Faith

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There are nights I lay tossing and turning, I’m hot, I’m cold…drowning my body in blankets and trying to turn off my brain.  I wish I had a magic pill for this but instead I chose to write, paint, take a walk in the freezing cold and the darkness of night, getting out of bed wandering the house at midnight, reading, laundry…. anything to distract my mind from my worry from what happens tomorrow to next week. I find calm in being outside, walking my dog, sitting by the fire place and my writing.

This type of anxiety or fear is not good for me or you. I push through it; I don’t believe it to be a flaw but somehow I have not let it consume me.  Working out has been new to me –  at least in a Cross Fit gym.  I forget it all everything seems trivial and I show myself that I have great power inside me and that I can push my body harder and harder and I can still stand. (Literally.) This has become a crazy addiction for me. It strips away my fear, anxiety, gives me a clear mind and when I leave I know I can conquer any of my anxiety and fear drifts out the window.

There are many people in my family that are fighting for theirs right now.  Fighting for their lives and I look for answers but they aren’t there. So, the phrase, “let go and let God” gives me comfort as of late.  The circle of life will continue unfortunately these family members are living in fear, worry, stress with prayer and faith.  Having faith and believing that God has a plan for each and every one of us.

I am worried about these families and their families.  I hurt because I know they are. I want to help but don’t know how…so I have fallen to my knees a lot lately in prayer to give them strength, to lift them up, to bless them, to show them guidance when everything around them might seem dark. I no longer ask “why,” but pray in faith, “that God will provide them with strength.”

Writing and Photography

There are days when I struggle to put pen to paper or fingers to my laptop. I am drawn to be creative, to do something that will mean something to others.  I don’t need recognition at all.  Its that look people have/get when I am working on something whether it be a book or in my photographs. I feel truly inspired and blessed by both of these creative outputs.

My first love is writing but I am lucky enough to have two first loves.  Photography is my second. Last year around this time I left my job of seven years where I had spent those years using my cameras (I have four) whether it be a farmer in his crop, photos of the the way a certain crop is harvest, or portraits that my job required.  I am passionate about agriculture photography because it is so important to Oregon and my home is surrounded by at least 10 different crops.  We as farmers and individuals must take care of our soil and crops to feed the world.  I am passionate about that as our population continues to grow!

I have been taking photographs for almost 10 years.  I was given my first Nikon D90 by my dad for Christmas.  Every chance I had I would take his camera and start shooting so I guess it seemed fitting to get me a camera of my own.

Right away, I started taking photos.  I started with people, portraits, families, weddings, candid’s and natural landscapes.  Candid’s are so beautiful because if I can catch a glimpse into someone’s life without them knowing the moment I capture is full of hope and truth.

My dad and I started shooting weddings together about eight years ago.  It was an amazing experience-two things I loved all wrapped up in someone else’s day filled with love.  Although those days were long and we had some demanding couples and brides – I spent the entire day laughing with my dad and taking photos.  Those were some amazing days I will never forget.

I started to do more family, individual, anniversary, bridal showers, babies on my own time.  Call me stupid but I didn’t do it for the money (I rarely charged people), I did it for the love of photography.  I would have a lot more money if I would have changed more or at least half what most photographers charge.

I am so passionate about photography and on rare days my camera trumps my writing if I can’t find the words but taking off by foot or in my car with my camera always leads me back to my writing.  So, my passion for writing and photographs are deeply rooted and wrap around each other. Writing is my first love!

“Writing allows me to taste life twice.”

-Anais Nin

 

 

 

 

 

I

For the Love of Farming

 

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There are days on the farm that our home feels like it has a swinging door.  We run in and out for lunch, to run parts for equipment on the farm, or business supplies. All the while, our twins who are 12 keep the door swinging whether its for play or working on the farm.

Day in and day out each one of us contributes to the needs of our farm.  My husband spends countless hours under the arbors of our hazelnut orchard or in the shop, the children are just starting to show interest about the farm and they want to be involved.  My sons pick up sticks on the orchard floor, drive the tractors, spot spray on four-wheelers and in the next hour I am running kids off to football practice.  They keep busy but they are learning that as a family, we are one unit and we have to learn to work hard together to keep the farm running, no matter what season we are in.

Our hazelnut farm needs continuous care depending on what season we are in but it takes a family to get through it all. My husband works along side his dad.  My mother-in-law and my self do the bookkeeping for our farm.  Believe it or not to run this farm we have about four different sets of bookkeeping.

I have struggle with this since we moved to the farm 12 years ago. I am not an accountant, bookkeeper, record-keeper, or someone who is good with numbers.  However, I have learned to adapt and find resources that will help me. My mother-in-law was a great help in the beginning but as our bookkeeping got more complicated I learned I needed even more help.  I took a few bookkeeping classes and spent a lot of time and money with our accountant.  I will continue to lean on this system for me because it works.  Why mess with a good thing when it’s working?

During harvest, about September through November life gets turned upside down.  I will be honest and say it is a struggle for myself and our children.  My husband works an easy 16-18 hours a day and if I don’t make him lunch and dinner, he wouldn’t eat.  He gets so focused on working that he won’t stop to eat.  He has an office that I stock up with food, snacks, and meals when I bring them to him. However, every year he easily drops about 15 pounds from the stress.

Harvest time is hard on our children.  They miss Dad so much. It is hard for some people to understand that dad is around for about eight months and the rest of the year they don’t really see him except for when they walk to the bus every morning.  For a few brief seconds, they get to see his smiling face and give him a big hug.  Sometimes he leaves them post-it notes on the mirror in the bathroom to surprise them just to let them know he is thinking of them.

For me, this time of year gets very lonely.  Some days I feel depressed and down.  But I know I need to keep my chin up because I don’t want my kids to see me struggle.  Everything this time of year in on my shoulders when it comes to running the house, paying the bills for the farm, and running the kids too and fro for all their school and social plans.  It gets to be overwhelming sometimes but I remind myself that this is not year-around and it is short lived. My personal life falls away during harvest time; I should learn to lean on it a little more but it is hard to juggle everything.

I have learned so much about myself, my family, and living on a farm.  I know that we have to keep things moving to making farming possible.  We have learned to adapt during certain times of the year and other times of the year we are able to lean on each as a family of four…and for a few short months it’s just me and my boys taking care of dad while he takes care of our year’s crop.  Through all of this, and the lifestyle we have, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Light

 

Burning Christmas candles
Seasonal background with an array of burning Christmas candles with festive twinkling flames on a black background with shallow dof

But what kind of Light?

Light that squeezes tightly through an old fashion key hole

Light that drips up over the edge of a mountain and fills a valley

Light that breaks through the heavily wooded Douglas fir trees down to the moist soil

Sticks crack and break under my feet

Light paints the sky and slowly fills the Grand Canyon glowing in pinks, oranges, and yellows

Light sparkles from a diamond when the sun hits it just right

Light I invite into my home as I pull the blinds every morning filling the house room by room

Light means something different to everyone.  It can be used in many sentences in many different ways. But for today.  Light is how my soul feels.

Book Review #3

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“We love reading a story about our favorite place to go in late summer! A place where play and fun collide and spending time with family is the very best of every day.”

– The Martin Family, Port Orchard, WA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shadow

By Joshua Radin

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Castle like rocks stretch the lining of the west side of the water

casting a shadow across the left side of the canyon

the shadow slowly climbs to the top of the ridge

a warm breeze blows the hair across my face

trees scattered about the canyon walls

and I can count the ones that circle me

 

the stair steps of the rock that cascade around us

now shelters the water from sun

the gray flicker of water rocking the boat

back and forth

back and forth

Darkness cannot come fast enough

 

Trees show off their reflection to left

To the right

I rest in the middle of this beauty

 

Wet hair dripping lake water down my back

observing…

being in this moment

 

 

 

 

Whisper

Small Bump by Ed Shennan

I wait for you

Quietly you are hidden inside me

No one knows me like you do

Am I afraid of losing you

 

I wonder where you are

Every day

Every second

 

Do you feel

I feel

Want to know what you feel

 

A candle flickers in my window

And I still wait

Find the light I have left for you

 

Have you looked for it

Do you look for it

Dusted across the sky

 

I search for you to find romance

The kind you show to me

My heart bleeds for this

 

Broken for the lack of luster

Have you noticed

I have given up

 

I can’t talk about it again

I will not beg

Why don’t you see me

 

This could be a start to something

Beautiful & new

Creating as we go

Whispering through unknown

Dream Big!!

At 3am on a Tuesday, I woke up suddenly, got out of bed after tossing and turning for an hour and came to the living room.  I tore sheets of blank paper out of a notebook I had and started writing about the DREAM I had just had.  Simply put, that dream is my first book, “Grandpa’s Orchard.”

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Dreams are important!  Dreams challenge you and force you to face your inner most insecurities. For me, with my writing I never thought I would be sitting where I am today.  I dreamt about being published and have openly spoken about it for years.  I wanted to write not just for me but for my family, my children, to share myself with the world and to leave something behind that could make a difference.

Having this dream for me, or anyone having a dream for themselves is about having faith that what will be, will be.  Taking a blind leap knowing you have prepared the best way possible and once you leap you believe and have faith you will land where you are meant to be.  In my experience, when we (my husband and I) have taken that leap we have always landed in a far better place than we thought we ever would. But for my writing, this was all on me.  Leaping on my own was scary.

In my inner circle it became something I just said and about a year ago I took a hard look at my dreams.  I knew that if I spent my whole life worrying about how to take care of everyone else’s needs and dreams (which I willing did), where would I be in another five years. Who would I be? Would I like that person?  I knew I would regret not taking a leap!! I would have always wondered. These questions alone made me start writing again.

This  

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I knew at the least that if I wrote I would feel more self-accomplishment, more fulfilled in my life, and more alive! And when I first started writing again it was not a children’s book, a children’s book wasn’t even on my list of things to write.

I still remember the day. I sat down in my writing nook, with a pen and paper and started writing from a writing prompt that was given to me years ago in high school.

“Now is Still Unknown.”

I have had numerous people in my life encourage me to keep writing, they would encourage me to write a book, poetry or short stories…just keep writing even if it’s just for you, they would say.  Deep down I always knew I was a writer, it started the day I entered my creative writing class in high school. I was given a chance with pen, paper, and I felt it running through my veins – like someone punching me in the gut.

For years, I wrote about everything in my life.  The intensity of my writing grew when I had great tragedies in life…I still write my way through some of these.  Someday, I want to publish these pieces of me that are raw, secret, locked inside – unknown to many but I want to publish them and share them because my gut tells me my words will help people.  I believe in writing what hurts, for me its about letting go of the past and if there is a lesson learned I can share to help even one person. I feel drawn to do so.  There is great power in this and great healing.

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On Thursday, I opened the mail box and found two very thin boxes inside.  I noticed the return address from “authorscript” which really meant nothing to me but as I pulled back the card board in disbelief my book revealed itself to me.  One hard cover and one soft cover in my hands. It was one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life. I tore out the the front door running across the farm to my husband, partially in tears I tried to speak and thrust the books forward in my hands.  I know I babbled something but I have no idea what.  In that moment, I had done it. I had fulfilled my dream!!!

My dream wasn’t a dream anymore; it was a reality!  This feeling I have had for the last 2 and half days is indescribable! I am relishing in these moments, taking it all in, I don’t want to miss a thing, I want to celebrate and shout from the rooftop. Now more than ever, I am driven to finish the next two books. And I can proudly say, I am an author.

Back to the pen and paper, friends. Dream big!!

 

 

Cline Falls Road

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She arrived later than she thought.  We unpacked her car and repacked into my car.  The tank was full and we were off on the first leg of our trip from Independence to Redmond.  Not really considered a “leg” of the trip because we had 17 hours ahead of us to Utah.

She had just driven over four hours to my place, drained the bladder and jumped back in for almost another three hours. As soon as we were both trapped inside, the chatter started and we carried it all the way to Sisters.  We started at least 15 stories and only finished six of them but we always made it back around to one that we didn’t finish, sooner or later we always finished them but it might be on the fourth day we were together.  Today, we still have unfinished stories.

It was not our first trip but it always felt like the first time.  The excitement…for me was like a kid on Christmas morning.  As an adult travelling was with my sister was like Christmas morning.  Our trips were this way.  The entire trip wrapped like a huge gift under the tree and we never really knew what was inside, every step or mile of the way it was thrilling like tearing open the gift you wanted all year long.

We talked and talked, she made sure to toss in a bag of peanut butter chocolate cups and we shared them as the odometer numbers increased and emptied a Nalgene bottle of water.  Hours passed and carried us to our resting place. We made our way to Cline Falls Road, she turned left, left again, and as the curves in the road wrapped us closer to our destination. We realized how late it was.

We were both sleepy, the windows opened to keep us awake, and our long hair tossed around us. I told her to slow her speed and in the darkness police lights flashed around the car.  As she struggled to find a place to pull over in the central desert, she drove on…further than my instincts would have taken me.  As I insisted her pull over, we came to our left hand turn. She turns and pulls over to the right curb barely out of the entrance and as we giggle and are slightly nervous about what we did wrong.

She insisted she wasn’t going too fast…the officer walked to the left side of the car and just as he asks for her license and tells her she was speeding; I start screaming at the top of my lungs as a sprinkler hoses me down from the top of my head to the middle of the chest.  It passes by once, screaming, it passes and again as my sister tries to silence me and politely insists I roll the window up. The officer looks down at me and shines his flashlight in my eyes without a smile, I babble about the sprinkler.  He was not entertained as I struggled in the front seat to not continue laughing and as well as I know my sister…she would break at any time, I kept it together until she got her ticket.

We continued on to our resting place laughing so hard we couldn’t catch us breathe until we drifted to sleep. The next morning, we woke before 6am and we still laughing.

 

The Cassette Tape…

police tape

As a 13 year old girl, I thought no one could hurt me. I enjoyed school, sports, band and hanging out with friends. I felt awkward at times as any new teen would but I felt secure with my surroundings, felt safe, and I felt invisible. My favorite thing to do was socialize with my friends and play sports.

I woke one particular morning in May, I got ready for school I listen to a mix tape a friend had given me, and I hummed and danced to the music as I picked out my clothes for the day. I remember putting on my favorite acid-washed jeans with a t-shirt and sweat shirts, I particularly remember that morning feeling like summer was coming soon as the sun broke through the curtains on the windows.

My sister yelled from the bathroom, “if you want a ride to school, you better be ready in five minutes.” I raced around my mess in our room, throwing things in my backpack, pushed stop on the cassette player that I had been listening to and remembered that my friend had wanted me to bring it back to her that week but I hadn’t gotten a chance to record it yet so, I left it on the player.

My sister and I drove to school, she dropped me that morning in the high school parking lot and I walked the short distance down the bike path between the middle and high school. The sun was out, warm on my face and I was excited for the start of a new week.

As I walked to school, I notice that just beyond the soccer field to my left, long yellow caution tape lined the tree line. It seemed to stretch almost the entire length of the field and I remember thinking it seemed strange and out of place but I didn’t really give it a second thought. I had been so excited to see the cute blonde haired, blue eyed boy I had a crush on.

I walked through the double doors at the end of the hall and I headed straight for my locker and as I fumbled with the dial to open my locker. A friend approached me with tears streaming down her face and asked me if I had heard. In my head, “I thought heard what.” I assumed it was something about her being dumped by the boy she liked. Why was she so hysterical?

Instead what fell from her lips, stopped time in my 13 year old life? I was still but trembling and I remember saying, “what are you talking about, how, why, what, where,” and my heart began to race. I felt light headed, sweaty, and nervous, my body was without response.

I walked to the band room and one of my favorite teachers’ was not in her classroom. I then walked the inner quad of the building and saw that on two walls outside my math room they were covered with white paper and I could see through the door that students and staff were inside her class. A few students retreated from inside, walked directly to the wall covered in paper and started to write something on the walls. Memories of …….. And on the other side they wrote, Feelings of ….. .

I leaned against the wall, felt my body collapse slowly down the side of the wall where I sat slumped over, my head in my hands. I was burning up, numb to everything around me. My favorite science teacher walked passed, he helped me up off the floor, hugged me with a tight long squeeze, he didn’t pull away and as my tears soaked into his light blue shirt, I said, “I need to see my sister, I need her, I need her.” In my heaving chest, racing heart, sweaty palms he aided me to the front office desk and gave me a pass, as I walked out the front door, he said “I will call the high school and let them know you need to see your sister immediately.”

I walked quickly to the high school, back down the bike path that I just walked earlier that morning and past the same yellow caution tape,. This time when I passed it, walking in completely parallel to whatever horror happened behind it, I noticed a few police cars and I started to run.

I made it to the high school, I threw open the door the students buzzed around inside, it seemed strangely loud and I walked into the office, announced who I was and through my hysterical state my sister walked to my side and I collapsed in her arms. I let go and the tears came like a heavy down pour as I tried to explain what was happening at the middle school and remember wanting an answer from her.  We moved into the principal’s office where we sat, she held me, and everything inside of me was empty.  I was so confused.

Did my friend really get murdered? How? When? Why? Who? My mind went to the mix tape I left at my house that morning that she wanted returned to her. The yellow caution tape told me where she took her last breaths and I looked to my sister, “Can we go home?”

We drove home, the car was silent, it seemed so hot but the heat wasn’t on and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My heart was broken but even now I can’t find the right words or perhaps the full magnitude of how it felt. We pulled in the drive way, my sister brought me in the house and I went straight to our shared room. I sat on my bed and my eyes fell to the sight of the mix tape sitting on my cassette player.

I knew her laugh, her smile, her generosity, and how everyone always laughed when they were with her. And she was gone. I would never see her again, never hear her voice, see her smile or never laugh with her again. I was in shock. I felt numb, empty, and in complete disbelief.

I would never see life the way I used too, never feel free from fear, and I learned that day and still to this day that no knows what life has in store for us tomorrow.

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Out of protection of the family and friends that had  go to through this and all the surrounding people that had to deal with this and still do. I cannot share any more of this real-life story out of respect. I pray for this family every day think of them often and every year that passes I visit her grave with that same cassette tape early in the morning and play that song. Every year I shed tears for her and her family.  Many prayers to you all. She will never be forgotten.