Saturday, November 29, 2008

a naoi déag (or Nineteen if you don't speak Gaelic)

Late post, but it's been an entire day in the making!

Today was Cassia's day! 19! She's 19! Unbelievable!

@ 6 AM I lit THE candle and set the table.

Turning the oven temp to 250, I popped the blueberry cobbler in to warm.

By 7:30 we had the birthday girl and her posse at the table. (our big table was still in the front room so they got to rub kneecaps at the round table!) Cobbler and Coffee were the fare for the morning. Minda gave her CS Lewis' Mere Christianity, an 86% cacao bar, and a pin that has a photo of the cutest kid intensely coloring with the caption: "I freakin' LOVE coloring!" ~ I'll try to get a photo. Leave it to Minda to be the one to find it.

Cassia got ready for work and I whisked her there by 10 AM and then ran some errands with Tofer. (Who can give me a shout out about those falling gas prices!!! Woot!)

While I was gone, Minda brought in all the Christmas boxes from the garage and began unpacking.

Cricket misses the tree when it leaves every year. She made herself right at home when we got the lights on and the skirt laid down. It must be nice to be queen.

We headed into town at 4:30 to meet up with Cassia and J. Cassia wanted us all to eat dinner at the restaurant where she works so she could introduce us to some of her co-workers. It was fun! We were given the best table in the house (they call it the "Mafia Table") and they all made sure Cassia was well cared for.

They surprised her at the end of our meal by having everyone come out to sing "happy birthday" - The cooks, the dishwashers, the servers, the bussers - everyone! It really blessed her. It showed me just how loved she is and was special for her to see the fruit of the love she pours out everyday.

Now we are home to unwind. We were going to hang ornaments, but J needed to work, so instead the kids are in their jammies watching Charlie Brown Christmas and drinking wassail.

Nineteen. Hard to believe that she is the same age I was when I had her!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pleasures of the Heart - Day 3

20 years Today!

Doug & J.

Polly & I

Mr. & Mrs. Paul

Doug & Polly

A Toast!

Today's post - the things about J. that delight my heart:

*His smile! Life is always darkest in our home when he has to search for his smile again.

*The man loves God more than me! Which makes me very secure.

*He is all about family! Both of us are from broken homes, which seems to have made family 5 times as important as it would be otherwise.

*His voice! I still melt when he says my name. I still go weak in the knees when he sings. I still tremble when he is upset.

He also: has great hands (but we won't go into that), is a fantastic dad, works hard & works well, loves to have fun, and appreciates me!

I Love You, Babe! Happy Anniversary!

"A cabbage needs no companions to be a perfect cabbage, but men desperately require all sorts of other people if they are to achieve their aims in life: parents, sibilings, friends, teachers, writers, musicians. Maturing, fulfilling, and happy relationships are replete with experiences of the beautiful, and no life is complete without them." ~ Dubay

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pleasures of the Heart - Day 2

Two years ago today I got a call at 2 AM. It was the day after Thanksgiving and we were getting ready to move that morning (around 9 AM) to Montana. J. took the call. I blearily asked if everything was ok when he came back to bed. Pulling me close he told me that he had bad news. My daddy had died. I wish I could describe the shock and pain that rushed through me and continued to wash over me in waves as I burried my face in J's shoulder and cried. I still cry. Thanksgiving is difficult now. I miss him.
Strange way to begin this Pleasures of the Heart post, eh? There is a reason. Though pain is real, love is reaches through it. My greatest love comes from my family. Let me introduce you.

The Paul Ladies - Minda, Anna, Judy, Deea, Cassia

The Paul Boys - Fred, Tofer, James

Cricket Quidah of the Amber-dropping-hair RumplesnoutGreat Grampa and Grammy Linda

Celebrating Grama Ella's 90th Birthday in Forks.

They are amazing. They are God's graces that move me beyond pain to the place of joy.
(Not shown in photos: Brothers Kyle & Stuart, Brother-in-law Shaun, Nephew Conner)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pleasures of the Heart - Day 1

I thought I'd share for the next few days, leading up to Thanksgiving, things I'm loving, being blessed by, finding simple delights in, and am thankful for. I've been reading in I Peter for my devotions the last 2 weeks and one thought has been imbedded in me above any other ~

12 Beloved, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. - - 19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.

The last 6 months have been difficult and demanding; Spiritually, physically, and mentally. I've been convicted in my lack of faith, hope, and trust when it comes to God's will and work in our lives. The past 2 months Holy Spirit has been gently pulling me back to center and stretching my gaze upward again. In doing so, my heart trusts, hopes and believes more freely. Simple delights are found more often, laughter bubbles out more fully, each day presents my arms with loves to be embraced... So! We begin!
We pop these in our backpacks, purses, and pockets for e-z peel happiness for our tummies. I buy a box and they are gone in a day. :o) Nice to know my family is eating right even when they're snack-attackin'!
By Driscoll and Bresheres. Mark is one of my favorite teachers, and from what others have told me of Gerry, he is just as good in a different way. I can believe it. This is the nuances of the significance of Jesus death on the cross applied to our day to day life and how that radically alters our perceptions of reality - therefore altering our life. It's beautiful.

Wool sweaters. Winter is so much more pleasant with them to wrap up in, snuggle into and pull on at a moments shiver.
Adagio Peppermint Tea. I rediscovered how much I love it while I was sick last week. Nothing tames the tummy quite so pleasingly. Just a plain, fragrant, steaming cuppa please!

I'll be back tomorrow with more! What pleasures is God delighting your heart in right now?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Funky Fu-Fu Fairy

One of the girls' friends was having a tea party today. Brooba dressed up for the day, not just for tea. :o)

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday Homemaking

Meet our newest neighbors. They seem to have adopted us as the honeymoon retreat center.
:o) "With her pretty hair tucked into a little cap, arms bared to the elbow, and a checked apron which had a coquettish look in spite of the bib, the young housewife fell to work, feeling no doubts about her success, for hadn't she seen Hannah do it hundreds of times?" (Little Women)
I do love to bake. As a child, it was the only time I got to help in the kitchen. Grama was particular, but in the end I always was given my own dough to roll and sprinkle sugar crystals over to bake along side her pie. Apple pie was my favorite. (I stashed my crust, saved til the very end - still do)

I also was allowed to peel apples and mix them when Grams had poured the spices over them.
I never quite got the knack of 'fluttering' the edges, but I try.
I figure, in the end, as long as it tastes delicious, who cares how it looks! We'll find out how this one tastes on Thanksgiving. :o)
On another note, I thought I was getting well, but last night got the chills and a bad headache. It's 2:30 AM Friday morning and I'm awake. I did sleep for a about 4 hours, but now my tummy is rolling and my head is throbbing.
It's snowed about 4 inches and is still coming down. Maybe we'll have a snow day and cancel school.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A New Warrior Arises

*sigh* I wish some stoires never had an end. Brian Jacques' Redwall Tales nearly always have that effect on me.

We were on our way home from Portland a couple weeks ago and stopped in Powells City of Books to browse. I was standing in front of the "youth fiction" section when I glanced down and saw an unfamiliar title in the Redwall section. I literally grabbed it from the shelf and excitedly turned to J exclaiming, "Babe, LOOK! I've never read this one!" He took it from me and walked to the counter ~ I love it when he does things like that! Come to find out, they had barely placed in on the shelf! It was a new release. I bagan reading on the plane, and finished the next morning. They're never long enough! Redwall hasn't had a resident warrior in an age, but when the time comes & the need of one arises, so does a warrior - in the form of a long earred, lollipin', hare-psachord playin', famine faced Laird from the north. It' s the first time I remember a hare carrying Martin's sword in defense of Mossflower and Redwall - but this warrior you will love!

As with all the other tales, there are other endearing characters (like the hedgehog who had most of his snout whacked off and replaced it with a cork so he could look respectable) and lots of feasts (I always walk away famished!) and escapades (you know someone is going to sneak out for their own adventure). I love the tributary stories Jacques wove into this one. A black beast you aren't sure is friend or foe, a "queen" of sweet gatherers, and the Gonflin.

I'll never get enough!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nothing brings a family together like...

Wallace & Gromit!!
I'm sitting upstairs right now, with my sore throat, as the scent of popcorn wafts and the echos of laughter blend with the bleeting of sheep.

I don't want to pass on my cold, so I'm on a pallet bed in the livingroom. Minda put her stuffed Shaun the Sheep beside me so I could feel a part. A Close Shave is definately my favorite. If you have never seen a W&G short film, do not hesitate! Indulge! I don't like the full length film, Curse of the Were-Rabbit, but the shorts are hillarious!

What's your favorite?

Saturday, before the Sunday waves of nausia hit, I got started on the Thanksgiving day prep!! Of course I had to start with my favorite part - Pecan Pie (made with hazelnuts because I'm alergic to pecans)!!!! Filberts (aka Hazelnuts) shelled and hulled by Minda (8-10 cups of them thanks to Brian Jacques and crew on CD keeping her preoccupied!)
Eggs from back on the farm ~ Wilson's was a yearly field trip when the chitlins were a bit more on the wee side of life. Vegie fed, free range, no antibiotics, no steroids - totally organic, and sometimes wild gathered as they have no hen houses - only layer boxes! Golden treasures in every one.
A wedding gift to my grandmother (circa 1930), used also by my mother, given to me and will be passed on to my girls when they grow up, get married and get to create their first Thanksgiving dinners for their families.
Almost ready for the Thankgiving table! I have found that baking at 5800 ft. is a hurry up and wait exercise. I kept adding 10 minutes, and then adding 10 more... 45 extra minutes in order to get the filling set!! That's ok, though - I know how it tastes and it will be worth every tick of the clock!
This is how our evening ended! We also snuck away to dinner with friends at a local restaraunt. I had the yummiest spinach chevre stuffed portabello on a bed of polenta with local baby carrots and steamed green beans to just the right crunchiness!
What a great day!
Have any of you begun baking for the holidays? What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Read it and weep

God always drops something in my lap - just when I need to 'hear' it. This is a reinterpretation of a Franciscan Blessing.

“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and the exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, and starvation, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Back from the dead?

I have famous relatives! The most unlikely people in the least likely place have become celebrities!
In a tiny town on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State a phenomena has hit. Any of you familiar with Stephanie Meyers' books? The Twilight series? I wasn't. Until my in-laws told me of their stay with Uncle Bill and Aunt Susan. Giggly, giddy girls and women racing into the yard at the B&B snapping pictures and giggling more before racing away ... Uncle Bill and Aunt Susan own The Miller Tree Inn (or, in Twilight, the home of the Cullens). Uncle Bert & Aunt Martha own the Forks Outfitters and Thriftymart where Bella works.

Recently, when we flew to Portland I became an instant SOMEBODY with 2 ladies, who were reading the series, couldn't believe I had not only been to Forks (several times), but had stayed in the Cullen's home.

I understand fascination. I would feel elated at being able to visit Green Gables or the home of Betsy, Tacy, and Tib. I don't think I would be giddy, but it would definately be a thrill.
There was a time when we wondered if Forks would survive. The whole Spotted Owl controversy of the 80's also put them on the map - but for all the wrong reasons. The lumber capital of the world just about went belly up. Now that the undead have bitten the population at large, Forks has come back to life...
P.S. I haven't read the books, and don't intend to. Nor do I intend to see the movie. Still, I am glad for my family to be blessed by the obsession of others!