These first two pages came together rather quickly.
The above photo in the "play" layout demonstrates my belief that imperfect photography sometimes makes for the perfect photo. This was one of those "self-portrait," hold the camera out at arm's length and see what you get type pics. We all look a little off, but somehow this picture just makes me smile. Every time.
Here's a (blurry) look at the the two layouts together. Thankfully, their pairing is less chaotic than the previous double-pager.
Next up: a fantastic word, two favorite "leftover" pictures from our wedding album from Wedding #2, and journaling that reflects exactly how I felt and feel. Scrapbooking nirvana achieved.
The final layout in the mini should come as no surprise to anyone who has read this post. The quotation on the left page holds a ton of meaning for me. It's from a larger passage of Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. This book was a life-changing read for me. (I read it one summer during high school.) It wasn't like the other literature I was reading. It was so rogue. I think I underlined something "meaningful" on every page.
At the end of the novel, I read this and my heart nearly stopped:
People are never perfect, but love can be. That is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed, and doing that makes it that. Loving makes love. Loving makes itself. We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love. Wouldn't that be the way to make love stay?
Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.
I've been holding onto these ideas ever since then.
So when I was prompted with the word "free," the quotation came floating back to me. I love it even more now that I can read it in the context of my own relationship. I especially love that the word "free" holds extra meaning for us. As a young couple getting a grasp on our finances and digging ourselves out of educational and credit debt, we used to celebrate many, many things that were "free." We would challenge each other to come up with fun things to do or see that were free, and when we found them we'd say "And guess what? It's FREEEEEEEE!" and "We love free!"
The quotation on the right is a longer excerpt from a poem called "The Daydream" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. (You can read the whole thing here.)
When the Gutsy Dad and I were first married, and he had to go to Korea for a year without me, I stayed behind in Austin, TX. As it turned out, a man who was an extremely influential mentor in my husband's early career was a guest lecturer at UT that year. He and his wife took me under their wing. She inspired me because she was kind, independent, and not defined by her husband's (extremely successful) career. That is harder than it sounds when your husband does what mine does--even for someone like me with proper and official Women's Studies training. She and I talked honestly about how I could make a go of it, being supportive of my husband without losing myself. She was enthusiastic and genuine and very patient with my naivete.
When we moved away from Austin, she gave me this calligraphy print, which was my introduction to the Tennyson poem. (It's from a different part of the poem, hence the slightly different wording.)
I've had this print, framed, hanging on my wall in every home ever since. (If you look closely, you can see the upper left corner of the print has been chewed. Tilly did this. When we lived in Gig Harbor, WA she went through a major twit phase. One day while I was at work, from what I could tell, this picture fell off the wall, the frame broke open, and Tilly helped herself to the paper.)
In its current position in our Georgia home, this quotation is, quite literally, the center of a very happy life.