Coffee beans, coffee grounds … what’s the difference?

I smiled to myself as Dan went about the business of making his morning coffee. We were camped at La Pine State Park in our new (pre-owned) adventure van and had just awakened from a good night’s sleep.

Thoughts from a weekend at a men’s retreat

This past weekend, I attended a men’s retreat in the Ochoco Mountains. Well, I didn’t actually attend the event. I helped with meal prep, serving, and clean-up.

Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

When taking the long way around isn’t your plan

This past weekend, I strapped on a helmet and—putting my life in Dan’s hands—hopped on the back of his motorcycle.

He didn’t share his flight plan, but I knew our destination: a tiny country store east of town. So why was he heading in the wrong direction?

Photo by Jakub Sisulak on Unsplash

Saying ‘Yes’ when life takes a sharp left turn

At the time of this writing, we’re nearly a month into spring. Dan put away the snowblower, we positioned the Adirondack chairs around the fire pit, and I arranged matching cushions. It was 78 degrees. We were expecting guests. And it was spring.

But at least three mornings this past week, we woke up to fresh snow.

What would it look like to slow your pace?

We filled our hydration packs with water, made sandwiches on sourdough bread, tossed in tangerines and trail mix, and grabbed layers of outer wear. It had been too long since we’d hiked in the wilderness.

Are there chaff sifters in your life?

This photo was taken at our wedding. Seven of our kids and grands come from a different location on the planet. Dan’s daughter was adopted from Korea. She married a man whose parents immigrated from Thailand. Dan’s son married a first-generation Persian woman. My son chose a Hispanic bride. And my daughter and her husband adopted three boys from Uganda.

We are an American family.

Photo: Hannah Turner Photography; Bend, OR

What if we’re better together?

It was C. S. Lewis who said:

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

(You) be strong and courageous

I can’t see the crumbled Ukraine buildings, the despairing mothers carrying frightened children, or the crowded train stations … without putting myself in that place.

The sunflower, Ukraine’s national flower (Photo: Todd Kent)

Beware of destination addiction

On our way home from serving more than 200 meals at Family Kitchen last evening, the thought came to me: I’m looking forward to going to Hawaii [Dan and I are flying out tomorrow], but take Hawaii out of the picture and I’m deeply content where I am. Here. Now.

It hasn’t always been this way, though.

Photo by tatonomusic on Unsplash

Who’s on your to-do team?

I’ve written about my passion for drafting lists, about completing items not on my list and adding them for the simple pleasure of checking them off, about the time I drafted a list of dating qualities as a widow and then filed it away at the advice of a friend only to discover later that Dan met every. single. requirement.

This blog isn’t about any of that.

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