8/10/2016

Official Farewell to Texas Tour:

 
(items listed in no particular order)

✓ Visit some of Jason's favorite people and see the scary places he lived for two years, where he was right before I met him back in the way back... 2007 (but they redid the outside of all these buildings so I just had to trust him on how shady it all was) 

Get "Texas' best burger" at Alamo Springs Cafe/see the millions of bats fly out of the cave (this intrigues me in the most cringey, body shuttering way)

✓ Find at least three mysterious Kerrville Where's Waldos

Get to the bottom of the mysterious Where's Waldo graffiti gang conspiracy

One more rodeo ?

✓ Touch a baby deer

✓ SAVE A BABY DEER (this is a very recent addition... for obvious reasons)

Share a goodbye meal with our new found family we stumbled upon after we moved out here (now our Bob and our Bradfords are stuck with us for life! and they never saw it coming)

✓ Kayak and play in the Guadalupe River as much as we want

✓ Swim swim swim

Say goodbyes 

We have until August 27th. Wish us luck.

8/08/2016

Today I got to hold a baby deer and also be a hero

Our time is winding down, a big move to the Pacific Northwest is fast approaching. Maybe that's why everything seems extra sweet—through the fear of tarantulas and scorpions and hornets and sweat. Sweet sweat.
Our time is winding down, so we're making our Must Do Before We Leave list.
Our time is winding down, we're starting to check things off.

July through August is hot in Texas. This is not new information. But July through August are also kind of my favorite... This is when all the sweet baby deer with their red coats and white speckles pop up like daisies and run and play with each other, always staying nearby their mamas. Apart from the spring time with all of the wildflowers, this is my favorite time of year here. It's so hot. It's hornets. It's brown grass. It's beautiful. It's kayaking down the river. It's diving in. It's bursting with new, red–coated–speckled, life.

I had just dropped Jason at work and was on my way home. I turned up the big hill to our house and saw one of our neighborhood deer in the middle of the road. This is nothing very new. But as I drove closer this doe didn't scurry away. She was immovable, frozen, focused on something to the side of the road. She didn't even notice the car. I looked in the direction of her intent gaze and there was her baby, stuck in the fence.
I jumped out of my car. She jumped away from me and a bit down the road, but not far.
I gingerly walked closer to the foal, she and her mama made deer warning calls. The sweet deer baby jumped harder and higher and stronger than I knew she could, in pure panic. I saw where the fur had been rubbed raw on her sides, where she was bleeding and injured.
I didn't know how to do this alone. I didn't know who to call.
Suddenly I heard the slap slap slap of flip–flops running down the hill. My nice neighbor man (who I'd never met until this morning—when we became innocent animal saving heroes together) heard the deer calling, saw my car stopped in the road. We worked together to lift and pull the speckled baby back out. She straightened out her beautiful front legs as long and still as she could for us. As soon as her hooves passed the poles, she bounded out of my neighbor's arms and she and her mama vanished into the trees.
Someone was clapping and cheering up the hill. I turned to see a neighbor lady peering down at the emergency situation over her tall, flowering, cactus peddle bushes and cheering for the victory.



I'm too exhausted from our marathon down mission memory lane trip (we just got back from visiting Houston this morning, where Jas served for two years) and running on roughly two hours of sleep last night, to draw any conclusions or meaningful morals from this experience.

I've just got this:

It was surprising how obvious and audible and visceral the concern that mama doe had for her sweet baby.
It also wasn't surprising at all.
It was surprising how quickly I could care about nothing other than relieving this sweet, speckled deer baby from her plight. The urgency. The magnitude of how much this mattered.
It also wasn't surprising at all.

And hero looks good on me.

♥︎

8/03/2016

History is written by writers

"Nobody reads blogs anymore."  "Nobody writes blogs anymore."

Here's a question:
Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. Snapchat. That's where the carefully curated life seems to exist now.
Can the reality exist back here, on the blog, where "nobody" visits any more?

Is that why I feel a pull back to this space?
I don't know; but I feel full of excitement, a quiet urgency to start writing again here. 
Call it therapy.

I took a deep dive through time and life to the beginning, the very first blog post in 2008, and back again. Through the evolution of us through the years, the passing of time. Us, our story, has been preserved, written, kept. I'm so grateful.

This time back it feels like I'm writing into a vast, dark void. Voice echoing through a canyon. I picture a person or two out there, someone searching for something, they pause as they hear my voice. Maybe it's what they're looking for? Maybe not. In any case, I see them. They see me. We're solitary, we're not alone.
And it's written. And that matters.

Words cannot describe how much this feels like a deep, full, gulp of oxygen.

Let's carry on with the story...

7/15/2016

brave little lungs .com

"Breathe deeply, until sweet air extinguishes the burn of fear in your lungs and every breath is a beautiful refusal to become anything less than infinite." D. Antoinette Foy 

Mackenzie and Henry eloped, with family, to Hawaii on a perfect summer day last year. Days later, as they arrived home from their honeymoon, Mackenzie was diagnosed with an incredibly rare form of pulmonary hypertension, PVOD.
They are now in San Francisco to be listed for a double lung transplant.

We met our new friends via FaceTime a while ago. We laughed together, cried together (maybe just Henry and me cried), and our lung disease/transplant family grew twice the size that evening to encompass two of the most beautiful souls we've ever met.
Mackenzie is a dancer, now tied to a nasal canula and oxygen tanks. She absolutely glows. Literally. Light beams out of her face and you feel yourself becoming a better person because of her. Henry's writing is poetry. Read their blog (where Mackenzie writes beautifully as well) and you'll be moved by their devotion and passion. You'll find yourself with a tear–stained face. I just know you'll love them. Everybody does.

Today is the opening day of the Brave Little Lungs Silent Auction. Bidding starts today, July 15th, and ends Sunday, July 17th at 11 AM.
There are amazing items up for bidding! Jas has already sent me links to several ties he thinks he'd like to add to his collection. There is artwork and creative goods and VIP Lindsey Stirling tickets (to the show closest to you) and so much more...

ok, go HERE. now. you'll be so glad ya did.
(you can also view auction rules here)


♥︎


We're all part of this lung disease family.
It binds us tightly together, we cheer for each other, ache for each other, pray for each other. And it is beautiful.

You can donate here.
Follow their story on bravelittlelungs.com

5/03/2016

Chuck's Two–Tiered Dark Chocolate Cake from scratch with Cherry, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

I guess you could say cake auctions are a joy. Cake auctions with an amateur auctioneer in a sombrero preceded by a top–notch taco bar fundraiser with homemade donkey piƱatas are pure delight.

Jas and I decided to come packing some mega–heat for the cake auction... twenty dolla bill y'all.
The bidding began. I had my eye on an authentic, gooey, made from scratch and passed down from generations family recipe of a German Chocolate cake (ok, not sure all those things are facts, but that's how downright delectable that baby looked). Jason had his eye on a nice, thickly frosted, tray of brownies. Then a lovely little number came up for auction.
We were pretty sure we saw Chuck, one of our very favorite friends, carrying it when he walked in to the party with his wife, Mary Lynn (another very favorite friend), following close behind. Before the bidding our amateur auctioneer began to try to describe the lovely two–tiered item.
"Here we have what looks like a chocolate cake with... strawberry frosting..."
"Nahh!" Chuck raised a hand in the air and elevated his voice to be heard over the ambient nose of children scurrying and people chatting in the church gymnasium. "It's cherry! and raspberry! and uh, and uh, rhubarb, and cream uh cream cheese buttercream frosting!"
"So everything ever you wanted in a frosting, frosting on a two-tiered chocolate cake..."
 "It's a chocolate, no dark chocolate cake from scratch." 
Jas and I looked at each other as if to simultaneously say "We're in!"
"Alright who'll start the bidding at five dollars? five dollars five dollars, five dollars, Five dollars!"
And before we knew it we were the proud owners of a $10 two tiered dark chocolate from scratch cake with cherry, raspberry, rhubarb, cream cheese buttercream frosting.

As we were cleaning up and clearing out the event Mary Lynn passed by and we told her how excited we were to have won her cake.
"Oh no." Her eyes were wide with smile. "That's Chuck's cake. He made it all by himself. Scoured recipes online and came up with it all on his own."
You can imagine Jason and I's surprise and delight! "You're kidding! This is the best."
She shook her head, "I really think we need to give you your money back..." 
"What? We got a great deal!" 
"When he was working on it in the kitchen I could hear all sorts of moving and shuffling around in there... he kept yelling out questions for me. 'Is powdered sugar the same as real sugar?!' And then he did't remember to set a timer. I started to smell something and let out a yelp! He got it out of the oven and was trying to take it from the pan and THUNK it went onto the counter." I'm uncertain of the last time Jason and I were laughing so hard. Mary Lynn put her finger to the side of the cake, testing how hard it really was, grimacing. "Then we had to scrape off the frosting in the middle because he'd had big chunks of butter all through it..."
"Hey! I thought it would probably melt in there." Chuck had come up behind Jason and decided to stand behind his cake and all decisions in the making of it. "I believe I followed all the directions."
"We got it all scraped off and blended it up and spread it back on... ... oh I hope it's alight. Edible at least. I really feel like we aught a have you over and repay you with dinner and another..."
"No repayment necessary!" Jason and I chorused each other. "Now we know the back story I'm sure we couldn't be happy with any other cake."
"Well... I don't know about that." Mary Lynn sighed, her eyes flitting up to Chuck. "But the roses on top are right off Chuck's very own rose bush! And I washed out all the bugs."

We figure we got the best deal of the whole Girl's Camp Fiesta Fundraiser & Cub Scout Cake Auction.

A good story is always worth more than a perfectly crafted two tiered dark chocolate cake frosted with everything you ever wanted in your frosting, frosting (and yes, it really was everything you ever wanted in your frosting, frosting).