A Shooting Star – My Oldest Turns 17

It’s difficult for me to consider the swift ways of two years before my daughter graduates high school and everything in our household changes to a new normal without her. She’s a delight to have around.

I am a better person being a mother and wife. I never knew how “wanting it my own way” I was before kids. My character needed to be shaped and expanded around caring for another who was fully dependent. This wasn’t easy for me and with my second child I really started losing my mind, mostly in all things involving patience. But parenting my daughter for four years before her brother came around, I rediscovered my inner child who had gotten lost along the way to growing up, delighted in a being who thrived under such relishing, which was a joy to witness and found love in the look that said, “You’re my person.” And I wanted it to be so – ecstatic that it was. It’s been a journey, one with thankfully, little regret. (Mainly because I bought a small farm called “therapy” for ten years twice a week before I had children.)

Tea Parties
Stuffie Activities
Note Book Title

With all the positive, it didn’t shift my need for down time and quiet reflection. I wrote this short poem(?) in reflection of some of those days as a mother of young children when they need you and I didn’t want to be needed. And oh how they need you and during these seasons there is very little space for you.

I have loved sitting on the toilet in silence better than having one more stuffie’s tea party with Raven, Siamese Kitty and my daughter who will be a day older tomorrow.

She’s Got the Look

Having a teenager who now drives has oriented me to the fleeting passage of time. The ten plus hours of driving in the car together each week has been replaced by more time for myself to do what? Work, workout, or take a nap is usually slotted now. All of which I would give up to discover what music she’s now listening to because there are no more playlist take overs on our drive. And of course I could ask, but how boring compared to the experiencing. It’s like talking about a rock climbing route instead of scaling it. There also isn’t the spontaneous venting about school boredom (who actually LIKES school? Please.) or explaining the labs completed in Forensic Science. Of course we still talk. We have meals together but there is very little lingering with rowing, homework, and friendships interfering with family time.

I have loved driving you to Long Beach High School* better than the Taylor Swift concert which covered your voice.

Time is like a shooting star blazing across the sky – one moment there and the next, gone.

Be alert and watching or it will pass you by.

Happy 17th Birthday, one of my people.

(I know a few weeks late to you who this is directly written for but hey I momentarily lived in denial and thought maybe if I didn’t post about it it never happened. :-)). Here’s to me no longer living in denial.

Smiles before Screams… Dark Harbor Lurks

*name changed

Poetry in the Rain

Fishing on a mountain lake without a single soul is always second best to fishing on a mountain lake with my family, even if that family sometimes skips rocks (a fishing kill joy), yells across the lake, or brags relentlessly. In my childhood home world, fishing with a non-family member is annoying (no one else is supposed to be here!) and fishing with several groups is unheard of where we go – unless of course we’re fishing in the North Cascade lakes or streams off highway 20 which I consider an absolute highway for hikers and fishers alike. The only time in the last couple decades I’ve been solo on those lakes is when I’ve snowshoed into them before the trails were officially open.

Rainy Lake – 2012

Turns out – when you have a father who is an avid hiker/backpacker, you can pretty much go where the crowds are thin. When you add poor weather (50 degrees and rain) to the mix it pretty much guarantees you’ll have the lake to yourself. Name of lake you’ll need to discover on your own. That’s part of the beauty of exploration and adventure – curiosity and a good map leading you into the wild Pacific Northwest is all that’s required.

Today we decided catch and release was on the menu as we weren’t so daring to cook up a meal besides Cup ‘o Noodles in the rain.

The fishermen got down to business….

While the fishermen were discussing things like whose fish was bigger, what flies were working, who was catching any and where, Eden and I decided to fish ourselves, only with words. The conversation may or may not have included words like, “UUMMM – that’s dumb. Is that the best you can come up with? Really?” It also included promises to pay for future therapy while encouraging creativity to be less concrete than the “gray sky.” For the osprey in the tree next to us, it likely sounded more like a conversation one expects at a bar after a few drinks – plenty of laughter in between sentences like, “I can’t believe you said that. I’ll be scarred for life.” “You’ll be fine. No truth, no gain.” It may have been followed with shoves on the arm or not, like two girlfriends vying for the one barstool – only in our situation, it was the positioning on the garbage bag beneath us laid out like a picnic blanket. In spite of ourselves, the inspiration was plentiful – laced with God’s magic.


Specifics unseen in it’s shadow

Rain-soaked soil, the grave of a fawn

Colorless trees, flamed a decade ago, line up like forgotten dominos

Clouds, slate-colored, cover the sun,

dropping pieces of gray, drop by drop

I walk one foot in front of the other

down, then up, sometimes over, other times under

In the shadow, I’m hard to notice

— In collaboration : E & K

Our Scene

Raindrops at the tempo of 1 1/2 beats

Trees naked from the fire of 2009, stand together unashamed

Tripod -170,000 acres burned

Lines cast of the non-movie type

Two sets of trees and mountains

One real, one moves in the wind

Crackling behind us – manmade,

Mosquitos dive bomb

Fish eat, a safe distance from shore

1/2 beat tempo, slapping of hand on body parts –

Blood, usually one’s own, leftover

Boredom of the non-city type

Orchestra of the senses

— In collaboration: E & K

Rain Ain’t Stopping this Crew
Cameraman Missing in Photo, Bears in Role of Photographer – Unavailable

All ended well. No melting of bodies – Oz style, nor extreme coldness to our bones. Just a well-lived summer day, adventuring in the conditions provided for us. May you find yourself an adventure soon – preferably with good company.

November Reflections

_dsc8309This month was filled with a some real highs and lows.  One of the highs was planning a surprise party for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary with my brothers (assisted by their wives) and seeing so many beloved people from our youth.  There were lots of shenanigans and fun but most importantly a Thanksgiving most of us won’t ever forget.  Another highlight was working with Dennis at an experiential training we gave to a group of people from all over the country.  It’s such a gift to be able to work with each other (most of the time, that is) ;-).  Other highs were visits from Dennis’ Aunt from Ohio and seeing my friend, Suzanne, be a featured poet at a local open reading.

A definite low was finding out a good friend is battling an aggressive breast cancer.  The double whammy was getting sick (a rare three week wipe-out sick) and being unable to visit her.  (I look forward to writing about answered prayers and healing in the months to come – latest – tumor shrinking.)  The election was another low for me.  It would have been anyways, no matter who would have won.  Finally, with advent season upon us, I find it’s a special time to embrace the gifts that have been given to us (a free country) but at the same time acknowledging the devastating experiences here on earth (cancer, poverty, racism) for with Jesus’s birth automatically comes with a knowledge of his eventual shame-filled death.

Photo Review:

img_6664A much enjoyed evening at Gatsby’s Books with my good friend and poet, Suzanne O’Connell, who was a featured poet.  img_6689Flying off to my hometown…yup, in a propeller plane — well not exactly, I land two hours a way from my hometown and then drive.  We made it in record speed this year since we took an LAX 6 am flight…home by 1 pm.dsc_0833Leftovers. dsc_0856Camouflage.  Can you see him? img_6695 No words.img_6718See above._dsc8330Family Photo Shenanigans_dsc8406My parents…Almost there — 50!!  Official New Year’s Eve.

Quotes to Chew On:

From Barbara Bradley Hagerty’s Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife

“‘…we-ness’ is among the most important qualities of a happy marriage.  ‘If we-ness isn’t there by the time you get to fifteen years,’ he said, ‘you’re in trouble.’…That long-term study of thriving couples uncovered two other intriguing insights.  The most controversial is that the wives are, as Levenson put it, ‘the emotional centers, the emotional historians, and the emotional thermostats of the marriage.’ …’And one thing we found is that when wives are emotionally taken care of by their husbands, they will help their husbands in moments of conflict.  They will invest in the relationship..  But if the wives are distressed and not soothed or calmed, they will disinvest, and this is when the couples we studied did not do as well as others.’ (p.182-3) (Robert Levenson quoted)

“What are your top character strengths?” How can you pull on those strengths even more during this time of struggle, and what would change, what burden would be lessened, if you did that?” (p. 256)

“If you want a healthy glow and a happy midlife, here’s a secret.  Give it away: your time, your money, whatever is at your disposal, give it away to someone else.  Especially your time.” (p. 300)

“I must shift my eyes from the next step on the ladder, the one just outside of my reach, and scan the horizon for my unique contribution, that combination of storytelling and voice that I am tailor-made for — something, perhaps, that no one can do quite the way I can.” – p. 316

From Natalie Goldberg, The Great Spring…

“…there is no cure for human life, except to live it, being willing to rip off the blinders as we go and let the light in.” – p. 129

“Writing doesn’t ask you to be any different from who you are right now.  Not better, not more.” – p. 161

“Death is only half the story.  The other half is life, how to navigate in these slippery waters, how to keep the humbling knowledge of our end in sight.  We all seem to blow it one way or another, but how important it is to admit our mistakes, not turn our back on anything.  It’s in the details of what we have done that we can find our liberation…We need stories to remind us and to mirror our reality.  And we need writers to record them.” – p. 166

“It’s a naked thing to show that we are fractured, that we do not have it all together.  Broken all the way through to the bottom.  What freedom is that, to be what we are in the moment, even if it’s unacceptable.” p.176

Songs on Repeat Mode:

Walls by Kings of Leon

I Have This Hope by Tenth Avenue North

Even So Come by Passion

It’s Quiet Uptown by Kelly Clarkson

Round Here by Counting Crows

Setting the World on Fire by Kenny Chesney and Pink

On My Nightstand:

Redemption Road by John Hart (excellent– a thriller)

Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty (excellent!)

The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable? About Restoring Sanity To The Most Important Organization In Your Life by Patrick Lencioni (not well written but some good information)

Great by Choice by Jim Collins (enjoying)

The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves by Curt Thompson (great so far)

May you have an amazing Christmas Season.



photo credit for top picture, family photo with golf carts and my parents — Lovejoy Photography

Inspired by My Grandma and My Son

Grief is like being naked in a lake full of people with swimsuits.  It makes you feel raw, exposed, at times embarrassed, especially when people are staring at you while someone else is leaning close with words you know have something to do with you and your situation.  Your situation, whether it be a tragedy, a major devastation, is really only yours to tell, to disclose.

Grief is like doing a triathalon.  You can have people cheering for you from the sidelines, running beside you, but it’s you that has to will yourself to keep going.  It’s like when I wanted to walk after transitioning off the bike to the run but a kind man ran beside me for the first mile saying, “Come on.  You can do it.  Follow my steps, it will only hurt for this first mile, until the lactic acid is worked out of your muscles.”  I was twelve; the man, significantly older and not worried about his final time.  I tried to stop a couple of times, but he was there, reminding me that my legs would get used to this new motion — running.  He was helpful in getting me through the tough stuff, the stuff I couldn’t have done on my own because my mind wouldn’t let me but I’m the one who ultimately had to make the decision to run instead of walk, to take his encouragement rather than listen to my legs screaming, “Stop! Stop!”  Grief is this way, people come along beside us but they aren’t feeling our debilitating pain, or thinking the thoughts of our own death because the pain is so great or making decisions other than taking that drink, that smoke, that sniff because surely it is all too much to bear without substances altering our experience.    Ultimately, it’s me who has to choose to lean into the pain, to bear the pain, to move through the pain until it eases, isn’t so sharp.

Grief feels like it reaches inside and squeezes your gut, your intestines, your appetite.  It makes you feel like something has gone terribly wrong and somehow it will never be made right.  It’s a signal, the signal, nothing will ever be the same.  It cannot possibly be the same.  Humpty dumpty will never be put together again, and really, how could those million little pieces fit together to make the whole it once was?

Grief is like a pause button.  An interruption to the regularly scheduled program.  Like a mass shooting.  Or an earthquake.  A change in power.

Grief is like returning home only to find the barn has burned.  Then 20 years later, when it still smells like ash, the tears come.  The visions of the rope swing, the saddles, the canister of oats, memories of stalking wild cats and groundhogs.  I can still see them waiting at the gate.  For me.  Ladybug, my Shetland pony.  Thunder, my Quarter-Thoroughbred mare.

I can still feel you against my belly.  Swimming.  The color of your eyes – never determined.  I miss you, Baby Long Beach.

I can see you in your recliner, sleep-watching the football game.  Stuck in 1990.  I miss you, Grandpa.

I can see you in your garden picking raspberries.  Waving at me while I drive by on the golf cart.  I never saw you in the hospice care facility, you didn’t make it before I could see you one last time.  November 27, 2004.  Cancer.  I miss you, Grandma.

14 Years Together

dsc_1053It’s hard to believe 14 years ago today this “little one” came out, greeted me and her dad with huge observant blue eyes as she struggled to hold her head up while examining us.  Since her appearance, we’ve had the privilege to come alongside and watch her observations and astuteness grow into some beautiful character traits.

This is a girl who stops to digest the sunset, noticing the different nuances of color that never repeat themselves.

img_5079-001She notices when the perfect “handstand” log makes itself available.  In the Redwoods.  Ten feet up.img_5192She takes in how her decisions impact others — even those across the ocean.  Since 9 years old, she stopped eating chocolate that isn’t fair trade — even if she has to go without, which is a huge sacrifice to this chocolate lover.

She’s developed a gentle spirit, compassion for others, empathy, where she allows herself to imagine being in someone else’s shoes — even if they are the shoes of an overseas child laborer toiling in unbearable conditions. (In 2015 she bought only clothing from consignment stores or Patagonia — a socially and environmentally responsible company as a protest to the human trafficking that permeates our clothing industry.  I’m not sure I could have made the same choice as a then 13 year old.)  She isn’t shy to speak out about human trafficking, telling peers about her choices and why.

I love her enjoyment for all things fun — roller coasters, being scared…

img_6426 img_6428img_6949And of course there are her quirks that make her…her.


Ballet Performance

img_2663I can’t wait to see what this year holds for her, and us.  Whatever it is, I can guarantee it will have a twist of her precociousness.


Happy Birthday, Eden!  I love you.

Community Parenting

dsc_0687If you’ve been following my blog for long, then you probably remember we camp every summer with a large group of friends who have become family.  The actuality of this group of friends is that the faces in the picture change depending on who is available during the five days we camp (with the exception of about four families who have made every trip).  This reality is unimportant because on this camping trip we operate as one big community regardless.  We cook dinner together.  We powwow about adolescent behavior and how or how not we will intervene.  We contribute in unique ways whether it be bringing the raft, the popular game of the trip, researching the nearby hiking trails, organizing the camp fire activities, bringing the fishing gear, taking the kids fishing, and so forth — we all look for ways to contribute to one another, children included.

This year we had 37 people and 2 dogs.  We camped at Rancheria Campground on Huntington Lake in the central Sierra Nevadas.  It’s definitely a place to return.  First of all, the group site had electricity so we could all plug in our phones and electronic devices as well as blow up the air mattresses.  (I’m not quite so advanced yet, but rather inspire to someday invest in a mattress greater than 1 inch thick that actually blows up.)

dsc_0441It also had a good pizza place and ice cream establishment for all those who wanted to get away from it all — all the downsides of camping, that is.  Luckily, we have another nature lover among us so we also found the God-made hot spots — waterfalls and swimming pools!

dsc_0539dsc_0769dsc_0717 dsc_0730-001This is a group of people who are intentional about living well.  What this looks like camping is that we make choices when our kids can roam free and with what parameters.  We choose when they can ditch the adults and when they need to play our made-up campfire games and sing songs they may or may not want to sing.  Together, we communicate to our children — sometimes you have to do things you’d rather not do, but in the end, you may be surprised at how much you enjoyed it (or not — but it’s at least a memory of getting through something that seemed horrible at the time).

dsc_0493I think one of the highlights for me on this trip was seeing my son, who can tend to be different than his peer group, win the heart of another parent, who promised to build him a bedroom in his house when he reaches 13.  My son can be complicated.  He wants to be a vegetarian because he doesn’t want to harm animals, making it difficult to eat on a camping trip. (I assured him he could make this choice as soon as he learned to cook).  He will bend the rules however he can in order to believe he is both following the rules and getting his way.  He’s a fashion trend setter in his own mind – winter beanie even if it’s 80 degrees. (See below wearing said hat and feeling sad about a fisherman catching and keeping a fish).

dsc_0659What I love about this group of friends, which also includes all who have come on our previous camping trips, is that they are both for me and my family.  Loneliness seems almost an impossible phenomenon because these are people who have walked with me, and I them — for some, decades.  I feel like one of the the benefits of mid-age, which I’m enjoying, is being able to lean into the foundation you’ve built in the 20s and 30s, knowing it’s grounded and secure.

There are some that are missing in this picture, that should’ve been there in a perfect world — spouses who have died, who have chosen other partners, or who haven’t yet been found and children that didn’t live to breathe a breath on this earth.  Yet, those who live without this perfection are doing more than surviving; they (we) are finding ways to thrive.  With each other.  In community.

dsc_0492 dsc_0490 dsc_0482Until next summer!dsc_0887

A Birthday Wish for My Mother


IMG_2601It brings me great joy to celebrate my mom today.  October 2014, when she was getting a medical emergency helicopter trip to Harborview in Seattle, I wasn’t sure how many more birthdays we would be celebrating.  Thankfully, they continue — her birthdays, that is.

What I love about my mom is her appreciation for the outdoors.  Her favorite part of the house is her screen porch where she reads, prays, journals, listens and watches the wilderness around her (which can include bear cubs, deer, snakes, her cats).  She is a faithful attender to her outdoor environment, planting tomatoes, flowers, shrubs, etc. and when I was growing up, a humongous garden, a sizable strawberry patch, which was winterized every year, as well as raiding local “wild” produce of crab apples, choke cherries, apricots from an abandoned homestead (with permission – though this tradition stopped shortly after we encountered a rattlesnake, on the way out AFTER all four kids had stepped right by it, sleeping under a log right smack in the middle of our walking path).  She developed my food palette so I crave what’s ripe and in season which has translated into me going to the local farmer’s market regularly.

There are so many things to love about my Mom, (Mimi as she’s known to her grandchildren):

She’s always up for an adventure – whether it’s a trip around the beaver ponds while we gawked at the osprey nest, or climbing up to Goat Peak, or taking a “little” hike with my Dad to his hunting grounds (which is never little, more like strenuous-not-for-the-faint-of-heart), she’ll “give it a try.”  Though after succeeding she may choose not to try it again, because, well that’s what a person with some intelligence would wisely choose since the three mile hike was really a six mile hike straight up the mountain without a trail.

DSC_0114A lover of the ocean, she has taught me the value of reflection, journaling and listening to His Spirit.  Her prayers and written words have been sweet salve to many of people. DSC_0183 She’s committed through the thick and thin — celebrating 50 years this year.DSC_0309She is a servant, whether it be getting up early to make our favorite breakfast — chocolate chip pancakes/waffles with her homemade whip cream, bacon and eggs or faithfully keeping my Dad eating right and on the straight and narrow, tirelessly thinking of others before herself. DSC_0462 She faithfully knits creative Christmas presents for all of us (see below) — hats, scarves, fingerless gloves, leg warmers — whatever happens to be in season.DSC_0946 Happy Birthday, Mom (and Mimi)!!  We love you!  Glad you continue to charm us with your play on words, wit, and hospitality.IMG_2574

A Birthday Celebration

Birthday celebrations with my dad usually entail little more than a phone call and an emailed Cabela’s gift certificate.  Last year, however, was a BIG birthday, so we celebrated, along with two of my brothers and my husband, for a whole 10 days in September wandering the hills near Afton, Wyoming looking for Bambi’s father.  (Well that’s what my Southern California friends tell me, but to me I was looking for a supplier to lots of yummy meals.)  It was a trip I’ll never forget (wondering if you’ll live through the 10 mile horseback ride that was supposed to take three hours and takes 6 hours has a way of burning itself into one’s memory bank because a trip that long is a real good indicator there were things going wrong).

These smiles are of ignorant of the upcoming events during the six hours ahead (ex. a horse slides down a switchback and ends up four hooves pointing to the sky; it would soon be coaxed back up in the upright position)…

P1010739 P1010737These smiles say, “We just avoided 10 miles of wondering if we are going to die from horse shenanigans and muddy cliffs by walking out.  We’re no dummies!”P1010824I think the following pictures may convey a level of fun to the viewer’s eyes.  However, I want to be clear that this would be a major miscalculation of the enjoyment found in hunting.

Our days started at 4:30 am – if you don’t count getting up once in the middle of the night to stoke the fire.  We ate breakfast then high-tailed it up the mountain with our headlamps, backpacks, and rifles in order to beat the rising sun since deer like to graze before dawn when the weather is cool.  In case you didn’t know this about me, I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON.  4:30 am Wyoming time is 3:30 am PST time…I would basically sleep in my clothes for the next day so I: 1) could sleep in five minutes longer than if I had to get fully dressed 2) would stay warm inside my sleeping bag since it was below 20 degrees outside the tent 3) be awoken by the lovely breakfast prepared by our camp cooks versus be shocked into an awakened state by freezing air hitting bare skin.

Once our bellies were full, but not too full, because if they were too full then you would get nauseous on top of the inevitable altitude headache and fake heart attack experience from your body working at 98% capacity while you basically walked like billy goats straight up in order to get to the meadow located a couple miles up the mountain before the sun came up in hopes that you would catch a deer off guard as it wandered into the meadow while it was still cool but before the afternoon sun arrived to push them into their afternoon naps, well then the scouting began.

There aren’t pictures to be shown about this part because 1) it’s hard to take pictures when you can’t breathe and you’re wondering how the hell your 70 year old father can practically jog up the hill 2) when the only light you have is with your headlamp = black picture and 3) when you encounter a pair of eyes at this time of day you must a) stop b) have one person put up their rifle while the other puts up their binoculars to ascertain whether the pair of eyes belong to a wolf that is basically 10 feet away and c) pick up the pace because you’ve just wasted five minutes of darkness wondering if a pack of wolves was beside you which makes all three of these conditions impossible to take pictures.

I will say this.  IT’S WORTH GETTING UP EARLY.  Here’s why — big reward.  You know the saying, early bird gets the worm.  Well here, early bird gets to: have a HUGE bull elk cross your path about 50 feet in front of you, have two HUGE bull elks (think rack of horns extending past their hind ends) bugling at each other with their cows and calves with them and cross your path at about 200 yards, see more elk the next day and hear the mentioned above elk bugling once again at one another and if you were my brothers, spot a small wolf pack playing tag with one another.

I should also mention that when you are hunting with my father who forgets he himself isn’t a deer or elk, at this time of day, you get to spot the big bucks a couple of miles away on the other ridge that you will then spend the rest of the day tracking and sneaking up to in hopes that you will eventually be in the same place at the same time in order to snag a successful food source.

Now once the sun is risen and the deer have been spotted, there is time to snap a picture of the indescribable view you are now feasting on.  And this, my friends, becomes the reward in mountain hunting…

P1010744There have been few things in my life that have required such rigor because this was my first hunt.  I think what I learned about myself was hunting is a culmination of so many things I love: being outdoors, watching animals in their habitat (we saw several wolves, 11 mountain goats, and even a fox along our early morning encounters with the elk), spotting animals — which I didn’t realize is a huge part of hunting, getting meat for our family, and finally executing our sneak attacks (moving slowly, at the right angles, taking educated guesses as to where the deer would be).   It was the type of living that feels good — physical hard work followed by a cooked meal, familial harassment and stories capped with laughter with some of my most favorite people in the world.

P1010817This is the spot both my dad and I shot our deer.  And yes, our family food was located on the other side of the canyon…338 yards away.  Funny how on the shooting range that 7mm requires a pillow in order to not flinch with the kick but out here, when its all about the moving target, well let’s just say the kick wasn’t even felt.IMG1286For those of you who are “dead animal sensitive” skip the next picture (I’m hoping this post doesn’t lose any subscribers — I do use all the parts of the deer and eat all the meat if that makes it easier to metabolize the process of hunting).

P1010756Our camp…

IMG1294So Dad, here’s hoping to more memories with you.  Thank you for sharing your love for the outdoors with me.  Thank you for teaching me through your modeling that doing the hard thing, like taking six months to get in shape for hunting in order to avoid misery but not soreness, reaps unimaginable rewards (like witnessing bull elk establish territory before the sun’s up).  Thank you for loving adventures — especially adventures the majority of people don’t do (like hiking to “un-trailed” lakes or hunting without guides in unfamiliar territory.)

IMG_0670Happy Birthday, Dad!  I hope your ice cream bowl tonight is overflowing with abundance.  I love you.

Your favorite daughter

July Reflections


July refreshed my soul.  I enjoyed two of my favorite things, hiking and music throughout the month.  I had many grand plans of cleaning out things like drawers, closets, and my garage.  Sadly, not much got accomplished as far as that goes.  We had too much fun!  Take a look.

Photo Review:


Above: Eden and I did our first alpine trip together.  Early Winter’s South Spire route.  We had a blast!  Below:  Before we began we ran into a Nannie and her three kids.  Then, when we were hiking down the mountain we got to see a group of Nannies and kids.  P1010439Mimi and Grandpa had some new kittens when we visited.  Jack the Cat P1010389 Kali…P1010376 A hike into Cutthroat Lake:  (next three pics)IMG_4930 IMG_4898

Cutthroat Lake

Cutthroat Lake

Goat Peak Lookout hike where we got to see helicopter supply drop offs, calling in a fire and spectacular views.  Below:  My adventurous parents.  Well, my dad anyways.  My Mom was a courageous conqueror.  2+ miles straight up with a rest about 2/3rds the way up of 7 steps of flat terrain before maneuvering uphill again.IMG_4865 IMG_4855 IMG_4820 Eden found a friend along the trail.IMG_4784

Hollywood Bowl! I went to three concerts.  Then the OC Fair for the Band Perry.   Harry Connick Jr. with Aunt Michelle visiting from Ohio —  IMG_2912IMG_2868Then….IMG_2910Not Pictured:  Circus Musica…Below The Band Perry with EdenIMG_2966 Quotes Worth Chewing On:

“Living did not mean one joy piled upon another.  It was merely the hope for less pain, hope played like a playing card upon another hope, a wish for kindness and mercies to emerge like kings and queens in an unexpected twist in the game.  One could hold the cards oneself or not: they would land the same way, regardless.” (p. 146) by Lorrie Moore in The Best American Short Stores 2013 Edited by Elizabeth Strout

“But our notebooks give us away, for however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable “I.”” (p. 136) — Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays

“News can make a person a little crazy also. News like, “We regret to inform you that you have failed your sanity hearing.” — Judy Ruiz, Oranges and Sweet Sister Boy

Songs on Repeat Mode:

I Shall Not Want by Audrey Assad

Flawless by Mercy Me

Break Up in a Small Town by Sam Hunt, really the entire album has been listened to over and over, Montevallo

Hell Of A Night by Dustin Lynch

Love and War by The RockAteers

I’m So Sorry by Imagine Dragons

Shine Your Light On Us by Robbie Seay Band

Books on My Nightstand:

Naked by David Sedaris

Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays by Joan Didion

The Bill from My Father by Bernad Cooper

Thirst by Mary Oliver

An Invitation to Silence and Solitude by Ruth Haley Barton

May your soul find refreshment.

Until Next Month,


June Reflections


June is a difficult month to navigate.  It’s a month of great sorrow and rich joy.  It’s a time of remembering the people who’ve died over the years this month — my grandpa, Beth, a significant mentor, my dear friend, Amy, who died last June 19th, and my son, Baby Long Beach, who died nine years ago, a stillborn.

In contrast, it’s also a month of celebrating many anniversaries — my brother, Bryce and his wife, Shannon, my brother and sister-in-law, Tony and Sara, Auntie Chris and Uncle Don made 50 years this year!, and my own wedding, 18 years ago to my best friend and confidante, Dennis.

Added to this month was the grief of saying good-bye as my dear, dear friend and maid of honor packed her house to move back to her hometown of Sacramento.  I’m not sure I even know how to process that one.  Luckily, I have two more weeks with her at the end of July when she returns from vacation.

It’s like this, June requires an emotional flexibility I’m not sure I possess.  On some level, I’d rather pull the covers over my head or put my head in the sand or walk straight through it without passing Go, without allowing anything to stop my forward progress until July 1st arrives.  However, to do so, to escape, would remove me from touching good.  Escaping doesn’t just eliminate the hard or negative feelings, it also removes the good and the joyful.  When we escape, we don’t have the luxury of choosing what we’re escaping from.  Instead, we numb it all.

So, I make it through June with friend gatherings of remembrances, with prayers from myself and others, with journaling, with celebrating dinners, with confessions…to God, to others, and with sharing — entering into my emotions knowing that whatever they are – hard or easy, I’m not alone.  And I know that when I’m not alone, I can face whatever this life brings my way — in celebration or in pain.  I’m deeply grateful for my friends.  And for how deeply I feel my gratitude, I’m grateful for June.  “She” reminds me every year that my life would be severely lacking without them.

Photo Review:

The month started off with a trip to Julian with our friends, The Ekeys.  Here Eden, lil e, Zinnie and Mek remind us to stay cool while hiking through alpine meadows at 80 degrees.

IMG_4440The next weekend was spent in Laguna Beach — rough I know!  Eden found the perfect reading spot for the afternoon. IMG_4469 We happened to be at the beach when 1,000 of Tuna Crabs migrated up from Mexico.  I read in the news these wouldn’t die; they merely needed to wait until the tide came in to catch a ride once more.  IMG_4481While visiting my parents in Washington during the last part of June, we met this adorable puppy and her 10 siblings.IMG_4622 I honed my shooting skills.  Hoping to bring me home some venison this fall.  IMG_4634Also while in Washington, we hiked and fished one of our favorite lakes, Tiffany.  We made out with our next day’s lunch, Eastern Brooke trout. IMG_4652Quotes Worth Chewing On:

“What deadens us most to God’s presence within, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are engaged in within ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought.  I suspect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort than being able from time to time to stop that chatter, including the chatter of spoken prayer.”  Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets

“Silence helps us drop beneath the superficiality of our mental constructs to that place of the heart that is deeper in its reality than anything the mind can capture or express in words.  It is a place of longing and desire and reaching for that which we do not yet have.  In this wordless place the whole of our person turns itself toward God and waits to be addressed by God.  This kind of prayer is standing in the presence of God with the mind in the heart; that is, at the point of our being where there are no divisions or distinctions and where we are totally one.  There God’s spirit dwells and there the great encounter takes place.  There heart speaks to heart, because there we stand before the face of the Lord, all-seeing within us.”  — Ruth Haley Barton, Invitation to Solitude and Silence

“Jesus dismantled our notion of identity as solely tied to a group, social status, or role.  When He commanded us to love our enemy, He invited us into serious self-reflection about how we perceive our meaning and purpose in this world.  The Incarnation represents the ultimate example of crossing and collapsing boundaries.  Jesus crossed over into the natural world to form a bridge between Creator and created.  He calls us to do the same with those we might consider strangers or enemies, because we were once strangers ourselves.  This is not just to a call to those who identify themselves as Christian activists — it is a call to all who call themselves Christ followers…..The Gospel is offensive.  Not just because it calls people to a higher moral standard or challenges a secular worldview.  The Gospel offends because it confronts fortified structures of power and privilege.  It threatens those who receive societal benefit for belonging to a particular group and trims the cultural hedges of a domesticated suburban life.  The Gospel contests national, religious, and social identity.  It demands that we cross over the dividing wall of hostility to reconcile with those who might threaten our way of life and to call the stranger a “native among us.” — Robert Welsh in an untitled article written for Azusa Pacific University’s Alumni magazine adapted from Welsh, R. & Alexander, P. (2012). Exemplars of Godly Justice.  Peacemaking and justice-seeking in dangerous contexts.  PentecoStudies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Research on the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, 11, 67-86.

“There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.” — Steven Wright in The Best Joke Book (period): Hundreds of the Funniest, Silliest, Most Ridiculous Jokes Ever by William Donohue

IMG_4700The following three poems are from What Love Comes to: New and Selected Poems by Ruth Stone —


I must be serious, the widow thinks,
I must face reality.
This isn’t a temporary separation.
(Perhaps the widow’s must is expectation.)
Actually the widow thinks he may be
in another country in disguise –
that one day he will come back.
He was only fooling.
That was someone else that they buried.


The widow is told by a great seer
that fifty-two is a magic number.
She consults the muse.
“We must get into a higher gear,”
the muse whispers. “We must shift
out of this phase.”
“Just one more about shoes,”
the widow begs.
The muse shakes her head.
“No. We must get back to the real thing.
The blood and meat of the world.”
The muse took the widow in her arms.
“Now say it with me,” the muse said.
“Once and for all…he is forever dead.”


The human animal has turned a corner.
We no longer recognize one another.
I am the old species
but I must not weep. If I weep for myself
I am twice discarded.
“Don’t week,” says the old brain,
“listen – I have it all on video
at half the price.”

Songs on Repeat Mode:

I Shall Not Want by Audrey Assad

Counting on Love by Matt McAndrew

Hot Gates by Mumford and Sons

House Party by Sam Hunt

Break Up in a Small Town by Sam Hunt

Girl Crush by Little Big Town

Round and Round by 3 Doors Down

Books on My Nightstand:

The Best Joke Book (period): Hundreds of the Funniest, Silliest, Most Ridiculous Jokes Ever by William Donohue

Thirsty by Mary Oliver

An Invitation to Silence and Solitude by Ruth Haley Barton

The Best American Short Stores 2013 Edited by Elizabeth Strout