autumn days

Sunday, July 22, 2012

balancing on a roller coaster

Life is really like a roller coaster in so many ways, from marriage, parenthood, my inner creatures, spirituality, to the choices within each moment and the whole shebang.  Sometimes I feel like I'm in the front seat of the ride, sometimes with my hands up, at times screaming from pure joy, and then other times it is all just the opposite.  There is never a dull moment on this ride with beloved family and friends.  I am thankful for every moment.  Sometimes I am impatient in wanting to grow/learn/move/think/process faster.  Patience is not easy, nor is it constant.  I routinely pray for more patience.

Last week my family spent a delightful week at the Oregon coast.  It was a busy week full of many delights: library puppet shows, antique malls, salted caramel taffies, walks to town, and dinner in a favorite restaurant.  What I missed were the daily quiet times where I could rest and recharge, the zumba class, time with my friends, reading after the kids went to bed (light woke Liam up), dipping my feet into the ocean, walking along the beach.

Finally getting home and into my long awaited weekly bath this morning, I followed my thoughts as usual.  I first thought about a moment when a healing friend passed inattentively over my observation as he focused on his own thoughts.  It's a small thing, but my awareness of that moment brought me to understand that we are all wonderfully imperfect, despite our best attempts.  This universal truth is one I often try to change.  I want to parent my children without raising my voice in frustration (or other less desirable activities), but my imperfection continues to shine through.  In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter if life gets out of hand without a professional cleaner/carpenter/gardener/chef, but I am able to communicate my ideas here while my daughter homeschools at my side and my son clings to me as if his life depends upon it.  And it somehow works, as we hold on for the ride together.  We are together, moving forward and sideways together, enjoying our moments... always together.  It works.  At least until the little one pulls the plug on the computer.  Then we pause and take another blessedly imperfect step... together.



Hannah and I are working our way through A Kids' Herb Book together a bit before each day's quiet time.  We also take notes in our nature journals as we listen to an audio herbal course together.  It is called Kids & Herbs: A Naturally Simple Course for Parents.  With these lessons, my four year old is so excited about identifying and using healing edibles.  Now we are seeing herbs (healing plants) everywhere!  On a recent walk, we found a street lined with gingko biloba trees!  Last night we ran out to the garden to grab sprigs of rosemary for our roast.  Every few days we put a bit of cooling aloe vera on our skin.

A few days ago, we brewed up for our cousins our usual rose hip mint tea from last fall's foraging adventures.  We then realized the rose hips and mint both came from their yard (with permission)!  Now their kids couldn't get enough of these teas.  It was an awesome realization to find we can give our cousins the gift of their own herbs.

This morning my husband proclaimed, "That's funny you have nature days.  Nature days for you all are like a priest having prayer days!"  Now you'll find us dreaming up herbal popsicles and making lists of herbs we'd love to plant, such as licorice and marshmallow.  With so many uses for herbs, it's hard not to be excited about salves, compresses, lozenges, steams, baths, and teas.  Yup, we're hooked and we're loving it!

What are your favorite herbs and how do you use them?


chives and calendula


Friday, July 13, 2012

Oaks Park & Portland Zoo days

My friends know I try to hide from the hot sun at all times.  In the sun, it is either sunburn city or expensive sunscreen sneaks into our sweaty eyes again.  So it is of no surprise that we waited for cloudy days before heading to Oaks Park and the Portland Zoo.  Those are my favorite days to get out without the crowds and sunburn/sunscreen.  We spend a lot of time on the city train and at the zoo regardless of weather.  We love rollerskating at Oaks Park during the rainy months and love to head to Oaks Park Preschool Days with friends for summer rides.  The crowds are usually fairly small and the price is unbeatable. My little Liam, only 20 months old, went on all the big kid rides with me while grinning and holding his hands above his head while four year old Hannah watched with her feet safely planted on the ground.  She had a blast on her share of rides as well and felt more brave with friends at her side.  Going with friends also allowed me to get on rides with one child while leaving the other on the ground with an adult.  There was even a bit of conversation about ride velocities and speed and dizziness.  Dancing with Chipper (the ASL signing park mascot) was great.  We all had so much fun that the kids will most likely talk me into getting out there into the sun for one more morning of thrilling rides this summer.  If we have a rainy day anytime soon, I'll be the one racing them out the door!

The grins can't get any bigger on the Frog Hopper.
happy times in the boat
zoo caverns
We really cannot get enough of the zoo's sandpit!

trying to get wet at the zoo's tide pools before getting back on the city train