Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Be Content to Simply Be Yourself


We went to Pacific Grove a few weekends ago. It is along the coast, near the towns of Carmel and Monterrey. It is peaceful there, with beautiful, majestic views of the Pacific Ocean.

Zoom loves the beach. He likes to run up to the water's edge, play tag with the waves. It's always a delight to see him running back and forth with the waves, laughing, yelling at the tides. I wish I better understood what goes on in the head of a two year old.

It's a joy to get to share in his contentment of just being him. Everything is new. He has a favorite pair of shoes, but mostly he doesn't mind what he wears. He takes in everything with an earnestness, an eagerness, that has long been forgotten in most adults. He can not help but get excited about sand dabs, little crabs, seagulls, and flowers on the shore.

The gift of getting lost in the sheer delight of the moment, of really living each emotion, it seems to tie young children closer to the divine. It's as if they understand what is important, what it means to be alive. I love that Zoom is easily lost in the moment, in living, in being. 

I am grateful for him, grateful to see things through his eyes, even just for a few minutes every day.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend Recap: Happy Hollow and Ardenwood Historic Farm

It was a great three day weekend! I hope you all enjoyed your extra day off.

We spent a lot of time with family, and Zoom adored seeing his twin cousins twice over the weekend. Here they are at Happy Hollow in San Jose on Saturday ... now that they are two, they do a lot of running and we do a lot of chasing. I really like that it's a small enough space to explore easily, and they  have a great mix of toddler-friendly rides and small animals. And, we get a discount since we are members at the Discovery Museum of San Jose.

Happy Hollow

Zoom and his cousins really love to hang out together. The ride on the ladybug (Granny Bugs) was especially hilarious; those two got in line together a couple of times and kept asking to ride in the same bug. Really adorable.

On Monday we all met up at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.  The kids had a lot of fun checking out the animals, seeing a peacock, and learning about how corn grows. Ardenwood is another great place for the toddler age group. Monday was a free day, so it was pretty crowded, and it started raining while we were there. But even when they charge to get in, it's inexpensive, and there's lots to do and see.

Ardenwood Historic Farm

Yes, my child was definitely delighted by seeing a goat! And, we learned that fireman's hats double very nicely as a rain cap.

In addition to all of the kiddo fun, I made some new drapes for the master bedroom, but need a good sunny day to take photos of it. I'm IN LOVE with them - they have a blackout liner! Here's a sneak preview: 


Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Song

Songs filled my home as a little girl. Lots of folk songs, lots of Peter, Paul, and Mary. The Beatles, Billy Joel, The Mammas and the Pappas, The Carpenters, John Denver. My Dad would play records for hours some nights, DJing to us, his willing audience. The chopsticks would come out and we would bang on the dining room table, drumming loudly, singing at the tops of our lungs, and truly loving the music.

I think that because of my Dad's love of lyrics, of his exploration of new kinds of music that I have become someone who links lines of songs with places in time.

A friend could say a few simple words to me and I am transported to a single memory, lapping it in, breathing that moment.

There goes the baker with his tray like always, and I am in my brown VW with my best friend Tammy at age 20, driving down Highway 101 on our way back to our beloved UCSB.

Swing low, sweet chariot, my nose fills with the scent of the campfire, and I am surrounded by a camp full of children singing, staring at Uncle Max while crickets chirp.

Fill my cup again, as I am sitting on the heater vent, looking out the window over the deck and the woods beyond in my Holly Hobby night gown.

I remember when rock was young, and my Dad is dancing, singing, laughing with us in our living room, as Sara and I dance with my Mom.

You may be right, I may be crazy and my family is again singing at the top of their lungs as we drive towards Lake Tahoe for a family vacation. The same cassette has played for hours, but we never tire of it.

I will sing you a morning golden and new, while I hold my own baby in my arms and dance him around his nursery at 10 days old, at three o'clock in the morning as he cries.

Love is certain, love is kind, love is yours and love is mine, and Sean and I are holding each other close, swaying, dancing in the kitchen, like we like to do, weeping happy tears as we think of the life ahead of us with our sweet baby and our little house.

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday Wanderings: A Question of Faith

Late last week, a reader sent me an email, asking about how someone could really KNOW and experience a relationship with God.

She wanted to know how someone who believes, who knows that there is a God, how can that person experience God, when after several years, they "feel" nothing?

She was asking because someone she loves dearly is a believer, he goes through the daily routines of prayer and wants a relationship with God. But, he says that he hasn't felt the connection in over four years. The reader wants to know how she can help this man.

Her question is both timely and timeless.

I know that all of us go through the droughts of the spiritual wilderness. I know what all of us feel alone, feel nothing from time to time. It is not from a lack of wanting, nor a lack of trying. And I don't know why it happens.


All that I know to do during the times like that are to keep going. To lean into my faith, to love more, to give more, to pour myself into the things I love, and know that God is there, right beside me as I go.

In thinking on these moments of wilderness, of no visible anchor, of a vast emptiness, I find my heart resting with the Isrealites. Just 75 days out into the literal wilderness (of 40 years total), they began to question, to bicker, but in response, what does God do with this complaint? He does what God does and showers his people with love and provisions, and honors His promise to them. He gives the Israelites manna (bread) in the morning and quail at night. And when the Israelites were gathering the manna in the morning, “they said ‘what is it?’ for they did not know what it was.”

I love this because manna means “what is it?” in Hebrew.

And the next part blows my mind. As the people gathered the manna “some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.”

God provided for each of the Israelites “just as much as they needed.” Even with the complaining, the dramatics, all of it, God just gave the people what they needed.

This is what I will try to take from the wilderness. It is a foreign landscape. We may not know long we are to wander, nor where our journey will lead us. But we can take heart that while we are out here, while we are wandering, that God will continue to stay true to His promise to each of us. Even when don't think we can see, or hear, or feel God's presence, God is listening, He is there, standing by us. God will be there with us, giving us exactly what we need to get through, and making sure that we have enough to sustain us for the journey.

And so as I consider wilderness, and I consider this reader's question, I hope that she can take heart in an answer as old as any story. In every wilderness, there is manna. Just like the desert, God has placed what we need within our grasp because God hears our cries and answers prayers whether they are eloquently phrased or not. Like the Israelites, we may not recognize what “manna” is right away, even though it’s sitting right before us each morning, or surrounds us every night. I may even ask “what is it?” as each piece of manna presents itself. For our part, we must have faith, and the courage to open my eyes and look for God’s blessings in the wilderness. The blessings may not be completely apparent right now, it may take weeks or months or years for us to be able to look back and see the gifts for what they were. But in time, the picture will become clear, and each of us will be able to see the "manna" and blessings that were given to us. I hope that this reflection can bring solace to this reader. I hope that she can see that even while the connection to God may seem distant, God is there, God is providing, God is faithful. And when we can't feel it, we must keep the faith and know that God is out there, keeping His promises.

Are you ready for the linky party portion of this post?

The simple rules:

1. If you post something, please stop by and leave a comment on the 2 people that posted before you.

2. Please stop by "On Wings and Waves" and say hi to Kristen :)
3. Please share links from your blog that you haven't shared here before.
4. Please grab the Wednesday Wanderings button and share it in your post so other people can join in the fun.

Let's get linking!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A New Family Hobby - Geo-Caching!

We went out of town a couple of weekends ago. I had a dream about geocaching one night and woke up and announced to Sean that we needed to try it the next morning. And so we did!

If you aren't familiar with geo-caching, it's basically a treasure hunt, where people create caches and hide them all over the world. Caches can be teeny (micro), small, medium or large. The bigger sizes often hold small prizes like tiny toys, stickers, and other goodies. All caches have a little log in them where you can write your name and the date you visited the location. There's also a website where you can see all of the caches, and search for ones near you.

Our very first geo-cache led us to this beach in Pacific Grove, California. Not a bad place to start! We played on the beach after I tried to act sneaky and make sure no one saw me digging the first find out from under some rocks. I picked a little set of plastic flowers and left behind a blinky ring.


The next stop for us was on the way back to the hotel, and it took awhile for us to find the cache. We saw a dear on the road at that stop.

Geo cache #2

We headed home after we checked out (I swear I'll post pics of the weekend, too :) ) and hit another cache on the way home. It was off highway 101 in Morgan Hill, and it took us through a cool field just as the sun was going down. The Californian in me swoons over this kind of a scene:


We found the cache and grabbed a little Mickey Mouse top, and left behind a bottle of water. This was the largest cache we've seen.

Zoom really likes hunting for treasure, and was a trooper even though we had a bit of a walk to get to it.


When we got home that night, I put in an order with Oriental Trading so we'd have some proper gifts to leave behind in the next caches we visit. I ordered pens, some small airplanes, and stickers, and they arrived today!

Geo caching

Zoom can't wait to go out on our next treasure hunt! Check out that smile!

Geo caching

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday Wanderings: Be the Change You Seek

For a long time my little retreat team has struggled. With the age group, with finding topics that resonate with others, and with finding the right time ... to meet, to have a retreat, the list goes on.

I have to admit that one of the things that irks me most, and has for awhile, is the title of "Young Adults." To me, this harkens back to the young adult section of the library, which targets people in the tween years. It is not, decidedly not, ages 20-40. When I first read that a retreat was for Young Adults, I thought it couldn't be for me, because I'm just a regular adult. And that was oh, ten years ago. I must be an Ancient Adult by now.

So instead of trying to find these elusive "young" people, my aim is to invite Gen Y and Gen X to the retreats we lead. We want to welcome people back to a church, to give them space to explore spirituality, to let them find themselves.

And I've decided the team is just going to change what they are doing, and just open up the audience to a little wider range. My reasoning - that we're looking to reach a set of like minded people who are not served elsewhere by the church, and that this group is less about a age range, and more about a state of mind.

I'm inspired by the way that Francis went about changing the church, about his message of living God's love, of living the Golden Rule. Francis understood that it is by our way of living that we embody the Gospel for each other and to each other.

Are you ready for the linky party portion of this post?


The simple rules:

1. If you post something, please stop by and leave a comment on the 2 people that posted before you.

2. Please stop by "On Wings and Waves" and say hi to Kristen :)

3. Please share links from your blog that you haven't shared here before.

4. Please grab the Wednesday Wanderings button and share it in your post so other people can join in the fun.

Let's get linking!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday Wanderings: Following The Dream

I'm not going to lie, the last couple of weeks have been rough. We launched a campaign today at work (I work in digital advertising), and that always takes its toll. But I think there's something beyond that. Something I need to dig in to and wrestle with a bit, and that is an exhaustion that comes from a job that is not a good fit.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you've had the sense before that the job you're in isn't REALLY what you're supposed to be doing? When things feel like a bit of a battle? And even driving in each morning seems to hang with dread?

I'm going to get out of the funk. I'm determined to. This life is too short to feel stuck or be unhappy.

This morning I spoke with the "When I Grow Up Coach," Michelle Ward. Oh, she's amazing. Just talking about my dreams made me happy.

You guys already know what I love to do, I think. I love leading retreats. I love speaking in public. Guys, I'm going to figure out how to DO THAT. I'm going to follow my dream.

So, here's where stuff gets real and where my bloggy work starts to just become my work. I sure hope you'll tag along for the ride.

The simple rules:

1. If you post something, please stop by and leave a comment on the 2 people that posted before you.

2. Please stop by "On Wings and Waves" and say hi to Kristen :)

3. Please share links from your blog that you haven't shared here before.

4. Please grab the Wednesday Wanderings button and share it in your post so other people can join in the fun.

Let's get linking!