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I meant to bring my real camera instead of just my phone to the feast. Our church is such a photogenic place, and I’m convinced that all of the beautiful light lives in there and just visits other parts of the world sometimes. I wanted to catch as much of it as possible. But, of course, I got there and realized the camera was the one important thing I forgot. OH wells. Another time.

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My friend Beck is the one you want to call if you want beautiful, thoughtful details for a party. In that sense, I would never call myself a “party planner.” Heck, I don’t even have place mats for my own table at home. (Though, I’ve been looking in to getting some.) What I am good at, though, is getting food in peoples’ bellies.

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In THAT sense, I consider our feast a success.

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Permission to Fail

Every now and then, our church gets together and has a potluck. Because potlucks are fun and festive and it’s always exciting to see what other people bring out of their kitchens. We have a fairly small congregation, so our potlucks are pretty casual. There are egg rolls and shrimp salads and cakes and jello molds and we pile all those things on paper plates and mingle and laugh and chase kiddos around.

*Aforementioned jello. It looks like there’s something wrong with this photo, but no, Jello is just that hard to photograph.

This year, we’re having a special holiday feast potluck, and somehow, I have become “Lord of the Feast.” Guys, I’m in charge of a thing.

It’s not that I don’t want to organize it – it’s that I’m surprised I was asked at all. There are other people at our church who are more organized and better at party planning than I am. And when I say “other people” I mean: it is likely that my toddler would do a better job of organizing this kind of thing, if she had access to email.

Of course, then it would be a My Little Pony themed potluck, so maybe it is all for the best.

In true-to-myself style, I have decided to take something I’m not naturally good at and decide to do a harder version of it. Go big, or go home, right? So, this year, we’re going to have a sit down, candle lit dinner in the sanctuary, after church.

Our pastor Damon, and his wife Guia are wonderful and thoughtful and a little mischievous. They were fully aware I was hesitant to take on this task that a well-caffeinated monkey could do. But the thing they told me that turned around my attitude was this: “give yourself permission to fail.”

The thing is: I’m not a perfectionist by any means. And failure is not something that generally hangs over my head as an end-all-be-all threat. I feel like learning from failure is important and necessary. How else do we learn?

But taking on a project when others would genuinely be so much better at it is… harrowing? intimidating? Hearing that advice from Damon and Guia, and knowing that they just want to have a good time with people they love (and really, isn’t that all we ever really want?) that took a lot of the pressure off.

I’m not planning to fail. I’m not going to shrug it all off until the last minute. But in the (more than likely) event that I overlook an obvious detail – I’m going to extend myself a little grace and be cool with it. If people are fed and have good conversation and the church doesn’t burn down, I’ll call it a success.


I’ll let you know how it goes.


Big Hurrah

In a few weeks, my sister is going on a long deployment. She’s almost done with her stint in the Navy, but there’s one more long trip out to sea in her future before it’s all behind her. We’ve gotten used to last minute trips between LA and San Diego to see each other. We’ve gotten used to being in the same time zone, and used to goofy mid-day texts about funfetti cake and Friends quotes and inside jokes.

I know she’s not going away forever, but she is going away for a while. And a while is too long for me.


We needed a last hurrah before this long stretch – except not a *last* hurrah really, because we’ll hurrah again. Just a Big Hurrah. So, we planned a getaway.

We decided a few days in a cabin getaway would fit the bill, and boy did it ever.


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As a family, we’ve never rented a cabin before, but twice this weekend, my dad called our cabin a “home run” and he was totally right.

It’s never a bad thing to see family, but if the gathering is at one family’s home, someone is always playing Host and someone is always playing Guest. Those little stresses can get in the way of everyone having the best time. This weekend, we all were playing Guest, and nobody felt the stress of playing Host. It was a good change of pace.

We headed to a little town in the mountains called Julian. I think their peak tourist season is mostly in the fall and the winter since they can promise apple picking and changing leaves and snow. But even in the summer off-season, we had a great time.

We did a big puzzle, and we taste tested the top two apple pie companies in town, and it rained (briefly), and we read books, and took walks to a nearby park, and saw deer, and listened to owls, and drank wine, and made meatballs, and ooooo, it was cozy.

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The week before we headed down was a really rough one for me. It took a lot of intentional “shake it off” moments for me to get in the groove of relaxing and enjoying. I wish I were the kind of person who can just decide to let something go. But I’m not. Or I’m not yet.

It takes time and space for me to get my head back on straight.

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We’re already talking about making this a yearly thing. I’d love to spend a week in the mountains, closer to fall. And I’d love that to not be followed by months of separation from my seester.

Years of Noise

Sometimes, when the child is meowing during church (seriously), we duck in to this little room in back that is perfect for babies. It’s filled with toys and a couch and lots of space to run around. There also happens to be an old electric organ, perfect for baby fists to pound without making a sound (since it’s off. Or unplugged? Or dead? I’m not sure.) And without fail, I’m terrified that it’s accidentally going to turn on and interrupt the service.

Worse, I have this absurd fear that there’s some secret computer inside, or maybe a devious organ spirit has been quietly tracking all of the times a baby hand has smashed a chord, or an adult walked by and pushed some knobs (because they’re there), or someone set their bag on the keys for an hour — and the second that organ accidentally gets switched on, ALL of those sounds will happen at once.

There could literally be years of noise just waiting to escape from this poor misused organ. And we’ll all be sorry. It’ll show us, by gosh, how often you should turn on an organ and give it some attention.

I was going to turn this in to some sort of metaphor for how I feeeeeel or how creativity can pour out of you after dry spells or something.

But, I think it’s just an anecdote about an organ and how I speculate the existence of evil musical instrument fairies in church. So.


let it go