends, just barely ahead of Hannah and James in our own marriage, we have a little bit of sage advice to offer about their life together.
I played piano for most of the wedding music, but when I think back on the songs they selected I keep hearing the glorious organ hymn they played for the recessional. It’s the exact soundtrack I want to play in my mind when I remember this day.

image from Zach Stone

“…Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice.
Oh, come to the Father through Jesus the Son,
And give him the glory, great things He hath done!
– To God Be The Glory, lyrics by Fanny Crosby.

A Cruel Month

April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain…
– TS Eliot, The Wasteland (“Part 1- The Burial of the Dead”)

I’ve never really understood much of the TS Eliot poem “The Wasteland,” to the point where I’m usually not sure the author even had a logical meaning that anyone was supposed to comprehend. This is totally sour grapes on my part, of course. He just means something I have not yet grasped. So I get lost in every attempt, but I keep coming back to these words because some of the imagery and the opening line, “April is the cruelest month,” resonates so clearly with me.

I have had many good Aprils, particularly 1986, when I was born, and the month is not always bad to me. But rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, so I have seen some cruel Aprils. The worst of them were five and six years ago, when Aaron and I were dating. During the first April there was much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, since I was dreading his departure for a deployment to Iraq. (In addition to the cruel April business, Eliot’s poem also says “I will show you fear in a handful of dust,” and confronting the dust-to-dust nature of this all was, indeed, terrifying.) When his pre-deployment training began I didn’t know we would have a brief summer reunion and thought we had kissed goodbye for the year. The day after he left I threw myself into a heap on my bed, surrounded by some girlfriends, and declared “I am being ripped in two!”

"kissing the war good-bye" was above my dorm dresser. also pictured: valentine's flowers.

the "birthday jar" I sent Aaron for his 22nd birthday. I was sick so my mom snapped this while I was in bed.

The second cruel April was a year later, and I was tiredly, anxiously, wearily, fearfully awaiting his imminent return home. It was an awful year in so many ways, and some days it seemed like every breath was a reminder of how fragile we all are. There were funerals, injuries, battles, sickness, nightmares, care packages, letters, emails, and lots of crying (on my part). The experience was more harrowing for Aaron than for me, of course, which appalls me a little to this day.  It has been said that “the darkest hour is just before dawn,” and those words were remarkably true for me that year. Sometime in February, I broke down with a friend while we were leaving the music building. I had been counting down to a rough estimate of Aaron’s homecoming date, and I remember sobbing “There are 73 more days! I can’t do it! This is impossible!” Then it felt like everything was downhill from there, and the last few weeks of deployment were full of insomnia and grotesque nightmares whenever I could get some sleep. I knew after all the difficulty of that year we were not home free yet. Nearly every day I heard people saying “You must be getting so excited!” and I just wanted to scream that he was still in danger and something could still happen to him and there is nothing exciting about someone you love being in a war zone, ever, even if they are scheduled to come home soon.

Then (At last! Finally!), five years ago today, the cruelty of that April came to an end and he was returning home. At that point, I almost wished my insomnia would have stayed a little longer since I was studying, writing, and practicing like crazy at the end of the semester, trying to work ahead as much as possible. Several professors graciously adjusted my scheduled finals so I could celebrate this homecoming – one even handed me an exam, winked, and told me to bring it back before graduation. Grace upon grace.

waiting!

Aside from the homecoming, which I have written about earlier, my favorite memory of this time came a few days later. Aaron was safely home, and the family sat on the couch praying for his upcoming TV interview. His mom asked that God would give him words to speak to the reporter, and his brother interjected, “English words!”

at last!

at last!

It’s interesting to unpack important lessons after trials like this. A few weeks into that summer, I sat with a family friend and watched Aaron perform important ushering duties at his sister’s wedding. (It was on a beach, and I remember him saying, “oh… sand…”) Someone remarked to me that Aaron’s presence here was proof of God’s faithfulness to us, and springing out of the growth and learning of the past year I had to correct them. Yes, God is faithful and gracious, and we received our loved one back from war… but a terrible outcome for that year would not have changed God’s character. I am so thankful that divine faithful character was expressed in this way, but I can’t pretend God “owed” us this safe homecoming. Things could have taken a tragic turn and that April would have been crueler than all the rest, and we could been weeping through a “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away” sort of lesson in it all. But for whatever reason, that was not the case, and we now reflect on this with humility and gratefulness:

 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” – Romans 11, niv.

“The LORD has dealt bountifully with you. ” – Psalm 116, esv.

Some of these Aprils have been cruel, but I am grateful for what has sprung out from that.
Welcome home, five years ago today.

happy anniversary!

It’s our third wedding anniversary today! And this is  our first real celebration since Aaron has been traveling around the world for our other anniversaries.

my favorite picture from the wedding!

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew;a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away. – Ecclesiastes 3, esv.

love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. -antoine de saint-exupery

guacamole that launched a thousand ships

Several years ago, I made this guacamole for some college friends who joined me at my parent’s home for Labor Day weekend at the beach… and I will not lie, I was totally trying to impress my crush. You know, I had to show him I was the kind of girl he could really eat dinner with every night for the rest of his life. Well, it worked. Aaron proudly tells our friends that he fell in love with me the night he ate my guacamole and decided then and there that he wanted to marry me. Little did we know there would be several years of dating, deployment, dating, breaking up, dating, proposal, engagement, etc., between here and there, but we are now married and enjoy inhaling guacamole as often as I can justify purchasing avacados. Which, you know, isn’t that difficult.

2 Hass avacados
juice from half a lime – or a 3 squirts from a jar. I won’t tell on you.
1 small clove of garlic, minced – or a teaspoon from a jar. No judgment.
1 scallion, sliced thinly
1 T olive oil

Mash all ingredients together and add 1 small tomato, diced. Enjoy plain with tortilla chips or offer it with salsa and sour cream for an appetizer spread.
I usually mix this up a bit – sometimes I leave out the tomato, use lemon instead of lime, or a dice a leek for the scallion, depending on what I have on hand. You can always use a teeny bit of onion in place of the scallion, just be sure to chop it up really small. Unless you like it spicy, in which case you should totally keep that onion chunky and make the recipe your own!