Sunday, August 30, 2009

summer or fall?

I love summer evenings. Even better than summer evenings though are fall evenings...
and this summer with all its coolness as been more like an early fall than a hot august.
And I am not complaining! This weather is awesome.
I love fall!!

This summer though, my parents and I have been busy getting the house fixed up for company. It seems my wedding was just the ticket for my parents to start putting together the patio backyard they've been dreaming and talking about for years now.

My brothers and Mikey added on a lower deck and a brick patio when they were here in July.
Then I started adding some plants and accessories to the patio!

Then today my Dad and I stained their new table and chairs and assembled the new grill. Summer close-outs are the best!! They got these for practically nothing!
My Mom found them while walking though a menards.

A chimenea that we love!!

Hello little chimenea!

Hello little grapes on the chimenea!

Dad gets the fire started...

and then asks me, do you think it's dry enough to sit down?

But we sat anyways... what a handsome dad!! Chimenea, coffee and an awesome patio set to sit on...

Uh, Dad? Is the fire chimenea supposed to be doing that?


I just love lazy summer/fall evenings!

Friday, August 28, 2009

my ability to multi-task...

I'm starting to question my ability to multi-task...

I made this yummy french breakfast puffs (from PW) for the wedding weekend....

and had just finished cleaning up when I noticed this little guy.

Hello! What are you doing uncoated? Naked and alone... (that reminds me of Job).
So there Job sits, unbuttered and unsugared.
Too bad Job... someone will just have to eat you plain.
I was talking to my grandma on the phone and completely missed this last little guy, Job.
I'm starting to question my ability to multi-task... since this little mishap follows me putting in 6 teaspoons of salt in the mix instead of 3... hmmmm (that was when I was talking to Mikey).
If I lose my ability to multi-task I will be slow and useless in all my tasks...
or maybe, just maybe I'd actually be focused and able to finish a task before starting another.
Goodbye sweet multi-tasking. Wedding planning has fried my brain!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

what your mug says about you....

Anyone who has talked to me for about 5 minutes or less knows that one of my passions in life is coffee... coffee brewing, coffee growing, coffeeshops, coffee grinding, coffee art (aka latte art), coffee coffee coffee.
It's a bit much, I'm sure, to the average person.
But I'm not to blame... ahem, my father who I love more than any other man (over the age of 26) once came to my apartment in college, saw my folgers in the fridge (hey, it was cheap!! and i was a poor college student!!) went out that very hour and bought me Java House coffee beans saying, "No daughter of mine is going to drink folgers."
Sorry folgers, the best part of waking up is having something other than your beans in my fridge I guess.
But it doesn't stop there. Ohhhh no! My family is all quite knowledgeable when it comes to coffee. They'll share their opinions about how to store it, how to keep it fresh, how to grind it and Lord have mercy! If you have a flat coffee filter as opposed to a cone shaped filter!
Oh, Schupbachs and Schupbach married sisters, how I love thee.
There are certain rules one must abide by... 1. we don't often do flavored unless our guests/company prefer it.
2. we don't use cream or sugar. no ma'am, uh huh!
and lastly, of the coffee rules I can remember at this moment, do not use a mug that doesn't say something personally about you at this moment.
So today, I stumbled into the kitchen... found a mug and thought, "What does this mug say about me?"

For instance, "Morning Stampede" with penguins fighting over a fresh cup of coffee. Morning stampede.... well, I'm not ashamed to admit there have been a few stampedes and angry bursts of, "Who finished the coffee without starting another pot?" when my family is all together. 14 people (well, 10 minus the children) all waking up with little to no sleep (because of said children) and wandering why a 12 cup pot of coffee didn't make it to the last person.

Probably because we don't use the small size coffee cups the pot was numbered to match. Oh, no! We Schupbachs drink big mugs full of pipin' hot coffee and we don't just drink one cup in the morning. It's only fair that the person who sleeps in the longest (how do they manage that, I'll never know) has to suffer and wait the longest getting their coffee!!
I love this mug above.

And this, was my mug of choice this morning!!
Enough said.
Some mornings, no coffee cup can quite say what you want it to say except this mug.
Somedays when I'm needing a few moments to gather my thoughts with a cup of coffee. When a family member walks in and says, "Who drank the last cup of coffee without filling the pot?" All I have to do is hold out this mug and I believe it sends the message, "Just give me a second before I can function."
ha ha ha
(you'll have to excuse the drip marks, I didn't clean the mug before taking a picture)

But of all the messages you could send with your coffee mug, I believe this mug sends out the loudest message.
Not only does it say, "I'm sophisticated and cool" because of the cool art on the sides... it also says....

Who ever is drinking me, needs it because I am a HUGE CUP!

oh, gargantuan cup! Oh I love thee!!

(oh, and yes, Mikey drinks coffee... black!)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Amy's wedding... well, kind of

I had good intentions to take pictures with my camera. I asked my Mom to be in charge of the pictures and she was all set to do so... but I was so busy getting ready the morning of that I totally forgot my camera.
Luckily my Mom got some pictures of the rehearsal. So here I give you, Amy's wedding... kind of. :) Waiting for directions. Amy had her wedding in her parents backyard under a beautiful white tent that we hung coral, pink and orange paper lanterns from. It was such a beautiful wedding.

Amy's sisters-in-law and friend sang and played violin and guitar.

It was so beautiful. They did a great job!

Amy has a very sassy face in this picture. I love it.

Breath, sister, breath!

Amy and Ben

Practice makes perfect.

Prayer for the wedding and for their marriage. What a blessing to be a part of such a god-centered day (and to be with them for all the days to come).
Congratulations Taylors!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

loving unconditionally...

Amy's wedding weekend way exceeded my expectations for a best friend's wedding. I worried about getting time with her, being in the way or just not being helpful enough.

Well, God answered my prayers. I was able to spend an exuberant amount of time with Amy and some of that was just the two of us. Saturday morning Amy and I were both wide awake at 6:30 AM and we got to walk around her neighborhood in Lincoln.

We talked about our fiancees and our upcoming weddings and I asked her, "What are you the most excited about, marrying Ben?"

She said, "I'm the most excited to love him the way I was created to. I've been created to love at enormous depths and I feel like I haven't even scratched the surface of how much I can love Ben."

Her answer was (is) so Amy and I've been thinking about it. Her answer was not in reference to the lovey dovey love that they are both feeling now. The love Amy was talking about is the love that withstands trials and tribulations in a marriage and keeps their vows.

The love that stands the testing of life and time. Her answer gave me so much to think about and pray about as I wait 20 days to marry Mikey.

Loving unconditionally, the way we are loved first.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wedding Bells...

I'm hopping in a car... well, as hopping as I can be at 8 AM. Hey, that's early!
Anyway, I digress....
I'm hopping/getting into a car tomorrow to drive to Nebraska. I wouldn't normally be so excited for Nebraska if I didn't dearly love one of its residents (well, several of its residents). But one in particular, Miss Amy Hatcher.
I'm getting in a car, driving nine hours and partying all weekend with my best friend because this is her wedding weekend... and yes, Joanna, you read that right.
Amy and I have been friends since 2003 when we went to Japan together.
Many nights we laid awake and talked about our hopes and dreams. We bonded fast over that summer. But if I try to take any of the credit for our friendship, I would be a liar.
Amy has pursued my friendship and been one of the most loyal gals in my life. She has truly been the best.
Letters and cards and Amy even came to see me for A WHOLE MONTH IN JAPAN!!
Seriously, this girl is quality.
She was also the person I called when I was sad in California. When I had bad nights or disappointing moments, I would look at the clock and say, "Who can I call at midnight in the midwest?" And I would call Amy...
How can she not be the best kind of friend? Look at my outfit, she would be seen with me in public wearing this outfit...
although, I severly miss that beloved purse.

I have to be honest, I really really like Ben, her soon to be husband. I do. I like him and I think he's the right kind of guy for Amy. SERIOUS!
But I will most likely cry when Amy walks down the aisle and marries him.
Not because of Ben but because I'm so happy for my friend.

I mean, who else can make this kind of face with me? Amy is the ying to my yang...
So happy for you Amy and Ben!
Please come visit California soon!!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

one heart, one passion

I liked what this guy said on my friend Zach's blog. He was talking about the verse, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8) and he mentions how really pure in heart means "singleness of heart" or having one passion; which is following God.

He says, "Maybe an expanded translation of the verse, using this idea (of singleness of heart), might help us to get at another aspect of the meaning: 'Blessed are those who are solely committed to seeking and knowing God. Blessed are those whose hearts are committed to this pursuit, for they will find what they're looking for. Blessed are the fixated. Blessed are the ones with they holy obsession. Blessed are the ones who run hard after Him."

This reminded me of a thought I've had recently about my Great Aunt Esther, who as she was dying stretched out her arms and reached for heaven as she entered it.

How do you live such a life that you die with your arms reached for what you've been longing for?

Maybe I'm thinking too deeply for tonight but these thoughts have come to my mind and heart. I want to live a life that is impassioned for One.

books are our friends

What is it with books? I unpacked books from childhood, growing up, college and Japan, okay, basically my life and it was like greeting old friends.
Hello, old friends! Nice to see you.
If I get to only pick one thing to move with me to California when I marry it would be my books. There were so many treasures inside the books. I'm not talking about the journals, people. Those are a blog entry all on their own (oh, the musings of a 18 year old brought laughter and tears to my heart)!
I'm just talking about the beautiful books. I filled about three printer paper size boxes full of my C.S. Lewis, LM Montgemory, Tolkien, Austen, Piper, Carey and more... oh, the hard bound and the paperback. The childhood fictional love novels and the books that taught me to grow in my faith. Oh, sweet Jerry Bridges, how I love how much you taught me when I was first learning about faith and how awesome it is now to have sat across a table with you, talking about "normal people" topics.
I have books for when I struggled and books for when I soared.
Old favorites and new. Classics and books that I received as a gift because the main characters name was "Joanna"....
oh, what adventure books hold, not just inside their covers and written on their pages but also in the memory of having sat down with a cup of java and reading them.
Books are like friends.
The books that smell musty because they've been in print since before I was born and possibly since before my parents were born. The books that haven't been opened yet but are still on my "to read" list. My precious books with worn edges, loose pages and little notes on the side.
Oh I have so many plans for these friends of mine. I'm going to ship them to California and enjoy unpacking them and seeing them. Books are so wonderful, aren't they?

Monday, August 03, 2009


Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" I just spent a wonderful weekend with the women who are my "iron sharpeners" in life. They may not even realize it because we did little deep talking but underneath the laughter and catching up, God was doing something in my heart. I feel like I am learning a lot right now as I reflect on the weekend.

Here's Kelli. I love this picture of her sitting on a ped mall bench waiting for the restaurant to call us. Kelli asked me a lot of good questions about my feelings towards the wedding and marriage. Kelli has been married for 4 years now and her relationship with Marcus always encourages me. (Kelli's one of my matrons of honor.)
Kell, I didn't get time to ask about YOU but I'm glad we have the next two weekends to kind of talk some more.

Kelli and Jennifer in Iowa City.

Jamie and my Mom at dinner. Jamie has been a huge source of knowledge and comfort for me the past 7 years or so. If I have a question about faith, being a wife, etc. I know I can ask her (and I have). She is someone who keeps me grounded in truth and reality when my faith wants to swerve crazy-like on my emotions. Jamie is also a lot of fun for me.

The weekend girls! Jamie, my Mom, Kelli, Mary, Jennifer and I

Ohhh goodie!
Jamie's laugh is one of my favorites!

Yummy coffee at the Java House!

Kelli enjoying a laid back Sunday morning.

Jo enjoying her Java


Mary found some students we thought were Japanese (turned out to be Koreans) but I love this picture of her initating. She gets excited about meeting Japanese students anywhere.

One thing I love about Mary is her boldness. She takes life by the "horns" and really doesn't back down from her thoughts, feelings or convictions. And yet, she's not scary intense. She's just intentional. I can learn a lot and have from Mary. She's the very best kind of friend. She's loyal, she's generous and she's wise.
My friendship with Mary is really special to me.

Mar Bear!

Jennifer is the "iron" in my life who will tell me "how it is" in a nice and gentle way. I can ask Jennifer anything and I know she'll honestly tell me what she thinks. In Japan, this girl was my "home away from home" because we had friends in common and places in common. We used to dream about the Java House and now look at us, we're actually there. :) Jennifer and Kyle are expecting their first little baby in September...

Come on, little buddy. Come out and play with Auntie Joanna!

Kelli and I have always had an intentional friendship so it's good when we can sit down and hash out what's been happening in our lives.
Kelli is coming to visit me again next weekend for wedding preparations and then I'm going to drive through Des Moines and see her new house the weekend after that.
How awesome!

Thank you Lord, for friends who keep me focused on You. Thank you for friends who have seen me through thick and thin and who not only love me through it but love You. Guard them in the places where they are today and keep them safe. Thank you, Lord for good friends.