Phew! This summer is just whizzing by like nobody’s business! We’re over half way through and boy, do I have a lot I want to record. Let’s start with a report on Lucy’s two-week summer job stint. Because it was such an incredible opportunity for her and I never want any of us to forget it.

We left off where Dave and I were finishing our little anniversary trip to Vancouver. We went to meet up with our girl on that beautiful island of Blakely.

Blakely Island

Our Tiny Flight

This place is difficult to get to any way you look at it, and we didn’t want to bug Jo and Aja to come get us in the boat so Dave figured out a little plane to get us there. I just didn’t realize quite how small it was going to be! I mentioned the other small plane in Vancouver, but this one was only a 4-seater so I was a little nervous, especially after the reports of multiple small plane crashes in the last week. Yikes!

But it was so beautiful sailing over all those San Juan islands stretched out below…

…and loved watching Blakely come into view.

We landed and my brother Jo was standing there on the runway in the sun next to his little motorcycle. Love.

Walking Tours

Jo gave us a little tour of that magical spot (he walks everywhere fast, and I LOVED it).

We met Lucy after her shift at the store and boy, my arms were wide waiting for a big hug but we sure got the cold shoulder. Which was so strange since she had been texting me for a few days telling me how excited she was to see us. I think this whole thing is just so tricky in her brain. I think the balance between independence and relationships are all muddled up in her heart. But oh that smile of independence is pretty grand.

Dave and I let her do her thing with work for her last couple days and got to take in so much of Blakely Island, which was magical.

Hiking and Exploring

Special to have that time with Jo & Aja’s family. Right at the beginning Dave and I both realized this was going to be the “speed of going slow” trip and it was so refreshing to just slow life down. Very little cell phone or internet connection and surrounded by towering trees on an island.

Jonah took us on some walking/hiking tours…all around past the airplane landing strip, up the steep powerline trail and back down through spongy thick-moss-covered everything.

Horseshoe Lake

Jo and Aja walked up to the lake with me and Dave, and we took out the canoes and rowed around the whole island inside the lake…

…wrangling through endless yellow-flowered lily pads on the back side.

It was the most gorgeous adventure and I felt so alive trying to maneuver our canoes over fallen logs and through all the entangled lily pads.

Here we are heaving ourselves over some sunken logs in that canoe. Ha!

Loved triumphantly making it through all that beauty.


The lookout:

We reveled in all that beauty stretched out on every side. We looked out on the view in awe.

SO much spongy moss that pictures will never do justice, and deer everywhere.

Back for games just like old times when these guys lived in the desert.

Cold Plunging in the Lake

One day we went up to the lake with the kids and they all jumped in that freezing water. Lucy is the queen of cold plunging and was all over any ice-water swimming she could get, so she was delighted about this (and had been the whole time she was there).

My heart was mushy watching Jo take her hand and walk out on the slippery submerged deck to jump in.

I was freezing with multiple layers including my puffy coat watching them from the sidelines (it was COLD in Blakely), but decided at the end that if I really wanted to experience this place I sure as heck better get my swimsuit on and jump in.

So I did, much to their delight.

I had watched Jo show Lucy how to go under the raft and figured I’d do it too, only to come up fast right smack-dab into a 2×4 underneath. Yow I left part of my skin from my nose and eyelid under that raft and sported a big scab on my face all the way through Boston and Rochester a week later. But worth it for all that exhilaration.

Cold Plunge in the Ocean

As if that lake wasn’t cold punishment enough, we ran and hopped in the ocean from the dock in front of the store after that. Ok, that made it sound fast when in all actuality Lucy jumped in quick as a wink and Elsie and I took our sweet time wringing our hands on the dock wondering why in heaven’s name we were doing this!

Bad news: couldn’t get warm after for at least an hour. Good news: man alive, we felt alive!

The Store

The store is such an awesome thing for that family and they run it so well. My niece Ana is the manager this year and she’s doing such a good job. There wasn’t a time (still isn’t), when I don’t feel a profoundly deep gratitude that they welcomed Lucy with such open arms into that experience.

There is more teaching and patience required than you would realize to mentor someone with a vision impairment to do tasks that are quite simple for a seeing person. But they did it in stride and made Lucy feel like a million bucks There was nothing like seeing her pride at working the cash register, frosting the donuts, baking the cookies…part of something bigger than herself.

They somehow convinced her she had to wear a hat and she actually did it: a backwards baseball cap with her blue eyes twinkling out from under it, welcoming people to the store. It was a special thing.

Father’s Day

Church on Orcas Island

On Father’s Day we took the boat to Orcas Island for church, and walked through rainy drizzle to get to the seventh-day Adventist building they rent for meetings.

Oh I loved that branch, a new earnest branch president, candy leis handed out for all the dads, a Sunday school class filled with Alma’s words, sitting at round tables in the “chapel” eating together at a linger-longer after the services, Jonah his friendly self, introducing us to everyone.

Then back to the boat:

…and Blakely.

FaceTime with Claire

We got to FaceTime with the whole family and Claire in Australia, and it was so fun to “bring them with us” into the front of the store and have Lucy greet us all at the cash register where she was working, everyone in amazement that she was actually wearing a hat. Ha!

The Peak

We had dinner…

…and then headed up to the Peak and watched in awe as the sun set, accompanied by pink then purple clouds laced with gold, layered islands silhouetted as far as the eye could see.

A very good spot to celebrate fathers.

It was so beautiful and we all felt it, especially Lucy.

A good way to celebrate these dads who have taken care of her the last month:

And also just bask in the glory.

Lucy is a sunset junkie. I have no idea how she can see it, but maybe she can just feel it, you know? She sat and basked in wonderment for a long time.

We got to FaceTime with the other kids for Father’s Day in that gorgeous place.

Bald Bluff

That last morning Jo took us on one last hike…up through a four-wheeling mountains and then along more spongy-moss trails leading to a gorgeous lookout.

Jonah read us some cool thoughts up there and man alive, I sure love that brother of mine!

Goodbye Blakely!

Jo, Aja and Elsie took us to Seattle for our flights (and to restock for the store).

We bid goodbye to that experience for Lu, love you Ana!!

And then headed off to the next adventure. We went by boat, then by their red cargo van, weaving through more beauty on every side.

Seattle for a Sec

I don’t know that I’ve ever spent time in Seattle, so I’m going to need to go back some day. But we got a glimpse in that drizzly rain. We stopped to see the troll under the bridge:

We meandered through closed-up-for-the-evening Pike’s Place and also the first Starbucks:

The gum wall of course.

Pier 57 in the drizzly rain.

Had a sleepover at the hotel and then said goodbye to those people we adore.

Off on a new adventure to Boston.

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  1. Absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for always sharing the beautiful pictures of your wonderful adventures. Such beauty!

  2. that sunset! we live in the PNW and ocean swim all the time. The key is to drink something hot afterwards! You need to warm your core – even more effective that the wool long johns + down jacket combination (which is the ultimate combo). Bring a thermos of something warm next time and you’ll be much more comfortable 🙂

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