Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Buried in Berries

2 moms.

5 girls.

1.5 hours.

20 rows of bushes.

18 buckets, 8 empty, 10 full.

42 pounds of raspberries.

1 wonderful morning.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Unreasonable Goals

In my enthusiasm to finish my current project, I set myself a high goal. High but reachable, I thought. 2000 words a day times 42 days and I'd have a finished first draft. Thing is, I forgot to schedule in weekends. I don't know about you, but I find it hard to squeeze creativity out of myself day after day after day without giving the creative sap of my brain time to flow again.

So, I'll be a few days behind. It was imaginary deadline as it was. First draft by the end of June, final by the end of August. I think I can... I think I can.

I wonder, am I so used to setting the bar low that setting it a little higher stretches those muscles I didn't know I had?

I've been thinking about goal setting lately as I prepare to homeschool high schoolers for the first time. Do we need to set higher goals for them, give them something to reach for? Probably. Can we still make learning fun and interesting? I sure hope so.

I hope that as I push myself, expect more from myself, it will help me understand how to set goals for my kids and how to teach them to set goals for themselves. I also hope it will give me more grace as I come to understand that setting high goals and missing by a little is better than setting out to accomplish nothing and succeeding.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pure Freedom

Reaping What I've Sown

The garden is up and this week we're enjoying early fruits of the labor we put in on those cold March days. Spinach, four varieties of lettuce, kale, cabbage, and radishes grace the table at every meal and leave the house by the bagful with each visitor who drops by. I start every morning surveying the tomato, squash and pea plants, looking for blossoms and young, succulent fruit. Papa's winter pruning has paid off this week with a lovely harvest of bing cherries. We watch the plums plump on their branches and count the days until July.
For longer term reaping and sowing, I still plug away on writing projects, honing my skills and hoping someday they will turn into either a paying gig or a way I can minister to people beyond my small circle of friends.

And for the future, I invest time in my children, knowing that the lessons they learn now will reap benefits for them and for their families for generations to come.

Monday, June 15, 2009


The seven-year old made an announcement today.

"I know what I want to be when I grow up."

"What's that?"

"I want to be a homeless person."

Tip du Jour

I've had some blackened burnt-on crud in one of my saucepans all weekend. Soaked it, boiled it, scrubbed it. Lathered, rinsed, repeated. Tried baking soda with water, baking soda with vinegar, baking soda in boiling water.

Still black and burnt.

A few minutes ago, I filled the pot with water, tossed in a dryer sheet and brought it to a boil. Voila! It's clean! Wiped the remaining junk out with the dryer sheet and washed the pot with soap and water. Finally, a household tip that really works!

P.S. When I went to label this post I found I have never written about cleaning, housework, tips, or anything else resembling cleanliness. No big surprise there!

Friday, June 12, 2009

$1 well-spent

Seven years ago, I bought a little television at a garage sale for a dollar. Its screen is about 4 x 4 inches, black and white, and in all the time I've owned it, I've never been able to stop the picture from flipping. But I didn't care. It's not about the picture, but the sound. Television news has kept me company in the kitchen as I've prepared nightly dinners.

Today, the tv sits silent. It cannot receive a digital signal and I thought it would be silly to spend the time, money and space to hook up a converter box and antenna to a little $1 machine. Next stop, recycler. But I consider that a dollar well-spent.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Out of Thin Air

Some days, I feel I can reach above my head and pull a story, fully-formed, out of thin air. Other days, I slog through the mud and mire of writer's block, hunting the elusive word. When I capture it, I will slay it and mount it on my trophy wall of paragraphs.

I love the way words, like clay, can be molded in the writer artist's mind. I used to try building towering works of majestic splendor. Now I'll settle for, "that's practical... and kinda purty, too."

Don't watch, now. I probably look a little silly trying to catch the words that flit about me like a swarm of cotton candy butterflies. But when I catch one or two, they will dance about in my story, sprinkling bits of magic over everything.

Friday, June 05, 2009


"So, what were you doing this week?" The lady next to me on the airplane asked the polite question.

"Some girlfriends and I had a weekend together," I said, but the words didn't really convey what our time together was about. Yes, I'd spent time with 5 ladies from my mission team, but it wasn't just a few days with some girlfriends. It was much more than that.

We're so much more than friends with a common experience. We've experienced trials together, joys and sorrows, triumphs and tears, and always, always, commitment to a common cause that is bigger than the sum of its parts.

We're church, we're family, we're team, we're friends and colleagues, we're sisters. The word of the weekend was "community," that elusive quality of sacrificing your personal goals for the sake of a bigger group, a greater goal. We found that community with each other in Africa and now we search for it across America. We've had a taste of what Christ's church can and should be and we hunger for more. I believe true community can happen. 

Do you?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Where in the World?

I plan to write a little about my trip after I have a day or two to decompress, but here's a little taste. Can you guess where I've been?

Don't peek at the comments if you want to figure it out for yourself. Someone just might give it away!