Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Weapons, anyone?

If you know our family at all, you know that we have two daughters. If you know us well, you know that we are pacifists. So it seems odd to me sometimes that my two girls have as many weapons as any stereotypical boy. There are many reasons, including the fact that we are huge Narnia fans and avid dresser-uppers. (I know that's not a word.) And Christine is a long-time Pirates of the Caribbean fan. Therefore, we have weapons to go with our many Narnia and pirate costumes. 

So, today when the girls had a family of boys over to play, it was business as usual. The first thing they did was gather the weapons--the ones the boys brought from home and the ones from the girls' room. As if that wasn't enough, Joshua came over to me in the kitchen and said, "Um, Mrs. Hodge, do you know where any weapons are?" He knows I have a stash of extras in the costume closet. So, out came the swords and daggers, along with pirate hats, bandanas and belts.

Let the games begin!

Here are a few pictures from last fall when they played Pirates.

Argh! Walk the plank, you scally -wag!

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Yesterday was our 20th Wedding Anniversary!!! There aren't enough exclamation points to go after that statement!

Our wedding day!

Our 20th Anniversary!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

There's a teen-ager in the house!

This past weekend, Amber turned 13. I honestly thought this day would never come. To celebrate Amber becoming a teen-ager, we had a small Blessings Birthday Ceremony. During the celebration, Eric and I read our blessings we wrote to Amber and then the guests had a chance to do the same, sharing a story about Amber or speaking encouraging words to her. She took it all in, teary-eyed during some blessings, laughing during others. All the while, she was beaming! Eric read from bullet points he wrote on a piece of scrap paper, so I don't have his blessing written down. Below is my blessing to my new teen-age daughter. Next to my wedding vows, it was one of the hardest and most fulfilling things I have written (and as a writer, I've written a lot).
The birthday teen, Amber!

Amber Shea--My Sunshine,

Even before you were born, when I carried you in my womb, I could sense you were set apart by God for great things. Before you were born, I read a Psalm to you every day. Psalm 4:7 ("You have filled my heart with greater joy") was very special to me.

When you were 7 years old, you told me that your favorite thing to do "is love people." I've seen you do that over and over through the years.

You have a kind heart.
You are a good listener. I love watching you interact with others, especially little kids and adults.
You make friends easily and make new people feel welcomed.
You stick up for people when they are being put down.
You are quick to lend a hand when needed.
You are kind to your sister. I love watching you read to her and play with her. It warms my heart.
You respect me and dad and enjoy spending time with us. You like to wrestle with dad as well as snuggle with him. You like to play card games with me as well as just sit and talk.
When you laugh, it lights up the room. I love hearing you sing and watching you act, whether on stage or in our living room.
You are brave. You are not afraid to try new things.
You are beautiful, inside and out.

May God's truth, love, kindness and mercy guide your every step.
Whether speaking to a friend or stranger, may your words be seasoned with love and grace.
May you be quick to love and slow to judge.
May you stand up for what is right, even when others think it is wrong.
May you hear the cries of the oppressed and lend a helping hand.
May you learn to look at ordinary events in a new light.
May you see people through God's eyes, as His children in need of love and grace.
May you see your life as a great adventure and not be afraid to take risks.
May you have the courage to fail, knowing it is okay.
May you have even greater courage to get back up again.
May you be grateful for the life God has given you and for the people he has placed in your life.
May your love for God run deep.
May you be the young woman God made you to be. Nothing more. Nothing less.

This is my blessing for you.

I love you deeply,

Spring has Sprung!

"Spring has sprung, The grass has riz, I wonder where the flowers is?"

As much as that anonymous little poem is wrought with grammatical errors, it is a poem that reminds me of childhood. As for the flowers, I know where they are. Ojai Meadows Preserve in Meiner's Oaks is bursting with yellow mustard flowers once again, despite the harsh drought we are experiencing here in Southern California. When the mustard flowers appear, I get out my camera and take the girls to the preserve for the annual photo shoot. The older they get, though, the less they want to pose for the camera. So, I have to take what I get. Still, I got some cuties. Enjoy!