Community Living, Well



One of the difficult things about where we live is we don’t have family within drop in distance.  As a result, we’ve had to create our own extended family.  Luckily, we have been cultivating friendships long before we had children so our long history with these friends has turned into a wellspring of fun and support.  One of the main commitments to our kids is that we will plan at least one vacation a year with lots of friends.

Our camping trip in August was absolutely amazing and filled with Ranger programs, sea life and lots of independent living for the middle school/high school kids.  They had the run of the land, something that’s rare for these city dwellers.  I have confidence these are the types of memories they will be telling their children about.

IMG_4953 The Ranger Progam — learning about seal life and the environment.


Where else can you practice your beam routine 10 feet above the ground?IMG_5284 Or watch the nest activity of baby seagulls and their parents?IMG_5243Where else can you climb rocks with your buddy?  Without parents? IMG_5206Or sing while hiking in the forest?

Since we had so much fun during our summer trips, a group of us also planned a winter trip to Lake Tahoe.  We weren’t disappointed.  I have no pictures of any one other than my dear friend, Shannon, because I couldn’t keep up with anyone.  Lucky for me, she willingly saw me down the mountain with my beginner level snowboarding skills.

IMG_4293 IMG_4330IMG_4291A mere glimpse of friends.IMG_4295Lakeside walk with a wonderful Lox and cream cheese ending.

As my friend, Mandy says, “This folks, is good living.”

May you find time to make lifetime memories with friends this year.  I promise, you won’t regret it.


Yearly Reflections — Finally


The last half of 2015 was a blog bust.  Hoping to get out more posts this year, including some important moments from last year.

  1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

I did a guided rock climb with my daughter and guide on a peak in the North Cascades. I also went hunting with my dad, two of my brothers, and husband in Wyoming. I successfully brought home some venison, at 337 yards using a 7MM.

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  1. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I successfully achieved many of my resolutions but failed in some areas, such as organization. It’s always difficult for me to only make a few resolutions that I’m more likely to keep. Instead, I go for the ideal and accept the reality that some of them will just fall through the cracks.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Dennis’s dear cousin, Emily, and her husband, Dave, gave birth to a son in December.

  1. Did anyone close to you die?

My father-in-law died this year.  I will miss his enthusiastic love for his family and the way he made you feel welcome.  My kids miss him tremendously.  He was an amazing grandpa.  Also, my childhood friend, Callie, lost her husband to a heart attack in late December.

  1. What countries or new places did you visit?

Jackson Hole, Wyoming


  1. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

Paper Organization!! I’m a mail avoider so when I sit down to take care of it, it’s a long process.

  1. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I’m not really one to pay attention to dates without reminders. This year there aren’t any significant date that sticks out to me.

  1. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I had two — finishing my memoir and sending queries out to writing editors to help me get it to the next phase and PAYING OFF MY SCHOOL LOANS. Getting a doctorate isn’t cheap.

  1. What was your biggest failure?

My blog. :/. I just didn’t create the time for blog writing. Another failure was practicing solitude more often. I had started the year hoping I could do quarterly retreats and after the first one, I didn’t schedule any others.

  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I have a hip injury that hasn’t healed. I continue to struggle to find a maintenance program so that it won’t torque on a regular basis, which throws off my knee alignment.

  1. What was the best thing you bought?

Concert tickets. I went to about 12 concerts last year and finally became a Hollywood Bowl subscriber. I decided if I was going to live in this city, I’d best do what I love – music. I saw everything from John Fogerty, B-52s, Heart to Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes and The Band Perry.

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  1. Where did most of your money go?

Most of our money went to our mortgage.

  1. What did you get really excited about?


  1. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Ugly Love by Griffin Peterson. This was a year of reaping the fruit of sticking in a marriage that has been extremely difficult at times. It was a year of knowing that we are committed for life and even if there may be instances of wanting to leave, they are fleeting and have been replaced with a feeling of dependency on the other that I’ve never felt before. The fruit we are bearing now isn’t always tasty but it’s present now. This is good.  In the words of the song, “Lovin’ isn’t always pretty, sometimes it’s ugly.”

  1. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? happier. I’m reaping the fruit of friendship – in marriage, with old, faithful friends, and in blossoming new friendships as well.
– thinner or fatter? The same. Pretty much stayed the same, for better or for worse.

– richer or poorer? Richer. Both Dennis’ and my business grew this last year.

  1. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d done more playing games with my kids. We love playing games together but we don’t create the space to do so often enough.

  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Dealing with mail and paperwork.

  1. How did you spend Christmas?

We spent our Christmas with my entire extended family in Washington State. It was full of sledding, cups of coffee, and laughing and connecting.

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Metal Creation for Bathroom

  1. What was your favorite TV program?

Mr. Robot. I do not recommend this show to everyone. It is dark. My Mom would not approve. However, I think it’s storytelling is genius so, for me, it’s worth the exposure all the darkness that’s in the script. What mainly attracts me to the story is it addresses things I care about – capitalism, greed, global consumerism, mass production, etc and the acting is great, in my opinion.

  1. What were your favorite books of the year?

This was a book of very little fiction reading, which is unusual for me. However, I was drawn to poetry, Memoir and essay writing this year. My favorite book was an old one, Naked, by David Sedaris. I loved his candidness about the struggle of just doing life as a gay man in the 1960s, whose parents did their best but feel well short of good enough. It’s the third book of his I’ve read and I haven’t met one I haven’t liked.

  1. What was your favorite music from this year?

Fall Out Boy’s album, American Beauty/American Psycho; Sam Hunt’s Album Montevallo; Imagine Dragons Album Smoke and Mirrors (Loved this concert – could almost reach out and touch them); Robbie Seay Band’s Psalms LP.

  1. What was your favorite film of the year?

Selma. I was moved by the courage of the lives portrayed and angered at the injustice and the oppression that still lives in the world today of millions of people around the globe. (This film was officially from 2014 but I watched in the beginning of 2015.)

AND Star Wars. I loved it, especially since I saw it with my kids, husband, dad and my favorite aunt and uncle!

  1. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I spent my birthday in Laguna Beach creating my own solitude and writing retreat. Second part of the question, unimportant. (J)

  1. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Having a clean garage.

  1. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

Comfy and unique. I love one-of- a-kind wearable artists and enjoy shopping every year at an art fair called, Artistic License in Costa Mesa.

  1. What kept you sane?

Connecting with God, friends and allowing others into my crazy head space.

  1. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

Life, lived well, is full of rest and restoration in addition to the hard work it requires to “run our race in such a way as to get the prize.” I have largely ignored the reality that running, literally, requires days of rest, stretching, and restoration, in order to get out and do it again over and over again. I think my life is coming closer to reflecting this important lesson.

Hoping to have more contact with you in 2016!