I’m really, really cool.

My two-year-old son came up to me today and said out of the blue, “Mama, you’re the rockin’ dude.” 

Hee hee — no, SERIOUSLY, this is exactly what he said! 

Take note, people, I am THE rockin’ dude!



These photos are for you, Denise.

We have a crazy amount of snow for this early in the winter…

Two weeks ago it started snowing at seven in the morning and didn’t stop for two days.   It was the most snow in a single snowfall that I’ve ever seen — and I’ve lived in the mountains of the Northwest my entire life.   It actually broke all kinds of records in the area… close to two feet of snow fell in twenty-four hours — yikes!   Even for a couple of cities that are used to snow, Coeur d’alene and Spokane both literally shut down for several days until the plows finally got the streets cleared.   No one could get anywhere. 

It was a relief that we didn’t have anywhere to go!  We just holed up in the house beside the fireplace and enjoyed the gorgeous swirling blizzard outside our windows.

And it just keeps comin’ down.  In the last two weeks we’ve gotten at least another foot or more…  The kids are loving it.   I am too, in all honesty (just don’t tell my fellow-countrymen… no one else seems to share my opinion.)  I really don’t mind the snow.  I love snowboarding and cross-country skiing and sledding and snow-shoeing.  I would rather have a white winter than an ugly, brown, freezing-cold one.  (Although, it’s been a cold weather already, too… a cold front hit us a few weeks back with sub-zero temps.  It got down to minus six or seven at night for almost a week straight — and only up to six or seven degrees during the day… Bitterly Cold.) 

(I’m not complaining, though — really!  I’m used to it.  I’m just giving you Southerners something to be grateful for!  🙂

So anyway, here are a few pictures from that big snowfall two weeks ago.  It was the kid’s first time out in it this season and to say they were excited is an understatement.  Jo cracked me up in that hat.  It was the kind that fits over the head like a hood and it was too small for her so it squeezed her little cheeks hilariously.  She could hardly see because her eyes were so squished.  Hee hee…

But it was the one she wanted to wear!  And it kept her warm…


Poor Henry had a hard time seeing as well.  His eyelashes are so long and curly — the wet snow stuck to them like glue and they kept getting heavier and heavier until he could hardly lift his lids.  It didn’t seem to bother him or detour him from loving the snow and playing in it until he was too cold to stay out in it any longer.   It certainly had me laughing, though.  My kids make me laugh all the time.  Who knew having children would be such great entertainment?  🙂




They both loved making snow angels — and, of course, they ate the snow like it was going to disappear the next day.  I think Henry’s tongue was stuck out to catch flakes the entire time he was outside — it is in almost every picture anyway! 


 Jo just ate it by the fist-full.


We had to watch Henry closely so he wouldn’t disappear completely into the white abyss of snow.  He was actually standing up  in the snow in our front yard in the next photo.  


 Yes, all that snow came in one fell swoop.


 Crazy, huh?


I hope you all are safe and warm and dry this New Year’s Eve.


I’m back…

I think.

It’s been a lovely, lovely little hiatus. Unplanned — which makes it all the sweeter, I suppose.

I’ve been unplugged from phones and the internet for the most part since we moved, and I’ve been enjoying the subsequent simplicity and quietness during this major transitional season in our lives. There has been so much to process — so much to say “good-bye” to and so much to learn. I have been alone — very, very alone — for the first time in my adult life… with no best friend right across the field and no community of dear families who have been there since I was eleven just down the road. I’ve done some longer-period traveling (including two summers in Europe) — but it has been the strangest, most unknown feeling to live in a strange city and in a strange state without a singe person knowing my name. I have never felt so thin and light — as if I might float away at any moment. Even my familiar belongings look strange in their new environment. Whose lamp is that? Does it belong to me? Where did all these books come from? It’s as if I am lost in an existential moment in time — with severed ties to the past and no known future. It’s an odd feeling. A feeling that I haven’t quite known what to do with.

Of course, I know that I am NOT living in an existential moment in time. I am the product of my past; I am irrevocably tied to my future — my feelings are only the natural result of leaving behind a lifetime of familiar patterns and people. In time I will learn to create new patterns; I will wear a new path along a new road. I will make friends and discover shortcuts to my favorite places. I will actually have favorite places.  I will no longer wake up disoriented and forget that I am not in my little house in the big woods, but rather in my big house in the little woods. Both me and my life will fill up again — with work and appointments and to-do lists and play-dates.

But in the meantime, this season of emptiness has actually been so sweet — like the gift of a sabbatical at home. There have been no phone calls, no internet, no appointments… nothing but time. Time with my awesome children to tell funny made-up stories and make cavernous blanket-tents in the living room… Time with my husband to dream about the future like we did when we were younger and were just starting out… Time to worship and commune with God in a marvelous intimacy because it’s only He and I — uninterrupted… Time to sit alone and read… or just stare out the window at the snow — acutely aware of my utter aloneness — but actually savoring it. It’s been like setting the clock back. Or getting a second chance to start all over. The slate is wiped clean. And it feels so good — even in the emptiness.

But, like all seasons, this one has an end, and the end is soon. I can’t be alone forever. I don’t want to be alone forever. I am getting my feet under me; I am bravely introducing myself to nice-looking moms at the Library and I am starting to turn my computer on again. I’m getting my camera out more often and I’m calling old friends on my cell phone just to catch up.

It’s official.

I live in Idaho now.

(Jack Hayden — twenty minutes old)

I’m breaking radio silence because I just HAD to show this little guy off {I’m actually back up at the WA house for a couple of days, so I’m trying to catch up on my interneting while I’m here…}  My best friend Sarah FINALLY delivered her baby boy yesterday!  Thankfully I was already up here, so I didn’t have to make the long drive in the middle of the night from ID.  And, oddly enough, I was actually staying the night at her house with the kids because Peter dropped us off and took another load of tools down to Idaho Wednesday night.  Our house is mostly empty and it was bloomin’ cold, so the kids and I crashed at Ryan and Sarah’s.  We were laughing that night about how ironic it would be if she went into labor with me staying there (she was sixteen days over her due date and I’d been “on call” for weeks.)  I thought she was playing a joke on me in the middle of the night when she came in to tell me that it was time to head to the hospital! 

As you can see from the first picture, baby Jack is absolutely adorable!  It was such an honor being there to welcome him into the world.  We’ve all been eagerly anticipating his arrival — especially Sarah in the last two+ weeks since her due date.  He ended up being a little over 9 pounds, and he actually has little chubby rolls on his arms and legs! 

Sarah is a hero.  OH.  MY.  GOSH.  It was harder than I thought it was going to be watching her go through labor and I have a deepened respect and admiration for her.  Being there with her made me think about Henry’s birth mother and what she went through to bring him into this world.  She sacrificially gave him the gift of life through a very painful process.  I have great respect for her as well (okay, and for EVERY woman who endures and perseveres through the labor process!) 

Obviously Ryan is a very proud dad.  I have some sweet shots of Sarah bonding with her son, too, and she looks ridiculously beautiful! — not at all like she’d just been through nine hours of labor.

Here’s one of my favorites of Ryan and his mom: 

Zoe came to the hospital shortly after Jack was born.  I have never seen her sit as still as she did with her little brother on her lap! 

Henry came to town, too, because he had a PT appointment scheduled– so he got to meet his little buddy at the hospital.  Zoe was so cute when Henry came up to the chair.  She told Henry that he could “pet” her little brother — so he did!  🙂

This next picture isn’t very good (the lighting was terrible in the hospital room) but the look on Henry’s face CRACKS me up!!!  He actually had this expression on his face most of the time while he was looking at the baby — I don’t think he knew quite what to make of the wrinkled little person in the blanket! 

… for a few days.  We don’t have internet at the house yet (I’m at my parents right now) so I’ll be off-line for a while.  We are officially Idahoans as of yesterday — we pulled a large trailer with shop equipment and another trailer with most of the rest of our household down to the new house last night.  We ended up having trailer light issues and spent a couple of frustrating hours in a WalMart parking lot along the way tying to fix them, so we arrived “home” a little later than we planned.  We just threw the mattresses out on the floor in our room and camped there together with the kids.  It was a memorable first night in our new house.  Joanna was convinced we were at a hotel.  🙂 

Ross, Tessa and Chloe (good friends — and the ones who will be moving into our place in WA) drove down with us to help with the unloading and settling in.  They are going to be staying for a few days.  It’s nice to have the help, but mostly I’m just grateful for the company.  It lessens the shock — I don’t have to be immediately alone this way. 

Hopefully the ‘settling in’ will go smoothly.  I’ll post some pictures once we’re connected to the world via the web again.

We had a great day last Saturday; we went to our very first trade show as a non-profit organization.  With everything else going on, we haven’t had the time to focus on launching our website (and the other aspects of the NP) that we wanted to in October — so this show ended up being a great motivational event.  We stayed up quite late Friday night putting the finishing touches on everything, but we got it all done and it was a successful launch.  

We honestly weren’t expecting to sell a lot of items.  Our main goal was to get the word out about what we are doing and hopefully spark some interest in our projects and mission.  This we did and more!  We were happily surprised by the number of people who were really excited and supportive.  We handed out a ton of business cards and quickly ran out of all the brochures that we had printed.   And, to top it off, we ended up selling a lot more items than we expected — with additional orders for items that sold out! 

The local newspaper in Spokane ran an article on our story and the non-profit.  The article came out Saturday morning, so many people came to the fair specifically to see us.  We met a wonderful elderly woman who showed up most-determinedly at our booth with the newspaper article in her hands.  She lived in Liberia for a summer when she was younger and she and her husband housed a young Liberian man while he attended college in Spokane many years ago.  She was absolutely enthralled with what we’re doing and is excited about helping us out. 

We also met the wife of the professor who heads up the African Studies Department at Whitworth University.  He’s spent quite a lot of time in Liberia and is actually an adviser to President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson.  We were invited us to spend some time with them and we are really excited about that specific Liberian connection.

We got a good feel for what items people are looking for.  Surprisingly, we sold more lapas than anything else.  We weren’t sure how they were going to do, but everyone loved them.  We had a lot of people very interested in the micro-loans/grants program and the vocational training.  We had to tell people that we are just starting to figure it all out — but we have some great organizations that we are excited about partnering with in Liberia to help in these areas. 

We did print up some cards with information about our first three grant opportunities.  We are helping a struggling tailor, a shoemaker and a small orphanage semi-funded by the government where the children crochet items to sell for food.  The cards were good because people were able to take several of them to pass out to friends or to pin up on bulletin boards at work.  We had someone donate two treadle sewing machines on the spot to the tailor — so now we just have to figure out if shipping them is going to be worth the cost. 

So, yes, the trade show was a great success overall and we are so glad that we went.  We did realize (after handing out so many cards and brochures) that it was important to get the website functional because of the interest generated from the show.  We’re still working on the functional part, but at least it’s presentable now.  We haven’t added any of our products yet — but if you want to take a peek, please do so.  Consider yourself warned that it’s rough, though!  The address is http://fourcornersmarket.com.  Let me know what you think. I will post it again once we have added the products and officially launched the site.

Here are some pictures from the show.  We realized late Friday night that we didn’t have a sign yet, so I got creative with some canvas material and paint.  It turned out well and was in keeping with the overall theme of our booth.  The rockin’ oil painting was made by a Liberian artist that Peter met on his trip.  The man paints with a spoon.  A SPOON.  We have a couple of paintings from him and we are going to sell prints of them for a few months and then auction off the original with all proceeds benefiting a specific project.  (Although I think I am going to keep this particular painting — I just love the vibrant colors and the feel of the scene.)



Here’s a close-up of the three postcards we printed with information about our first three grant projects.  We need to put more information about them on our website soon…

 And here’s a closer look at the inside of one of the brochures. 



 We made a photo-collage of some pictures that Peter took on his trip to Liberia.  It’s hard to see them well, but you get the idea.



Alrighty then — here’s the scoop on the move.

First of all, though, here’s a picture of the house we’re moving into so you have a visual. 


It’s a lovely house and ENORMOUS.  I feel really, really blessed to get to call it home for a season.  It sits on five acres right outside town with a large shop on the property for the business.  It definitely makes the move easier — although I’ve never been a big-house, “keep up with the Jones” type of gal.  Give me a small cabin in the woods on my own land with a large garden spot and a beautiful view of the mountains and I’m perfectly happy.  Better yet, make it in the middle of nowhere and I’m REALLY happy! 🙂 But, things change, and there are both appealing and difficult aspects to this change. 

We’ve actually been contemplating this move for several years now — even though as I said, the process went crazy-fast as soon as we made the decision three weeks ago to go ahead with it.  We still have a couple of weeks before we need to be out of the WA house (some good friends will be renting it while we are in ID) so there isn’t a huge stress as far as moving out.  The only stress is being strung out across two states for too long… it could get a little difficult with the toothpaste in one state and the toothbrushes back in the other.  (I’m a random packer! I NEED to get a better system!)  We’ve taken two loads over so far and hopefully we’ll get most of it moved by next week. 

Speaking of packing, I cannot BELIEVE how much stuff we’ve accumulated over the last six years that we’ve been married.  Holy smokes!  I’ve always thought I was utilitarian and pretty good about not keeping unecessary things, but I guess not.  I have boxes and boxes of “stuff” to give away to Goodwill.  Sorting through it all has deeply convicted me again about how much excess we’ve brought into our home that we really, truly didn’t need.  I’ve been wanting to simplify and downsize for a while — and this is fantastic opportunity.  It IS a chance to start over in certain ways… a new beginning… and I am determined to live more simply and give more freely in this next season. 

But anyway, back to the rest of the story.  Five years ago — a year after we were married — Peter finished his apprenticeship and we started our custom cabinet shop.  He’s a genius designer and craftsman — but being that we lived literally in the middle of nowhere, local business was hard to come by.  Sometime during that first year of business, Peter drove down to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (3+ hours away) and connected with a couple of high-end builders in North Idaho.  Those connections turned out to be very key relationships and the rest is history.  God has blessed us with some great customers and awesome projects and we’ve been steadily busy since then.   The vast majority of jobs have been from the Coeur d’Alene area — so Peter has spent more time than I even want to calculate driving back and forth to Cda the last four years.  The long-distance commuting once or twice a week hasn’t been easy — it’s insane how many times he stayed up well-past midnight finishing a job here and then got up at 4:30 to load the job and drive it down for installation.  He’s had to spend a lot of time away from home on installs and we miss him terribly when he’s gone for days at a time.

I know it seems crazy that we didn’t just move right at the beginning when things started to take off in Cda.  Most people would have!  In fact no one really thought that we’d make it with the shop so far from the business… but we did — with great sacrifice and determination on Peter’s part.  We stayed because we love it here and because we couldn’t stand the thought of leaving.  We grew up in this small agricultural community with a group of friends that have married and started families and most still live here.  And when I say community, I mean literal community — like an old-fashioned town built around a one-room schoolhouse that doubles as a church; a network of gravel roads connecting hand-built log homes and farms; a huge old barn that is used for weddings and dances in the summer; and a hundred other things that make up this community. I can’t even say how fortunate I feel to have grown up in this sort of setting.  I know that there are communities in actuality and in spirit all over the world, but it still doesn’t make leaving this one easy, because this is the one with my dear friends whom I love like family.  I just can’t explain it.  But it is the right move for our family now…  There are a lot of doors that have opened for us, making it completely obvious that this is the direction we are supposed to head.  We know that we have reached a point in our lives that in order to grow, we need to step out of the comfortable and the known and follow the open doors.

I know, I know… my “guess what? we’re moving!” post left a lot to be desired.  Whoops!  I’ll finish the “rest of the story” post soon to fill in the blanks, but right now I would appreciate prayer for our little guy.  We took him to the doc last week because of a really strange and disconcerting situation with his thumb.  I won’t go into details because it was definitely not pleasant.  Anyway, the doctor was quite concerned about MRSA, so they took a culture and we found out that thankfully it’s not MRSA, but he does has a bad Staph infection that has caused the skin to peel away from his thumb like a burn.  It’s a strain of Staph that affects children and can be very dangerous if it spreads because of the risk of dehydration, etc from the loss of the layer of skin.  He’s on antibiotics now and hopefully that will take care of it, but we would so, so, SO appreciate a prayer for him if you think about it.  With everything else that we have going on — the move, Henry’s upcoming EEG and MRI appointments and our recent push for the big show today with our non-profit (which was AWESOME, by the way!  I can’t wait to share more!) I am feeling a little like I am barely treading water.  There are a lot of varying emotions accompanying the things that have been happening here lately.  I feel badly that I have been out of touch with reading blogs and emailing.  I so appreciate knowing you’re out there… and that you’ll still be there after I move.  You’re my friends that will be there when I open my laptop even when it’s sitting on a table in a different state.  I’m looking forward to reading and catching up on all of your lives after things settle down here… but until then, I’m just going to keep treading.

And, to lighten it up… a couple photos of the man himself.  Beanie season is upon us!



Nope — not pregnant.

And, no — not adopting again (not quite yet!!!!!! I’m ready, though!)

Nope, the big news is… (drrrrrrrrumrolllllllll — are you ready????) 

We’re moving.  

Out of state…

To Idaho.

Whew.  Okay, it’s out — it’s official now.  I’ve been putting off saying anything because I knew once I did, it would hit me straight in the gut with all of it’s irrevocable inevitability. 

The crazy thing is how fast this whole process has been.  The inkling, the thinking, the looking, the doors opening, the decision-making-deadline, the committing — and now the packing. 

And our move-in date?  Tomorrow.

Ha hahahhaha!!!!!  Good one, Huh??  Sadly, it’s true — and I only started packing today.  I have been procrastinating fiercely because it was yet another thing that made this move “official” and I am the QUEEN of denial!

Hey, I know it’s just a move and most people move around.  But, not me.  I’ve lived in this state and in this county my entire life.  I was born here, raised here, fell in love, went to school, and got married here; I started my family here and this is where my life-long friends and family live.  My roots go deep — very, very deep into this land.  It is painfully hard beyond words to think about leaving.  It’s a ripping and tearing of everything that is beloved to me and everything that has made me who I am at my core.

Plus, have you SEEN the photos?  It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous corner of the world, this place. 

I know in my head that this is the right move.  It’s the smart move from every objective perspective for our family for a myriad of reasons.  And we still own land here — we’ll be back.  The “plan” is to spend a couple of years in Idaho and then move back.  But I know how plans change… I know how time alters things.  And I know that regardless of what happens in the future, it’s the end of a season of my life — a season that I’ve loved every minute of.

I am going to try my VERY best not to sniffle too much about how sad I am.  I am going to put my head down and get to this whole doggone packing business.   In fact, you may not hear very much from me for a long while.  OR… on the other hand, I may continue trying to find every possible excuse to put off the inevitable, and you might actually hear from me MORE than usual!  🙂 

At any rate, we’re moving…

Theoretically, tomorrow!

A little about me…

Wife. Mother. Friend. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Student. Adventure-lover. Photo-taker. Book-reader. Organic gardener. Granola-maker. Green smoothie drinker. Snowboarder. Soccer-player. Aspiring rock-climber. Sometime health nut. Passionate about justice and mercy. Adoption advocate. Business owner and jewelry designer. Wild at heart. Crazy-blessed to live out in the country with my awesome family.

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"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do." {Helen Keller}

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