Wednesday, July 29, 2015


July always proves to be a reflective time.

I lost a child (many years ago) in July. My mom had a birthday, died and was buried in July. We moved in July. And even this year, a gluten-free order brought another permanent change.


I hardly saw it this year--my face was in books for weeks.

I did snag a few pictures recently.

  • Garden tomato, impatiens, black-eyed Susans, sunflowers in a vase; 
  • Erin, with a frog, with her dad, how gorgeous the pool area looked after Shane worked in it; 
  • more Susans, eggs for baking day, a first batch of cookies, out of the oven; 
  • light on the floor while Erin writes a story, Erin at the pool, Lanie at the pool, Lanie with the 17-yr-old cat.  

I never imagined cookies would dominate my thoughts so much.

August: go slow. And save me a seat under the walnut tree.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Twenty-five percent

At the time we moved, I'd lived a quarter of my years in that house in the field.

ten years
Ten years. It didn't seem like it was that significant--that amount of time--maybe because it went so fast. And yet when I considered it in the scope of my entire life at the time, it was twenty-five percent. And that was a good (substantial) slice of pie.

If Erin brings up the other place, it's mostly to say that she misses being able to watch TV from the kitchen. I suspect Lanie would lament over a (former) prettier room and a bigger closet. Shane would laugh that he thought that yard was work--until he got here. I'd laugh at that too. I never had anything to do with the yard outside of my 8x8 herb and veggie garden. Now I'm sporting yard arms and a do rag.
We are wrapping up our fourth year here. Half of Erin's life, here. A third of Lanie's life, here. Sometimes I wonder why there would seem like such a fracture in my life--field life before, woods life after. Maybe because it was ten years. Maybe because the experiences are so vastly different. Maybe because it was a faith walk I thought would/should be joyful and turned out to be difficult. Fractured--and even though healed, not the same. And I'm glad.

this past year

Shane cut around the pool and did the edging last weekend. I was so grateful. I spent all of Saturday cutting the field and front/back yards, weeding the house/walkway gardens. I haven't even touched the big front garden. I usually get into it about half, and then get pulled away. So now one side has some touching up to do, and the other side scares me.

The breeze was wonderful in the shade. The kids were yelling "Cannon--" and jumping into the pool with big splashes. Over and over. A summer song.

"I think I will always say it: I love it here," I told him. "I think I will always love it here. Even if you don't love it as much as I do."

We talked about all the places we'd like to live (mountains, lake, farm)--wishing that there was time and energy to do it all.

(I worked with a guy named Bill a long time ago. We were still in our twenties. He was telling me about his five-year plan. But it didn't happen. He didn't live to see thirty.)

(Four years ago, David was directing our yard's landscaping makeover. Last week he was here using a cane for support. He can no longer drive a car. He turns eighty-one on Saturday.)

(Linda just retired this year. We hear of her plans, of the things that bring her joy and how she wants to spend her time.)

We talked about who we want to be. What would people remember us for (were we kind? were we generous? were we forgiving?), and what kind of contributions were we making into the lives of others (did we reach out? did we show up? did we include?)? How many opportunities does God give us to affect the quality or course of another--and what do we do with those opportunities?

Already passed the halfway mark of my lifetime, though I don't know how far past. What will I make of the remaining piece?

Reading with Erin last night, this from Nate Saint: On a Wing and a Prayer by Janet and Geoff Benge. "Missionaries constantly face expendability. And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives. They forget that when their lives are spent and the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted."

While I probably won't get to experience many of the things I'd like, I want to fully experience the life and relationships (this race marked out) in front of me.

This Friday--a table for sixteen.

Monday, July 27, 2015

And still counting (7088-7105)

friends at the table this week
sunny skies
pool splashes

cucumbers from our garden
zucchinis too
sweet potato fries
and that she liked them!
a loaf of bread at the table

and one in the freezer
kids with a hose washing a bike down
their laughter that squeals and shrieks, ringing loud and free
homemade cookies so good we ate the rest
my dad's voice

sunflowers in a vase
a night out for the girls with friends
a night out to Lowe's with my man
white paint
camera 2

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The story

This is the story of the day I ruthlessly scrutinized my grocery list and decided it would be in our best interest to shop at four different stores to scoop up the very best deals. (Yesterday.)

This is the story of how I was going to throw together a quick (corn) pasta with meat sauce for dinner. I considered splurging and trying out a loaf of gluten-free Italian-style bread (a third the size of its wheaty counterpart), and then changed my mind when I saw the cost. Who needs garlic bread with pasta anyway?

This is the story of how a friend came over to coach me on gluten-free living and baking and challenges and solutions. Just as she was leaving, a package arrived. She stayed while I opened it. Inside? Gluten-free muffins! Gluten-free cookies! Gluten-free breads!

Whoa, whoa!

"I have the BEST HUSBAND EVER!" I said. Seriously, my guy was going to hear it. I opened a package of bread and cut a piece into quarters to share between my friend and the girls.

It. Was. So. Good.

The first bread we'd had in over two weeks.

The kids wanted to try a muffin and cookie too, so I let them have some of each.

When Shane came home, I stood outside with a grin a mile wide.

"I got that package you sent," I said. "You are the BEST EVER!"

"I didn't send you a package," he said.

"Huh? You asked me the other day if I got a package in the mail? I thought you had something coming for us." I couldn't figure it out.

"I didn't send it. Connie did," he said.


our thank-you selfie to her

This is the story of how we ended up having garlic bread with pasta after all.

I chopped up some garlic and melted butter and we put it on one of the loaves of bread--and it was a delightful feast.

My in-laws are pretty special people. I'm so glad to be part of this family.


The end.