divinely rolling with the punches.

I believe in divine appointments.  I kind of thought I was making one when I called the salon on Wednesday.  Yes.  12:15 sounds great.  uh-huh.  We’ll see you then.  Thanks so much.

12:15.  Right, so when I dropped Brooke at an intersection in uptown Minneapolis, telling her to go check in (while I successfully parallel parked, amid impatient drivers), I was thinking I’d have a new ‘do within an hour or so.

Instead, I found myself in a movie theater, watching Anna Karenina.  Bunny trail: If you read the book, see the movie.  It was fabulous, and so true to the themes and messages and characters in that brilliant work.  If you didn’t read the book, you probably won’t be able to appreciate the unique staging and some of the nuances of the movie, but I bet you’ll still follow the general storyline all right… and you might even enjoy it.

Back to my story: I thought the appointment was at 12:15.  I think that’s what the lady on the phone said.  I’m like 99% sure that’s what we agreed on.  But, then again, my hearing isn’t super great. I may have heard what I wanted to hear.  Anyways, the salon said, nope, your appointments are at 5:15.  

What are two young gals to do in uptown Minneapolis for five hours?  Answer: shop for spices at Penzey’s, sneak french fries into Anna Karenina, enjoy Anna Karenina, and go to the quirky bookstore while you wait for your appointments.

It wasn’t planned, but it turned out well.  And that’s not even the end of it.

I usually get my hair done by a stylist in Wayzata.  (and by usually, I mean that every two months I head over there, desperate for a trim) She’s fast, thinks I’m sweet, knows my hair at least as well as I do, and we have a good time.  I was looking forward to seeing her when I came home.

But when I found myself in Sophia’s chair, hearing about how she’s living her dream, how she’s grounded in faith and wants the same for her 16 year old son, I think God had a different appointment in mind for me.  Granted, it took double the time that it normally does since she was a little newer to the trade. It was well worth the time spent.

We were late for dinner, and nothing turned out how we planned it today, but it was lovely.  I guess sometimes you just roll with the punches, see a movie, and end up in a different stylist’s chair.

And you have a good day.

sesame street, patience, and more adventures having to do with books and uptown minneapolis

I have two confessions to make, and I think I’ll begin with the light-hearted one.

I have some serious affection for Sesame Street.  While watching it I laugh out loud at Elmo and his gang, smile at everything, and think – every five seconds – my kids will never watch any tv show that is not Sesame Street. Never.  No Wonderpets, no Dora, no Barney (gosh no, he’s so annoying!).  No, they will watch Sesame Street or nothing.

One of my favorite two-year-olds and I watched Sesame Street today on youtube (I didn’t even know you could do that until today!) for about an hour.  If it weren’t for dinnertime rolling around, I would have sat there for longer, enjoying every second of it.

Plus, there was a sweet, smiley, toddler snuggled up on my lap, playing with my car keys.

such a sweetie. and adorable.

in case you can't see, she's got my cell phone, my car keys... and her sippy cup.

Second confession: Patience is not on my list of strong traits.  Especially not when I’m tired, crabby, having low blood sugar, in the company of people who are on the more difficult side of love, or when I haven’t taken time to just spend with God that day.

Why, oh, why do I ever let anything else take priority over that?

The things that I let get in the way of having time to start my day the way that makes it (and me) turn out best gets shunted to the side if I wake up too late, if I have somewhere to be within an hour of waking, or some other lame excuse.

Talk about not setting yourself up for success, Ashley.

Then, the whole day I lack the vision and perspective and direction that spending time with my Savior typically brings.  If I’ve had my coffee I usually find something in the verses I’m reading that makes me think critically – resulting either in me learning something or thinking about something from an angle I had not considered before.

Lesson learned, I’ll never neglect this again.

Oh, wait, I forgot that I am a faulty human who needs to have made the same mistake at least 649 times before any real change can happen.

The negative comment just kind of popped out; right now (I’ll be real here, folks) I’m feeling cynical.

This is a rare moment.

I’ll continue to be real.  My God is the God who has changed the hearts of Pharisees who persecuted Christians to serve Him without ceasing.  He has pursued the hearts of humankind for thousands of years, relentlessly calling them to ask Him to change their lives.  He has given me the hope for which I live.  He provides opportunities to learn lessons (ahem.), and He does not give up on me.

Jesus, teach me to be patient.  When I have the opportunities, show me the right way to learn the skill.




In our household, adventures are a daily occurrence.  It may be just the fact that I see the every day occurrences as adventures, but, I have pictures and stories to share.

Our adventurous spirit took us to uptown Minneapolis yesterday.  Home of the artsy, the hippie, and the urban.  Not that you have to be all three to live there.

First stop: Penzey’s spices.  I could sniff those organic wonders all day long, but not everyone share my enthusiasm for truly good smells.

smelling, smelling, smelling... it's single strength vanilla extract! mmmmmmmm!

So, we diverted our shopping endeavors to Magers & Quinn, booksellers.  It’s not on a Barnes & Noble level of class, but, on the other hand, it’s not on the same price level either.

the sale carts outside Magers & Quinn provided an optimum place for picture taking

I wandered around the store looking for affordable books until I found... the SALE TABLES! Tolstoy, Austen, Voltaire, Dickens, Kafka, and more, all on the same table with cheap prices!

I walked into the store holding a book full of pictures and stories about Shirley Temple that had caught my attention as a classic movie lover, thinking I’d splurge from my no-buying policy and fork over the $4.

I came out, having spent $7.55 total, with a bag containing Voltaire’s Candide, a collection of short stories by Tolstoy, and Oliver Twist, arguably by favorite Dickens’ novel… it’s neck and neck with Great Expectations.

To half steal my sister’s comparison, going into a bookstore is like going into a room of people.  You see lots of old friends that you know, some ones you’ve recently met, some you love, some you don’t love so much, and some… some you have never seen before, and they entice you into talking to them because you have a mutual friend or because they have a great name.  And you end up inviting a few of them over to talk some more….

the only part about this is analogy that doesn’t work is the checkout part where you pay for them, because that, dear readers, would be slave trading.  Not legal.  Not ethical.  So, we;ll leave the simile there.

Ah, books.

Our next adventure took us to Stella’s Fish Café and Prestige Oyster Bar.  We skipped the Oyster Bar part of that and just ate on the rooftop of Stella’s.

on Stella's rooftop

Then, we went to Heartbreaker (not pictured.)

And the sculpture gardens.

at the sculpture garden

the famous cherry and spoon sculpture, with interactions not to climb on it... we didn't.

the famous cherry and spoon sculpture, with instructions not to climb on it... we didn't.

The conclusions I have made for today: Patience isn’t just a virtue; it’s a necessity.  And it’s one that I need to equip myself with.  and the way I equip myself begins with keeping my priorities straight.

Ah, priorities. Ah, the condition of the heart.  Ah, it’s bedtime.