To The Barista at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, the Everyday Hero Who Made My Day

Friday, May 27, 2016

Gifts from one of the kindest baristas. 
You totally didn't have to do what you did. But you totally did. And it made such a difference to me, a mama who rarely has all her ducks in a row.  Today I just happened to forget one of the more important ducks: the wallet duck. Headdesk. 

I almost didn't come here today to write. It's not exactly budget-friendly to purchase coffee or food on a regular basis so that I can have an energetic yet quiet enough space away from my home and my precious people there to process my thoughts, to write them down, to get them out here. In my childhood I was brought up to try as much as possible not to spend unnecessary money, and purchases like this might be seen as unnecessary. But here sounded just a tad better, even if it was further away than my other options. These are precious quiet creative hours, so the location counts. It counts so much. Plus, I was really looking forward to the chocolate chunk muffin that is my weakness here.

Recipe: Rhubarb Sauce (on ice cream!)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Having grown up living in the same state as both sets of my own grandparents, I never really pictured what life would be like raising my own children three time zones away from theirs. We have been fortunate so far to have had grandparents visits several times since moving out here, but creating shared experiences between grandparents and grandchildren that keep bonds strong in the in between times can be difficult. One of my constant hopes is that my children will grow deep relationships with their grandparents despite the geographical distance.

Unsolicited tears.

Monday, May 16, 2016

This is the face of a mom (and daughter) who'd prefer your unsolicited encouragement before your unsolicited advice. Otherwise, you may receive our gift of tears.
I need your unsolicited encouragement over your unsolicited advice.

That’s what I wish I had said to the man. Why does it always take a week and a half to arrive at what you wish you had said?

It had started like this: my husband, two young children and I had just finished a good, but long, week at a summer family camp - the last installment of our many good, but long, summer activities. I was ready to jump back into the welcoming arms of the school year routine, sleep in my own bed, use my own bathroom, heck, even cook in my own kitchen again.

All the families boarded and were settling into seats on the ferry that would take us back to the mainland. We were all, perhaps, feeling the bittersweetness of leaving such a beloved place of rest where there was limited electricity and no cell phone service - a rare world of stillness and undistracted presence with each other and God. We would try to carry the beauty of that back to the mainland with us, for at least a few hours.

Be My Village

Friday, May 6, 2016

Me (the curly top), my sister and my mom c. 1989

"I got it," my husband said slowly as he ended the call. We both smiled and hugged each other tightly. It was his first offer for a college teaching position after getting his PhD a few months earlier. In an economy that was still in a holding pattern after suffering a severe blow several years earlier, it was welcome news.

We'd also received some welcome news a few weeks prior to that: our first baby was on her way. I was teaching high school Spanish at the time, and while I was certain that I loved my particular job more than I had any other up until that point, I also knew I'd want to be home with my baby longer than the maximum 12 weeks of maternity leave that I'd be able to get as a teacher.

The only news that was a bit unwelcome at the time was this: my husband's new job required us to move three time zones away to Southern California - far from the MidWest towns each of us had grown up in, and far from our parents who still lived in those hometowns. It was even opposite the East Coast where my husband's sister had lived for over ten years.
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