Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The world in a pepper

This is the biggest bell pepper I've ever harvested from my own garden.  We've had record lack of rain in our area coupled with consistent heat and I think that's why.  I'm a pretty neglectful gardener, so imagine my surprise when I went to the garden to get peppers and onions for our pizza and found this!  It's actually sweet!  Usually my peppers don't have time to get sweet before the frost withers their leaves.  

As I was editing the pictures, I noticed that the sky and trees were reflected in the skin of the pepper.  The world becomes that plain in the garden.  I'm reminded that life is as simple as the earth God created, the creatures who live upon it, and the food we cherish that comes from it.  All the worries about my kids being nudged from the nest into the madness of middle school faded for a bit this evening in the garden and I was able consider our life in this very simple way.  

Yes, my oldest children are being nudged from the nest into a frenetic and exciting world, but they always have this to come home to: the reminder that they have a God who is wild enough about them to grow giant peppers, purple potatoes and sweet carrots in a garden their mom brazenly neglects.   He is looking out for them even as they swim through the sea of students and step out into the world of greater responsibility and self control.  He is there, even when I can't be.

I could feel it coming, this new stage of life for our family, even before we made the choice to have two kids go to mainstream schools.  It has frightened me.  We are leaving the era of potty training, Ergo carriers and sippy cups and are at the foot of the mountain that is puberty and young adulthood.  I have been fearful that we won't ever be together in quite the same way anymore, but that's not true.  We might not be pushing the kids in strollers anymore, but for certain we are there to link arms with them and face the challenges of this world together at times.  

More than that, I think my job is becoming more of a scout and a spotter: checking out the trail ahead and being prepared to catch them if they fall.  At 11 and 13, our oldest kids are the ages children used to be sent off to apprenticeships or to work just as hard any adult out in the field.  They are taking burdens from my shoulders because of the work they can do around the home and property and the big help they are with their younger siblings.  

It feels painfully natural that they should step out into this new adventure of learning and maturing.  I know that the best I can do for them now is to pledge to be for them the mom I always have been, never forgetting that my job is certainly not finished.  I must be careful to step back when it's time for them to step out on their own, but acutely aware of when it is time for me to remind them that there's a lifeline they can always cling to.  It's as close as a prayer, a hug or a late night talk.  It's simple as a walk out to the pasture to soak in the splendor of the fog at dusk; a reminder that though we're so small, we have a God who is SO big, so that even when they feel smallest or loneliest, He is right beside by their sides.  

First Photoshop

My dad before the wedding: the result of blending the two pictures below.  I liked how he was standing in the first one, but it was overexposed, so I put him into the background of the second one!

I bought photoshop earlier this year with my Christmas money and educator discount, but have been afraid to touch it. I took looks of spur of the moment pictures at my brother's wedding, but mostly i was chasing flower girls dressed in white and my pictures were not awesome. My friend Josie is a whiz at photoshop, so she taught me how to change exposure in an image where the foreground is dark and the background is very blown out, then merge the two exposures. She also showed me how to take one element from one picture and put it into another. These are my first attempts, so don't laugh too hard. It was HARD for me, not a techy person at all!

I liked dad in this one..

I liked the background in this one.
This is my brother matt and his wife.  The photographer had them standing, backlit by the setting sun.  I am sure she knows what she is doing with editing and metering, but this is what I got with spot metering.  This is before editing. 

After photoshop editing.  This is not the best picture, but I didn't want to work on a really good picture first.  

First day

It feels like my kids are going off to college already, but it's just middle school.  After homeschooling for all of their years of early education, they are going into 6th and 8th grade at the local middle school. It was not a decision easily made.

They are a delight to have around.  They are helpful, bright, hilarious and creative.  It will be strange to not have them around during the day.  I'm thankful for each of the teachers who will be joining the ever expanding team of mentors for my kids and am looking forward to finding out what new things they'll get my kids excited about.

Isaac will get to be in an after school robotics team and may get to pick up a second instrument in band this year.  Eva will be playing her clarinet in band and will be taking a home living course.  They will both have core classes in math, science, history and english.  I'm so proud of them and I know they will do wonderfully.  I pray that God will give them patience and that the kids and teachers will be extra kind.  I love these kids!