Sunday, April 13, 2014

1000

My husband is passionate about trees.

He believes that trees make the world a better place.

They produce oxygen, provide shade, prevent erosion, provide homes for animals.

At night, when we sit on our deck, my husband often talks about how not that long ago a squirrel could just jump from tree to tree and go several miles that way.

Jason likes to imagine what the world looked like before it became so developed.


Several years ago, Jason set the goal of planting 1000 trees in his lifetime.

It seemed quite lofty at the time.

I wasn't quite sure how he would pull it off.


This weekend Jason exceeded that goal of planting 1000 trees in his lifetime.


We've planted trees at our home and given trees to people as gifts.

Jason's planted trees at work and at the girls' school (when they were in school).

Jason volunteers on our town's Shade Tree Commission.

Last year, Jason procured 75 trees from a grant program and the Girl Scouts and our homeschool group planted them in a local park.



This year, Jason procured over 900 saplings from a state program to help replace trees that were lost as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

Jason, the girls and I and several members of the Shade Tree Commission handed these small saplings out events in and around our town this weekend.


Jason educated people on the importance of planting trees and how to properly plant and care for a small sapling or a larger tree.

We had several varieties of trees from silky dogwoods, which are a shrub to different kinds of oak trees that will grow quite large.

Jason and the other members of the Shade Tree Commission helped people pick which kind of tree or trees were right for their property.


Between these two projects and various other projects Jason has been involved in, plus all of the trees he has planted on our property, he has far exceeded planting 1000 trees in his lifetime.


So, now he is working on a new goal.

He would like to see more and more trees planted.

He knows it will never be wooded again, the way it was before the area became so developed, but if he can convince people to plant more trees, he will feel he has left the world a better place.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Journey

Lately I have been awful about using my camera.  It's just so much easier to use my phone and post to Instagram with a quick (or even longer) explanation of what is going on.  Share it to Facebook.  

Every year I make a photo book of photos from the year and this year, I'm realizing that some of the photos I take with my phone might be suitable, but I like the DSLR photos for the photo book better and I need to get better about remembering to use the camera.


This weekend, our family volunteered to help set-up our Town's Easter Egg Hunt and I brought along my Nikon!



When I took the photos off the camera, I found photos from Christmas...and these photos...from my kooky kids :-) 

My girls are growing up so fast!  

After visiting different high schools and talking to different people, Allie has made the decision to homeschool high school.  She wants to have time to volunteer at animal shelters and hospitals--in our area kids need to be 15 to volunteer with animals or in a hospital setting, I believe it has something to do with insurance.  She plans to continue with Princeton Learning Center one day a week and at some point take some community college classes on a dual enrollment basis.  My hope is that things will flow smoothly from taking one class at community college, to taking two, to getting an Associate's degree to transferring to a four-year college.

Some of Allie's friends were considering high school, but we found out that for various reasons, they will all still be home next year!

Piper's best friends - our homeschool neighbors - will be going to school next year.  Their parents situation has changed and both parents are working full time and are finding it hard to meet the needs of older students, so the homeschool neighbors will no longer be "homeschooled" next year.  Piper is concerned about this.  We have tried to remain friends with her friends from school, but for one reason or another--different schedules, interests, etc. - those friendships have drifted apart and Piper doesn't want that to happen with these girls, that have become like sisters to her.

The homeschool neighbor dad and girls have become more like family over the last few years.  It's not uncommon that on a weekend evening we call the dad and invite him and the girls for dinner and sit on the deck or in the living room and listen to music and chat until late into the evening.  We all enjoy this friendship immensely and hope it continues after the girls start school.
Piper has an EOS lip balm obsession!

Jason's company bought out the company Jason originally started in his industry with more than 20 years ago.  Jason is in the position of managing and training some of the guys who originally trained him.  It's been weird.

The project that he worked on daily for the last 7 years became something that only needed Jason's oversight twice a week and as more trees are planted in Manhattan, he is only needed to be there once a week.  It was recently decided that someone else will go there once a week and Jason will consult on the project when necessary because his skills are needed for the merger.  It was hard for him to leave the project he had lived and breathed for seven years, but the work that needs to be done in setting up the new branch and seeing it is successful has been taking a lot of his time and energy.
Yup, these Christmas photos were STILL on my camera in April!

It used to be that I took photos and was instantly putting them on the computer and blogging about them.  It's funny how life changes.  Ebbs and flows.  I want to be open to whatever is new on the horizon for us...I guess blogging occasionally now is where my life/energy/mind is these days.

As for me, I have been on a spiritual journey.  I joined a group that was reading the Bible in one year.  Since I was very young, my mom and my Nauna read me the stories of the Bible, having heard those stories since I was so young they are ingrained in me.  I've read the girls stories from a Children's Bible and I attended Catholic school and I felt that I had a good understanding of the Bible.  But I had never actually tried to read the ACTUAL Bible.  It was more difficult than I had expected and I found myself with more questions than I had ever thought I would.  Did the men of Soddom and Gomorrah REALLY tell Lot that they wanted to know the men who came to destroy their cities carnally?  Or did they say, We want to f--- them up!  Why was it ok for Lot to offer his virgin daughters to the MEN of two cities to do what they wanted with them?  So much of it I found myself struggling with.  Fortunately, I have a lot of people to speak with about this whose opinion and knowledge I trust.

I am continuing to read the Bible and ask questions.  I tend to do this reading at night before bed and then sometimes I lay there trying to work something out in my brain.  Bible.org has been an awesome resource when I can't figure something out.

The girls and I have been watching documentaries on the History of the Bible and The Secrets of the Bible.  We've found more documentaries on Yotube than Netflix, but we've enjoyed some of the movies about books in the Bible on Netflix.  It was a nice thing to do during Lent.

As I've shared before, Jason was raised without any "formal religion" so he doesn't have that "ingrained" thing in him that says, "Well, of course Mary was a virgin and Jesus rose from the dead, I've been told that my whole life, just like that the sky is blue."  Jason attended Christian "Rock n Roll" church with a friend as a teen and felt good there and he attended church with the girls and I.  He made the decision to be baptized because he felt Jesus was a cool guy with a good message.  Over the years, he has decided to learn more about Jesus, as a man, and about Buddha and Mohammed and he likes them all, he feels they all had a great message, he's not sure anymore that he wants to pick just one of them.  Recently, he has started learning about the Tao and how human life mirrors nature.  He's been sharing some of that with me and it's all really cool.

I am trying to keep my mind and my heart open.