Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A First Meeting

Both seven years old, they meet on hands and knees on the carpet between the couch and the bookshelf. Their parents, near-strangers, stand awkwardly above them exchanging stilted greetings. Between the legs of the grown-ups two small faces alternately regard one another and a Lego vehicle in a pair of small hands.

On one of these glances up into the face of his guest the owner of the Legos (and a generous number of adorable freckles) says, "Do you know how to spell 'Sebastian?"

Joshua cheerfully answers, "No." With an inviting lilt at the end of the word.

Sebastian says, "S-e-b-a-s-t-i-a-n. It's nine letters."

"My name is almost nine letters. It's Joshua." Says Joshua. "J-o-s-h-u-a."

A moment later they have vanished down the hallway and into a bedroom and jolly sounds leak down the hall for the next few hours. I peeked a few times. The first time Joshua and Sebastian had just abandoned the Legos and were intent on building a bridge with wooden blocks. Brannon was engrossed in Legos and Aubrey (also 7 [twins:)] ) was flitting around the room like a little golden butterfly.

Now, if only their parents had it so "easy" ;-)

(We, in fact, had a fantastic time as well. Meeting new people is not easy for me any time. Spending several hours [it wasn't supposed to be near that long, if that tells you anything] at someone's house was severely stressful for me. I survived. And am still astonished at eating a dinner that is one of our staples at home [unusual!] and staring at mason jars full of nuts and whole grains and beans. And tiny bottles of flavored stevia, and herbal supplements, and lovely teacups. And eating durian [Eeww, I have to say. But I'd try it again]. And talking about unschooling, and homeschooling, and public school, and adrenal exhaustion [what a thing to have in common, kinda sad really, but interesting and encouraging to talk to someone who's experiencing the same thing] and so on and so on... It feels promising:)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Friendly Photo Shoot and Fun in the Park

Some friends of ours had asked me to take pictures of their family for them. I nervously agreed. I have a good time taking pictures of events and scenery and sometimes end up with some great candid shots of people. But I have no experience with taking actual planned portraits. I have no idea how to pose people etc. I was really hoping not to disappoint them!

Our first try was at mid-day at a park in town. For starters the littlest member of the family did Not want to stop running around and pose for the camera. Here he is trying to be sweet and smile when his mama told him too: 

Here he is a little later "posing" for me:
 We eventually got all the pictures taken and I got a few candids that I love. The portraits didn't turn out so well though. Some of them are posed badly. Some have cluttered backgrounds and other are blurry. *Sigh* )I guess I need more guinea pigs to help me practice, right?)

We decided to try again a few days later. We were restricted on time due to a combination of soon-to-change weather and matching everyone's schedules.

We met at the same park. I had the boys with me this time and we met my sis and niece there a little early to  play:)

 I was trying to get a pic of them throwing leaves in the air. First Brannon and Joshua threw their leaves and Haylie hung on to hers. Brannon kept posing (Lol!) until Haylie finally threw her leaves, but by then Joshua had decided that a fierce face was in order (shortly after he charged across the grass growling):

 Our friends arrived and the sun was going down faster than we had anticipated. Littlest gave us his best camera face again:)
 By the time "dad" arrived from work we were nearly out of light, but we managed to get a couple decent pics in (minus the soccer ball in the background, lol)
 Ok, this looked a bit different (and cooler!) to my eye through the lens. If only we could capture what we actually see:) 

Friday, November 18, 2011

"you have need of endurance..."

(Hebrews, uh... somewhere. And on one of Bear's office walls)

Right now I feel like I feel during a physical therapy work-out when Bear says, "Just four more." And I'm thinking "Yeah right! I'm lucky to still be upright right now, let alone do That four. more. times! *Gasp!* I don't Want to do this any more!" And yet, often I manage it. Trembling usually. Gasping for air, definitely. Sometimes I feel triumphant, sometimes I do not.

With this crazy emotional roller coaster I've been on this summer/fall I've been letting myself get pretty stressed. I'm doing better on that front right now. Finding a level space inside me. Remembering to be mindfully worshipful and grateful throughout the day. Not just letting negativity roll along. Remembering that there is No neutral ground. There is not unbelief, only belief in the wrong thing.

Still, I feel like I do when I'm at that point in my exercise when I hear "Just x more" and I'm thinking, "I want to be done Now, thank you very much." But I can't be done. I won't give up on mindfully, thankfully walking through each day while bearing the weight of pain that sometimes feels endurable and sometimes feels as though it is going to crush me. Because the Holy Spirit is with me every step of the way. He doesn't mind when I cry every day. He's always ready to comfort me the moment I look for Him. And because my loved ones need hear truth from me. They need love that is not afraid to be rejected.

I'm so thankful for friends who tell Me the truth, and encourage me to be who God made me to be. I'm thankful to my wonderful husband who is always ready with a hug and support. Who reminds me to separate people from their actions, to always think of love first.

And so, I'll keep walking. Keep climbing. Keep talking and singing and writing. I will learn more endurance and deeper love along the way.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brothers :)

There seems to be some dispute as to the ownership of this stick sword
 Ha Ha! Love the one eye covered up:D
 Sword fight:


 Snack time (Yay for pomegranate season!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Neat Blessing

We had quite a lot of trouble with our garden this year. In the first place we planted a lot of things late, and some things not at all. Then, with the cool, wet summer, things grew very slowly. There were still scads of green peppers on the plants when the frost killed them. A lot of our winter squashes were very small still when the frost came. Then, too, we had a white mold attack our squashes and melons at the end of summer, killing a number of plants and seriously stunting others. Out of my three "Fairytale" pumpkin plants, sprawling in all their pumpkin vine extravagance over a huge section of garden space, I ended up with one pumpkin. We've had trouble in the past with poor pollination of these and I need to have my act together next year and plant more pollinator attracting flowers in the garden. Or something. Take up beekeeping maybe.

Anyway, I watched that pumpkin get bigger and bigger. The frost came nearer and nearer. It was still green. The skin got darker green after a while, but never turned the deep brown-orange I was waiting for. I had prayed for that pumpkin a lot. I bought a little pie pumpkin when I needed to make spicy pumpkin soup for a party. I kept telling myself I needed to stop at a particular store this week and buy a couple more pie pumpkins because the one was so good.

I got my honey to bring the big, heavy green pumpkin inside. I thought I'd at least try making a mock apple pie with some of it. Nate cut it open for me. Imagine my surprise to see this:

And it smelled delicious too! One of the things I love about this particular pumpkin is that it smells like melon. I'm not a fan of the squashy winter squash smell:) We cooked up some of it and it tasted great. So, I spent two days cooking and pureeing pumpkin. I've got quarts and quarts of it in the freezer! So, hurray for pumpkin pies, and cupcakes and bars and soup and whatever else we come up with.

I also discovered, by trying it, that pumpkin works great as a substitute for the ketchup or tomato sauce in meatloaf, yum:)

Monday, November 7, 2011


 Broken. Undeniably. Irrevocably. The family I once knew and cherished is no more. The bitter pain that has kept me from writing all summer and half of autumn, is this. This thing that has been building for years. Mostly unseen. Hidden in the shadows of 'keeping it together', of 'normalcy'. The fractured bits like shards of glass, carefully reached around to avoid injury. To avoid blood, and pain. And, finally, a divorce. Children struggling in greater and lesser degrees not to take sides. To support both parents. To let anger and grief run their course and be followed by forgiveness and grace. Children who (speaking for myself, and perhaps my siblings) are grateful to be adults with families of their own. Spouses and children who are anchors in our pain.
 The sun shines on and the pain, eventually, comes and goes. Between waves I can feel almost normal. I begin to think that the intensity has waned. Then I am suddenly drowning again.

 There are so many things that cannot be shared here. Things that last too long, that leave too quickly, that come too soon. Old hurts that surface at inopportune times and make little rifts wider. Emotions on edge. A family that used to be one of the happiest and strongest families I knew is left in fragments.
 At times I forget to trust the Holy Spirit. I forget to rest in the arms of my Heavenly Daddy. I forget that ALL things work together for the good of those who Love HIM!

 Even the prickly aliens that don't belong on this landscape...
 Down to the smallest detail, the largest pain, He is present and Powerful. His Love for me in Unending! His delight in me never ceases!
 As I watch my precious boys exploring today I am reminded once again of God's love for ME!

 There is beauty All around me today...

 There are even wildflowers in November...