Saturday, October 31, 2009

on a stack of bibles...

...oh, and a cobweb. Yeah...I need to dust more and blog less.
Or...maybe not!
Today is Halloween...and we're not even really into it this year. No pumpkins. No costumes. No nothing. The kids didn't want to dress up. So at the last minute we decided to go to the youth party at church tonight. Kinda weird...but fine. The boys are getting Trick or Treating is done and gone, I think. And that's fine, too. It was fun while it lasted...
I work from 2-6 today. Smack in the middle of the day. And then just enough time to come hom, change clothes, grab a bite to eat and GO. We're picking up my nephew on the way...he lives around the corner from our church.
This morning we got up and decided to go on a litle walk/hike to a local park, Pena Adobe. It's beautiful, really. There are trails all over...and a paved path...a dog park...a pond...a Japanes garden...all right in our own backyard. And we hardly ever go! But the other day Chris and I were talking about trying to get into some kind of shape. And we agreed that walking and hiking in Pena Adobe with an occasional day hike to a local destination would be something we could both enjoy and do together. Neither of us like the gym. He likes to bike. But it's not my favorite. I walk...and would like to run someday. But he doesn't want to do that. So...hiking it is! We are going to try and go early in the morning. And then on the weekends take the boys. Or, if they want to get up real early, they can go during the week, too. We also took Big Dummy, Reggie, our dog. He was in heaven.

Then. On the way home. We stopped and got donuts. Hey! It's a start!

And a to-do list for tomorrow:

  • plant winter greens: kale and chard
  • plant onions and garlic
  • make strawberry jam before the strawberry patch closes for the season
  • buy pumpkins, as a matter of fact!

Gotta go!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The sun is bright and the air is cool. And I am happy. I love this weather the most.

The chickens are doing great. The egg laying is slowing ever so slightly...maybe down to one or two a day. But that's to be expected.

A farmer named Charlie came to the door today a little before dinner time offering a CSA delivery. I signed up for the sample box at a discount. They'll deliver it on Wednesday and then bill us. If we like it we can continue on. If we don't, we just call and say "no thank you". I guess the next box will contain leeks, peppers and chard, broccoli and spinach, apples and kiwi. Sounds good. We'll try it out. Do you know that I have never used a leek? Ever? I think it'll be a good excuse to make potato leek soup. Anyone have a fabulous recipe? Maybe I'll try my hand at homemade yeast rolls while I'm at it. We'll see about that one! No promises.

I went ahead and decided to try the CSA since I hadn't planted anything...still. I mentioned this to Charlie the farmer and he said that it's still not too late...especially in our area. So I'm thinking that I'll still plant some kale. I'm so hyper-focused on kale. And do you know that I've never even eaten it? Yet I'm craving it. And I finally figured out why. My iron levels have been low lately...I figured this out after paying attention to several food cravings over the past week or two...spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, chocolate, oatmeal...oh man was I craving oatmeal. And I pulled down my canister of oats only to realize they were "best by" November 2008. 2-0-0-8, people! Has it really been that long since I cooked them? No wonder I'm craving iron.

Anyway...I'm really tired tonight. And sort of rambling on and on...I think I'll get some sleep and come back tomorrow when I can make some sense!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Psalm 63:1-3
1 O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
For the last few weeks God has really been talking to me about trust. It's been good. And we're not done by any means. But I noticed last week that He added something to the mix: seek. As I read through the scriptures the word seek continued to leap off the page at me. So not only am I learning to trust God more and more...I'm doing this by seeking Him. By taking time each morning to get quiet and to God about the day, and listen, too. I seek Him when I read His Word...when I read the scriptures and let them penetrate my heart and my mind. I seek the Lord when I put Him first.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mini pocket journals for sale!

I've been busy at work creating these little journals for the craft boutique I'm taking part in come December. Just because, I'm also offering some for sale HERE on my blog...grab bag style. Trust me?
Go directly to Paypal and enter moonshinelane at aol dot com...then in the notes section specify which color tones you'd prefer: reds/pinks, blues/greens, or browns/sepia. Or of each! They're small!
Each journal is $5.50...shipping is FREE. Each journal measures 4.5 x 3.25 inches and has 80 pages of lined composition paper. The covers are embellished inside and out with new and old papers. Each journal contains at least one mini pocket...sometimes two! What better way to keep hold of ticket stubs, business cards, dried leaves, a wood violet waiting to be dried and name it. As long as it's little!
These are perfect to carry in your purse to jot down memorable quotes...or sketch a quick creative idea...or to document the days events. They're also wonderful as gifts...think stocking stuffer or gift topper! Or even just as a simple "thank you" or hostess gift.

I will admit, I have a bit of a journal I would love it for any reason.
Off to get more glue on my fingers!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One of these things does not belong here.

The other day, one of our chickens decided to lay a white egg. Not totally white, as you can see. More of a cream. With pale, pale brown speckles.
I wonder why that happened? Is it a deficiency of some sort? Or just the way it goes sometimes?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

NOW what are you doing?

What a mess!! This is my dining room table. Aka...craft room, sewing room, drawing name it. Today, it's the craft room.

Another little something I'm working on for the craft boutique: little pocket journals.

I am having so much fun choosing color combos and making little paper pockets for inside the covers. I love a journal with pockets...for movie stubs, found bits of paper, business cards...whatever you want to tuck away.

So today I got up very early and sent Seth on his merry way to a baseball tournament. He's staying in a hotel with his friend, Jon and Jon's mom. They left at 5:45 this morning. After they left I went in to lie down "for a minute" to "rest my eyes" and "rested" my eyes until 8am! Then I had to get up and get a move on because I was meeting my friend at a craft fair at 9am.

I was right on time. Whew! The craft faire was at a local church. And sadly, it was a huge disappointment. The setting was sterile. The set-up was boring. There was no cider...not to mention, the people hosting it were somewhat rude. Not what I expect from a know? It was full of tacky jewelry, poorly done quilts, crocheted caps and scarves in horrible color combos...I'm telling you, this was not good. On the one hand we were sorely disappointed. On the other hand? We were greatly encouraged about our OWN craft boutique. I think that ours is going to be pretty cute. And set up nicely. Presentation makes a huge difference.

We're holding our boutique in my friend Janetta's home. We'll use the living room, dining room, kitchen and family room. There are nine of us involved. So far we've gota pretty good variety of items to offer...I'll be making decorative pillows, the journals and some food items. I've decided to make some flavored vinegars in pretty bottles and chocolate truffles....possibly some toffee.

So that's that for today. Kinda slow. Kinda quiet. Kinda nice!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Look what my cousin did!

This is Evan Robert...a sweet 7 and a half pound baby boy. Is he not one of the cutest babies you've ever seen in your life? He was born on October 15...not even a week old in this picture.
Oh my goodness...sweet, sweet, sweet. Look at that little mouth! Can you stand it? I hardly could. I got to meet him yesterday...and hold him...for a LONG time. And I got to smell his neck and kiss his little head full of dark hair. I know you're jealous....I would be!
See this little cutie pie? This is Evan's big sister, Miss Averie.
She's almost 2...and ALL that goes with that. Energetic, talkative, smart and busy with a capital B. It's a wonder I got a picture of her without an action blur! She is a good girl...and look at those beautiful blue eyes. And curly hair! I love it. We did puzzles and took pictures and played peek-a-boo...she even gave me a kiss good night before her nap. Cute, cute.
And you know what else? She loves her "baby bwuddah"...
She would grab the Boppy and climb up on the couch...huffing and puffing as it is VERY hard work climbing on the couch with a Boppy when you're just 2, you know...and she'd get all settled and then tell my cousin, "I weady, I weady." That meant she was ready to hold the baby. So sweet. Don't you just love it when toddlers hold their little siblings...and then when they're done, they're done. Or like Averie who wanted to honk baby bwuddah's nose! I think they'll be using the word gentle around their house for a while!
It was a nice day. I got to my cousin's around 9:30 in the morning and didn't leave until after 1pm! And that's only because I had to get Ian from school! If I could have I'd have stayed all day! We had a nice time...talking, taking pictures, sipping coffee, eating a yummy lunch, playing with was a great way to spend the day.
Thanks Megan for having me over! I can't wait to do it again...SOON!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

wildflower in Yosemite. The flower itself is not my favorite part of the photo. I really like the Bokeh the best.
Psalm 9:10
Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Trust continues to be at the forefront of my heart and mind. I have a feeling this is going to a bit of a lengthy journey. And I'm OK with that.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Last week I worked on a special order of Witch Mimi Dolls for my aunt and her coworker. I made some extra so they'd have plenty to choose from. I have 6 little witchy poo's left....looking for a place to call home.
Now it's time to begin work on angel ornaments...and a few other goodies I've been working on. So I need to clear out the black and orange and restock with whites and creams and sweet little halos. A far cry from these mischievous little gals!
These will be sold "grab bag" style...once you place your order I'll just pop a witch in an envelope and send her to you. Do you trust me? If you would like to purchase a little witch doll you can go to my Paypal directly, $5, shipping is on me since it's so close to Halloween.
Thank you for your support and all of your encouragement on my creative endeavors...I appreciate all of you and am so glad that we have crossed paths. God is good like that, isn't He?

Monday, October 19, 2009


On Friday night I felt like I needed something sweet to eat. Did you get that? Needed? Well, I did. And...I also wanted something sweet. Which in all honesty is probably more accurate.
Either way you look at it...want...need...I decided to make a Peach Crisp. Why Peach Crisp you ask? Because I had peaches. And I'm too lazy to make anything with a crust unless I've got one pre-made somewhere. And I didn't. So...crisp it is!
A crisp is the perfect dessert for people like me who aren't real into baking. A crisp is good because, really, there's no need for precision. I'm not into baking because I'm not into precision. I don't care to measure. I just like to toss stuff in a bowl and see how it comes out. With cooking, this works for me more often than not. With baking? Not so much. But...a crisp is very forgiving.
I used frozen peaches from last summer. I had purchased several boxes of delicious local peaches to can and to freeze. We ate all of the canned peaches. But I had some frozen ones left. So I defrosted them in a bowl of water while I prepared the topping. Easy, peasy....flour, oats, butter, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. Seriously. How can you go wrong with that combination? I tossed the peaches in my trusty old 8x8 pan, squeezed in a bit of lemon juice, sprinkled in a bit of sugar and stirred. Then I sprinkled on the topping and baked it for 40 minutes.

While it was cooling Chris and I went to pick the boys up from the school's Harvest Festival. On the way home we stopped at the store to get some vanilla ice cream. Because if you're going to go to the trouble of making Peach Crisp, you really need to go the extra mile and get some vanilla ice cream to go with it. Right? And if you're going to get vanilla ice cream you may as well get DOUBLE vanilla ice cream. You know...why stop at just vanilla when you can go double? Sounds like, "If you give Michelle some peach crisp she's going to ask for some vanilla ice cream to go with it. And if you give her some vanilla ice cream to go with her peach crisp she'll ask for a glass of milk to wash it all down."
Everyone was in agreement....Peach Crisp is good. I'm thinking next time I make it...a little more brown sugar in the topping. I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October garden and the trouble with chickens.

Welp, it's official, summer's over.
We had a huge storm last week...rain, rain, rain. And it was ugly as far as the chickens were concerned. U-G-L-Y. The rain flowed right into their "run" making it a muddy mess. Chris put a pallet in there...something for them to stand on other than mud...and we realized today that mold grew under it. Then...Chris was cleaning out the coop and found many, many maggots in the muddy, chicken poop-y mess. It was almost more than I could handle. This wasn't what I signed up for.
I ended up making a run to the feed store..."two bags of pine shavings, please". Chris piled it in their coop and on the floor of their run. Ahhh...much better. After some discussion we decided that next year, we're going to move their coop to the space on the other side of the shed. Right now it's a place to practice pitching baseballs. But as soon as baseball season is's a chicken run. And we'll just fence it off with metal stakes and chicken wire...just like the garden...and then they'll have plenty of space to peck and scratch without having full run of the yard. I'm guessing around 150 sq. ft. or so. They are just too destructive and too messy. It's best to keep them contained. We learned the hard way.
Until then, we've decided that when we let them out to range, we'll guide them directly to the that it's empty. It'll be perfect. They can scratch to their hearts content and poop all they want. It will only be good for the garden next spring. Win-win.
Speaking of the garden...I took this picture this afternoon.

On the left...dead beans. I have to yank yesterday. In the middle there...the bright green...those are peppers that are still producing. We think we'll get one more batch of salsa out of them! Off to the right, at the top, are the tomato plants that Chris yanked today. They'll be compost next spring.
It's kind of sad, isn't it? The garden in autumn? Empty. Dead. So much life coming to an end... But...on the bright side...there's hope for what's to come. Another spring. Another beginning. Another garden. Who'da thought I'd actually be looking forward to summer? Is it time for catalogs yet?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

As usual...

...I'm off to a late start.
If I don't have a time-frame to follow...I don't follow any time at all! I have been reading blogs...feeding chickens...taking kids to school...watching christian morning shows...oh, and I did get my shower in, thank goodness...and a load of laundry started, that's a start...but other than that...this girl is moving in slow-motion.
I think it might have something to do with my fibromyalgia flare-up. I am in full-blown flare...and it hurts. I think it started with not getting enough sleep at retreat. 8 hours in two days is not even close to enough. I'm more like 8 hours, at least, a night. I need my sleep. I like my sleep. A lot.
So...I just have to allow myself to move slow. To take it easy. To take my time and not stress on myself. Because when I'm in pain like this my whole body behaves differently. My arms don't work as legs are shoulders and neck are just so tight and hurt the most. This often leads to a headache...many times, a migraine. If it gets bad enough, the pain then radiates down my arms...into my hands...and then feels a bit numb. SO weird. And annoying.
A fibro flare also makes my mind foggy. Someone called it "fibro fog"...which is fitting. It's like I can't think straight...and things take a moment to register. I think things are more overwhelming when I'm in a fibro fog, too. It's just difficult to organize thoughts.
Anyway...all that to say, I'm late. For what? Nothing in particular...just late at getting a start to my day. I'm headed to the shop today to do some paperwork and take lunch to my hubby. I'll stay there until it's almost time to get Ian from school, leaving myself enough time to stop and pick up some more milk. Then...home again. I have big plans tonight...I'm making pinto beans for my Papa. He requested that I make him some....for some reason he's determined that he likes my recipe...which is Noni's recipe...which is the same recipe all of us girls follow. But the last time he had them, I did cook them. But Noni was still alive, sitting in her chair with the lift, coaching me from across the room how to make them the right way. I hope I remember exactly how she said to do it! I suppose Papa will let me know!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday in the Word

Psalm 4:5
Offer right sacrifices
and trust in the LORD.
It has been brought to my attention, during my prayer time, that I don't trust God. A couple of weeks ago, during worship and prayer time at a conference I attended, I heard God whisper quietly yet very matter of factly "You don't trust Me."
Because of this, and because I want to trust God with all my heart, soul and mind, I am going to focus on trust in my my quiet my prayers. I am going to attempt to memorize scripture about trust. I am going to focus solely on trust until it is engraved in my my my mind.
When I first heard that gentle whisper, "You don't trust Me." I immediately began to cry. It hurt. It ripped my heart in two. And I argued for a minute. "Yes I do! I've always trusted You!" But...I knew. I knew the reason it hurt so much was because, was true. I didn't trust Him. Not with everything. I trusted Him with the easy stuff...the "givens"...but not the big things. Not the true things. Not with everything. And even those things I did trust Him with? I trusted Him conditionally. It was a conditional trust...always having my guard up in case the outcome wasn't what I wanted or thought was best.
So...I'm on a new journey. The journey to learn to trust with my whole heart. To trust God with everything. It's a little scary...a LOT scary. But He is worthy...He is trustworthy...He is always good, always right, always on time and always looking out for my best interest. Today, my "right sacrifice" is my heart. A "right sacrifice" is something valuable...your best. God doesn't want our petty little leftovers. He wants the first fruits...the best. That's why He asks us for the first 10% in our tithes. He says, "TRUST me in this." I heard someone say, "I'd rather have God's 90% rather than my 100% anytime." And it's so true. God is amazing...He is a miracle worker. And He provides.
Sadly, the heart I am offering Him is not my best. But with His help, it will be a little bit closer each day as I practice trusting in Him.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What day is it?

Wow. Is it really Tuesday evening? Where did Monday go? I was so exhausted from retreat on Sunday that I went to bed at 8pm and didn't get up until a little after 7am! I slept 11 hours on Sunday night. And I was still groggy!

Two of one-hundred eggs the girls blessed us with in September. One HUNDRED eggs! How cool is that?

Monday consisted of meeting a friend for coffee...working from noon to 5...making corn dogs for dinner (Yes, you read that right. And yes, they were frozen. True confessions.) and taking care of a sick boy. I got everyone to bed, got the coffee set up for the morning and watched Intervention before turning in for the day.
When I woke up this morning I could hear wind and rain outside. LOTS of wind and rain. I decided it would be a good day to stay home, do laundry and work on a special order for 8 Mimi Dolls...witches. I wanted to have a dozen for them to choose far I've got 8 done. Between tending chickens in the rain (which is not fun, by the way), getting chili going in the Crock Pot, laundry, reading blogs, unpacking suitcases from the weekend, I didn't get as much done as I wanted to.
BUT, the good news? It was raining. And it was wonderful. Until I had to go out in it. Oh my goodness...was it ever a mess. It rained ALL DAY LONG. And it rained hard. Streets were flooded...tree branches littered the roads...playgrounds were flooded...both boys were drenched when I picked them up.
So on and on it, that is. Dinner and kids and laundry and phone calls and prayer requests and dishes and animals and homework...and then all of a sudden the day is drawing to a close. Another day...done. And gone. And another coming at me all too soon. Wednesday...see you tomorrow.

Friday, October 9, 2009

On the road again...

Bikes at Yosemite in the early morning.
Hey, wait a minute! Didn't I just get home from a getaway?! Well, lucky me, I get to go somewhere again. In less than two hours I'll be on the road with four of my crazy friends heading to the mountains near Santa Cruz. (And no, we're not riding bikes.) I am really looking forward to it. I'm packed. My gift is ready. I've got snacks galore. The house is tidied. The boys have plenty of clean clothes for the weekend. I'm about to start my period. Um, did I just say that out loud? Sorry...that's not a good thing. I mean, it IS a good thing when you don't want more children. Or at least not to birth anymore. ItalicNever say never, if we were led to foster a kid...or even adopt...we'd say yes. I'm just not feeling the whole gestating and lactating thing. Been there, done that. Twice. But a menstrual cycle is NOT so good when you're getting ready to be away from home for a weekend. So not cool. Although, if I think about it, it could have been worse. I could have been "doing my thing" while hiking in Yosemite.
Wouldn't that attract bears? Oh wait, that's sharks. about digressing. Am I even allowed to say "menstruation" on my blog? I'm thinking that it is my blog. So...I suppose if I want to say "menstruation", I should be able to say "menstruation" if I want. Right? I mean, it's real. Oh yes, menstruation is very real. And so are the cramps and the bloating that lovingly joins in the fun of menstruating.
Wow. I continue to digress. You'll have to excuse me...I tend to take things a bit far sometimes. Ask my brother. We can go on and on and on about something so silly for way too long and still think it's the funniest thing we've ever heard. In the meantime, those around us just think we're strange. And annoying. Ask my dad.
Anyway...what were we talking about? Oh! Yes. Retreat. I am ready to go. And I won't be back until Sunday evening. I'm sure I'll pop in to see what you've all been up to...and to say hi. But not before I smother my family in hugs and kisses. That's the only bad thing about retreat...I sure will miss them.
Stay safe and warm while I'm gone...xoxoxoxoxo

Thursday, October 8, 2009

That time of year...

Each year my church holds a women's retreat. For 3 years I was a member of the team. And the next four years, I was the coordinator, working closely with our women's pastor, as well as a team of women, to put it all together.
And this year I had every intention of coordinating it again. But a few months ago during my prayer time one morning God told me it was time to step down from that position. It was really hard to do as the retreat is very dear to my heart. I've been going to this church for 8 years...I've gone to 7 retreats...and I've coordinated the last 4. Needless to say stepping down was going to be hard. It took me two weeks to be obedient. But I finally did it. I stepped down.
After a few weeks of being really sad about it I finally got a grip and realized that God was moving me on for a reason and that I just needed to trust Him. I don't know what that reason is, yet. But I'm trusting Him. And I know He'll show me what to do next when He's good and ready.
In the meantime, I am going to attend the retreat as a guest. I have not planned one detail of this year's retreat. I have not attended one meeting, one prayer group, nothing. I haven't had any say in any aspect of anything in regard to this year's retreat. And I cannot wait to GO! How nice it will be to just take my time arriving (I'm riding with four of my crazy friends...we're making a day of it!), to go to my room when I want and leave the conference room when I want, to not have to answer to anyone all weekend long (except God, of course). I don't have to worry about a thing. I just need to be with God...and accept all that He has in store for me for this weekend.
Don't get me wrong...coordinating the retreat has been one of the biggest blessings I've ever experienced. God is so good and He shows up, let me tell you. It's an honor and a privilege to be a part of it. But sometimes you just need to be there. You know? Sometimes you just need to show up and let God do the rest. Sometimes you just need to be taken care of and cooked for all weekend long.
So you're probably wondering why I'm showing pictures of a necklace and a book and a pretty package. Well, each year, a big part of the retreat is the secret gift exchange. We're supposed to bring a gift that we've prayed about...that goes along with whatever the theme is (this year's is "Chosen"). This year I had no idea what I was going to give. In years past I've known exactly what I was supposed to give. But not this year...not until I wandered around Joanne Fabric for a bit, anyway.

And then suddenly it hits me...I am going to make this person, whoever she is, a necklace. Uh...huh? Um...but I don't make jewelry. Well, I do now! I purchased items that I thought were beads and lockets and black ribbon...then I went to work filling the lockets with sweet words clipped from a very old book. Along with the necklace I decided to also give this sweet sister in Christ a that has been making itself bold in my line of sight for weeks. So, I bought it. And not only is it an amazing was also on sale! (You know me...always frugal!)
I finally finished the necklace tonight. And I wrapped it in a plain brown box with a pretty piece of paper. Then I wrapped the devotional in kraft paper and bound them all together with pretty ribbon. I hope she likes it...whoever she is.

So long Summer.

The season is coming to a close. Summer is officially gone. And let me tell you, I am usually very happy about that because I don't like summer. But things have changed a bit over the last few years. Finally there's a reason to look forward to summer...planting a garden.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
This is our last harvest of peppers from our garden for the season. We plucked them Tuesday night. Blockquote
And then we made fresh salsa using the tomatoes I bought at the vegetable stand on Saturday. Tasty Romas. Close to the last of their season, no doubt.
The garden is pretty much dried up. The beans are scraggly. The tomatoes are gargantuan green plants without a tomato in sight. (That need to be pulled...yesterday.) The peppers are quietly and happily growing away and still producing little flowers and little peppers. (This may not be the last, actually...) The gourd has been long gone...the aubergine plants, too. (Why do I always feel the need to italicize aubergine? I guess I imagine I'm saying it fancy and with a bit of an droning accent...with a pinkie in the air...) (Does overuse of parentheses prove my self-diagnosis of ADD?)
The herbs in pots have been ravaged by my sweet, delicate, petite chickens. Ahem. The pecan tree is beginning to drop it's well as my neighbors maple tree. Leaves, leaves everywhere. The only thing living are the succulents. And the rosemary...thank goodness for drought tolerance.
I'd mentioned before that I was wanting to plant a fall garden. At least a few things...just to try it out. But, as life would have it, I didn't end up planting a dang thing. I could make a million excuses why...or I could just be honest and say, "I didn't make the time to do it." And I could have. But I think I was done for the season. I think that my idea of "one new thing per year" was a good one. And this year it was the chickens. That was enough. Maybe next year I'll attempt some fall gardening. I'll do research over the winter and that way when it comes time to do it, I'll feel like I have some knowledge under my belt and will feel more confident in giving it a shot. (It seems that the more I read about something, the more I feel like I've actually done it. So researching over the winter has proven very helpful for me.)
Or, I'll be a full-time student working towards my Bachelor's Degree and will barely get a summer garden planted...! We'll have to see what life has in store come summer of 2010. A lot can happen in a year.
Either way, this summer is gone and winter is fast approaching. The air is cool and crisp...the leaves are falling...I can smell rain in the air every now and again...and I feel energized and rejuvenated. But I can't help feeling a little sad, too. It used to be that when summer was over I was happy and that was that. But when you garden there is always something sad about the season coming to an end. Endings can be sad. This is the end of a living, thriving garden. The end of a season. The end of another year, soon enough. (Where did September go, anyway?!) And with each year passing my boys grow bigger and bigger...and it's the end of life with little guys. Now it's life with teens and tweens...who'd have thought?! Endings. All good things must come to an end, they say. And this is we can start all over again with fresh NEW beginnings. There's no time to be's time to start planning that summer garden!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Isaiah 40:11

He tends his flock like a shepherd:

He gathers the lambs in his arms

and carries them close to his heart;

he gently leads those that have young.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Last night was Youth Group at our church. My kids hadn't been wanting to do a whole lot of anything church related for quite some time and I was beginning to worry. But instead of freaking out, I just prayed and prayed and "let go and let God", as they say.

Eventually, the boys began to take an interest again. And Youth Group on Tuesday nights became something for them to look forward to...thank you, God. Because the kids are off school this week (weird random week of board stuff...whatever) the Youth Group decided to do a fun game night from 7-11pm. I ended staying to help. It was wild. Those kids are crazy. And were definitely having FUN.

About halfway through we went into another room and had some worship time. Worship is a churchy way of saying music...singing praise to God. It's the kids' worship band and they do a really good job. The music was powerful. And the youth leader spoke a message about Jesus. And it was powerful. Then there was an altar call. And at least half a dozen kids went forward to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

I had the amazing opportunity to pray with a young lady and lead her to Christ. She was 17 and as we prayed she broke down in my arms. She was crying so hard she couldn't get her breath and asked if she could go outside for some fresh air. I said sure...but that I wanted to go with her. As we stepped out the back door I told her I just wanted to make sure she was OK. She replied, "Thank you. I'm used to doing everything on my own."

This one little statement spoke volumes. I immediately told her, "Now that you have Jesus in your heart you will never be alone again."

So many times we feel like we are alone. Like nobody understands. Or if people really knew who we were or what we've done or where we've been they would never want to be close with us. But the good news is...with Jesus, we really are never alone again. Never. Really. Sometimes it may feel that way, but I've learned that when I'm feeling alone or like God has left me out in the cold, it's because I am the one that has turned the other way. It's me that's distant. Me that's wandered off. Not Him. His Word says, "Never will I leave, nor forsake you." And when God says NEVER, He MEANS it. His Word is always true. His ways are always good. He is for us, not against us.

At the end of the night this sweet young lady came and asked if she could get my phone number. Of course. No question. We exchanged cell numbers and went on our ways...her going back to her world, and me back to mine. I am so happy that God gave me the opportunity to meet her. Because now, whether she knows it or not, she's got someone praying for her on a regular

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Yosemite: Day Two

If you recall, we were all in bed and snoring by 8:30pm. And we didn't get UP until 8:30am. And it was nice. No rush. No worries. No time frame. and the Yosemite Valley. We got up slowly. The boys stayed in their sleeping bags playing their video games...yes, we let them bring them along. It's a long drive. They stayed in bed a while playing video games and Chris and I walked down to the coffee shop for a coffee. We came back and ate danishes and fruit and enjoyed our coffee out on our little porch while watching the very brave ground squirrels forage for their breakfast. The air was crisp and the sky was clear. It was going to be a good day.

Eventually, we headed out. Chris and the boys had packed up the backpack with everything we needed to survive for a week. Not really...but it seemed like it! Rope and knives and a water purifier. Several frozen bottles of water and a snack lunch of cheeses wrapped in wax, a summer sausage, trail mix, apples, some grapes. We were set. We hopped on the shuttle and headed to our destination: Vernal Falls.

This is just the beginning of the trail. There is no bad place in Yosemite. No matter where you go you will find something beautiful and amazing. Everywhere you turn there is beauty. Little bits of beauty in leaves or dried seed pods or little lizards warming themselves in the sun. Or huge, majestic, jaw-dropping beauty in the cliffs of the surrounding granite mountains.
We began our ascent. This was considered a "moderate" hike. So it got your heart pumping. A few areas were steeper than others so we'd stop now and then to catch our breath. Well, I would stop now and then to catch my breath and the boys would humor me and then go climb whatever rock was handy.
The boys decided to climb up this little outcropping of rocks and as I'm watching them I'm thinking, "I think I could do that." So I said to Chris, "I think I could climb that." He looked very surprised but then said, "I'm sure you could!" So...I did.

See me at the top there throwing peace signs? I did it! I was so proud of myself. I won't, however, show you the pictures Chris took of me actually climbing because I am SURE my butt is NOT as big as those pictures make it look. I'm sure of it. Ahem.
No sooner am I basking in my own glory and feeling all brave and accomplished do I notice something scurrying up above me to my left. You have to look close to see him, it was Ian scaling a slab of granite. (You can actually see him in the above photo, just his little head poking up there...sneaky.)
Can you see him there underneath that tree in the middle of the photo? It's kind of dark, I know. But I wanted to share this photo because it makes me laugh. You have to see the look on MY face. See me there in the bottom left corner of the photo? I went from proud and elated and holding up peace signs to terrified and straight-faced in like half a second. And I think I said a bad word...or seven. So much for peace.
Somehow, despite this harrowing climb (humor me), we made it to our destination: the halfway point to Vernal Falls. At this point you can either keep going up, up and up on what Chris was referring to as "The StairMaster 5000" or you can head back down. Well, as the boys are looking out over the bridge they decide we need to hike down by the water for our picnic.

Simple enough. Right? But for some reason this just threw me for an anxious loop. But, I did it anyway because I want my boys to have adventures regardless of my fears. I don't want to pass it along to them...and thankfully, given their boulder hopping, rock climbing, log balancing skills...I haven't. Thank goodness.
Down we go, down to the boulders and the water and whatever else was waiting for us. Wild animals in MY mind. My anxiety is just going crazy as my family goes further down this little trail and then down a somewhat steep (to me) embankment and then out onto giant granite boulders that when the falls are flowing are usually under water.
They all go down this little embankment without a second thought. I, on the other hand, begin to cry. I'm frozen. Paralyzed. And blind from my tears. They are having the time of their lives and are instantly running from boulder to boulder...and out of sight...each kid going in different directions. And now, the anxiety is in FULL FORCE. Chris notices that I'm not down there with them and comes back to try to "encourage" me. I tell him to just let me be...I'll figure it out..and I'll work my way down in my own time. So, he does. Then, here comes Seth. He says some sweet encouraging words and I assure him I'll be down just as soon as I can see.
Eventually, I do make it down. And I am literally sobbing. You know the cry where your chest is heaving and your sucking air? Kind of like a little kid? Yeah. That was me. Pathetic. And I have to say, while the tears are from fear...partly for myself and the fear of falling but more of not being able to get to my kids should something happen...they are also, and maybe even more so, tears of anger and frustration at myself for being this way. For being a chicken. For being small. For not being able to get a grip. It can be very frustrating.

After sitting on a rock, paralyzed and catching my breath, I began to move around a bit. I ventured out onto some boulders, just a few...but just enough to feel like I had the upper hand, finally. I'm finally getting a seems that I just take longer to warm up to all of this dang adventure stuff.

And of course, as you knew I would be, I was so glad that I did. The boys picked a beautiful spot to hop around and test their own bravery. Climbing rocks and fallen logs. Jumping from boulder to boulder and back again.

And really, who wouldn't want to eat their lunch here? It was beautiful. The views were breathtaking. And the air off of what little water was there was cool and refreshing. Heaven on earth.
Eventually, the boys had climbed all of the rocks and maneuvered all of the crevices and it was time to head back down the trail. It was around 2:30 and quite a bit warmer than when we'd headed up. It was a good time to be going downhill. We rode the shuttle back to Yosemite Valley where we decided to have chicken strips and fries again before heading back to our room.
Once in our room we realized that it was just too dang early to be in for the night. It was only like 4:30. So, out we went again, this time in our own car. We drove around the valley a bit when we ended up at this little area.

It was a river bed. When the water is in full force...say in April when the snow's melting, this is all under water. But for now, it was a good place to walk around and adventure. And again, not a bad view in sight. Isn't it beautiful?!
You can see Chris toward the bottom left on a log. And the boys are way far away...being independent.
Eventually, the boys couldn't resist any longer. The shoes had to come off and they had to wade around in the icy water. It was very shallow...knee deep at the most in this area.
They ended up finding a crawdad....and catching it! The photo is blurry (I forgot to bring my stinkin' tripod..grr)...but you can just barely make out the little guy.
They wanted to bring him home, but we all agreed it would be really mean to bring him here vs. his beautiful home in Yosemite. Um, yeah. No comparison.
Not only was this an ideal place to wade around and capture unsuspecting wildlife. It was also a good place to watch these guys.
Can you say CRAZY?! I can. CRAZY! Oh my gosh. Just watching these mountain climbers from the safety of very flat land...I STILL got woozy in the pit of my stomach. I just can't even imagine. Not for one second. These guys are BOLD. Brave. CRAZY! Can you see him there? He's the blurry blob with a tinge of red quite near the center of the photo. A mountain climber. Three of them, actually. Just dangling there. Hanging off of a mountain. Being held there by a few little caribiners. A few little metal thingies. Are you kidding me? And to top it ALL off...Ian wants to do this when he's older. Should I have been surprised? I told him that if he wanted to, he absolutely should...when he's 21. Or so.
Eventually, the sun began to set. And the air began to cool way down. It was time to head back to our little cabin in the woods. Time to end our second day in this beautiful miracle of nature. We hopped in the car and headed back. We got to our room, showered and ate some snacks and fell asleep by about 8:30pm...again. I could get used to this! Amazing how much rest you get when there's no media to distract you. No TV overload...texting overload...just you and fresh air and a warm bed. Life was good. Especially now that we were back on flat ground. Ahem.
Next up? Our last day of vacation. And our visit to Mariposa Grove.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vacation is over.

Yosemite: Day Two: In the works.

Ceiling fan: Off.

Down comforter: On.

Windows: Closed.

Autumn: Arrived.

Me: Happy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yosemite: Day One.

We left at o'dark thirty. Aka 6:22am.
We felt pretty fancy that we were off to Yosemite while everyone else around us was on their way to work. Some may call it smug. Smug...fancy...either way, we were NOT on our way to work. We were on our way to FUN!
The windmills were spinning away. They're quite a sight to see. I don't know how many of them their are...hundreds? One hundred? I don't know. A lot. And they're big. Huge.
We drove for hours...back roads, highways, through towns, over bridges, through tunnels. Through the valley...into the foothills...and right on up into the mountains. Beautiful landscape, each in it's own way. (Makes you want to break out in "Over the river and through the woods..." doesn't it?)
Finally, after almost 4 hours of driving (and two potty breaks) we came to......THIS! Yosemite Valley, 24 mi. YES! We were almost there!

I didn't take any pictures as we entered. I think I was too busy trying to pick my jaw up off the floor board. I couldn't take my eyes off of the scenery...huge redwoods, delicate ferns, sunshiny meadows, and of course, giant mountains made of granite. Solid granite. Sheer mountain sides. With people on them. (We'll talk more about the mountain climbers still makes me feel a little woozy just thinking about it.)
We eventually arrived at our destination...Curry Village. Or Camp Curry as this very cool sign says. I wish I'd taken a picture of it at night. The letters light up and it is so cute. So home-y. Vintage camp-y.
We actually arrived a little earlier than we thought we would so our room wasn't quite ready. So we decided to take a drive down to Yosemite Village to see what we could see. There was a large grocery store/gift shop. There was a cafe that served tasty fries and chicken strips and burgers. And there was a mountaineering shop. We got a bite to eat then wandered around the shops a while.
It was nice...but the boys were itching for some nature. And NOW.
We headed back to the front desk and got our cabin keys.

This was Home Sweet Home for two days and two night. 3B. Our cozy little cabin. A bathroom. A double bed for Chris and I. A twin bed for the boys to fight over. And a roll-away. It was supposed to be two doubles but something happened along the way and this is the cabin we ended up with. But we weren't complaining...we were just happy to be there. And it turned out that the bed situation was very cozy. Not to mention, we were so tired we could have slept on slabs of granite and been just fine.
We unpacked and settled into our room a bit then decided to take the free shuttle around the valley. We ended up at Yosemite Falls Trail, an easy stroll to the foot of the falls. The only thing about going to Yosemite this time of year is the lack of water. Yosemite has amazing waterfalls....Bridal Veil, Vernal Falls, Yosemite Falls, just to name a few. But, at this time of year they're pretty much dry. Which was OK. Beauty is beauty, wet or dry. We'll just have to be sure and go sometime again when the falls are flowing so the boys can witness them. I'm thinking in the spring...? Maybe?
We wandered up to the foot of the falls and let the boys climb around a bit. It was the first time I cried. Anxiety is a big pain in the butt. And I have it. I knew being in Yosemite with my kids was not going to be easy. And I had done what I could to prepare myself. But I wasn't ready for them to just jump right in and start climbing shards of granite (okay, okay maybe they're not shards, necessarily...but when you're in the middle of an anxiety attack, they really SEEM like it!) kid bounding east and the other bounding west. It was almost too much for this over-protective mother to bear. But, I powered through, hid my tears from the boys (Chris saw me and was very patient with me even going so far as to wrangle the boys back in a bit, at least in the same vicinity of each other), and tried my best to just let them be kids. On the way down Ian climbed every boulder he could find and Seth tried his hand at balancing on fallen trees. BIG fallen trees. With long drops to the ground. I bit my lip, wiped my eyes, and focused on what great balance he has and encouraged him along, even though inside I was terrified. It's funny how different my boys all aspects. And now, they're even different in their climbing preferences. Seth likes to balance on logs and climb the sure paths. Ian, on the other hand, likes to climb big boulders, but not on the path side. Not on the side with natural steps. He wants to find the hardest way to climb it and take that route. He wants to scale it...mountain climber style. But...I must say, he's pretty good at it!
By this time it's getting a bit dark so we decide it's time to head back. We were all pretty tired...we'd had a long day of travel. So we headed back to the shuttle stop and waited for our ride back to our cabin.
We all finally petered out around 8pm. Actually, I think I was in my jammies and in my side of the bed by 7:30, if not earlier, reading my book. How I kept my eyes open I'll never know. We were all pretty tired. After all, we'd been up since 5am. Eventually, everyone was tucked in and snoring by 8:30pm. Snug as bugs in our cozy little cabin in the big, beautiful woods of Yosemite Valley. We needed to rest up after all, tomorrow was going to be a big day.