Author Archives: Jen

No Fear Parenting

Not too long ago, just a few months in fact, a horse and young rider appeared through the woods in front of my house. The boy, just 10 years old, in his worn chaps, boots, and cowboy hat, tied the … Continue reading

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Mother, did you know?

I was blessed to spend Christmas Day with some wonderful and rare women, all mothers to me in one way or another. We talk about Mary on Christmas Day because of her special motherhood. I think on Christmas Day, perhaps … Continue reading

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Near the place of offerings

I realized something today about location. That’s the mantra of real estate, right? Location, location, location. Reading in John 8, where Jesus is speaking about the validity of his testimony and the pharisees are challenging his authority to appear as … Continue reading

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Tooth Fairy: revisited

I’m on my last child to be losing front teeth. I just played tooth fairy a few minutes ago, and my 10 year old had to help me out. “Jo, do you have any money?” –and I added an apology, … Continue reading

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When they were young

I remember climbing up Misery Ridge with them that day, six years ago now. I don’t remember them being so little. Maybe it was a different time and my mind is playing tricks on me?

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In Fields of Grace

Jeté, échappé, a stag leap and a pirouette — I’m not a dancer but there was this moment of freedom and I danced a dance of worship. Being home alone without the cacophony of kids and their chatter and no … Continue reading

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Shrubs for Sale

These are my genius children: Dig up grass clumps from the back of the property, place them in pots, offer them for $1 each, and talk Dad into buying all of the beautiful shrubbery. #entrepreneurs (But Dad, for that dollar, … Continue reading

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The Remarkable Thing About Motherhood

It’s the small moments. It’s this little note that warmed my heart like that flame she lit. It’s the Mardi Gras beads, strung out on the sparkling granite no less than the stars strung across the universe, that arrangement of … Continue reading

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The First in 1000 Years

Imagine being the first person in your family tree in 1,000 years to do something radically different? I was reading about Christian missions in France and read this story which completely arrested me: Between the Children’s hour and the Ladies … Continue reading

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NCLB

This is how we do No Child Left Behind. All you need is some open country, trees (especially those suitable for building forts), and a happy dog to chase you. Someone should tell them it doesn’t take an act of … Continue reading

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Odds and Ends from Good Friday

It feels like Spring and Sunday is coming! I sat up in the tree fort with my ten-year-old for a good spell today, she thinking about picking out her 4H lamb later today, I drinking coffee and enjoying the breezy, … Continue reading

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The anti-Alpha and Omega

Today in Washington, D.C., hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates marched on Washington, D.C. to solemnly commemorate life and protest the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Since that ruling, 55 million babies have lost their lives to abortion. I … Continue reading

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Merry Christmas 2012

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy 2013! The Peace of the Christ-child and the Hope of the world to you. “You are accepted, God has not despised you, but he bears in his body all your … Continue reading

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Tradition!

This just seems wrong. I’ll take a cold spill on real ice, thank you. And that thin spray of ice shavings you can kick up when you do a hockey-stop? I’d miss it. And this? How will the children ever … Continue reading

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The Amazing Lemon Meringue Pie Time Machine

There was Nancy, eating lemon meringue pie in Amsterdam. She messaged me, that’s how I knew, and she’d made it from scratch just like our mom used to do when we were children, and Nancy, too, when she was probably … Continue reading

Posted in family life, features, health/cooking/food, parenting | 12 Comments

The Moral Case for Free Enterprise

Don’t miss this powerful video about the American dream, why a free market is morally good, and why economic freedom will always mean personal freedom. The false narrative about “greedy” business people is not just a lie, it’s a manipulative … Continue reading

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Because I’m Too Busy for Actual Blogging

I present a series of short Facebook status updates from the past month or two…because when I delete FB for good, I still need a record that I was alive and well these past few months with a lot of … Continue reading

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July at the Oregon Coast

Four days away to the Oregon Coast, plugged only into the great outdoors, does a world of good. Continue reading

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An Arbor in the Desert for Poets

In the place where trumpet vines bloomed in the desert, an arbor hung over some children while words danced poetry above their heads. Continue reading

Posted in family life, features, poetry | 8 Comments

Dear Morton Salt Umbrella Girl

Dear Morton Salt Umbrella Girl: Please do not ever, ever leave. You were my best imaginary childhood friend. I always wondered where you were going with that umbrella in the rain, worried that you might ruin your pretty yellow dress, … Continue reading

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Last week of May in pictures

Someday life won’t be so overflowing with noise and ruckus, dirt and wild animals–and wild children, so dear diary, help me remember this for the quiet days ahead. Continue reading

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Waiting for the Moving of the Waters

It was this phrase I read in John 5 this morning, all those sick people waiting for the moving of the waters at Bethesda, when the phone rang. The words still turning in my head, the meaning still emerging, and … Continue reading

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When you have to grow up with your kids

She is asking for her first bra; his feet just outgrew mine–they are working hard at the job of growing up, and I’d better grow too, because right now I can barely handle this change. When I unpacked his bag … Continue reading

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Moon glory

Oh glory, who turned on all the lights?! Ah, it’s just the moon, so bright it’s casting sun-like shadows off the junipers, and the long slants of silhouette stretching far off the posts of the lamb pen belong to the … Continue reading

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The Dead President Dream

I had a dream last night that I was speaking to a dead president, actually I was practically wailing, begging for help for our nation’s predicaments. I specifically cried out to this specter of a president, white haired and stately, … Continue reading

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Adventures in Contentment by David Grayson: Review

A forgotten treasure of a book, I haphazardly stumbled on this yellowed century-old copy at a little coffee shop and found it stuffed with sincere and thoughtful observations of life along with delightful ink illustrations. My daughter got a lamb … Continue reading

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A pressed and faded memory

The whole piece is gone, the people, the houses, the connections that made the memory a complete vivid thing, and so it must be hard for just a slice to be recovered as a fragment of the former whole. Continue reading

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It’s Lent and I’m Tired

Lent is here. I will wake up at 5 a.m. for the next 40 days and that, my friends, may create some cranky mornings. Continue reading

Posted in features, holidays, religion | 8 Comments

The Staggering Relevance of Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer’s been dogging me for decades and sometimes I do wish he’d back off, because he’s always reminding me that anything of value has a high price. I’m a tight-wad, I don’t like to pay high prices. Continue reading

Posted in features, germany, history, persecuted church, politics/world news, religion | 9 Comments

Why Claire Berlinski is Awesome

While Claire tells me exactly what is going on in Syria at this moment in totally understandable and frank terms, FoxNews thinks that today’s best world news is that a school principal in Trinidad puts students’ heads in toilets. Truly, … Continue reading

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The Clothesline

The clothesline was the end of the job, reaching up toward blue sky and all clean around me, and endless possibilities. Continue reading

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The Year She Knew She Was Loved

When I am completely at rest in the solid, unmovable fact that God loves me, I am willing to take risks, to be utterly vulnerable, to throw myself with abandon into all of Him. Continue reading

Posted in family life, features, religion | 6 Comments

Wishing you a Merry Christmas

And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, Which shall be to all people.” “For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Saviour, which is Christ … Continue reading

Posted in features, holidays | 4 Comments

Stocking Stuffer Giveaway for the Sports Fan!

Hey Sports Fan! Diary of 1 and TeamMASCOT.com would like to give you a FREE stocking stuffer! TeamMASCOT is our family business, and you can read about it here, and then there’s Business 101 From an Eight-Year-Old to prove there’s … Continue reading

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Blogging to Bethlehem: Feeling Nauseous

I want to be hungry all the time as Advent proceeds down this crowded, bustling road to Bethlehem. Hungry to feel His presence, to simply anticipate. For now, I just feel nausea at my dispassion, but it’s a start. Continue reading

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The Brothers Karamozov and Me

A review of Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky’s crowning literary masterpiece, thoughts on God and the search for Truth, and my reaction to one of the greatest novels I’ve ever read. Continue reading

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Mommy, do I have Catholic or Jews in me?

Her question made me laugh out loud, and my heart warmed at the wondering, because don’t we all long to know where we come from and don’t we desire to be distinct and remarkable? Mommy, do I have Catholic or … Continue reading

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All Things Bright and Beautiful

Out my wintry window today, I think of Mrs. Cecil Alexander, who penned in 1848, “All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful; The Lord God made them all.” My older son says … Continue reading

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Thursday Threads

Good Thursday to you! I’m too busy to write much or write well, but here are some threads catching my attention today. 1. The Iron Lady. This film is a biopic on Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of The United Kingdom … Continue reading

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The Wind and Leaves on Veterans Day

The wind, he wasn’t going to miss the parade. Swiftly, anticipating, as one enthusiastically awaits a spectacular homecoming, he gathered himself from the four corners and whirled in with the leaves. I saw him, I heard the whispers. “Honor, valor, … Continue reading

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Thanking God for Mrs. Young

The wooden bench in the hallway, between the pot-bellied stove and the hanging ivy in a macramé plant holder, that was where I learned to love. Continue reading

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To honor when it isn’t fair

Oh, grace to cleanse my irritated soul. The way she shuffles, asks again what day it is, tells me she forgot how to whistle, burps at the table, a thousand ways that need grace.
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The House of the Lord on the Ocean

The house of the Lord is all around and they entered it there in the surf.
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It’s like going into a strip bar and being offended by nudity.

It’s a Catholic University, for God’s sake. Really, it’s for God’s sake. And Muslims who CHOOSE of their own free will to pay lots of money and attend this Catholic religious educational institution, are now complaining and filed a 60 … Continue reading

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Two-Hundred-Proof Grace

The discovery in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellarful of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred-proof grace—of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture…
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Many Members, One Body

Paul’s introduction to the Romans 12 listing of the seven motivational gifts contains some key concepts to understand before assessing your giftings. Continue reading

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Beware the secondhand stress!

I grew up inhaling secondhand smoke… maybe secondhand stress is just as deadly for children? Continue reading

Posted in family life, features, parenting, religion | 7 Comments

For by the grace given me

I’ve always hastened over this verse that begins the introduction to the gifts, but I’d like to take a closer look. Continue reading

Posted in features, religion | 10 Comments

Hope Renewed

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31). “Your pace will change from a sprint … Continue reading

Posted in family life, features, religion | 6 Comments

île flottante and more

In the kitchen with Elise tonight, it’s Quiche Lorraine, une salade, and les baguettes, followed by the fabulous île flottante (which is sort of a ball of meringue floating in a sea of custard). How did I get so lucky? … Continue reading

Posted in family life, france/french, health/cooking/food | 6 Comments

Life in a picture frame

I visited Jane yesterday, stepping carefully over oxygen tubes and scattered papers in response to her call to please come by, she had a painting to give me. She worked with oils 25 years ago, and her days closing in … Continue reading

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Beauty: Five Minute Friday

The deep burnt red coffee mug I sipped from just now, a swallow of hot, smooth brew, is my favorite. It’s beautiful; a thank-you gift from a friend, it held a bag of quality chocolates on the day it was … Continue reading

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Fair Time!

You must know about the cotton candy, cowboy hats and rodeo, happy music, dizzying rides, the earthy smell of livestock, colorful people? Continue reading

Posted in family life, features, the ranch | 7 Comments

Stormy, Yellow Thoughts of Thunder and Puddles

The potbellied raindrops came thundering down, the cat hid under the bed, the dog barked at the booms, the kids danced all silly out there under umbrellas, and I was in awe.
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Sister Love, Brother Bear

How stitch by stitch, their souls were being connected in gracious love.
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Posted in family life, features, parenting, religion | 15 Comments

The Miracle and Gift of Brotherhood

The brothers ran together, again together. These grown men with children of their own who now run together, up at the crack of dawn to reconnect the joy of boyhood that’s always down in the heart somewhere. We had watched … Continue reading

Posted in family life, features, religion | 9 Comments

The Toothpaste Story

I hastily wiped my dripping hands on the red flowered towel hanging askew from the oven door and answered the commanding ring of the phone. “Hi, this is Jasmine, can I talk to Jaime?” trilled the young voice, obviously experienced … Continue reading

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Dear Mom, tonight we will go to Starbucks.

The note that set my heart quivering. Not only had she stolen my heart, she set up a play-date for me.
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Missing Front Teeth

That short, sweet stage of a missing front tooth, an event not likely to be seen again until she’s 99; and other blessings to count.
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Freckles and Big Ears

Freckles and big ears on my boy, and his home-made fishing pole; and other blessings to count.
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A Package from England!

I really was like a kid at Christmas yesterday! My friend Anita Mathias, a writer and blogger from Oxford, sent me the movie Être et Avoir, an award-winning French film that we’d discussed, and it being difficult to procure here … Continue reading

Posted in book reviews, education, france/french | 3 Comments

Just a Wednesday in June

Just wanted to drop a pin on the map. I’m here. The kids are all finished with school tomorrow; three have been done for two weeks, and the fourth had the tough job of continuing on for those extra days … Continue reading

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D-Day in Color

D-Day in color. By the numbers: 160,000 Allied troops, supported by more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft, landed along a 50-mile stretch of French coastline. While the Allies sustained major casualties–9,000 killed or wounded–more than 100,000 troops would go … Continue reading

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Weekend Links

First week of June! 1. This is nauseating. For real? I’ll have a Coke. 2. Business 101 on ideas, money, greed, and enough. 3. $500 million of YOUR money to get a 5 year old to sit still? I could … Continue reading

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Happy Memorial Day

I suppose the only thing that puts the “happy” in Happy Memorial Day is the remembering. The importance of remembering is huge. So huge that if we forget, all really is lost. Remembrance leads to action. It is an act … Continue reading

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To Give a Gerbil a Bath

I didn’t know a wet gerbil would cause me to laugh hysterically. He looks so…cold. Or is he just shivering because he can’t remember his letters? Who does such a thing, bathing gerbils like babies? Was this really out of … Continue reading

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What makes a desert beautiful?

Life, death, and the breath of God — we were blessed to see all on a simple hike through our spring desert last weekend. {life} {death} {the breath of God} Technorati Tags: Central Oregon, country life, nature hike, nature study, … Continue reading

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On an enchanted journey

~scenes from a family hike at Sahalie Falls, Oregon~ If God had wanted to be a big secret, He would not have created babbling brooks and whispering pines. ~Robert Brault Technorati Tags: childhood, family life, Sahalie Falls, McKenzie River, Oregon … Continue reading

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My Reflection part 2

Part two of My Reflection in the Pane Glass~more truth about beauty, fear, and freedom revealed in a dream.
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How to Draw a Self-Portrait (and some wisdom from the child)

I think my boy here could give some art lessons on self-portraiture {and life}. 1. Know how many freckles adorn your face and love them all. {Or, love every unique mark the Lord has blessed upon your countenance, and love … Continue reading

Posted in arts & crafts, education, family life, humor | 10 Comments

My Reflection in the Dirty Pane Glass

From a child looking wistful into the hazy window frame desperate to see beauty to a woman still seeking but closer to fulfillment: part of my journey.
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Hario, et cetera.

Ethiopia Sidamo prepared Hario style by Sisters Coffee Company made my morning, the best coffee I’ve had. Ever. I loved that Winfield (owner) made it special for me, and with each slow drip I loved seeing him greet everyone that … Continue reading

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The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Maybe the most breath-taking chapter of children’s literature, I respond to the surprise and joy I found in this piece of Wind in the Willows.
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Sandwiched

Life with four kids under the age of 11, a husband, and my 82 year old mother.
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Three little kittens have lost their mittens…

…and I began to cry. Our lovely trio of orange tabbies has dwindled to two. Chubsters, on the far left in this photo, disappeared four days ago. We hope and pray for his safe return, but this is the third … Continue reading

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How to Return to Your First Love

When a new spark is needed in your relationships, your faith, or your interests, what do you do? Continue reading

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Strep-induced quiet

I’ve allowed myself to rest in bed for several days because I’m sick with this fiery, swollen throat that makes swallowing feel like giving birth. From my horizontal position, I turned to watching clouds, my way of childhood, though nothing … Continue reading

Posted in family life | 7 Comments

Giving to Japan: Please consider my friends the Millards

Do you wonder how to give responsibly and directly to the Japanese relief effort in the wake of the March 10, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster? I remember after Katrina, Haiti, and other colossal calamities, there was much waste … Continue reading

Posted in persecuted church, politics/world news, religion | 4 Comments

In the Garden with Children

How to have fun, grow food, and build character while gardening with your kids.
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Posted in education, family life, features, parenting, the ranch | 7 Comments

Homeschool Recess

Recess on the ranch is more fun than I remember from my childhood schoolyard. My school playground wasn’t nearly as bad as some (at least I had one), and I loved swinging the tetherball and merry-go-rounding, but I still have … Continue reading

Posted in education, the ranch | 10 Comments

The Human Condition

A friend loses her job, a mother loses her mind. A child falls and scrapes her knee, a man falls off the wagon. I witnessed such struggles this week, and paused to note the challenge of being human. In this … Continue reading

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A Peek into a Homeschool Co-op

When you’re starting out you especially wonder what others do, so here’s an overview of one way to educate that’s been successful for me.
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Posted in education, features | 13 Comments

Conversations with a little boy.

I love him, I love his ideas, and gosh, I wish I could just jump in there sometimes and see it in full color. This must be how it is with children; they slow down enough once in a while … Continue reading

Posted in family life, humor, the ranch | 2 Comments

Thankful in this place…

…for child-made Valentines, especially the glittery heart one that sparkled today in the sun, each of the thousand squares of tiny glitter unable to outshine the joy of the son in the giving. …for chocolate truffles and coffee, dark as … Continue reading

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One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp: A Review

I am working through eucharisteo thanks to Ann and her beautiful little book of grace, thanksgiving, joy. And a list of my own.
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Posted in book reviews, family life, features, religion | 15 Comments

Hurray for boring!

I saw the word written plainly this morning atop his new spelling list. The list of small words for a small six year old boy. I would not have noticed the message had he not pointed it out. “Do you … Continue reading

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Spaghetti Squash to Iron Man

What an amazing creation, this squash, right up there with the pomegranate in its ability to make your mouth water and your fingers cramp.
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Posted in family life, features, health/cooking/food, the ranch | 10 Comments

Happy New You!

Happy New Year and Happy New You! What a great time for reflection and renewal. I love the beginning of January for this reason–the turning of the year is so symbolic for me of the burying of the old man … Continue reading

Posted in family life, features, holidays | 3 Comments

Corncob Dolls and Christmas Coming

It wasn’t Susan’s fault that she was only a corncob. Sometimes Mary let Laura hold Nettie, but she did it only when Susan couldn’t see. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods I caught my breath on these … Continue reading

Posted in education, family life, features, parenting | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Gingerbread…hut?

Why I thought I could begin baking all the gingerbread pieces I would need for the nine children in our homeschool co-op at ten-o’clock…p.m., not a.m., the eve before hosting a gingerbread house-making party, is because I’m crazy and need … Continue reading

Posted in arts & crafts, family life, features, health/cooking/food, holidays | 5 Comments

Prayers for Dana

Please pray for Dana who lost her little boy, 22 months old, today. One of my very first and beloved bloggy friends, she has inspired me, made me laugh and made me think for several years now, and desperately needs … Continue reading

Posted in blog stuff, family life | 1 Comment

I shined my sinks, and other news.

I finally took the Flylady’s advice and did something about my grimy sinks. They are so sparkling at the moment! No one dare set a dish in there, please. My husband actually noticed on his own, first thing upon entering … Continue reading

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Thank You for my dishes.

Another piece of Dansk Concerto Allegro Blue went down tonight. My husband and I have wagered that perhaps not one piece will be left by the time the kids are grown. It was a wedding gift, nearly all of which … Continue reading

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A Different Harvest

I was to be writing about the harvest this month. I was lulled out of vigilant garden care by a late warm spell, and then, bam, it froze and died. All lost. There are harvests of others kinds to ease … Continue reading

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It flew by.

Wow, the end of September and not a single post. This photo from our last hurrah before school started sums it up: This is us traveling at high speed up an Oregon sand dune and screaming with…something like a thrill. … Continue reading

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Peace Defined

Can there be peace in the midst of trial? If you adjust your definition of peace: “It may be a certain grit and courage I have to bring to the situation to navigate the delusions and anxiety of the trial.”
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Posted in features, religion | 11 Comments

Car trouble

It went like this: Car Guy: Your van is done. Me: (slow to get the point) What do you mean? Car Guy: Rods are knocking, it’s about to blow up… Me: What are my options? Car Guy: Nothing — or get … Continue reading

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When your daughter finds a baby jackrabbit

The dog brought a baby jackrabbit to our lawn. Miraculously unharmed, the small gray creature with eyes wide open was a gift to my 9 year old animal loving daughter. She has wanted to raise a baby rabbit for years, … Continue reading

Posted in family life, features, the ranch | 5 Comments

Newborn kittens over here!

There is nothing better! Newborn kittens, and children who got to watch the miracle happen! Five sweet little noses at mama’s belly, the awesomeness of new life. Technorati Tags: newborn kittens

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Skunk Cabbage at Clear Lake

Our family had a great trip to Cold Water Cove, a beautiful, quiet area around Clear Lake, the headwaters of the McKenzie River. We had driven from Central Oregon over the Cascade Mountains to get to this scenic getaway in … Continue reading

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