Monday, December 3, 2012

Three Kinds of Men

My husband Joe sent me this article last week. It's an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’s short essay “Three Kinds of Men” from his collection of essays 'Present Concerns':

“There are three kinds of people in the world.
The first class is of those who live simply for their own sake and pleasure, regarding Man and Nature as so much raw material to be cut up into whatever shape may serve them.
In the second class are those who acknowledge some other claim upon them—the will of God, the categorical imperative, or the good of society—and honestly try to pursue their own interests no further than this claim will allow. They try to surrender to the higher claim as much as it demands, like men paying a tax, but hope, like other taxpayers, that what is left over will be enough for them to live on. Their life is divided, like a soldier’s or a schoolboy’s life, into time “on parade” and “off parade,” “in school” and “out of school.”
But the third class is of those who can say like St Paul that for them “to live is Christ.” These people have got rid of the tiresome business of adjusting the rival claims of Self and God by the simple expedient of rejecting the claims of Self altogether. The old egoistic will has been turned round, reconditioned, and made into a new thing. The will of Christ no longer limits theirs; it is theirs. All their time, in belonging to Him, belongs also to them, for they are His.
And because there are three classes, any merely twofold division of the world into good and bad is disastrous. It overlooks the fact that the members of the second class (to which most of us belong) are always and necessarily unhappy. The tax which moral conscience levies on our desires does not in fact leave us enough to live on …
The price of Christ is something, in a way, much easier than moral effort—it is to want Him. It is true that the wanting itself would be beyond our power but for one fact. The world is so built that, to help us desert our own satisfactions, they desert us. War and trouble and finally old age take from us one by one all those things that the natural Self hoped for at its setting out. Begging is our only wisdom, and want in the end makes it easier for us to be beggars. Even on those terms the Mercy will receive us.”

Friday, November 30, 2012

Family Photos - Fall 2012

We spent a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend in Eureka, CA with the Jordan family. After church Uncle Stef took a couple family photos. So here they are- the good, the bad, and the goofy...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Leaf Tasting

Yesterday I took advantage of a break in the rain to let Joshua do some outdoor exploring. He loves grubbing about in leaves, moss, sticks, dirt and any other substance he can find in the great outdoors. Of course this entailed a complete wardrobe change afterward but I want to let Joshua be very boyish.

"This thing tastes very strange."

So adorable!

This one makes me laugh. What a hilarious face!
So proud of his accomplishment: "I found a stick in the leaf pile!"

More adorableness.

More leaf tasting.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Little Violet Louise

Last week I got to visit my friend Kaylee and take some photos of the newest member of our church- Violet Louise Hicks. She's a very sweet, alert, little girl and I'm looking forward to her and Joshua becoming good friends.

Newborn photography is not as easy as many photo-blogs would lead you to believe. But I think we still captured a few priceless moments...

Isabella loves her new little sister.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 

- Psalm 139:13-14

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall Photos of my little Forager

One of our nicknames for Joshua is "The Forager". The literal meaning of foraging is when livestock search for provisions. Joshua is constantly looking for provisions; anything that can go in the mouth will go in the mouth. For Joshua, an outdoor fall photo shoot means an opportunity to eat sticks, leaves, and grass to his heart's content.

Yesterday I tried following Joe's advice of not "posing" the shot (which by the way is nearly impossible with Joshua anyway) and capturing Joshua in his natural habitat.

Here's a couple of my favorite shots. Afterward, I played around with some recently downloaded, free Photoshop actions to achieve a vintage film look. 


No after-effects here. Just a close-up of my little explorer!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Plum Perfection

I recently discovered that I have a large plum tree in my backyard. I've never tended to it but still it has produced a bountiful harvest of small but delicious, purple plums. The discovery of this fruit-laden tree has made my yard the neighborhood children's hot-spot and has even inspired the creation of a fort next to the tree.

Such a copious crop had me looking for ways to put all my plums to a good use. I searched through  many plum-related, mouth-watering photos which the Food Gawker app provided and discovered an amazing recipe- 

Plum Crumble Bars
By: The Cilantropist

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small dices
1 large egg
About 10 small-medium plums 

*Optional: plum jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and spray the inside of a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray.  

Prepare plums by slicing each around the equator, and then twisting to separate one half from the other - then remove the pit, and slice each plum thinly.  Set these aside.  

In a large or medium bowl, prepare the crumble mixture by whisking together the brown sugar, white sugar, baking powder, flour, and spices.  Then use a pastry cutter, a sturdy fork, or your fingers (I used the finger method), to blend the cold butter into the flour mixture.  You want to evenly distribute it, but some clumps of butter will probably remain, and the mixture will be crumbly.  Then use a spoon or your hands to beat and mix the egg into the crumble dough.  Make the bottom crust by firmly compressing about 3/4 of the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan.  Next, spread a thin layer of plum jam over crust and then layer the plum slices over the top of the crumb base.  Finally, scatter the remaining 1/4 of the crumb mixture over the top of the plum slices, without pressing it down. 

Bake the bars in the preheated oven for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, and the plums around the edges are just a bit bubbly.  Cool the bars completely in the pan before cutting them - overnight in the fridge works perfectly for this.  Cut into squares for serving, or into triangles if you feel more fancy.  Keep refrigerated in an airtight container if not serving right away.   

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Private Gardens

Saturday, while Naomi's sisters were adventuring in Europe, we decided to go on an adventure of our own right here in our Pacific Northwest backyard. Each year as part of the Private Gardens Tour, several home owners throughout the Olympia area are selected to showcase their gardens. These gardens are only available for public viewing once a year so I'm glad we got a chance to see a couple of them. We did not have enough time to visit them all. I carried Joshua and Naomi took these amazing pictures with my Nikon.

The First Garden

This garden really inspired me to get to work in my own yard. The original situation being so similar to ours. The lady who owned this home and garden had a display poster showing what their property looked like eleven years ago when they first purchased it- an older home on a flat, boring 3/4 acre parcel. Now it's a beautiful oasis, with many lovely sections of garden to enjoy.

The front landscape had a quiet woodland type of feel but when you followed the main garden path through an arbor draped with ornamental grapes, one entered the tropics! The back garden is an exciting, eclectic blend of hardy bananas, palms, cannas, and many more large colorful annuals. 

Getting some ideas for my front yard... I have a laurel hedge with a rock wall garden in front but it doesn't compare to this! I could go for this look (minus the purple dinosaur egg ;).

Covered trellises leading to secluded, peaceful areas...

Exotic flowers

I love the vivid orange colored flowers.

 The Second Garden

We saw giant, six-foot tall thistles!...   

Gorgeous dahlias...

Lovely roses...

a state-of-the-art chicken coop...

a romantic gazebo...

And the highlight of the entire garden- two large ponds containing seventy beautiful Japanese koi fish!

Joshua loves watching the koi fish.

So happy he might burst!