About hopesquires

I've left behind the daily grind to write full time and to figure out what my own flourishing tree looks like. I'd love to help you flourish and grow along the way, so that you, too, can cultivate a life that pleases God.

Celebrating the Fourth of July

I’m taking the week off to celebrate the Fourth of July. Because of my dog (and the extreme dryness of California summers), I no longer enjoy fireworks the way I used to. But a good parade never gets old. And neither do celebrations with family and friends.

How do you celebrate patriotism and independence—whether you’re American or claim another country as home?

Big draws to a blazing track

This past weekend, the USATF Outdoor Championships came to Sacramento. The championships—always fun to watch—also served as the trials to select the US team going to London for the World Championships later this summer.

My husband and I were looking forward to the event until the weather forecast began promising triple digits three of the four days, including a high on Thursday of 110. (Sunday’s high was a relatively cool 97 degrees. Ugh.)

If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know my husband and I love watching track, and I especially love capturing photos of great moments in the competition. But because of the heat, even in the evenings, I left my good camera at home and had to rely on my cell phone’s not-so-great camera. Saturday’s and Sunday’s races took place mid-day, and my phone stayed in my bag. My hands were full of sno-cones, water, and a little misting fan. The relentless sun might have fried my phone anyway. It almost fried me.

Several races were almost as hot as the track, including the men’s 5,000 meters where Paul Chelimo (who runs for the US Army World Class Athlete Program and went to college in North Carolina) took the lead from the gun and won in convincing fashion. One of my favorite runners, Ryan Hill (below, right) of the Bowerman Track Club and a North Carolina native, took third in the men’s 5,000.

The winners of the 5,000 meters men’s race

I love seeing athletes cheer for and support other athletes. Evan Jager, the silver medalist in Rio last year in the men’s steeplechase, stood a few rows down from me to cheer for Hill. He gave him a thumb’s up and then clapped as Hill received his medal. Continue reading

Beauty above and along the Columbia River Gorge

In last week’s post, I took you on a tour of Portland’s International Rose Test Garden. This week, I’m inviting you along for a trip to Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, a short drive outside of Portland.

As I write this, California’s Central Valley is facing yet another day of brutal, record-breaking heat. I can hardly believe that just two weekends ago, I was standing at the foot of snow-covered Mt. Hood.

Staring up at Mt. Hood

If I could teleport myself there now, I would lie in the snow and make snow angels.  Continue reading

The rose garden

My husband and I spent the weekend in Portland, Ore., for a mix of work and fun. The city is known as the City of Roses. It was fitting, then, that we took time to wander through Portland’s International Rose Test Garden. If I’ve ever been to a more beautiful rose garden, I can’t remember when. The garden is home to more than 8,000 roses of 610 varieties. Words cannot do justice to the fragrance, the colors, the different sizes and shapes.

I’m still getting over a lingering, clinging cold, and today, I thought I’d share a bouquet with you all. I hope you enjoy these beauties from Portland’s wonderful rose garden.

“Of all flowres methinks a rose is best.” William Shakespeare

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Flowers and Emily Dickinson on a sick day

The last few days have been rough for me. I’ve been battling a bad cold and falling behind on everything I need to get done. In fun news, I’ve gotten to hear the owlet sing (or make sounds anyway) over several nights, and it’s strong enough to reach the tree tops now.

I’ve been outside very little but wandered in the garden for a bit earlier today. The scent of gardenias wafts into the house most mornings. The hydrangeas are lovelier and more abundant than in recent summers. And plenty of other garden beauties beg for admiration.

A fragrant gardenia

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