28 October 2007

the picture perfect gift

dan surprised me with an anniversary gift both thoughtful + endearing. wrapped up in brown paper and red grosgrain, i delightedly opened it to find a thick stack of black + white prints; photos taken by my lovely niece cate. she is majoring in photography and has quickly mastered the art. he secretly commissioned her to take photographs of all our spots in provo, our newlywed headquarters. we lived there only a short year, though it was an unforgettable year of bliss.

the beautifully renovated library is where i would sit for hours. for the sunny window seats, the free internet, the calligraphy exhibit and the comfy sofas to sit and write letters.

our first apartment. number 235.


favorite spots.



this anniversary gift was too good not to share.
in the beginnings, we started out as the typical newlyweds living in student poverty, yet happier than clams. we lived in a small apartment in Provo, got quarters for the laundromat at the Maverick gas station, treated ourselves with a once in a while ice cream cone or chocolate milk from the Creamery, hunted for free entertainment on the BYU campus, started our tradition of moonlit walks, made memorable new friends, visited the cemetery where my grandparents are buried on sunday afternoons, attempted to eat everything from our cupboards before grocery shopping and generally discovered the adventures of marriage.

i soon realized that being married was more fun than i had imagined. people had warned me and i was trying to see my new world with wide eyes. although it was a transition, it exceeded my expectations. i worked a number of jobs and was at the height of figuring out who i was, who i wanted to be and how i could suddenly turn into a good wife (i am still trying to figure out all of these things). i worked at a bakery (and got to bring home fresh bread) and was also a receptionist at a hair salon (which got me looking sassy + fabulous without paying a pretty penny). we may have been poor, but at least i had a stellar haircut. life was simple. and hard. life away from family and friends and life in the single lane had all changed. yet i was happy. i knew that being with dan was the best choice i could ever have made. i know the truth in that now more than ever. i remember writing in my journal in our tiny apartment and listing out all my wonders: will we ever get a new couch, will i ever go back to school, where will we move next, will we be stuck in provo forever, will i ever like my job.. i had so many questions. it is so good to look back on those journal pages to realize how far we've come. how many adventures we have had since then. how much we have grown. individually + together.

i am still writing wonder lists in my journal, but now their are new questions. for the old questions have been answered in simply living them out. which is a good reminder.. all my wonders now will someday have answers too. i've learned how quickly the stages in life come and go and swiftly change, especially once you are settled into one of them. the rug of life gets swept out from under you for a cleaning and things get shaken up and then you settle in a new stage all over again.

though when you are in the thick of it, it's hard to see things ever changing. it's like being a tiny dot in the middle of a big blank sheet of paper. soon enough you budge and wiggle your way to the edge. before you know it, you've come so far. you have traveled to the ends of the page. you feel very comfortable on your big sheet of paper. now you see your markings. the way you answered your own questions by drawing it up and going here and there and scribbling yourself all over it. you've made that big blank sheet your own. you've created it.

without any notice, you make a jump. you run and leap. you land. you wake up and life is different. it feels new. something has changed. you take a deep breath. you suddenly sink into a new white space. a brand new page. uncharted. unmarked. maybe one day it's a whole new chapter. but you know how to move forward. you just have to keep turning the pages. of your book. and piece it together. and leave your marks.

life isn't about finding yourself. life is about creating yourself. -George Bernard Shaw

thank you dan + cate. i love surprises and this one is a new favorite.

32 comments:

nomad mama said...

What a lovely post. I also love the quote at the end, it's one of my favorites. (George Bernard Shaw I think?).
Happy Anniversary :) I stumbled upon your blog a while ago and keep returning. Your writing and creativity are always inspiring!

Kalli Ko said...

beautiful, BEY-UTIFUL post!!

I have admired your blog for a while now, you are an old soul and I love that.

Heed said...

I love those photos. What a wonderful gift! WTG, Dan!

Heed said...

I love those photos. What a wonderful gift! WTG, Dan!

meg said...

one of the most beautiful gifts i have ever had the pleasure to know. this is such a beautiful post, as well. those photographs look stunning!! my word, this whole post made my heart melt. happy anniversary! megxx

Artsy Momma said...

Thank you. You described the journey of life so beautifully. You have a way with words that I enjoy so much.

caroline said...

what a great gift! your husband definately gets an A+.
i love that demae was one of your favorite spots. that was mine too while i was going to byu.

onesilentwinter said...

it is all too lovely, thank you marta-dan-cate! I appreciate the calmness & inspiration my daily five minute getaway to your blog has on my day..
thank you.

gab said...

Beautiful photos and beautiful words to celebrate a beautiful marriage!

Dansie Family said...

what a wonderful gift. i loved being a poor newlywed in provo. life was hard but oh so memorable. and at least we weren't starving, i worked in the kitchen at the BY and brought home so many treats.

lauracrow said...

what an amazing and thoughtful gift! i've actually only been married for 5 months and for four of those months my husband has been in iraq...so, i've missed the living in poverty and enjoying ice cream parts of all of this newlywed-ness.....i can't wait until he gets home!
happy anniversary!
xoxo

mary elizabeth said...

Thanks Marta! That was beautiful! Vince and I are coming up on our 1st anniversary on November 4... this was truly inspiring!

Marty said...

You always say it so well. I loved the image of the dot on a blank page.

lainakay said...

Such a wonderful post! What a romantic husband! I am so impressed!

Polly said...

I loved your post Marta- you express yourself so well and what a fun gift from your fun husband! It took me back 30 years to our trailor in Logan going to the laundramat with two babies in diapers (I mean cloth diapers) It was hard, but many good memories.

ali said...

Way to go Danny D! Such a fantastic idea.

liz said...

darling marta. i am amazed with the many talents you are blessed with...i was totally picturing myself as a dot on that blank sheet of paper.

Jessica said...

Possibly the most thoughtful gift EVER! What guy thinks of red grosgrain ribbon, on top of everything else!? Your writing is so beautiful. I am totally reliving our first year in our mini apartment. Thanks!

Chelsea said...

wow. very sweet. very thoughtful.

melissa deakin said...

what a wonderful husband you have.
this is such a sweet and thoughtful gift...perfect for you...a recorder of life.
gorgeous photos!
enjoy!

M said...

marta, i am just constantly awed at your beautiful life. you give me so much hope and inspiration...and remind me to make even the smallest of moments memorable and cherishable.

LAURA said...

Your thoughts on your marriage and description of your wonder lists plus your notes on living remind me of Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet..."You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now." If you haven't read them, do. I think you and Rilke have a lot in common :)
Thank you for sharing the beautiful words.

Angie said...

That is such a wonderful idea!

karla said...

Unless my eyes deceive me, you lived in VM 235 - right next to MC 310 where I live! I have a dear friend who lived there for a while, so I have spent many hours within those 4 walls. :) Who knew?

Thank you for your perfect words! I have often wondered those same things from my little one bedroom and am glad to hear from someone who has made it to the next sheet of paper. I suppose I'll be there soon enough...

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

The man gives you presents like that AND sings Neil Diamond? I think I'M in love. You are one lucky girl.

Jill said...

what an amazing and thoughtful gift! i especially love your words about marriage and expectations, and how sometimes things are even better than you think. such a positive outlook and it really is a reminder of how & why we love. so nice!

Julie said...

My first year of marriage was in Provo. Those photos are awesome! Give your husband a love-pat. He's a keeper.

lane said...

Wow, Marta. What wonderful words! And what a wonderful gift from Dan. You two are such an inspiring couple.

I recognized many of those places, including 235 where we played a few raucous games of UNO! Here's to many, many more anniversaries.

Love you both.

Amy said...

your husband is worthy of you.

funny coincidence: my sister got her engagement photos taken by a friend of hers and they went down to the photography department on campus to check them out. her friend was there with her other photo friends and turns out...one of them was cate! so my sister kate and your niece cate have met. and this was just days before your post. splendid. :)

sognatrice said...

Awww. Cheeky sent me here, and I'm so happy that she did. Too, too lovely.

Amy said...

I'm glad you linked to this post- I think this is one of my favorite of yours! That gift is so thoughtful and I bet you will treasure those photos forever!

I love the way you write and your optimism. Did you take a lot of writing classes?

I think you should do some prompts here on your blog with tips and tricks and ideas for those of us who have a desire to write, but lack the talent! :)

Sassy Sarah said...

I was so happy to randomly discover this post today.

As a newlywed, I'm still in the process of considering so many of those new discoveries and decisions. I relate to the way you described and penned your thoughts about life and marriage and the future. I, too, consider those same ideas and wonder what life will look like for my husband and I once he is done with nursing school. Where will we live? How many children will we have? What changes will take place in our lives to help us grow and become better? I love discovering the answers day by day.

P.S. Thank you for your beautiful words on my blog. I was elated to see that you took the time!

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