It seems silly to be writing about winter this evening as I sit here in my warm house, trying to cool it off from the day's high temperature of 106 degrees. But winter has been on my mind lately.

Last year brought lots of change for our little family and this next year will bring even more. I would say that I've had a 'noisy soul' most of this year with lots of questions. I like answers. I like to know where I'm going and why. I'm the kind of mom who covers all her bases when we load up in the car with no one being hungry and everyone having used the potty -- the works. No surprises here. I guess I'm admitting that I'd like my life to run this way, too.

So, back to winter...I read something once in a book about what happens in a vineyard through all 4 seasons. The section on winter was my favorite. I wish I could find the book so I could quote from it, but it's packed away in a box. This is essentially what it said...It's unrealistic for a Christian to think that he'll go through life always thriving, always producing. If he enters into what seems like an especially dry or difficult season, there is much work being done under the surface. Life still remains, but stillness and quietness are what revive a vine or, in this case, a life. Don't quote me, but I'm pretty sure there is not one thing in nature that lives in a constant state of producing. What kind of fruit would a vine yield if it was always producing and never resting?

And so it is with spiritual life. I need this stillness, this rest. Sometimes I'm aware of it and I slow down on my own. But sometimes God gently leads me into this quiet place because He loves me and He wants me to be still before Him so I can produce good fruit. This is where I am right now. I think my 'noisy soul' is being quieted. I know this because I have fewer questions. 

"...Still, I notice you
When branches crack...

What was frozen through 
Is newly purposed, turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new."

--Nichole Nordeman 
"Every Season"

catching up

Here it is! All done -- minus a towel rack and curtains. It's my new favorite room in the house. I find myself walking by several times a day just to sneak a peek.

Last weekend we found this great schoolhouse light in an antique/thrift store marked down to $35. I had been eying one at The Home Depot but it was $70.

I can't get over the change in this room!

In other news...we have a busy, but fun couple of weeks ahead of us. 

It looks like one of our ewes will deliver a set of twins during the night or maybe sometime tomorrow.

Our garden is bursting at the seams. It's so fun to head out there in the morning with my cup of coffee and my little basket for fresh veggies.

This Thursday afternoon, dear friends of mine from Spokane will drive through town on their way to a wedding in California. They'll stop by to stretch their legs and have dinner with us.

Thursday evening my sister will arrive to stay for the weekend. So far all we have planned is to buy a box of the Mint Chocolate Chip It's-Its that I spotted today in Target. We love those things. Both of us were born in San Francisco, so it's not a stretch to say it's in our blood to love them so.

Saturday night, Phil's sister and her girls (whom my kids lovingly refer to as "the cousins") will fly up to see us for the week. They're excited to do lots of blackberry picking and wii playing. 

This past week both of my boys expressed a desire to be baptized, so we'll do that this Sunday while their 2 aunts and cousins are in town. We're so blessed to have these 2 sweet boys who want to live their lives for Jesus.

Just today I talked with another friend from Spokane who will be at a wedding a few hours north of us next weekend. They're going to drive down to see us next Sunday and spend the night!

And isn't school supposed to start soon???


becoming real

I've been listening to Sara Groves' new album Invisible Empires.  In one of her songs she sings of wanting to belong and of "waiting in velveteen." I get this. Not just because I love the story about that sweet little bunny who wants so desperately to become real, but because I moved to a new city last year and starting over again isn't easy.

Sometimes I feel o.k., but sometimes I feel like an awkward Jr. Higher. Even after a year, I feel like things are still so on-the-surface. I don't mean to be this way, but I never want to be that person who, when someone asks, "How are you?" just lets it all out. She tells you everything. And you can't blame her...you asked. So I just say something like, "Doing well, thank you," or just plain, "Fine, thank you." And I'm not lying. I really am fine, but there's more to me than that. There's a girl who adores her hard-working husband and her 4 children who play outside and pick blackberries and who loves to bake cookies and read Jane Austen and grow potatoes. I know it will happen eventually. It always does. But sometimes the waiting is awkward and difficult, this waiting to become real.



It was so hot today! Maybe the hottest day of the year. It reached a scorching 109 degrees -- the same as Phoenix, AZ. How could this be? I live in the state of Oregon! We spent the day working in the bathrooms, of course. Lily told me this morning that she wanted to make little blackberry salads with nasturtium petals. She went out to the garden to gather her supplies and when I walked into the house shortly after her, this is what was sitting on the kitchen counter. Aren't they lovely? They were super yummy, too!

 I was able to get the downstairs bathroom painted this afternoon. Phil has been working on grouting the tile this evening. And look what he did upstairs...

Our downstairs bathroom had only a shower and no tub. The upstairs bathroom had a tub but no shower. Now we'll have the claw foot tub in the downstairs bathroom and he added a shower to the tub upstairs.

This is what the upstairs bathroom looked like when we first moved in -- minus the green and yellow shag carpet.


lemonade stand and progress

 perfect hit-the-spot treat for a hot summer afternoon

Gracie set up a little lemonade stand this afternoon. At first she charged 1 cent per cup, then she raised the price to 10 cents per cup. She also mentioned to the family that she doesn't make change. I love her!

The guys have been plugging away in the bathrooms. They got so much done today. Actually, they've gotten a lot done every day this week, but much of what has been done has been behind-the-scenes, or behind the walls. Most of the electrical and the plumbing has been moved around. It's all too technical for me. All I know is that the hole in the upstairs bathroom floor has been taken care of.

 I can't wait to see the new tub in here on this beautiful tile.


summer days

pie for company

 morning walks out to the garden 

harvesting potatoes

cutting lettuce

 picking sweet apples and juicy plums

 hunting for acorns

looking up our nature discoveries in this book
 summer reading on the front lawn

reading about great summer Olympic athletes who love Jesus

 watching my Gracie Girl hunt and gather things for her beautiful arrangements

 observing her artistic eye and love of beauty

Beautiful...and all on her own!


bathroom remodel and an anniversary

Do you remember what you did for your 13th wedding anniversary? Here's what we did for ours. We're remodeling both of our bathrooms this week. I was a little leery about doing both at once, but Phil is determined and he took the week off of work. I can't complain, because I love having him home!

I was leery because we have 4 children, and I think it's safe to say that we need to have a least one bathroom in working order. And we do, except if you sit on that working toilet, there's a hole in the floor and the people working in the bathroom downstairs can look right up at you and wave. You can't even have them step out of the room and shut the door to give you a moment of privacy, because they removed that bathroom door.

Wait til you see the picture at the end of this post...I'm so, so, so excited about this feature!!!



We've had fun determining the original design of this bathroom. It was updated in recent years to include a shower stall built as a "closet" around the chimney that used to be a part of the kitchen. That step on the right side of this picture is the step up into the shower. We found holes in the floor and think there was a bathtub on left side of the bathroom.

 We decided to remove the drop ceiling.

And we decided to remove the wallpaper. :) As with most of the house, there was more than one layer to remove. Behind the sink and cabinet, we found this velvety wallpaper. I don't understand why someone would want velvet wallpaper in a bathroom. ???

Here it is!!! Look what Phil found on Craigslist!!! It looks perfect in this bathroom. 

The flooring will be a black and white hexagonal tile, which we're hoping to lay sometime later this week.