When your friends show up

The world is much smaller than I thought. I recently met new members of my family I hadn’t previously known—brothers and sisters in Latvia, this tiny country that was once part of the Soviet Union and has only been independent since 1991.

A children’s camp and a working sheep ranch spread out over 740 acres of rolling hills with patches of forest. It’s called Eagle’s Wings.

Eagle’s Wings Camp — Latvia

When you have all your ducks in a row

The antagonism has risen to a new level. After we housed and fed and entertained my daughter, son-in-law, three of the grands, and a grand-dog for five days—five days—we started finding tiny plastic ducks. Everywhere.

How are you doing at living fully?

Our time with family in Hawaii this year unfolded at a slower pace—partly because there were only two couples instead of four. Which allowed for time to read on the beach. And time to leisurely journal on the balcony to the crash of waves.

All photos: Marlys (or someone nearby)

Things to love about something you don’t like

Dan and I stepped off a flight that originated in Maui onto a tarmac covered with snow. (More about Hawaii in a later post.) A few days ago, we were wearing flip-flops. Today, Dan is shoveling this fluffy white stuff.

If given the choice

If Dan had asked me beforehand, “Do you want to hike 5.8 miles in the rain … or would you rather stay here and read while I make a Chai latte for you?” guess what I would have chosen.

Which is why I’m glad I didn’t know in advance how wet and steep and muddy the trail would be in places. Turns out, I loved this challenging and not-so-comfortable experience.

Jeep Wranglers, dump dates, and stuff

Dan and I enjoy a ‘dump date’ from time to time. We load up the small trailer hitched to the back of the Jeep, make Chai lattes, and sail away to the dump. It’s partly the idea of having the full attention of the one I love—seat-belted in, hollering over the noise of the ‘97 Wrangler with its top down, sipping Chai from thermoses.

What if you could be vulnerable?

Dan and I planted a little weeping blue spruce in our front yard two years ago. Some might say she looks a bit Dr. Seuss-ish, but I think she’s beautiful.

Opening all the holiday gifts

It was going to be a bit of a whirlwind trip. Over the snowy mountains for Thanksgiving dinner with my daughter, son-in-law, and their kiddos, including Shihoko, our Japanese exchange student from the 90s, and her family. A second Thanksgiving feast with Dan’s kids and grands and friends, and then overnight with Dan’s daughter and son-in-law.

I recorded some of the grace-filled Thanksgiving gifts of those hectic four days.

Photo by olga safronova on Unsplash

What’s a micro-adventure?

Dan and I recently stumbled into an unplanned micro-adventure (a micro-adventure defined as short, cheap, local, and low-tech). We zipped up armored jackets, strapped on helmets, and rode Dan’s motorcycle into the mountains on a blue-sky autumn day.

What if we risked delight?

My heart is saddened by recent world events. And not just bombs and killing and war, but also ongoing poverty and deep hunger, injustices, the selling of humans into slavery, and homelessness right in our backyard.

And yet, can we risk delight? If so, how do we live in the tension of acknowledging what is broken around us, while also celebrating and appreciating what is good and fills us with joy?

Photo by Elisabeth Arnold on Unsplash

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