About Shanda

wife, mom of seven, friend, child of God

..the dark sacred night..

dsc_0188I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world  

Good morning, it’s -5 outside, ice coating everything, sunshine lighting up the trees so they look all-over silver.  The most beautiful world outside, do the little wild animals in the woods enjoy it, too?

My heart is overflowing with joy.

I stayed up last night taking photos of the moon.  This morning I woke up to the children being so charming; Sarah already outside with her hair yellow and glowing down her back, Caleb and Seth laughing and fooling around together downstairs, David trying to make a fire using foil and batteries (“it only made smoke”).  Sports Center blaring on the TV, cats eager to be fed, and a movie playing on the small TV in the addition with no one around to watch it.

Good morning texts on the phone from my beloved sister and brother.  Today is Weston’s birthday, I can’t believe my little nephew is eleven today.

I couldn’t wait to look at my moon photos.

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Dear Joanna watched it with me, way way faraway in Pennslyvania.  My family all fell asleep.

The magical moon.

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It was so cold that I went out the front door, said hello, took a few photos, and then went back inside to warm up for another 10 minutes or so.

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I didn’t bother with a tripod.  I just tried my best to get the settings on my camera correct and then *didn’t fiddle around* simply because it was too cold and I had no mittens on my hands.

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It really does look as if it’s hanging in the sky.

 

I have needs and hopes and wishes and wants and complaints.  But last night when I was standing under an inky black sky, under a beautiful moon, in my slippers on top of a cold hard snow and my nose was freezing and my hands were freezing, and I was wearing a coat and a robe and a hoodie, I thought to myself………..

God is 1,000,000,000 bigger than any of my petty problems.

Vast, immeasurable, mighty, and……. and amazingly…….He loves & cares for you and me!

 

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done, and the plans You have for us–none can compare to You–if I would proclaim and declare of them, they are more than could be numbered.  Psalm 40:5

yesterday

Rich took Seth and Caleb to their wrestling tournament and I took the others to church.  When we were leaving church David told me, “Mom.  I’m craving a jelly donut for some reason.”   “Oh, really Dave?” was my reply, and we went to Wendy’s drive-thru for lunch and started the half hour drive home.

*****

Five minutes from home, I pulled into our local Dunkin’ Donuts saying, “I’m craving a jelly donut for some reason.”

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It was fun to see his smile.

I found his cookies

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David came home from practice yesterday, made a protein shake in the blender, took a shower, and then wandered back into the kitchen and said in his morose-sounding Eeyore voice, “I think I want to make chocolate chip cookies.”  “Do it!” we all cried.

“Mom, where’s your recipe.”

“I just use the one on the bag but add more flour.”

“Okay.”

He wanted walnuts in them but couldn’t find them.  I knew this by the loud moans and groans, so I ran to the kitchen to pull out a stool to help him look.  When I found them I sang a happy celebration song, sort of bragging, until he said, “Okay, stop.” in his dry way.

David is charming to me.  I used to blog about him the way he was when he was a little boy and all the interesting things he would do….catch birds with homemade traps, catch turtles, draw comics, fish, swim in his underwear, read interesting books, make crafts, say interesting things as only he can say them.

I still blog about him the way he is, with his shirt off, now 16 years old, working on cookies, trying to take a 8 minute nap on the couch as each tray bakes, and suddenly noticing “Mom has the camera out.”

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“I think I feel sick,” he admitted.  “Too much cookie dough.”

****

Sarah started watching him.

“Dave?  What kind of cookies are you making?  If you answer me now, I won’t ask you again later!”

“Sarah go away.”

“Dave, how can you be so mean, I never heard her ask a question so sweetly!”

“I know!  She’s being FAKE.  I can’t STAND FAKE WOMEN.”

She’s not even nine yet.

*****

“Just so everyone knows, these are MY cookies, I’m going to hide them and save them for rewards.”

He has to watch his weight for wrestling so I think this is smart.

He likes to put cookies in the toaster to warm them up.

He doesn’t wear an apron, he doesn’t need to, because skin is easy to clean.

He tidied up his mess somewhat, but this morning when he was gone at school I scrubbed the cookie sheets with hot soapy water and put them away.  I also got to eat the one solitary remaining cookie for breakfast, dunking it into my coffee.  Thinking about my son.  The walnuts and chocolate tasted so good.

Later on, when I wasn’t thinking about him at all, I found his cookies.

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when we’re together

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We watched a movie and matched socks.  Which, as you know, is a two-person-hour-long chore around here.

When the movie was half over she wanted to talk instead, so I pushed pause (and eventually turned it off); we can finish the movie another day.

We went upstairs and cleaned her bedroom.

“Cleaning is a good activity to do while you’re talking to someone else because you don’t even realize that you’re cleaning.” she said.  Take note.

Then we got dressed and went downtown to the thrift store.

She scored a July 21, 1969 edition of the Hartford Courant which had the headline “Man Walks on Moon” in bright blue on the front, plus a short stack of several more newspapers underneath.

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I was leaning against the kitchen island, on the computer searching for a photo of Sarah and her brother Ethan, when I glanced to my left and saw a most charming sight, of Grace in my red plaid jacket, reading her new very old newspaper.

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I got closer and bent my nose down to smell it, and then she did, too.

We’re two of a kind.

 

lunch and christmas gift exchange with Dave

Too many of us never understand what we owe to our dear ones — until there remains no further opportunity of paying love’s debt.  JR Miller

I just downloaded 44 photos that could be grouped into a gazillion blog posts.  I was tempted to just dump them all into ONE but I can’t, I just can’t.  They deserve their own posts.  (Okay, It really might be ten, but with the rate I’ve been blogging it would take me a gazzillion days to post the ten.  I’m determined to do a blog a day until I’m caught up.)

I’m sitting on the couch in the livingroom.  Three of our four cats are prowling around.  Walter is sitting like a king by the kitchen door, Sherlock is sitting on the counter watching over things.  Bagheera snuck up behind Sherlock wanting to play and was hissed at, meanly.

Grace is also prowling around, warming up a cornbag and preparing a breakfast bagel.

It’s a gift to have her home on break for the next few weeks.  Her older brothers already had to drive back to Castleton on the 1st.  We are thinking about going to visit them at some point, just for the fun of it.

But today Grace and I are picking up Seth at the school at 10:30 for an orthodonist appointment.  He has an expander on the roof of his mouth, and a habit breaker, and I wonder if he’ll have either one of them removed today.  That would be nice for him.

Rich and Dave have a wrestling meet today after school.

This would be a nice weekend to visit us if you want to see the boys wrestle.  Dave has a meet on Saturday.  Caleb and Seth have their first meet on Sunday.  They will both be half- a- day long affairs, I will be taking headphones, a charger, and a book so the noise and activity doesn’t daze and confuse me.  I’m already praying they have fun and do as well as they can.  I’ll let you know if they place and get medals.

Sarah Joy was rummaging around the shelves this morning searching for lost school library books until I finally said, “You should have done this last night!” and she went to school with one missing.  She’s wearing blue pants, a purple velvet-textured shirt with ruffled sleeves, her trademark ponytail.  And a smile.

This morning I’m thinking about way back on December 18, 2018 when I drove to Clarks Summit.  The purpose of the trip was first and foremost to get my daughter home for Christmas, but at the same time I was able to spend time with Joanna and stay the night all by myself in a hotel.

I was also able to visit with my brother Dave.  He drove about an hour to meet me for lunch at a favorite little Greek diner.  He did all the ordering and we had the grandest time sitting and enjoying each other’s company while eating delicious food.

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Dave is one of the best brothers in the whole wide world (I have two others).  We are a year and two months apart in age and we like to tell each other, “You’re my original best friend.” It’s true.  We’ve been together all these years, and now, even though we live 4 hours apart, we text each other almost daily and talk on the phone once or twice a month.

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This was before our main lunch plates came out!  We had spinach pie, a piece of cheese that the waitress lit on fire next to our table so we could eat it sizzling hot, and pita with a sour cream/feta cheese dip.  All of the foods had Greek names that I now cannot remember, (I should have taken notes.)

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Then our meat kabobs came out and we kept right on eating.

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We ate and we ate and we ate and then had dessert.  We were stuffed full of good food.

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The waitress cleared away our dishes and packed up the remainder of my cheesecake, which I would finish eating at 9 o’clock that night.  I asked her to take a photo of us and now I have this picture to remind me of the day Dave came to meet me for lunch.

I’m leaning toward the computer screen right now, looking at it and smiling because I can’t help it.

***

I posted the quote at the beginning of this post as a reminder to me to take every opportunity I can to spend time with the people I love, and to show them that I care about them.

jacob’s 22

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Happy New Year’s Eve!  Most of us are currently in the livingroom because Rich and Ethan are in the mood to watch Mr. Bean videos.  Nothing gets Rich laughing harder.

22 years ago we welcomed our firstborn into the world on this day.  Today is his birthday and it’s fun that it falls on a holiday and he can be home on his special day.  He and Brittnee went downtown to the coffeeshop for a little date, too.  We had pasta for lunch, played Phase 10, and just had a most delicious cake.

But before I share photos from today, I wanted to post a few from the wrestling tournament on Saturday.  Jacob drove me and the kids in my vehicle to the school where Rich and David and the rest of the team were warming up.

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David lost his first two matches and then won his second two.  It was a day of blood, sweat, and tears for him but it ended well.  (In blue singlet on the right).

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Seth and Sarah have spent a lot of their childhood in wrestling gyms and always find a spot to watch (rarely the bleachers next to me).  I keep an eye on them and smile.  Seth helped keep time at one point during the day, and even got to run the score clock once, as well.

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David recovered after a loss next to his sister.

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After a win, and then telling his Dad no way did he have any interested in doing an exhibition match against a 160 pounder.  (Dave was 138 on Saturday).

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After his second win, I took this photo from the bleachers of Dave listening to whatever Jacob was telling him (Ethan and Rich are nearby on the edge of the mat wearing gray long sleeved shirts).  Rich loves it when the boys are home and can help coach.   Jacob thought the shoot David did in this match was the best he ever did and Dave said it was because he “didn’t shoot from the bleachers” meaning he wasn’t too far away for it to be effective this time.

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Sometimes I just sit and take photos of whatever happens in front of me.

We stopped for a nice BBQ lunch on the way home and that was Saturday.

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Then, on Sunday evening Jacob invited friends to the house to begin celebrating his birthday.

Rich took them to Costco to get party food and they came home with shrimp, clams, and salmon, along with chips, dips, crackers, cheese, drinks, and a cake.

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Ethan got to work making coffees with his Christmas espresso maker while Jacob steamed all of the clams.

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Grace cozied up on the couch reading a book.

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And Rich watched the football games.

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Today Jacob turned twenty-two.

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They played games most of the day.  It’s been nice.  Our favorites have been Listography and Phase 10.

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I didn’t have twenty two candles so we put two and then two more.  I love this photo so much.  I was about to take it and Rich went and found the tripod so I could be in it, too.  Real-life romance.

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Grace lit the candles and someone turned off the lights.

We all started singing.

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And then Jacob blew out the candles.

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Seth was being silly.

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Dave went right back downstairs to Skyrim but don’t worry, “I’ll leave the door open so I can still hear you all,” he said.

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The cake was delicious!