Thursday, April 30, 2015

sunshine spontaneity and miscellany

Sometimes the sun falls in such a way, the warmth of it and the fleetingness of it in springtime, that a soul must embrace spontaneity and thus embrace the sunshine.  And in the spontaneity there is a remembrance of how wonderful it is to just be, to not have a list of tasks to complete, a schedule to adhere to, just sunshine and an open afternoon, and family.

The waterfront in Coupeville, Washington

We drove to Coupeville and got ice cream cones, eating them while walking out on the pier.  The sunshine was perfect.  The water was perfect.  And it almost felt as if we had the whole place to ourselves.

Austin drove us over to Fort Casey on the west side of the island where it is a lot windier  but still beautiful.  It's an interesting place to capture pictures.

I finished reading "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller.  The book felt like having a conversation with an acquaintance, observations from a young life. These are a few of the notes I took as I read, things that struck a chord with me:

I am a tree in a story about a forest.
The story of the forest is better than the story of the tree.
One person's story has the power to affect a million others.
I wonder how much it costs to be rich in friends and how many years and stories and scenes it takes to make a rich life happen, something that leaves a beautiful feeling as the credits roll.

A funny story:
When I went to collect eggs I found a little blue fuse (like that from a car), in the nesting box.  My first thought was that one of the girls had eaten it but it was entirely too big and far to clean to have been excreted.  Second thought (and the most likely) was that one of them had found a shiny treasure and wanted to keep it safe.  Isn't that just like girl, desiring to decorate her nest?
Everyday is made magical when greeted with this sight:

The End.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

an album of adventure

"I have a hankering,"  she said.  And when a friend says something like this, you listen.

The hankering, as it turns out, was for a day trip to a little town nearby.  We'd ride the ferry!  We'd have adventures!  We'd be real friends!

And we did.  And we were.

And it was such a great day, the kind of day that you judge other great days by.

No great day is complete without a giant octopus made out of small stones.
Or posing as Vanna White in front of a giant octopus made out of small stones.

We saw a REAL giant octopus too!
We walked around town.  We climbed random stairs.  We took lots of pictures.
We are both partial to the letter "E".

And when we'd had our fill of town we drove to a placed called Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains.  Best decision of the day. 

We were both so in awe of God's creation as we gained altitude up into the mountains.  And we agreed that the beauty we were so captivated by is just a fraction of what Heaven will be like.  I'm thankful for a friend that loves the Lord, that encourages faith in me as I encourage faith in her without pretentions or false airs.

I did not see one snowflake fall on our island this winter.  So the both of us were pretty excited to be up in the snow!

And my friend?  Well, she pretty much poses like a model.


We drove slowly on the way back down the mountain so as not to miss one thing.  And a little bit because the road was very curvy and there were no guardrails.  There were deer, so many deer.  And we stopped to explore this series of three tunnels.

We shouted into the first of the tunnels, surprised by the expert echoing it performed.

There's something to be said about kindred spirits, about friends that allow you to be yourself and love you just for who you are.  It's ok to be silly.  It's ok to be serious.  It's ok to sing Whitney Houston.

We went from the top of the world to sea level.  And we got there right at sunset.

She had the snow in her shoes and the sand between her toes all in one day.

On the ferry ride back home we ventured out on the deck to try to catch a glimpse of the International Space Station that the captain had announced would be flying directly over us.  We waited along with a handful or so passengers and crew members, staring into the night sky.
We did get to see it and it was one of the more memorable parts of the day.  Just a bright light in the sky, moving smoothly overhead.  But we knew there were people on there flying outside of Earth's atmosphere and for those few moments we felt as if we were part of space too.
Then there was the part where we were invited onto the bridge of the ferry and given a tour. 

 It was a memorable adventure, this day with this girl.  And I will not soon forget it.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. - Helen Keller. :: Daring Adventure Word Art By Ali Edwards (click through to download your own copy)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


It is the evening of my youngest son's 14th birthday.  There is a lasagna in the oven (his request) and a chocolate peanut butter cream pie chilling in the refrigerator.  I'm sitting here on the couch, a honey latte to sip, a dachshund on my shoulder (it is as true as you can imagine).  The guys are outside setting up a new basketball hoop. 

It's a funny story really, the one about the basketball hoop.  The hoop is a joint present. Since Blake's birthday is today and Austin's is in 2 days we got them both the hoop and were planning on giving it to them tomorrow.  Well, I let it slip that we had a gift for the both of them but they'd not get it till tomorrow.  They begged to get it today.  Their dad told them they'd each get once guess and if either of them guessed correctly they'd get the gift today.  Well, you'll remember I told you they are outside right now setting up the hoop.  In all honesty neither of us thought they'd guess it right.

I know every mother laments about how quickly their children grow up and I'm no different.  It all happens so fast.  One moment you are washing sippy cups and the next you are barreling headlong through the teen years, and I know, by watching other mothers that I'm going to wake up one morning and they will be grown men off on their own adventure.

So for now, I try to remember to take moments, little moments to savor and write into my memory.  One such moment happened on Sunday at church.  I was playing the piano a few minutes before our afternoon service began.  My husband came behind the piano (truth be told he had run to the coffee stand and was delivering me a white mocha).  Anyhoo, as he was with me, both of our boys came up to the piano and we all gathered there, chatting easily.  Times like that reassure my mothering heart that we are still close, still connected like we've always been.  Years have a way of shifting relationships and as much as I would love to have a young boy climb up into my lap to read a book with me, I have teen boys that have grown taller than their mother, with thoughts and dreams independent of my own.

Back to the celebrating.  Hug your kids.  Savor the moments because the moments build a life.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

the beauty of it

We have been blessed to share dinner on two occasions this week with various friends.  I could get used to this.  Good friends are such a balm to the soul.  The time I share with them always leaves me feeling fulfilled.  I cherish those friends that make me want to be a better person just by the way they live in each moment.

Friends (you know who you are), you are inspiring.  Thank you.

Here is my garden.  Maybe you remember that we were expanding it?  It is three times the size that it was last year.  It has a newly completed fence (with a gate!!).  The soil has been amended with all sorts of organic materials and I'm hoping to plant this week.

I have daydreamed about this garden since last year and have had a lot of time to brainstorm and plan.  Here is what I will try to grow this year:
  • sunflowers
  • corn
  • sweet peas
  • zucchini
  • cucumbers
  • green beans
  • carrots
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • chard
  • kale
  • pumpkins (2 varieties)
  • spaghetti squash
  • tomatoes
  • sweet peppers
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • onion
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • wildflowers
Once things start growing you may find me out there, close to the dirt, amazed at the tiny miracles.  As much as I could try to be chill about it, there's no way I can pretend that growing a garden is not one of the coolest things ever.

There is a lot of work to be done.  I am going to construct two more potato towers to add to the one I made last year.  I'll grow two towers of mixed variety potatoes and one tower of sweet potatoes.  I am going to make an A-frame trellis for peas and cucumbers and a tee-pee style trellis for green beans.  Stay tuned for pictures!

As if to encourage and inspire the garden, the cherry tree has begun blossoming.  It's delicate blossoms are so beautiful.

I'm reading a fantastic book right now.  Maybe you've heard of it?
I began reading it and immediately had to grab my notebook and pen.  I was moved to tears while reading the following passages:
"I can imagine what kind of conversation God and Danielle will have, how she'll sit and tell God the favorite parts of the story he gave her.  You get a feeling when you look back on a life that that's all God really wants from us, to live inside a body he made and enjoy the story and bond with us through the experience."
"I wonder if that's what we'll do with God when we are through with all of this, if he'll show us around heaven, all the light coming in through the windows a thousand miles away, all the fields sweeping down to a couple chairs under a tree, in a field outside the city.  And we'll sit and tell him our stories, and he'll smile and tell us what they mean."
"If I have a hope, it's that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, 'Enjoy your place in my story.  The beauty of it means you matter.'"
Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

a day in the life

4:30 a.m.  an alarm clock sounds from across the hall.  Too early.  Eldest son's alarm clock somehow keeps getting set an hour fast.  So a 5:30 wake up call becomes 4:30.  We spend the next hour sleeping in the snooze times between alarms.

5:40 a.m.  out of bed.  Encourage eldest son out of his bed.  It's so early.  My eyes are still foggy.  I make him lunch in the dimmest light possible.

6:05 a.m.  allow son to drive to school.  He's doing well and I only panic once this time.  At school, I get out to take my place behind the wheel, thankful that I'm not wearing my pajamas this time.

6:15 a.m.  head to the gym and get in a good hour of cardio.

7:30 a.m.  yoga class!

8:45 a.m.  make breakfast: fresh egg, thick sliced ham, spinach, and swiss cheese on whole grain bread,  with fresh citrus juice (orange, grapefruit, lemon).  It's tart, but clean and fresh.  Feed the chickens: barley, leftover mixed vegetables, and yogurt.  Prepare bread dough for dinner later.  And drink a cup of coffee.  Mmm...

9:30 a.m.  bike ride to work.  It's a brisk morning and the wind makes my eyes water but I love it.

2:30 p.m.  bike ride home, meet eldest son who is walking home from school.  Prepare a big batch of lentil soup (I used turmeric for the first time) to simmer on the stove for a bit.

3:15 p.m.  shower.  As I was finishing up in the bathroom I heard some sort of noise out the window.  A quick glance revealed chickens, digging a deep hole.  I spoke to them through the open window and they peered quizzically up at me.  They just make me laugh! 

4:00 p.m.  bake bread, check emails (and pinterest!)  Ah, the bread smells so good.

4:45 p.m.  correct the homeschooler's daily schoolwork.  We're on week 27!!  This is the last week of the 3rd quarter!!  It's spring break next week!!  Woot!!

5:15 p.m.  dinner: homemade lentil/vegetable soup, fresh baked bread.  I try to prepare at least one vegetarian dinner per week.  This week we're getting two!

6:15 p.m.  head to church to observe The Lord's Supper

7:30 p.m. On our 30 minute drive home from church we enjoy donuts from The Donut House (it's sort of tradition)

The recipe:  LENTIL SOUP
  • Heat 4 T. coconut oil in a soup pot.
  • Saute 1/2 of a chopped sweet onion and 3 chopped garlic cloves until golden.
  • Add a 1/2 in. piece of chopped ginger and saute for 1 minute.
  • Add 2 t. cumin, 1 t. thyme, 1 t. sage, 1 t. oregano, 1 t. turmeric powder, 1/8 t. cayenne, 1 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper.  Stir-fry for one minute to open the spices.
  • Stir in 6 c. water, 1 1/2 c. lentils, 3 sliced celery stalks, 2 sliced carrots. 
  • Bring to boil then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Before serving squeeze the juice of a small lemon into the pot.

Benefits of turmeric -
  1. anti-inflammatory (more potent than ibuprofen)
  2. eases depression symptoms
  3. lowers blood glucose levels and reverses insulin resistance in those with diabetes
  4. inhibits cancer cell growth
  5. kills fungus more effectively than ginger, clove, and oregano
From my reading this week -
O give thanks unto the Lord;
call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.
Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face;
my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
Psalm 105:1-4 and Psalm 27:8