Saturday, December 26, 2009


Why wait until New Year's Day?  I feel like I've eaten so much sugar and junk in the last week or two that the day after Christmas is a great day to start a Better-Eating-Resolution.  Of course, this is the morning that Chris declares that he is going to make Eggs Benedict for breakfast.  Way to test my resolve, mister!  And so, to combat the yumminess, I have decided to post a couple of fabulous book quotes.  Maybe I'll print them out and tape them to my fridge.

First, is a depressing one (in case I find myself entering the happy delusion that fudge doesn't have calories and cinnamon rolls are practically vegetables)  from So Long See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell:

"Without meaning to, she has grown heavy but she eats so little that short of starving to death there doesn't seem much she can do about it."

And next is a funny one to cheer me up after being so depressed...from Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout:

"Olive is a big person. She knows this about herself, but she wasn't always big, and it still seems something to get used to.  It's true she has always  been tall and frequently clumsy, but the business of being big showed up with age; her ankles puffed out, her shoulders rolled up behind her neck, and her wrists and hands seemed to become the size of a man's.  Olive minds--of course she does; sometimes, privately, she minds very much.  But at this stage of the game she is not about to abandon the comfort of food, and that means right now she probably looks like a fat, dozing seal wrapped in some kind of gauze bandage."

And with that, my friends, I'm off to find something to eat for breakfast that will rival an amazing hollandaise sauce or the best cinnamon rolls on earth with a negative amount of calories.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to All

What I love best about Christmas is family.  I love that Chris takes time off work, that we all take the time off from school, and we are able to spend some time with each other.  I love being able to show these amazing people how much they mean to me.  It's also tons of fun to be around kids at Christmas.  Here are some pictures  of the craziness.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Parties #8, 9, & 10

I think we've made it through the mad stream of Christmas parties for now...all that remains is our drive up to Tahoe and the day the kids have been anticipating anxiously for more than a month (before that it was more of a non-anxious anticipation.)

Party #8 was a midsized mixer that Chris and I went to near San Diego. It was hosted by the group that handles our finances in a restaurant right on the beach. I wish I was able to get a picture of the waves approaching the windows, but the camera on my phone wasn't talented enough. Instead, here's Chris in the distance inspecting a yummy beef tenderloin appetizer: (look hard, he's kind of hiding...pretend it's "Where's Waldo?")

Party #9 was at our house on Friday night. We wanted to have the chance to spend some time with some our friends before Christmas, even if it meant tired kids and back-to-back-to-back parties. Great food, great friends, and absolutely incredible mulled wine.

Party #10 was the annual Valle Family Christmas Party (Chris' mom's family). As always, it was a great crowd with a very entertaining white elephant gift exchange. The night ended with a fabulous video montage of old family footage put together by my brother-in-law, Jon.

And now, we're off to Tahoe to greet some proper winter weather, (I've had enough of SoCal's tank top weather for now,) bears that really should be hibernating, and all kind of packages needing wrapping. Merry Christmas all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Parties # 4, 5, 6 and 7

Parties #4&5 are without pictures...though for different reasons. The first was our work party, where I needed to dress up somewhat and was almost constantly conscious of the fact the I am the "boss' wife". Not a role I naturally feel comfortable in. So, for multitudinous reasons of discomfort, I completely forgot to take pictures. The second party was my book club party. This one was so fun and relaxing that I forgot to take pictures.

Party #6 was not a party in the formal sense of the word, but it was great fun all the same. When the kids were attending Tahoe Montessori School, they were able to buy gifts for family for 50 cents each...each family would donate used items in good condition to stock the shelves. This was really nice because the school made a little bit of money and the kids got to pick out something very unique (believe me...there are stories to back this up). Since we no longer have this option, and I am not interested in spending an additional small fortune on gifts, I decided to have the kids buy small gifts at Cost Plus World Market for each other. We decided to open these before Christmas for a couple of reasons. First, because the kids could hardly contain themselves, and secondly because it would be that much more that we would NOT have to fit in the car to take up to Tahoe. It was a night of many hugs!

Party #7 was our celebration with Gramps & TuTu. As usual, there was good food and wine, and this was followed by a tradition that the kids all love: new Christmas pajamas. I somehow missed pictures of this night almost altogether, except this silly one at dinner:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Party #3...kind of

Thursday night we all went to Timothy's Christmas Concert. He plays percussion in the 8th grade Wind Ensemble at school. As is usual with these types of events, the children who were not participating in the performance needed to have a reminder lesson about WHY we were there. Contrary to what they seemed to believe, we do not go because we enjoy trying to sit still for 2 hours. The stage in the church outshined the performers visually, but the students all did a great job.

Friday night I got to stat home and play "cook" and "chaffeur" while Chris and Timothy went to their own engagements. Chris went to a Christmas Concert at a church in Hollywood where a friend of ours was performing, and Timothy went to a party for the Praise Team he is on at school.

Saturday was Gingerbread House Day. We went to a friend's house and got to be creative.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering why my son is wearing a "Satan" shirt, it says "Satan is a Nerd". :-)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Party #2

Yes...already! Sunday evening was spent at Gramps & TuTu's house, with great finger foods and desserts, and the decorating of a Christmas tree. I made some eggnog cookies, and Chris made a warm spinach dip (with artichoke hearts and fontina cheese--yum!). I'm sure the kids had too much sugar, but no major catastrophes ensued. A lovely evening.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Party #1

With the first weekend of December arriving, we have officially entered the season of Christmas parties. To kick off the impending craziness, our family went to Chris' brother's house bearing gifts of sweet potato pie and cherry pie--both made from scratch of course. There was also some classic Christmas music, the original Grinch on an original VHS, and some appetizers to start the evening off.

The main event of the evening was the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade, which was taking place just down the street. (Belmont Shore is a beach community in Long Beach that was recently featured in Sunset Magazine, and where Chris used to stay when he commuted from Tahoe for work.) We (well, the guys) toted 3 park benches down the street so we could sit in comfort.

There was quite the crowd gathered, with a Starbucks on one corner:

and a Peet's on the other, true So. Cal. style:

The parade lasted for about 2 1/2 hours!! The kids were so exhausted by the time we got home, the they were all miserably grumpy and the girls fell instantly to sleep. 'Tis the season.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Out of Focus

I've recently found myself somewhat disillusioned with my purpose for homeschooling.  There were a few reasons for this: flu for a month, lack of sleep, new kindergartener, entering the school year feeling unorganized, lack of sleep, new teenager in a new school, unplanned house purchases and listings and showings, lack of sleep...I couldn't catch up--couldn't even stay behind at the same rate.  Apart form the basics: math, reading, and language arts, academics were uninspired and faltering.  The kids seemed to have made much improvement last year, but this year I felt they were only maintaining, not gaining on, the learning curve. 

I made lists (one of my favorite mental organization tools) and realized that my main reasons for homeschooling are not necessarily for amazingly superior academics resulting in kids graduating college when they are 17, but for social, emotional, relational, spiritual reasons.  And really, regardless of how ill-behaved my children might be at any given moment in time, overall they are so much improved in the last couple years that it is impossible to mistake the cause.  I know without a doubt that my relationships with each of my children is better than it would have been if they had never homeschooled. I can see them develop positive social and emotional skills; I have experienced the deepening of their faith.

I had an example of this recently when Melinda came home from a friend's house (one we don't get to see very often anymore) wanting to share with me a revelation she'd had.

"Mom," she said. "I figured out why [my friend] and [her sister] are always fighting."  She paused to make sure I was listening and then continued.  "Her parents don't ever go to church--not EVER.  They don't even WANT to!  They say they hate church and they don't believe in God or Jesus at all."  She paused again, and then--in a quieter voice--said, "[My friend] and [her sister] think their parents are stupid and retarded."

At this she teared up.  As I welcomed her into my arms for a hug and to tell her that we would start praying for them every day, I realized what an amazing blessing it is to have children who know without a doubt that I love them and am on their "team". 

You must understand that this daughter of mine is the child in our family most likely to be dramatic and take offense.  No stranger to sibling arguments is she.  Also understand that this family she speaks of is a normal, functional family.  These children have attended private school for most of their schooling and are generally well behaved girls.  But my precious 9 year-old could sense a difference in the family dynamics and was troubled by it enough to ponder it in her easily distractible mind.  And what she discovered grieved her.

If homeschooling my children, for whatever amount of time it may be, can make such an impact on their spiritual lives, my burden is light.  I have many years left in my parenting journey, but right now--today--I am simply thankful for a God who is real enough to make a difference in daily life, who IS a tangible love, who will cover you in a deep seated peace and fill you with a bubbling joy.  I am grateful for the opportunity to share my God with some incredible children, and so very glad that He is there to put things back in focus.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rough Waters

The last couple weeks have been crazy 'round these parts. It started with the return of the flu in my oldest son, Timothy, and continued with the return of the flu in my youngest daughter, Audrey, and myself. Thankfully, the rest of my family has remained untouched by this flu, because it was NOT FUN. We have regained strength little by little, and Audrey's lungs were checked out by a doctor and declared "crystal clear". Thank God for his mercies!

Just as we are finally mending however, another problem arose. We had decided to delay our moving date until our house sells, and therefore needed to delay the date that our phone, tv, and Internet were transferred. Being sick and busy delayed that phone conversation until 2 days before the scheduled transfer. The phone call was made because we noticed that our Internet access had evaporated, soon followed by our phone and tv. 3 days later, and HOURS of phone conversation later, it looks like Internet may finally be restored to us today.

Having no Internet, for us, feels almost like having no electricity. The resounding comment in our house right now is "how do people live without it?" As parents, though, we see a positive side to this thing that is so tortuous...we see our kids building forts and playing together, we see them making popcorn and watching a movie together, we see less fighting and more creativity. Timothy says, "playing together?? It's more like killing time!" At least they are "killing time" together! We are now seriously considering implementing an "Internet Moratorium" on a routine basis to encourage a similar outcome. I even got pictures as evidence.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

You Are Cordially Invited

You are Cordially Invited

to join me at my new blog,

to celebrate the new ownership
of a mid-century house
and its journey into the modern era.

New information
will be posted on an irregular basis,
documenting through pictures
and [brief] commentary
this new exciting chapter
in our homeowning adventures.

No R.S.V.P. required.
Number and duration of visits are
solely up to the discretion of
each individual and shall not be coerced.
For enjoyment purposes only.

Monday, November 2, 2009

100 Books

Somehow I've managed to reach 100 book read so far this year!  I don't really know how I've done it, except that I've been so busy that I've absolutely needed some down time, and most of my quilting stuff is 500 miles away from me right now.  These are the books that I read in October:

The Stranger, Albert Camus I picked this up at the book store without knowing anything about it (except that it was a lovely cloth bound book, a classic of some sort, and a very slim volume) and read it quickly. It is more modern in style than I usually read, but it was very interesting and thought provoking. Takes place in Algiers, written post WWII.

The Magician's Nephew C.S. Lewis
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe C.S. Lewis I think I actually enjoyed The Magician's Nephew more, but that may be because I was less familiar with it. It's been so long since I've read these that it doesn't even really count.

How to Read Novels Like a Professor Thomas C. Foster. I wish I hadn't spent money on this book, but even more than that I am glad I didn't have this guy as a literature professor. Severe bias and arrogance in a teacher is one of my pet peeves, and as this book went on I felt that more and more. Ugh.

Riddle of the Rosetta Stone James Cross Giblin. A great insight to hieroglyphics, easy to read.

A Separate Peace John Knowles. I actually had a hard time getting through this book, simply because I was completely uninterested in the characters. Perhaps I just wasn't ready for a coming-of-age story, I don't know. Well written though.

Adara Beatrice Gormley. I preread this for our history, but won't be using it. The writing was okay, the theme a little confused/confusing.

Earthquake at Dawn Kristiana Gregory. I bought this from SL, and wasn't disappointed. It's a great little book to learn about the SF earthquake and fires. It's fact mixed with fiction, based on true characters even. Good reading.

So Long, See You Tomorrow William Maxwell. This seemed to be a continuation of the family's story in They Came Like Swallows, and since much of Maxwell's work is autobiographical, it shouldn't be so surprising. I loved both books. Simple yet deep and real.

Peter Pan J.M. Barrie. Weird and dark. Much like all the movies out there about it, yet at the same time stranger and darker. I'm not much of a fantasy reader, so I'm sure my score is reflective of that.

On Fortune's Wheel Cynthia Voigt. YA fiction, somewhat coming-of-age/historical/fantasy. I really enjoyed it, thought it was well written and engaging.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'm "Favorite" Challenged

My 9-year old daughter pointed out to me tonight that I am not very good at picking favorites.  This is a somewhat baffling situation for her, since childhood practically revolves around picking favorites.  I used to have favorites, but over time I suppose I forgot the purpose and lost the inclination.

What's your favorite color?  Chris' is orange-red. Melinda's is  blue. Audrey's is purple and blue and a rainbow...okay maybe my indecisiveness has worn off on her.  My favorite color or red or lime green...maybe teal, oh no--brown! no, probably orange.  or lime green.  I do like red though.  hmmm...

What's your favorite candy? (the question that spurred the blogging)  Melinda's is Twix, Audrey's is Reese's Mini Peanut Butter Cups.  I don't even know where to start when trying to figure out mine--everytime I think of one (or type it) I change my mind.

What's your favorite animal?  Melinda's is the hamster (this may change somewhat frequently, but she always has a favorite), Audrey's is the horse (this never changes).  I typically cave in and say that mine is probably the bunny rabbit...simply for tradition's sake--that's what it was 15-20 years ago and I still like them, so why not?  Of course, I'd rather cuddle with a kitty cat.  yeah.

Are these favorites what defines us?  Studies must support it somehow...picking "security questions" for accessing my accounts online is tortuous.  I don't know who my favorite elementary teacher is.  I don't know which childhood pet was my favorite.  Asking about my favorite author can be a dangerous question to ask unless you have some time on your hands.  Favorite band? song? book?  word? Ha! Favorite child?  pffft.

So be forewarned, that's all.  If you need to ask me a "What's your favorite" question and want a speedy reply, the only safe question to ask is "What's your favorite season?"  I know the answer to that one.  (Of course, one mustn't be presumptive, so I'll wait until you ask before I answer.)  I honestly don't know how people do it.  How do you just know what your favorite cereal is?  Advice welcome.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Before and After

It should be a requirement, upon cutting a foot of hair off of one's head, that pictures be shared of the transformation. Regardless of one's feelings on having one's self openly inspected by others.

Most of these pictures were taken with my phone by my 5 year old--that is my disclaimer. 12"-13" of old hair is on it's way to Locks of Love, while I am thrilled to have gotten rid of the heavy, tangly mass. Yay! It's about time, and it feels great.

Friday, October 23, 2009

How do you...

How do you keep a house clean when you are selling it?

How do you keep a house clean when you are selling it and you have four children?

How do you keep a house clean when you are selling it and you have four children, three of which you also need to homeschool?

How do you keep a house clean when you are selling it and you have four children, three of which you also need to homeschool, and one whose private school acts as if you have nothing other to do in life except help them?

How do you keep a house clean when you are selling it and you have four children, three of which you also need to homeschool, and one whose private school acts as if you have nothing other to do in life except help them, while trying to make 15 quilt blocks in time to fulfill a quilt-block-exchange obligation?

How do you keep a house clean when you are selling it and you have four children, three of which you also need to homeschool, and one whose private school acts as if you have nothing other to do in life except help them, while trying to make 15 quilt blocks in time to fulfill a quilt-block-exchange obligation and manage to keep food in your house and on the table?

How do you keep a house clean when you are selling it and you have four children, three of which you also need to homeschool, and one whose private school acts as if you have nothing other to do in life except help them, while trying to make 15 quilt blocks in time to fulfill a quilt-block-exchange obligation and manage to keep food in your house and on the table and not forget that at some point you will need to figure out how you are going to move in a week?

How do you keep a house clean when you are selling it and you have four children, three of which you also need to homeschool, and one whose private school acts as if you have nothing other to do in life except help them, while trying to make 15 quilt blocks in time to fulfill a quilt-block-exchange obligation and manage to keep food in your house and on the table and not forget that at some point you will need to figure out how you are going to move in a week, making sure that you are keeping up on your book club book at the same time?

How do you keep a house clean when you are selling it and you have four children, three of which you also need to homeschool, and one whose private school acts as if you have nothing other to do in life except help them, while trying to make 15 quilt blocks in time to fulfill a quilt-block-exchange obligation and manage to keep food in your house and on the table and not forget that at some point you will need to figure out how you are going to move in a week, making sure that you are keeping up on your book club book at the same time, and hosting birthday parties?

How do you keep a house clean when you are selling it and you have four children, three of which you also need to homeschool, and one whose private school acts as if you have nothing other to do in life except help them, while trying to make 15 quilt blocks in time to fulfill a quilt-block-exchange obligation and manage to keep food in your house and on the table and not forget that at some point you will need to figure out how you are going to move in a week, making sure that you are keeping up on your book club book at the same time, hosting birthday parties, preparing for Christmas, being down with the flu and preventing it from reaching the rest of your family, figuring out how to attend weddings 7 hours away on a school night, keep your plants watered and your pets fed and still fit in time to try to appreciate autumn in a land where autumn doesn't exist?

How? Repeat after me: "This too, shall pass" and go make yourself another cup of coffee.  Soon--and very soon--it will be a new passel of problems to deal with and this will be but a memory.  It is in the midst of this craziness that life is lived.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Birds and the Grain

I love having sparrows and doves coming to my house to play. They are so much fun to watch, and the easiest way to convince them to come visit seems to be by enticing them with large amounts of birdseed.

The problem with this, as my dad was quick to point out, (he had already thought this through--I had to learn through experience,) is that birds are messy creatures and the majority of the seed ends up all over the ground. Then you end up having a massive weed issue to deal with.

I had been trying to keep up on the weeds, and was looking for a better place to put the bird-feeder, when we went on vacation for half of the summer. When we got back our little birdseed weeds had grown a tiny bit.

Apparently our gardeners thought that the plants were a) intentional, b) pretty cool looking, or c) too much of a pain to keep pulling up.

They are pretty cool looking plants, so we decided to let them live while doing a little reasearch on them. I believe we have grown ourselves a miniscule crop of millet. Millet is an ancient grain that has been used in many ways for thousands of years. Since we are studying Ancient Civilizations in school, this was fun information. We found out that it is ready to be harvested when golden brown...and since it is mostly already there, it looks like the kids have some threshing to do. I am thinking that perhaps I should have titled my post "How to Turn an Accident into a School Project".

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Melinda!

Amazingly enough, it has been nine years since Chris and I were first blessed with a lovely daughter. Melinda has been so much fun to watch grow. She is full of life and love; there is rarely, if ever, a dull moment when Melinda is around.

Melinda has never been into toys, unless they involve arts & crafts, physical activity, or--most importantly--spending time with other people. She is a creative girl, outgoing and friendly, who loves to entertain guests and make friends.

To this end, we had the joy of being able to give her 2 gifts for her birthday: an art easel and a bike. Both have already been put to good use. On the morning of her birthday, October 14th, Melinda had no idea how to ride a 2-wheel bike, (was afraid of it actually,) and the next day she was riding like a pro. I am so proud of her! Good job Linnie!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Let Me Sum Up

I was going to explain, but there is too much so I will just sum up. In other words, I am going to combine a whole bunch of little things into one blog post and just pretend that they all go together somehow.

First, please remember that we are in the process of trying to sell our house. Yes, our house is currently on the market, and I have had the pleasure/stress of having it shown fairly often. The kids have done quite well keeping their beds made and rooms picked up, and typically the majority of our mess has been in the kitchen or dealing with school books being strewn all over the living room. Recently, however, I walked into our [in]formal living room to find that kids finally couldn't stand it any longer. They HAD to make Something messy.

Next up in the news, I made my first Lemon Meringue Pie. I'm glad to say that it wasn't too difficult, nor did it turn out horrible. (I also made a beautiful and delicious apple pie this weekend. I like making apple pies, although I dont usually like eating them. This one was amazing though--I was shocked. If I could make it like that every time, I'd be an apple pie convert.) And now, since I don't have a picture of the Amazing Apple Pie, here is one of the Lemon Meringue Pie:

Another interesting tidbit involves some sort of fruit tree we have in our front yard that has remained frustratingly unidentified until recently. Timothy was drinking a bottle of juice and realized that one of the fruits on the label looked like the ones on our tree. This is how we discovered that there is such a thing as a Yumberry Tree.

And that, I believe, is all I am going to cram in for now. I love all of those Little Things!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Reading in September

Since July I have wanted to sum up my reading accomplishments for 2009 to date and set some goals for the remaining months of the year. Now in October I am no closer to achieving these goals although the desire has not waned. The point of doing this is rather dull now, with there being less than 90 days left of the year. (!!!) I would be much better served by practicing writing (typing?) "2010" instead of "2009" and coming up with New Year's Resolutions. Oh, and thinking about Christmas shopping somewhere in there too, I suppose.

Unfulfilled goals notwithstanding, I am happy with the reading I've done so far this year. I haven't read as much as I'd wanted--believe it or not--especially when it comes to books already on my bookshelf begging to be befriended. I have, however, read some amazing books and made some new favorite authors (Cather, Tolstoy). In September I finished reading:

-My Antonia by Willa Cather. This book didn't touch me quite as deeply as did Song of the Lark, but then I had to read it in such a hurry to finish it by my book club meeting that I probably didn't spend as much time on it as I should have. I love Willa Cather's writing, and My Antonia only served to solidify my resolve to read all of her works.

-The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Buchanan. I read this as a LibraryThing Early Reviewer book, and ended up with conflicting opinions about it. The story and the history in the book were enjoyable, but I felt that there was a lack of continuity in some areas.

-The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. A great read.

-Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Who am I to review Shakespeare? Classic.

-Let It Rot by Stu Campbell. Great introduction and reference about composting.

-The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. I read this aloud this time as a school book. It was exciting enough that I was coerced into reading for 1.5 hours in order to finish the book. A great intro to Ancient Egypt.

And with that, I think I'll sign off and curl up with a good book. Happy reading, all.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Little LESS Exciting Would Be a Good Thing

Today started out fine, although perhaps I should have been clued in when I put too much sugar in my coffee this morning...I don't remember when (if?) I've done that before. And yet, even though I'm sitting here typing with only 9 of my fingers, (nah, forget that, I think I'll carry on one handed,) I have to admit that the day continued to appear promising. Our realtor came over with an accepted counter offer on one of the houses we are selling (our first home, turned rental) and we got to practice our autographs. I finished reading The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, and came up with a quilt block design for my Sonlight Forums Quilt Block Exchange.

I was on my way to the fabric store (without kids, driving Chris' nice Audi instead of my huge Landcruiser--still sounding like a pleasant day, right?) and had just pulled into the parking lot when a white SUV quickly turned in front of me and stopped quickly. I stopped a bit farther back than I normally would--to make sure I knew what the SUV was doing--when the big thing started quickly backing up straight towards me! Ack! I looked in my mirrors and tried to shift into reverse while laying on my horn good and strong...all to no avail. The crunch was sickening. (like when you go to take a drink of milk and it turns out to be orange juice.) Not a good Doritos-CRUNCH, but the horrible crunch of time and money being wrenched out of your chest unwillingly. The damage looked to be relatively minior until radiator fluid started leaking out.

It was 2pm when I got home, and I hadn't eaten anything all day. I decided to open up a can of soup (because it's AUTUMN--regardless of what Southern California weather thinks) and as I was trying to get a grip on the loosened lid of the can, a gut-wrenching, metallic, slicing pain screamed through the tip of my left index finger. I let a triple scream/gasp loose into the calm Sunday afternoon, held onto my finger so it couldn't decide to leave, and turned to run my finger under the cold water in the kitchen sink. I was shrouded in a thick cloud of pain and tears, weakness and confusion. I couldn't bear to look; I kept hearing the metal ripping through my flesh. My wonderful children sprang into action, got Chris, (he was looking at his poor car,) and the next thing I knew I was all doctored up. I haven't felt a pain quite like that--maybe ever. It was not a shooting sharp pain, nor was it a building ache. It was undefinable, an aura so to speak, that sent echoes throughout my body and sent the tears gushing from my face.

I think that all will be well...but what a price to pay for a little trip to the fabric store! I'm going to aim for a less exciting day tomorrow.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Expectations, unreasonable, unseasonable

Balking, pouting, sore.

Excursions, endurable, interminable

Waiting, sitting, bored.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Crazy Life? or God at Work?

I've been attempting to post about this for DAYS, and I'm just too crazy busy to really get all my thoughts out properly. So let me start by copying a bit that I emailed to a friend:

"Joshua Fest turned out quite well, especially considering that we skipped last year and that the economy is still not the best--especially up there in Nor Cal. We got back from there late on 9/7 and started school 9/8. Chris got back down here on 9/9, and decided we should go look at house for sale around the corner from us. So we did that on 9/10, drew up an offer on 9/11, and submitted it on 9/12. We received and accepted a counter offer on 9/13 and entered escrow on Monday, 9/14. How's that for crazy? So we're putting this house and our rental house (our first home over on Marwick) on the market and will moving into a gigantic house that has been barely touched since it was built in 1962. And, amazingly enough, we'll actually be paying less each month than we are paying for this house."

So that's the news. We weren't even close to thinking of moving this autumn, yet this opportunity popped up and we are excited about it! There are many things that point away from a simply crazy life and point toward God's hand at work. We found out that we were able to put in an offer that was not contingent on another sale, we found out that the house is in great shape for being original '62 when we were expecting something that would be barely livable, we found out that the original exorbitant asking price had been significantly lowered before we even looked at it, and we were amazed when the counter offer came in as low as it did.

Here the fun begins. Painting closet doors and bedrooms that up until now have been in a state of flux, decluttering the closets and rooms that held more than they should have, planting flowers, packing, and in the midst of it all, homeschooling and homemaking. It is a crazy life, but I can handle it knowing that God is at work.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

JoshuaFest 2009

What a way to spend a weekend! Lots of people, lots of loud music, lots of fun. For those of you who may be unaware of how my family spends Labor Day Weekend, let me introduce you to Joshua Fest. With the exception of last year, we have been rocking the mountains around Quincy California since 2003. It is a ministry first envisioned by our good friend Aaron, whom Chris and I have partnered with. Aaron handles the bands, Chris handles all the logistics, and I schedule volunteers and run the coffee house (much needed at a festival--the hours are crazy!)

Of course, once things really got going I was mostly stuck in the coffee shop, so I really only got pics of the set up...but believe me when I say it was loud, fun, and friendly. We are blessed to have family and friends put in their time to join our vision. My mom and dad manage our children's area and bring their puppet ministry with them, and that is only the beginning.

Big weekend, long week! I'd love to see some of you there next year--check out

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cue the Curtain

Tomorrow brings us to the end of our summer stay in Tahoe. Just as autumn is beginning to beckon the leaves to start thinking about changing color, to urge them to desert the home they knew so well, so must we leave this place of comfort and continue along the journey of life. So often it seems that I am simply not ready to move on to the next thing life has in store for me, although the fact of the matter is that the very thought that life is fleeting makes me live it more fully.

I just finished reading a book called Song of the Lark that speaks of goals and ambition, of art and self-expression, of family and memories. Willa Cather expresses, at times painful in how simple and perfect it is worded, the necessary passing of time and the loss of things so familiar and dear. This quote is a good example:

"So it went; one loved a quaint little girl, cheerful, industrious, always on the run and hustling through her tasks; and suddenly one lost her. He had thought he knew that child like the glove on his hand. But about this tall girl who threw up her head and glittered like that all over, he knew nothing."

And so change is come. Autumn, if anything, brings change to my mind. It is the putting away of a job well done, and the initial foundation of another time of growth. Goodbye to my lovely quiet forest; stately trees that are my confidant, beautiful rocks fairly bursting with praise for our King, joyful brook gurgling with joy. If you insist it must be so, we will move on, continuing to strive for growth, certain to meet again.