Saturday, August 22, 2015

To Everything a Season

I'm actually having a hard time figuring out what to write here. After all, how do I sum up almost a year of life? What do I say? What do I leave out? The short answer is, there's no way to do it, but I'll try to hit the very highest of the highlights.

This past year has obviously been super-busy for me. I haven't posted anything for 10 months---and I would probably STILL be putting it off if I wasn't so determined not to hit the year mark. Those months were largely spent working and studying. If I wasn't at work, I was doing school, and it's pretty hard to spin that into great creative works of literature!

All the effort at school paid off when I graduated in May. It only took me 26 years to earn my AA, but I finally did it!  And I am SO glad to be taking a break from school for a while. Well, sort of a break. I'm taking one class this fall and another in the spring. Work has been good---I have never had a shortage of things to keep me busy there, that's for sure.

But all of that only tells you what's been happening on my outside. That's only half the story. This past year has also been the beginning of a journey---a quest to figure out what and WHO I am supposed to be now that I don't have kids at home.

See, I've been busy raising my kids for 19 years. 19 years! They say you build a habit in only 3 weeks, so almost 2 decades cuts a pretty deep pathway in the ol' neural tissue. My identity and purpose for my entire adult life has been very clear and easy to see. I am a parent. A mommy warrior. That's what I'm here for, that's what God has called me to do.

Only now, I'm not raising my kids. Yes, I still play a part in their lives, but it's a supporting role now---I'm not the main act anymore. That's an unfamiliar spot for me.

So I'm learning. Trying to figure out this whole "adult" thing. Figuring out who I am when I'm not on mommy duty. Wondering where the journey will lead and what God's purpose is for me now.

In the meantime, I'm trying to get back to some of the things that I like to do. Yes, life is still crazy busy, but I don't want to be a passive participant---I want to live a life that is intentional, at least some of the time! I can't spend my whole life vegging out on Facebook after work because I'm too tired to move. Which is why, the other day I finally stopped at an old house I've been wanting to photograph since I moved here 5 years ago.

It's a nice old ruin (not unlike what I feel like some of the time as I approach the big 4-0 in just a few more years), an old homesteader's cabin slowly losing the fight to remain upright. This particular day was a beautifully serendipitous meeting of a beautiful sunset at just the time I was driving by. Irresistible!

Finley was happy too, because we don't get to go adventuring as often as we used to

This is the view standing between the two buildings

Standing in the barn, or shed, or whatever it was

For the photographically minded, these two pictures were taken at the same time. On one I exposed for the building, and on the other I exposed for the sky. Two different effects, but both of them very pretty.

Solomon said "To everything, there is a season." Seasons change. Life changes. Things might look different tomorrow than they look today. But wherever life takes me, I can trust Him for the journey.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Pearl of the Pacific

Hawaii is a beautiful place, the pearl of the Pacific.

Unless you are a college student in the middle of the semester---then Hawaii turns out to look an awful lot like a text book.

Ah, we are on the way at last...

First sunset in Hawaii, on the scenic Ala Moana Beach...

At the Dole plantation. You'll note there are no pictures of me eating pineapple whip while studying. My devotion to duty only goes so far, after all....

Snorkeling at Shark's Cove---so hard to see the pages underwater. And my book is looking a little worse for wear...

On our energizing 5+ mile hike to Kaena Point...

Enjoying the sunset off the point...

What to do if it's raining because of an unfortunately timed hurricane? Get in a little culture, of course! The historic Bishop Museum...

In the Hall of Kings at the museum...

Shell hunting. I didn't find that many for some reason...

Doing what we did most of all in Hawaii---getting lost. This is the tunnel during our impromptu  trip to Kaneohe (when all we were trying to do was get back to the restaurant and pick my mom up)...

Hiking to the top of Diamond Head the last morning. Note to self---do not go on a hot, sweaty hike right before entering an enclosed airplane filled with noses....

(Disclaimer: Contrary to the claims of this blogger, very little actual studying was harmed in the process of her Hawaiian vacation. Perhaps she would have done better on her test if she had used her book for reading instead of as a photo prop!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Hot Date

I've been promising my boys a car trip all week. Eternal optimists that they are, every day they hope that it has magically turned into "Take Your Doggy to Work" day.

And every day, their hopes are dashed yet again.

So I try to make it up to them on the weekends by going on a doggy date with my three hairy hunks---this may be why I have no social life.Or it's the 50,000 cats. One or the other.

This week we took a drive to Dagmar to---of course---pick up more kittens. But don't worry, they won't be staying long. I am only fostering them for a little while (I know, that's what all the crazy cat ladies say!). And on the way we stopped by my favorite abandoned farmstead for some exploring fun.

This is the main house. It seems to have two rooms, plus a mudroom. And there seems to be some kind of basement. I haven't been brave enough to go out on the highly rotten floor to find out for sure.

This roof bravely kept its family sheltered from many wintery blasts, but splinter by board the elements are winning out in the end.

Ok, so I went on the floor for a little. But just a few feet. And just on the very edge of the room, which is theoretically better supported. Finley did not approve.

 There's also a large barn that has mostly collapsed, and a smaller building that I always think of as the horse barn. 


 Finley did some very martyred modeling in the horse barn. He's just simply too handsome to resist. It's a cross he'll just have to bear.

Speaking of shmexy boys, I managed to get a few pictures of all the dogs---after they'd run themselves ragged and were covered in burrs and pond slime, of course.

On our way out, we passed the warning sign for North Dakota's only curve. 

It was a lovely walk in some gorgeous fall weather. The air was crisp, the sun was setting, and we could listen to the cranes calling to each other as they headed south for the winter. I might even consider doing it again sometime---after I pick all the burrs out of my upholstery. Which will take approximately forever.

Don't hold your breath, hairy fiends.

Almost Home!

One of these days I am going to go to Jackson Hole, WY and just soak in the gorgeous scenery. I am tired of always seeing the butt-side of the Grand Tetons as I drive through Idaho either late at night or early in the morning.

At least I got to see some pretty stuff driving up over the pass and into Montana. I slept a few hours the night before in Idaho just so I could make that part of the trip in the daylight and enjoy the scenery.

That, and the fact that I was becoming totally loopy from lack of sleep. I decided it was time to pull over about the time I drove for half a block down a dark street before I realized I'd never turned my headlights on. "Boy, these street lights are DARK! They should really do something about that before someone gets hurt!"

These pictures were taken while I was singing my "Please Don't Eat Me, Grizzly Bears" song. It must have worked, because I didn't get chewed on. Photographers make the best bear food because we are always poking our noses into odd places and getting totally distracted by the picture-taking moment. A troupe of dancing grizzlies could do the can-can on our head and we wouldn't notice until after we'd gotten our shot.

If only we didn't come with all those hard, crunchy camera pieces that have to be spit out.

Yes, the Highway 191 corridor into Montana is one of the prettiest drives around, and always a treat to see after the dreary deserts of Nevada and Southern Idaho.

And just because I know how to do it now, some egregious editing of my mountain river picture.....