Pumpkin Memories

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My family spent a fun evening carving pumpkins last night.

Jack 0’lanterns appearing from soft, orange, autumn canvases.

This simple time of creation took me back decades in memory of doing this activity with my own parents.

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I am so thankful for these grainy pictures that captured the excitement of a little girl and her dad starting new traditions.

It was one of my favorite days of the year.

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Another night for him to fulfill his role as my first real life male hero.

Scooping out the innards was my least favorite part. He always stepped in to finish the job for me.

My mom was here too; our little family. She was snapping this shot, unaware of how much they’d mean to this grown up woman for the rest of her life.

The woman who married her second real life male hero.

Who took on their role for their own children. Our little family. Creating new traditions.

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And now, my girls are nearly grown themselves. Into women who will carry this on with their own children someday.

I pray they marry their own “next” real life hero, men who love their families like my father and husband.

But for now, I’ll keep them a little longer. With a grateful and giggling heart.

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Did you carve pumpkins as a child? Do you still do it as an adult?

Traveling Towards Hospitality At Allume

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This past week I traveled to South Carolina to attend Allume. It wasn’t what I expected.

Being a blogging conference, I’d anticipated there being lots of workshops specific to, well, blogging.

It has taken several days to begin to process what it was really about for me.

A bit of backstory- for my entire adult life hospitality has been a driving force. My passion. I felt so strongly that as a society we’d forgotten the importance of welcoming people into our lives, our homes. Making them feel special and wanted and rested.

A series of events began to crush that desire, leaving me confused and dejected. The love of hospitality began to flicker out in my spirit. [Read more...]

Abandoned America {Country Barn}

Coming down a country road, there it was…statuesque and dignified in its disrepair.

A large barn, beckoning…..come notice me, there are lots of memories to share with you.

NB7 [Read more...]

People We Would Rather Ignore

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On a cross country flight, I glanced up to see a man walking down the airplane aisle.

The man who if we were honest, we’d admit that we all hope didn’t sit by us.

Disheveled, smiling around at no one in particular as he unintentionally knocked his bag around. When he stopped at my row, I felt guilty for these thoughts and looked up to smile at him.

I do not want to judge people, strangers I know nothing about, just put off a bit by their appearance. That is not who I want to be. So, I smiled. (Tweetable)

That committed me for the flight.

[Read more...]

When You Almost Lose Your Child…

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8 ½ years ago marked the worst day of my life. Or, the best day.

I’m choosing the second option, mentally, but my heart struggles to let go of the “worst” feeling.

Worst day, worst fear almost realized.

We had just moved to the Portland area, and a new acquaintance offered to take us to the city and show us around. Portland has a mass transit system called the Max. The kids were ecstatic to ride this train, and it was a special day.

Until my daughter was gone. [Read more...]

Simplify and Save Money With Monthly Meal Planning

A few years ago I started reading about monthly meal planning. It sounded way too complicated so it kept getting put off, but finally I took the plunge.

It was amazing. What a load off my overloaded mind, to just have this one thing already planned out…

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Along life’s journey, I got derailed and went back to my old ways.

Problem is, it made me a bit crazy and cost more money than I wanted to spend.

Every night, dinner rolls around again. And again. Without being prepared in advance it felt unnecessarily stressful, trying to come up with meals at 6 o’clock when everyone is hungry and nothing is defrosted. [Read more...]

Texts Gone Wrong

The time has come to publicly address a personal, ahem, problem.

My texting.

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It has come to my attention that everyone I know struggles with my texting.

I really don’t see the problem.

You may find this hard to believe, but countless friends- concerned friends, have taken me aside to let me know I need help. [Read more...]

10 Practical Tools To Battle Depression

*** (Sharing fave posts from the archives this week while I am ALLUME.  I’ll resume fresh material next week. This one started a storm of response!)

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This question came to me via email, by someone who came across my blog. She was looking for help-

My question for you, and what I find myself struggling with, is how exactly do I let God deal with it? This is what people say in the Christian community, and I’ve prayed over and over and He hasn’t dealt with it. Am I doing something wrong? How did you really give Him your depression so it could be healed?

I am humbled that you felt safe to ask me for some guidance here. I hope the words that come will offer at least a little comfort. I have no formal training, no professional background-to be clear. Just one woman’s story. This is WAY too long for a blog post, please excuse that this time in lieu of this offering

Depression makes people feel desperate. Alone. Failing. Defective.  [Read more...]

Some Surprising Benefits Of Being Broke

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Are you strapped financially?

That has always been us too. A change is happening that for the first time gives us hope for a small cushion, a tool to combat debt.

But, money really can’t buy happiness. Not in the ways that matter..

There might be a few surprising benefits to being broke.

Hear me out… few of us would CHOOSE broke, but when we are there? [Read more...]

Tell Me You Don’t Have “It” All Together, Please

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Uh-oh.

I received a very disturbing comment from a friend today. She told me it always looks like I have it all altogether.  Apparently she doesn’t read my blog, or she would know how untrue that is.

She hasn’t asked my kids what it is like to live with someone who nearly every days asks, “What day is this? Where are we going? Does anyone know why I came in this room? Did I happen to say out loud who I was going to call when I picked up the phone?”

She doesn’t see the piles of unfiled papers or unused planners or me falling to my knees crying out , “Oh the humanity!”

Ok, maybe I haven’t done that yet but you certainly understand that desperate feeling of behind. [Read more...]