Tuesday, July 18, 2017

In Our RV

Traveling in our RV
Sightseeing in the RV
Driving in the RV
Eating in the RV
Sleeping in the RV
Potty Stops~ NOPE
Peeing in the RV
Laughing in the RV
Playing cards, blogging, checking Facebook, conversing in the RV
Driving on the Beach in the RV
Watching sunsets from the RV
What a trip in the RV
Family connections on our beach trip in the RV
Getting gas too every 200 miles in the RV
13 people riding on the beach in the RV
Family fun in the RV
Can't wait for our next trip in our RV.

In Him,

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dunebuggy White Knuckles

Today we went on a dune buggy over the dunes. When the guy was telling us the rules and how to operate this metal cage on wheels, I explained he didn't have to worry about us. We are conservative and won't go too fast or take risks. He laughed. Then we got in and Ron took the wheel. LOOK OUT! My husband became a maniac daredevil. We bumped and jolted over the steep sand dunes and at times it seemed we would roll the rig over on its side. Needless to say the only reason we didn't biff it completely was because of Dorothy and me screaming at the top of our lungs from the back seats. Like armchair quarterbacking, Ron couldn't have kept us safe without our hollering.

We rented the dune buggy for 3 hours and all the family got to have the thrill ride of their lives. I am glad Mom opted out because the reality is it was even a bit more than I could handle. It was fun seeing all the kids faces covered in excitement as they told of their adventures on the sand. All agreed that Papa was a wilder driver than Cam but not by much.

This is our last day in Pismo and later tonight we are celebrating Lissa's 13th birthday and Cam will baptize her in the ocean. After the sun goes down we will have our bonfire on the beach and eat cabbage roll soup that is her favorite. It is sad to be ending our trip but oh the memories we have made this week. It has been the perfect blend of family time, laughter, surf, sun and wild rides. I am so thankful for those who made it here this week and can't wait to see those who didn't make it next time. What a gift family is to us. What memories these sweet cousins have made together. What a life Ron and I share. The adventure is still unfolding just beyond the dunes.

In Him,

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Role For Each Of Us

We each have a role to play or a place where we just fit. It has been heartwarming watching family interactions this week and seeing how we all are with each other. Each of us is in a different season of life. Ron and I are past the childrearing years, Cam, Britt, Dorothy and Hector are right in the middle of raising their kids. Mom is well into her 80s and her role is to be cared for more than caring for us now. Her YES attitude is a lesson to each of us. Mom never says no to going and doing. When we say lets go she is finding her shoes and the first in the car. Natalie and Nate are at the beginning of their relationship and spend time getting to know each other better. The rest of the family helps by telling the most embarrassing stories we can remember about our Tillie. Then there are the kids that are in middle school or younger. Each of them is becoming who they are meant to be. It is enlightening to see how each of them approach the ocean and all its majesty. Some run into the cold crashing waves and others tiptoe in oohing and awing as each body part is lapped a bit higher with each step. Still others are content to sit on the beach under the umbrella waving at those who are splashing a few yards away.

Ami gets to be the baby at 3 years old. She is a master at her role. I was crocheting a baby blanket and she wanted it. After I explained it was for a baby, she pointed to her little chest and said, "I baby." Then she touched the soft yarn and said, "Thank you Noni." Once we established that this was now to be her blanket, she kept telling me 'bigger' so I would keep working on it. The reward was when I finished it and she has not put it down. There will be more yarn and time to make one for the original recipient. The joy of watching my youngest grand carry around this soft blanket is priceless.

Timmy was tireless on his boogie board. He is a master at catching the waves. Tim has split his time between Legos in the house, catching the waves at the beach and watching his videos in the blue bubble ball. He is so sweet to Ami when they both squeeze into the ball and watch the video together. He has the most tender heart. Our little engineer is protective of his Legos but will be glad to show you how he puts them together with the instructions. His plan is to be a Lego design engineer when he grows up. If anyone can achieve that goal it is my favorite grandson.

Kayla got up on the surf board over and over again. It was exhausting enough that she took a 2 hour nap on the beach under her beach towel. Papa stuck with her in the waves teaching her and giving her the extra push she needed to get UP on the board. She and Kenzie gave Ami a Bitty Baby American Girl doll. I loved hearing her explain to her cousin how she needed to love her new baby and never be mean to her. They are still thinking of what will be the perfect name for Ami's doll. Kayla always has a book in her hand. She is rereading a book I gave her when she was in second grade. Her love of books matches her Aunt Natalie's. I can already predict her home will be filled with books. I wonder if she will arrange them by color like her auntie.

Kenzie is ready to start middle school next year. What an exciting time as she grows into who she will be. Kenzie is a competitive kiddo and boy does that pay off. She is an awesome soccer player and scored the only goal in her 9 and under state championship match. None of us are able to beat her at Nerts. Even card games she takes seriously. What a beautiful blend she is of competitiveness and compassion. Kenzie is making a cake for Lissa's birthday today. She loves to garden and share her veggie goodness with others. She is already a great cook and loves watching others eat what she bakes just like her Uncle Hector. When she grows up she is planning to play professional soccer and bake cakes. She is definitely our tough but tender grandgirl just like her daddy.

Lissa is going to be a teenager tomorrow. Today she is getting baptized in her ocean by her Uncle Cam our very own Pastor Cam. Lis is becoming a beautiful, young lady. She loves others and is helpful always. She took time out from ocean play with her cousins to come give a quick smooch to her sister. Her heart was torn from being rough and tumble in the waves to splashing with her sister in the bitty waves. She chose today to have her uncle baptize her in the ocean. Her only sadness is that Uncle Tanner isn't here for it. Having the whole family together was her heart for her baptism. Lissa is our gymnast She is enjoying learning new skills but is always willing to help the younger ones with what they are doing. I love seeing her heart. She is taller than most of the adults in our family now and loves letting us know as she towers over us.

Watching this family and especially our grandkiddos enjoying the beach and each other is the greatest  anniversary gift Ron and I could ask for. Even piling all of them into our new/old Prairie Princess RV has been a blessing. Last night we drove on the beach at sunset with the waves lapping at our tires and the kids and adults hanging their heads out the windows. This week is coming to an end but the memories and connections will be unending.

In Him,

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Precious Pismo Moments

Precious Pismo Moments

Ami sitting next to Timmy at the kitchen bar watching him build Legos. She never touched them after he explained that they were special and she could watch and not touch. Ami was content to watch her cousin construct. Later, Britt and Timmy picked out an Easy Build Farm set for Gramma Pat to give Ami. He was as excited for her to have them as she was to get them. Then he patienctly helped her look at the instructions and put each piece in the right spot. Heartwarming moment of two cousins connecting that live so far away.

After a day of boogie boarding, family photos, endless catching up conversations and giant swap meets, the pictures were uploaded to Cam and Britt's laptop for a preview. Oh the expressions that were captured in each shot. It is clear that the Barbers 5 are no longer from the Southwest. Their scrunched up expressions in the sun make it clear that these Pacific Northwesterners are not used to the bright sun in their faces. We got family pictures of all of us, each family, and couple pictures. Even the ones with eyes closed made us smile. This is what together time is about. Moments together and capturing them to "aah'' over later.

Natalie's Nate told Ron, Gramma and me that he is in love with our girl. It was a champagne moment. Hector said it best~ He is the perfect fit and completes our family. Getting to know him in our family chaos at the beach has been the best. We even trespassed together. Oops! Maybe I have said too much. Moments you are glad no one is holding a camera.

We spent the whole day at the beach yesterday. My childhood friend, Diane was here with her family. What a nice treat to share her grandkids with mine. The kids were tireless in the waves. Boogie boarding, body surfing, Papa even got a surf board. Kenzie, Kayla, and Lissa all got up on the board. Papa and Cam are perhaps better instructors than actual surfers. Moments filled with togetherness, sunscreen and a salty taste in our mouths and on our skin.

Everyone is taking turns cooking. It is great to have so many excellent chefs in the house. Each morning Mom and I are the first to wake up. So we clean up a bit and start the coffee. Dorothy and Brittney have kept the laundry going so all of us are gifted with fresh towels. It is incredible with so many of us that everyone just pitches in and keeps our casa by the sea livable. Moments of productivity in paradise.

I love all the layers of conversation that occur throughout this space. People working in the kitchen, others putting together a puzzle at the picnic style table. Heads together over pictures they have captured on their cell phones. Just chatting in our pjs over coffee after a night where we stayed up late and enjoyed sleeping in. Connecting through Facebook, FaceTime and phone calls is wonderful but getting this entire week together to catch up is fabulous. Each of us have full lives apart from each other. Even late night walks are enjoyable when you can walk hand in hand with someone you love on the beach. Moments just chatting are the best.

These moments are getting strung together to weave memories we will each carry with us back to our daily lives in different states. I said i wanted to weave after i retired now all my kids and grandkids are helping me with that. Woven memories of time spent together. We are already planning our next adventure together. Seven years apart is just not enough to bring this family together. Weddings, funerals, and reunions are great but it is also nice to have just together time without a big event. Wait! This is a big event. Thursday Lissa is becoming a teenager and her Uncle Cam, Pastor Cam, is baptizing her in the ocean. What a gift to have this faithful family all together for this sweet girl. Memories wrapped up in a shared faith are a gift.

My heart is full with love for this life Ron and I have lived and the family we have. We have told each other Happy Anniversay more than I can count. Guess we are entitled after forty years of  marriage.

In Him,

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Through Laughter and Conversation

Joyful noise all around me.

It is here. Our 40th anniversary trip to the beach. 
Family fills this house by the ocean with laughter, conversation and joy.
Everyone is here except T and Bethany. We are hoping they will be coming in today.

I find joy in sitting back listening to the overlapping conversations 
that are occurring throughout this space.
Ron and Nate sharing stories of time working on nuclear weapons and on a submarine.
Hector and Natalie conversing about how they choose and prepare various veggies.
Dorothy and Brittney chatting on the couch. 
Everyone including Mom in their conversations as she sits and lets us know 
Just what is going on at the beach at any given moment.

All of these interactions going on with the background of our five enthusiastic 
Grandkiddos running up and down the stairs 
Having a joyous time just being together as cousins.
Everyone sitting around the large enough, picnic style table 
Playing a rowdy card game called Nerts.
I think Kenzie and Britt were the big winners.

Soon enough we will be looking back at this time together.
But today is still the beginning of our adventures.
Last night was the full moon and we all prepared to go out 
Precisely at 10pm to hand grab grunion in the moonlight of the full moon at high tide.
Ron explained to our disappointed crew that the grunion must have missed the memo.
His research said the kids would be able to pick dozens up with their bare hands.
We teased about having grunion tacos. Yum!

Natalie brought bubble balls that you wear to bounce into each other. 
This has not been an exclusively kid activity. 
Even Mom slipped into an air bubble and pranced around. 
We shared embarrassing videos of Natalie with Nate.
I could tell by his expression that they enjoyed seeing adorable, young Tillie.

This morning we are hoping to get a family picture.
Then Cam and Lis will don wetsuits to brave the Pacific Ocean.
Pastor Cam is baptizing her today.
She has been talking about it for months. 
Our family together at the beach to celebrate this step in her faith walk.
Oh how proud I am that my kids and grandkids have a relationship with Jesus.
It is my biggest blessing.

Coming together with all the love and interaction is the greatest gift
Ron and I could enjoy to celebrate our life together.
God knew just how to build our family and life
Through laughter and tears we live and love.

In Him,

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Folding Doors and a King Size Bed

Ron and I went to order doors for our upstairs addition. Why is it that working with an archetect didn't make it seem real but ordering doors did? It seems too good to be true that we will have this bedroom upstairs that is just perfect for us. The doors are fold away and open eight feet wide. While we were at Home Depot ordering the doors we Googled how wide a king size bed is. Yep, it is only 76 inches wide so we can roll our bed out on the deck and have indoor/outdoor sleeping. Right now we sleep on the back porch when it is too warm in the summer. We are also looking at platform beds to make sleeping even cooler.

It has been a slow process getting started on this remodel. I haven't had an oven since last September. But I wouldn't trade our pace for the world. Before when we remodeled it was frantic, angry and stressful. This time we are choosing together and taking the time to get it right and enjoy the process. The gift of age helps us have more patience with each other.

I have said whatever Ron wants I am fine with. But at the store yesterday it was clear that I do have opinions about what I want. Ron deferred to me on several options. Guess we really are in this together. It will be a busy Fall at the Barber casa. With the RV we bought we will have a kitchen and a bathroom even when ours in the house are under construction. We will only have to bother B and Jenn across the street for the occasional shower. Ron assures me we will only be without indoor plumbing for about a week. We will see. I am thankful for where we are and how we are looking to our future in this hometown we adore.

In Him,

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Butt In The Chair

They say the hardest part of writing is putting your butt in the chair. That is the truth of most things in life. The struggle to motivate myself to get started is what holds me back from so many beneficial things in life. Wheher it is dieting and going to the gym or starting a new class on flower design, everyone has that moment when they decide to go or just stay on the couch with their tablet. 

Stepping out of our comfortable place to begin something new causes me to pause and question whether it will be worth the effort. I also question whether I have what it takes to be successful at it. Will people laugh at me? Will I fit in? The truth is I don't have to be talented enough for most adventures. I simply need to show up or put my butt in the chair.  

People applaud even the heaviest person when they see them out walking. We encourage others when they are brave enough to take a beginners art class. Admit it, you are impressed when you see a mom at the store with all four of her kids in tow. Rather than sticking out like a sore thumb, taking a step toward something new is courageous and that is how others view it. 

I get so discouraged when I let the little voice in my head tell me that I won't follow through anyway~so why try. When I started this blog over seven years ago, I tried to write everyday. Lately I have gone a full month between blogs. What stopped me? It wasn't just one thing. The most likely is that I simply got out of the habit of writing. The longer I went without writing the less I believed I could/should write. It truly was building up my courage and putting my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard that brought me back to sharing my story. Each day I wake up and can't wait till my coffee is hot so I can get to my blog. 

It is true that doing something the first time is hardest and each time after gets easier. What I need to do is figure out what I really want and step to it. For me the list could be too long to type. Things I wish I was engaged in range from exercising and dieting to reaching out to those I have let slip from my daily life. Just getting started stalls me on too many things. Maybe I need to pick up my keyboard on a few other bucket list items. A list of all I want to accomplish gets overwhelming. Maybe I need to start with the three top things I want to grab onto and go from there. Success breeds success is more than a cliche. It is a fact. Now that I am writing again it gives me hope that I can and should pursue other list items. 

My top three get started so it becomes a part of my daily life are: 
1. Walking my ten thousand steps a day.
2. Connect with three people a week that I haven't spoken with lately. Over coffee or the phone I need to reach out and embrace those I love.
3. Rid out the material things in my life that weigh me down. Whether that means cleaning one closet a week or emptying the not so fresh food from my fridge just get unburdened by the stuff that clutters my life. Who needs twelve sets of sheets for a house with only three beds? 

Okay, I wrote it down. That is the first step, right? Now that my coffee cup is empty I need to get my butt out of the chair  and lean into more than just writing. 

In Him,