Happy Summer!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Here is the view we get to soak in every time we drive down the hill towards town. On this particular morning, the top of the Hunger Mountain ridge was obscured by a blinding white haze, and the sun was beautifully warm. I love this season...

Another benefit of living in the country: wildlife. Lots of wildlife. For example, this real live venison sausage in our backyard, feeding peacefully less than 50 feet from our house. #yum

The goldfinches have found that the top of our umbrella is an ideal resting spot. There is almost always one sitting there.

Here is a picture of a dinner meeting we enjoyed with some of Curtis' classmates...

And another...

Finally, here is a pic I snapped of Ibs the other day, as she was drawing out in the backyard. I like this picture because her hair kinda fades away into the forest behind her, making her look almost like a part of it... :)

Happy almost-weekend, people!

How to Get Along with Your Sister: Part Two

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

[Ibs making her world-famous biscuits]

Ibs and I lay awake in our beds last night, talking late into the night. Earlier that morning, the two of us had been looking at our schedules for the day, and had run into a conflict of time/needs/desires… the normal sort of hiccup you’re bound to run into when you try to dovetail busy schedules and varied needs. It wasn’t a fight and it wasn’t a sister conflict, but it was a simple disagreement that requires being worked through with a mature, can-do attitude, until both parties’ needs are accounted for.

And here’s the deal: if you haven’t been resolving the little teeny things between you and your sister, and you’ve let them build up (perhaps under the assumption that it’s always best to just “let it slide” and get on with life)… it’s usually when that simple disagreement comes up that everything comes flooding back and now suddenly you’ve got a BIG talk happening, instead of just a quick decision about who’s going to make lunch.

Thankfully yesterday’s quick decision was quick – and that’s what Ibs and I were talking about last night. We realized that our relationship runs quite smoothly and we’re able to work disagreements out efficiently, because we spend so much time investing in our relationship that we have a solid foundation on which to work. So that’s my first point…

1. Invest quality time in your relationship with your sister.  It’s like a bank account. The more you put in, the more you have available, and the safer you’ll be when you suddenly have to make an unexpected withdrawal. When you invest time, effort, service, etc, in your sister relationships, you build trust and the bonds of friendship, so when someone makes a withdrawal, you’re not left high and dry. Besides, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”… the more you invest in your sister, the more you will value her.

2. Be perfectly honest with your sister.  Covenant with her that you will always tell the truth to her (and her to you), no matter how unpleasant it is to hear. Now, it is equally important to speak with kindness, so when she comes out of the closet and asks you what you think of an outfit, don’t yell “That looks HORRIBLE!!!” At least I don’t suggest it. :) But any strong relationship has a great measure of trust involved, and both of you need to be able to trust each other’s honesty. Ibs and I have made this very clear between us: whether it’s a small thing, like a little habit one of us has, or a really, really big thing, like a future husband option, we will always tell each other the truth and not beat around the bush. (again, I repeat: with kindness!)  

3. Find common ground with your sister, and celebrate your differences.  Just by growing up in the same family, you share a ton of things in common. Celebrate that. Seek out that common ground and enjoy it, just the way you’d enjoy it if it was your best out-of-family friend. There isn’t any need to be threatened by it, because there’s enough room in this world for both of you to succeed. And celebrate the skills/possessions/interests/talents/etc that you don’t share, because they actually make you stronger. You can work well as a team when each team member has their own area of strength – as well as those shared common-ground areas.  

P.S. If you’re anything like Ibs & I, you know what it’s like to be constantly finishing each other’s sentences, responding immediately with the right answer to a totally off-topic question she randomly asks you… and always knowing what each other is thinking. Ibs said to me the other day, after we’d had a funny interaction with a stranger in town, “You know, Ems, when we’re in some situations, it’s kind of hard not to chuckle because I know JUST what you’re thinking. So I can’t really look at you because I know if I do, I’ll burst out laughing.” I know… totally. :)

Early Morning on Mt. Mansfield

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I was sorting through some ancient pictures yesterday (ancient, as in, from this past March), and I found these pics from the Easter sunrise service we attended on top of Mt. Mansfield. Wow, what an incredible experience that was. So incredible, in fact, that it justifies my posting several-months-old pictures because it was just.that.fun...

The morning started off bright and early at 3:45 a.m., and I put on so many layers that I began to look like a stuffed potato. The temperature was well below freezing, and we knew it would be WAY colder at the top of the mountain. It was also beginning to snow. Hence, the potato layers.

Now comes the fun part! Stowe Mountain Resort is a multi-million dollar getaway that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, so their facility is top of the line. One of the attractions they offer is a loooooong and nicely insulated gondola ride up almost to the very top of the mountain. The best part? Everyone could ride free for the Easter service!

We couldn't wait to start boarding (above).

Once safely ensconced in the comfy gondola car, we slid out into the frigid black night...

...and began the long ride up. This was our view up the mountain as we swung along, and everything was very quiet except for the low rumbling of the cables just above our heads. And the hooting and hollering that was going on inside the gondola. We Adams like adventures a LOT, in case you didn't know that already.

Here we are just about to arrive at the top, where they have a really nice gift shop + restaurant + ski lodge.

Who can resist free coffee and donuts??

After a while we went outside, where it was wildly freezing, and there was thick snow falling. But it was SO worth it! There is something about being on top of a mountain in the middle of a blizzard, with several hundred other people, all celebrating Christ's Resurrection... it was an incredible experience. We didn't get any pictures of the hymn sing or the message, but it was quite something, with the snow coming down so fast - made for a very unique church service!

Getting ready to head down again...

And finally, here is the view from the bottom, now that it's light enough to see. We are SO planning to do that again next Easter, Lord-willing. We're looking forward to it already!

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