August 29, 2011

Adventure #1 {Mini Road Trip}

We're going through a rather significant transition in our lives right now.  And the aspects of this transition leave me with two related things:

1. a need/desire to fill up a few days every week with a new adventure
2. an intense amount of motivation and determination

Last week found me packing up the kids, my mom, my little brother, a golf bag, 2 suit cases, a double jogging stroller, and about 47 other things in my vehicle to head "up north" for my little brother's golf tournament.

This two-day adventure brought all sorts of firsts for my tots: first night in a hotel, first meal in a sit down restaurant with no buffet, first golf tournament.

While lil' bro played in his golf tournament, the kids, my mom, and I explored the area.

We visited historic sites.

We cheered in the last few groups of golfers.

I chased Jack-Hammer around the entire property of the golf resort, and during our meal outside at the restaurant, I chased both kids who were chasing a frog under tables and around chairs. They actually caught the frog and then had to show it to the waitress and the people at the table next to us.  And after one dis-membered frog incident and three trips to the bathroom with Jack, I finally just took everybody back to our room.

Ava did what she does best, namely find things to collect.

And when the most boring thing in the world golf tournament was over (I did not get bitten with the golf bug like the rest of my family did), we found a little state park that thankfully had a nice beach. I am a tad lost without sand and water that you can actually play in (and by "play" I do not mean hitting a small white ball with a long chunk of metal).

And no trip is complete without ice cream. An adorable ice cream and candy shop with more ice cream flavors than I even knew existed was our final stop.

We had a lovely little visitor (who was only partially alive after I scraped him off the road).

Lest you think my idea of adventures is all golf resort and stuff, I would like to add that the adventures of this particular week also included freezing 100 cups of sweet corn, picking and freezing 24 cups of green beans, making and freezing 30 quarts of applesauce, and mowing half our yard with a zero turn lawn mower (which, in case you're wondering, is very much like driving a space ship. In fact, I am nearly certain I could shoot cylons with that thing if I could get past just how much turning I actually do with a "zero-turn.")

And now I simply must close this post in order to tend to the adventures of this week which really should be cleaning this house. Now wouldn't that be something?

August 27, 2011

Let's Go Carpe This Diem

I was chopping red cabbage and cucumbers fresh from the garden when he lingered in the kitchen that evening.

Supper was a bit late that night (if there is such a thing as a *late* supper at our house with our ever-fluid routine) because I was perched on top of the kitchen table taking pictures of my kids painting with water colors for the first time in the glow of the evening.

"You have time for a shower before supper if you like," I told him, the words sounding funny to me. A shower marks the end of the husband's day, and rarely does his day end before supper.

"I know," he replied. "Just pondering the fact that today was my last day with my customers, my last day on the route."

"I've been thinking the same thing all day," came my words. I had already been down my valley of doubts and was ready to move on. "Any thoughts, regrets, laments?"

"Nope," he stated even before the last syllable of my question left my lips. "Just movin' forward."

And that's what we'll do. We'll move forward. We'll learn from all our past journeys. We'll commit to learn from this journey. We'll make goals. We'll set our standards high and our expectations low.

And if you'll excuse us, we've got some diem to carpe.

{I hope all you Latin enthusiasts will forgive my butchering of the aforementioned and cliched Latin phrase.}

August 23, 2011

What God Chose to Give

The humidity was so.very.intense. The air felt thick enough to cut with a knife.

It was oppressive, and I found it hard to breath.

But I realized it wasn't the heaviness of the air that was causing my laborious breathing. I was, in fact, sitting in a comfortable air-conditioned building.

Something was wrapping sticky tentacles around my chest and clamping down. Something wanted me to abandon trust, hope, and faith. Something wanted me to worry, feel sorry for myself, and succumb to anxiousness. Something wanted me to see the past as perfect, the present as painful, and the future as foreboding.

I just wanted to push away the feelings, to pretend they weren't there, but I knew that would only give strength to this something. I knew I had to face this something, to call it out, give it a name, and give it to God.

I also knew that facing this something meant facing myself, facing the possibility of mistake or failure; it meant facing a decision we had just made - the one we felt God leading us to; it meant facing the loss of what was now our past.

I left the comfort of AC and walked through the sun-sorched parking lot, beads of sweat forming before the door even closed behind me. I jumped into the vehicle, my body welcoming the AC again. And after only a few short miles home, I again transitioned from AC to uncomfortable heat to AC.

The heat seems worse when you jump from heat to comfort to heat to comfort. What if I closed off the door to comfort behind me? What if I just embraced the heat instead of hiding from it?

Have I become too used to the comfort, to the usual, to the routine? The jovial customers, the happy site of the tool truck rolling into the yard, the pride of self-employment.....

The business that was once so new had now become commonplace. The husband-toolman so good he no longer had to try. The routine of the weeks so reliable I could plan through them with ease.

Of course we still needed God. Who doesn't? I had prayed for the husband, for protection and honesty. I had prayed for the business, that it would be marked with integrity. I had prayed for the customers, that no purchase would ever put them into financial hardship but rather blessing. And I knew.....that on Mondays this happened, on Tuesdays this happened, on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays.....this is what would happen and I could plan, sculpt, and schedule our days with ease.

It was time to face the heat again, the heat of traveling a new road and of giving up the familiar. And it was time to face the heat inside me; the something that was clamping down on me.

It was doubt. Just doubt. All those "what if's" going through my mind proved that it was doubt.

What if we heard God wrong?

What if this all one huge mistake?

What if this isn't best for our family?

What about our business?

What if.....?

What if.....?

And really, what if? Is there any "what if" that God doesn't already know about?

And "what if" I just focus on what got us to this point, what we believe God chose to give, instead of focusing on all the "what if's" in the future? The list of things, the open doors, the heart preparations that brought us here show me clearly that this is the path we are to walk right now.

And "what if" our business was never meant for us? What if we were just supposed to build it, keep it, grow it until it's real owner was ready for it?

What if this is just another step, another learning curve, another life lesson along our journey? What if it doesn't matter who thinks this is wrong or crazy or right?

So really, what if?

Doubt, I know you. I know what you feel like. I've faced you now, and I'm moving on.

God, here's my doubt.

So, I face the feelings and move past them, allowing myself to feel them fully, to sit in the heat and sweat it out, but not giving them an inch to move me.

Because this thing that God chose to give us really is a blessing even when it seems that in the same motion that God gave He also took away. Even in the blessing, there's a wilderness before me, and I feel the weight of the responsibility that comes with the extra measure.

The heat of the day is still so intense, but its effect on me is subdued. Someday the refreshing cool will come again, but for now, I'm gonna seal the lid down on this pressure cooker to see what the heat brings.

I stand before this next wilderness choosing to believe that God brought us here even though it doesn't always make sense. I look back and realize it's been around a year since I emerged from the previous wilderness. With a tot holding each hand, I take inventory of all I've learned from each previous wilderness I've walked.  I take hold of this new measure of talents, not shirking at the unkown, knowing my routine is gonna get messed up, knowing there are gonna be hard days,  remembering the words I spoke for the next distributor that I also secretly spoke for us:

"It's not just about surviving the moments, surviving the uncertainty and waiting for the clarity. It’s about living right through it all, it’s about learning from it all, and it’s in knowing that these messy, crazy, uncertain moments are the ones that make us who we are.
To letting go...
To taking risks...
To ignoring the path of least resistance...
To this beautiful, messy life….
And even more importantly, to the One True God who’s in it all: He made it all, He’s orchestrating it all. May He get all the glory...
Semper Fi."

Semper Fi. Semper Fidelis. Always faithful.

God, find us faithful once again.

August 15, 2011

The Invasion

It seems silly to post a KinderGardens post without pictures, but I'm gonna do it anyway. Life's a tad crazy, and I've been cutting out a little bit of the fluff in order to soak up the last of summer. Tonight, posting pictures is part of that fluff that's getting cut out. It would be really hard to capture what's going on out in my jungle garden anyway.

You see people, we're being invaded.

By squash vines..... buttercup, acorn, and butternut squash vines to be exact.

My tots and I planted the same amount we did last year in a larger area than last year, but the vines are insatiable. They're climbing up the hog panel fence, choking out the potatoes, and using the popcorn and Indian corn to reach skyward.

I like squash. My kids like squash. My husband will eat squash. I make quick breads out of squash. I make yeast breads out of squash. I make pies out of squash.  I make soup out of the stuff. I give it away to others.

But even with all those uses, I'm not sure how I will use all the squash that's out there.

So, it's just gonna be me and a pair of scissors fighting off the invasion.

Linking up to KinderGardens week 15.

August 10, 2011

A Good Day

Today was what you would call a good day.

Not that other recent days have been bad, but today was just good.

After a few hours of work where my last day as a nurse analyst was chosen, I met the brunettes at the coffee shop for a few hours of photo class.

{taking pictures without them knowing: +5 points}

{having the bravery to take a group selfie in a public place: +10 points}
{horrible white balance: -5 points}

After photos, chatting, and cold coffee drinks, I pulled into the yard to find the perfect opportunity for some depth of field homework. I call this series "Twins."

{seizing the moment for homework: +5 points
iffy composition: -3 points}

Then I walked in the house to see the husband vacuuming the entire main floor, the kids quietly playing Legos, and our favorite William Joseph mix tinkling over the speakers in the living room.  And I'm not even joking.

We spent the rest of the afternoon outside admiring the first sunflower blooms, picking the first 2 ripe tomatoes, and putzing around in flower beds.

While beets cooked on the stove, we shucked sweet corn, and sliced cucumbers for supper.

{getting 2 group selfies in 1 day: +20 points}

We relished our supper of garden produce and a succulent pork roast, the kids asking for more beets (yes, really), and all of us ooohing and ahhhing over the sweet corn from Nanna and Poppa.

{taking pictures during supper without getting the new camera dirty: +2 points}
{not fully understanding white balance: -10 points}

It almost sounds like a dream doesn't it? But it really all happened just this way.

{soaking up a good day: +100 points}

August 5, 2011


My little girl picked herself out a fab outfit the other day, and the two of us headed out to the garden together while Jack-Hammer pushed all the trikes and tractors out to the tomatoes.

We found more beans and the first of the cucumbers.

{I told you her outfit was fab}

And just this morning the three of  us each picked the first few beets, more cukes, and the first head of purple cabbage.

 Then, I took a self potrait with my leafy greens. Can you find me?

The most exciting firsts of all are these:

Popcorn ears.

Linking up to KinderGardens.