Eulogy Postponed

And the miracle of today

Thankful

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The last of the summer days with the fire haze.

Oh where to start! I realize that it has been nearly 6 months since we last met. How have you been? Where did you go this summer? What are you doing now? Can we hang out?

Those first few minutes when you see an old friend and you’re supposed to do the catching up thing and it’s all superficial and you part ways before actually saying anything…. Let’s not do that.

Updates:

Jonah is doing awesomely great! I love him, even though his favorite place to be is in mom’s compost pile. Which can make him a bit stinky. Like a happy farm dog :] He is so tender hearted and smart and willing to help. Now that he knows this is home, he’s also VERY protective. He’s my Jonah and I’m so happy that we have found each other!

 

I am living with a mob of wild brumbies:

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3rd grade, 1st grade, preschool, toddler, and one on the way. Absolutely adorable!

Families like this are one of the greatest thing to happen to the world. My world and yours. And theirs? There is so much joy and love and constant surprises within this house! What had started as a short term invitation… They are going to have to build a bigger house for more kids cuz I don’t want to even think of leaving!

Youth Ministry Coordinator for the Santiam Canyon Vicariate is more coordination and less challenge than I was dreaming it would be. An update another 6 months from now and it will be a new job, too! The youths are absolutely wonderful. I’m inspired to learn and grow alongside of them each day. This week’s lesson: since we each only have a limited amount of time- how are you spending yours? Spending being defined as ‘to use up, pay out, consume, exhaust, wear out’ as opposed to wasted. Each of us having unique things that make us uniquely happy, why waste your time on anything other than what you were made to do? When will you choose to spend your time on happiness?

On a side note, I don’t remember if I mentioned in the last post- I am staying home and India has found another intern to transform the recovery process for those people rescued from trafficking. Send your prayers, wishes, good vibes to IJM as they persevere to fight for the rights of those without voices.

Speaking of happiness! I built a wall! Walls are so important. Especially when things are at risk of going where they shouldn’t. Things like dirt and cold air and mosquitoes. And maybe stinky dogs when they have been busy excavating and evicting mice out in the wonderful liquid sunshine! It’s his job and he’s so good at it!

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He flies through the air with the greatest of ease!

The wall, back to the wall! My little brother has a dug out basement and little boys that love to run up and down the hill. This is the same hill our Grandma’s had grandkids running up and down for decades. The difference is that there were some shrubs retaining the soil that have been taken out (no more snowball bush, le sigh). Time to build a wall to make Grandma proud!

Stage one: Set the foundation

Stage one: Big rocks at the bottom. Look how nice and neat those cinder block stairs are!

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They kept thinking I was finished. “I need more rocks!”

There came a moment when the rocks got too small and I mentioned that I was going to get the tractor to bring in more rocks which my dad heard and quickly delegated rock hunting to my brother and cousin who were working in the orchard. When I said bigger is better, they listened. When the Kubota started tipping over, they came back for the Challenger. It met the challenge. Bigger rocks arrived!

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Stage 3: Get a bigger tractor. See Jonah in his cone there?

It was tons of fun to do this for little brother and his family. I’m excited to do another row across the top after he moves some of those plants. He was worried that I was working too hard and just couldn’t seem to understand how much satisfaction there was in meticulously placing and shaping and rearranging rocks. There’s so much more than just putting them in a row, y’all! It’s art with one of Mother Nature’s least pliable mediums that will hopefully just become more interesting as the flowerbeds develop, the moss grows, the next rock wall is added…

The garden was awesome as always! Here’s the tomato patch that’s still producing. Much, much slower than when that photo was taken. How many pounds of tomatoes were harvested? So many! The neighbors began looking at my mom as if she were threatening zucchini, and she hadn’t even planted any of those delightful curbits! 17 pints of whole tomatoes, 30 quarts and 9 pints of juice, 57 pints of various salsas, and 34 half pints of paste. There’s still two plants in there. Next year’s project will be hog panels for them to be trained on. Now accepting applications for an experienced Tomato Tamer.

 

 

It is so great to have mom’s garden thriving! I love the way her garden is overflowing with bounteous surprises and surprising bounties. The mustard that went to seed is turning into a carpet of mustard greens- quite delightful with a hamburger. The pepper plant that self seeded in the high tunnel was just about to set- maybe next year his brothers will germinate in time. Seeds were saved from the most delicious tomatoes and some from the beans, too. The compost has been spread in an attempt to smother the Red Dead Nettle (seems like a funny name for a nettle. Plant names. So interesting!). The dahlias have been dug. The cane betties have been pruned and trained. I’m pruning apple trees right now…. Which might sound like I know what I’m doing. I don’t have any idea! I just like to climb in trees and play with chainsaws. Not always at the same time :]

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The brown lettuce seeded itself. Not sure it will get enough water to produce well.

And here we are! I am so excited to be on the farm, loving being back home, and am so excited to spend the life I have left right here in the garden. No more wasting time leaving the country for extended internship adventures. I can’t wait to see what happy adventures await me right here!

Next adventure: Thanksgiving and how to survive holiday insanity.

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I am happy right here.

 

22 days after I wrote that and Mom asks if she needs to check my blog. Not since Thanksgiving I say. Nothing since this summer she says.

Apologies if they are needed. I thought I has post this. Figuring it had been too long since I last posted and that no one was interested in reading the Stay At Home Adventures and no one was interested in telling me how cute my puppy is, I guess I never thought to check! Umm… How about another update next week. First. This one needs to get to the press.

Love to all of you! Stay warm- an inversion is coming! What’s that quote? “Stand on your head and give your love to a world that’s upside down”

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Adjusting to Summertime!

Well hello, summer! Why are you so cold? Summer came in with a 100 degree heat wave and then here it is 57 degrees as I write this. I’ve been enjoying helping mom “catch up” in her garden after she was away for 2 weeks in Texas and trying to catch my body up to the cool mornings. I love, love, love the weather! Why does my body think this is so cold!?

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It’s a jungle out there! Mom’s personal Garden of Eden.

Then went and helped out on the farm to get things “caught up” in the overgrown hedgerow around those lovely organic filbert trees! Daisies are not on our approved plant list. Definitely not. They were staging an aggressive takeover and too many of the truckload of flowers mom and dad had planted had been choked out. A literal truckload- gone! And there were countless wildflower seeds spread over the last couple years. Little brother has done so much work mowing the field and with the rain we got last week, everything has greened up really well since this photo was taken. And you can see the little baby trees on the hill in the background. Iloveitsomuch!

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Move over daisies- There are other guys in there that need to breathe!

Last week, the Organic Hazelnut Growers Association allowed me to join them on their California Tour. We visited one beautiful organic walnut orchard, one equipment manufacturer, one nut processor, and an organic almond cooperative. Oh, and two breweries! It was a ton of information and I could feel my social work skills kicking into action. I could feel that itch to do some research for them starting to want to be scratched! I made a vague offer, yet they have no funding so…

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Camping on the way to California! Obviously this is in Oregon prior to hitting the 105deg heat!

Speaking of no funding, my job search has not provided any leads above manual labor. The little pool of funding for this Fellowship continues to grow- one drip at a time and I am confident it will all be taken care of- perhaps not abundantly, but anyone who knows me knows I wouldn’t know what to do with abundance! My dilemma now is how far should I drive to find a place to volunteer?

Volunteering my time to re-invest in old friendships, watch my nephews grow faster than the weeds in the garden, start a bible study group, help awesome people “catch up” as needed, and go hiking with anyone with a destination! I am looking forward to assisting the Organic Hazelnut Growers in their collaboration to find solutions for their needs. What kind of a job title might a Social Worker for Organic Farming have? Oh, and studying. Of course! I’ve read the entire Exam Guide for the LMSW yet the June date passed my by because of some missing paperwork. Oops! Counting down until July 21st for the next one.

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Birthday spent at the lake with little brother’s family and the folks at Lake Eleanor. Loveit!

Well, the sun is coming out. I am working on acclimating to the Oregon climate and it looks almost warm enough for me to be outside without a jacket now. Come on, wool socks, let’s get out there!

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Happy 4th of July, y’all!

Where is Sarah off to next?

First, the big news: Accepted for the 2018 Fellowship with IJM!!!!

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2 years of education and I can’t even get my green stoll on straight!

Graduation was great. Done with school! It was a fast two years and it has been amazing to reflect on the transformations those 5 grueling semesters brought. Lots of growth and development and even some weed pulling. Thank the Lord those semesters are over and I can get into that therapeutic Oregon dirt!

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Thanks for all the support Pa n’ Ma! Couldn’t have done it without yous guys.

Travel with family for the next week was all sorts of fun [including chiggers, ticks, mosquitoes, and threats of tenting in the rain]. My parents flew in for graduation then we met an uncle and aunt in Louisiana for a week of camping, then they ran off to Arizona to escape the thunderstorms. Dad flew back to Oregon to make hay.

Mom and I spent the next two days on an Austin adventure. The highlight for me was when mom and I went to visit Rancho Bayo Ranch where they breed Kiger mustangs- complete with 123 real live beauties!

Long haul home from Texas- we made it to Oregon after 47 hours on the road! We invested a significant amount of time in planning and chose to drive across New Mexico and Arizona, then up through California on 101. We stayed in Tucson the first night and finally understood what people were talking about when they said there was nothing in New Mexico. There was not much that was noteworthy the second day, either.

We stayed in San Rafael, just north of San Francisco the second night. To save on money, I offered to sleep on the floor both nights. Which sounds great until realizing the small rooms both nights had a giant king sized bed with more closet space than floor space. Someone should let Airbnb folks they are missing a huge potential market of renting out closet spaces, too!

Third day was AWESOME! Hwy 101 is absolutely gorgeous from one end to the other! Having seen the Oregon coast, I knew it was going to be fantastic. I did not realize how beautiful the California portion would be, too. Redwoods and hills that were small mountains and no traffic! Apparently everyone else had heard about the slides we did not know about and avoided 101 for fear of construction or something because we made great time and had little to slow us down aside from the views.

I love these gals!

We stopped by Newport and then jetted home where mom had homemade hamburgers and freshly baked marionberry cobbler waiting for us. It’s so easy to forget the magic of the simple little things, like rolling in the lawn without thinking about chiggers, ticks, lice, fire ants, toxic waste, or whatever. And the taste of marionberries that only grow in the PNW. And the feeling of not sitting in a moving vehicle. And cool, grey Oregon mist.

And the sound of a house filled with family!!! Saturday with family and friends coming to welcome us home was tremendous. I forget how blessed I am and how much I love the sound of my people coming together in one place. After so long away, it was so great, even if only half of you all could make it! Perhaps more-so because I had the opportunity to talk to everyone who was able to come before they left. You who were not there were missed and I will track you down as soon as I can. Especially since I am happily back in the land of no reception where you can’t find me and I can easily get lost in the world of the garden as I remember what it is like to not be thinking of class assignments constantly.

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2,550 miles later: the Vancouver Farmers [Market]

Sunday, the three of us “completed” our road trip with a stop at the Vancouver Farmer’s Market so we can say we went from Texas to Washington and crossed 6 states in 5 days. That was over 2,550 miles in approximately 50 hours. And with a record of 47mpg in little Trust Rusty the road warrior Civic!

We also stopped by some icons like Powell’s Books, the City Fair on the Waterfront, Salt and Straw [I’ve so missed olive oil ice cream!], McMenamins, and the one and only Thicket Nursery.

On that note, I am studying for the licensure exam before I lose more than connectivity out in the garden. That is the one thing I absolutely HAVE to do before leaving for training in D.C. this January. Oh, yes. By the way. I have accepted the fellowship with IJM in South Asia for 2018. Wahoo!!! I have been asked not to share location details online and can tell you more in person. Please- ask me! 

Ok, now for the details you are all waiting for of what EXACTLY I’m doing, how long, where, what, and when: I don’t really know! More information will be provided at the end of June. For now, they have told me where I’m going, that I need to begin fundraising now, and when I need to plan to arrive for training.

The office I’m headed to has been working since 2006 to fight Forced Labor Slavery. There are strict laws in place there yet few people acknowledge the existence of slave labor  When I spoke with them, they said they are entering into a phase of equipping the government to take a greater role in providing aftercare for victims rescued. The team is developing training and educational opportunities and I will be assisting them.

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This is the work of IJM. I will be assisting with the Strength training.

Researching, developing, and evaluating is what I heard which is so specific that I wonder if I have the skills in my official Master Social Work toolkit to assist them. Really though, I need to go study up and take this Exam so I can get a job for the next 6 months. Work for 6 months to serve for a year? God willing. That would be awesome!

I am missing those of you not in Oregon, looking forward to seeing those of you that are in Oregon, so excited for summer adventures, and looking for work. Do you know anyone that would pay me to assess their agency? Survey their membership? Evaluate their programs? Pull weeds in their garden..?

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