It's been 6 years since we had Becca home to celebrate her birthday. Six! When your birthday is in August and college is as well, it kinda messes with the plans of the momma. So we celebrated early. When she turned 18... Party at 17. When she turned 21... Dinner at 20. But this year she turned 23, gettin' old Bec, and we celebrated together. Yeah me. Dinner, a movie, and tonight, cake. Keepin' the celebration alive for a few days.
Happy Birthday Beauty!
This momma loves you.
This critter joined us for our entire dinner. Jimmy grasshopper. 😉
I've hiked Round Lake a number of times. It's 1.2 miles around. That I know well. There are offshoots to destinations that I've searched for and have no clue where they are, until today.
When Reginia was here we searched for Lower Falls, thought we found the trail but low and behold, we did not.
Terrell and I walked out there today and he's cycled all of the trails. I asked him to take me to these infamous falls.
And here they are! Gorgeous. Just gorgeous getting back to them. Fall is working its way in the trees and we have a storm blowing through which made the trail more magical. Let's not talk about how slow I had to walk today from my silly back "issue" this week. No matter. It's still worth the walk!
What can we accomplish in one week? Ready, set, go!
Seven miles on the Lacamas Trail with our husbands. Check.
Games, live music, and a beer at a local brewery. Check.
The Rose Garden and smelling as many sweet scents as we can. Check.
Posing for pictures over and over again. Check.
Searching the entire garden for a rose that is named Rebecca but never finding one. Check.
Taking advantage of the arbor for another picture. Check.
Cousins time. Check.
Having Dad and Mom with us. Check.
Eating Voodoo Donuts all the while Portland is keeping weird. Check.
Taking the family to the lake for the day. Check.
Reg and Dave enjoying the kayaks. Check.
Kayaking and catching up with Trinners. Check.
Eating on the Columbia River. Check.
Another hike. Check.
Stopping and enjoying the gorgeous trees while searching for the waterfall that we never found. Check.
Going out on the town on a double date with these two. Check.
Grabbing Stumptown coffee on the water and enjoying the moment with our crazy side. Check.
Feeling loved. Check.
Charley has a new friend in town. Check.
Two handsome men taking the trail. Check.
And the last thing of the week... a visit to Vancouver Farmer's Market. Check.
What a fabulous time. I loved having our family here exploring the town and enjoying the beautiful PNW weather this summer. I especially enjoyed my one on one time with my sis. I can see many more get-aways with she and Dave as the years go by. Until our next adventure, sure glad we have FaceTime.
I found this treasure in my late 20's. Twenty-seven to be exact. I'd been married 5 years. We had three children, already lived in two apartments, built two homes, and my husband's career was taking off. Life was moving quite fast.
It was all beautiful and pleasant things, mind you, but busyness surrounded me. I was still trying to grasp the idea of making my house a home. I was learning to cook meals well, be a joyful wife who had make-up on and a fresh shirt without spit up on the shoulder when her husband walked in the door at six, a momma who was attentive to her children, and all the while keeping up a home that kept getting bigger. I was tangled between public school when our son went off to kindergarten and the tug in my heart towards homeschooling. I had yet discovered what order looked like in my life. More internal order than external but one feeds the other. It was about this time that I started to break. I just couldn't do it all nor did I want to anymore. Play dates, Bible Study, Sports, Ahhh... it was all so much.
God brought me a verse that I still to this day have on my fridge 20 years later:
I needed to hear this and embrace it. Now to figure out how to apply it to my life.
Simplify became my motto. You will find it all over our home today. I knew God was about to do a big thing in me, I just didn't know how.
I read one of my journals the other day about a time I went to a women's retreat at Hume Lake. It was about this time that I was searching for the HOW to make changes in our home. It was also about this time that I desperately needed to find a way to do life differently. Claire Cloninger was the speaker that weekend and she published a book that became my catalyst. She spoke straight to my heart. God used her story to begin my story. A Place Called Simplicity made its way into my hands and began the transform my life from chaos to one of peace and order.
I took ownership for my own faults, sought out Jesus to heal my brokenness and knew I could do more for my family with God's grace and direction. I started giving up activities ad began to pour more into my children's lives and my marriage. Wouldn't you know it, God also orchestrated a move just about that time. I was stripped of anything familiar and given a chance to put into practice what He was already speaking.
It's one thing to read about simplifying, it's a whole different thing living it out. I was be refined by the Refiner's fire for two years. Ok, it took me awhile to get it. We had some sweet moments, just the five of us, and some hard times. I cried, I laughed, I mourned and sooo wanted to go back to our home town. But through these two years I also embraced what God was doing. I began homeschooling our children, I began looking at my home differently, and my dear husband and I stopped taking each other for granted. I was on the road to simplicity. Instead of running to church all the time for social outings, we played at home together. Instead of bbqs or game nights with friends, we started Friday Night Family Night. Instead of having the TV on, the children would pull out puzzles or games or enjoy playing make believe together. We read together. We.were.together. Just the five of us, creating memories.
It was quiet.
It was simple.
I knew I had found what I was meant to do and who I was meant to be. I love my family, even when I was still learning how to love them well, I always loved them, loved family life and having as many children around as possible. We welcomed our 4th child, a sweet baby girl, into our home at the end of this season and the beginning of a new one. Another change, another journey, another story. But as this chapter of our life closed and the new one began, one thing didn't change... to live simply.
I continue to journey for a life of order and simplicity where ever we live. It's not always been easy and I can recall one season I didn't do it well sadly, but my heart always goes back to the place where I heard God call me out to a new place. A place of serving, and loving, and honoring my husband, children and my home. It's then that I am at my best. It's then that I find my most joy, really.
Reality Check What is your story? Do you know God's calling you to something deeper, something more? A life of chaos is never the way to live. What would it take to slow down long enough to bring order into your life or home? Maybe it's time to stop that train that you keep running after. Simplicity doesn't mean boredom. It means doing what your called to do and nothing more. Figuring that out is your journey. Thanks for listening, Tuna Jones
T and I took to the open road a few Sundays ago. We don't do this often enough, but when we do I am in heaven. I love sitting on my Queen Bee cushion and taking in the world around me with no barriers. No windows, no seatbelts, no distractions. The wind is sometimes crazy in my face and my hair is usually a mess of knots by the time we arrive but it's worth the small screams of the brush and the recovery chapstick that I pull out of my pocket.
We rode over to Cascade Locks, exploring more of the greater Washington area. This place actually has some historical significance, little did we know, which made this Sunday drive that much more interesting. Me and my love for history! Our country was transporting cargo, supplies and then some on the Columbia River (think Lewis and Clark ) and this particular section was difficult to pass through so they built a lock system in the late 1800's. The winds in this part of the Gorge were also crazy. Just down the way were some sailboats enjoying their Sunday afternoon too.
Had to take a selfie. :)
We worked our way over to this brewery just down from the locks. This place is unique in a couple ways. It's hidden and off the beaten path and it serves free beer to Pacific Coast Trail hikers. The PCT runs through here and hikers know it's a destination point. We had the pleasure of sharing a table with one such hiker. I wish I had taken a picture but instead we had great conversation. He is from NY and decided it was time for a change. So off he went to hike the ENTIRE trail. He started off in Canada and is making his way to the Mexican border by Thanksgiving. Have you seen the movie Wild with Reese Witherspoon? That's what he's doing. Hopefully he doesn't throw his shoes. We offered him a place to sleep for the night if he found his way to our neck of the woods, gave him our phone number and said our goodbyes. A part of me wanted to go with him. I definitely plan to hike something big like that one day.
So we had a beer, chatted with a few more people, and played cribbage. All this on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It was my kind of day.
Time to head home. I was brave and held my phone to catch these shots on the Bridge of the Gods. I kept thinking about how horrible it would be to drop my phone. I quickly tucked it away...
August has brought some company to our home and we have loved it! Our far away friends, the Warkentin family, were able to stay over a few days on their way home from vacation. We met them 25 years ago during our early days of marriage. Wow... just typing that makes me realize how long we've known each other. They have four children, we have four children. It was like every other year one of us was celebrating a birth for a while. LOTS of girls and our one boy. Now here we are... older, kids getting married or finishing college, and great stories to share. It was a pleasure to scoot about a mile on down to the road to the lake for an afternoon of playing in the water and sharing some old fashioned BBQ hotdogs.
Here we have Kylee and Becca taking in the lake on the Kayaks.
Then there's Lina jumping into the water with the help of the rope swing.
After a game of cribbage and some great conversation, it was time to head home. I'm so thankful for our time together. Now if I had only gotten a picture of all of us! Too busy yakking to get any more photos!