About Shanda

wife, mom of seven, friend, child of God

what can I say?

“All these earthly goods were medicine for what ailed me, evidence that the same God who had breathed the world into being was still breathing. There was so much life springing up all around me that the runoff alone was enough to revive me. When it did, I could not imagine why I had stayed away so long. Why did I seal myself off from all this freshness? On what grounds did I fast from the daily bread of birdsong and starlight?” -Barbara Brown Taylor

Am I sad? I’m always a little bit sad. Who isn’t in this messy beautiful world? But these are a few of the things I am finding joy in lately:

Therapy. Two weeks ago I shared with my therapist-healer a traumatic memory that even in sharing it two years or more after it happened brought my emotions to a ten. Last week we used tappers to go through the memory again, already it was, like magic, shifting. Already it was below a five on the emotional scale. Today it is hard to put a number on it. Anything below a five is so much of a relief it’s beyond even using a number. It’s using a hallelujah.

Books. This year 2022 I am reading more than ever. I have a red-covered notebook that Elisha gave to me for Christmas that I am carefully recording each title as I finish it. Some of the books are lackluster, but when I come across one that shines it makes my heart sing. Reading has always been good for the soul for me. I have quite a stack waiting for me and I look forward to them like I look forward to cookies to cool so I can eat one.

Family. Rich is my comfort, companion, love, and joy. He’s back to work in office now, and we both believe that even though Covid was heavy, it made our relationship better than ever. The children are doing well and keeping me challenged. I was thinking this morning about the simple words a friend shared with me the other day; “Don’t give up”. So often lately I have found myself impatient with myself as I mother my two youngest, forgetting that they deserve the attention and freshness that the older ones had from me. Instead of curling up with a book this afternoon I plan on investing in them, I know their hearts and I know the love we share can be rekindled and refreshed at any moment. We can go for walks, play a game, I can listen better to their stories that I often feel I have already heard a thousand times….but I haven’t. Not from them. Middle school life is new and exciting for them. Being 11 and 13 is amazing and wonderful for them. And for them, I won’t give up. Being intentional is half the battle. Poor things don’t know what’s coming. Lol

Nature. As always, a walk through the woods, or even something as simple as an open window letting in fresh air and birdsong lifts my spirits.

Cats. Art. Friendship. Food. Home. Music. Shopping at goodwill deserves its own separate post. Travel. Writing. The list grows even longer. Isn’t life grand?

But above all these things is love. 1 Corinthians 13

“moment by moment new mercies I see.”

Happy day my friends. Let me remind you and me both….we are greatly loved.

the fifth

The fifth cat that is.

I can’t believe it’s already almost a week since Grace and I tried to lure a stray cat to us with a bowl of dry cat food. To our surprise and wonder, it actually came. It was wearing a flea collar and was nothing but skin and bones. It meowed but it’s voice wasn’t a thing of beauty. It said, “Hello, I am a starving cat. I’ve been watching you for a month. I already met your other cats. The black one chased me away but I had a feeling you would welcome me inside.”

And I said, “Ohhhhhh my goodness, come on inside you poor poor little baby kitty, you’re so handsome and sweet you’re so thin, let’s feed youuuuuuuu.”

Seth wanted him so I said he could be Seth’s cat. Then Caleb came to me and said “I can’t believe you gave that cat to Seth.” He thought it should be his cat. Then Sierra sent me a text. “Can that be Ethan’s cat? We want it.” (They don’t know this but all the cats are secretly….mine). I tried to be a peacemaker the best I could but we started arguing about what to name him. Clyde? Clive? Lorenzo?

I’ve been calling him Mr Bones.

Yesterday I overheard Seth call him Little Sticks. I’m not sure which name will stay.

Seth and Sarah don’t like to pet him because all they can feel are his sharp bones jutting out. Shoulder blades, hips, and heels especially.

Within days I had him at the vet getting his rabies and distemper shots. On Tuesday he will be getting neutered.

He drinks from the toilet and eats from the kitchen sink and I wonder if his previous owner ever gave him a proper meal for cats, you know like actual cat food in a dish?. He’s obviously not partial to bowls and saucers. He only weighs seven pounds. He’s had butter, a leftover sausage, part of Davids egg sandwich including the bread, and some of my matcha latte. Who knows how long he was outside starving in the cold winter.

Regardless, he’s mine now. He’s been thoroughly adopted.

The day we met.
He has beautiful eyes.
I was shocked when he ate off dirty plates in the sink. Did his previous owner take care of him?
He’s trying to make friends.
He’s so thin.
He drank some of my matcha!!
I love him.

This morning I was making a cup of coffee when I noticed that my husband had written something on one of the fridge magnets:

He’s very patient.

good to be home

Peace knows your address.
Make sure you are home.
Be present within yourself. Move in. Open the windows. Let in the light. Freshen up the place.
Make yourself a place you’d like to stay.
Be a homebody.
~Jaiya John, Fragrance After Rain

PEACE KNOWS YOUR ADDRESS: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

MAKE SURE YOU ARE HOME: Our bodies tell us, with our nerves and emotions, when we are not “home”. (safe). There are many ways to work on safety. What works for me will not work for you. This is why it sometimes takes years to come to a place of healing; and that’s okay.

BE PRESENT WITHIN YOURSELF: You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are the only one who can take care of you. God, through Jesus Christ, wants us to live abundantly. He cares enough to know our hearts (insides) the number of hairs on our heads (outsides); shouldn’t we also care about ourselves so that we can be healthy & enjoy *messy-beautiful* life?

MOVE IN: close your eyes, get inside yourself with welcome and warmth, do you find yourself smiling yet?

OPEN THE WINDOWS: now open your eyes, open your heart, soul, and mind. Let the beauty of living come inside you.

LET IN THE LIGHT: “Jesus once again addressed them: ‘I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” This is why our hearts soar when sunbeams flow into the room and across the floor, warming and brightening.

FRESHEN UP THE PLACE: I try to do this daily…..because so easily I become stagnant. One day will be a musical day, another day will be art, another day will be rest, another day will be hard work another day will be ………… you get the idea.

MAKE YOURSELF A PLACE YOU’D LIKE TO STAY: Again, figuring yourself out, knowing who you are, your identity as basic as “I am a woman” opens up a world of possibility. What does that mean to you? When we know our own unique and sacred self, we can nourish that and remain the one and only me/you there ever is or will be.

BE A HOMEBODY. Everything and everyone else is just icing on the cake.

a high vale

Often, a phrase or sentence will jump out at me as I’m reading or just going about my day. I started a new art/scrapbook journal yesterday with the intention of using it to record some of those wise words I collect because words are treasures to me, and a well turned phrase is worth keeping.

I read this quote a couple days ago and the words “high value woman” hit my soul. I have often called myself a queen, but this hits different. I’m a high value woman! I decided this would be my first page in the new book to remind myself that whenever possible, to chose the most nourishing and best of life’s offerings. (“He preparest a table before me….”) I sat down and brushed a thin layer of pastel pink all over the page. Then, I chose a shade of green to begin the lettering. I was taking myself seriously. This book was going to change my life and the lives of my descendants.

I should have known better. Life has a way of reminding me not to take anything too seriously. I’ll always make interesting mistakes. And some of them are downright instantaneously funny.

work in progress
work completed

I finished the page today. I also did a TON of cleaning. Like, a bucket of soapy water washing the walls sort of cleaning. The sun is shining and it’s a cold and windy day….. a lovely day for lighting candles and tidying my home. Soon the children will arrive from school. It’s been a wonderful day so far, I wonder what’s ahead for the second half?

We are loved. (1 John 4:11)

the pillow mom made me

Good morning friends,

Is anyone here? Have I been away long enough?

While I was away, I turned 46!

My parents sent me a package through the mail for my birthday and inside was a marvelous pillow. Using a quilt square that I hand-stitched together as a child and fabric and a hand crocheted doily out of her collection of keepsakes from her grandmother, mom thoughtfully sewed a pillow for me, and sent it with a note of blessing for the hands who worked together to make it: her own hands, her grandmother’s hands, and her daughter’s hands.

I look at it every day. Really look, with my eyes and with my heart.

It graces our master bed. Which I am sitting upon as I type, with cats, a mug of coffee, a book, a notebook, and the remote.

Happy Tuesday!

We are loved.


2day baby boy turns 13.

I love this child with all my heart. He’s my sunshine every single day, my laughter because he has a free and special sense of humor, my surprise because I never know what he will do or say next, my riddle when I don’t understand what he’s thinking, my friend because we know each other so well, my comfort because he’s always been good for a snuggle, and my son, born of my body, a miracle!

I wish I could give you everything you ever wanted. However, it wouldn’t be good for either of us. So, I’m sorry that you’re disappointed I didn’t get you the Nike Air Force 1 high top sneakers. I know you really don’t mind, also this is why I don’t really like Christmas and birthday lists anymore….they make you kids think whatever you write down will come to pass. But I digress. You looked so handsome when you left for school this morning in your LLBean moccasins and white champion hoodie though!!

And yes I know Sarah ended up with a pair of moccasins too, but honest, hers were on clearance and it would have been silly not to get her them.

I’ve been busy cleaning my room today, Seth, and I found a couple of journals that I hadn’t read in a while and as I turned the pages I saw something you wrote to me. I just know I was meant to find it today on your birthday. What a special surprise this was…. and it filled my heart with joy to read your words:

Mommy and Daddy both adore our Sethie. You’ve been such a treasure. We saw you for the first time 13 years ago and we just knew good times were ahead for us.

Maybe later I’ll tell you all about the day you were born. It’s a story I’ll be happy to share with you as many times as you want. Our favorite part is when Daddy faints, isn’t it? Regardless, it was one of the best days of our lives…when we welcomed you into the world.

I’ve been working on your ice cream cake. It was fun to crush Oreos for the crust and soften ice cream to layer on top. Soon I’ll add drizzles of chocolate fudge sauce, cool whip, and lastly, a generous sprinkling of Oreo crumbs. You’re determined to go to the wrestling meet tonight so we won’t be blowing out candles until who-knows-when.

All good things for a day for Seth. You are the best Seth ever. And very very loved.

Always and always.

make bread

Rich, Ethan, Caleb, Seth, Sarah, and I are at home sitting warm and snug in a blizzard……. and today was the perfect day to make bread. I’m sharing the recipe because it’s worthy (I doubled it).

softest white pillows in lovely brown cases; delicious
dreaming of Valentine’s Day

I found her sisters

This was fun. So I’ve gotten really into second hand shopping over the past couple years. I’ve always been a thrift-store girl but now it’s kicked up a notch to the point that I would rather go to Goodwill than pretty much any other store. We have a tiny thrift shop in town so I went yesterday after taking Seth and Sarah to school (after dentist appts) and I found some delightful treasures including this fancy and charming lady:

I didn’t know what she was and I hadn’t noticed anything like her before in all my adventures. She was 50 cents. Her hat had a mended brim, which I didn’t mind. Her skirt was a bell! Her head was a candle stick holder! She was so pretty! I had to bring her home.

This is where she now resides.

Today I had an orthodontist appointment and it literally took five minutes and naturally I just couldn’t go right back home so I went to another favorite antique shop. I hadn’t been to this one in well over a year and I had a delightful time slowly going from booth to booth when ……what do I see?

I could not believe my eyes.

My lady is a napkin holder!! The openings in her bell-skirt are for folded napkins! I saw six more today. Yesterday I saw one and today I saw six. (I did not purchase any today).

Here is a photo of the sticker inside her dress:

More photos from the antique place:

“Cats booth”
Glass eggs
signage at the register

After I left I had to go to the store to get Rich some crunchy peanut butter and some coffee creamer and while I was in there I left my cart in line to rush over and grab a drink. To my shock when I got in the car I noticed that it wasn’t actually mango seltzer:

I’m not this type of person.
I got a new hat today.
Rich took this. He must’ve thought I was cute.

We are going to have a big snow storm soon. I am content. Let it fly; I am a Proverbs 31 woman.

You are loved.