How tragic that the same time our country is suffering with an obesity epidemic we also suffer from a skinny jeans fad.

I'm all about making use of the crock pot. Especially in the fall. But cheesecake? Seriously? I think your cheesecake standards may be too low if this is acceptable. It's like equating the jello no bake cheesecake with a dreamy slice from the Cheesecake Factory.

Confession: I use google as one giant spell checker.

I bet the same guy who added the extra 'r' in February is the same guy that came up with the spelling for Wednesday.~ Will Farrell (not a direct quote mind you...he has a potty mouth.)

I probably should seek professional help when it comes to menu planning and grocery shopping.
Step one~ go through almost every one of the 121 dinner recipes plus the 204 dessert recipes I've pinned (don't judge me...desserts are yummy) and confirm self diagnosis of food ADD.
Step two~ Force myself to get a grip, choose a loose menu to follow for the upcoming week and make a grocery list.
Step three~ go to grocery store and buy items on list and while there edit said list adding in random items I come across that surely I meant to add at home if only I had not been so distracted by all the pinterest recipes
Step four~ return home and put groceries away and immediately begin new list of items that somehow I had not crossed off previous list nor purchased.

If we actually believe John Tesh's claim of a new and improved life in two minutes or less delivered over the radio then we deserve whatever kind of world we live in.

I watch too much sci-fi. I know this because when I was brushing my teeth and saw gray foam my first thought was not that I had eaten blueberries for breakfast. My first thought was to wonder if I had developed a "trouble" a la Haven style. If I had not come to my senses I probably would have continued down a thought trail worthy of a Fringe or Alphas episode I'm sure.

My kids race to grab quilts and throws each night for bed. It's not because the quilts are exceptionally comfy (although the green one made by my friend Lori is a house favorite) or because it is exceptionally cold. We live in Florida people. No, it's because they have discovered that sleeping with the throws or quilts means that making their beds the next morning is an almost non task. Lazy and ingenious. Not sure what that means.


No, not the one in Russia. The one here in the good ol' US of A. The one northwest of me and almost as far away as you can get and still be in the continental US Moscow. You know, the one where my oldest wants to go to college? The idea of which freaks this momma heart out just a little because it's so far away. But there is so much good there that I can't imagine her going anywhere else anymore than she can.

Part of the reason Rob and I were there last week was for the Grace Agenda conference (which was great!) and to check out New Saint Andrews. We have a lot of crossover in our church and school communities with the college. Trinitas alumni have gone on to the college and the school has had several teachers that are graduates from there. Considering that Sarah will need to be getting paperwork turned in this time next year we figured it was time for us to go ourselves and see it in person.

So, it was everything we thought and expected. The community it has established is rich and fertile. The two main churches connected to NSA are doing a fine job cultivating that community as well as serving the area around them. In short it was pretty amazing.

We were able to sit in on classes and lectures; as well as attend a debate that was fairly interesting. We met a ton of people, renewed some previous acquaintances and I am really looking forward to Sarah going for a visit next year.

I'm also kind of excited about going to the weekly farmer's market too. It was so awesome. Lots of vendors, craftsmen and food. It was colorful, bright, and a photographers dream Saturday morning. May I also just point out that 1.) The produce was huge. Huge I tell ya. I realize that the farmland up there is better, I guess, than what is around here but seriously!  I was amazed at the size and quality. Which leads me to point number 2.) These people came prepared to sell stuff. No ridiculous shaky tents and lawn chairs with a couple of tiny plastic baskets of veggies, no piddly amount of wares...they came with baskets and bins loaded with stuff.

Comparing it to the Pensacola Farmer's Market (do not get me started on Milton's pitiful attempt) it really isn't that much bigger but it felt more open. The one on Palafox Street seems so confining now after seeing the one in Moscow. Which is a shame because we have some lovely vendors around here and while our produce may not grow as large I think it could be marketed better and be more popular than it is. I do know that I'd be more inclined to make it a family event if it were more like what I saw there. But that's just me.

Enough of my rambling though. Enjoy Moscow's farmer's market!


















The summer before Sarah went into the 9th grade she had to read Huckleberry Finn. She hated it. Then school started and the first couple of weeks were spent going through the story with her teacher. He expanded her knowledge of the story penned by Mark Twain and helped her understand it. When they were finished two things had happened. First, she liked the story much more and  second, she actually wanted to reread it.


Over the weekend I listened to a conference about being people of story. Not just some random story either, but His story; THE story He is crafting and writing. It's not really a question of if we will be story tellers but what story we will tell. The idea being that we are all telling a story...either a good one or bad one...a story that reflects truth, beauty, and goodness or lies, ugliness, and rottenness. We're either reflecting back the greater story, the story of who God is, or we're telling a broken and fractured story marred by sin.

A husband and wife tell a story not just about each other but what they believe about marriage and Jesus and His bride, the Church.

Parents and children tell a story about God as Father.

Friends tell a story about Jesus as Friend.

How we use our money tells a story of God as Provider.

How we are with neighbors (the ones next door and people in general) tells a story about God as Creator.

The speaker went on to share that we shouldn't just be story tellers but story readers as well. If I am in a story and you are in a story and the guy down the street is in a story and the check out girl is in a story then it makes sense that we should be reading each others stories. God uses these stories to teach us, to reveal something to us whether it's a warning or encouragement, or lessons in foolishness and wisdom. She also went on to tell us why we don't want to read other people's stories.

We dress it up with the oh so spiritual quip of "Judge not, lest you be judged" but the truth of the matter is more along the lines of, "Don't look lest you be looked at". If I read your story I am inviting you to read mine. And you may read quite a different story than the little fairy tale I have crafted for myself. And who really wants to be the emperor being told he has no clothes on?

But here's the thing. We need proof readers in our life. We need editors to look for errors in our stories. We need each other to add texture and plot to our stories. We need to teach each other, and most assuredly to learn from each other, in the same way that Sarah learned to love Huck Finn from having someone else help her read it.

My Mother kept our children for us while we were in Idaho. I have been thinking a lot about this idea of story telling and I wanted to know what she read while she was in my home for a week. So I asked her. I asked her to tell me what story she read in how I care and tend for my home. How I manage the everyday stuff. It seems I have a pretty emphatic chapter on which way light switches should be positioned if there are multiple ones for a single room :-)

I also gathered the courage to ask her about my kids. What story did she see from each of them? What story did they tell as siblings? What story did she read about how Rob and I parent and govern our home and family?

The important thing about our proofreaders is that they need to be people we can trust to be honest. People who will speak truth into our stories and not just give us some fluffy feel good pats on the back. My Mother wasn't mean or ruthless slashing her way through my world with a giant red marker but she answered my question. She confirmed some things that I thought I was seeing and she helped me get a good perspective on the overall story and how some of the individual plot lines were connecting and conflicting with each other.

It's not easy to lay the manuscript of your life open for others to read much less edit. But if we are going to tell the story well we must. Each day is a new chapter fresh with new mercies. Each situation and circumstance is an opportunity to share the story of God, His love and grace with those around us.

What story are you telling?



Revisiting this post and sharing with Jennifer.


I have a love/hate relationship with flying. Once up in the air I am perfectly fine...I'm like a little kid with her face pressed against the pet store window. The perspective is, obviously, new and different and I just sit and stare in awe at the world laid out before me and marvel at His goodness and creativity.

However.

There is the whole taking off and landing business. The litany of "I don't want to die. I don't want to die." is broken only by the chorus of "I wish I had written letters to my kids telling them how much I love them so they'll be comforted after I die in a fiery plane crash."

Like I said though, once I'm in the air I am fine. The first leg of our trip we had the company of our friend Al. As you can probably tell he and Rob were thrilled to be up and among the general population at such an early hour.




The timing of our flight gave me a view of sunrise that I have never experienced. I watched the sun come up over the clouds. It was quite simply amazing.


 I've been a cloud gazer all of my life. Clouds can project such drama in the sky.



They fascinate me with their various forms, shapes and textures. I point them out frequently to my kids so I was thrilled to take this next image and show them the "top" of the clouds.



As far as the flying part, it was completely and thankfully uneventful. (Side note: I always con myself into thinking that it isn't so bad, that I was just worrying about nothing and the return take off and landing won't be a big deal and I will be all things calm, cool, and collected. Um, no. I still go through my song and dance of not wanting to die. Every. Single. Time.)

I discovered on this trip that my beloved has a serious affection for airplane cookies. Whether I wanted anything or not I am to always smile and request the cookies.



A few observations about flying: Airline stewardesses are not hot young things in spike heels traveling to exotic locales. Middle aged women in comfortable shoes with kind voices was the actual norm. Observation #2: Planes are ridiculously noisy and extremely cramped. And don't get my started on the bathroom. Hollywood takes a lot of liberty in their portrayal of flying.



We flew from Pensacola to Atlanta, Atlanta to Portland, Portland to Seattle, and Seattle to Pullman, Idaho. I've never been to the northwest before and the landscape was so foreign to me. Looking down from 30,000 feet shows a crazy quilt like pattern of farms and fields that at this time of year were warm with browns and greens. (There is a blue tint to airplane windows so please forgive the odd cast of blue to some of these.)



You could see the pattern of irrigating the crops and how it made some quirky growth patterns. I laughed and took this image for Sam because of it's pac man shape.



I've grown up on the gulf coast which is known mainly for beaches and not its rivers. I am not a river person. I've realized over time that this is because I have never been exposed to real rivers. No offense meant to all my local friends who are river people but there is no comparison to the Blackwater River here and what I saw of the Columbia River. It's like comparing a dirty scraggly headed street urchin to a princess.



And the mountains. Oh, my goodness. Utterly amazing.




 I also have a new working definition for the phrase, "middle of nowhere". As far as the eye could see there were vast empty hills. And then, right smack dab in the middle of it sat this little town.


The airport is in the middle of a bunch of wheat fields. From a photographer's standpoint the light in the northwest is completely different from here in the south and absolutely wonderful. I don't know how to explain the difference but it's there.



 We turned left. But that's another blog post for another day.


When Claire was about three you could ask what her favorite color was and she would always give the unusual answer of white. How many three year old girls have you ever met that choose white to be their favorite color? Pink ~ standard. Purple ~ normal. Maybe a blue or a green. But white? She's the only one I've ever heard answer that way. (True story...we were at a school function for her big sisters and she got SO excited to see little cups of white ice cream. It was adorable.)

The theme for this month's blog circle was color. I like color. My kids will randomly ask me what my favorite color is and it depends on my mood. But for some reason as I thought about this project I couldn't get away from white. I realize that for most of us we see white as colorless...the complete absence of color. White is basically the opposite of color. Which is true.

Only it's also the presence of all the colors.

Seriously. Google the question, "Is white a color?" and you'll pull up over 400 million results. I clicked through the top five and the answer is yes and no and really depends on what you're actually asking. It's gets pretty technical pretty quickly and I just wanted to take pictures of white stuff. I didn't get very far trying to understand the differences so I just went with it.

Colors are often associated with various emotions. But white...white reflects back what we see with our mind's eye, with the color palette of our thoughts.

 There is something very soothing about white sheers billowing away from the breezy open window.

The wistfulness of a dandelion.

The excitement of pristine sneakers the night before the first day of school.

The purity of true love in a white wedding gown.

The softness of beauty seen in the petals of a daisy.

The fuzzy promise of warm socks and comfy t-shirts in a ball of cotton.

The unlimited creativity of a blank canvas.

White is open, receptive, vast and endless with possibility.


I think I may have a different answer the next time my kids ask me what my favorite color is :-)

Don't forget to click through to Baraboo Wedding + Lifestyle Photographer - Brie + Rob to enjoy more of this kaleidoscope of color blog circle.



It was nice and rainy this morning. It was also the first Saturday following the first week of school so I was content to be in my pajamas and sipping coffee at nine thirty. (Okay, yes, I was also on pinterest. Don't judge me.)   Two of the girls had stayed the night with my Mother and they were going to be heading to the beach. I was happy for them to be going but no thank you, I was quite happy to be staying home.

Until my oldest woke up. Nothing would suit the child but we call Nana and see if they were still at the beach. And wouldn't you know it they hadn't even left yet.

Do you see where this is going?

That's right. To the beach. (I know, I know. I mentioned it was rainy. Here. In Pace we had rain. In Pensacola, not so much.)

So we went and it was wonderful. Sunny. Gorgeous. Just enough surf to keep everybody entertained.

That's when the most amazing thing happened. I'm watching my Mother playing in the surf with my kids, listening to their laughter and it was like having a flashback to my own childhood. It was like a transparency of an image was being overlaid upon another and they were melding into one. For a minute the laughter and squeals of my own children blended with the echoes of mine and my sisters. It was the splashing leaping bodies of my kids converging into the memory of that same moment thirty-five years ago of my Mother teaching us to body surf in the waves.

The joyful threads of my own childhood memories intertwined with that moment...that memory being created right then was strengthened by ones that had come before it. The intangible things we give our children...love, security, our faith and beliefs...they will interweave into their own lives and memories. Hopefully giving them strength, setting their feet on firm high places.

One day I hope one of my kids will be sitting on the edge of the shore and when the laughter of my grandchildren flies through air I hope they remember this day.



Have you ever come across a new recipe and you have everything on hand to make it? Gotta love it when that happens. Yesterday morning as I was enjoying a quiet cup of coffee and browsing pinterest (part of my daily routine) I came across this recipe.
And it looked so good.
And we were having fellowship meal at our house after church.
And I had everything on hand to make it.
Except for time to make a homemade pie crust but thankfully there was a crust in my freezer.
Life was sweet.
So was the pie.
Almost a little too sweet so I think if I make it again, (Who am I kidding? I will make it again.)I'll decrease the sugar a bit.


There were two things about this pie that really make me want to make it again. No, wait there are three things that sold me on this pie.
1.) Super easy
2.) The sour cream mixed with the blueberries. Oh. My. Goodness. It was so good.
3.) The crumb topping is a dessert in and of itself. Seriously, I could make a batch of it and enjoy it with a spoon.

I don't have an artsy after baking picture of a yummy slice waiting to be gobbled up because for some reason  it didn't exactly slice. It wasn't runny as much as it just wasn't solid. Does that make any sense? I'm going to assume that it is something I did that caused it to not firm up but I know I cooked it long enough so I can't really pinpoint what it would be. So, if you give it a try and yours does set and slice well please snap a picture and let me know what it should look like.

I think it's possible to just do it in a 9x13 pan cobbler style and eat with some vanilla ice cream. And an addition of oats to the crumb mixture could be nice as well. But then again why mess with perfection?



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