Sunday, July 20, 2008


I apologize for not posting for so long--we were preparing for a long car trip and then were en route/in Kentucky until just this afternoon.

Written June 7, 2008

Well summertime is here again in Texas--full force--with all its beauty and misery. :P

Everything is blooming, and has been for about a month now. Our towering palm trees are nearly always moving, rustling in the gentle breeze, dropping their last few blossoms along the rocks and into the pool. The beautiful crepe myrtle branches have been painted with white and all various shades of pink and purple; when the wind blows it seems to catch up the tiny flowers like snowflake flurries--especially during a thunderstorm, when they flow and skitter across the crepe myrtle-lined driveway. The small, dark purple flowers of the Mexican Heather are appearing, as are those of the lighter shaded Lilies of the Nile. The Day Lilies, too, are adding their color to the summer landscape, with tints of yellow, red, purple, and orange. The hibiscus, the Oleanders with their lovely cherry scent, and oh! the fruit trees! Their blossoms smell absolutely heavenly--lemon, grapefruit, lime, peach, apple, pear...*sigh*

My dad's garden is well on its way--we have fresh tomatoes, corn, and peppers (bell and jalapeno), and will soon have watermelon, cantaloupe, beans, and cucumbers. Our herb garden is also providing fresh basil, rosemary, oregano, chives, peppermint, and lavender. :)

The sun is usually peeking its head over the horizon by about 6:30 these days, and doesn't disappear in the west until around eight in the evening. And oh! does the sun take advantage of its full trek across the sky--by 10 in the morning it can be 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 32-38 degrees Celsius). The humidity can make it so "sticky" that you almost feel like you're suffocating if you step outside. Thankfully there has been a fairly constant light wind lately--I notice the trees in a nearly endless dance most the day. Sometimes whirling around gaily, and sometimes just barely touching fingers, but always moving. I love hearing the wind play the first 6 notes of 'Amazing Grace' as it brushes past the wind chime hanging on the back porch.

It's quite strange, really. When I began writing this post, I thought I'd have much more ranting about the heat, humidity, mosquitoes, and the things that make summer miserable, but instead I've gone on and on about how gorgeous it is. I suppose that I like summer more than I thought I did (though the heat and humidity is still a damper on my enthusiasm for it. ;) ). Do you ever feel, with all the beauty around you, this deep soul-longing?

Well, now that I have rambled on and on about basically nothing...Hmm. What shall I do to redeem this post slightly?

Listen to 'Sunny Days' by Jars of Clay. It's probably my favorite song of that band to date.

'Summer Again' by The Afters is beautiful--look it up if you haven't.

And a random fact of the day: Lairë is the Quenya Elvish word for 'summer.' And I love the Elvish language. Wait, that's two random facts. No it isn't. The second one isn't random--it relates to the first. Hang on. That means that the first one isn't random, now, doesn't it? I'm confusing you, aren't I? I've been on a fast for 9 days now, so I'm entitled to be a little confusing at the moment. There. That's three...semi-random...facts for you. And I bet those will trigger as much conversation as the entire above post. (If there's any conversation at all.)

Enjoy the break from "serious" won't last long, I'm sure.

Smile--it's contagious. :) God bless.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pondering in the Blueberry Patch

(Written Sunday, June 29, 2008)

I suppose my thoughts on this post are, in the words of the oft-quoted Calvin, "Who wouldn't be interested in everything we do?!"

Our dad came into the room that I share with my two younger sisters at 6:45 this morning, awaking me from a sound sleep in which I dreamt that, for some strange reason, I was one of 8 or 9 people chosen to be blasted off into space (to the moon, I think). Being desirous of reaching the conclusion of the dream, I attempted in vain to tune out the unwelcome "alarm." When, however, I heard that we had only 15 minutes to get changed, gather our things, and be in the car, I rather reluctantly but quickly threw back the 3 layers of covers (I get cold at night very easily :P).

After getting ready, I grabbed my cell phone and a ring of keys from my dresser, intending to run down the street to a neighbor's house in order to feed their cat (which responsibility I took on for half a month while the couple celebrates their 25th wedding anniversary in Vienna and on a cruise ship among the Greek islands). As I reached their driveway, however, I remembered that their daughter (a year older than I, and a sophomore in college) had left me a note yesterday saying that she would be home until later that morning, and it occurred to me that she might not appreciate my waking her so early. I therefore hastened back to the car, where the rest of the family was just piling in.

As we drove out of the neighborhood, we passed a little family of ducks just preparing to cross the road--with little baby ducklings. A cry of "Awwww!" came from my mom and me, while my dad looked at me (via the rearview mirror) like my cheese had begun to slide off my cracker. LOL

I then picked up the book I had brought with me and attempted to read. This was quite difficult, however, as my mom was reading to my dad from a book about raw milk and the history of pasteurization (we drink raw milk ;) ). I continued my efforts to tune out the commentary in the front of the car and tried to focus on George MacDonald's The Musician's Quest. The difficulty of this increased, however, as Nicole Nordeman's song 'Sunrise' stuck itself in my brain.

Finally, after a few moments, I temporarily set aside Robert Falconer and Shargar; my mind was going at such a rate (writing the beginning of this blog post, actually), that I quickly requested from my mother a piece of paper and pencil. Kara supplied the paper from her notepad on which she was writing Spanish verbs, and the pencil was found in the compartment between the front seats. (I really should remember to carry a pad of paper around with me everywhere I go.) Thus I occupied myself writing for a good 15 minutes until we came close to our destination, when my concentration was distracted by my dad pointing out some horses along the road to the kids--my attention once drawn to the window, I continued to gaze in that direction for several more minutes. Moments later, a very strange thing came into view; ostriches! Why on earth someone had ostriches in their front yard I don't know. :P

As I went to return to my creative endeavors, I was rudely interrupted by a continuous joggling. Looking up once more, I saw that we had turned onto a dirt/gravel road, and therefore postponed the commencement of my writing, lest I be completely unable to decipher it afterwards. My dad must have been highly amused at the sight of us bouncing around in our seats like Mexican jumping beans.

Miraculously, we found ourselves whole and unbruised when we finally pulled into a parking space in front of the "U-pick" blueberry farm. Everyone quickly unbuckled and gathered their things (hats, water bottles, and--in my case--a camera), whereupon we walked up to the main office.

The man that greeted us immediately congratulated our mother for "bringing so many pickers" as he began handing us buckets and ropes (by which to hang the buckets over our necks, leaving our hands free). Strangely, his voice and laugh reminded me of a character from a movie--after a bit of pondering, I realized it was the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland (which I haven't seen in an eternity). The similarity was quite bizarre.

Anyway, the Mad Hatter man then directed us towards the back of the farm, where there were berries to be found. I walked with Daddy, ahead of the others, and he chatted to me about a doctor friend of his, while I listened, swinging my bucket happily. Finally we came to the section indicated by the Mad Hatter man (I never did catch his name), and everyone spread out and began picking.

There is a point to this post, believe it or not! So stay in your seat. :P

Picking the blueberries was harder this year than last. This year we didn't manage to make it to the farm until near the very end of the season, so most of the blueberries within easy reach were gone. The ones that were left were either quite far into the bush or way up on top of it. And I'm short; that made it even harder. Apparently I wasn't the only one, either. I overheard a couple on the other side of the row from me talking, and the girl commented that she wasn't getting many berries, whereupon her husband/boyfriend (I couldn't tell which) teased her for being so short and boasted that he had half a bucketful already (Hey, he must've been over 6', so he had an unfair advantage, which he admitted).

The other members of my family began commenting on the scarceness of the berries as well. This sort of blueberry picking was not for the squeamish. It required diving into the very heart of the bushes, pulling back branches, and (in my case) reaching up and pulling down branches to reach the top of them. My thirteen year-old brother approached me at one point and lamented, through the bushes, "How long wilt thou be content with the middlings? When will thou reach higher?" (Yes, I know his Olde English needs help. :P) Humorous as that was, my mind, being the way it is, took that concept and ran with it.

As I picked, I thought about the fact that in order to get the best berries (for they truly were better--bigger and sweeter), one had to strive for the tops and centers of the plants. Isn't that rather like our spiritual lives? How many people are content to walk through life and catch what they can of God along the way--a bit here, a bit there...Whatever is in easy reach. Heaven forbid that they should have to inconvenience themselves to have more of Him and His presence. Why don't we dive into God--into His heart? Why don't we look up and reach for His face? I think He is calling us to do as Aslan called the Pevensies in the Last Battle, when in the "real" Narnia:

"Further up and further in!"

This thought enkindles me. Will you too join the quest to go "further up and further in" to our relationship with Him? For without Him, where is the joy in the journey?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Feel free to opine...

Well, there is the result of an evening's photo-shoot and another evening's Photoshop. :)

What thinkest thou of mine new banner? Preferest thou the old or the new?