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CONTEST!!! “Oh, Sully!”, an Adventurous Whale, by author Kevin Gard

 

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I met my husband when I was 17.  At the time, I had no clue we’d end up marrying 9 years later.  He has been my rock.  He has seen my good sides, my bad sides, and helped to keep me motivated with personal endeavors during the 20+ years we have been best of friends.

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Kevin is truly one extremely talented guy; and so wonderfully grounded as a person with a gift of humor that keeps giving.  From diaper bags, to mommy-and-me apron sets, to quilts, to inventing Mattress Masseuse, re-doing our entire “fixer” home, and making time to write & illustrate a children’s book, and still maintain his deep commitment to our daughters & I, I’d say he is quite the catch!

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This catch of mine, is doing a wonderful collaborative book give-away with Sue  (blog.sueparke.com)

Sue’s blog is wonderfully written.  I thoroughly enjoy her honest approach and  feel I can relate to her as a reader. Please visit her site and explore her stories. If you get a chance, please help by voting for her as one of the best Mommy blogs of 2014.  You can vote several times.

 

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This Friday, tune into Tree Swing Press @ Facebook to enter to win an autographed copy of “Oh, Sully!”, free of charge.

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Kevin and I are such huge advocates of literacy and truly want children to be inspired to create their own books, and to enjoy reading.  Please share this contest with your friends.  This contest starts this Friday, August 15th and ends in one week.  Winners will be announced Friday, August 22nd. at blog.sueparke.com, on Facebook, http://treeswingpress.com

 

Giveaway Terms & Conditions

* You must be awesome!

* You must be 5 or older to enter the contest

* Only one submission per person

* Publisher agrees to pay for the cost of shipping the autographed book

* To submit your entry for the contest, please draw/paint/or use other art media of your interpretation of an amazing whale on a grand adventure, and post to the Tree Swing Press FB  page, by liking the page and posting your comment.

* Two winners will be chosen by a strict panel of children ranging from ages 4-9.

* Winner will be notified on http://www.slparke.com,  http://www.treeswingpress.com, and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tree-Swing-Press

* No purchase necessary, unless you want an extra signed copy by an incredible author/illustrator and all around good guy.

 

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Transparency

Transparency is both a wonderful thing and a scary thing. It can leave you feeling vulnerable yet let out a sigh of relief. It’s been in my nature to allow boldness to lead me when I express myself, and to let the worry come afterwards.

So to be transparent with my readers, I’d say this…

Moving away from all we have ever known has been a much-needed breath of fresh air, yet the hardest thing we’ve done. We’ve moved away from all our comforts, our routines, our connections, and the little house we poured our heart and soul into to make our own. Making sacrifices is sometimes the only way to obtain those things you cannot put a price tag on.

The much-needed breath of fresh air came with each mile we drove; further and further from the nonsense of jobs we loathed. Jobs that provided stable income, great insurance, and could be lifelong.

But those jobs were not us. Those jobs we left a month ago, drained us of spirit and laughter and left us eager to clock out at the end of our shift to pick up where we left it; with each other.

Luckily for us, we are quite compatible and love each other’s company more than anything. I think we have a pretty special relationship the way we both lift one another up and truly seek to bless each other with unconditional support of each ones dreams, goals and endeavors. I think it’s made us richer all along to have such a blessed friendship turned marriage. I can honestly say that I get to spend life alongside my best friend.

When I said “I do”, I meant it. The part for “richer or for poorer” never made more sense then it does now.

I’ve never been more financially poor in my life. It’s been quite a wake up call not affording some of the things I’ve become accustomed to, and at the same time, I’ve never felt more rich. Now, I have the one thing I felt all along was the best commodity anyone could have; because I never had enough. Time!

I finally, after years of working, get a taste at being a stay-at-home mom. I wake to my children and prepare a fresh loaf of sourdough. I am able to prepare intentional meals and do my loved from-scratch cooking. There’s time to read, to take walks, to play. It brings my heart such joy. Our surroundings are something out of Narnia with the vast rivers, forests, and wildlife. I do not take those for granted.

But of course, along with that, I wholeheartedly miss my friends, my roller derby league, our kids’ elementary school, our rad neighbors, and our amazing church. Nothing can replace those.

Why the move? It’s with life’s short season that I want us to die knowing we put our heart and soul into trying to follow our dreams and bless others by the gifts God instilled in us.

Yes, I believe he has our route all mapped out, and uses us regardless. But, I also think he knows our hearts and desires. Through happiness, sorrow, good times and bad, faith led us.

As faith leads us now, and on our tomorrow’s, I only hope that this time we have on this journey, allows us to grow more deeply as a family, more committed to one another, and allows our dreams to be fulfilled.

Because as the saying goes, life is too short. My good friend Jackie who passed away from cancer, reminds me of that daily, and it’s with each minute that tics away, that I attempt to use my time wisely.

Now, off to make peach galettes with cashew cream with my daughters. Glorious sun-kissed, vine-ripened peaches from the orchard. Recipe to follow. Peaches not included.

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Three Arch Bay

The monument men saved art during the war, and I have a bit of my own history worth saving.

During my process of transcribing my children’s growth chart, that is penned in along the wood trim in their closet to a transportable board, I began to reflect on how stressful the last few months have been.

As weird as it feels to be living amongst boxes upon boxes and our comforting home now echoing, I also feel relief.

Some folks move suddenly and don’t go through as arduous pondering on their decision making. Having made this decision months ago, I’ve had lots of moments of anguish and feelings of doubt. Mainly, this was all due to the things and people I love so dearly that we are leaving behind.

I attribute this wait to strolling down the sandy beach with some of my best buds, with Three Arch Bay as a destination. The rock tunnel leads to scaling rocks to private pools, which then leads to a stretch of ocean you need to time correctly to get to the other side of more rocks you must scale, just to lead you to a rocky platform overlooking a 2 1/2-3 story high drop.

As you gather amongst your friends, some jump quickly and others linger either to enjoy the glorious view or because they’re afraid. The longer you hover there on that edge, glancing below, the harder it gets to make the leap. More doubt creeps into your mind.

But, if you don’t think too long, that jump into the frigid ocean below is rejuvenating and exciting. The brisk swim across the kelp filled lagoon to the shoreline, reminds you the trek was well worth it. This is especially true if this reminds you of how your marriage proposal happened.

The time has exceedingly sped up the last two weeks. That doubt that was stagnant is now obsolete and the anticipation of adventure far out ways the fear.

I know my love affair with California, is not busted. But, I look forward to entangling myself in the beauty of Washington and all it has to offer.

I believe this is a leap of faith; a jump worth the wait.