Tuesday, July 30, 2013

To Wit, To Woo

Personally Responsible

I was grumpy today.
The black crow should have caused me pause.
Acted like a minion.
Despicable me.
Extending grace one day.
Blowing through it another.

Responsibly Personable

Boys don't want bodies.
Boys want brains.
They'll take your body, if it's what you offer.
All fluffed up, short and sassy.
They notice.
Boys want brains.
But like us, they crave connection - at any cost.
Be careful what you brandish, girl with brawn.
Develop your brain.

(Observations from a local college campus :-)

I am not what I ought to be — ah, how imperfect and deficient! I am not what I wish to be — I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good! I am not what I hope to be — soon, soon shall I put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection. Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was; a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, ‘By the grace of God I am what I am. ~ John Newton

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Sunshine

There is this girl with the sun in her eyes and joy in her heart. She grows fast and it's a privilege to call her daughter. I am constantly amazed at the grace she exhibits, and the true generosity that pours out of her. I'm so blessed God has allowed her story in my life. 
For she writes with her heart: sometimes loudly, and sometimes quietly. Most of her stories, paper and pen will never do justice, and she writes these stories each and every day.
I watched one unfold this week, as the cusp of ten unfolded and opened in front of us.
She gave away gifts on her birthday, wanting to give, more than receive. She quietly and shyly approached others to hand out seagull birthday balls. A seagull birthday ball you ask? A bread roll stuffed with a super ball that you share with kids on the sand. The kids get to feed the seagulls a roll and keep the bouncy ball to play with later in the day.
The smiles of delight were a warmth spreading from faces to whole bodies, and whole families. People who have forgotten what generosity looks like, and spontaneity too, received grace and an infusion of warmth. The coastal clouds looming around their heads and hearts were chased away with the warmth of her sunshine. 
I'm so excited for her, because ten has been a big deal to her. She has been waiting to hit "double digits" for "forever". She filled her heart full of encouragement and love this week and hit ten living out loud with love in many locations.
She cherishes life. She lives life. She discovers life. She thinks thoughtfully about others and makes time for them. She gives generously and without finding fault.
She's reaching for the stars, to pull His heavenly light to earth for others. She's reaching for the stars, to put a little light up above.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

If You Want to Change YOUR World, Pick Up Your Pen and Write

Around here this summer, we are working on living Martin Luther's words. Sister and brother both submitted essays to a local water park in an attempt to earn tickets for a wet adventure; they are quite sure it will change their world in good ways! 

Brother's essay fell short of the required 500 words, but we'll extend some grace. He's just eight, and writing is definitely not his favourite thing right now. His writing style is short, sweet, and to the point. Sister, however, had lots to say! While, she did not win the four tickets they offered, they were gracious and sent her two tickets for her effort. Way to go! 
The calm before the chaos!
One day, I woke up and got out of bed and fed the sea monkeys. Then I had breakfast. Around 8:00 a.m., we left to go to Evergreen's Waterpark. When we got there, I realized that I had put the sea monkeys in the car. I took them out of the car. Somehow, they got in the water park. Luckily, a life guard caught them for me.
P.S. I think they had fun. 
 ~ by Brother
Just wait, soon it will take off with kids!
Dear Evergreen Wings and Waves Park Board,

Here is my essay. I hope you enjoy reading it. I am nine years old. I'm going to be in fifth grade next year. I have been to your Wings and Waves Waterpark one time. It was really fun. I want to tell you what I liked about the H2O Museum, the Wings and Waves Waterpark, and how I think you could improve your Waterpark and Museum.

First, what's the best the best part of the Wings and Waves Waterpark? The slides! What's so great about the slides? There are so many of them, that's what! With a great variety of slides, you never know which one to choose. Should you take the yellow one, or the orange one? Maybe go on both? It's your decision! Another great place to have fun is the wave pool. With the great waves, it easily could be the funnest part of Wings and Waves. And the way the helicopter dumps water on the little kids area, it's just as much fun! I definitely like the water park as much, if not more than the museum!

Next, there are some things in the H2O Museum that I like. The vapor machine is really cool. It is so fun to get a cloud of fog right in your face. The water damming station is perfect for even the smallest child. The Mars Rovers are super fun to play with.

Finally, I think you have room for improvements. When I went to the H20 Museum your Mars Rovers quit working because there was a problem with the battery pack. Also, I never got to use the Mars Rovers because everyone wanted a turn. Evergreen should add another Mars Rover exhibit and also encourage time limits on this exhibit. In addition, the H2O Museum doesn't have many exhibits with water. I understand why you have the Mars Rovers because I know that NASA (National Air and Space Administration) is looking for water and life on Mars. Others may not know that though, so it would probably be a good idea to put up a sign by the Mars Rovers exhibit explaining that. An improvement you could make to the water park would be having a pool with fish that you can swim with. I hope you don't mind my giving you ideas for improvements.

Truly, the Wings and Waves Waterpark is a great place. I hope you enjoyed my essay about what I like at the water park, the museum, and also my suggestions for improvements. Thank you for all the fun attractions you've made, Evergreen Staff and Volunteers. I would like to share some verses with you: Genesis 1:6, “And God said, let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” Genesis 1:2b, “And the Spirit of the God was hovering over the waters.” Certainly, water is very important to life, and I think it's great, that you've created a really cool water park! 

~ Sister 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Eight Year Old Boys are Completely Incompatible with Introverts

Eight year old boys are totally incompatible with introverts, or most anyone, except other eight year old boys. I'm just saying. I can barely handle him this week. I have deemed his eight year old year all about yo-yo's, whistling, snapping one's fingers, and of course any other sound he can make with his body. Help me, please.

His father took him swimming the other night to blow off some energy and steam. Even he thought he was too loud! This from the man who was given a broken megaphone when he was about eight and guess what? He fixed it, and then of course, tormented his neighbourhood. See? Eight is all about noise, mayhem, and movement.

Just recently brother heard about the book series Walter the Farting Dog. Thanks, Young Explorers. I thought I was handing him something that would give me five minutes of peace and quiet while he perused the pages. NOPE.  He is now begging for Walter. ("Don't even think about it, Grandma!")

I dare say, if he got his hands on a copy, it just might surpass his favourite book of the past two years: John, Paul, George & Ben. Such a lovely book, that one. His favourite line? "Extra-large underwear!"  In the most unfavourable of conditions, without warning, and with no one understanding a lick of what he's talking about, he'll yell out that line. Like lightening on a stick it is: Heads snap around, brains fry, and hairs stand on end. I try to shush him as fast as I can, but it's never fast enough. He cracks up hysterically. The looks I get? They are the same as when one asks a woman when her due date is and oops, you realize she is NOT pregnant. YES, NOT. Eight year old boys put foot in mouth exponentially every day. The kicker? They enjoy ever moment of it - along with other eight year old boys.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Gluey Hot Watery Weekend

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour...." Ecclesiastes 4:9
 We had a great, hot, exhausting weekend.
Bright and early, the wood working began.

Gluey, sticky fingers, lively children, and patient teachers, make life full.

  When family invites, try new things.
Drill deeper.

Learn what you can accomplish together.

Do one thing at a time.

Step by step.
Remember, to rest a bit.

You will accomplish something amazing.
  Then go cool off with confidence!

Because this piece of wood is a walk in the park,
compared to the wood you just worked.

Postscript: The she child goes to sleep claiming she has boat disease. She can't close her eyes without thinking of the boat. As for brother, he fell asleep as soon as dinner was finished. A busy carpenter needs rest.

Blueberry Mouse

Hello, little mouse.
I'm sorry I've watered you wet.
Did I interrupt your blueberry breakfast?

You head for the squash,
I put down the hose.
Your marathon is five steps for me.
You run, west for the hills.

Beady black eyes bulge.
You are in a hurry.
Don't worry.
Mouse, I'm friend, not foe.
We can share this garden bed.
We both call this patch "home".

You head for the zucchini.
Hit your hole.
Down you go.
Safe from the long green watery snake.
Safe from big tramping toes.
You were never in danger.

I filled a rhubarb leaf water bowl for you.
Have you found it?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Oregon Back Country Discovery Route

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 
~ Robert Frost
Rover roll call was at 4 a.m. this year – a new record for us. Despite such an early start to the day, rover trips are fast becoming how we slow down our summer pace. We spent four days on the Oregon Back Country Discovery Route watching wildlife, listening to side splitting stories, and talking – about anything. Meals and camp prep set our rhythm in between sections of the trail. A beautiful trail, the Discovery Route runs the length of Oregon from CA and into WA state. We meandered a section lacing its way through the Ochoco and Malheur Mountains.
Fuel stop - Sisters Bakery

Learning how to open and close cattle gates.


A shepherd and his flock on national forest land.
Ah, to turn around and go back the way you came.
Fire Look Out Tower
The road was no problem, but a tree that might hit the roof top tent must be dealt with.
Pisgah: Highest Peak, Lowest Look Out

As we re-enter civilization, the speed of life once again catches up with me. No more snail's pace of 5-10 mph, but a full throttle 70 mph. All I can manage our first afternoon back is 58 mph - on a two lane country road. Everyone is racing by me. Eventually, my foot finds “fast mode” again on the pedal, and I ponder as I drive.

Why do we so often choose to set a pace that is unsustainable, for both ourselves, each other, and our planet? What is gained by setting a pace that rarely anyone can keep up with, much less enjoy?

Slowly, I'm realizing I'm most happy and useful when I slow down and listen for God's voice telling me which way to go. Each day, many crossroads fly by, and many detours are offered. Is that way a short cut to my destination? Might I get there faster? Will that way save me time? Maybe the long way around is best; though it's tempting to take the short cut. I must slow down in order to hear the question: In our hurry, are we saving time, buying time or just throwing time away?

So often, I act like I'm running out of time, but am I really? Maybe the best use of my time, is the long way around. The long way around is rich with special moments and special people. The long route requires time, patience, and effort, but it opens my eyes to new realities. That's the route I'm looking for.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July

Wishing you a lovely Fourth of July!
May your celebrations be meaningful, splendid, and safe. 

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
 Galatians 5:13