“The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


"But how could you live and have no story to tell?" ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky


"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph" ~Matt Hardy


“A mother keeps a garden of the heart, planting the seeds of faith and character that give her children hope and purpose for the years ahead.” ~Anonymous


“If your story is never told, it becomes something else...forgotten.” ~Anonymous

Monday, December 31, 2012

Good-bye 2012 :)

My mind cannot wrap itself around the fact that this is the last day of the year.  2012 is almost the past.  Thoughts of resolutions, goals and dreams for 2013 have barely had time to formulate in my heart and mind.  Even as I look at this blog, I realize during the holiday months, I barely wrote.  Life took most of my time.

2012 was a good year for us.  Not necessarily in terms of what the world calls "good".... the jobs were few and far between, but each and every ministry trip was provided for.  We watched our pennies, but God was incredibly faithful as we continued to support the missionaries we care about and believe in their efforts for the Kingdom of God.  Jim ministered in 10 different locations around the world and I was able to accompany him on two of the journeys.  The heart of a father and the heart of Our Father was conveyed to many who needed to be reminded of His deep love and compassion for them.  We saw hearts open up and lives healed.  We experienced Him freeing people.  We felt His anointing and knew that all that took place was because of Him and we just got to be a part of it.  At the close of 2012, there are sons and daughters worldwide with a smile on their face because they know their Father loves them.  To God be the glory....great things HE HAS DONE.

2012...we .....

**loved people
**welcomed two older children back into our home to provide an environment where they can get on their feet, find work in their field of education and begin to pay off school loans
**celebrated young friends beginning their lives together in marriage
**rejoiced as young couples began their own families
**celebrated 26 years of marriage and marveled at God's goodness to us in all those years!
**had our hearts touched and challenged over the human trafficking situation in the world, especially in the area of the world where we are mostly involved...Russia and central and eastern Europe.
**ministered for the first time in new nations, Moldova, Tadjikistan and Kazakhstan
**visited family for first time in Kazakhstan
**had for the first time the surprise opportunity to minister and teach in a discipleship training school here in the U.S.
**sent our youngest daughter off to Germany to do a discipleship training school and be involved in an outreach into Asia.
**had the blessing of having my mother with us for her 84th birthday in July, and Christmas this year.

For us....2012 was a good year :)

So many blessings, so many opportunities to see God work in and through us and see Him show us how much He cares for others.  So many stories.   I know one of my desires for 2013 is to write those stories for others to hear.  Been a desire for a long time, but making the time for it requires discipline and effort of which I have yet to master.  2013...could be a year of that desire finding fulfillment.

2013 is already taking shape with travel plans to share the love of the Father and His great heart for people.  I'm sensing "new opportunities".... maybe new beginnings....all I know is we want more of His heart for the world.  His love for us.  Even as I ponder my "resolutions", my "dreams" and "goals" for the coming year, what comes to mind is the Scripture that says "I resolve to know Jesus and Him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:2  I love the Message version:  "when I came to you, I didn't try to impress you with polished speeches or the latest philosophy.  I deliberately kept it plain and simple...first Jesus and who He is, then Jesus...and what He did."  My deepest heart's desire for 2013 is to know Jesus, plain and simple....who He is...and what He did...and what He continues to do.

This morning I got up to get myself a cup of coffee and sit back, relax and write.  Out of the window I saw our family of deer meandering through the trees.  They were so peaceful, not at all worried about what a new year might bring.  I felt peaceful as I watched them.  Then... I ran for my camera, and opened the door as quietly as I could.  As usual, a deer's "antennae" are super-tuned, and they heard me.  I got a photo, but the moment was spoiled.  How many times, I reflected, are our moments of peace ruined because we move too quickly or let busy-ness steal the moment.  Sometimes I think I need to just sit and enjoy the peace, capture the moment in my mind and heart where it can last forever.

As I reflect back on 2012...all the joys...and all the horrific events that took place in our world, more than ever....we need to have an answer.  I know of no where else to look, but Jesus, who "alone has the words of eternal life" and can bring a peace when no other can.  All I "know" is....no one else has brought me peace and clarity in my life as Jesus has.  Each year in passing, as I looked back... some years I have never wanted to see again, other years were incredible, all different and all left a unique feeling....of gain, of loss, of joy, of sadness, lessons learned, victories won, battles fought, mountains climbed and valleys of rest.  As we close out the year of 2012....whether it has been good or bad for you.....whatever those 12 months held for you....I wish you peace....I wish you a new found joy in 2013....and I wish you the love of the Father and His Son to be refreshed anew in your heart.

Tomorrow is 2013 .....wrap up 2012 as a gift and the lessons it held for us.  Open 2013 as a new gift and may it reveal surprises of joy and new life!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Lights, music, parties, sales, trees, decorations, Santas, Salvation army volunteers on every corner, commercials...commercials....commercials....it's that time of year again.  It snuck up on us like that birthday with a "big 0" .   Just as we are ridding ourselves of that "full" feeling of turkey, stuffing and pie, we are pulling out the boxes, cutting that tree and changing the look of our entire house.

I actually love this time of year, following on the footsteps of another favorite season.  Like autumn, I relish the smells, sights and sounds of the holiday season.  The day after Thanksgiving, I am getting down the boxes and setting up Tinseltown in my home.  Although there is not a Santa Claus to be seen, there are lots of fairy lights and candles.  And I try to make the festive feeling in my home last as long as possible.  

Okay, not my home, but isn't it a picture of Christmas coziness?

As I put up some garland and lights yesterday, I tuned into a local radio station that plays non-stop Christmas music.  Lively, sentimental, rock-around-the-clock Christmas music.  It was fun.  I was by myself (that part not so fun), but I did get the job done.  Only thing left is the tree, of which I have recruited my oldest daughter and the boyfriend of my youngest daughter to help adorn the centerpiece of the living area.  Normally, my youngest daughter and I make this a yearly ritual and memory as we do it together...eggnog and lights.  She is away in Germany right now and Christmas in China on a missions trip, but I wasn't about to tackle the tree by myself.  Hence, my offer to feed and furnish music to finish the last of the festooning and garnishing of the season.

Yesterday as I was sweeping up the needles, I was again bombarded with "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" from the radio...for probably the 6th or 7th time that day.  As the thought of "not again" crept in, I stopped in my tracks and realized not once had I heard a song that mentioned Jesus.  All day long the tunes were played, and no "Oh, Come All Ye Faithful", no "Joy to the World", no "Little Town of Bethlehem".  (whoops, sorry, they did play "Little Drummer Boy").  But overall, not a mention of the whole reason for the season.  I was saddened as I thought about how the music most people love and listen to at Christmas is not the heart and soul of Christmas at all.  Jesus replaced with "Last year I gave you my heart, the very next day, you gave it away."  Seriously???

We are coming into the Advent season...those four weeks (Sundays) prior to Christmas where we prepare for the "coming" of Jesus.  (you can read past posts from Decembers on meaning and tradition).  However, to borrow a thought I read recently in an email from a friend..."Advent derives from the Latin and means coming or approaching.  For those of us who travel a lot, nothing is more valued as we approach our destination than to be warmly welcomed; a welcome symbolizes so much, almost becoming sacramental."  Oh, the years of traveling where when I finally reached where I needed to be, that welcome meant more to me than any gold or riches.  That feeling of "you are welcome here....let me make you comfortable".  "Let me make you understand the journey you just took is worthwhile and valued....we appreciate why you came and the sacrifice it took to get here."

May I offer the suggestion as we finish off November and enter into "the most wonderful time of the year" and the busiest, that we take time to ponder "who" we are welcoming.  He's come on quite a journey, He's paid a heavy price to come, He's the real and only reason for this celebration, and He came for you and for me.  And He is worthy of the most awesome WELCOME we can provide.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Windows of Latvia

Again, a post on windows.  There's something about windows in other nations that fascinates me. It isn't just the color or creativity, although that is a biggie with me.  But often as I walk down the streets of towns and villages, I wonder...

"Who is behind that window?"

"Is there a mother tending to her children?  Are they playing while she prepares their lunch of cabbage soup and black bread?"

"Perhaps there is a grandmother sitting at a worn old table, sipping her hot tea and reflecting on her years."

Often my heart wants to embrace the smells, the stories, the wonder behind the windows.  Windows that set right up against the sidewalk, seemingly inviting you to come in.  What lives are being lived out behind the framework and the pane?

And so...the windows of a town in the north of Latvia along the Baltic Sea.....

Perhaps a family awaiting a letter from a son or daughter in a faraway land...

I could just smell the "borscht" cooking for lunch...

I couldn't resist this guy....he was looking out his "window"...

A room with a view... in Riga...
Who wouldn't want to wake up to this ??

Anyone who has been in my home can attest to the fact that I don't like window coverings.  I like to see out.  I love light.  I want the outside in...

But it also allows others to see in (helps to live in the country where your neighbors aren't hugging the side of your house :)  Windows let us see out, but they also let others see in.  Hmmm...metaphorically speaking, do we allow others to see into our lives?  Are we vulnerable enough to want community and relationship with those around us to allow our windows to be open for them to see?  Or do we cover the windows of our life to keep people out?  I wonder if perhaps there isn't someone who wants to see beyond the window and sit down with you or me,  have a cup of tea and share our stories.  Lives are being lived out behind those windows.  Now that's a great line for a post....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Unwanted, Abandoned, Deleted

From my heart to yours...

Walking the streets of old town Riga we came upon a sight I will never forget.   Entering the main square on Freedom Boulevard, you find yourself looking to the opposite side where a monument rises 138 feet upward.  The Freedom Monument was constructed to honor the soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1918 - 1920).  In more recent years, I have heard it called Lady Freedom.  She is holding her arms upward lifting three stars which center around the theme "Shine like a star".

Around the base of the monument there are pictures and sculpting depicting various aspects of Latvian life and history.  One of these is entitled "Family", a mother with two children.  I found it ironic when I saw what was in front of me. What I will never forget is what has been laid out in the square in the foreground of the monument.

Concrete sculptors of babies who have lost their lives out of fear, inconvenience, ignorance and modern day contraception.

Perhaps if your eyesight is better than mine...you can read some of the inscriptions...

Our hearts grieved over the sight, yet part of me was proud of those Latvians who are brave to face their society and put this out there....

One side of a plaza honoring those who gave their lives in a war for freedom (and rightly so) and opposite a display of those whose lives were taken from them.  Neither should be forgotten.

As I was editing, deleting and tweaking this post, I was reminded of how quick we are to "delete" what is unwanted.

There is a Father in Heaven.  There is a God who wants.  There is a God who does not delete.

Sorry if this posting is heavy and leaves our hearts deeply saddened.  It should.  It is very visual and should impact our lives.  It is meant to.  God give us hearts of love, deep love, patience and compassion, to reach out to those who too quickly and in anguish press the "delete" button in their lives.  Help us to be the arms, feet and heart of Jesus to bring love, forgiveness, redemption and freedom to those around us.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friends, Forgiveness & Finding the Way Home

I (we) are back home.....my husband after 5 weeks of travel and myself, being able to join him in the last two weeks.  We had a wonderful time, took lots of photos, spent time with many old and wonderful friends and made some incredible new ones!  Our faith and trust in God grows deeper during these adventures as we have the privilege of touching lives, connecting and experiencing Him come through for us (and them!).

Kazakhstan, Armenia and Latvia....different cultures, different people, but all the same need and heart cry that comes forth.  We want to be loved, we want to feel worthy of that love.  For those that never had the love and acceptance of a father (or a mother), that cry resounds all the more deeply.  Words of acceptance never spoken over a life.  A childhood of rejection and abuse.  Hearts struggling to let go and be vulnerable to love.  Minds wrestling with forgiveness towards those that have wounded us.  We are all the same, we all have the same need....wanting to love, be loved and connect with those around us.  When we share the love of a heavenly Father, it can be difficult to really embrace that love or understand it when an individual has not even experienced that in their own life with a physical father. The ministry my husband and I endeavor to impart is the love of a father (& mother) to those whose hearts yearn for connection and relationship, especially to their Father above.

We had the privilege to meet so many dear new friends who opened up their lives and hearts to the love of a heavenly Father who says to them "I love you....I am well pleased with you....you are my son....you are my daughter."   Lives which chose to be vulnerable enough to say "I forgive my earthly father for this.....I forgive my mother for abandonment.....I forgive....I forgive....I forgive."  And to let the love of a Father bring healing.  There is no greater key to freedom than forgiveness.

Ivo, a young man after God's heart !

A new friend who found freedom, joy and healing in the Father's love

Another highlight for us was being able to attend a conference of teams that came from around the nation of Latvia.  These teams belong to the missions group we were a part of for over 20 years.  Twenty-one years ago we led the first Discipleship Training School in Latvia.  What a joy and privilege to once again connect, share memories, renew vision and challenge to grow during the transitions and seasons we find ourselves in.  As we laughed and reminisced over shashlik (shish-kabob) and hot tea, we found ourselves deeply grateful to be a part of a family worldwide that is trusting God, seeing Him move in and through their lives, and nurturing hope and vision for the future.

A real joy for us to be with David, our Latvian/American friend whose family
we have known for over 20 years.

Being able to visit Riga, the capital city of Latvia, at the end of our time was another treat.  Staying with a close friend of many years, dinner in an Uzbek restaurant with old friends, seeing the old city of Riga once again and having an incredible lunch with a great lady who was in our first school we led in Russia.  Disneyland has it right when it says....its a small world after all....

Have to mention the trip home....venturing out for a meal in Amsterdam...hubby leading the way, my suggestion to "try this street" and finding ourselves in the red light district of Amsterdam....then quickly trying to find our way out. It was an "eye opening" or rather an eye-closing experience.  Thank God for the ministries working in this area.  Your heart breaks for the girls/women who have been trafficked and have lost all respect for themselves. We know of several ministries working in this district and we greatly respect them for their diligence.  They are heroes to us!

And more....eating out and on the run...enjoyed "Viennese schnitzel" in a Mexican restaurant on the canal - odd combination :)  Discovered we had the "status" to sit in the business lounge at Amsterdam airport early on the morning of our flight home.....incredible breakfast, coffees, drinks, and watching the sun rise over the jet way.  And all free of charge!   I was glad hubby traveled so much at that moment in time :)

We've now been home a week, finally recovering from jet-lag.....it takes longer at our age :)  An old friend (we seem to have a lot of these :)  staying in our home for several days and just getting back to normal.  I am not sure what "normal" is anymore, but it is nice to be home. Lots of photos to share when I get to it....but here's a few.

Hay fields in rural Latvia

Our "home away from home"

Our international family of students 

Great new friends with a heart to grow and learn!

View from the conference center

North Sea...we didn't go for a walk as it began to rain as soon as this photo was taken :(

"Lagman" - homemade Uzbek noodles/vegetables - my husband
grew up on this as his family came through Central Asia on their
way out of Russia.

View from our friend's apartment....I could live here :)

Our "last view" before flying home

I have so many photos to share, but some go with stories...so more to come!  We found our way home...as did dear friends on this trip who found their own "way home" into the arms of a loving Father.  We felt so privileged to be able to share and pray with them; and hold the dream and desire to one day be reunited.  For those of you who "sent" us, rejoice with us in that many seeds were planted, watered, and nourished in the Kingdom of God.  Thanks again for your prayers and support of us.  Now...I may go take a nap before sitting down and doing some more writing :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Random ramblings...

Only a few days left of summer.

Autumn is around the corner.

This time of year the markets are full of the harvest - I made ratatouille the other day and no recipe is better with fresh eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini.

I just finished a beautiful walk in the warm sunshine where as I enjoyed the quietness, the still small voice of God my Father spoke something into my mind and heart.  I am doing some writing on the "seasons" and transitions we experience in our lives (physically and spiritually) and getting divine insight was something I needed.

I found another fun blog that will not only inspire me to write and eat but possibly go to Berlin (she just wrote a book which I will pass on to you but haven't read...looks great though!)

Go to her blog and you can see how and where to order this, plus her schedule for her book tour.

Author:  Luisa Weiss

You know me...or maybe you don't but...I love any book that deals with food, cooking and other countries.  This could be a fun read :)    And I need a book for my upcoming flight.

I leave in a week and a half to join my husband in Europe.  He is away and sharing in some mission schools where young people are training for the field and learning how to navigate their own relationship with God and sharing their faith with others.   My youngest daughter is in Germany and wish we could pop down to visit her (she's not in Berlin, but maybe...  :)   She's only been gone three weeks though, so perhaps I should wait until she is really homesick - or I really miss her, which happens to be the day after she left :)    I should wait.

Our home is alive and well...three adult children who seem to be always hungry.  Good thing I enjoy cooking :)

The other night I put out the leftovers....they were quickly devoured, so I was left to rummage through the fridge and see what I could throw together for just me...

I love rummaging...

I visited Trader Joe's today and found this

I have a love affair with pumpkin in the autumn...and so it begins.

I am done rambling; just had to write.  Heart 2 Heart, joy to joy, beauty to beauty as the leaves begin to change color and the air takes on that chill which accompanies a cup of tea in the evenings.  We are entering into one of my favorite seasons.  

More to come....adventures ahead and stories to challenge, bless and encourage our hearts together.  I will try and write again before leaving on a jet plane (music in the background) but if not....next time, reflections from Riga.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

1st Day...Last Year

I sent my youngest son (18 in nine days) off to school today...his last first day. As he sailed out the front door memories came rushing back.  Today all us moms of seniors are a bit teary-eyed and for those of us where this is our last...a lot teary-eyed.  Actually, I am smiling amongst the bittersweet memories.  The last year of school supplies, signing notes (do I do that after he turns 18??), obligatory meetings, being homework "cop", and "you should really be in bed by eleven so you can get up tomorrow morning".  Alas, in the midst of the "where did the years go?" there is the "whew, I am glad this is almost over" :)   Good years!

I homeschooled all my children for their first beginning years of elementary school.  Although the youngest son went to school earlier than his older siblings.  He entered first grade 11 years ago.  With excitement, mixed with a bit of nervousness, off he went to join in the adventure he had watched his older brother and sisters embark upon.  I'll never forget that day.  Along with the myriad of emotions, I received a phone call from my mom.  Dad was coming home after months in the hospital, now to begin hospice.  They didn't expect him to last many days.  Would I come home?  And so, with a heartache only a mother knows, I left my youngest in the care of my husband to maneuver his first week of school and headed home to help my mom.  Two days later my father passed into eternity.  It was a difficult week.  Nearing the end of the second week, the family joined me for the funeral, September 14th, my youngest son's 7th birthday.

Yes, this time of year, the beginning of Jamie's school year, always brings back the memories.  But they are good ones.  My father, a month before he passed on, gave his life over to God and became a believer.  His funeral was a celebration!  Jamie survived his first year of school, made many friends and decided he would rather play than do school.  Eleven years later, he still has many friends and still would rather snowboard, play basketball, wakeboard or just plain play, than "do school".  That's okay....he'll graduate with a fairly high grade point average and go on to be a professional snowboarder....Jim and I will retire in style :)  Or at the very least be given a house in the mountains.

Moms, dig out those photos!  These years go quickly!!  Hug those little ones...or rather big ones these days!  There's a new season ahead for them...and a new adventure just around the corner for us!  

And I will forever be grateful for Joseph Nicephore Niepce (1827, first photographic image) and many others in between all the way up to George Eastman (1889, invented film) who enable me to remember...

First day September 4, 2001

To the present...

September 5, 2012

You gotta love this guy!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Ch..ch...ch...changes.....remember the song? The lyrics of my life are different than David Bowie's but the changes surrounding me are real enough.

I woke this morning trying to figure out what time it was in Germany and where my daughter was at that moment...had she arrived, was she on a train, or wandering about wondering how to get where she needed to be?  I also wondered who still lived in my house and how many people were sleeping downstairs?  You have to be here to understand that one :)  

Boxes are gradually being unpacked and one daughter getting settled back in a bedroom with a real bed to sleep in.  Some have moved in, some have moved out.  I found a sock in the wash that I had no idea who it belonged to (this is a regular occurrence by the way but it seemed funnier this time...and it was only one sock and bright red!)  School begins next week and I think I still have one child at home in school.  At least he was here yesterday!

The visa arrived for my husband with all the right dates!!  Whew!  Glad that nightmare is over!  Flight booked, visas in order and one more week of packing, unpacking and figuring out who is where for the autumn months.

I love my life and love my family even more!  And I serve and love a God who is always there in the midst of the change...everything or one thing can change around us at a moment's notice and yet, He remains the same faithful and caring God as He has always been.

He is a Rock - a Fortress in the pounding waves and shifting sands of this life...

Tomorrow...what will look the same?

** our health
** our finances
** our employment
** our education
** our ministry
** our loved ones (family and friends)
** our homes
** our country
** our world
** our leaders

WHO do we put our ultimate TRUST in?  WHO bring us the PEACE we need when everything around us is noisy?  WHO speaks a whisper when we need one?  WHO brings sense to our lives when nothing is clear?  WHO do we turn to when we just need a few moments to be quiet and rest our unsettled soul?

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Psalm 42:5

My changes in this season of my life are "manageable"...but for some, the changes are radical, life never will look quite the same again...a new normal.  Today, if you feel unsettled, the wind is a bit too loud or the ground is shifting a little too much, remember HIM who is right beside you...a whisper away.  

"For Jesus doesn't change - yesterday, today, tomorrow, he's always totally himself."  Hebrews 13:8 (Message Version)

I know I have blogged something similar to this before, but doesn't it seem like changes are always with us?  We need a constant reminder that HE is constant!  I'll close with one of my absolutely favorite visuals...and I've posted this one before too...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Winding Down of Summer

I have a love/hate relationship with the end of summer.  

What I dislike about summer ending...(hate is such a strong word for this):

** end of BBQ and grilling (meat and salads are such a great combo!)

** waking up to warm sunny mornings

** sitting outside at night and watching the stars

** boating

** summer clothing goes in storage

** end of a bountiful fruit season

** leaves...falling....all over the yard

** putting socks on

** my house empties with students back in school

** my routine goes out the window and flexibility & relaxation reign supreme

What I like about summer ending and autumn approaching...

** soups and breads

** anything with pumpkin in it

** cinnamon/spice/vanilla/pumpkin smelling candles

** pumpkin spice lattes

** crisp mornings, cool afternoons

** leaves turning and the glorious color!

** snuggling in a blanket in front of the fire

** tea

** holidays approaching

** warm sweater weather...comfort clothing

** putting warm, fuzzy socks on

** my house empties with students back in school :)

** routine

See what I mean...

I know technically we have another month or so of summer...but here in the Pacific NW, the weather really does take a turn the last week of August, first week of September.  You feel the chill in the air and know those hot lazy days are coming to a close.  September is gorgeous here - it can be warm and pleasant and is always a nice transition to the colder months of winter.  When the rains hold off, it is a special time.

What do you like (or dislike) about summer ending....is it a new season for you?  I like to reflect on God's goodness over the summer months and what He has in store for the last months of the year winding down.  If you did a list and reminisced - what would your list look like?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Family Circus

I didn't buy a zoo....I inherited a circus...

I promised my mother I would marry someone whose name she could pronounce AND who would speak English....it was always a concern for her :)

Interestingly, when I married my Russian/Ukrainian/Australian love of my life, he could speak English...but his name translated is a form of the word "wild"...hmm...four children later and we are a wild family :)

When we lived in Russia in the early 90's, we stayed for months in a hotel that housed the "Moscow Circus" when they were in town.  The wild family staying in the circus hotel...it fits.

Over the years, not much has changed....I still do a balancing act.

In the weeks to come....

**two adult daughters moving home 
**one friend staying in our downstairs bedroom moving out
**one adult daughter leaving for Germany for 6 months
**one husband leaving for a month-long missions trip (obtaining visa is a matter of prayer in these days leading up to departure...please pray!)
**one wife/mother/events & schedule coordinator hoping to join husband in last week and half of trip
**one son beginning senior year of high school
**culminating in literally 5 adults living in same house.....

My heart is doing a balancing act....I will miss my daughter tooooo much.  

I do not like shopping (I know...weird for a woman :), and keeping food in this home is a full-time job.

I do not like cleaning house....enough said.

I rather got used to having my personal space and quiet times....

My heart tends to worry a bit when income is low and needs are high.

And as I walk this tightrope of faith amidst the changes of life, family needs and schedules, I remember well...

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths (and your balancing act secure-my words :) straight."  Prov. 3:5,6


However, if you see me surrounded by lions, dancing bears, elephants and a clown or two....

Hmm....I may have an idea for a photo Christmas card...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Blueberries, Lemons and Summer

Today will be our hottest day this year...and my good friend and garage sale partner-in-crime and I picked blueberries before the 100 degree weather hit.  Grey skies and cool temperatures accompanied us as we picked 11# of the delectable, juicy fruit.  We could have picked another bucket, but decided to call it a day before the sun showed it's glowing face and we melted. 

Our preserving method of choice was to freeze them, but I reserved some for baking and yes, I am silly enough to turn my oven on today - at least for 45 minutes - to bake this incredible dessert bar.  I saw this posted about a month ago on my friend, Bethany's facebook page and have been wanting to try it.  Let's face it...how can you go wrong with lemons and blueberries?  You can't.  

This recipe comes from http://www.the-baker-chick.com - I think I found another favorite dessert blogger.  Like I "need" another one, but I am a sucker for great food photography and an even bigger sucker for desserts, especially when the fruit is in season.

Blueberry Lemon Crumb Bars

photo: the Baker Chick

In all fairness, mine are baking as we speak (or write) so I can only anticipate they will be delicious.  But I heard Bethany tried them and they were a hit at her house....so, I am confident in their success at ours :)   Thanks Bethany!

I'm not a food blogger, but there are days I can't help but share when the season holds so much variety and baking is a must!

So from my heart to yours....and enjoying the bounty of God's abundant provision of fruit during these summer days, stay cool - I plan to once I turn my oven off.  Oh, there goes my timer.....

Friday, August 10, 2012

Estate Sale Memories

Today I went to an estate sale with a good friend.  I did the Estate Sale 101 talk as we walked room to room.  Yes, this is more expensive...this sale is the result of someone passing away; their relatives hiring someone to organize, price and sell the accumulations from their loved ones' life.  A percentage goes to the estate people and the rest to the deceased's family.  It is a business.  But a business that helps a grieving family when the process of going through all the "stuff" is just to much to handle.  

Yes, that is ALOT to pay for that embroidered picture of a bird on the wall.  I'm curious what they do with the stuff they don't sell?  Anyone need a framed cross-stitched bird for their wall?

We ended up hitting the garage sales on the way home.  A fifty-cent colander and 25-cent potato masher later, we were happy.  And then we found the $2 cookbook, a $2 suitcase set and a $3 coat tree!  We are more garage-sale people I discovered, and we planned to hit a few more tomorrow.  She is moving soon and setting up "house".

I couldn't help but wonder as I walked through the estate sale..."this was someone's life...all this 'stuff' is from years and years of living."  And there were years and years, let me tell you.  What kind of life did they live?  Obviously, she enjoyed cooking and baking by all the kitchen ware for sale. She must have loved to entertain with all the crystal glasses and serving dishes gracing the shelves. He or she loved birds and dogs. And did they celebrate Christmas!!  

A person's life...possibly two persons' lives....laid out in the rooms of this house that was once a home.  How many holidays were celebrated around that table?  Were there shouts of joy when the children and subsequent grandchildren opened their presents surrounded by the lights and stuffed Santas?  

Somehow leaving a sale like that one always leaves me a bit contemplative. I hope IF there is an estate sale following my life, people are blessed by what they find.  (Actually I hope I give it all away before that time, I'd rather see it meet someone's need or want, rather than a sale...but I won't be around to consult, so that point is moot.)  Years ago, my mom and dad began to give away some of their belongings to the children who would appreciate them...a punch bowl here, a set of glasses there....it meant something to have it gifted rather than left to sell.  I guess my thought process here is....a person's life is more than what is "left behind" in terms of material possessions.  As I left that house, I hoped their lives had been full with family, friends, and adventure.  I hoped it had meaning and purpose.  And the "stuff" left behind goes on to bless others and not just end up in a junk pile somewhere.

I picked up a rolling pin at a garage sale one time and the lady told me "Many many apple pies were made for my family with that rolling pin."  I loved it!  And I bought the rolling pin!  Whenever I use it, I think of the many people blessed by her apple pies and now I do the same (hopefully.... my son likes his grandma's apple pie the best :) so with this pin, it is pecan).  

Our lives are more than stuff...they are memories and passing those onto those we love, and sometimes to strangers.  I have an ongoing appreciation for estate sales, but a love affair with garage sales...it is cheaper :)