Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Trudging Along

My boys are spread apart in age which means that we are in year 11 of high school.  Eleven straight years of high school with absolutely no break.


Seriously, they should name a building after us.  

We've sat through (and continue to sit through) all their activities...choir and band and theater and basketball and football and the principal's office.

My boys are nothing if not normal.


Sunday was the youngest shrubs basketball banquet...the 7th one for us.  The best part of this one?  He was called by HIS name and not his brothers...it is so hard following big brothers.  

Poor Brian...he dreamed of making the basketball team (not easy at our school) and he did, only to find his brothers name in the yearbook instead of his own.  He got an award at last years banquet where the coach spent the whole speech comparing him to his older brother...it's all ok though, our middle boy was often compared to his academically unchallenged older brother, too. 

The cycle of life.

I guess it's all part of our story...either we're always compared to someone else or we're comparing ourselves to someone else.  It's somewhat exhausting if you ask me yet I do it all the time to myself.

There's always someone who is thinner or richer or less wrinkly or has perfect children who pick up their own laundry and clean up after themselves or drive nicer cars or pay way less for car insurance or who get better internet connectivity in their very own little house on their little street.  

I know it's a current stronghold I'm dealing with and a side effect of this disconnect I'm feeling in my own spiritual walk.  This comparison to others thing.  It's like a skip in a record...it just keeps repeating itself over and over and over again.  The whole little voice that says 'you're not good enough, you're not doing enough' mentality that goes against everything I know and believe.


It's exhausting.

I know this is a season and I'm trudging along holding on to that thought.  I know the footprints in the sand right now show only one set of prints....I know I'm being carried ever so gently.  It's so interesting...there is no major event happening right now or anything, just lots of changes and unknowns but I think that's just enough to throw me off balance.

But strangely enough, I have this overwhelming sense of peace as well.  This sense that 'this too shall pass'.  This is a big time in the history of Jesus, too...only he knew what was going to happen.  That love...oh, that love.  

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ready To Go

One garden party with some of my favorite peeps, courtesy of a rather great occasion.

Friday night.

Oh, how I love Friday nights.

And because our outside heaters glow yellow, every picture we take makes us look like we have yellow teeth.  Black and white is retro,  artsy and solves that problem.

My favorite trail is surrounded on both sides by mustard plants that are taller than me.  They are gorgeous, smell great and are the perfect hiding place for rattle snakes.  My first sighting was this weekend and that means one thing...bye bye trail until Autumn.

My back up trail is more groomed, just as pretty and feels safer, so that's where you'll find me for the next few months.

Our little garden is blooming.

Oh happiness.


Chicago had an earthquake.

What did we all do before text messaging???

Brian asked if he could raid my laundry room coins...it didn't look like much but HOLY COINAGE BATMAN!

I had no clue...I just empty pockets and toss them into the cute brass pot I brought back from an antique store in Italy.  

Smart boy.


I'm sitting on my couch right now having just finished a margarita and a great plate of nachos, getting ready to watch some show that we have taped.  I'm so not ready for this week to begin...I looked ahead and there are lots of things on the schedule.

And here's the deal, I've got to make a change in the way I'm doing things.  I'm in this funk...a 'I can do it all by myself with no help' funk and I know, with all my being, that that is not the case.  It's a vicious, self made, untrusting cycle.

My alarm is set for an early, before the sun comes up time.  My bible is dusted off and a Holy Week devotion is ready to go.  I'd appreciate a little prayer boost, if you don't mind.   


Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Yesterday was one of those days where I was on the go from the time I woke up until the time I plopped myself on the couch sometime after the sun had set.  Days like that don't happen in my world very often and I'm thankful for that, but yowza was I ever tired.

But the work got done...even the ugly work stuff, the laundry was caught up, the fridge cleaned out of all leftovers and all the emails in my inbox?


(Matteo's girlfriend Brianne)

This last week has been fun...my middle boy's girlfriend is home from UC Santa Barbara and she adds quite a spark when she is around.  The week before, Matthew was visiting from out of town along with his girlfriend and I love, love, love when they are around.

This whole girl thing in the house has changed a few things...mainly, there are two (for now) extra people who are allowed to use my bathroom.


Someone once told me to not get attached...to not fall in love until there are rings involved.  I've failed.  I love.  How could I not?  I have to say...it is so fun to see these boys of mine enter this stage. To see the way they treat someone other than their brothers...well, maybe they have learned something from us after all.

And before you think they are all great and perfect, please know they STILL leave dishes on the counter and are no where near mature enough to ever be allowed to use my bathroom.


I got up early this morning while it was still dark out, made a pot of strong coffee and sat down in the quiet with my Bible.  I read some Psalms and wrote some thoughts and prayed...but my prayers are feeling very disjointed lately.  I start, my mind wanders and I just can't seem to form a sentence.  I've been in this place before and it's time's like this where I need to rely on what I know is true...that God knows my heart and hears my unspoken prayers.

I am leaning so heavily on that right now.  This 'disconnect' that I'm feeling right now is beginning to make me feel a bit lost lately...almost like I'm a kite blowing in the wind.  The one holding the string has a very strong grip but the wind is blowing so strong that I'm being tossed all around.  

I don't like it.

I remember these boys...the dirty knees and crooked glasses and bowl haircuts.  These life stages, from littles to bigs to adding girls...they make for a fun journey in life, don't they?


Monday, March 23, 2015

Home For The Weekend

Friday night found us in our happy place...our little garden outside our little house on our little street. I can't explain how much this garden means to me and what happens once people gather in it other than to say it's nothing sort of magical.  I don't know if it's the prettiness of the whole thing or the music or the food or the mix of people that gather in it but yes, it truly is magical.


Friday night gatherings make for lovely Saturdays...the kind of Saturdays that involve a little extra sleep and hot coffee and cooking shows on the tele followed by whatever errands need to be run.  

This week?   Costco, which normally is a madhouse on the weekends and this trip didn't disappoint...but I just love when there isn't a rush on our part or a massive need to get anything aside from time to just wander.

And wander we did...we gathered an assortment of things from wine to toilet paper to an 8 ft avocado tree because, well, I've wanted one for a long, long time.  All was good until we walked out to the parking lot and realized we'd brought the small car.

After a non verbal 'what the h*ll were we thinking?' conversation happened between us, we both started laughing and got to work.

That tree was coming home with us no matter what, so it hopped it's totally heavy self into the back seat (along with me) and rode home with the top down...and guess what?

It still has leaves on it.  Not quite as many as when it was living in the garden department but oh well.  You can't have it all.


So after that guy that I like so much and our middle son dug a hole half way to China saying things along the way that I cannot repeat and finally planted the above mentioned loose leafed avocado tree we celebrated.

In style.

Sunday morning was a new morning for me...a morning where, for the first time in 25 years I went to church (on a Sunday morning) all by myself.  That guy that I like so much was at the church he is serving at, the boys all were dispersed to places far and wide and I was on my own.

I felt the need to be in our home church, in my favorite pew, surrounded by stain glass that comforts me.  It was a new experience and one that I'm still processing.

After...that guy that I like so much and I met up for brunch and talked and talked and then talked some more.  I'm feeling this disconnect from God right now.  I don't even know how to explain it...I just feel alone, I guess.  I believe...oh, how I believe.  I'm not questioning that at all...but I'm feeling a  lot like I'm not giving my all for Him and like he's just sitting and gently waiting for me to figure it out rather than shoving it down my throat.

I'm not sure any of that makes sense...but that's what I'm working through right now.  And I don't have any answers or solutions so I'm just trying to read.  And pray.  And talk with trusted friends.

This weekend ended with a family dinner in the garden (chicken marsala, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli) and the season finale of Downton Abbey...both of which were really good.  

And now, let this new week begin.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Hey Friday

I am so ready for the weekend that I can't stop thinking about it...this week has been a doozy.  My plans?  There is a ton of laundry to be done and I am on season 3 of the Gilmore Girls...how dreamy does that sound?


I've been searching for quiet spaces lately and they aren't especially easy to find.  It seems as if every time one comes available the phone rings, there's an email or a text message to answer, the dog barks, a cat meows, a speck of dust appears, someone requires food, work needs to be worked.

Life just feels noisy lately and I can't seem to quiet it.

I've been up lots in the middle of the night, too, which never helps anything.   My brain is so full of nonsense right now...old friends and relationships and past hurts and forgiveness and life changes and lost recipes and it all decides to wake me up at some dark hour to try and make sense of it all.

Basically...my brain is on overdrive and I'm tired.


 So anyway...I'm dreaming about this weekend and the major nothingness that I'm hoping will accompany it.  I'm aiming for peace and for quiet and for...well, if there is  too much peace and quiet then maybe a little garden party?

It's all about balance.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Yesterday vs Today

Yesterday:  a little Disney getaway with that guy that I like so much.
Today: working a booth at a job fair all day long.

Yesterday: lunch on Main Street and a stroll through the shops in Adventure Land.
Today: sitting at a table and close to 100 interviews.

Yesterday: sunshine, no phones, a long ride on the Mark Twain river boat around Tom Sawyer's Island.
Today: lots of strange people, a pretty decent boxed lunch, more strange people.

Yesterday: fun Disney music, a ride on Thunder Mountain Railroad, the smell of buttered popcorn and churros.
Today: a room with no windows, lots of chatter, many stolen pens.

Yesterday: dreamy.
Today: reality.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Little Moments

Life here, in our little house on our little street, has been a tad bit busy lately.  Not bad busy, but the kind of busy where there is something major on the calendar every day which is keeping me hopping.

But then there are these moments thrown in...moments of nothing that become moments of something.  Moments that aren't planned but afterwards you look back and know that they had really been part of the great plan all along.  Moments like unplanned dinners with friends and long, late night walks around the lake with the dog and last minute lunches out with boys where they open up and share about life.

I am thankful for moments in the midst of regular old busy.

I have been up to my eyeballs in work lately...my job has grown and grown to the point where I'm not even sure what I do anymore.  One thing that has happened though...clarity.  I work hard during the daytime and then put it all away...and I am much happier because of it.

I think I might just be catching on to that whole boundaries thing...not always easy for my perfectionist personality.

My little houseful of boys, though?  A wreck.  I seriously need a wife.  The floors need to be done and so do the windows and please oh please oh please can someone come clean out my pantry?

I'll sit and drink tea and keep you company while you do it.


 I am so much a 'seasons' kind of girl and I have trouble deciding on which one I love best of all.  Autumn? Yes...crisp, cool air.  Winter?  Yes...cold and sweaters and movies and soup.  Summer?  Oh yeah...warm sand, baby.

But then there is Springtime.  The flowers...oh the blossoming flowers and the way the sun just seems to shine a little bit brighter each and every day.  It just seems to be the perfect time for renewal and do overs and fresh starts.

Yeah...Spring is definitely my favorite.


This morning the sun is shining brightly and the birds are singing and there are TWO figs on the tree that weren't there yesterday.  That, and about 1,000 olives have suddenly blossomed.  Today...well, today is going to be a good day.  I'm off for a little lunch adventure with that guy that I like so much....nothing major, just an hour or so out in the sunshine at the happiest place on earth.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Morning

I miss this space and the time I spend writing about not much of anything.  I like being able to look back and see what life was like, what I was feeling, what I was eating and who I was feeding...and I need to get back to that place where I make the time to write.

I've slacked on my quiet time lately...and I feel it.  Time to change that.


Spring has sprung in SoCal...our two gardens are literally bursting with life.  Our backyard garden is gorgeous...the fruit trees are all full of blooms and our fig tree looks so happy and I'm praying for a bumper crop later this summer.  

The big garden is looking good, too...there are winter tomatoes and zucchini growing and a bunch of herbs and I'm toying with ripping out the grapevines this year.  I know, I know...but they take up so much space and produce super seedy grapes and not enough at that to do much with them.

We'll see.  I might give them one more chance.

Awhile back we squeezed all the limes from our tree and froze the juice...and the other night I was able to make a simple lime pie.


I'd offer you some but we ate the whole flippin' thing which means there's gonna be some major hiking happening this week.  

Worth every bite.

This past weekend I was so incredibly grumpy.  Like, majorly grumpy.  No clue as to why, but pretty much every breathing male was driving me absolutely crazy for no reason at all....well, except for the fact that they were male.


And then at 5:00pm on Sunday night I got a text from our neighbors saying 'come for dinner' and I didn't even hesitate...in fact, I threw on my flip flops and ran out the door.

Who am I to say no?

That guy that I like so much, after two major concerts this weekend, church, an all day event and some other things thrown in for good measure grabbed his bar book and shaker and fell into his 'other' job as a mixologist.

Cocktails are an art and a science and a necessity to life.


We had cocktails and ate yummy food and laughed at every single little thing...all our kids were around and it was exactly what the Dr ordered and I slowly, slowly felt my bad mood disappear.


Laughter really is the best medicine.  And so are friends who listen to you wallow and finally tell you to shut up.


My trio were all home this weekend.  Not sure why I was feeling so grumpy when I had all three sleeping under my roof....I mean, this is what I live for.  

They were fun...and loud together all weekend and to this day, as almost grown ups, they cannot keep their hands off each other.

I've tried, people.  I've tried.

Nor can they cooperate for photos.


Happy Monday, my friends.  There is bark to lay in the big garden, a Dr appt, a birthday happy hour tonight and a house to clean...as well as laundry, which was ignored all weekend, to be done today.  Oh yeah...and work.

I've had my quiet time, read through a few psalms (91 was a good one today), am on my 2nd cup of coffee and woke up to my last morning for awhile of having all three of my boys home....and I'm feeling thankful.  

And ready for this week to begin.  


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