Here and There

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Advent begins...

We have a fake tree this year.  Maybe we won't get sore throats for the month of December, now?  I couldn't bear to get a cheapie green fake tree, but a cheapie champagne tinsel tree?  I can get behind it.  Peter says it looks like it's going to take off. 

Today is the first day of Advent, and already I feel I will never catch up and that the 24 days and nights will pass and it will be Christmas and I will have a two day bubble to catch my breath and that's it.  That feeling is awful.  That is not how I choose to categorize my days and my nights and my moments.  I need to back away from that and try to see with new eyes.

Yet again I need to get back on the road to Bethlehem.  Not try to fly overhead like a bird.  I need to walk the road, step by step and enjoy the silence, the talking, the whole way.

So I take a deep breath tonight and already try to re-center myself here on the journey.  Lord Jesus, protect me.

I want to allow it to unfold.  I want to be a part. 

I love Hunky Hank at this age...

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Homemade No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

I like no bake cheesecakes a lot, they are low brow, they are easy and they are good.  But sometimes, you want to make a crust from scratch, and not use Cool Whip (There is NOTHING wrong with Cool Whip.  I love it.) and have a no bake cheesecake.  So I made this up, and it was very good.

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 8 oz package of Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar + 1 tb sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (recipe below)
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups whipping cream (whipped to stiff peaks, you'll have way more than 2 cups when it's whipped.)
1 tsp. vanilla

1 graham cracker crust, cooled (recipe below)

Mix cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and spices until smooth in a mixer with paddle attachment.  Add pumpkin puree and mix well.  After that, use a whisk or spatula to fold in half of the whipped cream.  With the remaining whipped cream stir in 1 tsp. vanilla and the 1 TB sugar.  Put it in a separate container in the fridge.  Spread the pumpkin cheesecake mixture into the crust and refrigerate.  It's best refrigerated for several hours.  Then, top with reserved whipped cream.  I like to spread it all over the top.  And serve.

To make pumpkin pie spice:
Combine 3 TB ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1 heaping tsp ground allspice, 1 heaping tsp. ground cloves.

I am imagining this is a useful mixture to have on hand (for pumpkin pancakes/waffles/muffins etc.)

To make a graham cracker crust:
Pulse one sleeve of graham crackers in food processor until you have fine crumbs.  Should make about 1 and 1/4 cups of crumbs.  Combine crumbs with 2 TB sugar, 5 TB melted butter.  Press into pie plate and bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes.  Cool.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Autumn Poem

I walk through the garden and the spiders take their little elevators up as my shadow touches them.
The chickens cackle in the warm mornings.
The dust and dry air gives me a little sore throat.

I drive under the browning trees.
I reach for a sweater to put on over my nightgown in the morning.

There is a crackle to everything.  Henry finds the empty bag of wipes.  The leaves under the stroller.

I look for signs, but it's all there at once, no signs, all the signs are just fall.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


According to the church calendar, fall is a part of ordinary time, or in Godly Play "the green, growing time."  I have a small altar in my front room with colors and items that reflect the time of the year using the way the church tells time.  Yesterday, Maggie found this sunflower head, all dried and shriveled, not even a seed left inside, on our walk home from school and she picked it up and wanted to take it home.  She put it in the dish at the altar and said "Things die even in the green, growing time." I had been trying to put into words the way that I felt about autumn being a part of the green growing time.  I have been reflecting a lot on what she touched on in her very basic, but profound observation.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Real Work

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings. 

 --Wendell Berry

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Family Album

I am trying to organize some photos today.  I remember loving looking through family albums when I was a child.  I want my kids to have some albums too.  I'd like to make yearly albums.  Maybe 50-100 pictures a year.  This is from 2010 on Peter's birthday.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Soul of the Rose

Sitting with K this morning, in the hour before her death, I searched the painting on the wall.  I have this same painting as a postcard on the inside of my bathroom mirror.  I don't know what it's called.  I looked it up just now..."The Soul of the Rose".

We sang "Crown Him With Many Crowns" and these lines held onto me:  "His reign shall know no end, and round his pierced feet, fair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet." 

I know K loved flowers.  I imagined her smelling the most amazing smells, the fair flowers of paradise, the soul of the rose, I imagined her smelling them, even then.  As she hovered.

I remembered something I saw last week driving.  I was stopped in traffic, my window rolled down.  I saw two men walking together in a cross walk.  I saw both of them had their keys dangling from carabiners, like Peter wears.  I know the sound of keys dangling from carabiners very well.  But I didn't hear that sound as I watched their keys jangle on the rings.  I heard the most lovely chiming sounds.  I couldn't make sense of it.  I saw the keys, I heard the chimes.  And then my eyes darted up as I tried to put it all together.  There was a windchime, hung high on the corner of an office building.  I heard it singing in the wind.  As soon as I saw it, I heard the more familiar jangle of keys as the men walked on.  I marveled at that.

When the women sang to K there in her room, did she hear the angels too and wonder which was which was which? 

What we see here is such a dim reflection, what will we see face to face, or when?  W
hen it is all over here, or somewhere in the middle or sometimes by grace do we see face to face even now? 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mid June

Some things I've been loving:

"Maybe we could hit that BBQ place you puked at"  -Floyd
"I'm sorry, [flirtatious laugh] you'll have to be more specific." -Liz

The Peter Pan (the musical with Mary Martin) soundtrack

The glorious fruit right now at Monterey Market

Henry laughs

Magnolia songs

Lily explanations


The smell of chaparral

Saturday, April 20, 2013

These Days

In a season of little sleep, there are some things that are just good ideas.  Don't keep too careful track of how many times you woke up with the baby.  It doesn't really matter.  Eat whatever you want, mostly.  Watch television whenever you want.  Try to see the BIG picture.  Of parenting, of nighttime.  Of babies.  It is all so fleeting.  Be gentle with yourself every minute of every day.

Some things that are These Days, that I'd like to remember:
Baby Henry:  unbelievably sweet, chubby and squishy.  his barrel chest and his handsome head of hair.  his coos and smiles.  how he looks for a painting on the wall, any painting, and smiles at it thoughtfully.
TV: 30 Rock, Bob's Burger, SNL
Food:  Red vines, Meals made for us by others with love, Peanut butter M&Ms, Miller High Life (The Champagne of Beers), Coffee, Sun Chips, Chocolate covered graham crackers
Music: Mates of State, Josh Ritter, "I See the Light" from Tangled, a playlist I made called "Come On" that is inspired by the Death Cab for Cutie song with that refrain, "Transatlanticism", Alabama Shakes, esp. "Hang Loose"
Kids playing legos, playmobil and My Little Pony
Reading my new Bible
Fresh Haircut
Moby wrap
School drop offs and pick ups
Maggie and Lily when eating rice that they mash up with their forks call it "grice"

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. Amen.

Came across this in some Lent reflections.  This prayer is hard.  

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Always the Heimlich

This is a picture from Disneyland in October, when Amanda and I went with the kids.  I cannot even believe that we did that, but we did.  The thought now of walking around the parks, getting on rides and such is so impossible.  But there we are.

Happens Every Day

Walking to the bus

There's a Dar Williams song that says:

"The first part of every day for me is good
I've got the bus stop in my neighborhood
Everything's on purpose, everywhere they go
Hiding in my car and running in the snow
Running with the friends they'll know for years
I've seen it all from here, from here

It happens every day, before they go to school
They play until the bus drives up beside my lawn
And there's always been a mother who waits till they are gone
Then she turns away, Happens every day"

It's strange to be the mother at the bus stop.  I love the bus, and I hate the bus.  It is so convenient and easy.  And it is so a cliched way.  She climbs the steps that are so big for her now.  She looks at me from the window.  I wave.  It's a yellow school bus!  Years from now, just seeing one will make me pine for these days.  Or maybe not, but now, every time I watch it drive away it's a little bit awful.  And it's also so convenient and easy and I walk back home with the soon to be middle child, and it's fine.  But "the bus" is a symbol, bigger than my family or my Kindergartner   It's everybody's Kindergartner headed off to school, every child heading out alone, away from the home fire, each stop adding more to their number until they're a bus-full, buzzing and churning to get out and do all the big things they're going to do.

I've learned I can only handle all this 3 or 4 times a week, and one day, usually a Friday, I drive her to school just to avoid it all.