Friday, April 19, 2013

shrimp boil

Sunday we had the San Diego Young group, Bible class, & their families over for a shrimp boil. "A what?" you ask? A shrimp boil. Think no dishes, no table cloths, no utensils, hot tasty food that you've been smelling cook for what feels like hours (though it's really only minutes), condiments squirted right onto the table, a table runner If you can imagine, it was a huge hit. And not just with the kids. There's something about gnawing on a potato & sharing a ramekin of melted butter with your neighbor that breaks down all kinds of barriers. Conversation & laughter reigned as people stole food from other tables, wiped their hands on the table, in short, did everything your mother told you never to do at the table. It was jolly good fun:).  We picked the tables clean: as in, there was 1 ear of corn, 6 potatoes, 4 pieces of sausage, 0 shrimp, & 6 bulbs of garlic leftover. I think it might just have to become a tradition that Dar & I will meander down from Oregon for. Whadda ya say, C & B?

Friday, April 12, 2013


This morning at breakfast, we had a converstion that went something like this.

Jenna: "Is is legal to talk on your phone in California?"

(simultaneously) Clint: "Yes."
                        Becca: "No."

Becca: "Well, it has to be a hands-free phone."

Jenna: "Oops. I've been talking illegally for the past 5 months then."

Becca: "I used to have a blue tooth, but I lost it. And then I lost the one Noah got me for Christmas."

Noah: "That's very irresponsible of you, Mom."

Will: "Mom, can I see your lost tooth?" (said while peering into Becca's mouth.)

 that look!
Will is my sidekick (when he decides to be). If I'm making anything in the kitchen, and he comes in, it's "Oooh, watcha makin'? Can I help?" (And after our cookies are in the oven, I get to wipe up all the flour he managed to spill down the length of the cupboards.)
If I'm wearing my cleaning gloves (and I do every time I clean, honest. They are orange and floral and make cleaning so much more glamorous...whatever it takes, right?), Will pops his head around the corner, "Ooh, can I help? How about you do the hard parts and I'll do the easy parts?" Then he sets to scrubbing the grout with the toothbrush I hand him. (And after he gets worn out scrubbing, I get to sop up the majority of the water he's spilled from the cleaning bucket.)
And he's got his own little hoe & leather gloves to do yard work in. And I daren't feed the goats the wheelbarrow full of weeds we've pulled without him! (And then I get to push him up the hill in it after it's emptied. "Faster, Janna! Dad goes faster than this!")
And when I started washing my car the other morning, guess who came running out, tripped over the hose, and hauled himself back up yelling, "Ja-nna! Can I help? I'll use the hose!" (And then I spent 20 minutes hauling hot water from the house to fill up his little tub so he could "swim" in water that wasn't ice cold from the hose.)
Hmmm...I didn't realize I was this manipulated til now! But really, I love it:). We do have fun together. And when he pulls my head down to whisper, "I love you," in my ear, then giggles into his hands with that look, I know I'd haul 15 gallons of hot water for him all over again.

Friday, April 5, 2013

six months ago...

 Ah, the past few evenings have been absolutely perfect. Despite consistently beautiful weather, I've been savoring the hazy early evenings like I haven't seen the sun in months. I tuck myself on the "new" patio furniture Becca rescued from the Neighbor's and let the thrum of bees in the air lull me into a very pleasant state of mind. Perhaps knowing that my days of basking & smelling the orange blossoms are numbered makes me take the time to enjoy these evenings. My life right now is probably as uncomplicated as it will ever be, I know that. When I think about the last 6 months, I just feel so unworthily grateful.
 Six months ago, I was in Illinois, rushing about, trying to balance three jobs (and doing it badly, I might add), wondering where in the world my life was going, trying to adjust to a good friend marrying my brother, & feeling very purposeless. It was a somewhat low time in my life. But still good. It has always been a good life. No matter what. I never want to give the impression that serving God isn't worth it. During my year and a half between college & moving to SoCal, I got to be with my dear family, just working and enjoying my nephews & niece, being a fixture in their everyday moments. There was a weekly Wednesday morning coffee date with a kindred spirit. I learned to recognize the subtle shifts in season in the woods near my house from many angsty walks through it. Those trees know more about my inner being than any one person, I suspect. The journey my sister & her husband were on to adopt I got to be a part of. I don't regret any of it. And now (sigh), it's different once again. And will be the rest of my life.
I do miss my family--dreadfully!--but, California's been a wonderful respite from the hectic life I led in Illinois. (I never start these posts intending to get so "feely" and reminiscent, but I've kind of just resigned myself to the fact that that's just how I am when I sit down at a keyboard and the words start pouring out. Sorry.) God knew I needed a little breather before jumping right into being married, & He gave it to me; all wrapped up in golden sunshine, citrus-scented breezes, and a mountain-trimmed view. And when I let little fingers of doubt start picking at my contentment & peace, and when the rest of my family gets together to celebrate my niece's first birthday, & when I realize how life hasn't actually stopped for them just because I'm not around (silly, I know), I remind myself of this: God wouldn't move me halfway across the country if it weren't part of His bigger plan & wouldn't bring honor & glory to Him. 
And I know I will be okay. And so will those I love best. I love you, family! You stubborn, opinionated people, you:) 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


How was your Easter? 
My weekend in Oregon seemed to be one of hope & promise. Everywhere, there were signs of life: the flower beds were a chorus of bright colors, all nodding their agreement to my own happy thoughts. Pale pink petals from the flowering plums sifted down in a clematis-scented breeze. The magnolia tree unfurled her waxy petals for me while I was there. A rainbow framed the Sinn home on Saratoga Drive upon my arrival--and then the rest of the days, it was sunny enough to rival SoCal. All spoke of a lovely future in Oregon, of a promise that all will be well there, that God is the author of this most recent & exciting change. And it was Easter even, a remembrance of His even more precious gift. How could it not be good?!
I love being a part of the "Thomas Sinn" goings-on. Jesse & Laura were there for the weekend, so it was the total clan. Lots of good food again--lamb on Easter, impromptu hikes, walks on the berry roads, a day spent at Pacific City beach. I managed not to disgrace myself tumbling down the giant sand dune this time:). (I knew then, three years ago, I'd never live it down. And waaaay in the back of my mind, I felt like Oregon would be my home one day. Isn't life funny?)  But wow, what a gorgeous day! Seventies & sunny. SoCal had nothing on Oregon that day. It's hard to believe this will be a reality for me, to be able to pack up a cooler & head out to the coast for the day, to have waterfalls in my backyard, flowers blooming in February. I won't have to try too hard to make my family come visit, methinks.