Sunday, April 27, 2014

Do You Accept Hugs? {a repost}

Yesterday I was in the Dollar Tree with my dad, looking for some notecards.  I didn't find any notecards I wanted but somehow I came away with a few things I probably didn't need anyway.

Oh, and one thing that didn't even cost a dollar!

While browsing in the card section, I felt a faint tap on my arm.  I looked over (down, really) to see a tiny little woman with smooth skin and a beautiful white puff of hair on her head.  She couldn't have been younger than 85.

"Excuse me.  I'm so sorry but I forgot my magnifying glass and I wonder if you would read to me what this card says on the inside."  She smiled shyly and handed me an anniversary card from the 'Religious' section.

"I'd be happy to!"  I read the sentiment - a rhyming verse about abiding love, God's blessing on marriage and the joy of wedded bliss.

"That will be just right.  My daughter and son-in-law have just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary and I don't know how it happened but somehow I forgot their anniversary for the very first time!"

She shook her head with a smile and laid a wrinkled hand on my arm.  "He is just like a son to me - I didn't have any boys, just three daughters."

"Oh, I have three daughters too!"

She looked at me like she couldn't believe her ears.  And then she whispered, "Do you accept hugs?"

We embraced right there in the Dollar Tree card aisle - mothers of daughters, no longer strangers.  It was her daughter's anniversary and I got a gift!

Index cards, security envelopes, gift bags, ribbon:  $ 5
A hug from a sweet new friend: Priceless

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Barista Brawl

In case you haven’t made your travel plans yet, I’m here to remind you that this weekend is the annual US Coffee Championships in Seattle, WA.  Coffee is dear to my heart.


I haven’t ever attended the Coffee Championships but I’d love to one day.    They include a Barista championship, a Brewers Cup championship, a Latte Art championship, a Cup Tasters championship and a Roasters Choice championship.


This is serious business, folks.  To quote the good people at the US Coffee Championships:  “The champion is regarded almost as a cult figure.”  In the Barista  division, entrants are judged on presentation and showmanship as well as taste.


A few quotes from Baristas at the competition: 

“You’ll find with this coffee, every sip changes.” 

“Can you almost smell those burnt sugar aromatics?”

“The co2 that I’ve charged the strawberries with is releasing into the espresso.  Like, you can see it bubbling.”  

Last year’s winner

Nobody loves a good cup of coffee more than me.  I want to attend this event one day because I’d love someone to say to me “Please enjoy the full-bodied flavor of your first course and I’m going to prepare your cappuccino now.”

The winner of the US Championship goes on to compete in the World Barista championship which will be in Rimini, Italy.  I guess since I’m missing the one in Seattle, I’ll just go to that one.

FREE A_weddell_seal_in_latte_art_(8284948684)

See you there?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to live because of Easter

So because Jesus took our punishment on the cross for us, paid what we owed with His blood and came out of that tomb alive, it means that we can boldly come right into God’s presence with complete freedom and confidence.

Our sin was like a thick curtain that separated us from Him.  A wall.  A barrier that we felt in millions of different ways.  But Christ's death created a new and life-giving way through it.  Now we have free, unlimited access into the Most Holy Place - right up close to the Father. 

And since we have Jesus, living today as the way to God and Master over all of us who receive His gift of grace, let's go right into God's presence with honesty and vulnerability, leaning our entire selves on Him, absolutely confident in His power and wisdom and goodness. 

For our once-guilty consciences have been washed clean with Christ’s blood - because it takes blood to erase sin.  Our lives have been cleansed and rearranged and changed so we have new priorities, new motives, a new purpose. Now we can be confident that we're presentable inside and out!

Let's keep a firm grip on His promises, letting His word fill our thoughts and shape our expectations, because God can be trusted to keep His promises – He is faithful! 

Let’s think of ways we can motivate each other to love people well. 

And let's not neglect meeting together, even though it's easier to stay home on Sunday morning or skip bible study or avoid those who bother us.  We need the friction and challenge and growth that relationships bring.  

We need to encourage each other, especially in the times we are in right now.   Because Jesus could be returning to take us home any time now!
                                                             based on Hebrews 10:19-25

Friday, April 18, 2014

Death and resurrection

There are so many talented writers who blog.  It’s humbling and inspiring all at the same time. 

For this Resurrection weekend, I thought I’d share several of my favorite quotes this week…


“Honestly, I don’t enjoy Holy Week.  As an optimist, walking through the darkness and hopelessness the witnesses of the events felt makes me squirmy.  I don’t want to linger in the dark parts, I want to fast forward to the celebration Resurrection Sunday… but doing so cheapens the very thing we celebrate.”  @lotsofscotts

Because we are people of the Resurrection. We believe in the impossible. We hope for the improbable.  @weareTHATfamily
“I believe that Jesus asked for us to remember Him during the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine every time, every meal, every day—no matter where we are, who we are, what we’ve done.  If we only practice remembrance every time we take Communion at church, we miss three opportunities a day to remember. What a travesty!”  @aholyexperience
Condemned. You pardoned me
Bound. You ransomed me
Orphaned. You adopted me
Dead. You died for me
Wretched. You washed me
Buried. You raised me
Powerless. You filled me
Purposeless. You sent me
(Be sure to read all of Shaun’s beautiful poem ‘Downward Mobility’ at the link above.)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Digital Brag Book

Remember when women would pull a book like this out of their purse to show anyone who happened to slow down long enough?


Remember that you politely said how adorable her grandbabies were and told her they looked just like their parents? Well I am that grandma and this is my 2014 version. 

But really, have you EVER seen anything as precious as this? 


Of course I am married to a WONDERFUL photographer. 



Which means the Papa isn’t in many/any of the pictures.


Lisa is such a good mommy.


What a joy it is to watch your daughter with her own little girl. 
I catch myself goofy-grinning at them often!


And this?  I love how much Hadley’s aunties love her too.


We are all crazy over her.


Absorbed in her new book... who can resist a great story with mooing and woofing and fuzzy pictures?

Lisa and Hadley e

I’m always in awe of all the products and gadgets that we never had…
this squeezy stuff is genius!


A fun dinner out for Ray’s birthday!  He is in fire academy while working full time so time with him these days is rare.  We’re SO proud of him.


One of our three grand-dogs, Biscuit, who is growing exponentially every time we visit.  She is four months old and every inch a puppy.


Here are all three… because the brag book wouldn’t be complete without them!

Then there is the video!  Can you afford another 40 seconds?  You'll be rewarded with dimpled knuckles and some amazing teething biscuit-twirling skills!

Jeff and I ask each other, “Is it really just us or is she not the cutest thing ever?”


I want to be careful because everybody knows their grandbaby is the cutest.


And all the grandparents everywhere said “Amen.”

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On my nightstand

The Antelope in the Living Room
This was a really humorous look at marriage by a really humorous blogger, Melanie Shankle.  It’s good to laugh at ourselves, don’t you think?

Killing Kennedy
Since I enjoyed Killing Lincoln I thought I’d give this one a try.  For me, it was a discouraging look into the life of a US president.

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger
This was a short story about a guy who curiously and somewhat reluctantly accepts a dinner invitation from Jesus Christ and the conversation they have about the man’s cynicism and doubt.  I thought there were some great points made and wonder how a non-believer would like it.

God grew tired
God Grew Tired of Us
  This is written by one of the Lost Boys of Sudan – one of over twenty-seven thousand who escaped that country’s violence in the mid 1980’s.  John tells his story with heart-wrenching detail.  I think it is so important for us to know what people on the other side of the world have and are still living through.  I loved a book by another Lost Boy: Running for My Life which I highly recommend.  And don’t miss the movie (probably available through your library!):

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Links I Liked

Oh this is a good one! 
Eggcorn: a word or phrase that results from a mishearing or misinterpretation of another, an element of the original being substituted for one that sounds very similar or identical.
The first one that came to mind for me was ‘all of the sudden’ instead of ‘all of a sudden’. 

How Busy People Make Time to Read-And You Can Too
I saw this on Ann’s blog (I love her weekly collection of links) and though I don’t have to work at making time to read, I know a few people who wish they read more but don’t seem to have the time. 

Kay Warren: A Year of Grieving Dangerously
"As the one-year anniversary of Matthew's death approaches, I have been shocked by some subtle and not-so-subtle comments indicating that perhaps I should be ready to 'move on.' … I have to tell you – the old Rick and Kay are gone. They're never coming back. We will never be the same again."

You Won’t Believe This and It Really Happened
Sex trafficking is called the crime hidden in plain sight.
What does a pimp look like? Where does he operate? How does he gain possession of a new girl? These are questions we all need to think about. The answers might surprise you.

She’s Somebody’s Baby Girl
@SMART GIRL stupid world
Maybe her parents cherished her, maybe they didn’t. But God DOES. She is precious and valuable to Him, and therefore she should be precious and valuable to US, the church.

10 Signs You Might Have a Need for Approval
I have to admit to at least 7 out of these 10.  You too?  A good reminder.

Kids Were Here
I just love this blog… a group of photographers documenting evidence that kids were here.
Spend some time scrolling through these wonderful pictures!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New in the garden


Raspberry Shortcake_web image_950x490

Have you heard of this new plant yet?  It is a compact berry plant designed to be grown in a pot.  This Raspberry Shortcake version is thornless, requires very minimal care and produces "a bumper crop" of full-sized, super-sweet raspberries year after year.  It doesn’t get much better than that!  I bought a plant today and will get it into a large container ASAP.

This won’t replace the raspberries we have in the raised bed but I’m anxious to see how it produces what, for me, is the taste of summer.

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We have a bird bath near the back patio that sits up against a low stone wall and it will (hopefully) be surrounded by hollyhocks this year.  This area is one that doesn’t drain well when we get our occasional Oregon rain so I wanted to find a perennial that could tolerate that soil.  I can’t wait to see how these will look!

                                                                                                Source: HGTV
Well, that’s exactly what it will look like, minus the benches and the other shrubs and the dark, leafy background.  And that pretty scalloped bird bath.


For years I’ve been faithful to plant geraniums, usually from tiny starts.  And I LOVE geraniums.  But I decided to go with a perennial in the front yard where I normally have annuals in an effort to curb my flower budget.

Dahlias are one of the most incredibly designed blossoms on earth, don’t you agree?  Just look at those petal formations!!  God is the ultimate artist.  Jeff planted 15 tubers in vibrant shades of pink, orange and red in amongst the currently-blooming tulips.  I also got some ‘dinner plate’ dahlias, which are just stunning in their size and color, to have for cut flowers.  My only worry is the bees… apparently they love the dahlias even more than I do and it’s iffy whether or not I'll be able to get near the plants to deadhead or bring in cut flowers.

RABBIT TRAIL:  Did you know that fear of bees is officially called melissophobia?  At least it has a pretty name.  I have dutifully passed this fear down to my children.  If I'm going to be completely honest, it’s actually an all-emcompassing fear of insects – entomophobia.  I tried so hard to hide my terror from my kids when they were little but completely failed.  Living as we did in the southern California desert meant we had an occasional cockroach.  BIG ones.  I remember like it was yesterday trying to hold in a scream so that I could either spray or whack them but I always ended up squealing like a baby – especially if they flew directly into my face.  I usually had three girls huddled right behind me, matching me shriek for shriek.  I have even been known to try to bribe our youngest into killing one of the monsters.  She would never do it.  She always has been a smart kid.

That’s it for now… until I visit a nursery or garden center and see something new I just must try in our garden.  It’s called horticompulsion.  Or maybe it is herbamania?  Whichever it is, I’ve got it bad.

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