Eve’s birthday 

Hi sisters,

After the heartache of the past week and a half, here are a few photos from Eve’s birthday party. How thankful I am for my family that helped me learn to love beyond the boundaries around race, religion, gender, and sexuality that some people have been trying to draw in heartbreaking ways since the election.

Sustainance for the party ahead.
Grandpa made a big leaf pile. Eve helped keep it organized.
Miriam felt that there should have been gifts for her to celebrate her anniversary of becoming a big sister. So we made a crown for her.
Pose choices were all hers.

Happy birthday, dear Eve. You are loved abundantly. May you love abundantly.

Your aunt Janna.


Chocolate and tea

Hi sisters,

Here’s a quickly-snapped still life from internship today.

I’m in the break room, working on paperwork, since the wireless network sometimes decides that the trip to my office space is way too far. We work it hard. I understand. There’s a comfy love seat in the break room where I can tuck my feet under me and work on termination summaries.

In the mug is a hot drink I made up this semester, which I discovered on a day that we were out of creamer, and have been drinking, um, a lot since. It’s inspired by those Earl Grey truffles we’ve made a few times, Rach. Continue reading “Chocolate and tea”

My late summer in western NY

Hi sisters,

The leaves are just starting to change here. We have had some lovely warm days the last week, but the nights are getting crisper and the air smells of the change in seasons. Here’s the view from my front porch yesterday afternoon, in between clouds and rain.

Late summer on the hill

As you can see, the garden has gotten a bit overgrown since the semester started, but intentional plants grow amongst the weeds. I love having found a lemongrass that grows here, the popcorn seems to aging as it should, and I am still getting lots of cherry tomatoes and some large ones as well. I think that beauty is one of the big reasons that I garden. I can grow jewels in the field next to the house. Continue reading “My late summer in western NY”

Less screen time led to paletas de sandia

Hi, sisters,

Since I came home from Ireland, I’ve been working on not taking my phone to bed with me. It was a big step, which my Mennonite upbringing is embarrassed to admit, and one I might not have taken without the eccentricities of outlet placements in a very old Irish farmhouse. Since I’ve had a smart phone, (well, probably since I’ve had a cell phone) I’ve slept with it on my bedside stand and my smart phone was the last thing I looked at before I went to sleep and the first thing I’d reach for when I woke up, either in the morning or in those middle-of-the-night awake spells I sometimes have. While I was in Ireland, there wasn’t an outlet near enough to my bed to keep my phone near me while being plugged in. My phone needed to charge at night since it was my main camera and its battery was on its way out. That was the first time in at least a couple of years that I went to sleep without reading or internet-ing with my phone some beforehand and I was surprised (and not proud–see Mennonite note above) at how much I felt the lack of it initially.

Since I got used to falling asleep without phone-ing, and since more and more sleep hygiene studies say that screens at bedtime are bad for sleep, I’ve decided to try no screens in bed for now. Most days I’m just fine with it. I’m not sure how long it will last once the semester is running full force and I rely on my phone more to keep my life organized. One day at a time.

I’ve been reading in bed for for forever, though. Continue reading “Less screen time led to paletas de sandia”

Calvin meets his Aunt Janna!

Hi sisters (hey Janna sitting next to me),

I was blown away this week when I realized it had been 7 months since I’d seen any sisters in person. The past four months have flown by, but I couldn’t wait to see Janna when she got here. It has been even more amazing to see Calvin meet her. IMG_6793

I love having a sister around who takes oodles of pictures, who makes Calvin giggle and takes fun photo shoots. Continue reading “Calvin meets his Aunt Janna!”

I can see…deeper? now

Sometime while I was in Ireland, my vision improved to the point where the world got deeper. I remember saying something to Bradley about being able to see that the clouds were layered, and I think at that point I at least partially thought that I was noticing different types of clouds on top of each other, but there’s definitely more than that. The clouds are deep and wide and long. And it isn’t only the clouds. I have to remind myself to keep my eyes on the road as I drive, because I find myself staring at the sky, the trees, the mountains, and all the space between them and beyond them. There is so much depth there.

Skies filling the depths behind one of the buildings at the Rock of Dunamase
Skies filling the depths behind one of the buildings at the Rock of Dunamase

I feel very inarticulate whenever I try to talk about it, and in person it is usually accompanied by a lot of arm motions and facial expressions. Continue reading “I can see…deeper? now”

Marble Roller Extraordinaire

Hi, sisters,

I thought I’d give you an itty bitty glimpse into my Ireland visit, since one of the great joys is time with the kids. They’re fun, smart, adventurous, and (often) sweet. Besides giving you a glimpse of the kids’ personalities, you’ll also get to see some of some of Bradley’s handiwork. Bradley and Archer made a marble roller in the stump house that Bradley designed and made for the kids. In case you haven’t seen it, Martha took this picture of the stump house a couple months ago, before the marble roller was installed.

stump house

Here’s a more recent picture, post roller installment, from Bradley’s flickr page. Bonus baby bump from the morning that Thaddeus was born! Continue reading “Marble Roller Extraordinaire”