Thursday, July 31, 2008

Signal, Mirror, Mirror, Shoulder....

A milestone has been hit in our home. Last week, "Pippin" passed her drivers permit test. I don't know what the rules are in other states or even abroad so let me explain what this really means. For the next 6 months to 2 years she can practice driving a car and learning all types of road handling experiences.........as long as she has a licensed adult with her.

The Oregon DMV laws state that a teen can receive their permit at the ripe age of 15 years old. She will be 17 in just two short weeks so some would say that we are lagging behind with the times. It doesn't matter to me. She didn't want it until now because it represented more of a rush to grow up and she wasn't ready to do that.

I could be wrong, but I think it's a bit different teaching a girl to drive. When my boys were of age to receive their learners permit and subsequent license, I let them drive right out of the parking lot. Crazy huh? Honestly, because they both tinkered with engines and such from their very early days, they were ready for the road when the time came. My instruction was just a formality. My sweet girl handled things very differently though and I knew that without at least a few days of practice in a parking lot....it would simply never work.

That is just what we did. I started her out in a barren parking lot where she could get familiar with the art of brakes, steering, accelerator, and turn signals. Harnessing and controlling the power of a V6 engine was a daunting task for her but one she was willing to conquer. We turned every ending isle into a mock intersection as she practiced weaving up and down thru imaginary traffic. The next day she graduated to a half full lot and I made her drive where cars were pulling in and out and pedestrians were walking around. She was scared at first but swallowed and did it. She did so well that yesterday she moved out onto the local roads. The title of this post has become our chanting motto as she goes down the road and I have her practicing lane changes when no one is around.

I must say she is doing very well. She is aware that a lot of responsibility rests in her hands and is taking every bit of my advice to heart. Tomorrow I am taking her to Cannon Beach for a 2 week stay. She wants to drive part of the time but I am not so sure about that just yet.
Here is what is really funny. My "Rosie-girl", who will be 15 in October, is already studying for her test. She wants it bad. The time might come very soon when I will have two permitted learners to teach at the same time.

I am having fun though. I rather enjoy giving driving lessons. It is a thrill for me to teach them safe rules and watch their confidence build.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Maybe I am Growing Up Too....

My step-daughter and her boyfriend have been in town visiting for the past few days, 6 days total tomorrow when they leave and the longest visit yet for them. It has been a really nice visit with adventures and giggling. It wasn't always this way though.

When my husband and I married, I was 18 years old and she was 9. By today's modern standards that gap really isn't much of an oddity....but the mental maturity / or lack of provided lumps and bumps along the way. In the beginning, she was struck with admiration and devotion for me. Things were so easy and sublime. She was like my personal cheerleader as I learned the art of being Mom and Wife to a ready made family while attempting to grow up myself. But I noticed a change when her teen years set in. Maybe it was her own way of coping with her parents divorce and being a teenager, maybe it had to do with her dad and I having our own children, maybe it was a bit self inflicted on my part with my own waves of growing up and heart dealings.....but there was a silent defiance that rose up between us. It was a cold and indifferent shoulder presented to me over the next several years that waved in degree through her mid-twenties. Whenever she was visiting, I got the hugs and hellos but felt like an invisible extra in my own home much of the time. I tried to create the atmosphere that was needed to give her and her dad time together along with her new siblings while fighting back my own feelings of being the expendable house help. I never wanted or tried to replace her mom but it was apparent to me and others around me that I was to replace nothing at all. My husband, not realizing the label of his own need to make up for lost time with his first daughter, remained mostly unaware of my struggles.

I would gear up for visits, trying to put my heart on my sleeve with a layer of protective covering for the inevitable. I would try to make myself available just in case but then retreat to my room when hurts got too close. I would counsel myself that me being my husband's most important....until she was around was just part of being a blended family and I knew that before we got married. I ached for that father daughter relationship in my own life and knew how wrong it would be to get in the middle of it. As time went on, I could tell that the small armor I used was getting bigger and bigger. I stopped trying to arrange visits for her to see my family that live just a few miles away because it hurt to wait for her to decide to remember to hug them hello or even say good bye. I stopped making my schedule clear for her visits. My life went on and if I had a free hour or two here and there....well that was okay. They had fun with or without me anyway.

Now she is 28 years old and the past couple of years are showing to be heart felt changes for her. Maybe it is called being an adult, maybe it is life for her with this nice young man, maybe she and I both are at places in our lives where we are silently dealing with instead of running from our feelings. Whatever the reasons, I am so grateful for this new season.

She gave me a rare glimpse into her heart that I have not been privy to in many years recently and it made me cry. We were sitting down to dinner, a dinner that she had virtually put together on her own with only my verbal direction as I was running out to help my hubby with an errand, and her eyes got glassy red. Her dad asked if her allergies were kicking in again and she replied with a smile and said she was fine......then quietly excused herself to the restroom. When I tapped on the door, she let me in as cool sink water dripped from her flushed face. She could barely look at me as she whispered, "I am sorry. I just really want you guys to approve of "J" and things don't always go the way I think they should and I worry that you will never really like him."

Wow....I was stunned. In the short seconds that followed before my response I saw a new world, a world thru her eyes. Nothing had happened. We had all been getting along wonderfully. But she had been keeping herself in pressure all this time...wanting the acceptance that all daughters crave. As she walked through our home with each visit with outward confidence and assurance, she hid her insecurities inside under armor just like me.

I hugged her and held her, a bit too long for her comfort as she gently tried to pull away a couple of times. But I couldn't let go. I wanted my love and acceptance to flow through me to her, imparting confidence and security. My words told her that we are always grateful for her visits, their visits, and he is the best guy ever. Not only does he make her happy but he is a man of good character and her dad looks at him like gold. She thanked me, smiled, and then the moment was over. It was time to clean up and make like nothing happened or people would wonder. We went back to the table and enjoyed our dinner and everyone took their turn at jokes and silly stories.

I am so grateful for changing seasons. God says everything has a season, we just don't know the time table. But when I am discouraged, I must rest assured that everything has a season of change. It is how the people around me grow....it is how I grow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

God's Strength....

I am headed out the door for church and teaching Sunday School. It is a full day today and I love it all. But before I leave, I wanted to share this photo that I snapped yesterday while taking the youth group out on an all day hike.
Since I have never had any photography classes, most often what my brain and eyes see and have in mind is not what comes through the lens when I take a picture. But this particular shot I think had just the opposite effect.
We were at Punchbowl Falls enjoying the day yesterday. A few of the guys had taken a big log and laid it across the rushing waters. As I was walking across, I stopped in the middle completely mesmerized by the contrast of the power of the water and the texture of the wood. It reminded me of God's constant strength in the middle of life's ups and downs.
What does it do for you?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Strike - Gutter - Spare - Bounce....

Over the weekend my step daughter and her beau have been in town visiting. It has been so nice and wonderful to have them around. Amongst our many activities, we went bowling one night. Okay, I am not athletic and my hand eye coordination always makes for a good group laugh, but I have fun trying. I haven't bowled since way before I had my eyes adjusted about 8 years ago. Yes I am pulling that card instead of the idea that I have never been a good bowler and have bowled maybe 10 times in my whole life.
(memory jogger or general info for new readers: On two separate occasions in my life I have had eye surgery on both eyes to cut, shorten, lengthen, and re-position the muscles attached to my eyes. It has alleviated lazy eyes, focus issues, muscles spasms, and charlie horse type pains. Consequently my brain sees a bit different and has to be ....ummm.....caliberated.)



It took three games before I started to get the hang of my brain and eyes to work together on the idea of what is a straight line. It was so much fun. My first game I bowled a 57. Yahoo! Jump up and down. My second game I bowled an 81. Things started looking up then. My last game I bowled a 99 and even got a strike in the 10th frame.

My hubby, who always seems to have a natural knack for anything he sets his mind to, had no problems getting 3 and 4 strikes in a row. So the scene for the first half of the evening would be him bowling a strike and then coming over to me to line me up and point me straight with effort and ease.

Maybe if I actually practiced at the bowling alley...across the street from my house.....I could raise my scores.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Me and Crazy Eights...

I have been group tagged by Joni for a Crazy Eights Meme. It was my choice to play or not. The more I thought and struggled with what my answers would be, the more I decided I needed to play just to stretch myself a bit. History type questions about me are always an easy cinch to answer because it has happened already. But questions about future events always make me stumble and feel unsure about myself.

So here I go.....and feel free to play along if you would like. Just let me know if you did or not so that I can follow along with you. It is always fun to learn more about people. (And Joni, I didn't know if the picture went with the meme but I loved the little dragonfly and decided to snatch it up.)



8 Things I Have a Passion For

God
My Family
My Children
God's Beauty
Knowing God More
Photography
Writing
Helping People


8 Things I would Like to do Before I Die

Kayak
Take Photography Classes
Go to Paris
See the Northern Nights
Seriously Take Up Hiking
Learn the Pianoand Take Violin Lessons
Speak Fluent French
See Grandchildren Grow Up


8 Things I Say A Lot

Praise God
No Way (in surprise exclamation)
Are You Serious
Oh My Goodness
That Is So Cool
Okie Dokie
Hey There Sweets
Anytime, Not a Problem


8 Books I Have Read Recently



8 Movies I Have Seen 8 Times

Even though we own tons of movies (no really we do have a lot) I don't think there is any one movie I have actually seen 8 times. Here are ones I have seen several times...

(actually the Scarecrow really scared me and really just about all the comic book heroes can be found in our house)
This BBC version is my favorite but when I want a good spin on things then this version is always good for a laugh and smile.
So there is a little bit more about what makes me tick and I have been officially stretched in my thinking.

Under a Gazeebo of Trees....


Before I head of to bed this evening, I have to tell about my wonderful night. My dear friend who works as the assistant in the foundations department at the college here asked me if I would like to attend a benefit concert tonight. Held in the gardens of the Riverview Restaurant on the Sandy River, 50 people mingled with wine and hordourves as we listened to the amazing talent of Aaron Meyer. The garden was filled with lilies, roses, and grand trees. The river rolled by and the birds sang. Yet I barely paid attention to the nature of things around me. It was so amazing to me. At times I forgot to eat and had tears filling my eyes because of the beauty that he created with his violin.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cleaning House / Well Actually Computer Files.......

I started this last week and then got side tracked. I am sorry. I have been blessed with a couple of awards that I would like to share.

There I was surfing in blogland last night and I stumbled upon this in Quilly's Paradise.
What a nice surprise. I feel so honored.

Here are the guidelines for the Must See Blog Award....

About the Must See Blog award: This award was created for blogs that cannot be missed. Whether you secretly lurk, always comment, or frequently check in to see what’s new, these are blogs that must be tuned into regularly.
How to pass it on: Pick 10 blogs that you can’t help but visit often.


David @ Authorblog I am always sure to learn more about cameras, the world, and a few puns here.

Joni @ Morning Coffee Visiting with Joni is like sitting in a breakfast nook and listening to the birds sing sweetly every morning.

Julianna @ Fish Eye and Scabiosa Trenta She has a wonderful eye for finding beauty in the world around us.

Kevin @ Pie Riots and Strongly Worded My fun friend from high school, discusses the world thru a unique set of eyes.

Kitem @ A Garden in France I love to live life in France thru Kitem's eyes and sweet experiences.

Mima @ Mima's Doings Mima is always an encouraging infectious joy.

Quilly @ Pacific Paradise (there is nothing that says I can't give it right back and I do visit here every day) Here you can learn life in Hawaii, see amazing pictures, and be refreshed with candid truth.

Trek @ Trek 4 Fun My dear friend and encourager in so many things.







When Joni passed out this Brilliant Weblog award, she summed up everything so beautifully. Joni really has a way of putting her heart into poetic words.....something I still struggle with. I am going to follow in her footsteps and say to these people...

Thank you for being so encouraging to me. Thank you for cyber hugs, pats on the bat, cheers of encouragement, and being a friend. It still amazes me how people that I have never met or even talked to on the phone can mean so much to me.

Joni ( I can give it right back because I mean it), Kitem, Mima, Quilly, and Trek

God's Sense of Humor....

A few years ago we acquired some trees for the backyard from my dear friend that used to work at a local nursery. One of the big selling points that the nursery advertised was the fact that they did not carry fruit bearing trees. When I first heard that statement I asked, "What is wrong with fruit?" So my friend explained to me that when people around here (like big corporations) decorate and landscape, they want the pretty flowers without having to mess with the rotten fruit clean up.

Interesting I thought. And with that we took home a handful of trees that were over stock and scheduled for the burn pile. Amongst the trees we planted there were 2 Apple Blossom trees. I am really not versed in what causes a tree to scientifically NOT have fruit and I promise I do not have a green thumb. I actually don't even go in the backyard a lot and so I forget that they are there. But these trees must be really happy, see...........

I think it is worth a smile and giggle. Man tries to control and pattern everything away into a certain order and God says that He has other plans. All we need to do is trust.

(I wonder when the apples will be ripe and if they will have a pleasant taste.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What Did I Order......

Last week Rosie-girl and I were running errands and decided to stop at the local Wendy's restaurant for lunch. As we were sitting there eating and talking, one of the employees came out to do clean up patrol. He was a happy go lucky type of guy with a string Hispanic accent. He came over to us and asked, "Excuse me but have you seen a mouse running around here anywhere?"
Shock played across my face as I processed what he said and evaluated the implications.
Then he laughed and said, "I am only kidding. I am talking about that funny mouse in the Disney cartoon. You know he was in my hat and now I can't find him anywhere."

'haa haa funny joke', I thought. 'good for him for having a fun sense of humor. Don't know if his manager would feel so light hearted about it but whatever.'


So today Rosie and I were again running errands and figured we would stop at the same eatery for cheap food that is advertised as being more healthy and wholesome.
As I opened my smart choice of a grilled chicken wrap......a green bug crawled out to inspect the world. It looked just like this little thing below. Silly me....though my first nano-second thought was 'wow that is a pretty color to photograph', in my shock and panic state I didn't think to take a picture.

I covered the food and bug with a napkin and carried it all up to the food counter. The employee was shocked. I listened to the eeks and shrieks of the other employees as she carried it back to show the manager. She came back to me and said, "My manager says sorry and told me to give you your money back.....or do you want another sandwich?"
Okay I give grace to tons of people. After all I need it myself and who am I to judge. but what kind of question is that? Of course I don't WANT another sandwich.
She gave me my money back....a whole $1.50 and told me to have a nice day.
Rosie of course didn't want to finish her lunch after watching the green thing crawl out of my food. I don't blame her.

Who knows what important thing the manager was doing during my little crisis, but they couldn't even come out and talk to me? I am not one of those get them for all they are worth kinds of people. If you burn yourself with your coffee it is because you should have known that hot coffee would be hot. It is not the fault of the food vendor. But live bugs in the food.......how about a coupon or better yet just give me back the whole $5 I spent there in good faith.

Yeah, we are not going to eat there anymore.
(Recommended as Post of the Day at David's Authorblog. )

Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings.....

As this summer has progressed, I have been earning a grand set of memories to carry around. At the same time though, the past couple of weeks has found me in an emotional funk. It is frustrating because it is a mismatch of silly feelings that drive me crazy. You know, all of those little things that pile up and like to play a continual game of tag in your mind.

Feelings....didn't Barbara Streisand sing a song about them?
If it were not for the ever present guidance and comfort from God, I would spiral into who knows what. Truly, He has the guidance and strength, comfort and wisdom to completely lift this off of me.....and yet I am here because I keep holding on to the junk. Why not simply let go and deal with the things that I can deal with? Why make things so difficult?

Feelings are so erratic and non dependable. On the one hand, it is the ruling guide to love and happiness. It is how we passionately find that knight in shining armor, swim in the peaceful love of a child's embrace, and smile at treasured moments. We can intuitively know whom to trust and which door to walk thru because of our gut emotional feelings. And yet on the other hand, our feelings are what get us into trouble with fits of jealousy, rage, selfishness, and doubt.

I know I must balance my feelings with wisdom and judgement. It is the only way that the scales work correctly.
Maybe if I voice my swirls here it will help to get rid of things. That is one reason why I started this blog....to dare to give voice to myself for myself.

~~~~
I feel silly and ridiculous. After all that has happened here with the dogs, my heart started changing here when we had Trixie for a week. We are still in the same position....it is not financially the right time for a dog, yet I find myself looking thru the ads a few times a week hoping that someone will be giving up the dog that I want. I have names and everything picked out. I have things planned in my head that would make you laugh and label me as one of those wierd pet people. Meanwhile, I want to slap myself and say, "get over yourself girl. Now is not the time so stop pining over something that can't be".

***
I wish I could pick up the people that are dearest to me and hold them in a protective shield. I want to stomp my feet at the hurts and yell that it is not fair. And yet, I know that they have their things to learn and grow in and I must not rob them of that.

***
I really want a new camera. Again...slap slap get over yourself and stop being so centered. Now is not the time. It is like a song I hear on the radio station here. I have no idea who sings it but the beginning verse says, "Selfish heart when did you become the center of the universe?" I can totally own and relate to that song.

***
I have now found myself in a precarious position. This fall my girls will be venturing into regular high school instead of me home schooling them. It sounds though like I may still be home schooling someone else's daughter. I keep yo-yo-ing back and forth on this in my mind and I need to just sit and talk with her parents about it....when they come back from vacation. On the one hand, I gave my word 2 years ago that I would school her with my own girls thru high school. My word is important to me. My word is my honor, like a pulse, truth spoken, (wow is it character or a root of pride?) But on the other hand, we didn't know then that our girls would be going to regular high school. If I stick to my word and continue her education while her parents work simply because I made a vow...aren't I taking away their responsibility and robbing them of the 'next step opportunities'?

***
I know this is really silly, but I am realizing that I miss the rain. I know...dumb. I am loving the weather right now. We are having warm pleasant days with cool evenings. How much more perfect could the weather be? I know to be grateful and treasure each season. I know that we could live somewhere else and deal with floods, or tornadoes, or earthquakes. My husband served enough tours in Saudi Arabia and Puerto Rico that I know the stifling heat and lack of water our soldiers face. I know the season here will change soon enough and we will have rain every day. And yet I am realizing that I long to hear the sound of droplets drumming on the roof, smell the smell of dust washing away, and feel the splash run down my body.

~~~
It is okay, I am okay. This 'season' too will shift. It is a guarantee. I will get over myself and look to important things, real things, things that don't start with the word "I". Like I said, maybe putting it all to keyboard will help me let go.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Some Memories of the Week....

Memories of the past week.....

I took the girls to see the midnight premire of the new Batman movie. When I was picking them up, it was fun to watch all the people coming out of the theater that had dressed up for the occasion. There were Jokers, capped superheroes, and masks everywhere. The only thing I couldn't figure out is why a group of 5 young men walked out carrying tennis rackets.
~~~~

Pippin shared with me one of the many adventures of the Gaggle Beach Week. As the girls were walking along one day, they were stopped by a group of older Harley-type bikers asking where the nearest bar was. What would possess older grown ups to think that a 15, 16, and 17 year old would know the answer to that question? Without missing a beat the girls answered in unison, "Yes", "No", and "I am not sure". Then the girls looked at one another and each pointed in a different direction....north, south, and east for a possible location.
After that, the bikers rode away with perplexed expressions. Maybe they will think twice next time about who they ask for bar directions.
~~~~

Yesterday my 14 year old, Rosie-girl, said "You mean we are picking up pizza AND going up to Grandma's house? This is such a cool day!"
~~~~~

My brother was hanging up a ceiling fan in the hallway and called to Dad, "Hey this hardware is supposed to be good just the way it is but do you think we should put some nuts right here?"
Before Dad could answer I pipped up with, "It is an idea but those cashews are really too soft I think."
Okay that was about as punny as things could get but I thought my brother was going to fall off the ladder from laughing so hard.
~~~~~

I got the okay to redecorate the front bathroom this week. We live in a manufactured home that has the typical decorative fixtures for this kind of house. That means papered wood looking cabinets and vinyl covered sheet rocked walls. About 10 years ago I decided to decorate the bathroom and try my hand at wallpapering. I hung a deep green marbled wallpaper and accessorised in roses and elegance. It was a fun project and I felt better knowing that I gave it "my personal touch". There was one problem though......steamy bathrooms and vinyl sheet rock aren't conducive for keeping wallpaper hung. Can you picture the scene? It has been a funny sort of eyesore for quite a few years now.

The other day the girls and I set out to rip off all of the existing wallpaper. That was a super easy job. It all came right off with practically no leftovers on the wall. My supplies were great too. I wanted a textured wall and figured I would have to learn the art of 'orange peel'. But the wonderful assistant I had at the local 'everything builders' store showed me a product that I could mix with my paint to get the texture while painting. Yahoo! Two steps in one. I liked that idea because whenever I start a project I obsess about it until it is completed.

In picking out my current decorative taste, I sought the help of my girls. They are as different as night and day and so much fun for me. My ever practical Pippin said, "Whatever you like will look good Mom. Besides, it is a bathroom. How much can a bathroom be decorated anyway?"
My artistic Rosie-girl on the other hand did her best to find complimentary colors and what would feel just right. The problem with that is I love flowers and she doesn't. Well, she thinks they don't belong in a bathroom anyway. In the end I chose what I wanted and she helped me pick the paint to match. Ultimately she said, "Mom you do what you want but all of these flowers are really going to make it look like an old lady's bathroom."
(note here that nothing bad is meant by this term. 'Old lady' and 'Mom-ish' are terms that I throw around for myself when I am seeking to clarify if I am decorating, dressing, or acting not my age.)

Now the front bathroom is a cheery spring sky blue. The shower curtain is a light and airy blend of morning glories, butterflies, calalilies, and dragonflies. There is one small corner that needs my hubby's touch....sheet rock that rotted out from water build up. Once he is able to replace that small section then I can finish painting and have a 'new' room.
I have tried to take pictures but it is such a narrow room that I haven't been happy with anything shot. I even tried the 'What would David at Authorblog do?' approach but still didn't get a result I liked. I guess if you are really curious, you will just have to come visit.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Over the River and Thru the Woods....

The past few days has found me walking ...... a lot, 17.5 miles in all to be exact.

Horse Tail Falls, Ponytail Falls, and Oneonta Falls on Sunday: 4 miles
Cannon Beach with my friend Barbara on Monday: 4 miles
Neighborhood walking with my friend Wendy on Tuesday: 3 miles
Eagle Creek Trail with Rosie-girl on Wednesday: 6.5 miles

It has been thrilling and something I always say I am going to do but never get to it enough. I am a bit sore right now and by my own personal diagnosis figure that I had a bit too much heat yesterday. All the same, I have really enjoyed every mile and have fallen in love with the Great NW even more. I love the aroma of the warm earth mixed with ripening wild berries, moss, water, pines and fir trees. Here are just a few highlights......
Oneonta Trail off the Old Highway in the Columbia Gorge.




Hiking the Oneonta Trail was exciting and beautiful but really a challenge for me. These silly lungs of mine really rebelled at the steep incline after a couple of hours. I kept on being stubborn and pushing thru but towards the end I must admit to entertaining a bit of panic. Goodness it has been so many years since I have felt like that. Hubby got me calmed down and I got to the bottom with a smile. So embarrassing....but at least I did it.
~~~~~

Eagle Creek Trail outside of Cascade Locks in the Columbia Gorge.


This was a fun day hike for Rosie-girl and I. We had lunch at Punchbowl Falls and then headed onward and upward to High Bridge. Maybe it was the heat and our desire for a soft seat and ice cream, but we didn't think that the bridge was quite worth all the hiking. All the same, we had a perfect day just being together.
The only bummer about the day was that when I was wading around Punchbowl I fell and dropped my camera....in the water. I grabbed it really quick and dried it all out. It took pictures for me the rest of the day but now it is going thru this funny power cycle thing....even when I have it turned off. It is an old digital camera (a Fuji FinePix S3000 3.2 megapixel.....yeah ancient) but it is all I have for now and can't replace it. Maybe the little gremlins will decide to leave soon and I can nurse it along for another year.
If you would like to see all of the pictures, you can go here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Rizzly.....

Today I drove a "turn and burn" to Cannon Beach. Well, maybe not quite so much burn since I chose to hang out with my friend Barbara for 6 hours before hitting the road for the drive home.
It is now after 11pm in the evening and I am smiling at a day well spent.

The reason for my 90 mile drive (one way) was because it was time to get The Gaggle together. Not all were able to gather for the beach trip, but I succeeded in getting 4 of the 6 together for the day. They say that their mission for this week is to reek mayhem havoc and chaos on the town as they giggle, write stories, giggle, run to the corner for coffee, giggle, watch movies, and did I mention giggle? As my friend Kitem once put it....Tout le monde! Vive les Gaggles!
As they toured the town today, they stumbled across this little guy, who obviously once had an important job making some sweet child happy but by a twist of fate....had been left on the sidewalk face down in lonely despair.
They looked around for possible owners and found none. Their hearts went out to him and they decided to give him a home as their mascot. He is in the process of getting a bath now and has been named Rizzly (like grizzly without the g)...because that was the name on the license plate of a car down the street where he was found. See how happy he is now?

Meanwhile, my friend Barbara and I had a wonderful time doing our own share of walking. We toured the local library, which happened to be having a book sale (always a dangerous thing for us book lovers) and Barbara blessed me with a treasured copy of Sonnets From the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Poetry....AND my Portuguese heritage......I am excited to dive into it.
We enjoyed the sunny weather and ocean breeze as we walked 4 miles of the coast line and talked of recipes, movies, family, hopes and dreams. Along the way, a gentleman asked if I could take a picture of him with his sweetie on the beach. When I said yes, she stopped her sand drawing and jumped towards him so I could snap the picture. They were so happy....with the picture, with the day, with the beach, with each other. When our walk brought us back to their spot, we found her picture complete.


Barbara and I had fun trying to figure out what the 7 3 8 represented. Those aren't date numbers because today is July 7th. Was it to mean that they had kissed 738 times? Did it mean that it felt that they had known each other for 738 years? Or maybe after 7 minutes and 38 seconds they chose to believe in love at first sight.

Right about that spot on our walk we stopped to contemplate the power of the waters as it crashed over the rocks. It amazes me. Water has no form of its own and yet is strong enough to bring beauty or devastation to any surrounding. It made me think if the scripture passage where God commanded the oceans to have boundaries. It is all an incredible and beautiful thing.

Sometime during our exploring, we stopped at a new little cafe' and sat outside on the walk for tea and dessert. Everything was natural, organic, and even vegan if one chose to go that route. I opted for a delicious licorice tea blend and then set my sights on a piece of chocolate chip bread pudding.

It was so delicious.....and so rich......I could not bring myself to eat even half of it. Instead it was boxed up and is now sitting in my kitchen for future delights.

Rosie-girl and I are home safe and sound, feeling sleepy. The Gaggle...I imagine is still giggling away while attempting to shush one another and not bother the adults. My sleepy eyes and happy heart say that it has been a good day indeed.

(note: Rosie-girl took the photos of Rizzly)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What We Did On the 4th of July....

For the 4th of July Independence Day Celebration here in Oregon, we chose to make memories with my folks. We did up a short rib BBQ with tons of fruit and salad and ...yes, another Death By Chocolate Cake. I have to say, my family is so fun and goofy. Don't believe me? Well, just check out what we did after dinner....

video

How is that for a sure shot? That is me shooting a soda pop can with a BB gun. The video was taken with my hubby's cell phone so it is not crisp by any means, but I think you get the point. We were waiting until it got dark so that we could shoot off out little bag of fireworks and got a bit creative with our time. Other things we shot were gloves filled with water, water bottles, and an egg.

We also teased the kids and told them we weren't going to have traditional fireworks this year. Instead we told them we were going to be eco friendly and go back to the days of old. We passed out recycled paper lunch bags and told them they could fill as many as they wanted with air and hit them to make a loud popping sound. Each adult grabbed their own bag, blew, popped, and then jumped up and down with excitement while the kids laughed at us. We even toyed with the idea of letting them jump on big sheets of bubble wrap so they could get really excited. The kids are so good natured.....it makes for great fun in the teasing department.

Once it was dark the real show began. My parents bought some impressive items that made us all ooh and ahh. I grabbed so many things to take up to my parent's house but I forgot my camera. So, this shot was with my little cell phone. I took many others, but this particular one of our neighbor girl seems to capture the innocence and specialness of the evening for me.

(enlarge here)

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Perfect Balancing Scale......

Yesterday was such a great day. I jumped up in the morning and made a broccoli slaw and a cake for a BBQ that we would be attending in the evening. The slaw....was just a regular slaw so it is not worthy of a picture. The cake on the other hand, a recipe given to me by my dear friend at the coast, formidably labeled "Death By Chocolate Cake". With ingredients such as sour cream, chocolate pudding, and chocolate chips in the cake batter....and then a stove top cooked icing..... let your mind wander a bit as to the taste.

I fought off the temptation to dig my fork into it's heavenly aroma all day long. After all, how could I explain a big gouge in the shape of the bunt cake to our hosts. But after dinner, I jumped up to have a small sliver........

heavy sigh......dreamy expression........

Visiting with all of our friends made for a great evening. But that cake was the supreme topper to all the wonderful events of the day.
What else happened yesterday?

Well, I had received a phone call a couple of days ago from our youth group leader and his wife. She said, "Are you available Thursday at 1 pm?" Instantly I thought, oh cool they need a baby sitter and I sure love that little guy.
My thought cloud burst and re-built to an even sunnier level when she followed up by saying, "We just want to thank you for all that you do and so we have scheduled you for an hour massage."
Threw me for a quick loop but boy I was giddy with excitement. How many times I have wished I could get a massage........

Here is a picture of one of the massage rooms at Massage Envy. Each room has a circulating fan, warming blankets, and soft music playing. Good golly it was so heavenly. That little masseuse had her work cut out for herself when I came in. I had knots on top of knots. She never complained though. Instead she went right to work and proclaimed pity over me as she unearthed tensions that I have carried for so long...I didn't even know they were there. The tensions that I carry lock up my lower back and also settles in my shoulders so deeply that it effects my hearing.

I feel lighter, sore and bruised, but oh so much better. I have been drinking water like crazy to try and filter out all of the toxins that must have been released. I have no limp this morning, I can hear better, and my neck keeps popping. I love it!

Here is to a perfectly balanced day..........a massage and chocolate. What more could a girl ask for?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

On Sunday I was very much in a mental daze. It is one of the drawbacks that I willingly embrace after spending a weekend with minimal sleep and being in the company of a big group of people half my age. I gave myself the freedom to stay home from church that morning. Yeah I was that out of sorts. But there was an afternoon picnic that I really wanted to attend. I am so glad I did. See who I got to hold.....

This is Kelly's new grand baby. Isn't she beautiful?
(I didn't ask if I could post these pictures but she has a picture on her site so I think it is okay. Kelly I am sorry if I am overstepping my boundaries. here.)
Isn't she tiny? It always amazes me how quickly they grow. My babies were once that small. It all happens so fast and it is easy to forget. It takes my breath away to think about the unique and wonderful thing that God does with each baby, each child, each life.
I never fail to find myself in another world when I am in the presence of little ones. Whether I am sharing goofy faces and giggles with a toddler or looking into the angel glow of a newborn; the rest of the world stops for me. I look in their eyes and see the pure joy and acceptance that surrounds them. I see their future destinies that sit on the horizon just waiting to unfold.
Often people will look at me while in this state and say things like, "Oh Julie you need to have more kids." My reply is always a firm no (with a smile). I have too much fun being 'family support' on the side lines.
God is so very amazing in what He creates.
What He did and does with each life is no accident or chance happening.
If you haven't seen this video, I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch it. It is encouraging, impacting, exciting, and inspiring.