November 20, 2015

Baby Star

"To my beautiful sister, on your wedding night, I would like to quote two songwriters who, at the tender ages of seven and nine, once composed the masterpiece of a lifetime that I think is quite fitting for such an occasion:
Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun.
Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun.
I know that you are a star!
In the sky, way up very far!
Baby, Baby Star, we want to see you!
Not just in the sky so midnight blue!

"Perhaps at the time we dedicated these words, oddly enough, to Jocko the monkey. But as I thought about what might make you smile tonight, I also realized how true these words are of your magnetism. You are a star. You are captivating. You are above and beyond and shining vividly. And we all want to be near you, to hope some of your stardust falls on us." 

A quick snippet of my little wedding toast so that my sister can always remember how the world sees her, and how she is loved and teaches us to love and hope and dream.

November 2, 2015

Norway [VIDEO]

Norway from Sarah Ann Noel on Vimeo.
Music is "Secret Place" by Alex Fitch of Needle Drop Co. via Free Music Archive.

October 30, 2015


I have heard myself say, on more than one occasion, "To move to New York is like moving to another country."

There is a very real culture shock coming to live in the city from, literally, anywhere else, even with a moderate amount of pre-exposure to New York and its inhabitants. There is new language to learn; relational customs to distinguish; a mess of rights and wrongs to untangle. 

And after a year or so in, after sorting through all of the obvious differences, I'm finding that the real cultural discrepancies are the ones that exist beneath the surface. Values are emphasized in entirely different ways in New York, in entirely different places; and while sometimes it's a matter of perceived morality, it is often also a matter of necessity. 

Out of necessity is born creativity--didn't someone say that? Maybe that's why New York is also so famously electric with creative energies and serendipity. Maybe it hums between all of the residents because it must, because it's keeping everyone going, keeping them alive. It draws us outside ourselves, maybe even more often than we're comfortable with, and it insists that we view the world from that new perspective instead of the one we relate to from inside.

(New York! You might be surprisingly Christ-like!)

I've seemed to grasp this at the knowledge level, and understand it is my responsibility to come to terms with what is different from formerly learned expectations. Still it's taking awhile to sink into my heart. In the first year of novelty, to do things a different way was exciting. And in the second year--the living one, the real adjusting one--it is to mourn the old way of doing things and accept the oddities. 

This year, for lack of time and for lack of space, for lack of energy and for lack of whatever else, we opted out of pumpkin-carving and painted pumpkins on the sidewalk instead. It was just a silly little thing, but it got to me. I didn't like the idea of doing it differently from how I always had. 

Still, all said and done, it was just the loveliest afternoon I've had in quite awhile, bum to the cold sidewalk, watching my little artists slather masterpieces atop squash. The light was golden and the breeze was cool. We finished up with a leaf fight. 

I like the box. (I might be basic?) But it's good outside too.

October 27, 2015


You will never forget the day he told you there would be a surprise trip, and how, in the end, it would pale in comparison to the way you felt when you learned the surprise. Because to be mysteriously whisked away is one thing; but to have your dreams fulfilled by one who made sure he was listening to them, well, that's another thing entirely.

You will see the Northern Lights--three nights!--and they will be as allusive to description as they are to documentation. So you will stare at the sky until your neck hurts, willing your mind to at least commit the sight to memory. And you'll think, maybe it's okay to not be able to share such a phenomenon. Maybe these are the sorts of things a Creator leaves as love notes to those who seek and find them.

You'll giggle as you struggle to pronounce the names of regions and towns and landmarks that he'd been studying for months. You'll marvel at how he is so at ease, wherever he goes, yet how that does not stop him from being awestruck like a child. You'll watch him share in this wonder with your children. 

You'll be happily reminded at the strange warmth of Europeans, quickly turning strangers into friends, and curiously, graciously, settling into all the homey parts of such a special place. You'll be exposed to new art and indescribable scenery and even local recipes--which he cooks in the cozy cabin by the sea that he booked for you.

You'll feel reenergized seeing the world, reminded of what it does to you to get out and go and do and explore. But you'll also realize how at home you'll feel, and you'll know that has nothing to do with the adventure girl you once were, and everything to do with the pack you move in and how they are always your home, wherever you are.

October 20, 2015


This weekend marked seven years of marriage to the love of my life. And of course there is always some sort of indication as to why a particular anniversary feels like a milestone, seven being no exception when you consider it's a number of completion. Not to say our marriage is perfect, but that we've made it to an "us-ness" maybe, for lack of the right word. We have found our rhythm. We are more us than we are any longer just a boy and a girl who got married. 

In keeping with tradition, I researched the historical and modern gifts for a seventh wedding anniversary. I almost laughed out loud when I saw the results: copper, wool, and for the modern-couple, desk sets. I thought, "These are a few of my favorite things..." (And in all fairness, I had a rather difficult time determining how I could possibly choose what to gift Trevor too.) 

A list of my favorites for a year that, though circumstantially difficult, has been one of my favorites with him. Seven years is not a lot, really. I guess we technically have ten under our belts. But it doesn't feel too silly to come out on this side of seven and declare it a favorite. Cliche maybe, but it also doesn't seem silly to reiterate that he is my favorite. 

This year of marriage has felt particularly steadfast, always coming back to that truth: That the stuff of life is just goings-on. There are decisions to be made and some of them we'll choose rightly, others, not so much. There are people to walk across our path, perhaps in or out of our lives for good. There are hardships and joys, rushes of emotions on opposite ends of the spectrum. All of this, I do with him. We do as "us." And none of it matters beyond that: That it's us. That in the mess of it all, I can turn to my side, and there he is--my favorite person in all the world, and the one that I need the most. I couldn't possibly choose to do this with anyone else.

An anniversary just marks the passage of time, but I like ceremony and celebration. I think the passage of time deserves to be honored. Of course, this year, we embarked on an incredible trip to the other side of the world to note our day; but our actual anniversary was a rather normal and jet-lagged day. Trevor made dinner and we tried to keep our eyes open long enough to eat it. We watched Modern Family on the couch in sweatpants and clinked glasses of red wine that would surely push us over the edge to sleep. And when I laid my head on his shoulder, all I could think was, "This is my favorite."

Anniversaries 234, 5, 6, and the whole gosh darn love story!
See all of our wedding photos at Lauren Stocker Photography.