Thursday, July 28, 2011

The best of summer

I've already told you some of my favorite things about summer here.

But the very best?

Straight from the field.

These beauties have been a part of every summer of my childhood.  My gramma grew them and we'd pick and eat as many as we wanted.

Then there's the freezer jam.  And berries on vanilla ice cream.  And raspberry cobbler.

Do you have yours yet??

Disclaimer:  I did not pick these berries.  Someone at the farm picked them for me.  This is one of the best ways to enjoy them!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summertime Web Watching

Photo credit: Brightwood Ranch Summer 2010

Are you doing a lot of cooking this summer?  I'm not. 
This is the time we look for easy, no-bake recipes.


Things like...

Chopped Salad with Shrimp and Lime Buttermilk Dressing


Peach Melba Spoom


Tangy Raspberry Fool

Anything lemon sounds perfect for a summer dessert.  But for this one, you will have to turn on your oven.

@Bake at 350

And now...
Some food for thought

@It's Almost Naptime
This will make you think


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Post Wedding

I'm going to go backwards and share some photos of after Lisa and Ray's big day yesterday because I don't have any wedding pics yet!

First, let me give you a peek into our prep...

All of last week was pretty wonderful.  My girls treated me to a mani-pedi (which I normally shy away from because strangers end up rubbing your hands and feet) and we did some shopping and errands together.  Everyone worked their tails off - Jeff especially.  I married a g-e-m.  More on that later.  Amy and Lindsey were both SO helpful and supportive of their sis, asking her what they could do, what she wanted.  They were wonderful.  Those times when all of us are together are becoming fewer and farther apart so I was soaking up every minute. 

On Thursday Lisa woke up with a swollen and painful eye - because things were going a bit too smoothly!  A visit to the ophthalmologist and some sample eyedrops calmed nerves about wedding photos. 

My two "sisters" from college days, Liane and Karen, came on Thursday afternoon and did all of Lisa's flowers.  We ordered them from Costc* and they were absolutely beautiful!  Lilies and roses.  Lisa switched things up at the last minute and added yellow and orange to her wedding colors of apple green, charcoal and white - but it was a perfect choice.  Those hot colors with that apple green looked stunning. 

Bridesmaids and girlfriends arrived on Friday.  I have to say that I love my daughters' friends.  They were incredible - such a support to Lisa and a huge blessing to me too.  They kept asking me how I was doing, how they could help me, if I needed anything.  I wanted to keep them all.  I wish I'd had the presence of mind to take pictures while all of this was going on but alas, I didn't.  Boo.

We had such a wonderful wedding day, full of great friends and family.  I have to admit to worrying a teensy bit about how everything was going to come together but Jeff and I agree that it just couldn't have been much better.  The bride was absolutely breath-taking.  My eyes are stinging just remembering that moment when she and her dad walked down the aisle.  It's a surreal experience is all I can say.

When the married couple (still getting used to that!) finally drove away with cans clattering from the back of the car, everyone who was left pitched in to help gather up all the remains and headed to our house.  All the cousins piled into cars and drove downtown to V*od*o donuts.  They came back with various cereal-covered pastry and bacon maple bars, which tasted surprisingly like pancakes, bacon and maple syrup - yum! 

Does this look good to you?

Blurry but I wanted you to see it.

In memorium - Amy Winehouse.
Portland is weird like that.

We took an oh-so-brief respite from all the eating to talk and reminisce.  Several of Lindsey's friends came over and then we all filled our plates with leftovers from the reception lunch: chicken kabobs, bbq pulled-pork sliders, pasta salad, cole slaw and fresh fruit.  It was a beautiful evening - about 80° on the back patio.  We played a rousing game of Jelly Beans.  I know what you're thinking... 'These people have some serious sugar issues' - but this had nothing to do with jelly beans.  It's just a great game for a big, overly-tired group of loud people. 

And then exhaustion began to set in.  I normally like to smooth out the clean sheets on the guest beds and be sure there are fresh wash cloths in the bathroom but I'm afraid these folks were on their own - I had no fuel left in my tank.  We scrounged up blankets and pillows and foam pads for all the young'uns and fell into bed.  When I got up at 6:30, we counted 17 people had spent the night.  There were bodies sprawled everywhere.  A couple of them had come in way after I lost consciousness but we decided that everybody had some connection with someone else and therefore was okay to be there.

Breakfast was disposable buffet-style - muffins, bagels, fruit, coffee and juice.  We scoured the house multiple times, finding a bunch of stuff people had forgotten to pack up (imagine that!):  phone chargers, car keys, deodorant, hair spray, shoes and articles of clothing.  The only thing left unclaimed were a laptop sleeve and a mini hair brush - not too bad!  We circled up for a final prayer and then sent everyone north to Tacoma and Seattle.  Sigh.

A highlight of my week was the card my sweet husband gave me right after the wedding.  My first thought was, 'Is there a card for husbands to give their wives after their daughter's wedding?'  But I don't think there is.  That he took the time to write his thoughts to me on that special day meant the world to me.

I am so incredibly blessed - I'm married to my best friend and we have three amazing daughters and now a son!  Jeff and I are on a really unusual, exciting, uncertain and fun journey together.  And this weekend was a big gift. 

Thank you God for forgiving my lack of faith, for always meeting me, for constantly surprising me.  YOU are amazing!

Wedding photos soon, I hope!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's Official

I ain't gonna give you no jive
My birthday reveals fifty-five
With my youth now in ashes
And a couple hot flashes
I'm thankful that I am alive

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Many people want to direct God,
instead of resigning themselves to be directed by Him;
to show Him a way,
instead of following where He leads.

Madame Guyon ~ Streams in the Desert

I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.
We are not able to plan our own course.
Jeremiah 10:23

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

yada yada yada

I know it's not my job to keep you informed but...

Have you seen this website?
It made me smile!

This makes me very sad:

This makes my mouth water:
I've made it once but it's on the List for snack food next week when the house will be full.
Along with this:

I read this:
and I did something I rarely do when reading a book...
I laughed out loud.
And then I sobbed.

And this made me grin and cringe and remember how weird Portland really is:

There's a new bumper sticker in town - a follow-up to the "Keep Portland Weird" sticker that's been around for quite a while. 


Saturday, July 9, 2011


Ah, Saturday - I love you.  Even though I don't go to an office Monday through Friday, somehow Saturday still feels different.  Slower.  Less full of to-do lists and phone calls.  More about being outside or reading a book. 

I'm still working on the whole idea of Sabbath.  Why is it the one commandment we seem to completely ignore?

I really wish I had asked Jeff to take the pics you'll see here today.  I just don't get the whole 'light' thing in photography.  I want to learn but haven't taken the time.  So these are dark and somewhat blurry.  Boo.

First in my series of unrelated things is a very exciting one for me - home-grown berries!!

Makes me feel like Mr. McGregor, though, when the squirrels nibble the the berries.  So this time we outsmarted them and put bird netting over the plants...

We put in raspberries for the first time and I didn't expect any berries this first year.

But this morning I spotted these beauties!

Yep, we have two raspberries!  Come over and I'll share!

The very sad news is that two of the three plants I bought have some sort of fungus (anthracnose, I've determined - sounds ominous, doesn't it?).

It is ominous - the plant is dead and the fungus spreads through the soil, infecting the other plants there.  So I guess we'd better enjoy those two berries because there won't be anymore raspberries there for a long time.  What did Mr. McGregor do about anthr*x?

I've been meaning to share a couple of 'after' pictures of our living room without the 40 year old drapes and with a fresh coat of paint.  Why?  I have no idea.  This is certainly not a blog about how to decorate, choose paint colors or turn a G**dwill coffee table into a cool bench for your mudroom.  But anyway, here they are:

We're really happy with how everything turned out.  Love it, in fact.  That's the good thing about living with something old and dirty - you really appreciate it when you finally get busy and clean things up!  A Craigslist light fixture, new knobs, black spraypaint and a few gallons of paint and vwah-la! 

Now it's time to get outside and enjoy this beautiful weekend.  I hope you enjoy yours!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It depends on where you're standing

My husband takes pictures.  He doesn't get paid to take pictures but somehow God is using his photography and videography skills in a whole bunch of different and kind of crazy-cool ways.  Of course the most famous way would have to be the pictures I post on this blog.  (Cue sound of three people clapping).

The first time I met Jeff, his face was behind a Nikon.  He had just turned 17, he had long hair, converse high-tops, thrift store pants and a fedora (think Indiana Jones before he existed).  Back then, he developed his photos at home in his mom's guest bathroom - black and white only.  When I went away to college, he would send me 'postcards' which were letters written on the back of one of his black and whites with a stamp up in the corner.

Fast forward 38 years.  (What?  Wait a minute.  We're not even that old!) 

The other day he had the opportunity to sit behind a video camera and film the founder of a really big and successful sporting goods company tell about how that company got started.  This man has it made in the world's eyes.  Jeff said it felt pretty amazing to even be in the same room listening to him talk about the beginnings of an empire.

Now go back about four weeks.  Jeff was behind the camera again - this time in a little town in Ethiopia just east of the Sudanese border. 

Here he was taking pictures of destitute families for our newest ministry called Adoption Ministry 1:27 - after James 1:27 which says "Care for orphans and widows in their distress."  Not one of these families included both a mom and a dad.  All had children on the verge of being orphaned or who were at risk. 

Their faces spoke volumes. 

We hope to match each of these 60 families with a family here in the United States who will sponsor them.  It was another sort of surreal moment when you stop and think about where he was and who he was with. 

And the great contrast hit me.  In the world's economy pyramid, Jeff was photographing those at the very top and those at the absolute bottom.  A bazillionaire and those with n-o-t-h-i-n-g.

In God's eyes, they are exactly the same.  But He does give us pretty specific instructions on how we're to treat and prioritize people.

Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.  Luke 9:48

I tell you the truth - when you did it to one of the least of these you did it to Me.  Matt. 25:40

I think by saying 'the least,' Jesus might have meant those who have nothing to offer me, nothing to make me feel important or honored.  He said that these are really the greatest.  And the real proof of my faith in Christ?  Serving them.  Meeting their needs. 

So although it was a thrill to be a part of filming a very wealthy businessman telling how he'd risen to the top (Jeff said he seemed like a nice guy too), the real honor was to try to help the blind grandmother who was somehow raising her orphaned grandson.  Or the desitute widow with four hungry children.

So why do I get bothered by the guy standing at the intersection with a cardboard sign and a dog?  Do I think I'm better than he is??

It depends on where I'm standing.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lovely Lily

I really am going to show some 'after' pics of our newly painted living room without the 40+ year old draperies.  But first...

I was at C*stco recently and I always walk through the plant section, even if I'm just there for K*rkl*nd bath tissue.  In the past I've purchased hanging baskets for Mother's Day, bedding plants and peony bulbs.  I certainly do not need to be buying any more plants right now as I am a bit overwhelmed with all the watering.  I don't have an automatic sprinkler or drip irrigation system.  We go out every day when it's warm (today it's 87°) and hand-water everything except the lawn. I actually enjoy watering - it's quiet time to think, pray or just enjoy the incredible miracle of what's coming up through the dirt. But enough is enough. 

However, I just couldn't pass up this Asiatic lily. 

I am not a lily-lover.  I think it's the foliage - too symmetrical for me.  But my friend Katy has one that blooms on her front porch every year and the size of the bloom combined with the scent sort of blows me away!  So when I saw this one - in an ugly plastic pot, with about ten unopened buds, for $12.99 - I put it in my cart.

It went out on the deck so it could get lots of sunshine but still be close enough to enjoy from the kitchen.  It took only a day before all the buds began to open.

Can you smell that heavenly scent??

I'm hoping what it says on the tag is true - that if I remove the spent flower blooms, it will continue flowering.

Only our fantastically creative, detail-loving, sensory-overload, beautifully loving God could have come up with yet another gorgeous reflection of who He is.  Who or what can compare to You?

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