Meet Natalie, a truly beautiful person both inside and out. When I think of Natalie, I think of bright colors, laughing, laying down on a picnic blanket in the sun, and her unbridled spirit. This girl has changed my life. From the moment we met, I could tell that Natalie was different. Her vivacious spirit left such an impression on me. Let me tell you about her.
Beauty exudes from everything Natalie does. Living with this person is such a pleasure. On every surface in our home, there is some arrangement of pretty little things--flowers, mason jars, pumpkins, pine cones, picture frames, candles. Natalie has the wonderful habit of surrounding herself with beautiful things. And she can see beauty in the most simple of things. For example, we have a set of broken old windows hanging on the walls of our home. Natalie saw the potential even as they were sitting in the dumpster. The definition of "aesthetic" is "concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty." This is Natalie.
Natalie cans. Jellies, jams, preserves. Fruit or vegetable--she cans them all. For a while I would have the most delicious apple butter on toast for breakfast, complements of Natalie. And all of our wedding guests have raved about how delicious Natalie's strawberry jam was that we gave away as wedding favors. Natalie has told me that she wants to have a certified kitchen after school so that she would be able to can for a living. I love that about her, that she doesn't have to be anything sophisticated, she doesn't have to make a lot of money to feel good about her place in the world. She just has to do what she loves. And she loves to can.
Food is one of those pleasures in life that Natalie does not take for granted. We share the most delicious meals together and share the joy of preparing our own food. One day I came home from class to find plates filled and a table set. Natalie had spent her time at home making lunch for the both of us. We had a delicious meal of tomato and black bean salad with avocado, fruit and a bowl of soup. It made me feel so special to have a meal prepared for me on my coming home. Natalie is so thoughtful.
Natalie's existence is devoted to enjoying and rejoicing in the simple pleasures of life. The other day, we had dinner with a friend down the street. (We love having dinner with friends.) Natalie baked sweet potatoes and picked an arrangement of flowers from the community garden to take with us. Every time we visit someone it seems like she has something to bring. Natalie is great at investing in friendships and keeping up relationships. She can see the unique beauty in anyone she meets. This perspective on relationships is contagious. Natalie makes me treasure the relationships I have even more and value other people for who they are.
I couldn't ask for a better wife, life-long partner, and friend. I love you, Natalie.
as i lie here, tucked inside the many layer of blankets from the chilly night before, i watch luke as he lifts his arms up in the air & back down, stretching, all the while listening to npr. he is wearing his long underwear, wool socks, and cardigan most likely previously owned by a 70 year old man.
luke is very much a routine-kind-of-man. when he wakes up & before starting his day, he always brushes his teeth, turns on npr, straightens things up around the home, & then stretches. always- like clockwork. & i really like that about him.
but- he very much has a "wild" side about him. our first time together was spent floating across the dance floor to the smoothest jazz you've ever heard, & he had on those shoes. those shoes bring out the rebel in him. no, really, they do. on one of our first dates, he dressed-up in his three-piece suit & wore the shoes. my heart was swooning. we rode our bikes around downtown, watched an indie flick at the local theater, & ate two entree full of the most delicious indian food. & we felt like a million bucks.
but not only did i choose him because of his slick moves & those shoes, i decided he needed to stay a long time because of his food. oh, my mouth watered the first time a spoon of his delicious food entered my mouth. he has a way of adding the perfect amount of seasoning & fresh herbs to his potato soup & leaving the dough in the oven for just the right amount of time to bring out the most taste-bud pleasing pizza from the oven, both crispy & full of delicious taste. his patience & ability to be consistent do him so well in the kitchen & sometimes i catch myself just watching him.
if you met luke, & i really wish you could, you would find that he is one of the most thoughtful people you will ever know. the first summer that he went home, we decided to write letters to one another. each time i'd find his letter in the mailbox, my heart would melt. i'd open the envelope so slowly & savor each word. he has a way of writing that brings out the best in a person. he spends time forming the right sentences, the best thoughts, & the most comforting words. he also keeps a journal where he captures the most beautiful of moments, talks to God & writes of his most intimate needs. when i hold his journals, & flip through the worn pages, i am overwhelmed with the beauty that exists within him.