Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer Snapshots

"Mom! He made a loin cloth out of my shirt!"

These are the words coming at me through the screen right now. It's not supposed to happen but it does. Boys end up naked in the pool and someone's trunks end up on top of the umbrella or even the roof, leaving a naked guy or two looking for something to use as a loin cloth. Or not sometimes, and they go streaking.

We are in the prime of summer and I want it to stay forever.

Moments ago as these images were loading and Jack was in the kitchen eating chips and salsa verde with me, while streams of pool water still dribbled down the curves of his tan body, he sighed and said, "I'm so glad I'm brothers with Michael and Andrew."

Now they are arguing about something at the tree house.

I've been at the beach with these two quite a bit this summer. (These pictures are from a few weeks ago already.)

Even yesterday, while Andrew lay on the beach recovering from a flu, Jack and I swam and body boarded together. I got a wetsuit for my birthday-- what a fantastic gift for me! I get to keep from freezing while I play with my kids.

When (another) Airobe is lost at sea, mud balls.

Pretend smoking is so funny to him.

Seems like the flu has hit several local families. Andrew is the only one so far that has became sick, but it was extreme. Extremely messy, too. Jon and I were up late into the night, me with my gloved hands gathering the giant mess, while he handed out paper towel and held open the bags. I joked the next day that we needed to buy a new toilet. In fact, I joked that we needed to replace the whole bathroom.

So we are. It's been needing to be done. We had already pulled up the linoleum a couple years ago, leaving the subfloor bare. Well, I haven't been able to remove the smell of vomit from the subfloor, despite plenty of bleach. So without thinking too much about the timing of the project, it has begun today with demo. The vanity and mirror, medicine cabinet, toilet, and a dividing wall are heading out.


We've had some amazing family time and I have much I'd like to add here. It will have to wait, however, because I want to go swimming before I pick up Olivia from work. Jon and I have a date night planned, too, and the house needs some serious cleaning up before we head out the door. I think my swim will be a short one...


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Ticking Time Bomb

I knew something was going to happen. It was just a matter of time.

Let me explain. Nearly seven years ago I stepped out of my comfort zone and started blogging. There were several reasons I chose to do it, and the things I've learned and been forced to do have been good for me. Among other things, it has pushed me to capture and recall more moments of this life I've been given. My blog became my journal and record book, pushing me to be more honest with myself and accepting of who I am created to be. Writing has helped me filter through issues that have come at me in life, and issues that have been stuffed away and hidden. I have found that merely thinking about how to communicate with both grace and truth has been therapeutic for me, even if those things are often never communicated and posted. I have enjoyed it, though I've found that the time I have to blog has been severely limited in comparison to my desire. Still, it has been my quiet place to gather some of the wonder of growing in grace as a wife and mother, and as an individual.

Another significant benefit to blogging has been the fact that it provided accountability for me in terms of learning my camera and pushing myself to grow as a photographer (a term I take extremely loosely), and learning how to navigate all the issues related to maintaining a website. I am severely handicapped when it comes to technology. Nothing is intuitive to me, and learning hasn't always been fun. I know, however, that this learning is important, so having my blog has been a motivator.

During the years here, I've lost copies of many pictures through the theft of one computer and as a result of a hard drive crash on another computer. I'm doing better at backing up my files now, but for some rather large chunks of time my only records have been my blog.

When I started blogging, I knew nothing about blog and image hosting. I chose Blogger because it was deemed the most user friendly, and Photobucket was recommended as a common and reliable place to host my Blogger images. For me, it was a marvel I could even figure how to do that much. I'm not geared towards understanding or easily navigating tech stuff of any sort! In fact, I'm not even sure I'm using the correct language at all in this paragraph! The point is, I was surprised and relieved I could post anything at all. However, through the years, I've become acutely aware that all these free services were bound to fail me.

Well, without notice, Photobucket no longer allows third party hosting for regular users. This has resulted in the disappearance of approximately 1500 images from Day Ordained. Poof! I can pay the $400 yearly fee to upgrade my account, but you know.. Oh, I can't say it in respectable words. It's like they are holding my pictures at ransom.

They have every right, I know. It was a free service and I'm not entitled to anything. I get that. But maybe a prior notice would have been more considerate. Or could it be they are trying to commit suicide as a business?! Fortunately, somewhere along the way, I began to upload images directly from my computer to Blogger. This means only the images from the first few years of blogging are gone, not everything.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out what to do with Photobucket and with Blogger. My blog could just disappear one day and there's nothing I could do about it. It does happen, and more problems are inevitable for me. At the very least, if I do nothing, it will just gradually erode away. I don't know if I could possibly transfer everything to a different blog host or my own website; if so, I don't have the faintest clue how to do it. I'm welcoming advice...

Either way, I am now forced to think about whether or not to continue. Already, I have such a small sliver of time I can allow myself to blog. I'm reevaluating.


Life continues. If only the growing-in-grace part of life continues, than that will be enough for me.

I've been thinking about that a whole lot recently: Granting grace and compassion and understanding the way it has been shown to me. Or just doing a whole lot better than it has been extended to me in some instances!

Yes, we get to choose. When your kid screws up, for instance, or just acts like a kid, grant grace more than condemnation. Help them to see and understand and grow, yes, but remember you are more like them than not. If they act in a way that exposes their heart of sin or simple immaturity, be thankful for that exposure; a hypocrite is a much greater tragedy. And if they act in a way that brought embarrassment, think about whether or not you are upset mostly because your image has been affected. And respond to the situation and needs of your kids rather than react. Listen, because you are more likely able to understand than if you just speak.

These are words for me.

So yes, life will continue here just fine without a blog (though it is my desire to keep it if I can). We will continue to explore this life, going deep and reaching high in both literal and metaphorical ways. I'll just be happy to be doing that together.

Thursday, we did just a bit of that. We explored new territory, invested in relationships, grew in grace.

This is urban hiking at it's finest.

A goal for our summer has been to explore our city. This may not look too much like city, but San Diego has quite the array of things to do.

I love getting in the car with my kids and taking them to new and unexpected places. 

It seems that sandstone canyons have been calling our name this summer, and we're discovering some really cool places.

This place wasn't for those who tend to be scared, and it required serious muscular output.
My favorite kind of place.

20+ feet down. There was a point I only let Michael continue.

The green strip of growth by Olivia's feet in the picture below is actually the edge of the crevice where Michael was squeezing through deep below.

Extra points for me for standing precariously above the passage to take pictures!!

The final descent...

...right onto a nudist beach! 
I was relieved we didn't spot any.

This board crossing a small ravine featured prominently in all the descriptions I read about this trail, so Andrew snapped a picture of me making the bouncy walk across.

Next was a place much cooler in temp, deep under the Cave Store.
We had to try it because it seems to be such a tourist attraction, and it seems we ought to know about it firsthand.

I have a whole list of "secret places" (as we like to call them) to checkout this summer. We are still exploring our extended back yard, finding the best spots that make this place all the more home to us.


And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Portraits of a Girl

She is miles away this weekend. The iPhone "portraits" that have come through show a very different girl, one that is covered in sweat and mud, fueled by competition. This girl of mine is a strong beauty, a quiet force, an exception to the rule of modern youth. Truly, a sweet 16.

We were late in taking our traditional birthday pictures; in fact, we were too busy to even come up with a location or theme that differed from years past. Then we found this spot after school had ended and it seemed just right: Solid rock with a remarkable soft facade and mysteries in hidden crevices... just like her.

We took off early in the morning before the boys were up, joined the south-bound interstate traffic, and hiked out to our location before the day's heat and shadows caught up to us. She had shopped my closet the night before and filled her back pack with options from which to choose. We had no expectations, just a desire to create images as the moments unfolded.

The earrings Michael made and gifted her seem made for the occasion.

Psalm 27 comes to mind as I look through these images, and the words translate into a prayer for her...

"The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?"

"For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will lift me high upon a rock."

"I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!"

The fact that she is a girl in a household of boys is evident in the fact that she can change anywhere. Discrete outfit changes in public places are no big deal. The boys are not as discrete, that is true, but her ability to just do what she desires without any drama is something I like about her.

Wild flowers. 
The best combo of words and sentiments.

Another outfit change, but by this point the sun/shadows were coming out strong and the pathways/angles were becoming difficult for pictures.

Heading home...

Earlier tonight I was texted a picture of Michael and Olivia together at camp. Tonight was "classy night" and all the mud and grime had been exchanged for dress clothes. Olivia wore a flared tulle skirt and Michael sported a bow tie and suspenders. I loved that in the pictures I've been sent their affection for each other has been evident. You know how thankful and happy that makes me as their mom? Too much for words.

It's so cool to see my kids growing up.