happy mother’s day!

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Go on doing the little things,
no matter how small,
only making sure that you breathe love into them.
Let them fall where they may,
no matter into what heart,
no matter how silently,
no matter how hopeless may seem the soil into which they drop,
no matter how you yourself may appear
to be forgotten
or overlooked
as you do your deeds of kindness,
and speak your words of love.
These words and deeds and influences of yours are living seeds,
and not one of them shall perish!

J.R. Miller

one little patch of beauty

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The ministry of kindness is unceasing. It fills all the days and all the nights. In the true home, it begins in pleasant greetings with the first waking moments, and all day goes on in sweet courtesies, in thoughtful attentions, in patience, in quiet self-denials, in obligingness and helpfulness.

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Out in the world kindness goes everywhere with . . .
its good cheer,
its gladness of heart,
its uplift for those who are discouraged,
its strengthening words for those who are weary,
its sympathy with sorrow,
its interest in lives that are burdened and lonely.

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Some of us, if we were to try to sum up the total of our usefulness, would name a few great things we have done:
a gift of money to some benevolent object,
the starting of some good work which has grown into strength,
the writing of a book which has done good to many lives,
the winning of honor in some service to our community or to our country.

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But in every worthy life, that which has left really the greatest measure of good, has been its ministry of kindness. No record of it has ever been kept. People have not talked about it. It never has been mentioned in the newspapers. We do not even remember it ourselves. But wherever we have gone, day after day, if we have simply been kind to everyone, we have left blessings in the world which in the aggregate mean far more than the few large things we set down as the measure of our usefulness among men!

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Our Lord’s wonderful picture of the Judgment reveals another phase of the splendor of kindness. He tells us that the little things we do — feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, showing hospitality to the stranger, visiting the sick, and the other nameless ministries of love of which we take no account — if done in the right spirit, are accepted as though they had been actually done to Christ himself! He tells us that the godly will be surprised to know that in their kindly acts they had been ministering to the King, when they supposed they were only doing little things for needy neighbors. This revealing exalts to highest honor, the lowliest things of the common days, wrought in love for the Master.

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The best thing we can do with our love, is not to watch for a chance to perform someone fine act that will shine before the world — but to fill all the days and hours with little kindnesses which will make countless hearts nobler, stronger and happier.

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“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

~J.R. MILLER~

I found a new podcast that I listen to as I walk and it never ceases to soften my heart.  The speaker simply reads excerpts from books or essays from various spiritual writers.  His voice is soothing but –be aware–the children will laugh.  I was listening to it when I picked up David from track practice and he dropped his head back on the seat pretending to be put sound asleep by the voice reading to us.

The name of the podcast is Inspirational Living.  Yesterday was a reading from J.R. Miller called Be of Good Cheer:  The Blessings of Cheerfulness.  Miller has been quoted many times on this blog, so I thought it was high time to quote him again.  There is a great website full of Miller’s writing you might want to go peruse it…GRACE GEMS.   Highly recommended.

PERUSE:  read, typically in a thorough or careful way.

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Lily of the valley is coming into bloom.  I found some in the ditch as I walked yesterday and picked one so I could enjoy it’s lovely scent.

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A little peak at the flower garden by the patio and garage.  Hens and Chicks, Phlox, and Iris.

The best part of the day, besides figuring out the Marco Polo app so I could video text with my friend Lea Ann……..

…….was these two fine young men returning home for the summer.

We were all so happy as we ran to the car to see them.  They had quite a morning of trying to load the vehicle with all their stuff.  SO MUCH STUFF.  They learned a valuable lesson or two for next school year.

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As soon as they opened the doors it started falling out.

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Ethan showed me his seat, he had no room for his legs or any movements on the 3 hour drive back home.

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For whatever reason even the hens ran over to investigate.

Seth, Sarah, and David helped them unload.  I had made hamburgers and pasta for dinner, and peanut butter cookies, but had to leave after just a few minutes to take Caleb to his game.

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This is how they brought their clothing home.  Stuffed in a hundred thousand plastic bags found in a trash can at school.

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JUST as I took the photo, Jacob threw his football to Ethan.  We couldn’t have timed it better if we tried…..

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Rich and I sat in our lawn chairs at the top of the hill and watched Caleb play in his game (they lost 9-7) and the rest of the kids (but Grace, who comes home this weekend).  Jacob talked to us nonstop about his recent college stories.  As I studied their faces I was filled with pride and joy.  “What do you think of these fine sons of yours, Rich?”  And we looked at each other and smiled.  If you have children, you know the feeling.  These moments make all the stressful moments worth it, tens times over.

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Caleb was hoping that his big brothers would come to his game.  And they did.

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They were playing catch with the football right in front of me.

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Sarah came to get me so she could take me to a tiny nest that she found.  Could the night get any better?

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David said “I finally feel like I’m not all alone anymore.”

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flashback:

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This photo recently caught my attention again…..it’s from almost 8 years ago…..I made Sarah’s dress.  And look at those arms and legs and that face.

Just a few more quotes before we go:

fullsizeoutput_54db 1“Our attitude is to be ever toward joy.”

DSC_0633 1“Shall we not seek for the bright side? There is really sunshine enough in the darkest day—to make any ordinary mortal happy—if he only has eyes to see it!”

DSC_0659 1There is no lot in life so dreary—
that it has not
at least its
one little patch of beauty;

or its one wee flower looking up
out of the dreariness,
like a smile of God.”

*J.R. Miller

 

you are loved.

wild violets & a trip to brimfield antiques show 2018

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We haven’t had our lawn mowed yet so there are wild violets growing everywhere.  They are abundant and I found myself wandering around picking a tiny bouquet of them.  The white ones are the most fragrant; beautiful, creamy white with deep purple lines from the middle pedal and just a hint of yellow there, too.

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We are blessed in violets.  Another kind that I noticed was white with a deep blue center, with blue veins coming out from the blue.

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Also noticed was a thin grapevine twisted around and up a tree, just the right spot for another photo opportunity for my violets.

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My very favorite one is light lilac in color, with thin delicate pedals and a flat face…in the photo it is the one closest to my hand, picked last.  I only know of one small patch of these.  The most common purple ones are growing everywhere.

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Tied with a ribbon, they dress up the kitchen windowsill very nicely.

****

Yesterday was opening day of the Brimfield Antique Show so when the children left for school, I drove to the show.  I arrived early enough to get parking easily.  Later on when I left it was crowded and some of the parking lots were full.  It cost 10 dollars to park at the church, and I always park there each time I go.  When I got out of my vehicle I heard one of the attendants call over to another older parking attendant to ask “Which one of these trees did you plant?” He laughed and looked back and forth to a couple trees; “That one.”  It was stately tall and mature and I marveled that it had grown so much in the man’s lifetime.  Already I was collecting beauty and inspiration from people…….I wanted to go home and plant a tree.

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I thought of Jo and Dawn when I saw these darling little tap shoes.

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Within 10 minutes I had made a fiesta purchase; a tea cup and saucer in the hard-to-find-and-afford lilac color.  (to match the violets) at a great price!

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And I thought of friend Hannah, and my dear mother, whenever I saw sewing things and fabrics.

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Vintage fiesta ware

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I bought a vintage yellow dessert plate with stripes.  Someone mentioned on the fiestaware FB page that they thought it was part of a Sears cake set sold years ago.

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I found a shiny and perfect medium green plate (most rare of all the colors) and was able to purchase it for 30 dollars.

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I normally go to Brimfield with someone else (or two or three) and I wondered how I would enjoy going alone, but I simply loved it.  I would rather go with one or two of the children, or my sisters, or aunts, or friends of course but going by myself this time ended up being a much needed treat.  I loved thinking only of myself and quietly going around watching people and looking at all the things people were displaying and selling.  I took my lunch and ate it as I walked; a pb and honey sandwich, a cliff bar, an apple.  All in all, I spent almost 4 hours and walked about 4 miles before I left.

It felt wrong in a way to leave Brimfield and go straight to an antique store (because Brimfield is nothing but antiques as far as the eye can see) but I had remembered a few things that I had wanted to buy a few months ago, so I headed to one more shop before going home for the day.  The things I was looking for were gone, but I still enjoyed browsing.  Antiquing is like a little history lesson of ordinary life.

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Jus took at that big red fiesta platter (not purchased, but admired) The colors are so energizing and cheerful.

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~A chartreuse display (fiesta disc pitcher)~

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Well, then I drove back home and determined to stay in my kitchen until it was spotless so I turned on some music and mindfully washed up the dishes, cleared off the counters and scrubbed them, and swept the floor.  It’s more fun when you can concentrate on what you’re doing rather than rush through to get to the “next thing”.   Pictured above are the fiestaware pieces that I bought yesterday.  But I have already thought about NOT buying anymore of it for a while.  I am content with my collection.  I have a piece of every color and then some.  I have vases and teapots, pitchers, canisters, vintage, and new.  Salt and pepper shakers, spoon rests, trivets, pie plates.  Plates galore.  Common pieces and rare.  Some to display and others to use everyday.  It’s a satisfying collection.

Photos of other finds brought home:

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A Tasha Tudor craft-type book, paperback, which I had never seen before.  I can’t wait to look at it slowly and try some of the projects.

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A lady in Brimfield had a “just my style” booth that she told me she started doing when she retired.  She does all three Brimfield shows a year and also does her own show.  She had pieces of furniture, and housewares, vintage laces, baby things, new and old.  At the counter she had a display of scrapbooking packets that she put together and I couldn’t resist buying one.

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More old papers for scrapbooking and journals.

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L O V E

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L O V E     **Eloise Wilkin**

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This was such fun.  “My School-Day Autobiography” owned by Doris Jeanette Reid. Perhaps you know her.  I would love to send it back to her, or her descendants.  How do things end up being sold and bought by strangers?

In the meantime, here are some of the pages:

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“Stay as sweet as you are and you won’t have a hard time getting a husband.”

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“Best wishes to a bad girl.”

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“Your one of my best friends I mean it”

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BEAUTIFUL script and blessing

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Taped on the last page.

*****

sarah & mom blog post

“Set me a task in which I can put something of my very self,
and it is a task no longer;
it is joy; it is art.”
 Bliss Carman

We went for a walk together in the woods–all her idea–and then I found a paper in her backpack from the field trip she took to a local wildlife sanctuary.

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What did I hear?

“I could hear water, the crunching leaves, and birds chirping.”

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What did I see?

“I saw, trees, and a squirl, and deer poop, and pine cones, and birds, and vernal pools.

fullsizeoutput_5484We found a bone so we slipped it on her “adventure stick.”

What did I smell?

“I could smell skunk cabbage, and a fresh nature smell.”

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How did I feel?

“I felt rain, and the cool air, and the cruching leaves under my feet.”

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spring has sprung

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“It’s surely no accident that
the most universal toast is,
‘To Life.'”

 ~quote from Victoria magazine

 

Spring has sprung!  Everyone’s happy!

This was Rich at a little league game on Monday, with a photo of the two of us the very next evening:

It’s much more fun watching baseball with the sun in your face than it is when wearing five layers and still cold.

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I made dinner, packed it all up and put it in the vehicle, drove Caleb to drum lessons (with S and S with us, too) then went to the HS for Dave’s meet, Rich picked up the boys there for baseball, when Dave was done Sarah and I went to baseball to watch Seth’s game, too, all with dinner in the car for people to eat when they were hungry.  Sarah walked around eating salt potatoes out of a plastic cup.

I took the photo of Dave with the javelin and his siblings all around him because it always touches my heart when they wander away from me and form their own gang.  Sibling-love is great to see.

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Dave in mid-air.

He had another meet yesterday but it was away (I don’t go to the away meets).  He confessed he was relieved that I wouldn’t be watching him “do badly”……(track is a new sport for him)…..to which I replied, “The only time I think any of you ‘do badly’ is when you get hurt.”  It’s obvious that David likes track, he’s often smiling.  After his events were over I took him some food before I left and he was verbally thankful.  “What’s this?  A brownie?  For me?  SWEET!” he said.  So I left with a smile on my fact, too.  Later on he told me he shared the brownie.

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Seth’s first game of the season was a dud because his team had two players missing and therefore didn’t have enough to field a team.  They had to forfeit but then played it anyway.  I saw Seth playing pretty much every position.  (He’s catcher in the photo).  He pitched, ran to cover second, ran to cover first……When he was catcher he did very well but it makes me SO nervous to see my son so close to a swinging bat.  Rich reminded me to look at all the protective gear he was wearing but of course as a mom of boys you just know for a fact that they can always find a way to get hurt.  It didn’t help that Caleb was watching through the fence and saying “He doesn’t have a CATCHERS mitt on, it’s going to KILL his HAND!”

Seth got the game ball.  🙂

But he would tell you his favorite moment was when he slid into home plate to score a run.

His baseball pants are gray but Caleb’s are as white as snow.  One of my favorite challenges is to try to get them white again after each game.  (I’m a dork)  What I do is sit on the floor, lay them out in front of me, spray each dirty spot with shout and then take a bar of laundry soap and scribble it into the stains before popping them in the washer.

The most horrifying thing I saw this week was a child (not my own but it very well could have been) DELIBERATELY fall on his knees in the dirt and grass multiple times during warm ups just to dirty his white pants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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She makes me laugh…….at one point she was also carrying around my umbrella.  She was wearing:  sunglasses, a thick fabric headband that looked more like a hat, winter coat, shorts, and a backpack which had a small metal mailbox in it containing her tic tacs.  All set for another night of baseball.

Rich took this video of Caleb getting a base hit last night.  I have such fun watching him play.  We were down by home plate at one point to watch Caleb hit.  He got a triple and Rich tried to video it but it turned out to be a perfectly clear video of THE FENCE.  But when Caleb got on third he did a dance, moving his arms and shaking his hips a little.  His coaches kept reminding him of what to do and it was almost like he was half-listening.  He had a coach RIGHT there and started talking to him like it was time to have a conversation.  “PAY ATTENTION CALEB!”  The first base coach yelled all the way over “GET ON THE BASE CALEB!”  And the team mom also coached, “QUIT EATING those SEEDS and keep your hand out of your pocket!  …..who has those seeds?” she asked the dug out, “I’m getting rid of them……”  and so on.  And Caleb dances and smiles.  They lost the game though but at least they had fun.  I left early because it was raining.  I drove to the grocery store to get ice cream for a before bed snack.

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This McCoy planter is so beautiful!  I found it antiquing.  And of course I can’t resist taking photos of the lovely eggs…..

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Even Parker the dog gets one each day.  I give it to him whole and he drops it on the ground to crack it and eat it.

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They rarely walk on the front lawn so I had to laugh when I looked up from my book and saw the flock making it’s way to the bird feeders.  They like to eat the sunflower seed that drops down from the feeders on the porch.

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I had to take a photo when I saw the knives on the quiet piano.  “Dave was here”.

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I asked Seth to take the garbage out.  I was running around the kitchen trying to make his dinner.  “Why do I have to do everything?” was his groan as he sat in front of the TV.  (The truth is he does almost nothing)  “Now you’re standing in the corner for 10 minutes.”  “Okay, I’ll do that first before I take out the trash.”  “Now it’s 12 minutes.”  And then he stopped talking and I won.  By the end of 12 minutes he was on the floor lying down on his side, with only his face in the corner.

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I played two games of P-I-G with David and Sarah.  Here is a photo of Sarah trying to make the impossible basket that David just shot.  Their faces are so cute.  (I won both times)

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After basketball we dared him to jump in the pond.  He was happy to be dared.  He prides himself by being the first one in the pond every spring.

I asked him if it was cold and he said yes.

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Then they went fishing.  Sarah tried to bring herself to touch a worm.  She is sincerely quite squeamish of them but was trying her best to participate.  It didn’t help that Dave would say things like, “Oh, don’t touch that one it bites.”

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It was a small one but Rich got home just in time to give Dave his first lesson in cleaning up a fish to eat it.

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I put butter on it and put it under the broiler where it promptly caught on fire.  “I guess it’s done.”  “Are you sure mom, just because food is on fire doesn’t mean it’s cooked.”  Dave said dryly while bending over his fish and filleting the second side.

Seth was the most disturbed by it all…..because of the smell.  I guess his nose is the most sensitive.  He said “Can someone get this fish head out of here?”  And Rich took it out and threw it away in the woods across the road.

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She gave me this flower.  It’s an artificial flower that fell off the front door wreath.  She found it and got creative by finding a small stick, painting it green & pink, sticking the flower into it and giving it to me.  She also used one of David’s pocket knives to carve a little design on it.  You can see how pleased she is with herself.  I was most impressed by 1) she didn’t get paint on her shirt and, 2) she put the paints away when she was done without being told.

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To finally see COLOR is glorious.

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~distractingly beautiful clouds

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~I get this as a treat at the natural foods store.  Delicious!

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It’s so good to go barefoot again!

Seth and Caleb fishing derby

This photo is from a week ago…. (I didn’t take it, it was given to me by the sports photographer)…. at a fishing derby that the wrestling coach hosts at his house for the team every spring.  David, Caleb, and Seth are all three in this picture, can you find them?

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Dirty and happy at the end of a long playful day, getting their own bedtime ice cream.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.  Psalm 121:7

 

 

trip back home

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I left Thursday morning as soon as the children got on the school bus and drove leisurely to my parents’ house.  I stopped several times for coffee, gas, the mall, and an antique store where I found a handful of old photos and letters for my scrapbook.

Mom was at work but Dad and the dog greeted me and we went for a walk up the road so he could show me the wood he’s been cutting.

We passed the house my mom and her siblings grew up in which now belongs to someone else.

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I played on this yard as a child, too.

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Springtime Daffodils were peeking through old grasses from last year, in a tire that my Grandma planted flowers in years ago.

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Dad stood by his woodpile in the woods across from Andrew’s and the pond.

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I admired the beautiful scenery as we walked back down the road to home.  I’m forever thankful to have grown up in such a beautiful area.

Soon it was time to pick up my cousin Erika so we could go to school and sing.  But first, I was delighted to see her fiestaware collection.    This is a photo of just some of what she and her husband have found.

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Aunt Colleen says Jillian (Erika’s daughter) is the avocado whisperer because she’s the only one who can get the pits to grow.  This is an avocado plant in her bedroom!  She planted it from a grocery store avocado, using the pit after they ate the rest of it.

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This is a school yearbook photo of my friend Nicole, my brother, myself, Carmine, Dana (my HS bestie) and Aaron, all friends from my childhood who were in chorus with me years and years ago.

My beloved chorus Director is retiring this year so those of us who could attend went back to school to sing one last time………

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The beginning of the concert…..

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My friend Tracy took this photo of me and the rest of the alto section.  Oh it was such fun!!  I was just a little bit rusty and couldn’t sustain a note quite as long because I’m out of practice.  But still, so fun.  I loved seeing familiar faces and places; the whole weekend was full of nostalgia and memories.  I hadn’t been inside the school in over 10 years.

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My sweet cousin and me after the concert with our red folders.  🙂

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Looking pretty good for a pair of 40ish year olds!  My friend Tracy and myself (same graduating class of 1994).  We had fun walking around seeing the school and how it has changed since we attended there (seems like just a year or so ago…….)

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Me and Mrs. Westover at the reception after the concert.

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The old gym that we graduated in.  Ah, memories!!!!

friday:

I stopped by the restaurant in town that morning where Erika is the baker and she gave me some slices of her homemade pie to take home!  Thank you Erika!  The pie was delicious when we ate it that evening for dessert.  Mom and Dad had raspberry and I had chocolate peanut butter (split with brother Dave).

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I drove to meet mom for lunch.  She was able to take a special four- hour-long -one just for me.

(isn’t the floor of her office beautiful?)

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antiquing…….

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Someone glued lots of old McDonald’s toys to a mirror.  It would be fun in a child’s bedroom.

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My cute mom.

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A frame/art shop with a window full of cats.

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LUNCH at a thai place

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COFFEE time! (with our Vera purses of the same pattern but slightly different fabrics)

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After I left mom back at work, I drove the back way home and passed the house my family lived in until I was in 2nd grade.  Dave and I have many vivid memories of childhood here.  It was a Sears Roebuck house kit built by my paternal grandparents.  My dad grew up here and then he and Mom bought the house and lived in it for a while, too.  It used to be yellow but the shrubbery is the same (not green now bc it’s still early spring here).  Mom said even the driveway was the same and hasn’t been repaved since they sold it.  🙂  The second story window was my bedroom.

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And this house next door was my Paternal Great-Grandparents’ house.  The families stayed close to each other and Dad has lots of photos of gatherings on the different yards for cook outs and picnics when he was a youngster.

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And then I drove by the old church we attended and my Dad was baptized in.   I remember Sundays with lots of family and friends.  We went to this church until I was about Sarah’s age but I remember things . . . . .children soak everything in. . . . it’s a good reminder for me to be gentle with my own children.

I went to the small country cemetery where my grandparents, great aunt and uncle, and Great-Grandparents (all on my dad’s side of the family) are buried and then to the school and country store.

Then, home again to my parents’ house and a visit with my brother Dave.

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I love this photo of Dave and my dad and the family pets.  🙂

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“up on the hill”

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I went walking in the woods with mom and Dave — they stopped to look at everything, Mom said, “I want to see something new!”  They make rock “people” stacks everywhere, and look for gold in the creek (it MIGHT happen!) or arrowheads.  Maybe!

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Standing under a giant purple tree mushroom.  Something new we saw!

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Then Mom (she’s very observant) saw a black animal over in the field so Dave and I walked over to check things out.  It was two black cats, maybe from Uncle Brian’s house?  We didn’t know them and they didn’t know us.  They ran off to hide in the old barn.

saturday;

Mom and I did some garden clean-up with Dad and then got ready for more adventuring.  We asked Dad to take our photo but first he took this one:

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We invited him to come along but he graciously declined.

Mom found a vintage white coverlet and I found a vintage fiesta ivory gravy boat.

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~loveliness in a beautifully arranged shop.

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~Seating area in a deli where we ate lunch.

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Fred, more than 50 years old.

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As we left I took a plant!

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~Beautiful vintage fiestaware (I didn’t buy it).

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I LOVE my mom’s eye for things.  She really liked this old oven and opened up everything to figure it out and imagine using it.

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Oh how wonderful it was to have a day with my mom!  I’m so thankful and so blessed.

We shopped until we dropped and then we went home and she made a pork chop dinner!

It was delicious.

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She has sewing and crocheting projects going.  This is a quilt piece she’s working on, inspired by the photo next to it.

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Photo of Uncle Bob and my Dad Greg next to that same shrubbery.

sunday

Sunday was a DELIGHT.  I went to the church I attended all the way up until Rich and I moved away as a young married couple……..and I got there at the same time as my father in law!  He was alone (Leslie was home with Charles) so we sat together.  I cannot even tell you the gratitude I felt as we shared a Bible and enjoyed a church service together, and singing.  I am blessed to be married and born into the most wonderful families.  I could look just across the way at Aunt Colleen sitting with her girls taking notes, and Erika sitting behind them with her husband and sister Elisha.  My cousin Heidi was there with her two young sons, too.

After church I went home with Dad so I could visit with dear Leslie and Charles.  Leslie was just coming inside from caring for her hens.  She was wearing a pink jacket and had an egg from the coop.  She put the tea kettle on and we sat right at the table and had a nice long visit, just the four of us.  Dad gave me a box full of his maple syrup to bring home for the grandchildren’s pancakes and french toast.  Leslie gave me a bar of her homemade soap tied with a ribbon.  And guess what?  It was snowing outside.  Yep, snow at the end of April.  In fact, Grace just texted me to let us know it’s snowing in Pennsylvania right this very minute.

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My father in law built their house. They just finished the back addition and it looks beautiful.  I love the wide plank floors and all the windows.

After goodbye hugs, I drove to Colleen’s house and we went out for lunch together, just the two of us.  The food was delicious and we had a nice long visit as we ate.

Then, we headed back to her house for another hour or so and made homemade snickerdoodle cookies just like when we were little.

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~African Violets in bloom on her kitchen windowsill.

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~A picture she painted of the view outside her childhood bedroom window.

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She had a batch of Uncle Brian’s green salad in the fridge and even though we weren’t hungry we just had to have a spoon of it.  Tastes like our childhood!

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Meghan giving the dogs a treat.

After we got our cookies baked, I had to leave to go back home to Connecticut.  I drove the back roads for a while and then got on the highway.  I drove through some snow, some rain, and the most gorgeous end of the day clouds.  I listened to podcasts on the way home and arrived back to my husband and children at 8pm.

Heart-full and Joy-full.  It’s good to be home.