Daybook: late October

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Outside my window: Still dark. But once the sun comes up, there will be leaves to rake and a crisp morning. I’m hoping to make it out for a run today.

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This autumn has felt especially colorful and precious to me, and I think it’s because I missed much of autumn last year because of my injury. I couldn’t run, or even really walk around the neighborhood, because my foot hurt so badly. Now I am so grateful to be outside.

In the kitchen: my mental energy is elsewhere right now, so it’s going to be easy staples this week: simple soups (butternut squash, potato-dill, Jerusalem lentil) and eggs of various kinds. And maybe some pumpkin ribbon bread.

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In the school room: Phoebe had a breakthrough last week, seeing some progress in areas that have been challenging for her. I think it’s very hard to be the youngest- she spends a lot of time thinking she’s behind, when really, she’s just younger.

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Meanwhile, Jonah is working hard on college and scholarship applications. This process has shown me where lie some gaping holes in my educational plans. It’s hard to be the oldest- he’s the guinea pig for all my theories.

Today is the end of our first quarter. We need to get to the library for new books (and return all ones that are overdue…)  I think it’s time to schedule a reading day.

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We collected a bunch of leaves two weeks ago before the snow, and last week I got around to ironing them in waxed paper.  The kids couldn’t remember the word for ironing board and were very puzzled as to why I had it out. We certainly never use it for ironing clothes.

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Grateful for: second (and third and fourth) chances. The medical miracle I witnessed last week. Friends.

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While Jonah and I look at colleges this weekend, Owen’s going to visit his godparents. I am so grateful for our children’s godparents and their investment in our kids.

Sam and I had a chance to get away this weekend. It was a trip we’d scheduled and then had to cancel last year. We slept in, read books, ran long, and ate delicious meals we didn’t have to prepare or clean up afterwards. So many gifts.

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Praying for: New life, both literal and metaphorical. Mandy. Luke. Upcoming college visits. Discipline. Our group of four young confirmands at church as they prepare for confirmation.

 

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Daybook: mid-September

Outside my window: Today is the first day in a few that the air is clear again.  The smoke from the fires has meant I’m seeing lots of asthma in my office, and terrible allergies at home.  Y’all know how it kills me to run the A/C, but it’s hot enough in the afternoons still that keeping all the windows closed is unpleasant. First world problem, I know. At least I have windows.

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It didn’t occur to me until well after I took the photo that perhaps this wasn’t the healthiest air in which to run.

In the garden: It’s time to bring in the 13 butternut squash we grew.  I say we, but of course I mean the soil and sun and water.  All I did was prune the vines when they tried to take over the lawn.

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said vines, said lawn

In the kitchen: The farm has been giving us lots of tomatoes and corn, good summer food.  We’ve been freezing lots of marinara (anybody have experience using their Instant Pot as a pressure canner?) and peaches.  I’m going to be so grateful for those peaches when we finally remember to use them in my smoothies and crumbles.

In the school room:  We have been taking field trips.  It wasn’t my intention to start in so early with field trips, but I couldn’t pass on the eclipse, or on MSF’s Forced from Home exhibit last week.

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We were pretty impressed even with the partial eclipse leading up to totality.

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And then we were blown away. Midday darkness, cold, and the corona… it was incredible. Even my skeptical husband was impressed.

The MSF exhibit Forced from Home is absolutely worth a day. (Find the upcoming stops here: Forced from Home.)  The exhibit begins with an introduction to the work of MSF (a.k.a. Doctors Beyond Borders) and then allows you to walk through the refugee/IDP experience in an interactive fashion, forcing you to make hard choices with inadequate information.

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I hoped the exhibit would give us all a better sense of what our refugee friends went through, and it did that in a small way.  The bigger, more surprising impact it had was the opportunity to show my kids and dad what my experience in the Cholera Treatment Center was like. (NB: I did not work with MSF, but with Samaritan’s Purse which was working in the same area of Haiti.)  The MSF volunteer led us to a model of a cholera treatment center, and talked about the gritty details of it: the cots with holes cut in them for patients too weak to make it to a toilet, the IV poles, the buckets used for toilets… My family were able to see some of what I had done, and what was a transformative experience for me.

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Forced from Home is a great exhibit, staffed with actual MSF volunteers who are articulate about their work and why they do it.  Definitely make time for it when it comes near you.

Grateful: that our school rhythms are beginning to become habits.  For Sam and Phoebe’s good trip to Chicago. For meaningful work and the inspiration of others who are so brave. For my friend Lori & her crew’s coming up to go to Wonder Woman with us. For a weekend walk with Christy.

Praying for: refugees, IDPs, asylum-seekers, migrants and others forced from home, and those who work alongside them. For families who lost loved ones on 9/11. For the ability to listen to one another.  For many near to me who are hurting and afraid.

Daybook 8.7.17

Outside my window: rain. We were supposed to meet friends for a hike, but due to a high fever and rain (or, either one of them individually), this is what we’re doing instead:

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Yes, that is the 2014 movie, Annie. I like to think of it as Dickens lite.

In the kitchen: Meal prep. This is the difference between cooking on vacation and cooking during the school year. I plan my meals and shopping year-round, but during the school year, I don’t have time to cook ingredients on school days. So I broke down and bought an Instant Pot. (This link will take you to the an affiliate link for the Instant Pot on Amazon, and any purchase you make will benefit a great organization, Foster Source, that supports foster families. If you buy through them, Colorado foster families receive training and direct support. Thank you!) The Instant Pot jury (that would be me) is still out. Yes, I can cook an enormous amount of chicken for salads and enchiladas and future recipes in less than an hour, but man, the thing is huge. I feel like NASA every time I turn it on. Is this the time it’s going to explode?

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Before I loaded up the rocket Instant Pot, Moriah made miniature apple strudels for lunch. At some point I will have to come up with something else to have with them.

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Also, I have some bread rising. It’s my first time making this recipe (Oatmeal Bread, from The More with Less Cookbook) since early spring, when it got too hot to bake bread. I always seem to forget something on the first round. Initially, it required a trip to the grocery store, because I forgot to check my ingredients before I started throwing things in the bowl. Hopefully I didn’t forget to put anything in the bowl.

What I’m hearing: Dear Evan Hansen on Pandora, which means a funny potpourri of clear tenors (like You’ll Be Back, from Hamilton) and angsty high school songs (like Beautiful from Heathers). Also, a chicken is announcing that she just laid an egg. That’s a different kind of angst.

In the school room: school supplies. I love them. Also, stacks of books and half-laid plans. I have a ways to go. More on school planning coming up.

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On my reading list: I’ve been listening to All Clear on my runs and hikes. I’m also rereading The Martian (see above note about NASA) while I wait for Lost in a Good Book (book two in the Tuesday Next series) by Jasper Fforde to come in at the library.

On my mind: Our numbers are dwindling around here. Jonah is working about 20 hours a week, and Owen has been volunteering most days this summer. It has meant a constantly changing number of faces around our table, and in and out of the house. This fall will be more of the same, with Jonah at a local college for classes a few days each week. I guess it’s getting me ready for next year’s big shift, but even this is uncomfortable.

Grateful: for our weekend celebrations of my dad’s 80th birthday. (He would like to say that, despite how this photo appears, he is not an invalid. We were going for “king on throne” but managed instead to achieve “doting family surrounding patriarch in wheelchair.”)

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Praying for: Mandy, Judy, Christine, Lori, Ruth. My aunt and cousins, who are mourning my uncle’s death. Patience and peace, even in the midst of change.

Daybook: Mid-June

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It’s been a long time since I’ve written a daybook.  I’ve missed the ritual of logging my thoughts here.

Outside my window: Heat. I’m back to opening the windows early to lower the temperature inside the house, and then closing them up at the nadir.  Yesterday (which hit 87 degrees) the A/C didn’t come on until 4 pm.  Not bad.  I didn’t get it as low today, though, so I think the air will be on longer.

In the kitchen: Our first CSA farm delivery will happen this week.  I’m looking forward to peas and garlic scapes.  Last night I made this chimichurri (minus the jalapenos). Delicious.

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In the garden: The flowers are really beautiful right now.  The vegetables are growing as fast as they can… probably trying to make up for lost time, since I planted them so late.  The chickens got out of their yard last night (someone left the gate open), but the hens were so overcome by the delectable glory of green grass that they didn’t even notice my vegetables. Phew.

What I’m hearing: Owen is playing the piano. It’s a little wonky, because Jonah broke the harpsichord pedal. The middle range is stuck on harpsichord, and the outer octaves are still piano.  Here’s hoping the tuner will know how to fix it.

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In the school room: We have started our summer reading program, as well as one from the Tattered Cover (a local bookstore we love).  Jonah is studying occasionally for the SAT subject tests.  (I wrote the date down wrong and didn’t realize I had the date wrong until after he’d missed it. Whoops. Now he’s rescheduled to take them in August.)  Everyone else is doing a little math every few days, though not as consistently as I’d like.

Summer rhythms:  We are sticking to our 7-things-before-getting-on-a-device plan, although I need to make some adjustments, namely: after they’re on the computer/phone, I need to have an ending time so it doesn’t magically morph into the rest of the day.

I had grand plans for my writing this month, but today was the first day I’ve been able to type after nearly amputating my fingertip last week.  The ER was able to throw a stitch in it to reattach it, though I suspect the fingernail is never going to be quite right again.

Jonah is babysitting and working at the library.  Owen completed a junior-lifeguard training last week and is assisting teaching swim lessons and lifeguarding for the next few weeks. The girls just wrapped up a ballet performance on Saturday and are looking forward to our neighborhood theater camp.

On my mind: How long will it be until a black life is recognized as the having the same God-given value as a white life?   The words of Job 19:7 are on my heart: “’Though I cry, “Violence!” I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice.'”

Grateful: For a fantastic visit from my sister-in-law Mandy last week.  We had a blast playing Exploding Kittens and hanging out and doing crafts.

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Wow, this is some great posture my kids have!

I’m grateful for my dad, and Sam who is an amazing dad to our children.

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For the blast we had at the Dignity Festival this weekend.  My kids were willing (with a little prodding) to journey out of their comfort zones to learn about the challenges and strength of the refugee community here in Colorado.

For the persistence and courage of journalists and bloggers who are not willing to take easy answers to their questions and have the guts to write the truth, even when it’s hard.  I am grateful to those whose words and example open my eyes to my own prejudice and ignorance. (For good writing on the subject of racism and the Church in America, here is a place to start.)

Praying for: Judy. Mandy. Justine & family. Jen.  Lori. Christine.  Mary & family.  Laughter.  Refugees, both near and far. A first response of “yes!” to my kids, instead of, “I’m too busy.”  For justice to roll like a river.  Healing for my hand.  To be woke, and stay that way.

Daybook: April

Outside my window: Spring.  [Sigh.]  I love spring.  I love the birds’ return and the tulips (both the ones in the garden and the ones I brought inside) and all the trees. I love our hens’ fresh eggs and the neighbors’ wind chimes.

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This is my neighbor’s crabapple tree, but this year it appears to be half-apple (on the bottom) and half-crabapple (on the top).

In the kitchen: Last night we had a Sabbath feast with friends visiting from far away. This week (for Holy Week) we’re planning a lot of soups- butternut squash, black bean with lime, white bean chili, rosemary potato.  Do you eat differently during Holy Week?

 

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In the school room: We finished our standardized testing last week, so this week we return you to our regular programming.  The younger kids are working on reports, Jonah is finishing up his AP content and working on review, and I’m studying for my Boards (on Friday).  I’m also hoping we can make it to this art exhibit at the medical school this week.

On my reading table: I’m deep in Girl in Translation (Jean Kwok). So good.

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In my shoes: I’m starting to run a little more.  And my runs are starting to feel like runs-with-a-little-walking, instead of walks-with-a-little-running.  I’m sure I’d go faster if I weren’t stopping to taking photos of blooming trees every ten feet.

Grateful: For Holy Week.  For a great Children’s Church yesterday, despite confusion about when we were excused from the service and who was supposed to be helping me (and for KC, who stepped in).

For Phoebe’s yoga classes she’s been teaching in my room at night: very relaxing. (She’s using these Yoga Pretzel cards to prepare her class.)

For friends who have visited us these past ten days and blessed us with their humor, their wisdom, their courage and their tears.

For Facetime with Fiji.

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Praying for: Egypt.  Syria. Refugees, and those who minister among them. The Neals and Simons.  Mandy, Judy, Anne, Dave, Christine, Lori, Ruth, Gill, Betsy.  My patients.  Those wondering when ICE will knock on their doors.  Patience and grace at home.  Courage to stand with the hurting.

May you have a holy week of walking with the Lord.  I’ll be back in this space after Easter.

Daybook 3.6.16

Outside my window: hail. We had a stunningly beautiful weekend with blue skies and warm sun, but this morning the light was greeny-yellow and made me think TORNADO. I don’t think I’ve ever seen hail this early in the spring. Especially since it’s technically still winter.

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In the garden: I watered the trees this weekend. I’ve been on crocus watch for ten days, and yesterday they hit their glory. I love crocuses. Spring bulbs remind me of the mystery.
Last week:
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Yesterday:
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It’s still too soon to pull all the leaf-mulch off the perennials, but I’m hoping to put carrots and some spinach in the square foot gardens this week.

In the school room: we are hoping to make it to the Denver Art Museum’s Star Wars Costumes exhibit. It’s supposed to be excellent. I’ll let you know.

Friday is the end of our third quarter of school, which has me thinking about pulling it all together: reviewing, reflecting on the essentials during these last nine weeks.

In the kitchen: We had pancakes and sausage for Shrove Tuesday last week, and then fasted over the weekend (with a few meals between Tuesday and Friday night.)  This week is busy.  We’re all going in different directions with long hospital hours (Sam), tutoring (Jonah), swim practice (Owen), dance rehearsals (Moriah), and gymnastic (Phoebe).  It’s lots of driving during the hours I would like to be in the kitchen, so there will be lots of prepare-ahead but low-key cooking right before dinner.  Pot roast with kale and blueberry salad, chicken-coconut-lime soup and homemade bread, crock pot carnitas tacos, and vegetable frittatas, and brined pork chops with wild rice and broccoli.

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On my reading shelf: I have a few titles queued up to read, including Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry and Bitter Medicine by Sara Paretsky, but they may have to wait until spring break. No free time right now.

On my mind: I have my Family Practice board exam next month, so much of my “free” time is going toward studying. It’s once every ten years, which seems like a long time, but every time it rolls around, it catches me off guard. Not already?

Grateful: for this year’s 30 hour famine, which we completed over the weekend. This was the first year all six of us have fasted together. It was a great way to begin Lent.  Every year it blows me away how much our lives revolve around food.  More on this to come.

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Also, we had a spontaneous trip to the movies last night to see the Lego Batman Movie. I couldn’t say I want to see any of the previews, but I laughed all the way through Batman. No spoilers here, but it somehow succeeded in simultaneously being deep and making DC child appropriate.

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Praying for: so many dear friends in the middle of huge (and hard!) transitions. The persecuted (the list is growing longer here). The hungry, both here and around the world.  Refugees and immigrants. Truth and wisdom for our government. The press.  My boards: for the discipline to study and the ability to update my knowledge. Jonah’s National History Day this weekend. Mandy, Ruth, Judy, Mick, Christine, Mary, Anne, Clare.

 

Early January Daybook

Outside my window: Snow.  I knew it was coming and had planned to take the girls skiing, but then CDOT closed the highway because of all the accidents.  So no skiing. The irony is not lost on me.  By the time I had finished my to-do list this morning, the kids had a bunch of neighbor children over to play, so I didn’t even make it out snowshoeing. (Looks like I might have another chance tomorrow.)

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In the kitchen: Beef noodle salad bowls, from Pioneer Woman. (Google it; I can’t get the link to work.)  They always get 6 thumbs up around here, and they don’t require a lot of beef.

On my mind: The January Money Diet.  This is the third year I have participated in a series of challenges to pull our finances into control.  During last year’s diet we saved a significant amount of money on non-essentials that was able to go toward our trip to London. Eliza’s challenge for day #2 this year was to go on a home scavenger hunt to find treasures you already have but aren’t using.  I unearthed some empty picture frames that were so dusty I had to vacuum them, but they look great on the wall.

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Around the house: mostly chaos.  I got the Christmas tree down and the ornaments packed away, but the rest of the decorations are up until tomorrow (Epiphany).  We are making slow progress on our new Harry Potter puzzle.

In the school room: We’re on break till Monday, but I did manage to complete the syllabus for Jonah’s comparative governments class.  I have a little grading to finish before we start back next week.

Our Eclipse Glasses arrived yesterday.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about the solar eclipse next summer.  I reread Annie Dillard’s essay Total Eclipse and found myself completely unable to explain to my family why I am over the moon (haha) about it.  There was a total lunar eclipse during my first week in Haiti, and the experience was amazing. I was in the kitchen trying to express this to my family, and all they could say was, “Why are you crying?”

Sam went off on this whole rant about how he saw the last one in 1979 at school so why is the 2017 one so amazing?  (Hello!  He remembers seeing the eclipse thirty-eight years ago! This was the first thing ever he told the children about his elementary school experience, but was it a big deal?  Apparently not.)  Anyway, the children are  but they are not impressed. Good thing they’re not in charge of our home school, or we’d never do anything cool.

August 21, 2017. Put it on your calendars.  Here’s the map to the see if you’re near the belt across North America where the solar eclipse will be total.

Grateful for:  the privilege of attending a lovely birth last week.  My dad’s generosity in driving my kids home from their once-a-week school, even when the roads are terrible.  A finished draft of my new novel. (I’m sure it won’t be the last draft, or the last novel.) Feeling better after the cold that knocked me flat on Tuesday.

Praying for: Mandy. Beth & family. Eileen’s family. So many of my patients who are dealing with bad news or challenging diagnoses.  Truth.  Hope.