Thursday, July 26, 2012

FOR TODAY, July 25th. 

Outside my window...  An entire community of deer have made a habit of grazing in the fields around our home.  As we drive in this time of day (dusk), we can count on seeing at least a family or two enjoying the cooling air in the valley.  A few nights ago we counted thirteen deer in one field alone.  We have a set of twins still sporting their spots as well as a couple small bucks in the mix. 

I am thinking...  about what my routine will be when school starts back in just fifteen days.  This is my last year with a preschooler in the house unless God blesses us with another happy accident someday, and I really want to take advantage of Miriam's free Tuesdays and Thursdays and field trip with her, spend a little time soaking up this four-year-old who is so full of her own ideas and lives with an amazing amount of excitement.  

I am thankful...  for friendship.  Especially for those few friends who can listen to your secrets and struggles and know the exact right way to respond.  I am SO SO blessed to have small but priceless circle around me.  There are no words... 

In the kitchen...  I tried some lemon garlic tuna burgers- edible but not my favorite.  I think tuna should be reserved for macaroni and cheese or tuna salad.  I just kept wishing I had beef between my sandwich thin. I did make some mean pork chops a few nights ago though.  Here's the recipe from Tyler Florence (Food Network).  THAT recipe made it on my Pinterest Board.

I am wearing... Green khaki carpenter pants and a light purple cami.  I've pretty much lived in camis this summer.  It's just been too HOT to think about sleeves of any length.  

I am creating...  a few crocheted baby items including a black pair of Mary Janes.  

I am going... WEST.  Again. Yay!  My sister is going to support a friend whose stay in Colorado was extended when she went into labor prematurely and delivered her daughter at 31 weeks.  The entire story is a whirlwind and a blog post in itself, but the bottom line is that I'm going along for the drive and playing nanny for a few days to my sweet niece. 

I am reading...  Dr. Laura Schlesinger's The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.  Again.  I needed a reminder and a swift kick in the butt in regard to my wifely role.  Dr. Laura's pretty good about telling it like it is... even in print.  

I am looking forward to... being back into a routine.  I thrive on routine.  As much as I love sleeping in and swimming all summer, the freedom tempts me to laziness, and it will be good for me to have daily time constraints again.

Around the house...  Our new siding is all painted Calvary blue and ready for the carpenters.  It will likely be another month before it's all up, but I'm learning to live in renovation time and just be happy IF it gets completed.  I like Lowe's and all, but I'm SO ready (three years ready) to NEVER, EVER see Lowe's house wrap again!  

I am pondering... Philippians 4: 5-9-  " ...The Lord is near.  Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you."

One of my favorite things...  is looking back and recognizing God's handiwork.  I just LOVE when He reveals a little bit of himself to me!

A few plans for the rest of the week: A dental check up, some pool time, a first birthday party for my cousin's adorable twin boys, and a train trip across Missouri to hop in the car with my sister!

A peek into my day...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sand Dunes, Enchantment, and a Touch of Cowboy

WAY back in May, we loaded the minivan with supplies and headed west.  

I really hoped that Sand Dunes National Park would be worth the drive.  It seemed to be one of the smaller national parks, but as we drove closer the the massive dune field, we were all in awe of how majestic and whimsical the dunes seemed.  They were out of place at the edge of a great valley and at the foot of the mountains, and we would later be amazed at we learned about the set of circumstances keeping the dunes alive, circumstances found only in this tiny corner of the earth. The park ranger who greeted us at the visitor's center seemed thrilled that we were campers and not simply there to spend an afternoon.  I'm sure the locals take advantage of Medano Creek during the spring.  It's a temporary oasis in the midst of the desert climate  We froze at night (40 degrees is COLD!), sweated in the sun, and generally loved every second of our time in the Dunes.  

On day two, we tried out hand at sand sledding.  We hiked into the dunes, sinking past our ankles as we climbed, and I wished for snow shoes to keep our feet on the surface.  After each dune was conquered, we stopped to hydrate and catch our breath in the high altitudes.  We finally made it to dunes worthy of sledding, and the kids zoomed down slopes steeper and longer than any I would attempt.  

Too soon, we turned our backs on the Dunes and our faces toward New Mexico.  New Mexico, while beautiful and unique, is truly made by its people.  Native American and Hispanic, each group proud of and eager to share their heritage, meet side by side in New Mexico, and it truly feels like a different, perhaps more genuine, world.  

We walked across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, drove through the beautiful turquoise trimmed Taos and through the Sangre De Cristo Mountains into the adobe world of Santa Fe.  

Santa Fe is a city where all the buildings are the color of sand and mud, but it's one of the most colorful cities I've seen.  Downtown is full of life, culture, art, and history.  Our afternoon was spent wandering the streets, stepping into an occasional shop, and celebrating Mass at the St. Francis Cathedral.  

One of my favorite parts of our trips doesn't exist in photographs.  We were so blessed that Tesuque Pueblo had opened it's doors to the community while we were in Santa Fe.  We left our phones and cameras behind and reveled in their Corn Dance ritual.  The men and boys were painted in earth and trimmed in pine branches and fur.  The women wore traditional black dresses and painted headdresses finished with soft grey feathers.  One group of men dressed in more formal costume chanted the words to their prayer while the men, women, and children answered in their own chant and danced into a series of formations.  We loved the little ones in their tiny moccasins and fur tails nearly dragging the ground.  Some children, no older than two, danced beside their mother or father, and others made a group of children who followed the adults.

We enjoyed a children's festival at a historic Spanish settlement, and the kids were able to make adobe, spin wool into yarn, grind corn, and taste bread baked in adobe ovens.

Before we could leave the Land of Enchantment, Amos Lee twisted my arm, and we detoured though Roswell to see if we could spot an alien left over from the supposed UFO crash of the 1950's.  It was ridiculous and hilarious how much the kids enjoyed the town.  From the aliens painted on most of the storefronts to the UFO Museum, our 90 minute stay in Roswell was an absolute hit with the kids and my husband.  I was more entertained watching them be entertained.

After a forever drive, we visited Fort Worth, Texas.  We toured the Bureau of Engraving and watched the manufacture of millions of US dollars.  And we wandered the Ft. Worth Stockyards, soaking up a little cowboy, complete with a little rodeo fun and longhorn cattle drive.

We returned home exhausted from our busy trip, but satisfied with how we'd spent our time.  I'm so thankful that our kids were able to experience a tiny bit of the southwest's diversity.  Adventuring is a different type of travel.  It's effort more than ease, researching more than relaxing, and learning more than fantasizing.

I want my kids to be comfortable in foreign places as adults.  I want the thought of navigating the unfamiliar to be exciting rather than terrifying.  I hope that each of them continues to revel in the vastness and true beauty of God's world, seeing with the childlike excitement they did this week.