Sunday, May 22, 2016
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
|Building a deck with Mt. Rainier view|
|Views of McNeil Island and Steilacoom from the new project house|
The home called to me over two months ago when I spotted it in my daily real estate listing search. The price was too high, especially given the amount of water damage, but the price dropped several times, the house remained on the market, and Kevin and I made several trips there, spending hours measuring, inspecting, and envisioning the possibilities.
|Water damaged exterior on water side of house|
|View from the master bedroom|
|Panoramic view of McNeil Island from main deck|
|Walking the beach below the property|
Monday, March 28, 2016
Those were dark days, literally. Our first home was in a forest at the bottom of a ridge. The sun disappeared below the mountain from October to April, and we could count 100 redwoods just sitting on our porch.
|Our first house surrounded by trees|
And for the next decade, my gaze was low even in summer—on the diapers I changed, on the floors I cleaned, on the children I kissed goodnight in their beds, children who were almost always within sight as well as arm's reach. But as they grew taller and their world grew broader, my sight line shifted up a foot or two—to the speedometer as I drove my girls to school and dance and gymnastics and play practice, and to the classroom and stage and gym when they performed.
Our view expanded when my husband and I bought property in a two-acre clearing with an old orchard across the street, and a ridge rising behind it. For the first time in 11 years, I could see more than 30 feet from my kitchen window. The scene was even sweeter when our neighbors penned their pet cow Betsy in the orchard.
I could see Betsy amid the gnarled old pear trees when I sat at my computer to write sermons and stories, and the ridge rising behind her and a slice of sky above that. I could also see down the road aways. When my children were old enough to walk home from the bus stop in junior high, I waited for them to come into view, growing larger as they neared home. Later they got driver's licenses and I kept an eye out for their cars pulling into our long driveway.
|Rose garden in our open space|
For much of my life safety was the reason I scanned the horizon with the vigilance of a fire-spotter in a forest tower. I was on the alert for danger, ready to run or cry for help the instant I spotted trouble. Now my children are grown and the responsibility for their daily safety is no longer mine. Now I no longer behave like a lifeguard yelling "shark" and "riptide" each time the water ripples and someone I love nears the shore.
My husband and I moved to the Pacific Northwest under the dark cloak of the winter solstice to a house with a wall of windows that looked out onto a wall of cedars whose branches draped to the ground. By the time my husband's job prospects fell through, it was late February, and we hired a tree climber to limb up the branches. We didn't know what our future would hold, or what our new view would look like.
|Bainbridge Island home trees before|
|Bainbridge Island home trees after|
It turns out that both were expansive. Removing the low-hanging branches not only opened up our view of sky and sea and Mt. Constance in the Olympic range, it allowed our expectations and ideas about employment to branch out from the corporate trunk they'd been grafted to for 25 years.
Now, we're in business for ourselves renovating homes. After a year renting a house with incredible views of Puget Sound, the Seattle skyline, and the Cascade Range, we moved into a fixer-upper last summer that sent us straight onto a stepladder and out our south facing office window onto the roof in order to watch the sunset light up Mount Rainier.
We've been here nine months, and I've been tracking the many moods of Rainier. Often, it's completely obscured by clouds, but sometimes clouds ring it, with just the peak, and/or base exposed. On clear mornings I can see it backlit at sunrise while lounging in bed. What I can see is constantly changing. What remains unchanging is my curiosity.
|Mount Rainier at sunrise from my bed!|
"The landscape sustains me," I told my prayer partner today while were lifting up the uncertainty about what's to come in our lives. The gaze into my future is cloudy, but my gaze into the world from my home became broader today. We had some trees removed that were growing too close to our neighbor's home, and some others were limbed up, and more of the bay and peninsula and sky now meet my eye.
|View from kitchen window before|
|View from kitchen window after|
|View from master bathroom before|
|View from master bathroom after|
It was gray and foggy when the tree crew began their work this morning, but the fog burned off, the clouds lifted, and the sky became clear as they carefully dropped each limb to the ground. I stood at the windows, watching, waiting to see what would be revealed next.
|Tree climbers in action|
Monday, March 21, 2016
In honor of both, a poem:
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
After nearly two months of being housebound and still a bit unsteady on my feet, I had the privilege of attending one of the Upper Room's 5 Day Academies for Spiritual Formation last week. (I am grateful for the scholarship, the nearby location in Federal Way, and the kindness of the organizers who minimized my need to walk.)
The time was wonderfully rich, spiritually nourishing, and thought-provoking. Among other blessings: I reconnected with Pacific Northwest friends from my 2 year Academy for Spiritual Formation in Burlingame 10 years ago, listened deeply in a small group I had the privilege of convening, wrote lots of poetry and reflections in response to our presenters on the theme of "From Contemplation to Action," and cried, and laughed—mostly at my own foibles.
One of our presenters, Seattle spiritual director Suzanne Seaton, talked about "The 7 Deadly Needs":
The Need to Know
The Need to be Right
The Need to Get Even
The Need to Look Good
The Need to Judge
The Need to Keep Score
The Need for Control
Ah, how humbling that was! I saw the way I'd lived my life for decades (until I was nearly 50). I needed to know, and to be right, but mostly to be in control: Control, for me, would guarantee that I'd know and be right. And, I remembered when all my attempts at control were not working, and when I finally risked stepping back from long-ingrained patterns to try and live a life that truly relied on faith and not on my works. And sometimes, all you can do--or want to do, or should do--is laugh at yourself.
So, have a laugh at me, on me: