Monday, June 27, 2011

Family Camp week! (or just another week in paradise)

Here's just a little round up of family camp photos mostly taken with my wee little camera phone. The first couple are from texts that I sent to Scott to remind him of what he was missing the first three days. (I'm so nice that way.)

This post is dedicated to my few friends who are not facebook compatible. ;)

Here's Andrew up at bat! Jacob's watching on.

Daniel and Jacob in the boy's basketball tournament.


To the beach with Sally, Amanda and all the kiddos (6 kids, 6 and under)

So then on Wednesday (free day) the family split up. Tyler went to Canon Beach with the Walkers, and I stuck with the rest of the family since I wanted to make sure to get a nap in.
Which I did. ;)

We stayed close by and left with one intention and then debated 20 options in the car and then eneded up somewhere completely different. We decided to visit Cape Meares, which we couldn't believe we had never visited before. It couldn't have been more gorgeous!

The lighthouse


The amazing view looking south along the coast line

The lighthouse was the shorteset one I had ever seen.

Mom and Dad reading with Jacob about seals versus sea lions.

Looking north.

This looked to me right out of a Famous Five story . Love those books!

We had a picnic lunch. Here Daniel is modeling my sunglasses.

Sandcastle competition day! The weather was amazing.

Sand baby! Micah's family was busy working hard on their sandcastle.

I got sucked into helping another sandcastle team. I couldn't resist.

Ellen graciously agreed to help.

With Missy on the beach.

And my favorite photo from the whole week, me and baby Henry!

Rose Festival

I want to do a couple of catch up blog posts about the past couple weeks. We've had a banger of a couple weeks with our friends the Walkers (and Ellen's fiance Jason) visiting. On Saturday (the 11th) Jason and Ellen and Scott and I went up to Portland for the afternoon to see what the Rose Festival was about. I've always wanted to go for the parade so since no one wanted to get up early to go save seats (selfish!) I was happy to settle for the festival. And I did get to see a marching band which made me more happy than it should have. I love me a good marching band. :)

We had fun meandering up and then down the sidewalks looking a the big boats. Next year I'm hoping we can tour them on a weekday when they're aren't such long lines. My pictures taken in front of the Essayons which is a dredger that I had read about in this little book about workboats. I have no clue where I picked up this book but it's a fun little read.

Ellen and I waiting for Sara and Colin to arrive.

Afterwards we met up with some friends at McMenamins for drinks and dinner.

The weather was perfect and so was the company!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Voting on fear

So right now who get's to vote is a matter of discussion at our church. And it's been a good discussion I think. At least I'm enjoying it. But then again, I like debate. Especially when I'm right. ;) And obviously I'm humble about it! Um, just kidding. Hopefully I didn't really need to say that, but you never know.

This article about male voting and heads of households showed up on facebook and I'm resharing it for my lovely non-facebook friends. It contains Mark Horne's thoughts and was very interesting. Read it! And then we can debate it some more. :)

One thing that I find fascinating about the objection to female voting in the church, is people worried that it will lead to feminist leadership of the church (seen in churches accross America nowadays). While I understand that fear, I don't think that fear of an extreme is ever a reason to avoid doing something. In this case, the two ditches seem to be Patriarchy (only men) and Feminism (only women), thus to me the middle road and the wisest option, includes men and women.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fine lines

At Cape Meares Lighthouse

So things are kind of spastic around here. My laptop (which really isn't mine, but on permenant loan from my mumsy) apparently didn't like last week at the beach and has decided to rebel. Argh. So now I'm trying to figure out what in the world to do...

And then being me, I totally overanalyze it and get overwhelmed with all of the options. And then there's the question of what do I want (an Apple) and what do I need (nothing that fancy). And that's not even including the fact that I need to buy a new phone and I want a camera. Oh, the agony.

And then I wonder why in the world do I over analyze this sort of stuff? In the big picture, does it matter?

I wonder if over anaylzing things is crossing the fine line between responsibly researching and thinking things through and worrying. Which unfortunately boils down to not trusting God.
And then it's not good is when all the options lead to a fear to act. Sometimes I've found that if the way isn't obvious than it's not time to act. But sometimes it's all too easy to let the fear of being a perfectionist and getting it absolutely right isn't any better. I'm not quite sure I know where the line is drawn.

Which leads me back to community. And family. They can provide the wisdom and balance that I need. And for that I am grateful!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I always love it when you discover something new about Portland while running errands. In fact, I feel a whole post about the "correct" way to do errands coming up.

The other day we were driving and had to turn around. I turned onto a side street and we discovered a charming neighborhood of classic 1940/50's ranch houses.

I have some house plan books from decades ago, and this house looked like it popped right out of it.
I didn't get the feeling anything had changed for 60 years...

Whenever we discover a neighborhood that we really like, Mom and I will deem it to be like Los Altos or Colusa. Two small California towns (or at least, Los Altos used to be small) that our family has attachments too. Usually these neighborhoods have big trees, big lots, houses that don't all look the same (and were built around this time frame) and are fairly quiet. It's quite a prestigious award in our minds.

Loved the nice big white trim here. The red brick with the yellow paint also caught my eye.

This neighborhood was a nice discovery as it's nearby where we often run errands. Sometimes Mom and I like to stop the car and take a stroll while running errands. Since we don't really live in a neighborhood, it's fun to take advantage of the quiet roads and enjoy looking at the different houses.

This house had what looked like a full blown moat in front of it.
The moat was dry though and had some planks in it, which made it look like it was a mine shaft.
I imagine the person living there to be like the grumpy old man in Pollyanna.

This time, though, we had three young men with us. So it looked more like we were canvassing the neighborhood. And I think by the end the boys all enjoyed the walk. Sometimes, they need to be reminded to stop and smell the roses.

This house had a shorter than usual picket fence which I thought was interesting. Also, note the half bay window.

I always like taking pictures of houses that have ideas we could use on our house. Even though our house wasn't built until the 1970's, it's looks are right out of the 1950's.

Loved the boxwood here. And the pop out window. And the small window to the right of the door.

Not that we need any more ideas around here! I think we have a dream list a mile long.

This was one of my favorite houses. You can't see it so well here, but the porch has arches in between the posts.
Our porch desperately needs them. There was also an adorable side entrance porch.
The shrubs in front of the porch remind me of my grandparents house. Happy sigh.

Since this neighborhood is so close to where we run errands, I have a feeling it will be a discovery we'll enjoy for a while!

Monday, June 6, 2011

How to make shopping fun

Today I went to the mall. And I had fun.

And those two sentences don't usually go together for me.

I'm not a born shopper. In fact, when I was younger, my wonderful friends/sisters/cousins would visit from California and they couldn't wait to hit the Woodburn Outlets. So off we would trundle to the outlets and I would resign myself to an afternoon of shopping. I'm guessing I wasn't as gracious as I could have been. (Sorry, girls!)

Each year we would do the rounds of shops and eventually I just focused on hanging out with the girls and when they disappeared into the netherworld of Gap and it's changing rooms, I would pull out a book and sit outside. I know, shameful. But I'm pretty sure they once spent an hour in there. :D

And this isn't to say that I've never had fun shopping. It's just not my favoirte cuppa tea. Not that I drink tea.... but that's another story.

So this is some of the things I've learned to help make shopping fun with friends and without.

1. Have money to spend. Even if it's just $5 and all you can buy is a hair clip, you'll feel better. Shallow, but practical.

2. Focus on having a positive attitude. I know it can be easy to feel sorry for yourself or a victim if a)you don't have any money and everyone else is buying stuff or b)you can't find anything you fit. See point 1 for an easy fix. If you are with other people , and I'm assuming in this case you are, else you wouldn't be shopping, think of this time as quality friend time, not shopping.

3. Focus on praising the Lord if you can't follow point 1. And remind yourself that there are seasons. Seasons to spend money and seasons to save. Seasons to be between sizes and seasons where you are a consistent size.

4. Know thy wardrobe. Know what you need versus what you want. So that if you do come across the perfect item, you might be able to splurge on a key missing piece for your wardrobe. And you won't be so tempted by stuff you don't need. If you have a hard time remembering what you do own, take pictures of your wardrobe and store them on your phone. Group your clothing together in logical ways (maybe all your dresses or by outfits) and take a picture for future reference.

5. Practice regular shopping. Sounds silly, eh? Because of my concussion and appointments, I'm out and about a lot more than I ever used to be (by myself!). This makes it easier for me to swing by a store or the mall and buy what I should be buying, instead of putting it off. Right now, when I go to the mall, instead of being overwhelmed with all the stuff that I should be buying because I haven't bought any clothing for six months, I know exactly what I need. There's no this huge sense of pressure to find everything I need for the next six months in one hour. Obviously this isn't always practical, but it's made a huge difference for me.

6. Learn from your mistakes. Analyze purchases that you never wear and figure out why you don't wear them. For me a common one is the length of a shirt. I can't tell you how many shirts I've bought that are eventually too short to wear with pants. Often I would try on a shirt, buy it, and then someone would throw it in the dryer and it would shrink and be too short to wear with pants. I've finally learned where that sweet point is and I stick to it. I've also learned that the length of shirt I like with a skirt is completely different with pants. And not to let shirts get thrown into the dryer!

7. Don't be afraid to buy something and then return it. Especially, if you are shopping by yourself. This may sound silly, but last month I found six dresses I loved at a store, brought them home and got second opinions. Then I returned half of them. I figure if I like it and my mom (or maybe some brothers) likes it, I can't go wrong. It sounds silly, but a lot of the time they catch something that I didn't see. Or they help me figure out why it just doesn't quite work and then I know what to avoid next time.

8. Don't go when you are hungry or exhausted! It just leads to going in circles, feeling overwhelmed or feeling like having a temper tantrum.

9. Know the items that always work for you. Whether it be colors, shapes or lengths, know what makes you look good. Chances are the things that you are attracted to are what looks good on you. I highly recommend at least figuring out what "season" of coloring you are, or at least whether you look good in yellow or blue tones. I wore the wrong colors for years, because that was what my Mom wore and I didn't know any different. Some people can wear almost any color but if you are like me and look seasick in pale green or like corpse in white, it can be very helpful to learn more about it! It took a while, but I've finally figured out (thanks to books and practice) what colors look good on me. And I know not to waste time trying on a cute top that's in the wrong color.

10. Don't feel too shallow. Obviously, if you are spending more time at the mall then you should be, you might be shallow. But the other ditch is believing that appearance doesn't matter, when in fact it does. Very much. Women are supposed to be beautiful (both inside and out) and should strive for that. There have been books written about that, so I'm not going to explain myself too much, but the Bible often describes Godly women by their physical beauty. I have an Uncle who was a druggie/hippy until he met the Lord in his mid-twenties. He promptly went out and bought new clothing because he realized he needed to dress like the son of the King. Obviously there are many different standards of beauty and there are certain times and activities where it is impossible to be beautiful, but most of the time, it's good to look nice. :D

Wow, I think that's all for right now. I actually had no clue that this was going to turn into such a long post. Maybe anti-biotics make me ramble...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Whose story?

Topaz keeping me company among all my snifflings.
I never realized how beautiful the view is from this angle.

While suffering under sinus/tonsil infection stuff hasn't been fun this past week, it has been good.

Good in the sense that I, once again, was reminded that this is not my story, my life that I am living.

It's His story. And it's His life that he has bestowed on me.

I'm not a victim or a puppet as many philosophers have philosophized. But I am at the same time, the heroine, the side story, the sinner, the winner (and many other titles) in the story that my Father is writing for me along with everyone else here on this crazy planet.

I am not a victim. I am not a puppet. Instead of focusing on myself and my needs, what I need to ask myself is "Am I participating in His story and am I doing it willingly?"

What I have control over is being a willing participant. The story can go on with me sitting in the sidelines watching. Or the story can go on with me butting my character into the story lines where I don't belong.

The key there, is moderation with wisdom. To know when you are falling into one ditch or the other.

Knowing when you aren't the main show, think Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, and looking like an idiot for pushing in where God's said, "Not yet, or no this is not a part of the perfect plan I have for you". Or knowing when it's time to step up and do something, and not just sit there and watch the world go by, like Mrs. Bennet perhaps?

Often, I am not afraid to participate in this life, I just want to do it on my terms. I am willing, but only willing for what I want. Not necessarily for what God wants.

One of our pastors at church talked recently about saying "Yes, Lord" at the beginning of each day. The days I remember to say that and to pray that the Lord's desires would be my desires, it's so much easier to remember throughout the day, that it is His Story, not my story.

This seems pretty perfect right now!

What also helps is when life does seem almost perfect (at this moment I'm siting on the lawn chair basking in the warmth of what may be our warmest day this year) is to pray proactively for the moments that you know won't be perfect. Instead of waiting to be in the middle of the perfect storm and praying for peace and wisdom, how much better is it to begin praying before the storm comes?

And to pray that I would remember, remember, remember that it's His Story. Not mine. And I'm going to be thankful for that.