Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Fall Recap

Since Winter officially arrives in 6 days, I thought it time to record some memories of our Autumn.

In early October, the Omelans came for a visit.
Despite appearances, we did do more than just drink wine!
They were able to listen to Jenelle play for a short time in a strings ensemble for a charitable event down town.

The next weekend Jenelle and I went to an event in Seattle that she had been looking forward to for a long time!
A Miranda Sings show!
It's too hard to explain...you should look it up here!
Very entertaining!
The young girls at the concert acted in a way that I imagine they would have years ago at the Beatles.
My eardrums were bleeding!!
And we always enjoy an excuse to visit Seattle!

Next came Homecoming for Hannah and her friends.
Yep...all just friends!
First Jenelle helped me see whether this was a good spot to take pictures...
Then came the stars of the show!

Next was Halloween -
This holiday changes every year as the kids get older.
This is how they used to spend Halloweens just a few years ago...

Hannah still spent it with Jack and his family on a visit to the WSU campus.
Cold and miserable, but she loved the college campus experience anyway.

Ivan stayed in and volunteered to hand out candy...
Jenelle still dressed up and she and her friend Margaret were allowed to trick or treat all by themselves this year.
A hobo and a bag of jelly beans...

They scored candy BIG time!

Of course Autumn is also about leaves and cats who couldn't care less.

And last but not least - Thanksgiving!
Great meal and FINALLY...a picture for our Christmas card that included all of us.
During the day I was trying to find a place inside the house with the right lighting and right camera settings for a photo.
The kids were happy (for the most part) to be subjects of my shoots!
And obviously "their" shooting as well!

No great pictures from inside the house...but fun memories!

Now we're looking forward to making Winter memories!

Monday, November 16, 2015

What About Them - What About Us?

In my life I've experienced the gift and absolute privilege of travel.
Not as much as others and certainly not as much as I would like.
But I've been around enough to know that when you leave  your comfortable spot on this earth and venture elsewhere, you start to realize a few things...

First...our world is small.
It really is.
It may not be small in square miles or hours spent on an airplane, but it is tiny in our connection with the people with whom we intersect.
They are like us and we are like them.
(We all want that picture of the Mona Lisa!)
Second...and so very important...we all want the same things.
Whether we are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist...
Whether we are black, white or brown...
We want happiness.
We want love...peace...a warm place when its cold and food in our bellies when we are hungry.
Most of all, we want a safe place to live our lives and raise our babies.
This is universal.
This is an absolute.

I won't begin to try and understand the motive of the people who are filled with hate and want to destroy the world we live in.
I'm not a historian or a politician.
But, I do believe that desperation breeds desperate behaviors.
If I were a mom or dad running from war...I would be desperate.
If I found no safe haven...I would become even more so.
My family - my children...they are ME.
What else is there when it comes down to it?
What option are we giving people/families/humans when we say we won't help?
Refugee camps?
This is a picture of a Syrian refugee camp from the US State Department.
Does it look like a place you would want to raise your family?
Refugee camps are fertile soil for terrorists and extremism.
They will not make the problem go away.

I understand the fears for our nation.
I really really do.
I live here and I love my life.
I am the same as anyone - wanting safety and happiness for those I love.
But, our safety as a nation is not as simple as arming ourselves with weapons and closing our borders.
I have walked along the history of the bad things that can happen when we start to really hate...

I don't know what that answer is, but I believe it starts with an open heart for those who are truly desperate and in need.

It has been said that fear and compassion cannot live together.
But courage and compassion can thrive...

"There but for the grace of God go I"

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Cross County

Ivan's season in XC ended last week.
He had a final race and ended his year with a PR (personal record) of 19:16 for a 3 mile course.
He's come a long way.
We were laughing about how in the past few years he used to go for a jog in our neighborhood...it consisted of about a mile around in his Vans.
At the beginning of the summer, he started running with the Ike XC team in preparation for his freshman year.
During the time trials, he was running about an 8 minute mile.
His hard work and dedication paid off - along with an amazing team and coaching staff - and today he's shaved almost 2 minutes off that time!

Here's a few pictures from the big XC meet in early October that is hosted by Ike...the Sunfair Invitational.
Ivan is #536...on the left side of the picture.
 Ivan placed 41st out of a race with 149 kids!!
Now that the season's over he'll get back an average of 20 hours each week to himself.
No more morning or afternoon practices.
But the running will continue so he stays in shape and ready for track season in the spring and XC again next year.

Jenelle, who hung out with Donald and I all afternoon while we volunteered at the meet, got bored.
She decided to get creative with some fading rose bushes at the park.
Always good at entertaining herself...and us too!