good for what ails ya

A bit under the weather today. I was up last night with a nauseous stomach and just felt super gross all night and allowed myself to sleep until 8. I decided not to go to Bible Study but then I started discouraging myself with self-condemnation since it was a BIBLE study I was going to skip— when every other day I wouldn’t hesitate to go out shopping or what have you even if feeling under the weather. The pros and cons were battling it out in my mind so I called my husband and explained it all to him: I didn’t know if I felt up to going to Bible Study, but I did know that I needed to go to Tractor Supply because I ran out of bird seed. What sort of good godly woman would skip Bible Study because she wasn’t feeling well and yet still go to the store is what I wanted to know.

“God’s birds need to be fed.” is what he cheerfully answered unto me. And that was what did it! A good laugh lightened me up and I remembered something. God allows me the freedom to make choices for myself, He loves me and never leaves me based on what I do or don’t do, or ever at all. I am free. The Bible Study I go to is very comfortable and I am just one of the participants, I’m not a leader or anything. It’s there to bless women in the community, not to take attendance or make demands.

In essence, NO ONE CARES. Lol

So, did I go?

Yep! After all that I still went. Out of duty? Out of the belief that it was the righteous thing to do? Nope!

The only reason why I went was because I wanted to. That was why. I wanted to go because chances were very high that someone might say something or read something that might change my day and my outlook. I wanted to go because I wanted to be around these women who show me what genuine and safe love and acceptance looks like. I wanted to go because I love those ladies too, and I need the fellowship, which is a beautiful word to describe the way humans can be together. I tend to isolate and I know I need people and experiences to add layers to my life. Anyway the Bible Study didn’t disappoint. I was “glad to go to the house of the Lord.”

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As I drove away afterwards, I decided to treat myself to an iced matcha latte from Dunkin. Now, I had a bit on my mind from the study that I was thinking about and maybe that’s why I ordered a “venti” in the drive through, out of the habit of mostly getting matchas at Starbucks. WELL! They startled me into the present moment by correcting me, “WE only have small, medium, and large HERE!” — oh well my apologies I want a large.

I get up to the window and had to wait because the system was rebooting because of the wind. Fine. After waiting for several minutes I was finally able to pay and was handed a matcha which looked just like a Venti but not necessarily a Large. “Is this a large?” “No, You didn’t order a large”. “Yes I did —remember I asked for a venti and you all laughed and said what’s a venti and I said— it’s a large.” It was all good natured and fun banter but still, I needed my large because, hydration. Ohhhhhh yes he remembered and conceded the point. He was gonna correct the misunderstanding. I went to hand back the medium which hadn’t even made it all the way into my cup holder and he said with a wave of his hand “oh just keep it, and I’ll make you a large.”

Then I was thinking “how the heck am I going to drink a gallon of matcha”…but quickly realized “wait Shanda, you’re sort of under the weather today and feeling a bit weird and I bet this is what’s going to cure you. God knows a good matcha latte has a lot of health benefits that you can’t remember off hand but you KNOW you read an article online somewhere that affirmed your propensity for endless matcha lattes. They’re scientifically proven to be good for what ails ya. This, THIS, is why you’re out of the house today. You THOUGHT it was for Bible Study and birdseed, but it was for the medicinal properties of Matcha!!!!!”

The End ….. only it’s not.

Because I’m still drinking them.

shabby

“When you are real shabbiness doesn’t matter.” Velveteen Rabbit

~

I am thinking about how cozy it is in the house when it is raining hard droplets of water, so hard that I can hear them hitting the driveway, the windows, the trees, the house, the roof.

It is so cozy that I wanted to snooze but I couldn’t turn off my thinking.

Instead of getting frustrated with myself, I gave myself some grace. I decided to eat some ice cream, along with one of David’s very rich homemade chocolatey chocolate brownies, and then I started the dishwasher, and …………. found my laptop so I could try to write. A tangled mind becomes smooth again as I type. All is grace and words can be wonderful.

News and Notes:

  1. Goodwill is the perfect place to buy books. Today I found The Living by Annie Dillard, Sacred Time, by Ursula Hegi, A Beautiful Blue Death, by Charles Finch, and Night, by Elie Weisel. I have Night at the Jekyll cottage but wanted an extra copy here.
  2. Sarah is at a friend’s house this afternoon and I’m so happy for her because she really does need time with girl friends. But I miss her, she’s my little chatterbox. The boys are here but you wouldn’t even know it.
  3. Seth had a check up yesterday — he grew four inches since last year.
  4. Wrestling season has started. My husband and son Ethan are the coaches for our HS team. Caleb is a captain on said team, and Seth is in his last year of youth wrestling. This sport season keeps us quite busy.
  5. Today I mailed out these particular items for ebay: 3 boxes vintage glass Christmas ornaments, a Dallas Starbucks mug, an angel figurine tea light, and a set of two Santa hot chocolate mugs. A nice old lady was amused by me juggling the boxes into the Post Office, and opened both doors for me which I thought was just the sweetest!
All of us, praise God from Whom all blessings flow

Thanksgiving was just wonderful. I can tell that my EMDR therapy has been life-changing because my nervous system and emotions were much calmer than ever before. I felt comfortable and safe in my own skin. In years past I would fret, internally fret non stop –about my “performance” as a hostess and feast-maker, the dishes I made, the words I said or didn’t say, all along with my body temperature rising and my cheeks getting flushed. This year I felt like I was surrounded by love and that I could do no wrong, because my family doesn’t care about performances, they care about being together and being close. (that’s what they’ve always cared about, but I was hard on myself, and a perfectionist). Truly, the day was over too soon.

It was simply lovely and I felt the Holy Spirit of God in the house. On a lesser holy note, I also asked for a lot more help this year than ever before. I made the turkey (two of them), stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy ONLY. And actually, I didn’t even end up peeling potatoes OR mashing OR making the gravy. Other people like my mom and niece and brothers did it. Brittnee did all the cleaning up. Thanks, everyone!

…………..

Random photo of Rich and I at the tea place.

…………

I’ve recently started getting up earlier in the morning so that I have more time in my day to enjoy. I find that I do not watch the clock and am able to immerse myself into my tasks. I don’t need constant distractions, either. i am able to be alone with my thoughts. Unless I’m trying to take a nap, which for some reason is a trigger because i find myself going back into dangerous thoughts that get me feeling melancholy. When that happens I know I need to get up and do something else.

Scrapbook

I’ve been scrapbooking quite a bit, too, along with housekeeping, ebay, mothering, and spending time with Rich. Our weekend at the cabin was a whirlwind, we got so much done, leave it to two firstborns to buy a cabin and fully furnish it— in one weekend. And I had a cold the whole time.

Rich took this as I praised God and greeted the day that weekend in NH

Isn’t life interesting?

So now it’s getting dark, and it’s only 4pm.

New Hampshire cabin

Hello my lovelies, I am back home in CT after a full weekend in NH closing on the house and starting to set it up to have as a vacation property. It was very cold outside but we were so very happy together and alone just the two of us.

Here’s the cabin. I was thrilled to see it in person. It has a beautiful big front porch and a back deck, too. It has a metal roof which will be fun. They say it’s very loud when the snow gets heavy and slides off the roof. I wonder what it will sound like when it rains? The house is surrounded by trees. We live off a dirt road and the driveway is dirt, too. The lake is in walking distance and we don’t have a lake view but we do have community-only access to a beach.

After the closing we headed back to the cabin and immediately turned the gas fireplace on. This is the view from the front entry. The floors are pergo. The upstairs area that you see beyond the railing will have built in bookcases for a library and there’s a bathroom up there too. We are having a window seat built up under the window, as well.

The kitchen is so warm and inviting with all the glowing wood and a textured granite countertop. The sink isn’t in front of the window, it’s in the island. Among the first purchases I made for the place was a few scented soy candles because candles help made a house a home.

I went out shopping and when I got back Rich had the coffeemaker set up. I’m using all white dishes from thrifting adventures in this kitchen and it’s too fun to find mismatched dish-ware and buying it just because it’s heavy, economical, and white. It looks so nice through the glass cabinets.

Back deck.

Looking over the deck, a fire pit and the hot tub.

Door and stairs to the finished basement area, the handrail is a white birch branch.

There is a gas fireplace downstairs, too.
And the laundry.

We plan on setting up a gaming area for the kids downstairs with seating and TVs.

The beautiful lake

We took our coffee with us one morning and walked to the lake in the crisp air.

More to come!

We have my entire family coming on Thursday for Thanksgiving so as soon as I got back home last night I turned into the thanksgiving version of myself….lots to do…and I specifically want to do my best to make the day a special one for us to love and grow closer. This will be the first big thanksgiving since Covid. Rich did the Costco trip and had to get two small turkeys instead of one big one because that’s all they had left. Don’t worry —they are the fresh ones, not frozen.

Thank you for being here and interested in what I have to say. I have changed a lot over the past few years and I’m thankful that my friends still love me. Of course you do! Someday I will tell you the details of what happened to me, it was very traumatic but EMDR therapy saved the quality of my life and I am currently healthier than I have ever been, which is sort of sad but also not, both.

You are loved.

news news

I just wanted to let everyone know that Rich and I are on our way to New Hampshire to buy a little cabin next to a lake. It’s the big lake that starts with a W and the setting in the movie “What About Bob” but I cannot spell it. The cabin is just down a dirt road within walking distance to the lake. Rich and Sarah went to look at the property about a month ago and because of her the sellers took our offer (they loved seeing happy Sarah with her Dad holding hands and talking on their way to see the lake); they have a daughter, too.

We are currently driving and have about an hour to go. It’s 6pm and we just got back on the highway after a stop at McDonald’s. We both ordered a cheeseburger and a small fry. It’s just the two of us. He just asked me if I had per chance brought the eye drops and when I said yes he was so surprised and glad—- “Oh I love you! Good job, woman.” It was cute and I had that feeling of marital closeness over something so small and seemingly insignificant, but I find it romantic that we both use the same bottle of eye drops (for allergies). And we both love listening to 90s country music. He knows all the songs by heart.

Wanna see a picture of our cabin?

It will take some time to get it set up but eventually we will rent it out to vacationers like we do with our Jekyll Island beach place. We are going to furnish this one ourselves. I haven’t even been to it yet but I already love it. It’s on about 3 acres of land, surrounded by trees and private. There’s a jacuzzi! Three bedrooms and a nice finished basement, beautiful kitchen, cozy upstairs reading area, front porch. Quiet and cozy, according to Rich. He has been working so hard on the details and he’s so good at it all, I like to see him enjoying this project for our family.

I am more active on Instagram. If you follow my account there you will notice that I post photos throughout the day of what’s happening, including tomorrow when we officially sign the papers, but I will also try to do a post on Monday.

Jacob and Brittnee are at home watching over things for us.

I am loving this stage of life!!

thank you

I was dancing around the house coughing with a box of tissues for alas I was sick with a mild cold that had kept me up half that night. I sent a note (rolled up and tied it to a dove) to my friend Kati, who has amazing hair and also two baby boys. And what I wrote to her in the note said, “Dearest Kati, I will miss you for I cannot travel to the donut shop as I have a terrible cold.” Soon, the dove returned saying “I will arrive later with soup for you.” I knew what she meant, because she’s given it to me before; a Very Healing Chicken Soup. I ate it and didn’t get sick again for many many years. In a way I was thankful to once again have a cold just so that I could rejuvenate myself with her delicious soup. At the end of the afternoon, I heard the sound of footprints and there she was, coming to the door with a steaming pot, a smile, and a prayer. Since that moment (midweek) I have had nothing but soup, morning noon and night. It’s rich golden flavor is healing me of all my ails; cup after cup of buttery chicken soup with carrots of brightest color and taste, no celery (cooked celery has the opposite effect on my well being) small chunks of soft potato, and bites of tender chicken. After that first meal of soup, I poured the leftovers into glass quart sized mason jars and found out that even after eating my full I had more soup than she had originally gave to me. I put it away carefully and then slept for a day and a night. This was healing and generous magic indeed.

Scientist proof isn’t necessary to believe in the powers of homemade soup.

I Corinthians 13

Ps, I wrote this story at full strength using parchment paper and an ink filled quill. While sipping soup.

a troll, a mouse, a library visit, a chipmunk

I look all around me. Do I have too much stuff? It is rather difficult to keep 1,000,000 various objects in their place. And yet, this is what I enjoy. Interesting things. At least now I am selling Interesting Things on ebay. I only mention it because of a little story I have to tell.

I was at Goodwill with Sarah over a week ago. We were making this stop amongst other stops. She wasn’t feeling her best so I was being as time efficient as I could be, walking over to the toy section last. She was right by my side when I found a small troll buried in the stuffed animals and dolls. “Mom, put that thing back, its disturbing.” It had wide round eyes, painted on eyebrows, and hair as long as it’s body, hair that was as fine as cotton candy, and even pinker. Somehow I was attracted to the little guy (what this says about me no one knows). It was just weird. Plus it’s hair was soft. I just liked it. I couldn’t put him back, especially when I noticed that he was a dollar. Not only a dollar but also his particular color price tag was half off…..making him a whole two quarters. “If no one wants him on ebay, I’ll keep him,” I argued. “Mom, no, please, I hate it.” “I love him!”

He sold yesterday for 55 dollars. Today I will pack him gently in his box and say goodbye. I’ve had such fun watching his price go up over the week. I told the girls that once I bond to an object, I cannot sell it. This was a close call. But off he goes, to his new and happy home, to a collector with many brothers and sisters for him to stand at attention with. I hope he doesn’t forget me.

I was told recently that I’m not the sort of woman people forget. It pulls out some sort of very uncomfortable feeling inside of me, an unsafe feeling, like “Why? I don’t understand,” followed by tears.

I just came to me that maybe that’s part of the reason.

So I feel safe and cozy in my home full of treasures. I realized that it is not materialistic, but wholesome and good to love our homes…..to tenderly care for our possessions with respect and gratitude. Dusting, rearranging, blessing,…. these beautiful emotions as we handle our things are God-honoring. Our places and belongings are both held loosely, ready to be given up, AND held tightly, rather like a hug, with prayers of thankfulness, to use for good; welcoming friends, serving, having parities, having a “Holy Spirit” house of openness. This is why I absolutely love to cook and clean. I have my favorite window cleaner, a multitude of cleaning products (thank you Family Dollar), brushes and scrubbers, and many stories I could tell just about my vacuum cleaner.

For instance, we have mice. Mice live here. Or rather, are lost here. Our cats have taken to bringing their LIVE catches INTO the house. This is different from years past when they would LEAVE their DEAD catches outside on the DOOR MAT. THAT’S the rule for cats. But NO. Now they bring them in, put them down, and off they run. Mice and chipmunks. No birds yet. So anyway, I realized that once a mouse has been chased around and scared half to death, it is in the perfect physical condition to be vacuumed. Its tired of running. Its defenses are down. What’s a tube of air-suction compared to a cat? Basically an amusement park ride! So yes, the vacuum cleaner is also a mouse trap. I can take the whole canister outside and let the mouse go. It doesn’t go very fast, but it does go. Hopefully far far away.

It’s a frosty morning. Rich is taking a call in the living room before driving in to work. I’ve had a cold all week, and also how is it only Wednesday? The sun is shining brightly and quite distractingly. I made an apple pie yesterday for dinner, along with goulash (baked with lots of mozzarella cheese and pepperoni on top), and fruit salad.

I had to take Seth to practice after I made the dinner. David wanted to come along. David has had some struggles lately and has found himself bored with no phone or playstation, so has been rereading some of his favorite childhood books (the Percy Jackson series) which we own but have proven hard to locate on the many many shelves of this house (I love having so many books). He couldn’t find number four, or five (or was it three and four?) and actually wanted to go to the library. All his idea, so yes I was thrilled. …. David leaving his room to go with his mom to the library? Awesome. The angels were singing. I was singing. Off we went. Dropped off Seth, dropped of Sarah (at cheer), and went to the library. We had a good half hour before Caleb was done with football practice (we had to pick him up) so we both found some books and let the library soothe our nervous systems (late afternoons tend to slightly rattle us all). Since we had time, we sat and read our books until Caleb called, then we went to the desk to check out and !!!!!!!!!! why is this always and forever happening to me?! “Your card is blocked.” the nice lady said. “Four books were checked out in March and never returned. They need to be returned or the fine is seventy dollars.” She searches the shelves just to be sure. I didn’t even REMEMBER the books (they were Sarah’s). We asked to see if David still had a card to use. The nice lady helpfully looked him up. “This card is flagging a family fine of 120 dollars.” I start to get the giggles (I can’t help it, life is so weird, so ludicrous). “But,” she continued, “David’s card only has a three dollar fine, so I’ll let him use it just this once. We have to renew it though. Is he over 18? “Yes,” I say proudly, “he’s right here, and he’s twenty.” “Do you have your license with you?” “No” “Any piece of mail with our name on it?” “No”. “You’re going to hate me………”

Turns out if you’re over 18 you have to have proof of address to renew your library card. He had no such proof so we hung our heads and left the library ……..without any books.

Caleb and three friends bouncing down the road toward the library, so stopped to pick them up. They had all been in football practice and were loud and very very smelly. They had to cram tightly into the backseat (four HUGE teenage boys) with their backpacks on their laps. The outside boy had to try shutting his door three times. “Move your knee! It’s your KNEE!” My car instantly smelled of cow-barn with all these dirty sweaty boys.

I drove home after a disappointing library experience, plugging my nose and listening to Caleb and his friends talk about the most random of subjects, laughing a little and thinking, “This is so weird. Is this really me? Is this my life?”

They lifted weights in the home gym and then came inside and ate all the food, (with my blessing) but not the pie, the pie was for my husband.

Speaking of my husband, his call is up. He just came to me to say, “Just so you know. There’s a chipmunk in the living room. It came out and looked at me during my call and then ran off.” “Was it lively?” I asked. “I’ve seen more lively.” He replied. “You might want to shut a couple cats in there with it.”

With that, he gave me a kiss and left the house.

Ketchup

SUNDAY we took the children to church and then went to the grocery store to get things for lunch and a day of watching football and being family. Seth and Sarah played with their animals by the fire and when they decided to bring in the leftover helium balloons from the Jack and Jill we sent them out of the living room. They came back half an hour later saying that “Chiyo was dead. Gone. The balloons had taken her away.” After questioning, I got the visual; Seth and Sarah tying their beloved “Chiyo” to as many balloons as it took for her to float away. She was tied and taped to them (safety first). They stood at the top of the driveway and let her go. Nine times out of ten she didn’t get far and they were able to run after her and snatch her back. Then, the tenth time, she went more “up” than “down” and ……. she was gone. (Gone=dead) and Sarah changed into black pants and a black shirt and started cheerfully planning a funeral. They did have a brief search party. I am filled with curiosity and hope that as today is a day-off from school, we can take a wander through the woods and see if we can locate her. Stay tuned.

****edited to add that the lost animal in question was similar to this one…. & very much Real.

SATURDAY evening Sierra’s Mom hosted a Jack and Jill party for Ethan and Sierra, who are engaged to be married. I was involved in decorating, baking brownies, and buying various items to be raffled off to the guests, in the hopes that money could be raised to support their wedding. It was a fun and exciting evening. But these things are always a bit emotional for me because my heart is seeing the deeper, the sensitive, the yearnings……I missed my family, most of which is in New York. I saw Sierra’s aunts and grandma and cousins all rally around her and felt lonely for those days when I felt like I was in my own close family circle, too. So you can imagine my joy when in walked my brother Isaac with his wife. I wasn’t expecting them! And they came. We sat and visited all evening long and it felt right and good. These are the sweet and simple ways in which God our Father is always surprising us. Enough and more.

FRIDAY. the evening before the day of the Jack and Jill, I was filling 20 quart sized mason jars with water on the driveway, and filling each one with marigolds that I planted myself from a large sandwich baggie of saved-seeds given to me by an old church lady named Ginger. I was arranging and working in the quiet and lonely “missing my family and how is Ethan old enough to get married anyway” mood. It was sun-setting time, but with just enough sun to shine through rain and clouds and arch a rainbow through the sky to lift my spirits. A miracle! Sarah and I took photos of each other. thanking God. Over and over.

THURSDAY, WEDNESDAY, on and on it goes, the trip backward in time, to catch you up on all our family happenings. Sarah recovering from mono. Caleb recovering from bronchitis. Me starting and busying myself with my eBay shop. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Seth spraining his ankle and recovering from that. David adjusting to working at Fed Ex. Ethan moving out of the house and into his own apartment. Grace coming to visit. Football games. Cheerleading. Church. Bible study. Walks in the woods. Reading. Housecleaning. Laundry. Meals. Ordinary moments. Bad days. Good days. Magic. Loving. Always loving.

A month ago we drove to New York for a family reunion of sorts for Rich’s side of the family. I say it that way but they truly my family too, in every sense of the word. I am so thankful for the best in-laws I could possibly have. Dad with his teasing love, interest and support and pride, Leslie with her quiet warm care and concern. The aunts and uncles so down to earth and kind. Everyone with their endearing personalities— making each other feel wanted and welcomed and happy. Yes, it was such a happy day.

all our kids – all ten!
Aunt LouAnn is always the cake-cutter and server.
Dad, Uncle Bob, Keith, and Rich (brothers with their sons) —lots of stories here.
Jacob with his Grandpa and Dad
Dad and Leslie
Uncle Bob and Aunt LouAnn
Uncle Ed and Aunt Phyllis
Our daughters

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((Other happenings))

27th wedding anniversary Sept 16 in Meredith, NH
Stuff for my eBay shop
Caleb’s last HS football season
Seth’s last season of youth league football
David turned 20
20!!
Sarah cheerleader
Sarah sick —and it took time and a blood test to figure out it was mono
decorating for Jack and Jill
Ethan and Sierra
Grace

“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” LM Montgomery

All the days are the sweetest and nicest.

WE ARE LOVED

I have so much more to share.

fall fashion

Last night I awoke very confused from a deep sound heavy sleep with my hand securely attached by my ring to the lace collar of my nightgown. In my sleeping stupor I felt myself rising to the challenge. Indeed, I for some reason got out of bed and stood up in the darkness. I tried in vain to get it free but finally gave up and simply took the ring off (or, took my finger out) and slept with it caught in my nightie just like you see in the photo above. For the rest of the night if I woke up even a little bit I was patting myself, making sure it was still there because I really didn’t want to lose my ring from Tiffany & Co. but how weird that this even happened, right? Rather disturbed my whole night to have it *not on my finger* but leaving it behind on my nightgown was all I could think of to do whilst half asleep. I didn’t even think to turn on the light because I didn’t want to bother my husband but you know what he did to me? He bothered ME this morning by taking my car to drop off Caleb at school and then parking it as faaaaaaar away from the house at the very end of the lower driveway as possible. I had my arms full as I looked all over for it; (I had expected it in the upper driveway where I always park, or in front of the garage)!

If you’re wondering, this is how the ring got caught, the ends don’t meet, they end in a diamond and wrap around my finger. Surprisingly it gets caught in things often.

I got a FREE PEOPLE clothing catalogue today and I don’t buy from them because $$$$ but it’s fun to see the outfits and make up my own similar, with less expensive pieces. Since my husband was in the kitchen with me as I looked at it I told (I mean asked) him to give me a quick YES or NO to each one. These are the ones he would see me wearing;

(I’m just thinking now that it would have been funny to show the ones he hated too but oh well, mainly what I realized that he has a particular negative reaction to baggy wide legged jeans and also ….fishnet stockings).

This one I absolutely love. I have a solid gray dress similar so I could recreate this with that dress and some tights and cute boots.
I mean the skirt is a bit short maybe (definitely) lol—-but I do like both these as well. I have overalls.
Oh oops I got that one outfit two times. but I do really like the black and white pic of the white blouse with long sleeves paired w the jeans and boots. I also think that layered necklaces are very pretty, always.
I would do this with a longer tank underneath.
Last but not least he didn’t like this one. but I did, it was my fav of the whole catalogue 😊

The kids are home from school and soon some of us will be going to Caleb’s football game at the HS. Tomorrow we leave for NY for a family reunion and it’s the first one we have had since COVID so we are all excited. Not only will I see my extended family but also all ten of my children, Lord willing! I’m one happy mama.

It’s a gorgeous September day, and a happy day for me, and I pray God’s peaceful and rich blessings on each one who reads this. Much love!!

brief updates & life is good

“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are
something to do
something to love
and something to hope for.” Joseph Addison

Good morning my lovlies~ I have done the past couple of blog posts from my phone but today I am in front of the laptop so have freedom to tippety- tap away as fast as the words can flow from my fingertips…….what delight, to sit and express here, a few little happenings of my heart and life. It’s only 7:15 in the morning and what promise there is for a full and bright day! The weather has changed and Summer is now gently introducing Fall. Autumn, my favorite season when I feel most alive in not only energy, possibility, and inspiration, but nostalgia, contemplativeness, and a sort of “taking stock” of my innermost life, and it is good.

That word…..good, it’s such a Father-God word, isn’t it? I just love it so much that when He did the work of creating this world, he took the time to see and pronounce it GOOD. And I find myself trying more and more to do the same as I go about my household duties, those beautiful acts of daily life. Yesterday was vacuuming (and more), today is baking (and more), and I hope that when I complete the tasks I can remember to also take the time to look at what my hands have done, and take a moment or two of satisfaction from the work.

So, let’s see……updates……

Jacob and Brittnee are happy in an apartment not far away. We typically see them here at home with us on Sundays. They have taken on the role of “firstborn” together, and are such a comfort to me and their Dad, just knowing they are there. Both of them fun loving and responsible.

Ethan is engaged to Sierra now and they are busy preparing for their life together. He is still at home for about a month, after which he will be moving into an apartment. He’s working hard and counting down the days until the wedding (April, 2023) and we are so happy for them both. It’s fun to have “young love” in the house…..a couple just about to be married with nothing else really on their minds…..as it should be. They eat, drink, and survive on “wedding//newlywed preparations”.

Grace and Brogan are happy in an apartment way too far away. Like five hours. (wink*wink, I know five hours is not as far as they COULD be, but also they aren’t next door like they COULD be, so……..) we stay connected a lot through texting and phone calls, and try to see each other as much as we can. They recently invited an unwed and homeless mother CAT into their home to have her kittens and now have a total of six cats of various ages to enjoy. (if you want a kitten and will be in Scranton PA, let me know……..)

David got through a year of college and is now taking a year and working while living here at home. He just started work at Fed Ex and he will be amazing. His outlook and thoughts on life are so relatable to me and we share a deep bond. He is recovering from a serious stomach bug AND starting his new job at the same time……and not complaining, either. (no energy for it).

Caleb is now a Senior in High School, Caleb the one who was “Baby” when I first began blogging here. Caleb my little sweet tenderhearted gentle boy. Still the same in essence, and so much more as he matures and grows. He’s busy with football these days.

Seth is in his last year of middle school. Stlll as joyful in heart and energetic in body as ever. He has my heart in his hands, this boy-man of mine. We have such fun. He brings a playful spirit into our home on a constant basis. He also plays football and is QB and a kicker, playing offense and defense and guess what? I can’t sit still for nervousness while we watch his games, and I pray constantly. But don’t tell him that. 🙂

Sarah Joy -oh my goodness- is 12 and we are so proud of our youngest one, she’s in 7th grade this year. She’s my little friend, and always has a word of encouragement, and common sense dictates that she also can hold her own in this house where everyone is older than her. Also, she loves putting on a little make up and doing her nails. She’s getting so big!

I absolutely love KNOWING my children. Seeing them for who they are, knowing that their lives are all their own and that I have the amazing honor of sharing each day with them as long as I live. I take the things they say and do and keep them to remember and think about.

Rich and I celebrate 27 years of marriage soon….Septemeber 16….which is yet another reason why this time of year is special to me, and to him, as well. He is still working hard, but not as hard as when we were first married. With time comes a security and a blessing in understanding that the world can keep going at it’s fast pace even as we take some time to slow down and focus on what truly matters; our health, our ability and opportunity to “stop and smell the roses” and our relationships. It’s so satisfying to enjoy the unique passions and interests that God put in us, and important to make sure we aren’t too busy to do the things that make our “hearts sing”.

I will write more about myself soon, but the most exciting for me recently was opening my own ebay shop and starting to sell things that I collect around in my thrifting and goodwilling and antiquing adventures. I’ve made a few sales and find myself taking a moment to bless the recipient of the treasure I have chosen to offer in my “shop”, I just can’t help myself, my mother- heart wants to know that everyone is okay and if not, help in some small way even with just a little prayer over a box to a random stranger is enough. I enjoy everything about it, and it’s such fun to have a little bit of pocket money that I’ve earned all on my own (I’ve been a stay at home mom since day one of marriage), and thus life goes on…day by day…mile by mile…age to age.

Life is a struggle!!! and for me, the struggle is keeping myself aware and understanding that there is always beauty HERE and NOW, even when I am sad or grieving or tired or overwhelmed and ready to give up. God always brings me back around to the truth that I can trust Him, He leads us gently, He loves us without reservation, and He is generous beyond measure.

So let’s allow this ordinary day surround us like a warm hug.

“Surely the Lord is my help; God is the One who sustains me.” Ps. 54:4

PS, David just came home from work (he works nights) and asked me if I wanted to go to Chipoltle, to which I replied after laughing because it’s not even 8 in the morning yet, “NO, but do you want to go to the Woman’s Bible Study this morning with me?” He also said NO.