Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Party

Here's the Arnold family's first carving tradition.
We ended the day with no tantrums or stitches.
I know there's more photos of one little boy
Than anyone besides a grandmother enjoys...
But for those faithful lurkers who watch to the end,
I promise you good news you can share with a friend.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sushi, Scooters, and Strawberries

Near the bottom, you'll find a montage of our latest and greatest adventures.

1st: Owen received a scooter (for the fall and as a reward for something...for those without children, I will spare you the details). We ordered it online because he wanted a Batman scooter to match our neighbor Andrew's. Already keeping up with the neighbors, huh? So, they've been scootering around the block together, Owen scoots from the parking lot to our church service (for you RVC folks, you know that walk can be killer with a grumpy toddler), and we are finally stroller-free on our neighborhood walks! YEAH!

2nd: Grandma Suzie "Sushi" came to town. Owen was so excited to see her at the airport. He's usually not that affectionate or cuddly, but he spent the first day stuck to her like glue. They stayed home together while I was at work on Friday, playing Play-doh, reading books, scootering, and, of course, shopping! Owen was Sushi's good luck charm, for the bargain hunter found many a deal for her fall wardrobe here in Fresno. We also took our first trip to Old Town Clovis to do a little antique shopping too. We were all sad to see her go on Monday morning, but we were thankful for each minute she was here!

3rd: Soon after moving to Fresno, the Rose family got us connected with T&D Willey Farms in Madera and their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Tom and Denesse own and operate an organic farm about 30 minutes away, supplying grocers around the country. They also supply families with weekly boxes of produce. You've seen my neice's Flat Stanley in one of these boxes before:

Yes, Owen's first taste of radish. It's super-fresh (usually picked the day before) and Denesse does a great job of supplying recipes to go with the less common items. For example, this week, our box contained the following:
  • 5 Red potatoes
  • 2 White Onions
  • 1 head of Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 bunch of Swiss Chard
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of Baby Dill
  • 1 pound of green snap beans
  • 1 bunch of collard greens
  • 1 bag of Seedless grapes

Between Dream Dinners and the CSA, I haven't been to the grocery store for anything beyond milk and bread lately. If you live in Fresno, ask me about it. It's all organic and WAY cheaper than the grocery store.

Anyhoo, back to the story, we went on their seasonal farm tour this Saturday. A worker, oddly dressed like Che Guevara(sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the actual driver...but he seriously looked just like him, beret AND camo), drove a tractor with 4 or 5 flatbed trailers behind it (3 families per trailer). Tom narrated along the way, telling all of us CSA members about how the food gets from soil to table. I couldn't believe Owen stayed attentive and did not jump off the trailer for an hour (except to walk the rows with the group), but the strawberries were pretty powerful motivators. We also got to see how they wash and package everything, so it was like our own episode of either "Dirty Jobs" or "How Its Made". If only our driver looked like Mike Rowe.

They grow such a variety of produce there, and they rotate the acreage to grow crops year round. It was cool to hear about the veggies that are coming this winter ( favorite) and spring. For you Dwight Schrute fans, Mr. Willey farms beets too.

We never know what's going to be in our box, so it's like a culinary surprise every week. Michael has tried more veggies in the past few months than in the past 30 years, and Owen...well, you know he'll eat anything.

Pardon all of the Flat Stanley photos; as you'll remember, we're compiling photos of Fresno's finest for her school project. If anyone is going to Yosemite or King's Canyon soon and you want to take Stanley along for the ride, let me know. He's a good traveler.

Before our Texas friends wonder if we've gone TOO granola, do know that we ended the morning with a lunch at Wienerschnitzel.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

1st Women's Retreat

The Bass Pines Resort on Bass Pines Lake, California

Well, I'm officially an adult in that I attended my first women's retreat this weekend. I have been home less than 5 minutes, and I felt the need to sit down to apology...or is it an apologetic? I don't know, but here it goes:

To the mom who said "I just stay home" when I asked if she worked outside the home: I value your career as much as I hope you value mine, so may I write this as a way to honor the gifts I saw in you and so many other River Valley women?

This weekend, I met so many women. I met another teacher, a musician, a preacher, a counselor, a philosopher, a gardener, a comedienne, an administrator, a partner, a servant, a cheerleader, a lawyer, a caretaker, a hospice worker, a decorator, and a student.

You see, although I don't actually know how these women spend their 8 to 5 business day, I know that this weekend I saw them teaching, praising, preaching, counseling, pondering, pruning, joking, managing, working together, supporting each other, serving others, encouraging others, defending our faith, tending to sisters, holding hands as people let their old selves die, brightening our space, and sitting at another's feet.

Seeing these ladies use their gifts was so honoring to God. The children of God have such a diversity of gifts--that in and of itself is amazing--moreover, though, how amazing is it that our God is so multi-dimensional? Seeing 1 woman manifest 1 gift so well is amazing, seeing many women manifesting multiple gifts is even better, but experiencing the God who embodies all of these gifts? Well, that is why an eternity in His presence will still never be enough.

She was humble...because He is not too proud to be with me.
She was spontaneous...because He surprises me daily.
She was focused...because He never lost sight of me.
She was nurturing...because He comforts me.
She was encouraging...because He inspires me.
She was a teacher...because He is Wisdom.
She was musical...because He sings over me.
She was a listener...because He values our voice.
She was serious...because He means business.
She was passionate...because He is still in love with me.
She was faithful...because He has never abandoned me.
She was searching...because He found me.

So thank you, ladies, for sharing your true selves and letting me glimpse God through your reflections. You are more than any label you or others put on yourself because of the label God has put on you: "Created In My Image".