“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

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 :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wrecked for a Purpose

We are here for a purpose....

There is more to our life's story than what we are currently living....

We want our tombstone to say more than "he loved his car"....

We want to make a difference....for eternity....

Has there been a Divine Moment that changed your entire life's course...

Do you want to be ruined or wrecked for the ordinary?

I just began reading this book

I am a quarter of the way through it

And I strongly recommend it

I've felt like that turtle

I can usually tell if I am going to love a book or not...if I am highlighting sentences only 2 pages in, I think it is a keeper.  So far, I am bookmarking and highlighting to my heart's content.  Jeff is the same author who did the 

which I loved and learned lots!  His new book "Wrecked" has just been released and is available on Amazon.  Until August 11th, the ebook version is available for $0.99.  Just in case you didn't know, you don't need a Kindle to read a Kindle book. You can download a free Kindle app for your computer, phone, iPad, whatever.  And I repeat...it is only $0.99

I have been told by some of my family that just because I love a book doesn't mean others will.  We all have our own tastes and preferences.  But...I think this book will tug at your heartstrings  Perhaps even awaken a dream, or ask you to give one up for something far greater.  At any rate, why not give it a read and see what being wrecked means for your life.  And...it is only $0.99 :)