April 25, 2011

Tulip Town

Spring is coming slowly this year. We finally had sunshine and warmer temps last week, and oh boy, it was heavenly. :) On Tuesday, my friend Tabitha and I took a trip to Tulip Town out in the Skagit Valley. Tulip blooms are a big event here every year. The flowers officially initiate the start of spring, and they are a welcome riot of color after the dark, dreary winter.

Ready to tiptoe through the tulips with us?

My tulip touring companion. :)

This is one of my favorite pictures.

A rainbow of pure sunshine.

Pink ladies. :)

Welcome, Spring! Thanks for finally showing up!

April 22, 2011

Hiking Good Friday

We hiked today. A good, long hike in the warm sunshine.

I can't tell you how good it felt.

The island's had sunshine every day this week. I'd almost forgotten what that was like. And today? Our hike? Felt like we were initiating summer. Felt like vacation.

I'm lovin' it. :)

That's not to say everything went smoothly this afternoon. I misjudged the distance on the map and we ended up on the trail a lot longer than planned (Read: a whole hour longer. With a four year old. Yeah).

I wore the wrong shoes. I forgot to pack snacks. I even forgot to bring spare diapers (though thankfully I didn't need them). Rookie mistakes of a mommy who's been holed up in a house all winter. I've plumb forgot how to hike.

Mistakes to be rectified tomorrow. While Jason's mowing the grass, I'll be stocking the backpack with all manner of hiking essentials. Then into the trunk of the car it will go, where it will live for the rest of the summer.

In spite of my unpreparedness, however, we did have a great time. Willy, my in-laws golden retriever, padded along with us. Caleb told me stories about creepy caves and trees of terror. We sang silly songs. He climbed on fallen logs. When morale ran low, I encouraged the little man along with promises of ice cream.

On the last bit of trail we were both quite tired. In all, we hiked for two hours today. Two. Hours.

The last stretch always seems the longest, doesn't it? We moved through thick foliage, shade, and shadows cast by the fir trees. All of a sudden, not a hundred feet from the car, we burst out into full, broad sunlight. It seemed we had walked into an over-exposed picture. The light was so intense, but so happy and bright, I couldn't help smiling. Everything was illuminated. Every blade of grass, every branch and leaf and bush. Nothing was left untouched by the sun.

Caleb found new energy and ran with Willy the rest of the way to the car. But not me. I walked, drinking it all in and thinking what a beautiful parallel our trail painted of Easter and Good Friday.

Good Friday (and Saturday, too, for that matter), were awfully dark for the disciples two thousand years ago. Nothing had gone according to plan that weekend. They were completely unprepared for what happened.

Ah, but He had a plan.

His followers sat in darkness for two days, but He never intended to leave them there. There was more to come. A divine happy ending no human mind could foresee. And on that Easter morning, His light exploded through the darkness, illuminating and exposing everything before it. Nothing was left untouched.

So Happy Good Friday to you all! Remember the darkness of this Passion Weekend, but anticipate the Light that comes on Sunday. Because of what He endured, the dark is not the end of our story.


April 18, 2011


We gather.

At Mom and Dad's house.

I don't call them that. But three others do.

We eat.

Smoked turkey and marinated elk.

"Thanksgiving in April", we joke as we pass the mashed potatoes and corn fritters. I even made two pumpkin pies for dessert.

We talk.

Four generations sit around the oak dining table.

The stories abound. Stories from when my father-in-law was stationed in Hawaii. Stories of the Northridge earthquake and my mother-in-law building forts under the kitchen table to keep the kids safe. Stories of the recent past, only just entered into the family history last weekend, when two of the menfolk lit the back of the new truck on fire.

We laugh.

Sometimes so hard we cry.

My sister-in-law, six months pregnant, begins to sob when I jokingly offer her brother half a pumpkin pie. The mere thought of not getting any pie, even in jest, is enough to set off the waterworks. But all the other women in the room have been pregnant before. We remember. So we hug her tight, let her laugh through her tears, and when pie is served, she receives the first piece.

We plan.

Next Sunday night's dinner. It will be Easter, after all. Maybe ham?

With nine people in the family, and #10 due to arrive in July, there are plenty of birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays to go around. At the moment, the main focus is my sister-in-law's baby shower. But between now and then, we have Mother's Day and two birthdays.

We help.

With anything and everything.

Moving, painting, mowing, building, cooking, shopping, cleaning.

We are a family.

With a dash of drama and a dollop of dysfunction.

Hey, we're only human. Of course we annoy each other sometimes. What do you expect from a close-knit group? But we are quick to forgive.

This is my family.

I wasn't born into it, but I count myself very blessed to be a part of it.

Being so far away from the family I grew up with is hard. But sitting around the dinner table, laughing harder than I've laughed all week, I find a balm that soothes and heals. And I smile. Because here, in the loud, noisy ring of others, I belong.

April 15, 2011


Well. We're back. Back from our travels all around southern California and back home where we belong. :)

I apologize for my long absence; we were gone for a week, we've now been back for a week, and I only just finished unpacking yesterday. Part of me didn't want to empty the suitcase; as long as it sat in the livingroom, it somehow kept me connected to our trip. It smelled like my mom and step-dad's house, it smelled like them, and sniffing the still-packed clothes instantly propelled me back again.

But we have company coming over tomorrow night, and I couldn't leave my clothes in my sister-in-law's suitcase forever. She'll want it back eventually. So, quite sadly, the smell is gone. The clothes are put away, the toys are back in Caleb's room. After a week of laundry and catch up, life around here is pretty much back to normal.

I sure wish that vacation high would last a little longer. Ya know?

But normal life is pretty good, too. Not that I have it all together; we came home and picked up our challenges, questions, and doubts right where we left off. And yet I can say that life is good. God is good. The Lord taught me some things while I was in Cali. He is teaching me to trust, and let go, and wait patiently for Him to act.

Not my favoritist lessons in the world, but lemme tell ya, I'm a whole lot happier when I let Him lead. Go figure.

Anyway, pictures from California are forthcoming. We had a slight issue with my camera and its pixels, though. Apparently a whole line of them decided to go on vacation at the same time I did. Very inconvenient. As a result, many pictures have a miniscule line running through them where the vacationing pixels should have been.

I bet they went to Hawaii. That's where I'd vacation if I were a pixel.

Now that I've rambled on and on about everything and nothing, I will bid you all good-night, with a promise for a more cohesive, coherent post in the near future. You have my solomn word.

Happy Weekend, all!