Framed in Love

We have three children heading in three different directions this fall. One off to college in Seattle, one tumbling into her sophomore year of high school, and the last just starting first grade–at a new school–actually at his very first school ever. Lots of changes.

And I have two new jobs! An editing position, and a support role for my brothers and their business.

Yes, summer’s end is here.

Which probably means more regular baking. Gotta have bread for those pb&j’s. And that will mean more giving. Hurrah!

Speaking of giving. I’ve done a bit of that lately–but, I’m keeping those stories to myself. Sometimes when your heart asks you to help another–the backstory of the circumstance, the middle story, and even what is to come needs to be guarded and kept private. That seems to be the trend as of late, so just know that I’m a busy bee here in my kitchen, and that this has been a prayerful time of giving, and of hoping for healing…

One thing that won’t change as we transition into fall are my excursions to the beach! Did you know that I spend time at the beach every single week, sun or storm, rain or raging wind? And here’s what I found at the beach this very day. A heart-framed view–a fitting reminder of how I’m trying to live my life–everything framed in love.

Dear Summer,

I’ll miss you, but I am excited about this time of new beginnings. Thank you for all the gifts you’ve brought my way these last three months–the warm days, new friends, the plums, the evening barbecues.

Oh, Lord, the author of Summer and the coming seasons, too… Help me to be a woman, who frames her days–every single one of them–in love.

jane

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Catching Up

Apart from an amazing week away in the mountains with my family–a week when I napped three times a day and sat by the river more than cooked, or baked, or anything–it seems all I’m doing these days is catching up. The garden needs tending, writing projects await, guests are here, new recipes want to be tried, and kids continually beg for rides. It’s summer!

And I haven’t quite settled into this new routine. I’m still adjusting, but at the same time savoring many sweet and simple moments. Plums. A dinner outside on the patio. Ping pong 🙂 A new draft of a story. Cousins. The fountain gurgling outside my bedroom window.

And even though I’m doing plenty of giving–the rides, the laundry, the cleaning…I’m missing the baking and all that that has meant in my life these last few years. And to feed that missing link–I recently read this inspiring story of nine, very generous baking nanas. If you haven’t read it–take the time. I cried most of the way through. Anyway, today, there’s bread in the oven! I feel a renewed effort welling in me, and that makes me happy.

Tell me, what’s making you happy these summer days? Are you in catch up mode, too?

Out of Doors

In Southern California we are able to eat outside for many months. We have few bothering bugs, we are drenched with warmth and sun for much of the year, and for all that we pay massive amounts of taxes–with more surely to come! 

Anywho, many of us have these dinky little homes, which means that using whatever outside space available is… smart. And with teenagers, whose bodies are bursting out of these little rooms and places, going outside helps maintain sanity (plus you don’t have to sweep!).

Recently I baked up a beautiful batch of sourdough. I toted my two loaves over to my parents’ new home, and we grilled some sausages, set the tables and enjoyed the fresh air and the view. It’s that time of year, and more often than not, that’s where you’ll find us in the evenings, gathered around a table or another, pairing grilled sausages and sourdough bread, with fava beans plucked straight from our forest. sipping lemonade or margaritas, and knowing that–

hopefully living the fact that–

(despite the taxes!!!)

we are blessed.

Summer 2011 :: The State of Things

6:30 am

Summer mornings mean writing time. I rise early, stumble out to my office, brew a cup of tea while my eyes adjust, say my prayers to help wake my heart and mind, and then sit in front of words, fiddling, rearranging, composing, and sometimes even rejoicing! Oftentimes the little one stumbles in, and slides onto my lap. Then I have to coax an older sibling awake, and pour corn flakes into a bowl, and ask for help. The help usually comes and the writing recommences… Right now I’m wading through a sailing scene, but don’t know how to sail. That sort of road block is just that. A Word Halter. A Story Buster! Another hurdle to overcome. Any sailors out there just hoping for an interview?

10 am

Laundry, baking, saying hellos to the late risers. Planning for the day. Jumping up and down because I sold a picture book (A Book of Questions to Blue Apple Books)! Jumping up and down because I might even sell another picture book! (on a saint, to Conciliar Press), if I can just get the words right… 10 am is a great time for jumping up and down. Gets the heart moving.

Noon

Lunch! Plums from the tree. Fresh bread and a piece of cheese. A tomato. Hopes that the sun will peek through the gloom. Hopes that the sun will dry my laundry. Hopes that the sun will dehydrate my fruit leather but not get me sunburned. Lots of hopes!

Afternoon

Library for books. Beach for negative ions and sand between the toes. Or, a train set up. Or, shopping for gifts–so many birthdays! Derek’s, Jack’s, Mom’s, Andrew’s, Lucy’s, Miles’s, Asher’s, and little babies being born–like Greyson. He got a blue and green hat 🙂 Logging the yarn projects onto ravelry. Have to find someone to eat that extra bread. The mail comes and lots of sorting happens. And after the news of two potential picture book sales are processed by my meek brain, I am humbled by  yet another rejection. Ah, the joys of being a writer.

Early Evening

Fiddling with yarn. Checking email. Watching Douglas be the mighty chef that he is… Sipping sparkling water, or wine, or nibbling on chips and salsa. Talking about our upcoming fundraising dinners for church–and the trial biscotti I’ve been baking–so we can BUILD our church! (Can’t wait to build our church!!!) Setting the table. I love setting the table. Collecting the crew to pray, eat, laugh, eat, and read from our past travel journals. Allowing the little one to eat his dinner off the pizza peel.

Late Evening

Could be a movie. Or walking the neighborhood with flashlights. We always brew a hot pot of  herbal tea. I dream about the day that is almost gone. Reading, reading, reading (just finished the third Penderwicks–and a Philokalia collection…) Maybe I’ll mix up some dough for the next day, or update my to-do list, or choose a new picture book for bedtime. Brushing teeth, PJ’s. Bugging the big kids to get to bed. Talking about our time with cousins in Santa Ynez, or about the week in LA and the great dinner with the Dimpfls, and the birthday dinner of paella. Still bugging the big kids to get to bed.

Still bugging the big kids to get to bed.

And the lights go out

What about you? What is your State of Things these days. I’d love to know…