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It’s lovely here. I wish that I could transport you right through your computer and into my life right now. Sure it is busy, and sure there are moments when it’s not all apples and sweaters, but really it is lovely. Autumn has decidedly wrapped it’s chilly arms around this city letting rain fall at will, putting our plants to sleep. The have turned one of two colours: brown with decay or orange with pumpkins and I adore them both. There are signs by the sides of the road advertising corn mazes, u-pick apples, and halloween festivities. I pull on my sweaters and wool socks with sighs of contentedness and drive with my windows rolled down. I do my best to ignore the sourpusses who loathe the rain and pine over summer’s sun (as I am told, if you grew up here, you probably hate the rain- all the outsiders come here for it). And my mind turns to baking…and tea…and cuddling up with my book and a blanket.

It is wonderful. Autumn is my favourite birthday gift.



It is the second day of September.  Lucas and his brother are off vanquishing evil, Gary has settled himself into his new bed, the rest of the house is quiet. Between laundry and other everyday tasks, I breathe. Summer is, thankfully, over.

As you can probably guess from my unexplained absence beginning sometime in mid-June, my summer was full. Too full. Despite the honest truth that there were moments of pure bliss and goodness, my summer was somewhat of a disaster. For eleven weeks, I worked an average of 50 hours, ate most of my meals in the car or at a desk, and had no full days off. It nearly killed me, and often succeeded in wounding my spirit. It cannot happen again. But rather than delve into the depths of my mistakes and the pain of living much too thin, I want to share with you the best moments then move on. I have learned from my mistake and have already put safeguards in place for myself this autumn.

Riverside- Early in the summer, I thought that my hours at the pool were too few. I was wrong, but unaware of that fact. In an attempt to bolster my paycheck I offered to host off-site swimming lessons for COTS. It was an excellent decision. The first few weeks were bitter cold in that outdoor pool with the broken heater and cloudy overhead skies, but it was well worth it to see some kids making huge strides in the swimming. Some of my proudest moments as a swim instructor to date happened in the eight weeks I was teaching at Riverside. By the end, I could hardly believe I would be getting paid on top of all the joy and triumph I felt on behalf of my students.

Four- Lucas and I managed to slip off for a couple of days to celebrate our wedding anniversary in what could only be described as perfect for us. We went to an arcade, drank tea, stayed at an old schoolhouse converted into a hotel, watched Harry Potter, and went swimming.  One of the best anniversaries yet, by far.

Farms- More than any other year in my life I have had to joy of spending some spare hours on our local farms this summer. The abundance of fruit and veggies has made me giddy with delight for this odd little city where we live. I have probably managed to eat my own weight in berries and peas in the last two months. It was also really awesome to share these places with my friends and their friends.

Canada- We just returned last night from a whirlwind trip to visit my family. It was among the greatest blessings I have had the privilege of which to partake. I finally got to visit my mum and dad in their new home and meet their friends (and new cat!). I was so happy to see that they have found themselves in the midst of a community that loves and respects them. I have missed my sister, and saw her for too short of a time, but a great time nonetheless. We even had the rare joy of visiting my dear friends Ron & Becky for a morning.  My only regret is that these people whom I love so dear must live so far away- but perhaps that makes our visits all the sweeter.

I find myself believing that the coming of September should be celebrated with the same mix of exuberance and reflection that is usually saved for January.  This is the only time of year that has ever really felt like a new beginning anyways. The summer, though spotted with some beautiful memories, was too much and I am craving the changing of the season, so to speak.

So, here we are: moving forward, moving on. Leaving ourselves some breathing room for the autumn so that we don’t repeat the mistakes.


snow day. officially: my workday was cut in half.
unofficially: my work tripled when i realized all that could be done with an extra 5 hours to myself.

Autumn is creeping in around the edges of this city. Later sunrises, cooler afternoons, and warmer toned plants are making their first, albeit subtle, appearences.  The fledgling Japanese Maple below our balcony turned from green to a red almost overnight, though it appears to be holding onto those firey leaves with a firm grip. I hadn’t really noticed autumn’s appraoch until this morning as I stood at the drive-thru window and felt my hands growing colder each time I reached out. It dawned on me then, in a sort of pleasing and urgent way even though I am sure there will be more summer-like days in the weeks to come.

With my love of autumn colours, wool sweaters, and a birthday just a month or so away, it is not suprising that autumn in my favourite of seasons. September in particular always stands out in my mind as it is the gradual assent into autumn and also the much anticipated back-to-school season. I aways loved the prospect of returning to school- yes, mostly because I was, and continue to be, a big nerd. Even the idea of buying school supplies still makes me a tiny bit excited even in the absence of class in which to return. There is no school for me this autumn, and thats okay.

Lately, I have been pondering the topic of friendship; mostly trying to recall how I became friends with many of those I now call dear. Some came from Youth Group or Girl guides, a few from work, and others from camp. The majority of my friends, however, have come initially from proximity caused by school. Which has left me asking the question:

How does a naturally introverted person make friends beyond school?

Lucas and I are both feeling something missing in the absence of local friendship beyond each other and our families. I have though about joining the local quilting guild, but fears of inadequacy, age gap, and the like have thus far held me back. Work friends are great, but I don’t always like talking about coffee and customers after I take my apron off.  I guess these things usually just come down to being open to the oppertunity and not forcing matters. Just a question and a thought.


It’s a cold and grey afternoon here in Portland. My mood is matching perfectly. Gary, who gave up cuddling with me a few hours ago, sits quietly on the back of the couch. I swear he is watching the TV as much as I am- can’t blame him, M*A*S*H is pretty much the best show ever. The laundry is done but not yet folded. The dishes are done but not yet put away. Errands are all finished but there is a lingering sense of forgetfulness.

On Sunday, we returned home from a few days away at camp. In a whirlwind 4 days, Lucas and I had the privilegde of spending time with a bunch of Teens, teaching, playing, caring, and praying. It was an eye-opening time, stirring my heart towards intentional ministry again. By the time we arrived home on Sunday, I felt thrown back into life with a 5 hour evening shift at work. Even early this morning, I felt like I was still trying to make heads and tails of the last week.

To say the least, I was happy to have today off work in order that I might catch up on necessities such as laundry, errands, and the like. It felt oddly good to get back to daily life.  Right in the middle of my errands, Lucas and I got a call from our agent saying she had a job for us this afternoon. It paid extremely well, we would both be featured, and Lucas could get off work in time. It seemed perfect. It seemed like a gift. We rushed around, excited,  trying to get all the details straight for an hour only to be called and told that they had made a mistake. They wanted another couple, not us.

When Lucas and I signed up for a life in the arts we knew that we had to expect days like this one. We knew that it would be difficult being judged on our very beings- its all about looks and sound sometimes. We knew there would be days of disapointment. We simply knew what we were getting into.  Sadly it doesn’t make it hurt any less. So now, I am sitting on the living room floor next to the unfolded pile of clean laundry wondering how we will get past this disapointment even though I know that it will be like all the others. A year from now I probably wont even remember that today happened. It’s just hard to feel unwanted somedays- even if it is by a stranger.


It has been  an oddly chilly July morning here in Portland. By the time I sat down here at the computer I had already finished the grocery shopping and spent about 30 minutes trying to decide what really needs accomplishing today. With few projects coming to mind -other than the quilt with which I am currently not on speaking terms, I settled down to cyber space. After the usual list of distractions were taken care of, I quickly realized that I have been neglectful of this lovely little blog.

Some the neglect has been intentional, some has not.

Under the category of intentional: I have been contemplating what sort of blog I really want this to become. It has started as a personal blog, but I am consdering a switch to a more public sort of work with focus on quilting and other sort of crafty things. For a while now I have been reading a lot of other crafting blogs intended for public audience and I am a huge fan. I will keep you updated as to what I decide- mostly I am just not sure if that is what I really want.

Other than that, I guess that I am just really happy right now. Lucas and I seem to have passed through some sort of stage in living together and have hit a stride. Everything seems more natural and smooth. Life is simply good.

In fact, Lucas and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary last week. We had the most perfect day. We slept in a little then I made french omlettes for breakfast before we headed out to the library. After an hour of wandering through the bookshelves, Lucas and I picked up free passes to the Japanese Gardens (an awesome perk of having a library card in our county). The afternoon was split between doing the tourist thing at the Japanese gardens and doing the local lay-on-a-quilt-and-read-thing in the rose gardens. We ended the day with a fantastic steak dinner at Echo and a couple of hours killing zombies at the nickel arcade. Three great years so far, and many more to come.


I have been very productive today- so much so that I think it is safe to take a break and update you all a little bit. And, you know, today has been a very good day. More on that later.

Last Saturday, Lucas and I went to a friend’s wedding out on Sauvie Island. It was a spectacular day weather-wsie, and pleanty of fun. The best part: getting to watch the union of two lovely people.

Did I mention that it was a pirate wedding? Sadly my camera died on arrival and so my pictures are very limited. I was super disapointed because Lucas and I had the best costumes!

Other than that pique of excitement, my week has largely revolved around working rediculously early hours and coming home to do schoolwork until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. I think that I may have struck a working balance of life-work-school for the time being- with only 11 days left till graduation that is a big relief. I am, however, slightly embarrassed by the copious amounts of tea that have been required to survive the week.

Today has been a particularily good day. It started with the fact that I did not have to wake up at 3:30 to go to work- any day that starts later than 5am is a good day for me. After Lucas left for work, I went out and did some errands: buying cat food, father’s day gifts, and groceries. I came home and made some delicious colslaw (for father’s day lunch), then set to work on school stuff. Lucas came home for lunch, then it was back to school until about 4pm. At that point I had finished the homework questions for 9 of the 12 chapters and decided that the last 3 chapters could wait.

That was when my phone rang. You should probably know that there are like four people who call me: Lucas, Amanda, work, and the creditors looking for the guy who had my number previously. I get the occasional texts from others, but everyone else calls me on skype because they live so bloody far away (or, I guess, I live so far away). On the other end of my phone call today was a man offering me an interview for that exciting work oppertuinity I mentioned in my last post. I am rather excited and relieved- I had thought maybe I wouldn’t get an interview since they said they would call last Tuesday and didn’t.

So yes, a very good day. When Lucas gets home from work we are going to head down to Salem to try and see The Producers. A friend of ours is in the play and we really want to support her. I say ‘try to see’ because we were unable to get advance tickets so we will be depending on the absence of two other people in order to get tickets. Here’s to hoping my good day continue!

If nothing else, Lucas and I will have a fun little adventure date!


Its been raining here in the North West for about three weeks without many days of exception. While most of the people I encounter in a day sigh and shrug their shoulders, I look out the windows and see something a little different. Now I am the first to admit that after weeks of grey a little sunshine is euphoric, but I find rain to be hopeful. Rain brings life, though I guess the sun does too. Maxwell 101: balance.

The rain has given me ample reason to remain indoors as of late- in case the looming deadline of June 30th wasn’t motivation enough.  Balance is proving to be far more difficult in these last 20 days than ever before, but it will be worth it. Right? I have been alternating between accomplishing copious amounts of homework leaving the apartment in various states of neglect and having a lovely looking apartment while my books gather dust.

When I am avoiding both, I have been working insanely early hours at Starbucks and considering a career change or so to speak. It’s too early to say much, but I have applied for a position in the Pearl district about which I am very excited. If all goes well, it would begin the day after I officially graduate from Prairie…so perfect timing. More on this later (hopefully).

Forgive my absences in the next couple of weeks. I am pretty sure that the responsible thing to do is use all my creative energy to finish papers and assignments. I am also pretty sure that my spare time could also be used to do something about the growing piles of dishes and laundry…


a tea for everything

More Pictures

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