Thursday, December 31, 2015

purposefully forgetful

Sometimes I feel like I don't pay enough attention to what year it is.
I'm so forgetful.
There are years that my brain "flags" of course...1976, 78, 99, '01, '03, '07. 
I count back and forth from these years when I fill out "important information" documents. 
Today is the last day of 2015.
I wrote 2014 on a check just the other day. 
I know I turn forty on January 8th, 2016, and I know that I'm supposed to remember that because apparently "40" is a "big deal".
I even made myself a little countdown on Instagram to remind my brain that "40" is a "big deal". 
But I feel the same as I did when I was "20". 
Honestly, I feel better than I did when I was "20". 
So I don't really understand the "big deal" yet. 
I bought wrinkle cream though...I felt like I was supposed to. 
I didn't even know that I had wrinkles until I leaned real close to the mirror and decided that I must have wrinkles and that I guessed they should be combatted in some way. 
I guess I have gray hair too...joyfully poking their way through my 40 year old scalp. 
Also not a "big deal" to me but appartenly these signs of age should be taken care of. 
I got a new hair cut the other day, a long bob...I guess it's a "lob". 
I got highlights for the first time in my life. 
I don't really see a difference. 
It's still dishwater blonde but the hairdresser called it "oyster".
She seems to think that sounds prettier.
She has obviously never seen ground up oyster shell.
I have.
I feed it everyday to the chickens.
It's dull and it's gray.
Not pretty.
Maybe I feel like I'm supposed to do these things because I should stay looking as young as possible for as long as possible. 
Really? 
Maybe we all just worry too much about how other people judge our appearance.
Maybe I'm judging others looks too much too. 
Heck, I've been young for forty years now and I'm kinda ready to grow up. 
Even grow older. 
I look forward to growing older with Aaron. 
We talk about that a lot. 
Being that little bent couple, walking slow, holding hands. 
If that is old than old looks beautiful to me. 
I guess when you turn "40" you should have "accomplishments". 
You should be able to brag about all of those anniversaries, and babies, and marathons, and world travels, and careers, etc. etc. (These things justify your age, right?)
And if you haven't accomplished all or any of the above you better go climb Mt. Everest for your birthday because God forbid you have nothing to show for your "40" years on planet earth! 
So now we are faced with, not only, the pressure of looking barley 30 at 40 but we should have a boat load of admirable experiences to go with it.
For Pete's sake!
Let's cut ourselves some slack here! 
Forget it! 
This past year was 2015...got it. 
Tomorrow will be 2016. 
Great! 
My goal is the same every New Year...

Philippians 4:12-14
"Not that  have already attained, or am already perfected, but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

And I'm reminded that we are to be purposefully forgetful about the past.
And purposefully looking forward to nothing else but Jesus. 

Well...that and Disneyland. 
I'm looking forward to turning forty next week at Disneyland, (thank you husband!), with my loves all around me, and my new youthful haircut, and my less wrinkled face! 
(Such the hypocrite!) 

The only mouse I'll ever love 

















Tuesday, December 15, 2015

friendship on the school bus of life

Zibby had to say goodbye to a "best friend" last week.
Being the kind of girl she is, (highly observant and extremely internal with her emotions), this has effected her very much.
The first time she had to say goodbye to a "best friend" was when she was four years old and we were moving back to Oregon after almost two years in Franklin, Massachusetts.
Emily lived right next door to us and was almost exactly Zibby's age.
Both girls were full of spunk and mischief. Rarely did a day go by when those two did not find themselves in just enough trouble to make life interesting.
Emily and Zibby spent hours together and loved one another so very much.
It was hard on us all to leave our neighbors but it was especially hard for Zibby.
Four years later she still says that Emily is her "First Best Friend".
Zibby isn't the type that makes friends easily either.
She is a bit shy at first and skeptical my nature.
I would say that making friends is hard for her...but once she does, they truly mean the world to her. She becomes fiercely devoted.
So, when her most precious friend, Avery, moved away to Tennessee last week, she took it very much to heart.
Avery and Zibby met at kindergarten round up.
They were almost five years old.
Avery has a ready smile and the most bubbly personality on earth.
The opposite of Zibby.
The two became fast friends when Avery wrapped up Zibby in a giant bear hug on the first day of kindergarten.
Zibby melted and
they clicked.
School was fun because Avery was there.
Avery was like sunshine to Zibby.
They had their own games and imaginings out on the "big toy" on the playground.
At dinnertime around the table we have a little tradition of asking the kids, "what was the worst part of today?" and "what was the best part of today?"
Avery was always Zibby's "best part".
They had their own jokes.
They helped each other.
Last week I found Zibby on the couch crying into a pillow.
I had a feeling I knew why.
It's hard for her to express her feelings but she tried her best to tell me how she felt...
"Why do all my friends leave?"
I could only hold her and stroke her hair and quietly pray that her heart would remain soft and open.
Because Zibby is so much like me.
I've left so many friends behind in my life that it has effected the kind of friend I am today...
reserved and careful.
I don't want that for Zibby.
I want her to keep trying and to keep putting her heart our there for friendship and to be a faithful and true friend.
I want her to keep in touch with old friends better than I have and I hope that she would be like Avery and see every new smile as an opportunity for a new friendship.

Emily and Zibby in preschool on a field trip to go pick apples.
(Remember sitting next to your best friend on the bus when it was a field trip day?)
Avery and Zibby in second grade on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. 




Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Perfect God

Let me start by saying that this is not about me...it's about events that have effected me and my family but have had an even greater and deeper effect on many of the lives related to some of these tragedies. I also understand that some precious families that we know and love are going through even darker valleys than any we have traversed.
My soul goes out to them.
With that being said I feel the need to share a little bit of how these trials have shaped my own heart and the hearts of the other four Kookies that live under the roof of this Old House. 

About five years ago I helped a frantic mom drag her unconscious son out of a lake. He died. That effected me. I don't talk much about it but I will always pray for that family whose heartache I cannot fathom. 
Since that time I have kissed my Grandma, who was much like another mother to me, goodbye.  
We have lost a baby. 
We witnessed a car accident in which a family of three were killed....Aaron tried to resuscitate the dad and the baby. The mom had clearly passed away.
The other two literally died in Aaron's hands.
Just a few weeks later Aaron and I kissed his precious Dad goodbye. 
Aaron physically carried his Dad to the hearse waiting outside their house. 
And a couple months ago I kissed the Grandpa who helped raise me goodbye. 
In the middle of all this we had a falling out with family members.
We recently left our church and in doing so left a wake of awkwardness and misunderstanding with both family and friends.
We feel broken. 
At times forsaken. 
These years have been very hard. 
I'm just sharing this because I'm a different person than I was. 
I'm more quiet. 
I'm humbled.
Aaron is too. 
We have all changed. 
These kinds of things make or break us...maybe both. 
I'm not sharing this because I want pity or because I need anyone to really understand. 
I don't expect that. 
I'm just writing down what has happened because one day our kids will read this and my hope and prayer is that they remember these years for what they were...sometimes barren but with a beauty all their own. 
We did not shield them from any of this. 
We did not pretend.
We were careful about details but they walked through every bit of it with us. 
We have been honest with them and they have seen us question God and not talk to God for a while but through it all I pray that they have witnessed true, real, gritty, faith being worked out of our lives, hand in hand. 
I hope that they grow up ready for the uphills and the endurance to go with it. 
I pray that they know a God who is ever present to help in their time of need. 
I pray that they stand up for Truth. 
I pray that they jump into the mangled mess of death with the grace to say goodbye to life...
and their faith still intact. 
Because the Bible says that our children are like arrows. 
Arrows are weapons. 
Childhood is like target practice. 
Practice is hard therefore childhood will not alway be easy. 
Practice perfects...but childhood is not perfect.
We are not doing any favors for our kids by giving them the impression that they deserve a perfect childhood. 
We should be careful not to put that kind of pressure on ourselves as parents either. 
We can however, and we must, point them to a Perfect God.
Because one day they will be sent out on their own and our deepest desire is that, when the time comes to pull back the bow and let them go, their one and only aim is for the glory of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
imperfectly perfect 

"Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them..." 
Psalm 127:4-5







christmas carols

Ben : "I've always wondered about those words 'tender and mild' in reference to the baby Jesus."

Mommy: "Really? In what way?"

Ben: "Well, to me those words are more descriptive of a nice juicy steak. Ever since I was a little kid I've thought to myself, 'Why would anyone describe God's Son like a steak?' That's why 'Silent Night' has never really been my favorite Christmas Carol. It's a little disturbing."

Never a dull moment with this guy around. 



Monday, December 7, 2015

"fiction"


Christmas isn't the same without "sourcrowt" you know. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

little acre life lately


"I'm grateful for what I am and have. My Thanksgiving is perpetual." 
Henry David Thoreau



 Zibby waiting for the next train
 AbbySue is all about theatre at Silverton High School
 Ben the Man
 A better chicken house
 one of our favorite lookouts
 mama started a little part time job at the local flower shop (located in the back of a coffee shop) and these two are more than happy to stop by for a visit and a cup of cocoa
 our new leading ladies...we inherited 12 beautiful hens from family friends that recently moved
 every year he perfects the classic Jack-O-Lantern 
 reading Ribsy to the dog
 our quince harvest that challenged mama in the recipe and canning department 
 our "Tuesday kids" are a group of friends who come over every Tuesday for dinner and to catch a ride to youth group...I just love this bunch.

planting tulip bulbs before the frost 

 crocheting with mamo's carved hook

on a recent trip to the coast...I love a stormy sea



 scone attempt
 foraged wreath attempt 
 elsa and the first frost 
 when we walk up to the Oregon Garden and enjoy the magical Christmas lights
 The long, long, Thanksgiving Table

This cousin comes over to spend the night at every chance she gets and we just love our Lily girl

 frozen Benji after a "snow bath"
happy snow day 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

the new gospel


Dear Abigail, Benjamin, and Elizabeth,


The reason Jane Eyre is such a good book is because she didn't compromise her faith for her feelings. 
We were watching a show that I checked out from the library the other day..a Masterpiece Mystery to be exact.
(Side-note: I love how the beginning of BBC Masterpiece Mystery has remained the same over the years. That creepy Gothic animation makes me think of my Grandma and how much she loved a good mystery.)
I've noticed that the Brits love a good mystery too, especially a mystery involving the clergy.
The scene is set...
the tranquil English countryside, a sleepy little hamlet, the narrow cobble stoned streets, the stone church, the gossipy congregation, the subdued Vicar, and (gasp) what's this?
Murder!?
Oh yes..."murder most foul".
And who, pray tell, finds himself up to his white clerical collar in the blood of the innocent victims? None other than our unassuming man of God.
It's our hero, the humble priest, who cracks the case and finds some sort of spiritual application for the Sunday sermon while he's at it as well.
Wholesome suspense at it's finest... until now.
Enter the newest BBC Masterpiece Mystery called, Granchester.
I will begin by saying that I love the idea and premise behind this series.
The main character, a handsome World War II Scots Guard veteran turned priest, Sydney Chambers, finds himself drinking pints and solving mysteries with Geordie Keating, the chain smoking gruff detective with a knack for backgammon.
Throw in an adorable English black lab puppy known as Dickens and you have a show with some promise...
maybe...
wait...
what?
And here it is again...
an insecure curate, Leonard Finch, who just came on to the Granchester scene is portrayed as the male effeminate trying to suppress his sexual desire for the same sex because, according to what he has interpreted from the Word of God and the church, "God hates homosexuals" and "homosexuals go straight to hell"... and what better way to run away from (in his own words) "debase" tendencies than devote himself to the church?
This show was good until it offended me.
Granchester offended me in the attempt to serve up lumps of immorality poured into a pretty little English tea cup of the Christian faith...
"you can have your cake and eat it too" kind of faith.
Yes, two men making out offends me (how can I be so narrow-minded!?),
but what offends me even more is the way that this series portrays the church and homosexuals.
The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin,
just one of the many sins that nailed Christ our Savior to the cross.
So all of us who have put our trust in the redemption of the cross of Christ are sinners saved by grace through faith.
All of us.
Because we have been saved we turn away from our old desires that once ruled us. 
We now live to serve Christ.
To present a message that potentially portrays a practicing homosexual ministering in the body of Christ and believing that his or her life lived out as a homosexual is glorifying God and fulfilling His ultimate purpose for their life goes contrary to the Gospel message.
This new gospel message draws a line right down the body of Christ and divides us into separate camps;
The gracious Christians who except homosexuality as a union blessed by God,
and The ungracious Christians who oppose homosexuality as a union blessed by God.
Something deep down inside of me revolts when I begin to understand the agenda behind this new message.
I'm not naive enough to believe that offending a Christian really matters to anyone anymore, but...
Granchester has wrapped up homosexuality in a pseudo evangelical package in hopes to convince the Christian viewer, like me, that his or her ideals are not only ignorant but un-biblical.
It appears to me that the goal of media today is the desensitizing of any morals contrary to mainstream ideals.
This agenda is everywhere, the impetus being a generalized acceptance...an evolution of sorts towards a society that can embrace all forms of sexual orientation.
A couple of weeks ago Aaron and I were able to go to a Jennifer Knapp concert.
Jennifer Knapp is an incredibly gifted artist.
The concert was one of the best I've ever been to.
Aaron and I have been to Jennifer Knapp concerts in the past.
But this one was different.
Many years ago Jennifer was signed with a Christian label.
She only played at Christian concerts.
Concerts with masses of people.
Those concerts were not my favorite.
But she was.
Then Jennifer kind of dropped off the music scene for a while.
And the rumors spread like wildfire.
My own Christian brothers and sisters were slandering her,
shaking their fists at her,
stones in hand.
Why?
Because Jennifer Knapp "came out" as a lesbian.
So she stopped singing for people.
She stopped sharing her gift for years.
The concert we attended the other night was in a small bar.
Aaron and I went because we wanted to hear Jennifer share her gift.
We wanted to hear her story.
In her own words.
Her struggle to reconcile the gospel she still believes in alongside her lesbian lifestyle is apparent.
She wants both.
Her message is about living as a follower of Christ who also embraces the homosexual lifestyle.
I'm so grateful we went to hear her.
She is still my favorite.
But I disagree with her message. 
And my heart is grieved with this new gospel that is being presented everywhere.
After watching Granchester and listening to Jennifer Knapp the message is clear..
God accepts me and loves me just the way I am.
But thankfully the truth of the Gospel message does not stop there.
True,
God loves us and receives us just the way we are,
but then He does something only God can do. 
He gives us a brand new life.
The promise of eternity with Him.
Forgiven.
Free.
And fully glorifying to Him.
We are accepted by the Father, 
not as we WERE, 
but as we now ARE. 
In Christ. 


I know, I know...this is my third post on the subject. (And I've edited it about three times already!)
I just pray that you kids are reading this one day and understand just how much our unchangeable God loves you and that the beautiful purpose He has designed you for is way above and beyond anything that you could imagine. Trust Him.

Love forever,
Mama

Jennifer Knapp sandwiched between two Kookies





Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Benjinuity

Ben's Seventh Grade Moon Phases display. His teacher emailed us to let us know how impressed he was with Ben's project. "Proud Parent" moment for sure! 


Ben is an avid reader and already a gifted writer.
Ben loves to engineer.
He tells me that I shouldn't say he loves Lego's but that he loves what he can create with Lego's.
Ben loves anything that can fly. He and Daddy love airshows and air/space museums.
Ben is not afraid of heights.
Ben loves battle planning and strategy.
He loves hand to hand combat.
He loves going to Kempo on Wednesday nights with AbbySue.
Ben loves swords and spears and bows and arrows.
He prefers these weapons to guns because in his mind these require more skill in battle.
Let me take that back, Ben loves pistols and semi automatics rifles depending on the time period...because time period is a big deal to Ben.
He loves history.
Ben is very detail oriented when it comes to costume and set design.
He has his own collection of hand made costumes and weapons piled up in his closet for becoming...
a hobbit,
a dwarf,
a Jedi,
a World War II super soldier,
Indiana Jones,
Marty McFly,
Percy Jackson,
Jack Sparrow,
a Steampunk Scientist,
Tin Tin,
a Samurai Warrior,
and the list goes on.
He has his own fire pit on the acre under the tree house.
He loves to cook outside.
Ben loves the rain, the mist, and the fog.
These are his favorite days to play outside, preferably barefooted.
I love to catch little glimpses of him flying through the trees, swinging a sword at an orc or pointing a pistol at a Nazi.
Ben is always sneaking sips of our coffee and he loves to eat.
Ben is a foodie in every sense of the word.
In fact I think food may be his "love language".
Every time I make a meal he hugs me and he tells me that he can't wait to grow up and cook delicious food for his wife and kids.
And he wants a lot of kids.
He wants to live here in Silverton but on a big piece of property so that he can build Hobbit Houses for all those kids to play in.
Ben loves to draw.
His comic sketches seriously make me laugh.
Ben loves to hang out with his friends but he loves to have time to himself.
Ben loves Tuesday night Youth Group and a freckle nosed girl who steals his hat every week.
He never goes to youth group without his hat on.
Ben is fiercely loyal and not too thrilled about change.
Ben loves his sisters and his sisters adore him.
Ben is gracious but he struggles not to hold a grudge.
Ben is genuine but a skeptic.
Ben is sensitive but holds in emotions that might make him vulnerable to criticism.
I'm writing all of this today because Ben is on the edge of crossing over from a boy to a young man.
We can can see it.
I'm excited to see the man that he will become and how God will use all of these gifts in the future.
I understand that he has to grow up and that he won't be a hobbit outside for much longer.
I know that his costumes and weapons will be traded in for real life sooner than later and that before long I will be looking up to him,
but the mommy part of me kinda of wishes that our backyard truly was Neverland and that Ben's only battles would be against the "Captain Hooks" of his own imaginings.
The truth is, all that his blessed childhood has been is preparing him for the man that he is called to be tomorrow. And when tomorrow comes we will let him go...
filled with pride and gratitude to be known as Ben's parents.

*"Benjinuity" is the word that Daddy came up with and we think it fits this brainy boy just right.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Cartwheels







I see Zibby turning cartwheels down the same aisle of the church where Aaron and I exchanged vows over sixteen years ago.
I tell Zibby not to turn cartwheels in church, but inside I'm struck with beauty of it all.
Our little daughter had an impulsive idea that took over and she seized the opportunity.
I'm so glad she did.
Because life has been so heavy lately.
I needed to see her do something "happy" and "un-inhibited" and "fun."
She was comfortable in that place at that moment so, our painfully shy daughter traded caution for cartwheel mode.
Because sometimes you can't help yourself.
Sometimes you just gotta turn a cartwheel in the sanctuary.
It's the same joyous impulse that took over Aaron and I after we said our "I Do's" all those years ago.
We kissed.
We turned.
We smiled and,
throwing caution to the wind, we jumped off that last step, leaving the individual people that we once were up on the altar, and literally ran as one person down that church aisle.

If we had known then what we know now we wouldn't have believed it...
Although we were married at Emmanuel Bible Church we did not go to church there.
We met and fell in love at our beloved church...Calvary Chapel Christian Fellowship in Salem, Oregon when we were barely in our twenties.
Our Pastor, Mentor, and Friend married us.
We served together as worship leaders at Calvary Chapel for almost 20 years.
My family has faithfully ministered through Calvary Chapel since I was nine years old.
My servant hearted dad is an Assistant Pastor at Calvary Salem and my mom serves through worship, ministering to women, children's ministries, etc.
Our extended family all attend Calvary Chapel Salem.
Our closest friends and loved ones, all of those who have prayed for us, stood by us, encouraged us, those who have laughed and cried with us, they are all a part of our Calvary Chapel Family.
All three of our children were dedicated to Christ at Calvary Chapel.

So, the foreignness of seeing one of our children turn a cartwheel after service at a different church is, for us, a big deal.
The only other times in our lives together as a family that we have attended a different church were when we lived out of the state.
We never left Calvary Chapel in our hearts.
We always said goodbye with hope to return.
No hard feelings...everyone understood why we had to go.

Almost two months ago we made one of the hardest decisions of our lives.
We stepped away from all ministry at Calvary Chapel and started to seriously pray together over where our hearts were being lead.
That prayer and those convictions challenged us to leave the only church we have ever really called home.
We never imagined it.
But we had to obey.
All the reasons why we left are private and personal to us.
Every attempt I make at an explanation goes up in flames.
We simply had to go.
And we had to go quietly.
There are so many hard parts to this....but for me, personally, the hardest part is not being able to say goodbye or to explain.
The misunderstandings of it all keep me up at night.
I'm glad that God does not sleep.
It is not easy going to a new church when your own comfortable and familiar church is just down the road.
It's not easy to understand when you are 8, 12, and 14.
It's not easy to understand when you are 37 & 39 either.

But, Faith is the Substance of Things Hoped for, the Evidence of Things Not Seen. 
This kind of challenge is about Faith.
It's about Conviction.
It's about Honesty.
But above all else it's about Obedience.
And with each step of faithful obedience that we take our hearts feel that much more free.
It started with a step,
and then a leap that became a run,
and then a run that turned over into cartwheels of liberty.
And, like a kind of life cartwheel, we find ourselves full circle...
back at the place where our family began,
and at least that part of it feels like Home.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set is free..." Galatians 5:1








Friday, September 25, 2015

tough kookie





I took Zibby to the dentist to get her routine cleaning yesterday and the girl ended up getting a tooth pulled. It was one of her molars, a baby tooth that had abscessed.
Poor Zibby has been our best "tooth brusher" but her baby teeth are the worst. The dentist said that it may be from how sick she was as a baby.
Needless to say we are grateful for dental insurance and that God gave us all two sets of teeth!
But what I'm wondering is how in the world Zibby wasn't complaining about being in pain.
I've had an abscessed tooth. "Painful" is putting it lightly.
So, Zibby gets a shot in her mouth and doesn't flinch.
Gets her tooth pulled and hears it "pop"...which doesn't seem to bother her either.
Then the dentist shows me the tooth.
It is seriously rotted out...a cave of a tooth that had been collecting food for sometime.
As gross as I know that sounds I still just keep thinking to myself how painful that must have been.
A few weeks ago she mentioned to me that her tooth didn't "feel right", but I didn't think much of it knowing that her cleaning was coming up soon and they would check it out.
How did she walk around with her tooth like that?
I mean, she has been extra naughty lately and earned her fair share of "consequences" so now, looking back on it I can tell that she hasn't been feeling really well.
And now that I look back on her eight years of life I realize that this is how she deals with discomfort....being an unbearably naughty, volcano explosive, or stubbornly quiet...these are her signs that something is a wrong.
Like the bladder infection we didn't know anything about until she was peeing blood (aha! that's why she was so out of sorts that week.)
Or the hearing loss she experienced as a toddler from those constant ear infections we knew nothing about. (oh! now, we know why she was so pale and quiet and cranky and tired all the time!)
Or the times we find her cleaning up her own vomit after getting so sick but not thinking to call on us to help her out. (changing her sheets and scrubbing off her floor at four years old and Ben coming to tell us, "did you know that Zibby got sick and is now cleaning herself and her room up?")
I'll never forget the time she got her finger slammed in the closet door and needed stitches.
She wanted to watch the numbing shots go into her finger and she wanted to watch them stitch up her skin.
I think that's intense.
And that's what Zibby is.
Intense.
She is 100 mph at everything she does.
Like flying down the hill riding her bike side saddle with an arabesque...that's Zibby.
All Girl..
All Brave...
All Stubborn...
All Heart...
every single second of the day. 


Monday, September 21, 2015

another goodbye


I went to see my Grandpa a couple of nights ago. He was in the same place he's been in for a year now...going crazy and waiting to die. And I've wanted him to die for some time. Every time I visit, I want him to just die. Because this isn't how I want to see him. Not my Grandpa. The Grandpa who was younger and adventurous and ornery and independent and stubborn and told the best stories and the funniest jokes should not be waiting to die in a place where you are spoon fed mush and need your diaper changed.
It seems so dishonoring. 
Needless to say, it was hard to visit him in that place. 
I remember one day going to see him, I hadn't visited for some time and felt bad about it, he wasn't really "with it" that day but I apologized any way. I'll never forget his heavy eyebrows struggling to lift up high enough so that he could focus his watery blue eyes on me and he mumbles, "It's okay...I wouldn't want to visit me either." 
Sigh.  
I guess we don't want to visit those places because we don't want to remember our loved ones in that way. 
I said this to myself more than once. 
Honestly, I didn't visit him nearly enough. 
But I'm so grateful for those times that I did go. 
Sometimes I talked to him or held his hand. Sometimes I just sat with him quietly. One time the kids and I visited and we wheeled him around the halls and fed him dinner. 
It was a mixture of sad-joy on those days there. 
And yes, true enough, I'll remember him like that...losing his mind and functions to Parkinson's, but I'll also remember him with that crazy mask on up at Lundy Lake scaring the bejeebers out of Grandma or running out in the middle of one of those High Sierra thunderstorms like a man possessed shouting at the sky...like he was gonna fist fight with a storm. 
But the best part I'll remember about my Grandpa was that he was always on my side. 
It sounds weird but that's the only way I can explain it. 
He was for me. 
He was proud of me. 
He believed in me. 
I don't know why. I wasn't separate or special or his favorite or anything. I was not an easy kid. But, Grandpa always made me feel loved when I needed it the most. And that alone made me want to be better and to do my best. 
So when mom called the other night to say that he was "getting close" I went over to see him, alive, one last time. 
He was struggling with every breath. The nurse was doing her best to make him comfortable. 
He was far from it. 
She told me I could swab his mouth if he looked thirsty. 
He looked more than thirsty but I did it anyway. 
Sigh. 
I got really close to his ear and told him, "Thank You." 
I kissed him and I cried. 
I said "Goodbye." 
I said, "I love you." 
Mom called last night to tell me that he was gone. And I thought I would be more prepared for it because I knew it was going to happen. I wanted it to happen. But when it all comes down to it,  I feel  just like I did for every other goodbye I've said over the past two years. 
Emptiness....loss....deep sorrow. 
I mean, I know that our Hope is in Heaven, but today I'm here on an earth and I feel far away and full to the brim with way too many goodbyes. 

It's by faith alone I will trust and pray, 
"Now unto Him Who is able to keep you from stumbling, 
And to present you faultless before the glory of His presence with exceeding joy, 
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise, 
be glory and majesty,
dominion and power,
both now and forever. 
Amen." 
Jude 24 & 25 


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Refugees Welcome

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/03/refugee-crisis-what-can-you-do-to-

helphttp://www.worldvision.org/our-impact/syrian-refugees?campaign=113655245&gclid=CNS_sbCq4McCFZBcfgodV-MF4w


After just a little research I've come across a number of ways we can help as a family. Donation to some of these organizations is a start but as easy as it is for us to give financially it's even easier to give and then forget simply because our conscience is eased a bit. I don't want to forget about them. These displaced lives need support every step of the way. It will take time for them...a long time...to feel safe again.

Refugees Welcome starts in our hearts.

Friday, September 4, 2015

refugees

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34137358

I'm restless with empathy tonight over this photo of a Syrian father clinging to his children as they climb out of an inflatable raft that had been losing air off the shores of the Greek island of Kos.

They were not on a family vacation.

They are refugees.

According to Webster's Dictionary a refugee is: "someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or polictal reasons" 

This definition cannot define the emotion I saw in this photo.

I thought of Aaron in the place of this distraught father. I thought of Zibby in his arms, soaking wet in a flimsy life jacket, afraid. I thought of Ben burying his face in his Dad's embrace..wanting to forget the fear of a sinking boat or even worse...a war torn country and the home he left behind.

And I'm crying.

I feel helpless and far away and so removed from this world problem.

I wish I could help.

They need Home.

The population of world refugees seeking asylum is the highest it's been since World War II. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/06/refugees-global-peace-index/396122/

Since World War II. 

And I know it isn't just Syrians...it's Afghanistan's, Somalians, Colombians, they flee from Sudan and Congo, just to name a few.

I've been to Budapest. I've spent time traveling on the trains through Hungary. I'm not Hungarian. I felt out of place and far away from what I knew to be familiar and comforting. It wasn't home. I was not a refugee seeking asylum in Germany or beyond with my distraught family. I was just a twenty year old girl visiting a friend. No one blocked my way. I wasn't looked down upon as an economical burden. I wasn't stuck inside the train with no where to go.  I wasn't running away from war and terror and torture and death and destruction. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/11843189/EU-refugee-crisis-Migrants-in-Bicske-station-Hungary-siege-continues-overnight-live.html

I just keep thinking about these people.

Five hundred of them packed together on a tiny boat for five days and nights.

And I can't rest.

An inflatable raft losing air floating from fear to some kind of freedom...or at least a chance at it. 

It's life or death for these people.

They die trying to keep their families safe.

Die trying. 

I would too.

What can I do to help them Lord?

What can WE do?

I'm Christian.

Many of them are Muslim.

We are all created equal in the image of God.

Would a Muslim family take in a Christian family like mine?

It doesn't matter.

I really don't know enough to understand the economic, cultural or religious implications...

I just know that I would do my best to feed and clothe, provide for and protect my fellow man from fear and harm.

No matter what.

A little food and shelter won't fix it all for the refugee but it's a start.

Wash up on my doorstep friend.














Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Little Acre Farm Girl

photo credit: benji-man

It's because of my friend Rachael, (who joined with me over a year ago to start our design business Willow & Juniper), then courageously stepped out in faith this past spring with her husband to take over a local coffee shop, that encouraged me to take a step back and pray, "what now Lord?"
Working alongside Rachael's creativity helped me to take a look at my gifts and evaluate what it is specifically in design that I love doing. 
I love color. 
I love nature. 
I love being outside and working with my hands.
I love being challenged.  
I love creating from what is available and...
I have always been drawn to flowers. 
(My mom loves to tell the story of me as a young girl often coming home with bouquet's "foraged" from neighbors yards.) 
At just nineteen years old I learned some of the basics in floral arranging from Norma Jean at Silverton Flower Shop and spent that summer working for a local family, bent over, cutting status and sitting on the back of a flower planting tractor. 
Over the years I've been asked to work on arrangements for all kinds of celebrations but it wasn't until a dear friend of ours asked if I would do the flowers for her daughter's wedding, (this month), that I felt in my heart I had found my place. 
To arrange flowers and bless others with God's creation brings me so much joy. 
I have a lot to learn yet but I'm going to step out to see where this path leads. 
I'm praying about going to floral school up in Portland this fall and in the between time I hope to grow this new business I call "Little Acre Farm".
The focus will be on foraged seasonal flowers from our acre and the surrounding countryside. 
It was bittersweet to part business ways with my good friend but now I see that Willow & Juniper was a kind of catalyst for us both.
A jump start to get us going where we needed to land.
Next week will be a big one for my mom and I as we prepare for our first wedding. I'm so grateful to have her expertise and wisdom to guide us along! 
I can't imagine a better work environment than our "Little Acre Farm". 
practice bouquet all foraged, even the ribbon was found from the our senior center thrift shop!
flowers from the acre...these farm girls are my favorite models




Monday, July 13, 2015

colonel sanders

"You know, it's amazing how many people look like Colonel Sanders." -Ben

"Colonel Sanders? Really?" -Mom

"Uh-huh, I try to find at least one person a day who resembles Colonel Sanders." -Ben

"But not the whole outfit right? I mean, not the black tie and white everything?" -Mom

"Oh no, not all that...just the "look" of Colonel Sanders. There are a lot of them out there." -Ben

"But seriously, The Colonel? Do like Kentucky Fried Chicken that much?" -Mom

"Oh no, it's not that at all. It's just fun." -Ben

And this my friends is what is going on in the mind of our twelve year old boy.

love this kid 





Saturday, July 4, 2015

The "How"...

Abigail, Benjamin, & Elizabeth, 

Now that you understand the "why" (previously mentioned) we want you to understand the "how"...

Your parents hope to live love and grace daily through our words and even more so through our actions. 

Because we have made a decision to follow Christ with our lives we embrace His Word to be our guide. 

His Word is full of instruction, encouragement, and life. 

It is not easy to submit to the will of God and trust that He has a better path than the one we would choose for ourselves. 

Okay, so back to the subject of homosexuality...

Daddy and I have homosexual friends. 

Yes...friends. 

This is something that the world right now can't reconcile in their minds..

If we disagree with a lifestyle choice how can we be friends? 

If we voice our hearts and convictions in opposition to homosexuality we are compared to bigots, extremists, narrow minded hypocrites, homophobes, or worse. 

But nothing could be further from the truth. 

The decision to not a raise a rainbow flag should not be compared to being a white supremacist or book burning nazi. 

Daddy and I welcome homosexual friends to our table with open arms just as readily as they have welcomed us. 

We sit down together and talk. 

We laugh together. 

We listen to each other.

We respect one another. 

We are honest. 

The "How" for us is here...in our home. 

An open door to understand where a heart is coming from does not mean that we have to re-arrange our convictions to make one another comfortable. 

We are genuine in our faith and our love should mirror that of Christ. 

The love of Christ was most misunderstood by his church. 

Jesus was a renegade when it came to crossing barriers of religiosity...

his dinner companions had some "reputations" to say the least. 

Jesus asked questions. 

Jesus listened. 

And above all else, 

Jesus loved without compromise. 

So, this is our hearts too...

loving in spirit and in truth. 

We are all created equal in the image of God. 

Every human, born and un-born, should be treasured and loved. 

We hope to live out this "how" here every day. 

Enjoy this beautiful world! 
"The earth is full of Your lovingkindness O Lord..." Psalm 119:64








Monday, June 29, 2015

So that you know...

Abigail, Benjamin, and Elizabeth~ 

Because sooner than later you will be challenged concerning your faith in Christ and because we want you to understand God according to His Word in oppose to the god of popular opinion. 

This is the why for me. 

Because I have put my faith in Christ and believe that my body is now the temple of His Holy Spirit I cannot justify any lifestyle that is contrary to His purpose for me. 

Homosexuality is just one of many contrary purposes He has prepared for my redeemed life. 

According to Paul the Apostle the "contrary purposes" for my redeemed life in Christ do not stop there; he includes all sexual immorality, idolatry, stealing, greed, substance abuse, verbal abuse, and hypocrisy in his first letter to the church in Corinth. "And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of our God." 

So now, as a washed, sanctified, and justified child of God I except His prepared purpose for my life. My body is now for the Lord and the Lord is for my body. 

Everything contrary to Him is now contrary to me. 

The purpose He has given me now is to glorify Him with my life as a whole. 

I cannot expect any person who has not received Christ Jesus into their hearts and lives to live the way I now live. 

The fact is that I cannot live this way without faith in "the way, the truth, and the life" John 14:6. 

I do not expect the world, my country, or my neighbor to understand this without a knowledge of Christ. 

As a new creation in Christ I cannot glorify God if I begin adopting purposes contrary to His Word. 

So, according to the Word of God that I now carry in my hand and my heart and because my body is His holy sanctuary, I live for Him. 

Everything I do, I join Him to. 

I stumble and fall and fail and struggle, but,by grace, I will not stay in a place that does not glorify Him. 

The world will continue to comfortably conform and even some of my brothers and my sisters in Christ will re-write His Word and ride the waves of popular opinion and governmental freedoms all in the name of tolerance to excuse lifestyles that cannot glorify their Creator but, 

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" Hebrews 13:8...

and no amount of marching or flag waving is going to change that or for that matter change His mind about His purpose for me. 

"Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone-except God." Billy Graham 

1 Corinthians 6:9-20 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality,[a]10 no thieves,  greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. 11 And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Glorifying God in Body and Spirit

12 “Everything is permissible for me,”[b] but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be brought under the control of anything. 13 “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food,” but God will do away with both of them.[c] The body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. 15 Don’t you know that your bodies are a part of Christ’s body? So should I take a part of Christ’s body and make it part of a prostitute? Absolutely not! 16 Don’t you know that anyone joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For Scripture says, The two will become one flesh.[d] 17 But anyone joinedto the Lord is one spirit with Him.


18 Run from sexual immorality! “Every sin a person can commit is outside the body.”[e] On the contrary, the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. 19 Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.[f]


  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hello Summertime



Summertime here. 

The girls have discovered a love of baking and making yummy treats together from the garden to the kitchen. 

The quiet pond down the road is the ideal spot to perfect your cast and work on patience. 

A  midday hike in the mountains can offer views of sleeping volcanos. 

Silver Creek is the place for catching crawdads and memories. 

The attic is a sea of legos. 

Giant boxes become a "town" and an unexpected education in economics. 

Daddy sets up our very own backyard swimming hole and you all grow fins. 

Summertime here also means another year to celebrate the beginning of our love sixteen sweet years ago that has grown into all of this happy. 

Summertime here is less hurry, sleeping in, reading, reading, and more reading. 

Summertime here imagination liberty...
creation becomes our teacher and our playground. 

Summertime here is falling into your beds exhausted...traces of light on the edge of the evening sky...curtains dance with gentle breeze...critter sounds sing you to sleep and dream carefree. 

Linger long light filled days you are always welcome here.  



biscuits and smiles

Our raspberry crop inspired these sisters to make "Raspberry Cordial" from my old Anne of Green Gables cookbook. Even Marilla Cuthbert would have approved. 


The Garden

The cordial


The sisters

Perfect night to catch nothing but time together



He makes my heart smile


Mt. Jefferson from Triangulation Peak



Catching memories at Silver Creek

Ben is the legomaster

Box Town

Our very own swimming hole

16 years of love 

and we celebrated here...because greasy burgers are our favorite..

well...hamburgers, beer, and sunsets to be exact.