I spend yesterday doing nothing but enjoying watching the ducks in the canal and poking through the scads of photographs I have taken this last year. I got a couple of new cameras and a new home in the last months, and both those things scream for photos. I now know that I have way too many shots of the beach, but oh well. Not nearly enough of my kids, though...boo.
So, in an effort to capture the feel of this passing year, a few thoughts:
|Morgan, Rob, Taylor, Alex & Mady, and Chester|
I am so very grateful for the one who holds my heart in his hands - Charles is such a blessing to me. He understands me like no one has ever, and I will be eternally grateful for the safe and loving protection and love he selflessly pours out to me every hour of every day. Each day with him in my life is truly a gift from HaShem that I can never repay.
|on the beach!|
I continue to enjoy the loyal and deep friendship with Lisa that gets better with each passing year. She is the only one who has stuck with me through everything. She is as much my family as any blood relative. I am also so pleased that she has once again established herself in a teaching position at a local elementary school. I am not a fan of public education, but it might be better if there were more talented and compassionate teachers like Lisa. The Bethel school district is lucky to have her! Plus, it is so fun to hear all about her students and enjoy their experiences through her stories.
|Lisa getting the Lake Stevens house|
ready for sale!
|the 4th graders love Miss Samson!|
This year we had a lot of 'property'stuff' to deal with. Chuck sold his home in Lake Stevens, we purchased the beach house, and then we had to move out of one rental and into another. Thankfully, what was intended for evil by our rather strange landlady worked out for our benefit. We were easily accepted by a high-quality property management company, and are so very pleased with our new digs. I have to say, though, I do dislike moving. What a chaotic hassle.
|the big, blue rental living room with our 'fireplace'! haha!|
|say good-bye to the Lake Stevens house!|
|the new rental has a great kitchen with all new appliances!|
The beach house!! Yes, this year Chuck and I bought a house together in Ocean Shores. This is, and will continue to be, a highlight in my life. Regardless of the weather, it is the place I want to be...it is home. Situated on the Grand Canal, we get to enjoy the peacefulness of waterfront as well as all the wildlife (deer, heron, ducks of all types, birds, racoons, otters, and fish). And just today Chuck hung up a hummingbird feeder for me outside my study window - a little hummer has already been visiting! What is more, it is just 5 minutes to Damon Point, Duck Lake, or the Pacific Ocean. I just love it here.
|Chuck immediately built me a study|
at the beach house
My Dad also bought a piece of property at the beach this past fall - down in Tokeland, just outside of Grayland on South Beach. He and Connie will be able to enjoy camping on this nice, large lot that is close to all that they enjoy: the beach and casino! Truly, I think they will really enjoy their time there.
|Ocean Shores is on the North Beach side of Grays Harbor,|
while Westport, Grayland, and Tokeland is on the South Beach side
Concerning my continuing education, the fall semester at PLU was far more difficult than the spring. I made it through (Anthropology, Sex in the Bible, Computer Science, Women Reformers, and Intensive Attic Greek), though, and we are ending the year preparing for study abroad in Greece. Yes, I said we. Chuck is traveling with me for the semester in Athens. Lisa and Tay will be holding down the fort while we are globetrotting.
Speaking of travels, we had a really short road trip this past summer. It wasn't supposed to be, but due to the house sales (Chuck's Lake Stevens house selling and us buying the beach house) we had to cut short our planned trip back to Illinois and a retracing of the Mormon Trail. We only got as far as Idaho Falls and had to turn around. BUT we are planning on giving it another try the summer of 2016!
|I just love western Montana!|
Other travel this year started with a trip to Victoria, BC for a school break - so lovely, albeit cold! And another school break in Newport, Oregon. Then it was onto Laramie, Wyoming, to take care of arrangements for Alex and Mady's year there for school. On our way back, we were able to swing through one of my favorite cities, Salt Lake City, and play tourist for a bit. We also got to travel to San Francisco for a short visit with the purpose of meeting with the Greek consulate there. We packed a lot into that trip - Sausalito, a bus tour, a harbor tour, the Coit Tower, Ghirardelli Square, and the Waterfront. We even got out of the city for a side trip to San Jose and the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. Very cool! As much fun as it all was, we decided next time stay in So. San Fran...definitely NOT Oakland. Another highlight was a visit from our favorite friend Kevin...can she just move here, please? We had a terrific time touring around our own city - complete with a trip to Tillicum Village.
|in Laramie with the kids|
|sightseeing in San Fran|
|a great snap of yours truly, Kevin, and Lisa at Tillicum Village|
In the midst of it all, we antiqued, photographed, shopped, decorated, planned, and cherished each day we were given. Some days were harder than others, and some were just downright awful. But, with all the stress, uncertainty, and waiting, we held onto each other and to our friendships with those close to us through history, acquaintance, and social media. We enjoyed trooping in a couple of parades this summer, and loved just relaxing with a newly invented cocktail concoction on the patio. The cozy evenings at the beach house with pocket-meals and a movie while hearing the rain and wind buffet our little hideaway were priceless. We are so blessed with family, friends, peace, and prosperity that my heart cannot contain my gratitude.
So, onward and upward towards more learning, exploring, traveling, living, and loving.
May the Lord bless us all with His mercy and grace.