Hello from Acton, California! It’s a chilly 49 degrees outside. Swift 25 mile an hour wind gusts are giving the juniper bushes outside my window a proper morning workout. Despite the clear blue skies and few stubborn leaves still clinging to the trees, we are not fooled; even here in Southern California, we have not fully escaped winter’s clutches.
Inside our electric fireplace blows its warmth and the faux logs eternally burn. Nat King Cole fills the air with the sounds of Christmas past. Our pint-sized Christmas tree, complete with homemade ornaments, and the neighboring diffuser emitting evergreen dream into the air, completes the seasonal sensory requirements. It’s not snowy Idaho, but we feel festive just the same.
Not so jolly are the germs we’ve been battling. Sore throats, coughs and fevers have been unintentionally swapped between the families we’ve been traveling with. It’s tricky to balance sharing spaces like playgrounds and potlucks without also sharing sickness. Continue reading “pulling joy”
So, um, hi. Remember me? You may or may not have noticed but it’s been nearly a month since I’ve put finger to key here on the blog. Shortly after my last post, we spent a week serving as a family at Gleanings for the Hungry and had a phenomenal time. God really blessed Trent and I during our time there and since then we’ve been thinking new thoughts and praying over new dreams. While I hope to possibly share more on that in the future, I’ve really stumbled over how to convey our Gleanings experience with you. The ensuing result has been silence which as it turns out, makes for a terrible read. So in an effort to plunge forward, setting perfection aside, I present our Gleanings for the Hungry experience:
SERVING AS A FAMILY AT GLEANINGS FOR THE HUNGRY
“Mom, how soon can I go back to work tomorrow?” my six year old asks with sparkling eyes and an upturned chin. “After we eat breakfast and do devotions together as a group,” I respond. He heaves a big sigh and with slumped shoulders confides, “I just was hoping we could get started as soon as I woke up.”
It’s the end of our first full day serving as a family at Gleanings for the Hungry in Dinuba, CA. We are all weary from a day worn well. As I lay down to rest and reflect, I can’t help but smile as I replay favorite memories from the day in my mind.
-Ashlyn, invited to sit down at the sewing machine in the quilt room and stitch the final hem to finish off the hand-made quilt that will be sent to Mexico.
-Quinten and Tanner working in the soup room assembly line catching the dried mix into bags. Continue reading “serving as a family at Gleanings for the Hungry | Dinuba, CA”
I’m alone except for a fisherman, a student hunched over a book, and two older ladies strolling along the coastline. The wind, slightly damp and seasoned with salt, plays with loose strands of my hair as I jog, following the line of wet sand. I’m training for my first 5K run in January. After just five minutes, I’ve confidently decided that beach running is my favorite.
My bare feet meet the moist ground, pounding out a regular rhythm as my eyes drink in the surrounding splendor. I use the time of solitude to pray and lean in toward my Father’s heart. “What do you want to show me today?” I ask.
Moments later my eyes catch sight of something shining in the sand. I stop, curiously observing the translucent blob lying in my path. I look around and spot another, tangled in a pile of seaweed. I’m mesmerized. Are these jellyfish? How long have they been here? Are they dead? Would anything have happened if I’d stepped on them? I make a mental note to return and show the kids my discovery at the end of my run.
Resuming my pace, I continue my jog. The waves lap around my feet like puppies biting at shoestrings. Once again, something catches my eye and I halt. A sand dollar, perfectly circular, lies ensconced within its shore-lined bed. Pulling back its covers of sand, I clean it in the surf and tuck it safely in my pouch. No sooner is my treasure locked away, than a second dollar comes into view. Minutes slip past as I tuck forty dollars worth of treasure away for safe keeping. Continue reading “hidden treasure | Morro Bay, CA”
The air is cool and crisp as I sit cross-legged in my plush camp chair. I’m snuggled under the fleece blanket my mother-in-law gifted me for Christmas last year. Above me the sky has tucked the sun into its western bed and the stars are roaming free. Around me sit a circle of friends and family. We’ve each parked our chairs in close proximity to the fire pit but random popping embers occasionally cause us to question our warmth vs. safety priorities.
By the way, it’s Wednesday evening. That lonely, middle-of-the-week night which, in former times of my life, marked things like bible study, soccer practice or the night we used to curl up on the couch and watch the next episode of Lost. It was not, however, social night. Getting together mid-week with multiple families for the pure purpose of hanging out was typically impractical, if not impossible.
Yet here we sit for the third week in a row, swapping stories in the dark while flames dance and kids play. It’s a gift. With time as our currency, we are rich and I don’t mourn soccer or Lost.
As for bible study? We’ve moved it to Wednesday morning.
How about you? What does a typical Wednesday evening look like?