Friday, August 31, 2012

The 1812

No matter how many times we venture down to the waterfront for the annual 1812 never gets old, but this year was the first year I was not giddy about the event.
Our Caleb was working later, our newlyweds were working or getting off later and it was like I was lacking some serious motivation and siding with feeling a bit sorry for myself.  My hubby reminded me that it is NOT about our family and it certainly is NOT about us, but it is our opportunity to practice hospitality to our friends and to our "symphony mates".  With that in mind, I snapped out of it and assured our children that it was fine that they were not coming.  Sooo, the focaccia bread was made, the pies were assembled and baked and the picnic was packed...and what a delightful evening it was!

The new people we met.

The new momma's with babies.

Families with aging parents who made an effort to take them out on the town for a blissful summer evening who may have otherwise been home for what may be considered just an ordinary week night.

Older ladies all.dressed up with their floppy hats, big rings and bright lipstick and nail polish.

Portland bikers who biked in for the event and who enjoyed sitting under the big oak tree taking in the shade and a bit of cool breeze.

Row boats, barges and fancy schmancy boats pulled up dockside for fish and chips along the waterfront restaurants.

Big ice cream cones and messy little faces and sticky hands squeaking in the last drops of summertime.

Older men playing cards and businessmen in tailored suits holding down their spots while reading the paper and conducting business on laptops.

Time to craft the afternoon away.

Park Rangers scouring the premises to keep it safe and fun.

Swarms of geese flying overhead wanting to take in all of the sights and sounds, too.

Standing up and singing the National Anthem.

The American Flag flying high above...bright against the darkening sky and as MAJESTIC.AS.EVER!

Tea lights in jars...reminding me of catching fire flies...

The canons that go off, the little red sail boat with the BIG AMERICAN FLAG that comes in every.single.year.

...AND the spectacular display of fireworks...

Goodbye Summer...and hello Autumn {almost!}

This and That:

We carry a picnic box in our car year-round and add in certain things for specific events which makes field trips  Be it a trip to the Gorge, a picnic to visit the vaux swifts, a hike to the zoo or a trip to the lake.

We also keep a checklist of what is needed for each individual field trip, that way, we don't have to learn the hard lessons several times in a row.  Even though the 1812 is typically warm during the day, warm jackets and blankets were added to the list when our children were freezing two years in a row.  A flashlight became a permanent fixture when we were trying to hunt down a specific HOT WHEEELS car in the dark for what seeemed like an impossible feat.  There was the misplaced beanie baby, too one year.  Anyhoo, now with smartphones, I guess it could be left at home in the garage, but I HAVE to know that we have plan B!  Smartphones are not always "smart"...or maybe it could be the owner.  HA!

Dessert is always doubled or tripled to share with friends and since we get down to stake out our real estate early on in the day, our food items have to travel well and be okay hours, this year, we took the makings for hummus and veggie focaccia sandwiches which were super easy and could be made with whatever people wanted.  All of the veggies were packaged individually and once it was time for dinner...they were placed into individual paper trays with plastic forks for serving.

  PERFECT!  The pies needed zero attention as they were perfect at outdoor temp and when it came to serving dessert, there was no dishing up.  Just a squirt of homemade whipping cream that had been kept in the cooler and a fork.  Eating fresh berry pie...listening to the 1812 on a warm summer evening surrounded by old friends, new friends, the blue moon in as beautiful as can be...and holding a darling baby who was such a joy made this momma very happy to share what has been a family tradition with so.many.others.

Do you have a family tradition that you share with others?  If not, I highly recommend you try it!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Are You Feeling Fragile?

My Papa handed me this piece of paper the morning before the wedding. I thanked him and set it aside like everything else that would be dealt with later.

A few days later...I rembered that he had given me that article and I promptly dug through the pile of papers. It was perfect. Just what I needed. I usually try to sum things up or take a chunk of a story, but this time I wanted to share it all with YOU.

I only wished I had taken the time to read it right then and there. How good to know that God is NOT fragile!

"There are mornings when I wake up feeling fragile. Vulnerable. It’s often vague. No single threat. No one weakness. Just an amorphous sense that something is going to go wrong and I will be responsible. It’s usually after a lot of criticism. Lots of expectations that have deadlines and that seem too big and too many.

As I look back over about 50 years of such periodic mornings, I am amazed how the Lord Jesus has preserved my life. And my ministry. The temptation to run away from the stress has never won out — not yet anyway. This is amazing. I worship him for it.

How has he done this? By desperate prayer and particular promises. I agree with Spurgeon: I love the “I wills” and the “I shalls” of God.

Instead of letting me sink into a paralysis of fear, or run to a mirage of greener grass, he has awakened a cry for help and then answered with a concrete promise.

Here’s an example. This is recent. I woke up feeling emotionally fragile. Weak. Vulnerable. I prayed: “Lord help me. I’m not even sure how to pray.”

An hour later I was reading in Zechariah, seeking the help I had cried out for. It came. The prophet heard great news from an angel about Jerusalem:

Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst. (Zechariah 2:4–5)

There will be such prosperity and growth for the people of God that Jerusalem will not be able to be walled in any more. “The multitude of people and livestock” will be so many that Jerusalem will be like many villages spreading out across the land without walls.

But walls are necessary! They are the security against lawless hordes and enemy armies. Villages are fragile, weak, vulnerable. Prosperity is nice, but what about protection?

To which God says in Zechariah 2:5, “I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord.” Yes. That’s it. That is the promise. The “I will” of God. That is what I need. And if it is true for the vulnerable villages of Jerusalem, it is true for me a child of God. God will be a “wall of fire all around me.” Yes. He will. He has been. And he will be.

And it gets better. Inside that fiery wall of protection he says, “And I will be the glory in her midst.” God is never content to give us the protection of his fire; he will give us pleasure of his presence.

This was sweet to me. This carried me for days. I took this with me to the pulpit. I took it with me to family gatherings. I took it to staff meetings. I took it to phone calls and emails.

This has been my deliverance every time since I was first marking my King James Bible at age 15. God has rescued me with cries for help and concrete promises. This time he said: “I will be to her a wall of fire all around, and I will be the glory in her midst.”

Cry out to him. Then ransack the Bible for his appointed promise. We are fragile. But he is not."

JOHN PIPER copyright 2011

Friday, August 24, 2012

A {handmade} Vintage Wedding...Part 1

Waking up at the crack of dawn the day before David and Laurissa's wedding felt like waking up on Christmas morning.
Friends and family were arriving from from out of town and wedding preparations for the BIG DAY were in full swing.
No matter how organized you are, you simply can NOT avoid last minute errands and can however decide that perfectionism has no place and sweating the little stuff is not worth ruining the joy of whatever occasion you may be celebrating.

It was still dark outside and the birdies were just waking up and were the perfect little cheerleaders for the morning.  I thought to myself that they might just be just as happy as we were for the beginning of the festivities.  I started with clipping all the boxwood greens and fresh rosemary herbs and wrapping them in moist paper towels and placing them in gallon sized Ziploc bags to keep them nice and green.  Then I clipped all of the LITTLE LAMB hydrangea's that were grown specifically for Laurissa's bouquet along with the white roses we planted for her bouquet as well.

My momma always referred to us as her "lambie pies" and we called our babes "lambie pies" as babies, too.  It was a term of endearment.  So, when I was looking for white hydrangeas awhile ago...I found one called "Little Lamb" and knew it would be perfect.  Laurissa had already decided that she wanted to use hydrangeas for her wedding flowers, so the plant was purchased and planted in our back yard in the early Spring. We had a mojor heat wave and lost quite a few hydrangeas...but thanks to my friends, Kristen, Kristi, Kathryn and Sarita, we had plenty!!!  Kristen even planted some specifically for the wedding.  There is not a day that goes by where I do not feel blessed by the generosity of dear friends who are so willing to always help and share.

 My friend Kathy hosted a bouquet making work day at her home. Laurissa's friend Mari organized the day and taught them all how to make the corsages and boutonniers.  Mari's brother, Matt even helped! While they were hard at work doing all of that, Caleb was the errand boy and was such a great help to run around town purchasing and picking things up that were needed...including picking up the buckets of fresh lavender and hydrangeas from Krisen's home!  Her lavender was absolutely incredible! Nana and Grandma Judi were the errand girls taking care of the detailed errands! :}

I was at home decorating the wedding cake for the bridal party and making 20 batches of vodka vanilla buttercream frosting.  OH.MY.GOODNESS!  I know I am a messy cook, but I should not be trusted with bags and bags of powdered sugar.EVER!  The kitchen windows are still sticky and need a major vinegar/water bath!

As I was whipping up vats of frosting, the phone was ringing off the hook, sweet e-mails and texts were coming in and sheer bliss seemed to be building by the second!

Clothes and tablecloths were picked up from the dry cleaners, coolers and buckets were crammed with more roses and hydrangeas, 100's of lights were strung across the church lawn and carefully centered over where the dance floor would be. {THANK YOU, Byron, Bunny and honey!!!}
My parent's suburban was filled to the gills with 2 vintage school easels, outdoor candle chandeliers, votive holders, glass crocks, garden trellis signs, HUGE boxes of Mason jars, shepherd hooks and a plethora of storage containers housing ribbons, decorating supplies, tags and paper banners, bottles of water and so.much.more!
After the various work parties came to a close...Nana, Grandma Judi, Laurissa and I met at a salon for manicures and pedicures.  It was so special...especially since it was a first for my momma and I.  Saving something special like that for right before a wedding was totally worth it!  I think we all felt pampered and relaxed.  From there, we had minutes to arrive to the church for the rehearsal.
The groom, who had to work that day arrived just as the rehearsal was about to start.  Talking about cutting it close!  AGAIN, no sense in worrying...we had to laugh and just accept the fact that he may not show up until the rehearsal dinner, if even then!!!
The rehearsal was quick and flawless {thanks to Debbie who was calm, cool, and collected and}...with plenty of time to drive down to the Old Spaghetti Factory in Portland!

{photo credit:  Kim Harris}

 The weather was warm and beautiful and we had so much fun sitting at a large window with a view of the RIVER!
As dinner drew to a close, David's Dad spoke a bit about David and Laurissa and opened it up to anybody who wanted to speak.  After my hubby spoke a bit and was choked up...the rest of the evening was filled with what I would call...BLESSINGS.  One of my favorites being Caleb leaving his table and standing behind his sissy with his arms on her shoulders and speaking to her and to us affirming his love for her and for her new hubby-to-be.  There is no way I can do justice to what was said that evening.  All I can say is that if a heart could possibly explode from gratitude...mine would have exploded into a million and one pieces!
As we drove home with the city lights twinkling over the bridges and reflecting off of the calm water that night...we reflected and reminded each other that God was sooo good  in directing us to make some MAJOR changes with our children many years ago.  We are thankful that God spoke very clearly to us and more than anything that God gave gave us strength and broken hearts to act in faith and to trust that He did have a plan for our life and a plan for the life of our children. A life that has been blessed with incredible friends and family who have stood in the gap many times and for those who have prayed for our children.  We are beyond grateful for how God provided our daughter with a man who fears God and LOVES her beyond measure...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Quick Chicken and Olive Pasta Salad

OH.MY.GOODNESS!  What an incredible couple of weeks it has been!

Our days have been filled with lots of time with family, friends, a WEDDING, an anniversary trip to the beach {Hubby and I celebrated 22 years of marriage the day after the wedding!!} and lots of after-wedding clean up.

Last week, hubby asked me out on a date to the river.  After all these years of wedded bliss, I have learned to {almost} ALWAYS.ALWAYS say "yes" to a date!  Housework and other duties can wait.  Trust me, laundry, dishes, and leftover wedding decorations that seem to be screaming for your attention will still be waiting for your return!

I had not cooked in over a week and had not gone grocery shopping.
I needed something fast to take for our picnic on the, I threw this little ditty together in no time.  Since I had everything on hand. Thank you, Trader Joe's for the idea!

Thank you, twinsie for the butter-yellow measuring cups...and Kristen for the lavender!!

Chicken and Olive Pasta Salad
Trader Joe's Sampling Station

1 package FUSILLI pasta

1 jar of green olives

1 can of white chicken


Lemon Pepper to taste


*Boil pasta according to package directions.

*Rinse with cold water until noodles are cool.

*Place noodles in a large bowl.

*Add jar of green olives and all of the juice...and since we are cutting down on extra calories around here when we can...the juice allows moisture without the extra mayonnaise.  :}

*Add chicken, mayonnaise and sprinkle with Lemon Pepper to your liking.

That is it.  No muss.  No fuss and plenty o' time to play the afternoon away.

This and That...

Trip to the beach:  SO VERY BEAUTIFUL!

Coming home to leftover wedding flowers...filling me with so much joy of the special day so many shared with our family!

The perfect place to spend the day when the temp is over 100*!!

A new friend!

Wishing our Caleb would have been able to join us on our date!  He would have LOVED it!

So...the next time you are asked out on a date, you need to abandon ship, get wet and have fun!

Thank you, honey for the field trip "adventure" day...and thank you, Dwight for sharing your part of heaven on earth and your delightful dahlias.

Shared with:  Stone Gable

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Today, I was re-reading our "family rules"...things we have tried to implement over the years...and I must say it gets me a bit choked up...

I decided to change it up a bit for TODAY:

Today, I am going to pray about everything...

Today, forgiveness is not optional...

Today is the day to tell the the kindest, most genuine way possible...

Today is still a perfect day to have fun and to be creative!!!  Don't pack up the glue gun and twine, yet!

Today is THE day to encourage parents and siblings...share in their sorrow and celebrate in their JOY!

Today is the day to be on my hubby's side.  No matter what the situation may be!

Today is for KEEPING PROMISES...even if I think it has been long forgotten...

Today is for sharing everything...even the last bite of homemade ice cream.  :}

Today is my day to thank God for my family and friends...and even strangers that offer a smile...

Today I am thankful for the CRAZY week ahead where our friends and family will all work together to celebrate and WELCOME a new family member to our little family of four!!!

{ADAPTED from a wall hanging in someone's HOME!}

{I was reminded that I was going to continue to blog during "the wedding season", but quite honestly, there are things you can only capture with a momma's eye and take in and store in a momma's heart.  Truly, I am usually full of chitter chatter and blah blah blah, but today I have decided that there are simply things in life that are not meant to be documented with ink and paper but written on the heart with words that will never be transcribed.  Moments that will be forever remembered by you and forgotten by most...but they are the most exquisite memories a momma and a poppa can share!}

Love to ALL of you until after the wedding!!!