common hours

Write it down, when I have perished:
Here is everything I’ve cherished;
That these walls should glow with beauty
Spurred my lagging soul to duty:
That there should be gladness here
Kept me toiling, year by year. . . . .
Everything thought and every act
Were to keep this home intact.
Edgar A. Guest

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Saturday morning I woke up and Rich wasn’t in bed with me anymore, he was out on the couch.  Sometimes if he can’t sleep he will get up and move into the livingroom.  ESPN was on, quietly, and he was sound asleep and looked so peaceful.  I made some coffee and tip toed back to bed.  Shortly thereafter, Seth came in and got into bed with me.  We read stories on my blog for a while and then Sarah came, too.  I love these grateful days of having children small enough to still get into bed with me on a lazy weekend morning. . . . . .

We decided it was a good morning for pancakes.

 

 

Cornmeal pancakes and corned beef hash.  Rich ate the whole pan of hash himself….the kids kept saying, “WHAT IS THAT SMELL?” as it fried.  I haven’t made him hash in years.

Seth had the only complaint, “The pancakes are chewy.”

“Do you mean gritty?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s because they have cornmeal in them.”

I happen to adore cornmeal, and in case you do too, here is the recipe:

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup cornmeal

2 cups buttermilk
3 egg yolks
3 T. butter, melted
3 egg whites, beaten stiff
1 cup blueberries

In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, egg yolks, and butter.  Add the mixture to the dry ingredients.  Fold in the beaten egg whites.  Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle and sprinkle with the blueberries.  Cook the pancakes until bubbles firm and start popping.  Turn only once and cook until done.

I used blueberries that I picked myself this fall at my parents’ house.  I had forgotten them in mom’s freezer and she thoughtfully brought them to me in a cooler at Thanksgiving.  I was sparing with them in the pancakes as I am hoping to make my four bags of blueberry treasures last until next fall when I can pick some more.

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Happiness is being able to sit on the couch and take photos through the window of your bird visitors at the feeder.

Also legwarmers.   Leg warmers are happiness.

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The children were ecstatic to see snow coming down and bundled up in their snow boots to go outside.  Sarah danced down the driveway.

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Seth was pensive.

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Rich and David went to get our 2017 Christmas tree.

At first, they sent me this photo:

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But they really came home with a nice large sized tree.

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Thank you, guys!

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I made tacos for lunch.

Rich and I went downstairs to find ornaments.

Later that evening we watched Elf and let the children decorate the tree.  Only three of them decorated this year.  It was amazingly non-chaotic and I must say, lovely.

Rich and I must be getting older because as soon as the Christmas tree was completely done we said to ourselves, “It’s like it never left.”  The time between trees is all too brief now.

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Our three tree trimmers.

Rich hung the lights.  I think I hung up one ornament, my glass camera one.  I still have to hide the pickle (I’ll do it as soon as I’m done blogging). . . .

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Sarah was excited to find her Sarah ornament but was very confused when she found the one that said Isaac.  WHY do we have this one???   “Because he’s my brother and I like to think about him at Christmas!”

Truth be told, at the end of the season when the ornaments all go on sale I buy the ones I can find with our siblings/family names on them.  It’s fun and meaningful to have them hanging on our tree.  Someday Sarah will understand, too.

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The first Christmas card tidings received in the mail this year were from our old neighbors.

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We were trying to get a photo of the children in front of the tree when Parker slinked over and sat in front of them.  One wonders how long he was in the background watching before he became brave enough to join his children.

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My heart missed the older children very much.  I hope they are just about ready to come home and get their photo taken in front of the tree, too.

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He’s so cute.

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Last but not least; Christmas cat.

***

“Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.”  Francis P. Church

stunning sunrise & sledding

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For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.  I Timothy 4:10

I didn’t want to get out of bed Sunday morning.  Seth had been awake in the night all upset with a fever and I was still tired.  But I could hear the kids in the living room and got up to make sure Seth was okay.  I glanced out the window as I always do, just to take a look at the weather, and was astounded by the most beautiful sky, coupled with dark trees and the whiteness of our first “sticking snow” of the season.

Seth was on the couch and hadn’t slept all night (he said).  When Rich got up he too wasn’t feeling well.  The family stayed home from church, we snuggled on the couch all day in soft blankets.

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Sarah and Caleb were feeling fine and went outside over and over again, they came inside just get get warmed up enough to go back out.

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I was saving these new saucer sleds for the first sledding day.

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chickadee on the feeder

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Our house sits on a hill so the children do not have far to go for good sledding.  They just have to watch out for the pond and pine trees.

They very much enjoyed working on several different tracts, some with ramps and some with twisty turns.

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In the afternoon the snow started falling off the branches, sparkling with the sun.

I spent most of the day with Seth snuggled nearby, so it was good to go on the porch now and then to breath in some fresh air and watch the children sled.

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falling snow

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It was a most cozy day.

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I even made homemade pizza.

This morning, Seth was better.  He went to school.  I went to school, too.  Sarah had a chorus program at 9.   I sat next to another lady who had come to watch her granddaughter and was disappointed that the program was only 15 minutes long.  She had come from a few towns over.  All that effort for 15 minutes.  It’s worth it, though, right?  I then went to the grocery store, came home, put everything away, got laundry going, tidied up the kitchen.  I’ll be leaving soon to pick up David for a doctor’s appointment.

He rules the earth with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of His love.

These words are running through my heart this morning, from the hymn “Joy to the World”.   I am so thankful for Jesus.  How astounding that He rules with truth and grace….especially when you see all through history the ways humanity has ruled.  How beautiful and rare are the good, kind, and loving rulers who reflect His ways.  

For Jesus Himself rules with perfect love. . .wonderous love and glorious righteousness.  

the fifth son

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No, it is not his birthday.

Seth will be not be 9 for two more months.

He is lively, bright, active, your- typical- boy -but -maybe- just a notch or two- more hyper.  He is a lot like my brother Nathan was at that age, always moving, always using the furniture as gym equipment.

By the way, let me remind you that he had three staples in his scalp and fractured his collarbone on Halloween?  He’s all better.  We had the trainer at the HS school check him out this weekend and he said he was good to go.  So he had his first wrestling practice last night.  On the way there he confided, “I feel nervous.”  “I think you’re excited,” I answered.  “Yes,” he agreed.

Last week after he got back home from school he put a paper on the counter and came over to me and said in a hesitant voice, “Mom, I have a note from school.”  “Oh no,” I thought.  “What is it, Seth?  Did you get in trouble?”  “Just read it, Mom,” he said sadly.  So I rushed over to the paper, picked it up, and learned that Seth had been awarded the Hall of Fame for good behavior and work in his classes.  So apparently my son is also a good actor because he had me fooled at first.

I squealed and hugged him and gave him a big ol’ kiss on the cheek.  He bounded away, “Mama’s proud of me.” he just knew it.

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He got dressed all nice for school.  I had bought him a nice Jcrew sweater from a consignment shop…..I’m dying to find out if it’s still on him for the assembly, which is TODAY.  IN 45 MINUTES!  You see the peek of orange underneath, I bet he’ll be wearing the orange t-shirt for his award.  ?????  I wonder????  It’s happened before with my other sons.  Seth is number 5 so he has to prove to me that I DON’T KNOW ALL THE TRICKS YET!  He’s an original, just like number one (Jacob) number two (Ethan) number three (David) and number four (Caleb).  We are surrounded by brothers.

I’ll let you know if he’s still wearing the sweater.

I noticed, too, that he PUT A NECKLACE ON.  Be still my heart.

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This was his favorite photo.

Instead of bouncing off the walls of the house, chattering and laughing and being silly as he waited for the bus, he was having his photo taken on the driveway!

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No, not because it is his birthday.

But because……..he is getting awarded for being a good student today at school!

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“No more pictures, mom!”

We turned to go into the house and saw………

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Miss Sarah!  Wearing the same pants she had worn to school the day before.  And needing her hair fixed.  “Oh yes, I have things to do,” I cried.  And sent her back upstairs to “put different pants on!”  Goodness.  Find your socks and shoes and grab the hairbrush.

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It’s the 6th day of December.

All is well.

 

beaver ice

On a very nippy morning, after a freezing night, the town came and dug up the beaver dam, and when the water receded, an inch thickness of ice was left suspended in the grasses and bushes.

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(I needed a human to show the scale of the ice in my photos, and my obliging son took his “modeling” job quite seriously. )

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The work of beavers and ice hanging off stumps.

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All the twigs on the ground were stripped of their bark by beavers.

***

I thought the children would have lots more fun with the ice, but overnight the temperatures rose, a melting rain fell, and it all went away……….

 

 

shop small saturday//Christmas decor

It’s tuesday morning.  Kevin is here working on turning the old laundry closet into a real closet.  We moved the washer and dryer downstairs in the basement.  It will be convenient to have a coat closet in the livingroom, with cubbies for backpacks and shoes.  It’s cold outside this morning, with bright sunshine.  I’m sitting in the corner of my bedroom in the leather recliner by a window and I can hear the wind chimes outside moving in the wind.  As soon as I sat down to blog, our gray cat came in and curled up on my lap, so the computer is now balancing on the arm of my chair as I type.

On Saturday, Rich and I took Ethan and his girlfriend Tessa downtown for “shop small Saturday”.  I was feeling a little blue after the excitement of Thanksgiving, and this was the perfect way to get outside with my camera and enjoy our beautiful town and the little shops.  We saw several people we knew, had some coffee, found some bargains and enjoyed some lovely Christmas decorations.

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Christmas is such a beautiful time of year.

I’m thankful I can enter into the season slowly and mindfully.

 

matchy-matchy

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On the last morning with Joanna before heading for home, we dressed in our matching clothes and went out to breakfast at a low-key friendly diner not far from her house.

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And then, good-byes. . . . . .

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Sarah and I stopped a few times, including once near this pretty stream.  She made a most pleasant little traveling companion.

*****

Grace got home Friday night!  She’s currently at the other end of the couch asleep.  I was sleeping next to her until the phone woke me up.  At her feet are two big cats sleeping in the soft blankets.  The wood pellet stove is going and the sun is shining today, although it is only 33 degrees.  She and I went to the grocery store this morning for her last paycheck before she left for college and…..thanksgiving ingredients.  It’s so windy that as we walked the cart of food to the car the disposable turkey roaster blew off the top and half way across the parking lot!  It made us laugh as Grace chased it down.

The big boys will be arriving from college later on today and this mama’s heart is ready for all the children home again.  God’s blessings never end.

*****

Thanksgiving is nothing if not a glad and reverent lifting of the heart to God in honor and praise for His goodness.  JR Miller