pictures I didn’t take this summer

Driving through Brandon, Nebraska late at night- a town too small for a lowered speed limit. There was a dusty haze in the air and a car rounding the corner coming toward us. The way the headlights shone on the telephone wires made them look like spider webs.

An old windmill on a hill, with the big electric wind turbines behind it. It seemed too obvious of a picture plus I was following my brother so I had to keep up.

a snow globe type of moment, only instead of fake snow it was real miller moths and instead of a snow globe it was a barn loft. Kalyn and I were posting a schedule in the loft and the combination of the door slamming and the lights coming on (and Kay’s screams) caused total chaos! The air was full of them. Of course it all happened too fast for a picture.

(related: my miller moth poem, and my father’s miller moth poem, for real.)

My friends, standing around talking a little longer at the end of the night, with the car still running behind them so all I could see was their outline in the headlights. It was windy and it just looked cool.

the mostly empty shelves and creepy appearance of our grocery store. It would be easy to take some bleak pictures there, something like “gritty realism of a small town struggling to stay alive in modern times.” But it’s my hometown, one of them anyways, and I just wouldn’t want to do that. Plus it’s not that simple. It’s really sad to go grocery shopping there though. (news story on the bella’s market financial issues.)

This green, rusty hinge at one of the farms we explored. It is totally something I would take a picture of but everyone was leaving me behind so I had no time.

A beautiful snow leopard, aka ghost cat, off the beaten track in the Himalayas. I mysteriously just wanted to stay in the moment, rather than take one little photo that could earn me a paycheck and probably some awards. Oh wait………. this last one isn’t me, it’s from a movie.

stranded in small towns


So, you’re stuck in a small town. What do you do? Good news, it’s the best place to be when in a scrape. People will go out of their way to help you. It will come very naturally to them because they do it all the time.

Things to do in the meantime:
Take naps, wonderful naps.
Help your friend paint her bedroom.
Eat mulberries and strawberries at every opportunity.
Go to the park.
Go to church.
Go cruising.
Walk in the middle of the street.
Have lunch at grandma’s house (she doesn’t have to be your grandma for this to work).
Rent a movie from the gas station (using a friend’s movie rental card because your family has racked up large fines and you want to avoid that liability. Been there done that!!)
Read auction flyers at the gas station while waiting for your pizza/calzones/mozzarella sticks.
Talk to people in the grocery store.
Ponder never leaving because of how nice it is to slow down.
Realize you have to leave or you’ll turn into a slice of gas station pizza.



monday gifts


Thankful for… 

sweet tea.

literary conversations with Val.

laughing hysterically over memories from our college days.

and realizing all over again how I’ve been gifted with friendships.


my amazing aunt.

goofing around and playing with babies.


prayers that have the word “help” in them a lot.

people who are patient with me.

“too much” coffee.

small town 4th

2014-07-04_21-31-29_490 2014-07-04_12-05-30_6792014-07-04_14-15-06_71
helping with the climbing wall / exhausting myself playing with Finn for hours in the hot sun / cheeseburger / bounce houses / old cars / pizza at the gas station / checking irrigation pivots / commenting on beautiful wildflowers & how many there are this year due to all the rain / getting stuck in the mud / ingeniously getting un-stuck / cookies n cream homemade ice cream / amazing sky / watching the grant fireworks / sitting around swapping stories & eating leftover pie till way too late / kalyn and I drive back to camp.
2014-07-04_20-24-57_285 2014-07-04_21-48-03_272

monday gifts


Thankful for… 

getting to be around wheat harvest again.

safe travels. And a few misadventures that ultimately turned out fine.


getting to play with some of my favorite little guys! I don’t get to see them nearly enough!

the way Cherry and I can talk about a shared memory, that when I think about it, happened 20 years ago.

sharing meals with favorite people.


accidental matching in church, patriotic edition. This happens to me way too much.

heroes and lifesavers. Such as the entire Hanson family, my dad, Miss Tina and Amanda (and Grace and little Finn too, why not… I went to their house the morning my car broke down. Finn gave me hugs and attempted to kiss me on the mouth, but just laughed at my face instead? It did cheer me up though.)


a great afternoon tubing with Eli! We had so much fun, it was so relaxing! …. Followed by a not entirely great evening/night that wasn’t so much fun, or relaxing, involving some unwise detours, losing the car keys in the river, Dad not answering his phone, clinging to the highway for warmth as we waited in the dark, things like that.


great weeks at camp.

John 15:16, how it says, “You didn’t choose Me. I chose you.”

enough sunsets, stars, storms, barns, mulberries, dirt roads, dust, mud and slushies to last me for a while!


One weekend recently I took several shadow pictures that make me smile. This first one is of us bocce ball champions at the picnic for our church’s coffee & book table teams. (Which I like to call the “coffee table picnic,” so far the name has not caught on but I’m sure it will.)
Funny bocce ball story: Valerie was being all competitive and difficult and kept throwing the ball we were aiming at into bushes and flowers. This time, she threw it directly over a 12 foot evergreen tree. I was like, “Well, I can totally do this!” but I don’t think I had decided whether to roll it under the tree or throw it over.. so instead… at a moment when everyone there happened to be watching.. I threw my ball really hard directly into the center of the tree. And we all collapsed about the place laughing.
Cousins leaving Josh’s soccer game. I can remember when his team was tiny and we cheered if they kicked the ball in the right direction. Now they are teenagers and competitive and stuff.

at camp on flag day

2014-06-14_17-39-40_298The oldest parts of camp are my favorite.

Someone took down the small mirror held up with leather straps, on the wall of the prayer room, where the office/staff room used to be. It is fine, nobody needs a mirror there anymore, but I miss it. Us office girls literally slept in a bunk bed in that tiny room, covered it with a sheet in the day, and worked from the desk right next to it. BK built us a shelf to hold our stuff and decorated the with picket fence leftovers, and hung the little mirror.

Now we have a large, air conditioned office and and actual staff housing. It’s much nicer and more functional. But I’m glad I was there for the humble beginning.
Since the start, this holds true: the kitchen light is the last one on, and inside there are popsicles, stories to swap and people to laugh with.