..we should not call anything trouble which brings to pass good..

DSC_0325“I am anxious, and it soothes me to express myself here. It is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” —Mina Murray in her journal

Sunday morning.  I had considered going to my parent’s house for the day as it was only an hour and a half drive from where we were in Pennsylvania.  But I was suffering with a cold and we decided to stay where we were.  Grace showed us a nice coffee shop and the three of us had breakfast together there.

IMG_9060

We spent the rest of the morning at a bookstore and Grace bought a journalling Bible with a beautiful cover and nice wide margins for her thoughts.

She was craving macaroni and cheese for lunch and we went to Ruby Tuesdays.

By this time, Joanna’s family was back from church and she was able to meet us with her daughter.

IMG_E9066

I love her.

Joanna took Sarah along home with her.  Grace and I went to the hotel to get her things so she could do homework at Aunt Joanna’s house.  And then we spent the rest of the afternoon until bedtime with them.  It was as cozy as could be with all the family and me and my two girls all together in the cozy kitchen, dining room, and living room.  We had delicious Dominoes pizza for dinner.

DSC_0327

DSC_0332

We love to exchange our big journals and look through them as we visit.  Joanna’s journal is big and heavy and full of quotes, pictures, found papers, and art.  Coco stayed by us and was inspired enough to get up and find things to glue into her first journal.

DSC_0336

DSC_0331

((red shoe))

DSC_0330

Inspiration, Idea, Execution (the top corner of her journal shows a picture of how she came up with the art on the wall—her own photography))

IMG_9072 1

(green page)

IMG_9073 1

(brown)

IMG_9074 1

(old recipe)

23432316_10155340178136843_884461183_o

(photo by Jo)

“Some may say [journal keeping] is a great deal of trouble. But we should not call anything trouble which brings to pass good. I consider that portion of my life which has been spent in keeping journals and writing history to have been very profitably spent. If there was no other motive in view [except] to have the privilege of reading over our journals and for our children to read, it would pay for the time spent in writing it.” —Wilford Woodruff

DSC_0350

DSC_0348

DSC_0354

“Never forget that writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things — childhood, certainties, cities, doubts, dreams, instants, phrases, parents, loves — that go on slipping, like sand, through our fingers.” —Salman Rushdie

walking in the woods

DSC_0358 1

DSC_0361

DSC_0364

DSC_0367

DSC_0369

DSC_0371

DSC_0372

DSC_0373

DSC_0375

DSC_0376

DSC_0379

DSC_0380

DSC_0381

DSC_0384

DSC_0385

DSC_0386

DSC_0389

DSC_0391

***

We decided to go on a family walk through the woods.  Rich had to caution Seth several times because a broken collar bone doesn’t slow him down anymore.  Gentleman Gray made us all happy by coming along with us and being a funny cat.  We followed the trail.  David brought one of his sharp knives which gave me anxiety about someone getting accidentally cut but all in all it was a nice little walk.

***

This morning I almost forgot to get David and Caleb to their physicals.  I had just enough time to shower, go get them from school, and take them.  They are old enough that I sit in the waiting room.  The nurse took them back first to get their weights and heights, and check their ears and eyes, then she took them back to the doctor.  She returned to the waiting room to tell me, “I just love your boys, I had to tell you, they are such good boys.” Of course this made me proud and happy so when David came out, done with his appointment first, I told him what she said.  “I’m sure she was referring to ME,” he said with his nose in the air.  “I’m sure you’re right,” I said rolling my eyes.  “You gave birth to warriors.” he continued……….    (I really gave birth to funny people)

***

I found several good recipes in the Family Circle magazine while I waited in the doctor’s office.  I took pictures of them;  Roasted Kale and Butternut Squash,  Pork with Cauliflower and Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Jamaican Coconut Collard Greens.  I’m trying to eat lots more fruits and veggies.  I had a smoothie for breakfast; canned organic pumpkin, ice, milk, frozen banana, cinnamon and nutmeg.  YUM

***

I need to get myself organized for Thanksgiving dinner, which I am preparing this year for my family.  One good thing is that I’ve done it enough to know what I’m doing.  I just have to get that big grocery shopping trip done.  What are your plans for the day?

***

The first photo is of *the first ice of the season*, which is always celebrated, on the stream.  The children said it looked “like South America.”  Sarah has been going outside every day to skate around on a frozen puddle at the end of the yard.

***

Rich is working late tonight.  David has already told me he wants to make dinner; spaghetti with meatballs.  And no doubt we will watch some of Monday night football.

 

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 

18th for Grace

Beautiful Grace turned 18 on November 4th.  Her dear Caleb gave her a lovely piece of jewelry as a gift but she was the most thankful for the gift of time the two of them spent together.  They had the whole day together and then met us at Steve & Joanna’s house for dinner and cake.

DSC_0320

“I look like I belong,” she said when she saw this photo.

Joanna’s family has welcomed her into the circle.

DSC_0321

They were looking forward to meeting Caleb.  Now he’s in the circle, too.

IMG_9031

Dear Birthday Girl;

Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.

I Corinthians 1:7-9

 

doxology

23468284_10155340177626843_1708102959_o

It’s Saturday afternoon.  Joanna and I go back to her house and find her son Eti in the kitchen busy with dinner preparations.  Beebs the baby is playing with the trains I gave him.  Jeff is working on the computer and the girls are playing.  Her husband Steve has taken good care of everyone all day long while we were at church.

There is just enough light left outdoors for some photos.  We want to take pictures of the girls in their matching clothes.

IMG_8994

The children are happy all around us and us two mamas are laughing….we try and try for just the right picture.  And then we hand our cameras to them and let them try.

IMG_9025

I think about 20 years ago when I first met Joanna at Bible college.  I marvel at the longevity of our friendship and all the things that have happened since then; marriages, births, adoption, moves, and all the other events of living both big and small.

The biggest blessing of all to me is the soul and depths of two women sharing with each other what they are learning deep down in their hearts.  Truthfully enjoying motherhood, deeply loving our husbands, joy-aches, sorrow-aches, emergency prayers, understanding, wisdom read, copied, scribbled on slips of paper, sent through the mail, saved, savored, felt, journaled.

23432804_10155340177296843_45976633_o

23433212_10155340178716843_1834539535_o

We add the moments of this very afternoon to our collection of friendship memories with the knowledge that life is short, and full of holy experiences.  Our hungry eyes search for them all, each one worth praising God for; the innocence of childhood, the smells of good food in the kitchen, a loving man, adoring happy daughters, steadfast sons, a friendly dog, crunchy leaves underfoot, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness.

******

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above all ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

yes

It’s Friday, and I pick up my little travel companion from school early.  She’s so excited that she can’t stop talking.  We are going to see her best friend and her sister.  She’s holding my hand and skipping to the car.  Her joy is contagious.

We stop at Starbucks which is our tradition before every road trip.

IMG_8961

The drive takes us all afternoon.

At one point we go from sun to rain and I see a rainbow in the sky.

I listen to podcasts; she watches Shrek for the 10,000th time.

We stop at TJ Maxx for a curling iron because I forgot mine at home.  We leave with little presents for all five of Joanna’s kids…..and no curling iron.

Eventually we reach our hotel.  It’s getting dark and it’s cold.  But we settle into our room and get back into the car to meet sister Grace and her boyfriend Caleb for dinner at a Greek place just a few minutes away.  We can’t wait to see them.

At the restaurant, we order macaroni and cheese for Sarah, a pork chop dinner for Grace, and gyros for Caleb and me.  The food is delicious and filling and gives us energy.

After we eat, we go next door and visit puppies in a shop.

*****

It’s Saturday and Grace’s 18th birthday.

She has plans for the day with Caleb so I take Sarah to see her best friend and pick up Joanna for a women’s Bible conference.  She’s speaking and I can’t wait to hear her.

We drive to the church early and then sit in the car and talk while I put on make up.

It’s been a year since our last visit but it feels like we were never apart.

IMG_8988

We go into the church and find seats.  The tables are decorated with pretty lanterns and pumpkins and doilies.  There is cold water and coffee or tea to drink and miniature bagels and clementines to snack on.

IMG_9037

While she is away saying hello to some of the other ladies, I take a photo of our Bibles on the table and feel my heart bursting with gratitude for the moment.

The talks with other women are just what we need, the songs we sing help us to praise Him with the center of our being, and we pray together and learn more about Him.

We learn to say “Yes, Lord”;  yes, and amen.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.  2 Corinthians 1:20

I am astounded once again, that He has said Yes to me.

IMG_8977

Joanna and I go into a little classroom after the conference and both of us take photos of an amazing mobile that has caught our attention; it is made out of a tree branch, and used for the church’s preschool ministry.  We both decide we want to make one, too.

IMG_8978

IMG_8981

After the conference, we go to the hotel so I can change and then go back to her house to check on the girls.  Grace and Caleb will be joining us for dinner later and we have the whole evening to look forward to.

DSC_0197

Jacob and Ethan came home for a visit.  They arrived Friday night and left Sunday morning.  Ethan was busy with his girlfriend, but we were able to have a nice long visit with Jacob.  Here he is with his girlfriend, Brittany.

Jacob has been away from home for several months now, and this is his first time living away from the family.  He is almost 21 and is attending the same college as Ethan after living at home, working, and doing community college.  He loves the campus, he and Ethan share a dorm room, Jacob is finishing up a football season and will be joining Ethan in wrestling soon.

We knew as soon as we saw him that he had gotten bigger.  He wondered if he was taller than his dad, so I got something to stand on and measured them both against the wall.

DSC_0285

And a milestone was reached.

DSC_0296

Naturally, I had to measure David, Ethan, and Caleb, too.  And then I thought I may as well also get added to the wall.  As you can see, Ethan and David are the same height.  Next one down is me (Jacob measure me and wrote Momma) and then, Caleb.    (Seth and Sarah’s marks are down further and Grace wasn’t home to be measured so I’ll get her next time.)  We also measured the dog.

DSC_0226

When Jacob and Ethan went back to college, we followed behind.  It was a nice drive to Vermont, and we watched Ethan’s wrestling team scrimmage.  We arrived back home Sunday night and went to bed.  During the night there was enough of a heavy wind and rain that trees and branches fell all over the town and surrounding towns, causing the children to miss two days of school and have a two hour delay on Wednesday.

This is the first quiet morning I have had at home since last week.  It’s been chaotic, but God’s grace has been sufficient as it always is.

We were thankful not to lose our electricity for very long.  It went off for about 5 minutes at a time.  Other homes in our area have been out of power for days.

DSC_0233

We had time for a nice pancake breakfast.

DSC_0240

And some nice family dinners with sports practices cancelled.

DSC_0249

**warm blankets and companionable cats**

DSC_0253

**reading and turkey sandwiches**

DSC_0256

I had to take a photo because the kids and I found it amusing that Samantha-Cat was growling at the boy-cats to keep them away from her canned cat food.  They kept their distance and respected her.

DSC_0263

I had to take Caleb to the doctors Tuesday because he has been limping. . .turns out the pain in his heels were only growing pains, so we were thankful that he hadn’t suffered injuries during football. We went to the Goodwill store where Sarah Joy found these two mermaid toys.  She got them both for a dollar…..the reason this is worth recording is because when she got home, she took 2 hour long bath with them.  She won the family record for bathing the longest.  I kept knocking on the door to see if she was okay.

DSC_0266

Then, I had to take Seth to the ER on Tuesday.  He and Caleb were playing football on the neighbor’s yard and Seth ran out for a pass and ran into a big wagon wheel that they have propped against a white birch tree as a decoration.  He cut his head above his ear –but back a few inches in his hair.  Caleb walked him back home and I rushed for paper towels.  “Here hold this on your head,” I said.  “Ouch, I can’t move my arm!” he replied.   Upon inspection I saw that his collarbone had a bump on it and I knew with the cut and the strange bump we would be going to the hospital for an X-ray.  Sure enough, he had a fractured collarbone and now has to have his arm in a sling for four to six weeks.  His head wound required 3 staples to close.  He has been a much quieter boy since it happened almost 2 days ago.  He’s had the wind knocked out of his sails, so to speak.  When the Motrin wears off he is still in pain because of his collarbone, but his head hasn’t bothered him at all.  I think it helps that he can’t see the cut or the staples.  Today was his first day back to school.  I wonder how it’s going. . . . . . .

That night, Rich took only Sarah out trick or treating.  Seth and Caleb had already had “tricks” and weren’t going to get any “treats”.  (Sarah did give them some candy when she got back).

DSC_0274

Baseball cards are a nice activity for a one handed boy.  Seth is right handed, which is the arm in the sling, so the next few weeks will be a little bit of a challenge for him.  I’ve already seen him adapt with his left hand quite well.  He even ate 4 tacos without making a mess.

DSC_0279

Sarah is being WAY too thoughtful and helpful to Seth, offering to put his seatbelt on him in the car, telling him to be careful, encouraging him that he CAN go to school with a broken collarbone (she asked her teacher), getting things for him (“don’t move” she cautions), and so on. . . .it makes me laugh and irritates Seth.

DSC_0270

In the meantime, I came across these two butter knives on the mantle as I was cleaning.  David did it.  He took them out of the drawer, sharpened them and put points on them like steak knives.  I was not happy about my knives and told him not to take things out of my kitchen anymore.  “The thrift store has lots of metal objects you can get for almost nothing.  You can get some there and sharpen them.”

He also shaved the side off a penny.  I’m not sure HOW he’s doing these things. . . . but David is that sort of person who is endlessly learning and getting interested in things.  For now, it’s knives (making, sharpening, etc), soccer, music, and sometimes mouse traps.

DSC_0301

I’m currently reading this. . . .

DSC_0303

….and drinking tea.

And I’m trying to fight a cold.  Sarah and I are leaving tomorrow afternoon to go visit Grace for the weekend.  I cannot wait.  I think I need a weekend off.

*****

Corrie Ten Boom Quote:

Someone said to me:  “When I worry I go to the mirror and say to myself:  This tremendous thing which worries me is beyond solution; especially it is too hard for Jesus Christ to handle.  After I have said so, I smile and am ashamed.”

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

for the children

A wickedly lovely Halloween to you and you and you. . . . . .

I asked Sarah if she was a little witch today and she said, “You can be the witch.  I will be your cat.”

Therefore, I’m snuggled on the couch with a Sarah-cat on one side and a real-cat on my lap.  The real-cat is not Black.  When I ordered him from my Witch-Supplies Catalogue, I was certain I had checked off “Midnight Black”, but when he arrived he was as gray as the most foggiest of dismal mornings, but otherwise the very best witch’s cat companion as could be, so we kept him of course.

The sun is slowly coming up in a cloudy sky, clouds as gray as my gray cat.

Spooky beings fly by the house, not on brooms, but in cars.

It’s scary out there.

But the most scariest of all??????

No school for my little offspring.   “BOOoooooooo” they cry.

The weather was positively scary on Sunday night, the wind moaned and pushed, and as tree-pruning by wind power is most unpredictable, the roads are covered in debris— no school Monday or Today.

*********

So I write with inky words, the tale of Aunt Amanda-Witch’s Halloween Party.

IMG_8815

Aunt Amanda-Witch

She isn’t scary ALL the time, just some of the time.

She planned and she planned, she visited a few stores and bought supplies 70 percent off!  Good witches always spend their money wisely.

She set to work, happily making her party as nice as she could, and invited good little girls and boys to attend a most wonderful party.  Good witches work hard and shower children with love.

IMG_8817

A Black, Red Eyed Rat

ready to bite anyone who went upstairs.

IMG_8818

Gorgeous light, draped in the blackest netting……….

IMG_8819

The table was set with skeleton cups from the dollar store, pumpkins, black garland over a sparkly gold table runner, orange pumpkin paper plates. . . . . .

IMG_8820

IMG_8836

IMG_8837

Cobwebs completed the look.

IMG_8838

IMG_8829

“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”
— Charles R. Swindol

IMG_8830

“The soul is healed by being with children.”
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky

IMG_8828

“I added touches of sparkles–they always pop at a party–and the kids love the little details, too.”

23130882_10155583814276343_3848335646147194532_n

These spiders could be clipped on anything and were a favorite item from Michael’s.  She found most of her decorations at Michael’s and Dollar General.  She bought the spray paint (must be oil based so it sits on the water for the hydro-dipped pumpkins) and the piñata from Walmart.

Come to the party, four o’clock on Saturday, said the invitation sent by Magical Text Messaging.

IMG_8834

IMG_8835

IMG_8822

The children had so much fun!  They hit a piñata, and either carved or painted their pumpkins.

IMG_8821

IMG_8827

Aunt Amanda-Witch thought of everything, she had even researched Youtube for exciting ways to paint the pumpkins.  Search HYDRO-DIPPED pumpkins and MELTED CRAYON pumpkins.

IMG_8825

And then there was a boys against the girls Bobbing for Apples contest!

IMG_8833

IMG_8832

IMG_8826

They ate donuts off strings!

There was also Halloween music playing (iTunes kid bop Halloween), a cheerful campfire, string of lights, and yummy s’mores for when it became dark outside.

IMG_8831

And a very spooky menu:

Mummy Hot Dogs
Veggie Skeleton
Ghost Fruit Kabobs
Zombie Boogers
Mummy Mini Pizza
Deviled Spider Eggs
Spooky Jello Jigglers
Dirt Worm Cups
Apple Cider with Eyeball Ice

At the end of the party, each guest received a special gift bag to take home, along with a caramel apple and their pumpkin.

Aunt Amanda-Witch and her husband Uncle Jason-Warlock really outdid themselves with this special party.  The children absolutely LOVED it.  When we had to leave, Sarah ran and frantically questioned Aunt Amanda-Witch if she was going to give any more parties sometime.  I think Aunt Amanda Witch should consider a side-job in party planning, don’t you?

What we remember from childhood
we remember forever —
permanent ghosts,
stamped, inked,
imprinted, eternally seen.
~Cynthia Ozick

 

SaveSaveSaveSave