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Monday, June 25, 2007

Stevie One and Stevie Two

Today while I was surfing Youtube, I was able to reconstruct my childhood dreams. Youtube amazes me.

No, seriously. Bear with me here, and I'll explain. There were two "Stevies" I wanted to be like when I was a kid. Stevie One was Stevie Palmer, the kid in these two commercials:

OK, so he's not a celebrity or anything. But did you see all the cool stuff he could do? And all the cool people who came over to his house? He was AWESOME!

And yes, my brother and I eventually convinced my dad to pony up for an Amiga computer. It taught me some German phrases ("Guten morgen Hans") and I learned to imitate the sound of the Amiga disk drive by humming with my mouth closed.

Now "Stevie Two." Stevie Wonder was Stevie Two.

Hey, I know I'm not black. But as a kid, I knew that having that much funk would pretty much make up for any other shortcomings I might ever have in my life. Ever.

Also, perhaps someday I would be so famous as to need spanish subtitles.

Anyway, combine Stevies One and Two and you have my complete, up-to-date, 2007 Self-Image. But maybe that's too shallow. Anybody know a prophet, or maybe some famous philosopher who goes by "Stevie?"

-Marc (in a funny mood tonight...don't take me too seriously)

Good dancing music

In my younger days, I loved going to dances. I couldn't wait to turn 14, so I could attend the church dances. I mostly loved those dances... except for the ones where teenage drama would take over. Fortunately I don't have to worry about that anymore! :)

For some unknown reason, one of my favorite dancing songs got stuck in my head last night... you know the kind of song that makes you want to get up and dance, no matter where you are or what you're doing. Since I don't go to many dances anymore, and the fact that it probably isn't played as much as it was 15 years ago, I now have a list of "dancing songs" that I like to blast while I'm cleaning the house.

So, here's the first that I'll share: Abba's Dancing Queen

Now, don't tell me you didn't get up dance... or at least really fight the urge to sway! :) Anyone else have favorite dancing songs?

- Megan

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Megan's out of town, and I thought I'd better stop sulking about it. I decided to practice some comic art. This is one of my hobbies, and I'm timing myself to see how long it takes to complete a full-color frame like this, just so I have an idea of what to expect when I make a "real" comic. Hey, maybe I'll turn this into a comic, but for now it's just words I picked that seemed to add to a practice image.

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(Click to see full-size)

The thing that amazes me about comics is, you can use words to build an image that the reader can't see. You can't see a hatch, and you don't know what the legend might be, but the words force you to fill out the story inside your head.

Elapsed time: One Sherlock Holmes film and one movie about a smart dog.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

praying, hoping, wishing...

For the most part, I am an optimistic person. While I'm not necessarily "bubbly", I tend towards finding the good, the positive. Today, however, I've found myself in a little bit of a funk, and a lot of emotions have surfaced.

Our life has been filled with adoption-related things for the past seven months or so - paperwork, interviews, more paperwork, and more interviews. That phase ended almost two months ago, and now we're in the waiting phase. Waiting for our prayers to be answered; waiting for the right young woman to find us; waiting for a baby to fill our home and hearts.

As I was sitting here feeling sad about our situation... four years of struggles and frustrations of trying to start a family, countless doctor's appointments, and now entering this phase that could realistically last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of years... I started to think about others out there who are struggling with their own set of challenges. Heaven knows I'm not the only one with a heavy heart.

And I wondered specifically about the young woman who will eventually cross paths with us... and I wondered what she must be going through right now. Maybe she is struggling today. Maybe she is feeling scared and heartbroken. Maybe she is digging deep for all the courage and faith to make, perhaps, the most important decisions in her life. Decisions that I would never want to face.

And, if I knew that she were reading this right now, I would want her to know that I am praying for her. I would want her to know that, even though we haven't met, I think of her everyday. I would want her to know that I'm looking forward to meeting her and building a relationship with her. I would want her to know that there is and always will be a place for her in our hearts and family. I often find myself hoping that she is surrounded by loving arms.

I don't know why things haven't worked out for us to have children. I don't know why God allows some things to happen but not others. I don't know why the plans for our lives don't quite turn out like we expect. But, I trust that He knows something I don't know. He sees a broader perspective of our lives, and He knows certain things that need to happen in a certain way. I trust that when the time is right He will allow us to cross paths with very special people, who will bless our lives forever. In the meantime, we'll be praying and hoping and wishing for that day to speedily come.

- Megan

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

These Three Men

We are a little behind, but had to say something about Father's Day. There are three men who deserve my love and appreciation on Father's Day. Here they are...

Some things I love about my Dad... I love the way he whistles while he does the dishes or while he's puttering around the house. I love spending time with him in the yard. I love being in nature with him - camping, hiking, going on walks - it's where I feel closest to him. I love watching Frasier reruns with him - we laugh and laugh. I love talking with him about philosophy or politics or religion. I love the comfort of having his arm around me when life is hard. I love his sensitivity in knowing when I need his arm around me. I love it when he calls me by his nickname for me - Nutmeg. I love being "the spice of his life." I couldn't have been blessed with a better father.

And, I couldn't be more blessed to have Marc as my husband. Although we don't have any rugrats of our own yet, there is little that brings me more joy than watching how much our nieces and nephews love him. They literally climb all over him, and when they're ready to settle down, they love hearing his stories. (I love his stories, too!) Even the young ones, who you'd think aren't paying attention, become engrossed in his stories. He is very patient and sweet with them. He is going to be such a good father. There is so much that I love about him!

I never had the privilege of meeting Marc's Dad. But, I am grateful for the kind of father he was to Marc. I love hearing stories about him, and watching the way Marc fits so many of the characteristics of his Dad. I've decided that the person I'm most excited to meet in heaven some day is Marc's Dad.

These three good men are among my most favorite blessings!


Father's Day

Father's Day is past, and I'm just now mentioning it. We thought it would be good to write something about our dads even though it's a bit late. My dad passed away six years ago. He was a great role model.

One day, he was driving me to school when he saw something on the side of the road. He pulled the car over, opened the trunk, and pulled out some pruning shears. Then he walked over to a huge blackberry bush and cut some of it away. The bush had obscured a speed limit sign that was important, yet often ignored.

That small experience really made an impact on me. I had always assumed this sort of thing (trimming bushes away from government signs) was somebody else's job, something that normal people didn't need to worry about.

Ever since that day, I have tried to look for ways to improve my surroundings, even when I feel like it's not really my job, or when I know that somebody else might get paid to do it. It's easy to complain and gripe about things, but you learn a different perspective when you get your own hands dirty.

That's just a small example of the type of man my dad was.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Beach Camping

Marc is right - our two day beach vacation was a much needed break. We needed the rest and relaxation. I also finished reading a book and started another one, dozed off under the warmth of the sun, waded into the cold ocean water, enjoyed the feeling of sand between my toes, and ate some yummy food. I've decided that planning good meals is the best part of camping. Of all the good food we had, I think the highlight was the dutch oven peach cobbler. It was heavenly!

It was great to have my parents there with us, too. While Marc was taking one of his much needed naps, I went exploring with my parents. We found a little river running into the ocean, where the water was significantly more tolerable. I really enjoyed spending that time with them. They'll be leaving for Australia in just a couple of weeks and I am grateful to have this time with them. I'm sure the year and a half will go by fast, but it's hard to think of them being on the other side of the world.

Marc and I also had some quiet time together, while we took a stroll down the beach at sunset. Life needs more of those moments... to slow down and just be in the moment. We even found a private little cove to sneak a few kisses!

The big disappointment of the weekend was not being able to try out our new 9-person tent. We bought it last winter, at a really good price. We were excited to try it out, but it was so windy on the beach that it wouldn't stay up. Check this out:

Luckily we had brought our other smaller tents, just in case we would need them. Overall, we had a fantastic time!


Monday, June 18, 2007

Two Ways to Vacation at the Beach

There are only two ways to vacation at the beach, if you really think about it.

The first way is to soak it all in and act like you're on mental holiday. This means you do whatever comes to mind - napping, reading, exploring, eating, floating.

The second way is to make a list of things you want to do at the beach and work your way through the list: Playing in the water, flying a kite, going for a run, eating s'mores, doing a crossword puzzle.

This weekend, I did things the first way. I finished a book I was reading, but I didn't do any sketches at all. I ate a hotdog (even though I don't really like hotdogs anymore), but I didn't take nearly enough photos. I took a long nap, and I let other people explore the rocks.

I could tell I just needed a break. Rest, relaxation, no planning.

Now that I'm home, I feel like I can sketch again, make plans again, and be hyperactive again.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Britain's Got Talent

This is Paul Potts. Thanks to Marc's sister, Celinda, for sharing this with us! Here is Paul's audition clip:

And, the winner of Britain's Got Talent:

What can I say, I'm already a fan!


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sweet Green Peas

I've been planting vegetable gardens since my college days at BYU. In those days, usually because of procrastination, I wouldn't plant my garden until mid-June. Which basically meant that if I wanted any "fruits" from my labors before the cold weather came again, I had to buy plants already started.

Well, for the first time ever, a little over two months ago, we planted our garden with seeds! Since we planted them in late March, I figured I would have plenty of time to still buy plants if we couldn't get the seeds started on our own. But, miraculously, we have been very successful with our garden this year! Hooray!!

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Last night I went out to water the garden and just sat and admired the beautiful peas that are growing in abundance. I had to steal a couple off the vines right then. They are crisp and sweet, I can almost feel the healthiness seeping out of them. They are so yummy, and I might add healthy, too!

In the past, I had never grown peas because the green pea plants were always sold out by the time I got around to going to the local nurseries. So, since I started from seeds this year, I just had to plant peas. Mainly for two reasons:

1. Because I love peas. They are my favorite snack food. I love them in stir-fry and in fresh salads. But, I mostly like them unadulturated, raw and fresh, just off the vine.

2. Because peas remind me of memories with my Grandpa. One of my favorite childhood memories is trips to Grandpa's house in Utah - he'd take us out to his little garden and show us his plants. He'd let us feast on whatever vegetables we could find. My favorites were his green peas. I loved time in the garden with Grandpa. I never would have thought a memory like that would mean so much to me today.

Here's a photo of our triangular garden boxes. Other than peas, we've also planted tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and carrots.

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Oh, and here is a cute photo I snapped of Einstein investigating the peas.

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- Megan

Monday, June 11, 2007

Why I like Pride & Prejudice

We watched the Focus Features version of Pride & Prejudice last night. This one is such a beautiful film, and as a card-carrying male, I proudly admit I really love it.

The visual composition and cinematography in this film are wonderful and really add depth to Jane Austen's novel. For example:

Beautiful outdoor scenes:
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...and this fantastic shot, which is composed like an 18th-century painting:
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A minor detail in that last shot that's worth pointing out: The director arranged the three men according to social class: upper, middle, lower.

If you haven't seen the film, go watch it! It's a good love story, too. Wink wink!

P.S. See if you can find Megan's favorite part of the film, shown below:

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Good things are sure to come...

Yesterday I attended a funeral of a family friend. It was a very nice service. He was a great man who will be missed.

There was a quote shared at his funeral that really struck me: "Faith is the place between the way things are right now and the good things that are sure to come."

As the rest of the day went on, that quote kept running through my mind. The night before, as Marc and I were laying in bed, we were talking about faith and how to let go of fears and doubts, and put our trust completely in the Lord - knowing that He will provide for us and will protect us. It is hard to let down our guard... but I guess that's what faith is all about.

Good things are sure to come. I know they are.

- Megan

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Sketching and the beach

We're getting ready to go camping on the beach in a week or so, and I'm excited. I love going to the coast - it's a break for the mind, and camping on the beach is lovely. If you feel like you're laying in an uncomfortable spot, just wiggle back and forth a bit until the sand beneath you is like one of those contour matresses. :-)

When we go to the beach, I like to take my sketchbook along to record places, things, and people. Since I do commercial illustration work as part of my job, it helps me keep in practice, too.

There is a really magical cottage on part of the northern California coast, and I love to look at it. Here's a sketch I made of it, then scanned into the computer:

Isn't it cool how it's perched right there at the edge of a cliff? How awesome would it be to vacation in a little place like that? I didn't have much time to complete the sketch, so here's a photo of it that I took earlier:

Crashing rocks...wind-blown trees. Maybe nobody lives there - maybe somebody just built it so they could get rich selling calendar photos of it? :-)

In my sketchbook, there's a huge portion of that page missing. Before I sketched this cottage, I drew a boy and a girl sitting together on the beach, talking. Later that day, the father of the girl in the drawing asked if he could pay me for it! I guess it was a special moment for the girl and he and his wife wanted to give the drawing to her, framed, as a birthday present. I thought it was such a neat idea that I was happy to cut the page up right there. The gap in the page reminds me that even a little drawing can make someone happy.

Someday I'll have to share my airport drawings...some of the people who were at the airport would probably be pretty surprised to know that they were captured on paper while they talked on their cell phones, or drooled all over themselves during a short nap in the terminal. ;-)

Can't wait to go to the beach!