Friday, June 24, 2016


This year, specifically 2016, has been a year of change.  I have a new boss at work, the youngest shrub had surgery (twice), graduated high school and will soon leave the nest, the oldest shrub moved back to California and is now a little over an hour from us and the middle born settled into a new career job, complete with his own (better than ours) health insurance at the ripe age of 22.

I get the whole 'change is good' thing, but God created me as a true 'creature of comfort.'

Add in everything that is changing in (and of) this world.  Friends attacking friends - not in person (over a coffee or a glass of wine) like we should, but on social media and via email.  All the hate...and I'm not sure why it's affecting me so deeply except for the part where I was created, like I said,  as a creature of who doesn't like confrontation.

I'm weary.

Beyond weary.

Or maybe a better word is sad.

Then there's that guy that I like so much who has been on his every other year teaching overload semester...the one where he is spread so thin that time with him is always at a premium.  And finally, it just all came to a head last week when the dishwasher broke.

I crumbled.

 I often think of strong women who have come before me and how they handled real life stuff.  Eve, in the garden and watching it all fall apart.  Ruth, burying a husband and then finding herself in a new land and caring for a mother-in-law.  Esther, who risked her life to save her people.  Mary...oh sweet Mary, who bore a baby boy and watched him crucified.  My Grandmother, who left her own homeland to follow her family.  My husband's grandmother, my mother-in-law, my own Mom, my girlfriends...they all have stories of their own too.

I realize it all circles back to the span of life...that when our stories are read in one quick book that it all seems more dramatic because the trials become the focus, but they all (I'm pretty sure) had a lot of ordinary days too.  But I often wonder...did they crumble, say things they regret, cry and maybe slam a door or two when the dishwasher broke?

 But just when I found I couldn't handle much more...that my cup runneth over, so to speak, and not in a good way but in a stain the white sofa way, God swooped in with quiet.

This long planned, we really can't afford this, trip happened.

There have been hours upon hours of quiet.  We haven't turned on the television and actually have no clue as to what is happening in the world.  The boys are connected to us via text message and a few 'how do I buy pizza at costco with a credit card' (which you can' lesson #129) phone calls.

We both needed quiet.

 Every day here begins the same.  We watch the sun wake up our resort after sleeping on the most heavenly bed ever created, while sipping coffee on our lanai.  Around 9:00am we head to the beach, where a cute young thing gets us settled in our chairs under an umbrella and then our day officially starts.

We nap, swim, walk the beach, sip mai tai's and sigh (over and over and over) at how incredibly blessed we are to have this time.

 I can't decide what is more beautiful...the beginning of the day or the sunsets.  It's an even tie, I think.


 We've ventured out here and there...drove the road to Hana - or being us, only halfway to Hana.  We've eaten at super fancy places...Ko (at our resort) and Capische (for our anniversary...truly one of the best meals we've ever eaten) and then some not so splurgy places like Nalu (fabulous!).  But for the most part we've stuck close by the beach because seriously, why would we ever want to leave?

I've written sporadically and I thought I would've worked on this silly book a whole lot more.  It seems that the words come easily until some stranger gives me a deadline and then I just can't seem to figure out what to say.  And then they give me ideas, bits from this place here which were never meant to be more than just a little diary for my family, and I immediately get even more of a writers block...and I've never had that problem before.

So instead, I've done what I've needed to do.  Held hands with my boyfriend.  Sipped mai tai's.  Prayed.  Sent lots of texts and posted lots on Instagram.  Napped.  Read a really great beach read.

It's all been good.

Tomorrow we will venture home.  I'm ready...but also bracing myself.  Have you ever left a houseful of boys, two cats and a dog alone for a week? 

It's all good.  I've missed them so much and am bringing home a really good mai tai recipe to help get me through.


Sunset.  Wine.  Macadamias.

Oh...and we're revamping how we do garden parties.  Now all we need are some guinea pigs so we can test it out.

Any takers?


Acai bowls.  The perfect breakfast food.  They're all the rage back home too...but they just taste so much better here.

The road to Hana.

Hiked through a rain forest.

In flip flops!

And discovered paradise.  


Oh...and I got a new necklace, too.

This whole 30 year business is pretty fun.

OH....and Monkeypod!  We love this mai tai's (I'm now an expert) and incredible food.  

Come to SoCal, please.

Aloha, Hawaii.  

You've been good to us.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Dream

Today...June 21, 2016, is our 30th wedding anniversary.  We woke up this morning in Maui and due to the fact that there is a 3 hour time difference and our body clocks are all out of whack, we woke up in time to watch the ocean wake up.

I. Can't. Even. Believe. It.

This place is fancy.  Turn down service fancy.  Every where we step in this resort, they greet us by name.  Our suite is the size of our first apartment 30 years ago...or maybe it's even bigger.  It's certainly nicer.

We're not fancy people but boy oh boy, it sure is easy to settle into.

The weeks leading up to our flight yesterday were rough.  Super rough.  Work was stressful for both of us...that guy that I like so much was trying to get his planning done for all of next school year and as much as we all love Christmas music around these parts, enough was enough was enough.  My work ended in a way that made me sad and I'm just choosing to close the door on it until we get home.  The dishwasher broke and the repair amount had us trying to decide what to do.  The first college tuition bill came and I'm worried and through all these things, I began to crumble.

I finally came to realize that it was spiritual warfare.

30 years ago, our marriage began in the midst of spiritual warfare.  We were SO young and SO poor and that whole phrase 'you can't eat love' is true after all.  People actually cried at our wedding...and not out of joy.


But you know what?  We were called on to trust from Day 1.  To lean on God and to lean on each other.'s a really good thing.

One day has turned into 10, 957 days.

10, 957 days of leaning.
10, 957 days of trusting.
10, 957 days of believing.
10, 957 days of us.

Not much has changed, while a whole lot has changed.

We still live a pretty simple life.  We still don't have a lot as far as worldly stuff.  We still live in a small place.  We still throw lots of parties.  We still laugh and cry and get frustrated and talk to each other a whole lot.  We've moved places, raised a family, we've traveled, we've decorated and redecorated, we've kept jobs and lost jobs, we've listened to a lot of music, we've prayed a whole heck of a lot.

Through it all...through the thick and the thin and the lean and the meaty and the good and the not so good, there has been one constant that has not changed.  For all 10, 957 days, there has been someone leading us, teaching us, loving and challenging and always guiding us.

These 10, 957 days would not have happened without God.

We dreamed of a big 30th anniversary trip.  We threw around ideas of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do and it all kept circling back to quiet.  We wanted to spend a week with waves and warm sand and cocktails and no agenda other than what time we'd be plopping ourselves on the beach under an umbrella.

We wanted time to rest and to just be. 

And so, we're going to be doing just that.  This trip is a splurge and we're going to settle in to each minute.  After all, day 10, 958 is tomorrow and after that the days will, hopefully, keep adding on.

There's no one else I would have wanted to do this journey with.  No one else whose hand I would have wanted to hold for all these days.  

And so this week, you'll know where to find us.  But don't call, unless it's an emergency.


30 years?  Wow.  

Here's to 30 more.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Days Of the Week...

...are all running together.  

Not in a bad way, but in an 'end of the school year, gearing up for summer' way.

Here's a rundown of 'lately'.  First  Even in the poor days, I always made room for fresh flowers in the food budget, if possible.  Not fancy florist flowers...regular grocery store flowers are just fine by me.  I'm not fancy and I like my flowers not fancy, too.

Had a hankering for Italy which lead to a hankering for bresaola.  It's a million dollars so I usually just ask for a few paper thin's a cured beef along the lines of prosciutto.  I lay it on a plate and top it with a heaping pile of arugula, drizzle it with olive oil and a few shavings of parmesan and serve it with lemon wedges.

It looks pretty and tastes prettier.

The garden has been full of people the last few days and I am feeling so blessed in the friend department.  We just have good people in our lives.  People who have walked different walks and talk different talks (whatever that means, but it sure sounded good) and I'm just trying to sit and enjoy all who walk in.

So far, so good.


I usually don't like fancy but sometimes it's fun to set the table with dishes that we've brought home from all different places.  Lots of candles and a table that just barely fits everyone elbow to elbow makes for a more intimate gathering.

The menu for this party:
wood grilled foccacia with a ricotta/lemon/basil spread
bresaola with arugula
pot roast
porcini risotto
lemon tart with fresh whipped cream

I have set garden party meals that I make and mix parts of them up from party to party (depending on how many are coming) so people don't get bored with the food.  I like to be a guest at my own parties and I only make things that are completely cooked before my friends arrive except for one part...usually the grilling of bread or vegetables.  We've pretty much got it down now and our goal is for people to feel that we truly want them to be here.

Because we do.

The weather in SoCal has entered the time of year where the mornings are grey and chilly and drizzly and then, just when you begin wondering whether or not the sun will ever shine again, it does just that.

And with my work year winding down, yet still going 100 miles/hour,  I haven't had a whole lot of time for hiking lately.  Instead,  I've been walking around our lake and wow...I live here.  Hard to swallow the real estate prices...but the view is worth every penny.


 I had a two-day long managers meeting where we sat in a conference room for hours and hours and hours.  And hours.  As meetings go it wasn't so bad...but summer is coming.  Summer is coming.

 I love summery meals.

A lot.

But hey...I'm not picky.

In preparation for summer vacation, I've got a few books downloaded and ready to read, a newish pair of flip flops that are almost super comfortable (but not quite yet) and the beginnings of tan lines beginning to show.  I'm beginning to get that feeling...the feeling that I'm going to have a moment to catch my breath for the first time in a long time.

I'm also gearing up by rewatching all seasons of Gilmore Girls during every free moment that I have.


 In fact,  I'm currently curled up on my bed watching back to back to back episodes.  There's a black cat next to me and a black dog at my feet.  Supper will be roasted chickens with roasted veggies...potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, whole garlic and green beans.  The perfect Sunday supper.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Last Boy to Graduate From High School

The youngest of our shrubs graduated from high school last night and it's so very, very bittersweet.  For 12 solid years we have had a boy enrolled in high school and we (meaning that guy that I like so much and I) were more than ready to move on.

Brian was ready, too.

The bigs (and one beautiful girlfriend) all arrived home in time to watch the little commence.  They're a motley crew...but they're ours.

Alex, being Alex, brought an air horn which ended up malfunctioning and gave out a tiny little 'toot' rather than a huge blast.  And then Alex, being Alex, made it into such a funny event that us....and all the people around us, had a hard time concentrating for a bit.

He's pretty fun to have around, I must say.  

 Can you spot Brian???

Yeah, we couldn't either.


He was easy to find after though.  Head to the 40 yd line and look for the kid in the red bow tie.

I like that he has his very own style.

High school served him well.  The bonus?  He hasn't peaked yet.

That's a good thing, in case you were wondering. 

 The bittersweet part is knowing that this is the end of a HUGE life stage for us.  Sure, parenting hasn't stopped as of this morning but now the big focus is on what will he be bringing with him to college? 

He is SO ready and excited and it's hard to not be caught up in that with him.

This houseful of boys has given me more than they will ever know.  I grew up with them.  I learned that I never had a clue about what love meant until I became a mom.  I never knew that I could cry so much and laugh so much more.

What a beautiful gift that I was given.  And to that guy that I like so much, who has walked the walk and talked the talk...he gave me the most beautiful gift of all.  He has worked so hard his whole adult life so that I could have the career I dreamed of...the career that didn't pay a single penny. 

His boys have all seen and heard...and will be fine men because of that.


 And the youngest of them?

He's not only watched his Dad, but he's watched his big brothers.  And with all the name calling and pushing and shoving comes a strong bond that makes me so happy.  We've always told them that 'friends will come and go but brothers are brothers forever' and guess what?  They believed us.


We splurged on Maggiano's and left full.

Very, very full.

Got everyone home and got Brian off to grad night and then it hit me.  It really is over.

And just like that, the tuition bill for college was in my inbox.


And so, for the first time since 1995, I don't have a boy in the lower education system of America.  It's served us well...they can all tie their shoes, bounce a ball and write their names.  All learned to play an instrument; some can sing a tune.  One can change tires and the oil on a car.  One can read Latin.  Two can make ashtrays out of clay.  All three learned a tolerance I had hoped they would...of people with different skin colors and faiths.  One learned Spanish.  One excelled in band, one excelled in basketball and one in just about everything he touched.  All three experienced a wide variety of grades given by a widely diverse set of teachers.  All know cursive....a soon to be dying art.

And, in real life admissions, all three can forge my signature to get out of 4th period so they could have a longer lunch.

Just like their Mom did way back when.


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