Tag Archives: Newport

Finding… and Sharing Joy

26 Sep

A little more than a month ago I took a  trip with my sister to begin the process of emptying our Dad’s condo in Florida. We thought the process would go faster, yet each time we picked up an item it would bring back a flood of memories. At first we were chiding ourselves for taking so long to complete the task.  Soon, however, we came to the realization that we needed to take our time to honor the memories and feel the emotions that bubbled up.  We needed to find joy in our sadness.


My Mom and Dad with me at 1 week old.

The day after I returned from that trip, I gave a pie making demo at the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. In the front row sat a very accomplished doctor.  While I was preparing the pie dough and rolling out the crust, he asked lots of questions and was even taking notes. When I lifted the crust to place it in the pie dish, he was clearly amazed at how easy I’d made it look.

At that moment I stopped and asked him, “Dr. John, please tell me how many x-rays do you think you’ve read in your career?”  He seemed perplexed but answered, “About 40,000.”  I then replied, ” I am going to guess that you can read an x-ray a lot better than I can.  And because I’ve made hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pie crusts, I can probably do it a little better than you.  It just takes practice.”

The kind doctor laughed knowingly and then I encouraged the rest of the folks there to enjoy the process of learning to make pies.  The cost of ingredients is nominal and if you screw up terribly, you’ve only lost a few dollars and maybe even learned a valuable lesson. More than likely though, you’ll end up with something tasty.  I’ve given away more than 500 pies, and not one person has ever called to complain that their pie wasn’t perfect!


A Rustic Blueberry Peach Tart for our friends Russ and Sarah

In an article entitled “Seven Strange Questions to Help you Find your Life Purpose“, author, Mark Manson, asked this question: “WHAT IS TRUE ABOUT YOU TODAY THAT WOULD MAKE YOUR 8-YEAR-OLD SELF CRY?”

Manson goes on to explain that as kids we did things for the sheer joy of doing them and somewhere along the way to growing up we stopped doing them. I’ve been mulling about that question a lot and on our last camping I took along water colors and paper and painted a few pictures. I did not do this because I am hoping to become a famous artist but rather because it made me feel happy.


A Quiche Lorraine for Ed 

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, it is pretty clear that the world could use more happy people.  While I don’t have the answers on how to fix all that is wrong, I do hope to encourage a few of you to remember your 8-year-old self and ask her what she misses doing now.  Maybe she wishes you were painting, or dancing, or singing.  Or maybe she wants you to spend some time in the kitchen baking someone a pie and spreading a little joy.

“Find where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy, is to miss all.”  ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

P.S. A few weeks ago I met a woman named Sylvia at Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport (what are the odds?). Soon we were talking about pies and she told me she knew a woman who gave away a pie a day for a year.  I said… “But it was me who did that.” Afterwards, Sylvia sent me this link. In her Ted Talk, Vicki Hardin Woods says that I inspired her to give away a year of pies!  How sweet is that?

Welcoming visitors from far and near

17 Sep

It will come as no surprise for me to say “Life has been busy!”  For four days last week we were lucky to be visited by a couple from Scotland, Andy and Ryan Bond, who were traveling with fellow Scots on a Rotary exchange.  They traveled all the way to Oregon and spent two weeks visiting various Rotary clubs around the state.  As part of their visit to Oregon, these folks had a chance to tour the coast at Newport and the Rotary club there made sure that they had a fabulous time.

Ashland was the last stop on the journey for many of the Scots, though some of our visitors did plan to extend their trip into Vancouver, B.C.  We met our  guests on Tuesday and had a lovely dinner together.  I think that Rotary has a great idea here:  visitors come to a new city and are greeted by Rotarians… and are hosted by Rotarians, and are shown around the area by Rotarians.  It is a great way to see a new area… and make new friends along the way.

One of the goals of this “program” is to break down barriers, find common interests, and forge new friendshps.  That was easily done with our guests.  Andy and I found that we both loved to cook and bake… and we also shared an interest in contests!  She is a wonderful baker and one of her specialties is making traditional cakes covered in marzipan.  From the way she describes them, I just know that they are delectable!

Saturday was our last day with Andy and Ryan and I asked Andy to visit the Rotary Garden with me.  On the way I saw a sign for a yard sale and thought Andy might like to see what we call a yard sale here in Southern Oregon.  After a few minutes of browsing the items for sale, I could tell that Andy was sorry that the weight limit on checked luggage is 50 pounds!

We are so lucky to be a part of this amazing organization.  Through our participation in Rotary, we have made friends around the world.  Our world view is greater because we are not isolated from the rest; we can see that we are all connected.  And that is a wonderful thing.

What does this have to do with a pie?  Well, give me another moment and I will explain.

Quiche prep

Today I made a quiche for a couple who run a business in Ashland.  They are both hardworking, caring people.  They are amazing to me because they help out a man who has few options.  This man is like a visitor in a way.  He lives simply, doesn’t ask for much, but he needs help.  And these folks give it to him when they can… not because they have to… but because it is the right thing to do.

Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I’ve gone to church all of my life… and I think I know how we “should” live.  And I believe that these folks are doing it.  Just because.  I am truly touched by their simple act of grace and wish that we all could give of ourselves as easily and without judgement.   It seems like a nice dream anyway.

Finished Quiche

“If you can’t fee a hundred people, then feed just one.”  Mother Teresa



Day 195: Shirley

18 Oct

We are still on vacation… and left Newport today to head into Portland, OR.   But before we leave Newport, let me tell you that the weather on the coast this weekend was SPECTACULAR!!!  Here is a photo I took of my husband and our friends near the beach this morning:

Yesterday I talked about how Bonnie Good found me a place to bake my pies in Newport, Oregon.  And I don’t know how she found me a place to bake those pies – or what words she used to persuade anyone.    When we talked later in the day, Bonnie told me that she had spoken to Shirley who works at the senior center in Newport and she told her that I needed a place to bake my pies.  And Shirley said I could come on over.  She seemed to “get” this pie project and thought it made perfect sense.  Bonnie thought that was just wonderful… as did I.

So, yesterday, I baked two pies at the senior center.  One of those pies I gave to Bonnie because she was kind enough to find me a place to bake… and she did not have to do that.  But she did.  And that meant so much… that she was willing to help me on my pie journey.

And the second pie… today’s pie, was given to Shirley, the person who manages the senior center kitchen.  Shirley told me that she had some folks in mind for the pie I had made and she knew how much they would appreciate it.

What was so wonderful about these two women was that they were taken with my project and really wanted to help me succeed.  Shirley showed me the kitchen and let me bake my pies… and Bonnie lead me to Shirley.  What luck I had in  finding these two women… without them I would have had trouble completing my mission.

Yesterday afternoon I got a note card from Bonnie.  Inside she had written “It’s not always better to give than receive.  The pie was delicious!”  Thank you Bonnie… and Shirley… for your trust, for your willingness to help another person, for your compassion.   I wish you both the very best.

Day 193: Sydney and Rhoda

16 Oct

We are in Newport, Or tonight.  We left Eugene in the fog this morning and traveled along a series of roads to the coast.  The weather eventually changed from cool and foggy to sunshine and clear blue skies… Really a perfect day.
We are staying at The Sylvia Beach Hotel and have just retired to the JK Rowling room (our suite) decorated with all the things Harry Potter would have had at school (including a broom and goggles!)
And since I knew I would be on the road today I baked an additional (Pecan) pie yesterday and asked my daughter to deliver it for me.  The couple I chose as recipients are from the First Presbyterian church and their names are Sydney and Rhoda.  I don’t know them well but I admire the  gentleness of their manner and speech and appreciate the gracefulness they bring with them.
This afternoon, my daughter called to say that Rhoda told her that Pecan Pie was one of their favorites. I was moved to tears for two reasons: first because I was happy that they were pleased and secondly, because I could not have known their favorite pie.
I am humbled, amazed and sometimes overwhelmed by how often this pie path has a way of working out so perfectly.