Sunday, December 30, 2007


I sent the link to my last blog out by email to about a hundred people and I received 25 undeliverable messages. That means that in the last year, I've managed to lose (at least electronically) a fourth of my friends.

How can you lose a quarter of your friends in the course of a year? I know we're a transient society. I know email addresses are easy to change and that spam chases us everywhere we go.

If you consider yourself a friend, would you send me your email address so I can update my address book and keep in touch?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

2007 - The Year in Review

January - I started the year by accepting the task of reviewing fiction for New Wineskins magazine. Books started arriving in the mail and, for the first time, I had more to read than I could keep up with. Tabitha celebrated birthday #5 with a few friends.

February - Our home school co-op, First Class Clark County (West) gives the kids a place to take elective classes. I pitch in by teaching beginning French. I also teach violin to a little boy in exchange for piano lessons for one of the twins. The other twin took harp lessons.

March - I was privileged to receive a scholarship to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writers conference in March. It was a great place to hone my writing skills and network within the Christian writing community.

April - As part of a push to re-awaken missions involvement at our church, we hosted a Mission Sunday. I tripled the size of my vegetable garden this year and also started a small berry patch and a perennial flower bed.

May - I volunteered to teach at Outdoor School so the twins could attend. We spent a week at Camp Yamhill learning about different aspects of biology, geology, and chemistry. The highlight for the kids was their time on the challenge course, especially their flight over the river on the flying squirrel.

June - Our big trip of the year took us up the Al-Can to Alaska. Beautiful as the voyage was, the best part was watching my baby brother get married. Edwin's parents joined us in Juneau, then traveled back south for a week in Washington.

July - We were adopted into a family this year and enjoyed a few days with them on their property for their 4th of July campout. 4-wheeling, fireworks, and lots of good food and fun. The twins turned 12 and celebrated by hosting a movie night/campout in the back yard with 26 of their best friends. We also took a couple of camping trips at the Washington coast.

August -the end of the summer means harvest (we had some terrific tomatoes this year - wish I had some now). It also means gearing up for the new school year, which means pulling together the year's curriculum. A couple more camping trips and the Portland to Coast walking relay rounded out the summer.

September - Everything seems to swing back into gear with the beginning of school. This is the first year I've had to handle 2 different grade levels and it's been a challenge. Both my writing critique groups continue to challenge me to write, write, write. Edwin closed in on 2 years as a foreman for Shaffer, Inc.

October - We were able to attend the Together for Togo conference in Dallas as a family. Several of our former teammates were also there and we had a wonderful, tear-jerking reunion.

November - The kids and I spent a week on the Olympic Peninsula with friends. It was a whirlwind of visits for me with my friends and the kids with theirs. We spent Thanksgiving with my parents and older brother and his kiddos.

December - Our 20th anniversary came and went with little fanfare. I spent a weekend at the coast having some much-needed quiet writing time. We're spending Christmas in New Mexico, where the sun actually shines. Edwin has gathered all the tools he needs to build a boat in the garage, but that will be news for next year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Tag

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? paper for fun and beauty, gift bags for convenience

2. Real tree or Artificial? pre-lit articificial

3.When do you put up the tree? around the beginning of December

4. When do you take the tree down? right after Christmas (Though this year it's already down.)

5. Do you like eggnog? yuck

6. Favorite gift received as a child? a hamster

7. Do you have a nativity scene? no, but I wish I did

8. Hardest person to buy for? My brother's family

9. Easiest person to buy for? my new sister in law

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Blog them... watch for it

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I plead the 5th

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? While You Were Sleeping

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I pick up sale items all year, but begin in earnest in November

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? probably

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Satsuma oranges

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? clear

17. Favorite Christmas song? O Come, O Come Emmanuel

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I always choose travel if I've got a choice!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Yes

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? 1 gift on Christmas Eve, the rest have to wait.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? My favorite radio station does only Christmas music from Thanksgiving until New Years-- enough already!

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? angels playing violin

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? I don't care about Christmas dinner, but I love to have fondue on Christmas Eve

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

As I watched my husband's chances to win the ATV shrink from 1 in 200, to 1 in 21, to 1 in 12, to 1 in 5, to 1 in 2, I caught myself thinking, "this isn't such a lame way to spend an anniversary after all."

A bowling contest was not at all what I had in mind for my 20th anniversary, but an ATV wouldn't be a bad memento.

Alas, when he missed the 3-10 split by an eighth of an inch, the ATV went to someone else.

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. It definitely doesn't count in bowling. But we didn't walk away empty-handed. After all, we got a picture and a story to rival my parents' honeymoon at the crocodile farm.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Milles Bornes

Milles Bornes is the name of a French card game. It means "a thousand milestones." That's what I've lived with my husband in the past 20 years. A thousand milestones and more.
Moves from Arkansas to Missouri to France to Africa to Washington.
Wearing a path on I-40 between school and home.
Blasting the heat on a car trip in 105 degree weather to keep the engine from overheating.
Trudging through the icy blast of Shamrock, TX in sub-zero weather to find shelter.
2 labors, 3 deliveries.
Culture Shock
College, Internship, Language School, Boat School, the School of Life.
We've grown up together, almost raised each other. (Can't you tell from the picture that we married at 13?)
Love has a way of getting you over bumps and through dips in the road. Here's to another 20 years, and then another.
Here's to another milles bornes.

Monday, December 17, 2007


In the midst of holiday bustle, I can't think of a better gift than 24 hours of peace and quiet. In a wonderful God way, things fell together this weekend for me to spend a day and a night at the coast to concentrate on my writing.

24 hours.

285.5 miles round trip.

1 friend (also concentrating on her writing).

1 cottage to use, donated by benevolent benefactors.

8 cups of tea.

1 fire in the fireplace.

30 pages written.

2 satisfied writers.

The Golden Compass

If you want my take on The Golden Compass, check out

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Like Yesterday

I remember those painful good-byes, those "we're off to deep dark Africa and we don't know if we'll ever see you again" moments with our families.

14 years ago this month we pulled out of Vancouver with our little yellow Subaru loaded with boxes, our heads loaded with plans, and our hearts loaded with all the apprehension and excitement we could fathom.

Yesterday Andrew and Aimee Martin boarded a plane with the same hopes and fears and faith, off to change the lives of people on the other side of the continent I love so much.

There were so many things I wanted to say.

  • It feels like forever, but it's not. You'll see your family again in the blink of an eye. There's nothing like a grand child to help get loved ones to visit.
  • If things don't all work out according to plan, it's okay. There's no such thing as failure as long as you place yourself in God's will.
  • Culture shock may be the worst thing you ever experience, but just remind yourself that craziness is the norm and you'll make it through.
  • Jeff and Cheryl are going to be a blessing to you... and they'll be blessed by you.
  • Learn the language. It will give you window into hearts.
  • Take Anaiah out. She'll be an instant conversation starter.

Oh, and there's so much more. But part of the adventure is in the discovery. I love you and a huge part of me wishes I was on the plane with you right now.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Blocked Arteries

Imagine if you only had one artery leading from your heart to the rest of your body. Imagine if that artery got blocked. Things would start looking pretty bad pretty fast.

I've always wondered why there's only one major road, I-5, connecting Seattle and Portland. One artery to carry over 50,000 vehicles a day between the heart and lungs of the Northwest. (Sorry Olympia)

Turns out, if you cut off the artery (or flood it, as is the case right now), life in the limbs is affected.

My friend, who lives on the other side of the freeway closure, is supposed to come down tomorrow, but there ain't nothing flowing through Chehalis right now except a bunch of muddy water.

It's time for a stint!

Law Abiding Family

When I was young, I picked up a feather on the beach. An eagle feather. Who knew keeping an eagle feather is a federal offense? Mom and Dad bundled me and feather and took me to the Federal building to turn myself and my feather in.

Lesson learned. Now I'm a rule keeper.

And I married one.

My husband caught a salmon yesterday.

In the road.

Under his truck.
Here in the west we're experiencing the great flood of ought seven and, while we're feeling the pinch of lost land, mudslides and closed interstates, the salmon are having a heyday exploring new and exciting rivers.
This little lady was lucky. She was released into a field/lake by my law-abiding husband.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Something for Nothing

Wineskins is free! Anyone and everyone can now read the articles, search archives and catch up on their favorite blogs.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

In debt

Bouncing a check is one thing, but Joe Martins received a letter in the mail from his bank saying he was overdrawn $211,010,028,257,303.00.

That’s $211 trillion.

I can't even imagine that much money. I bet Joe can't either. More than the federal budget, more than the combined fortunes of all the rich people I can think of.

It reminds me of the parable Jesus told about the man who was forgiven his huge debt only to turn around and demand a few pennies from someone who had borrowed from him. Can you imagine if Joe Martin's debt was real?

No debt is too big, no sin too great, no heart too hard that the grace of God can't cover it.