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Keeping the faith for Jennifer (Turner) Huston, and ourselves


As a follow up to my post this week about the vanishing of Jennifer (Turner) Huston, Missing Mom close to home I feel compelled to share more about the gathering graciously hosted by Hillside Community Church in Newberg Tuesday evening, the event was about connecting the family and community in support of one another and offering a place to gather in prayer for courage, and for strength, and of course that that Jennifer is found safe, sound and soon. 

It was an intimate gathering, and Pastor Zach Elliott starting the evening by reading from the 13th Psalm and beautifully summarizing it by saying this:

"This Psalm invites us to wait," he said. "The silence can be a difficult thing to wait into but you are surrounded by people who want to wait with you into that silence because we know it can be terrifying." Then, he asked for courage for those present to "enter into the silence and ask the Lord: how long?"

Download Psalm 13

People prayed, shared stories and encouragement.

One woman shared an amazing, inspiring story about keeping the faith by recollecting how just before Easter last year her friend and fellow George Fox student Mary Owen was lost for a week on Mount Hood after suffering from an icy 40-foot fall. 

Owen, 23 at the time, was found alive, albeit injured and frostbitten after nearly a week of nothing but questions. 

It was good to remember it's worth keeping the faith as the search for Jennifer continues. 

The gathering concluded with a reading from Romans 8:31.

You guys, there were a lot of tears in that room but also? An awesome amount of hope.

To hear that verse and my first pod-casty attempt on a totally unexpected subject (for me!) click on the audio link below. 

Download Romans, etc

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Missing Mom close to home


What would you do if someone you loved, like say your spouse or best friend went to run a few errands and never came home?

That’s what happened last Thursday to Jennifer Huston’s husband and two little boys (and the rest of her family and friends). At the time of this writing, Monday evening, no one has any clue where she is.

Literally we are down here in Yamhill County looking in ravines and driving around looking for signs her 1999 Dark Green Lexus drove off the road – skid marks, broken guard rails, crushed brush – anything. We are looking for any. thing. that could offer a clue.

While I wasn’t close with Jen, we went to high school together in Washington and met at the park down here in Newberg and stood side-by-side pushing our boys on the swings.

I am having a hard time sleeping and thinking about much else knowing that something could have happened to her and the not knowing is a special kind of hell. My heart breaks for her husband and their two little guys who must know something is wrong.

Time is obviously of the essence, if you can, please pass along this flyer and if anyone has seen Jennifer or her car, please call your local police department.

A Facebook page has been set up Find Jennifer Huston for more information.

Thank you!

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jenn's plate

Here is a link to an article from our local paper, the News-Register.

Here is the full text of the press release from the Newberg-Dundee Police Department dated July 28:

On Friday July 25, 2014, at about 5 am, the Newberg-Dundee Police Department took a report of a missing person; Ms. Jennifer Janelle Huston, age 38 of Dundee. The report was made by her husband, Kallen Huston.
Mr. Huston reported that Ms. Huston was last seen by her husband on Thursday evening July 24, 2014 at approximately 5:45 pm at their home, when she left to "run errands".
Ms. Huston was last seen driving the family's dark green 1999 Lexus SUV with Oregon License number WXH-011. It has been confirmed that she was last known to be at the Circle K filling station / convenience store located on Portland Rd. in Newberg at about 6:20 pm. on Thursday July 24.
The Special Investigations Unit of the Newberg-Dundee Police Department, consisting of five detectives, began work to locate Ms. Huston beginning Friday morning and have been actively working throughout the weekend to locate Ms. Huston, to include detectives from the Newberg-Dundee Police Department's Computer Forensics Unit.
Many tips and leads have been followed up on and are continuing to be followed up on.
As of this time, there is no known criminal nexus to this case nor is there any known threat to the public. The case is being considered as a Missing Persons Case.
Ms. Huston's huband, Kallen Huston is fully cooperating with the investigation and is very concerned about the whereabouts of his wife.

Living la vida verde



I’m on day 3 of a ten day challenge that ends July 31. The goal is to drink one of these Glowing Green Smoothies a day ala Kimberly Snyder.

So, I’m a little late in the game to ask you to join me, but it’s not like the expiration date for feeling good is August 1, right?

If you’d like to join me in this challenge, I’d love it!

I’ll be doing this long after the end of the month since it has served me so well this far. I think I shared before that these shakes have been part of my formula for losing 22 pounds which isn’t quite half way to my goal but it’s the steadiest progress I’ve made in years and I feel awesome.

I know we’d like to not be about the numbers, but those numbers are part of how I measure my success because they are directly linked to lowering my BMI which of course is a legitimate factor in my overall health.

This beautiful graphic by Kimberly breaks it down for you and her site has the recipe and instructions as well.


I love these green shakes so much I made FOUR gallons to bring on a one-week vacation. Not coincidentally, I also enjoyed playing in the lake with my boys, spending the whole day in a swim suit and water skiing for the first time in twenty years. (How. Is. That. Possible.?!)


For details about the challenge or to learn more about what’s up with the green shakes, visit Kimberly’s page here.

The gist is:


1) Follow along and actually drink the #GlowingGreenSmoothie each day.

2) Post a daily photo on Instagram or Twitter – to track your progress and commitment.

3) Use the hashtag “#BeautyDetoxChallenge” and tag @_KimberlySnyder

I’ll be posting more soon about how I’m incorporating some of Kimberly Snyder’s concepts into my world. If you want to read along with me you can order her books at your local indie bookstore or through my links on Amazon by clicking on either of the cover images below.

Also … if you’re in the market for a Vitamix, I highly recommend them and get a few bucks if you give them my code so let me know.

This post contains affiliate links in an effort to support this blog by connecting readers to products, services and people I believe in.

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Think before you toss

Confessions of a Green Wannabe: Think before you toss



Published in the Yamhill-Valley News-Register


Green Living July 2014

Green Living July 2014 inside

Let’s be honest. For most of us, saving the whole planet is just a titch overwhelming to contemplate. Yet, anyone who has been paying the least bit of attention knows environmental issues are, well, a real issue.

Whether or not we are of like mind on the local landfill, we probably all agree that reducing the amount of garbage we contribute to it is a good idea. But do we run with that good idea, and if so, to what extent?

As long as we’re being frank here, part of the challenge of creating a greener community is that we are completely hooked on convenience. So hooked, in fact, that I think we often feel rather entitled to it.

Walk a little farther down the block to throw something away? Nonsense. If the city, or business owners, don’t cough up the money to put refuse bins within convenient reach, the ground will do.

This sounds ludicrous, but look around next time you take a walk somewhere.

People seem to feel entitled to eat and drink at all times, using disposable cups, cutlery and wrappers, of course. And they seem reluctant to be so inconvenienced as to have to wait to throw it away. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 30 percent of waste in this country consists of packaging — wrappers, bags, containers and such.

I know changing habits of convenience isn’t easy. It is a pain to remember to bring your own bags to the store, your own mug to the coffee counter and to go the extra step to pack a washcloth in a reusable baggie instead of using paper towels.

But it’s only a bother at first. Once you get used to it, it becomes as normal as brushing your teeth — with the water turned off, of course.

Before starting this column, I was much more attached to keeping things convenient. Then along came my children.

I wanted to set as good an example for them as I could. Also, I wanted to do my part to make sure there’s a little bit of planet left for their children and their children’s children.

My first born — Sam, now 6 — helped inspire this effort. In the process, doing things that seemed a big bother to me have become just normal operating procedures for him, and by extension, me.

When he recently went on an organized trip, he reported the following to me: “Mom. You have to pack me garbage for lunch. Just garbage.”

In response to my confused expression he said, “Not junk food, Mom, just garbage. Like to throw away? Don’t send anything recyclable.”

I contacted the event organizer to make sure something hadn’t been lost in translation. Indeed, this was a large group and plans called for genuinely disposable lunches for the sake of convenience.

You know what? I get that. When you’re with a group of excited children, you’re basically one stuck zipper away from chaos. That’s exactly the kind of situation where convenience is called for.

“This feels weird, right?” Sam said as we packed his lunch.

Casting about for something to put his sandwich in, he hit on the bread bag.

“Wait!” he said. “Put the rest of the bread in the container and I’ll pack my sandwich in the bread bag. We would throw that out anyway.”

I was eyeing a new, gallon-size plastic freezer bag when he came up with his win-win solution.

Part of what’s worked well for me is the way we talk about making greener choices around here. I think there’s enough guilt and angst in the world, and enough of it is falling to our children, without putting the entire burden of healing the planet on their little shoulders.

Instead, we try to make it fun to explore outside and foster a connection with the natural world. I think that connection morphs into an affection, which creates a desire to be protective through positive choices.

To me that’s an easier message to swallow than some of the scarier ones about how the planet is going to hell and we’re doomed unless we all change radically and right now. The only thing we can actually truly change is ourselves, and the example we set to those watching.

Speaking of swallowing things, a Poison Control lady recently asked Sam to identify which of two bottles containing an electric green liquid was poisonous. One was a beverage, the other a cleaner, so I thought the answer was obvious.

Sam surprised both of us when he insisted each bottle was full of poison.

“But which would you swallow?” she persisted.

“Neither, because it’s poison,” Sam responded.

Uncomprehending, the Poison Control lady looked at me. That was a little bit my fault, I explained. We are label-readers and I have a habit of pointing out chemicals that are bad for you.

“Well, one is a bad nutritional decision, but the other is truly toxic,” the Poison Control lady reasoned.

“Actually, they are both toxic,” Sam said, holding his ground.

We didn’t take the complimentary coloring book, and I walked away wondering if maybe “poison” was kind of an overstatement on my part.

But I like the fact my kids want to know what’s in the sunscreen they’re applying or the water they’re drinking.

We don’t always make the most correct environmental decisions, but I love that we’re talking about actions and impact, choices and consequences. I hope we always keep that conversation going.

And, of course, that those conversations lay the foundation for action.

To see a PDF version of this article, and read the others in this special section click here.

Beyond the bon-bons

Beyond the bon-bons

By NATHALIE HARDY | July, 2014

Published in the Yamhill-Valley News-Register

It should surprise very few to learn that since I switched from working outside the home full time to stay-at-home momming full time, there’s been a little, uh, shall we say, “relationship recalibration” around here.

While we aren’t breaking any new ground with the whole “who does what around here” argument, I figured it would be worth dedicating at least one column to this futile fight so the rest of you who might be having it know you are not alone.

Honestly, my first draft was an angry journal entry. I considered not submitting the final version because I don’t want to pick on my husband. After all, I love the guy.

But I am committed to reality and honesty. And I believe an authentic column about parenting, running as long as this has without at least some mention of that classic argument, would be neither realistic nor honest.

It turns out, my husband is genuinely baffled about why I don’t get more done during the day. Probably more puzzling is the lack of bon-bon containers in the bathroom, fancy nails and spa appointments.

For us, the issue came to a head last weekend when both of us were both trying to get major projects done while our 6- and 4-year-olds entertained themselves in the backyard. But that only worked for about an hour.

I suggested he finish his, then give me some time in the evenings to do mine.

“But you have all day, every day,” he said, incredulous. I stared back at him, equally incredulous.

Do I? Because it doesn’t feel like that at all.

“You’re the boss, you can do whatever you want,” he said.

I’d prefer to report that comment was met with silence. Alas, it was not.

His is not an uncommon misunderstanding of what it’s like at home with little ones. The truth is, my days actually seem to be run more by the boys’ bowel and bladder needs, and cleaning up after said needs, than a list of tasks to be accomplished by day’s end.

Oh, I make lists. It’s just hard to factor in all the little ways things go sideways.

Water spills. It gets cleaned up. Food spills. Floor gets mopped. Someone cuts foot, leaving trail of blood and dirt on freshly mopped floor. And so it goes.

Or, how about simple things like going to the grocery store.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to get two children through Fred Meyer to buy bananas, bread, spinach and tortillas? Forty five minutes, people.

Why? Well, because they wanted to help, or didn’t want to help. Because they never have to go to the bathroom at the same time, but do both need to go at some point. Yes, even though they went at home before we left.

This is a familiar fight, even to me, because it surfaced every so often during round one of my being home with the boys. You’d think we’d have learned. And actually, to some extent, we have.

My husband is learning to keep some of his observations to himself, and conversely to make an effort to notice what I actually do get accomplished.

As for me, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter so much if everyone doesn’t get it. I really don’t have to defend myself for being the kind of mom who would rather let the boys play peek-a-boo with squirrels on a very long walk home from school than worry if the floors are clean enough to eat off.

Who eats off the floor, anyway? Besides kids, I mean.

The first time around, I was intent on making sure people knew how hard it was to be home with little ones. I wanted it understood it really is work, no matter how good the cause. So I wound up doing a lot of what sounded like complaining instead of being grateful for the time with them.

When my now 6-year-old was a toddler, I overheard a woman sounding much like I probably did as she lamented all there was to do to care for her children. She made them sound like such a burden, and they were within earshot.

She was likely just venting to a friend. But I realized in that moment that I never wanted to make the boys feel like burdens.

This time around, I’m mindful to avoid giving them the impression they are “work.” I am trying to balance that with getting their cooperation on lessening the load around here so there’s more time to read, snuggle and play together.

Did you know that to do something fun, crafty and hands-on, like making play-dough, it takes 20 minutes to set up before and 15 to clean up after in return for 30 minutes of actual play time? Call me crazy, but I think it’s worth every minute. To the kids, it’s pure joy.

So when people ask me what I do all day, exactly, I struggle. I once came up with a detailed list of how my typical day went, but I haven’t managed to pull that off again.

Annie Dillard said, “How you spend your days is, of course, how you spend your life.”

I hope to spend my days focusing on the magic before the mess and on making the people who matter most to me feel cherished, loved and safe — even if they also happen to be the messiest people I know. 

Contact Nathalie Hardy at

A day in the life

A day in the life

By NATHALIE HARDY | July, 2014

Published in the Yamhill-Valley News-Register

When my boys were 3 and 1, I actually took the time to note what, exactly, I did during a typical day.

Of course, this is just a snapshot, as each day has its own rhythm. But I think it makes the point, probably by the time it reaches noon.

I haven’t made the time to do a similar exercise since, and some of the details have changed. But I’m basically still on the same merry-go-round of mess, clean up and repeat. So, for those who asked, here is a sample day in the life of this stay-at-home mom:

Between 5 and 7:30 in the morning: Wake up to sounds of my husband trying to be quiet. Marvel that my children slept through the night and pray for another hour of quiet before the party starts. Write, prep breakfast, put in a load of laundry and empty dishwasher as quietly as possible. 

Head back upstairs, where Sam finds me stretching in my room. Work in a little yoga with him before his brother wakes.

Sam is the loudest little yogi ever, so Jake is up before long and hits the ground running. Then he falls, hitting his knee on an unidentified object. I don’t know what happened, since I was being so negligent as to pay the bathroom a momentary visit.

7:45 a.m. Bring some first-aid stuff upstairs to deal with the scrape. Sam insists his brother wants a boo-boo pack and hurries downstairs to get it. On the way, he falls, too. So there we are, the three of us on the stairs, two-thirds of us in tears.

I suggest we start the day over. We get dressed and come down for breakfast.

8:05 a.m. Notice the box of Band-Aids is suspiciously empty. Find them stuck all over Sam’s door. Scrape them off as he explains he was “just decorating.”

8:10 a.m. Notice the Neosporin cap is missing. Spend the next 15 minutes hunting for it before Jake finds it and nearly chokes to death.

Change Jake’s diaper, but not quickly enough. In the 12 elapsed seconds, he manages to pee all over his beloved stuffed Zebra. Lucky I have a spare.

8:25 a.m. The water I’d set to boil for our oatmeal has evaporated. I switch my sights to almond butter toast with honey.

8:20-8:30 a.m. Have to manage Sam’s meltdown over not being allowed to watch “Bob the Builder.”

8:32 a.m. Breakfast on the table. Bags packed the night before await, so we can be on time today.

Except I didn’t read Sam’s mind, thus “messed up” his toast.

8:33 a.m. Have to manage another meltdown because I cut Sam’s toast into rectangles instead of his “favorite shape, triangles.” FYI: Yesterday, the request was for rectangles.

Jake, on the other hand, loves toast. He doesn’t care about the shape. Either way, he thinks it makes a lovely hat.

8:40 a.m. Eat my toast standing up, while combing almond butter out of Jake’s hair.

8:55-9 a.m. Clean up, by which I mean the kids, not the breakfast dishes. On a good day, those get thrown into the sink, and on a bad day, not.

Wrangle kids into shoes and car seats. Catch a whiff of stinky realization that I need to change Jake’s diaper.

Stupidly smell his pants to see if he needs new ones. He does.

9 a.m. Load boys up for day care and proceed to lock myself out. Have to break into the house. Contemplate how I will explain to my husband that I still haven’t gotten around to making a spare key, all while singing “Wheels on the Bus” all the way.

9:30 a.m. Arrive at day care, breathless after carrying 30-pound Jake from the back-40 while trying to keep up with Sam, who can’t wait to play trains. As I sign in, I can’t resist bragging a little about actually arriving at the appointed time — 9:30. Sadly, I’m informed that I had actually signed up for a 9 a.m. drop-off.

9:45 a.m. Determined to work out — and let’s be honest, take a shower all by myself — I head for the gym.

Mission accomplished. Squeeze in workout, shower and some writing time in my remote office, aka the locker room.

A few people have asked me why I go through the trouble of going to the gym, when I could just go for a walk with “one of those kid-pusher things.” For those who don’t know, that would be a stroller.

I suppose it’s possible someone who’s never pushed one with two siblings in it wouldn’t understand that is an exercise in both patience and futility, but not so much it fitness. That’s because you’re always having to stop to give someone his bottle back or pick up the blanket that you just ran over and will now have to wash before bedtime.

11 a.m. Pick up the kids and drop by the “Tractor Park” on the way home to supervise a play and sharing practice. Watch in awe as other parents are able to relax and read as their children fling sand into my kids’ faces.

11:30 a.m. Bribe the kids back to the car with the promise of lunch and an episode of “Caillou.” Yes, even if it’s sunny.

People treat use of television as a babysitter like it’s a bad thing. I’m more of a “most things in moderation” kind of mom. Ad-lib “Wheels on the Bus” all the way home, in order to include all of the “Sweet Pickles” characters.

Since I’m already over my word count, you’ll just have to trust me. The afternoon was a blur of crafty activities, clean up, sharing practice, explaining why it’s not OK to tow each other by the neck, hunting down remaining strangulation hazards, trying to keep one kid relatively quiet while the other naps, prepping dinner, bum-wiping, re-wrapping the toilet paper on the roll, Googling contents of Sam’s giraffe and ideas for how to fix his tail, doing the laundry. The list goes on.

Flash forward to the chaos of the day fading into dinner negotiations, bath time fun and subsequent tsunami zone, then stories, songs, bedtime. I SAID BEDTIME!!!

Then I clock out.

Just kidding, of course.

At bedtime, Jake is crying for Zebra. Oh, did I forget to mention that he decided to toss Zebra in as I was filling the tub, soaking it? Remember this morning, when he peed on the other one and I was glad I had a spare?

Oops. Didn’t get Zebra No. 1 washed and dried in time.

Motherhood is full of dilemmas. Do I give him the zebra that’s soaking wet or the one reeking of pee?

I’ll leave you on that note.

I know there are many things I missed. I’m sure you can help me fill in the blanks. Hopefully, this is enough to demonstrate what a mad-awesome gig this is.