The Post I’ve Needed to Write for a While…

If you follow this blog at all, I have clearly been pretty M.I.A. this year. I had a pretty rough first half of 2016 – I tried to continue blogging from time to time, but my creative energy had been pretty zapped by a pretty terrible job situation. For being a generally confident, happy person, I can say that I have never been pulled so low as I was from December of last year through June of this year. I won’t go into details, but by the end of it, I felt stripped pretty bare.

But then I quit. Without a new job lined up, I prayed a LOT, asking God for guidance and if He COULD just MAYBE have me a new job by August 1, that would be wonderful. I had an incredible amount of peace during this time, and amazingly, on August 1, I got the call at 8:03 a.m. with my new job offer. Since then, the rest of the year has gone MUCH smoother. I’m finally feeling more my old self again, confidently working in a fabulous team environment, spending time outside of work with friends, getting back into a workout routine…the second half of the year has been SO much better.

Yet, as you’ve seen, there haven’t really been any posts. I’ve been cooking, decorating, sewing…but I just haven’t had it in me to write as much. Maybe this blogging phase of my life is over. Maybe I’ll revive it down the road. But the experiences of the year have made me care more for my friends, my family, my activities…and a little less about documenting every moment. The only place I post much these days is over in IG (@megstermeter), but I have definitely downsized my overall social media presence. I encourage each of you to really consider what is most important to you, and what is keeping you from loving those important pieces of life. Is there a job you need to quit? A relationship you need to repair? What can you do in 2017 to have your best life? I’m considering these questions for myself as the year ends.

As a “goodbye for now,” I can’t resist sharing some of my favorite pictures (in random order) of the last eight blogging years, as I welcome in this new 2017. I mean, TWENTY-SEVENTEEN, am I right? I remember December 31, 1999, in my friend Laura’s basement, singing “I’m Blue” by Eiffel 65…yikes. I am optimistic about 2017 – I hope that both for you and for me, 2017 shares more laugher than tears, more joys than sorrows, and more gratitude than complaining.

 

January 2016 {1SE}

My creative project for the year is going to be capturing just one second every day using the 1SE app, and compiling them into monthly snippets of my life… Remember that time I did this for about 5 months? I LOVED the result. What I loved most about it is what it meant to me – it was a sweet reminder of the little moments. Even cooking dinner at home or walking the dog became a special part of my day to day.

So to kick it off, here is my January! I plan to upload these videos to you monthly, and then I’ll compile one big 2016 at the end of the year. Cheers!

The Great Book Purge

Somewhere along the way, I developed a love of books. It probably started in the days of Goosebumps and Choose Your Own Adventure and The Baby Sitters Club… And then it was only multiplied in high school when Doc Cass introduced me to Our Town and Solace of Open Spaces and The Grapes of Wrath. Yes, I loved them all, and then some.

But THEN I went and minored in English in college. “WHY OH WHY did I do this?” I asked myself on the regular. But by the end, I was glad I had. All of this, though, has produced quite an eclectic collection of books…and this week, I decided, it was time to purge.

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This is a portion of the outgoing pile.

Why purge? First, because my books have become more of a clutter than a nice library or refuge. Second, because I promised myself when we moved into our new house I would get rid of things I did not need or use or love. Many of these books fall into those categories.

A few rules. I didn’t get rid of any of my husband’s books – those are for him to look through. I didn’t get rid of any children’s books. I didn’t get rid of anything I LOVED or that I’ve read more than once.

A sum up of what I found on my shelf:

  • Monster Books. I took a class in college on “Monsters in Literature.” Think: Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Lord of the Rings, Frankenstein, etc… I admit, I kept a few of these that I may indeed read again.
  • Bibles. Between my hubby and I, we had FIVE BIBLES. I decided to get rid of one – why? Because a) it was mine, b) it’s a version neither of us read, and c) someone else could use it more than I do. I did keep each of our study bibles, our huge family bible I bought for our wedding, and one other that we use. Also kept my favorite devotional and faith-based books, like Screwtape Letters, My Upmost for His Highest, and Power of a Praying Wife.
  • Caribbean Lit. I also took a Caribbean Literature class in college. I loved it. I remember these books well. But I’ve never read them since, and probably won’t read them again. Let it gooooo…
  • The Reformation. Yes, I took a class about literature during the Reformation. It was miserable in SO MANY WAYS. But the books are so pretty and fat and make me feel smart. And I DID learn an awful lot about the Reformation. But seriously, I will never read all of the 1248 pages of The Faerie Queene. I didn’t even read them in college.
  • Art. I fundraised for the visual arts at one point, and managed to collect a few great art books. The problem is, I don’t have much of an appreciation for them. A few that I loved have now landed in my office.
  • Poetry. I pretended to write poetry a lot in high school, so then I took a few poetry classes during my English Minor. I was TERRIBLE. But I loved the books. These are still on the fence for me… I always tell myself I’ll read them, but I honestly haven’t. I may end up keeping them. I CAN’T DECIDE.
  • Neuroscience. Majored in Psychology and Neuroscience. Resulted in books like, Guns, Germs, & Steel and Music, The Brain, and Ecstasy and Emotional Intelligence. Loved them. Will never read them.
  • My childhood. THESE ARE THE KEEPERS! The whole Chronicles of Narnia series. Anne of Green Gables. BFG. Things I will read and my children will read, and then we will all read them again.

Okay, if you read all that, kudos. Is your bookshelf like this? Did you finally part with some of them at some point? HOW DID YOU DO IT AND NOT CRY? All advice welcome.

A Note On Christmas Trees

This Christmas marks me and Jonathan’s third married Christmas. THIRD. That’s crazy. As you probably know, we spent our first two years of married life living in Ohio, where we knew no one (at first) and had no family. It was extremely important to me that our house there felt like home for both of us. And for me, that meant some serious and intentional Christmas decorating.

Our first year, we decided to cut down our own Christmas tree, so the day after Thanksgiving, with my visiting in-laws in tow, we drove 45 minutes away to do just that. We even named it Tenny, a nod to the state we planned to end up in.

The next year, my mom visited as well, and again we made the trip to cut down our tree. Tenny 2.

These trees were special to us because they were OURS. Jonathan sawed them down himself, and then I decorated them. These trees made that house feel like home at Christmas, especially with all of the ornaments that represent so many memories from both of our lives.

This year, we have been so busy with remodeling parts of our new house in Nashville that Christmas decorations became an after thought. But last weekend, we knew we HAD to go get Tenny 3. So we went to a tree farm, and no offense to Tennessee, but it DID NOT live up to the Ohio farm we had visited the two years before. So after stopping a few places, we ended up buying a pre-cut tree (hey, we still went to a farm. we TRIED), and put it in our practically empty living room and decorated it.

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Tenny 3 is pretty much just for us. We aren’t having any parties this season, like we usually do. We haven’t invited friends over yet, because our house is still in pieces (but getting very close!). So it’s pretty much just us, enjoying it in the evenings, and watering it every day. It’s not technically as nice of a tree as Tenny and Tenny 2 were, but it’s just right for where we are in life: it’s just what we need.

So cheers to all the Christmas trees that have sat in this window since 1949, and cheers to the many trees our little family will bring in. Merry Christmas!

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Well I’m 30 Now…

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Well, on Monday, Labor Day, I turned 30. And I’m not mad about it. In fact, I’m pretty okay with 30. But the sound of it is a little strange… THIRTY. That used to sound SO OLD and so far away. And…it’s not.

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I got to spend an extended Labor Day Weekend in Nashville with my hubby, my mom, and my in-laws, and got to visit with a lot of our family. We shopped, we ate, we drank. I’m pretty sure I broke one of my small toes. That was about the extent of it!

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I came back to the office to find this on the whiteboard…

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And this in my office…IMG_8515

I’ll have an update on my 30 before 30 list soon. I was able to accomplish a few more things just in the nick of time… SOON SOON!

Fourth of July Weekend Wrap Up {2015}

It was a great weekend in Nashville, except that it RAINED on the night of the 4th, so we didn’t get to watch fireworks from our secret spot like we had planned. MAJOR BUMMER.

But I spent the 3rd with these two little ladies (and also I had to catch a glimpse of my flag dress from Red Dress Boutique)…

IMG_7926And that night, me and the hubs gave a shout out to my hometown, with each of us wearing our Wisconsin shirts:

IMG_7958The hubs had to work during the day, so I headed to a family cookout (with his fam!), and had a great time catching up with everyone: IMG_7961Me and the lovely ladies had to get a photo – two cousins-in-law and a sister-in law:IMG_7965And I just have to show off the adorable back of the OTHER dress I bought from Red Dress Boutique:IMG_7971

And finally, my adorable nephew Jack, because he is the most photogenic kid I know:IMG_7972

It’s almost the 4th of July!!

This is PRETTY MUCH my favorite holiday. I mean, it’s obviously tied with Christmas, because nothing can beat Christmas, but THE FOURTH OF JULY. OH man…how I love it. Please take a few minutes to browse through my past 4ths, and you may understand why…

It’s always a little bittersweet when I can’t get back to my hometown for this classic American holiday, but this year, I’m heading to Nashville to be with my hubster and his family and our friends there, like these guys, who joined us in Wisconsin last year!

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This will probably be a relatively low key weekend, but I will be sure to take some photos to share with you next week. Safe travels wherever you may go!!