Backyard: late June

6 June 2
The fuschias are dying but the butterflies and hummingbirds still love them.

12 June backyard 1
sweet peas

12 June backyard 2
vegetable garden! We’ve harvested some greens to put in salads.

12 June backyard 3

12 June backyard 5
planting sunflower starts. If we plant directly in the soil the squirrels dig up the seeds.

12 June backyard 7
No idea if the squirrels are going to let us have any of these to eat but I sure hope they do!

12 June backyard 9
peonies grow well here! We have enjoyed cutting them for ourselves and others and haven’t felt bad about that because of how big and heavy they get.

12 June backyard 11
my favorite flowers are asymmetrical ones like columbine and fuschia, but peonies are beautiful too.

12 June backyard 12
Ezra fixed the bird house.

12 June backyard 15
jars to protect plants and help them stay warm

21 June

26 June Simon the Baby bunny
The sunflower-eating culprit.


Backyard – April

We are loving having a backyard, and I love watching it change with the seasons. Here’s where our plants were all at in April! We also love pulling out our field guide and identifying birds we see (and trying to identify the ones we hear!).
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we don’t know what everything is but everything is beautiful nonetheless.

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We are trying to garden, but we’re fighting the squirrels and lack of sun!

A Forest Hymn

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THE GROVES were God’s first temples. Ere man learned
To hew the shaft, and lay the architrave,
And spread the roof above them—ere he framed
The lofty vault, to gather and roll back
The sound of anthems; in the darkling wood,
Amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down,
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And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks
And supplication. For his simple heart
Might not resist the sacred influences
Which, from the stilly twilight of the place,
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And from the gray old trunks that high in heaven
Mingled their mossy boughs, and from the sound
Of the invisible breath that swayed at once
All their green tops, stole over him, and bowed
His spirit with the thought of boundless power
And inaccessible majesty. Ah, why
Should we, in the world’s riper years, neglect
God’s ancient sanctuaries, and adore
Only among the crowd, and under roofs
That our frail hands have raised? Let me, at least,
 photo a forest hymn 1_zpsdvgeddnl.jpg
Here, in the shadow of this aged wood,
Offer one hymn—thrice happy if it find
Acceptance in His ear.

{read the whole thing here. Photos from recent hikes!}

Favorite Shots of 2013

{Dubai Festival City at night}

{out my window at gramma’s}

{hiking with friends in Southern California}

{mosque near our house}


{blue souq}

{brother gets Eagle}

{one of my students}

{Field of Dreams at midnight}

{moss lake}

{clouds over Snow Mountain}

{rose gardens at Point Defiance}

{baby quilt}


{homeschool co-op: PE}

{down in Satwa}

{with Hope}

{brother pitching}

{Jazirat al Hamra}

Behold: V. The Bridegroom

“Your greatest lover, that you can rely on.
Your Father, that will care for you.
He loves you more than a fish needs the water
And more than birds crave the berries.
His love is enough.”
– C. H.

The won’dring Psalmist wrote
Considering the heavens –
“What is man that You are mindful of Him?”
For compared to the skies,
Men are small and ugly.

And yet this God
Who marked off the boundless heavens
With only His hand
Came down
He took brokenness
And made it whole.
Brought meaning.
Gave life.

The world not left to herself
He married Himself to her
In His covenant faithfulness
She became His
Though she looked elsewhere
He never has.

He was here
And we esteemed Him not
Too busy with the gifts He gave
To see Him
Even though it is He
Who holds the world together,
It is He
We ignore.

He pursues
In her unfaithfulness
He desires
To know this sinner
To eat with her
To overflow her cup
To suffer for her
To die for
To love
To marry
To bring her to His Father.

The path she takes
The path I take
Though beyond today is unknown
Though beset with falling short
Though full of question and fear
Is never hidden from His sight
The future is marked out like a path
A path from which none shall ever stray.

This God who made the clouds
Who calls out the stars –
He is fairer than even they –
Who is gentle and intimate
with His lambs –
it cannot be understood,
why such a Great One would do so
for such a wretch as I –
Has set out this path
He will clear the rubble
And guide the way
And bring to rejoicing
When the path is hard
The way unfathomable
The future uncertain –
It is well
With my soul.

In the darkness
Of the soul
How big is your God?
He is greater
Than the night.

Even when
The sky is bare
And lonely –
He is there,
And here.
He hems me in
His presence, all around
His power
His might
His love
His tenderness
Ever Near
To behold
Our God
Even if we
Are broken.

And then –
He calls
The Bridegroom
For the Bride
She comes
Then face-to-face

Behold: IV. The Lion and The Lamb

“The God who comforts and makes Himself known
to His children. He knows exactly how to take care of each need
of His children, no matter how great…”
– M. L.

“Who is the everlasting friend, who always listens
and never forgets? Who is the one who keeps His
promises – who never changes? He is the one to
stand by and guard you – the one who sees your
sadness and laughs with your joy.”
– O. M.

Oh, herald of good news –
Get up to a mountain
And declare to the cities
This God.
Let all hear and see –
Behold your God!

This God who is
Both lion and lamb.
The One who is higher than the stars
Lights that pass away
They are so great so
Is not He who remains forever
Even greater?

And forever –
He changes not.
This God to behold
What is seen in Him
Will not change
From here until
Beyond eternity.

The waters would overwhelm
The stars, they would burn
Even the cloud would suffocate us.
And the Almighty God
Would also be our death
If beheld too close.

And yet
It is that nearness
That man longs for –
To know God.

The Lamb
He offered Himself
Death in our place
Our sins on His back
A gift of grace
Now we behold
No curtain bars the way
No cloud obscures the sight
iniquity pardoned
Face-to-face at last will be
His children
Forever with Him.

This God of power –
Who commands the clouds
And the waves of the sea,
The Maker of heaven and earth –
Whose name alone is a strong tower
His power in just one word.
He is our help
He knows the griefs
Has born the sorrows
The aching heart
Is comforted
With tenderness.
He understands
The complex inner workings
Of the mind –
He knows His child
Better than she knows herself.
It is this Lord who is my shepherd.

These ones who are but grass
Whose bodies fade away
The Everlasting carries
In His bosom
The Almighty
Increasing strength
When we are faint.
He cares
And loves
Even us.

He cares for the sparrows
Those in His image,
Worth so much more
The Lion strong enough to protect
Gently leads His lambs
Tenderly, for He is Lamb like us
And He was broken, too.