without even trying

The blog is a spiritual practice of sorts; because with it, I can intentionally go back through the moments of daily living, remember and savor them, and press on with gratitude.

Picking up the camera creates a feeling of expectation that there will be an image to record.  An image just for me, a moment that speaks to my heart as a woman, a child of God, a homemaker, or a mother.

Each time I download, edit, study, is an opportunity to say “thank you”.

If other people happen to read it, enjoy, relate and want to be friends; that’s the icing on the cake!

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The kitchen is where I go when I want a safe place….cooking shows are what I watch when all of life seems painfully overwhelming.  Eating and drinking is something I never take for granted.  To eat food without discomfort in the mouth or stomach; what a reason to praise!  I love cooking and baking and serving.  (cleaning up, not so much; only because my kitchen NEVER stays clean, it’s too busy).

I made kuchen on Saturday morning (we were having a snow day).  It was a buttery yeast dough, pressed into a pie plate and left to rise.  Then, a sprinkling of fruit and a topping of sugar mixed with egg, cinnamon, and cream.  Baked in the oven, and eaten with whipped cream.

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It was gone in no time at all.

I want to make it a few more times before I post a recipe because I made it according to the cookbook but want to tweak it a tad before I am satisfied.  Although, even as it was, it was super delicious and my husband said over and over that it was good (and he’s not a sweets type of guy).

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I gave David a photography lesson on taking pictures of cats that don’t want to look at you.  “shake a plastic bag up by the camera”….. nice shot, Dave!

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“Mom, can I make one of those orange things that smell like pine?” asked Seth.

It took me a little bit of questioning before I figured out that he was thinking of pushing cloves into an orange, and it was so adorable and random that of course I right away said yes and jumped off the couch to find my jar of cloves.

meanwhile, outside the snow was falling, falling

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And Seth was in a laundry basket, working on his orange while the rest of us watched a live steam of Ethan’s wrestling tournament on the internet…….

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The other funny thing Seth needed on Saturday was iced tea.  Nothing would make him happier than some iced tea….so I got out my Aunt Colleen’s recipe and made it.  I tend to think that cravings have a purpose and for the most part, should be satisfied.  He also requested that he drink it “from that white owl mug”.  As you wish, little prince.

And lest you think I spoil him, I did NOT let him stay home from school today even though he did his very best to try to convince me he was in agony with a stomach ache.

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Sarah was asking her Dad all that snowy day if she could go outside with him as he plowed the driveway.  The next morning, bright and early, her wish came true!  It was adorable.

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“How did you know I was taking your picture through the window?”

“I saw the light on your camera!”

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On Sunday, we traveled about an hour to take Seth, Caleb, and David to their first wrestling meet of the season.  On the way there, I told this long story about the unsatisfactory fiction book I had finished (it was mixed in with “pulitzer prize fiction” search on amazon!! and it was a piece of garbage!) UGH.  I told him the whole story very animately and how ridiculous it was and when I was done Sarah piped up from the back seat and asked if the name of it was If God is Good.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAT?

I am constantly thrown off kilter by my children.  How on EARTH would she think such a thing??

“Because I saw that book on the coffee table.”

“OH.  No, Sarah, THAT book is really really good.  The book I was talking about was called The Life we Bury.”

And I thought to myself, “She notices stuff I didn’t realize she noticed.  Nothing gets by her.”

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Now that’s some flower!  I’ve had the grandest time watching this Christmas Cactus grow an itty bitty bud to a big, strong blossom.

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“What’s this, Sarah?”

“My New Years Resolution.”

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So it was pretty funny that the chapter we read this morning was about two little girls who decide to make other people happy.

The housekeeper said it would make her happy if they left the kitchen so she could scrub the floor.

The Mama said she was already happy.  But they wanted to make her happier.  “Just keep being my good little girl and then I’ll be quite happy enough.”

The old Grandfather said he was happy just to see them come and visit; but this time they insisted on DOING something to MAKE him happy so they cheerfully decided to take him for a walk outdoors until…. he asked if they didn’t think they had walked enough?  He was so weary he went to bed and they tucked him into it.  “What was the best part of your day, Grandfather?”  “Getting into this nice warm bed, I’m very tired.” was his answer.  They THOUGHT he would say, “Being taken for a walk.”

Then, the sick neighbor didn’t become happy when they sang many many songs (until they were hoarse!) to her.  She was expecting the typical basket of food and not a never-ending repertoire of singing.

They give a bouquet of wildflowers to the hired man; later they find them in the compost heap.

They decide to give up trying.

But then they learn of a sick classmate and they made her happy by giving her a doll and a book.

WITHOUT EVEN TRYING.

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My word of the year 2016 was COMPASSION and it especially pleased me to see this in Seth’s homework folder recently…..

“Your child is learning that people can show their compassion or others by saying something kind or doing something helpful.”

“Learning about how to show compassion for other people helps children take action on their feelings of empathy.”

I thought to myself, “what is the difference in *making people happy* and *showing compassion* and I think the answer is *the heart*”

Making people happy comes from ideas in your head.  It’s a job you decide to do.

Showing compassion is feeling empathy in your heart and THEN acting on that feeling.

However, it DOES make people happy when you feel empathy and compassion toward them and DO something to show you care.  How funny!

I think I’ll explain it better to the children later on today and see what they think.

I do know that Sarah was cold yesterday.  As I rubbed her little bare arms with my hands she said, “Your touches make me warm.”

That’s all it takes, and I was blessed by her sweet words.

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Happy Monday!

“I’ve had enough.  I’m not going to make any more people happy.”
But we did, all the same, because the next day Miss Johnson told us that Martha, a girl in our class, wasn’t coming back to school for a long time.  She was very, very sick and had to stay in bed several months.  That night, before I went to sleep, I lay awake thinking about Martha, and then I decided to give her Bella, my most beautiful doll.  This was because I knew that Martha didn’t have any toys at all…..In the morning when I told Anna that I was going to give Martha my doll, she went to get her nicest story book.  And after school we went over to Martha’s house……My, oh, my how happy she was!
“When we were outside the door, I said to Anna, “Isn’t it funny, now we’ve made someone happy without even trying.”

The Children of Noisy Village, by Astrid Lindgren (who also wrote Pippi Longstocking!)

5 thoughts on “without even trying

  1. I have always admired your ability to savor every moment, and I think your use of the camera for that is awesome. Your kuchen looks scrumptious, and I’ll be looking for when you perfect and post the recipe. 🙂

    I love the picture of Seth in the basket, and David did a GREAT job on the photo of the cat!

    Hope you have a blessed Monday!

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