walking in the woods

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***

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.

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

Joanna’s family has welcomed her into the circle.

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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A Black, Red Eyed Rat

ready to bite anyone who went upstairs.

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

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

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Cobwebs completed the look.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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

 

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a wonderful weekend for Grace

IMG_8560I have not stopped giving thanks for you,
remembering you in my prayers.
Ephesians 1:16

Grace’s boyfriend Caleb has been far far away in Texas.   He graduated from Air Force basic training in June and then spent the rest of the time in tech school for security forces.  Meanwhile, in Connecticut, Grace graduated from High School, spent the summer working, and began her freshman year of college, in Pennsylvania.  Despite the distance, the two of them were in constant contact using their smart phones, even going through several books of the Bible together during their own personal Wednesday Bible studies, and using FaceTime and texting to keep in touch.  But it just wasn’t the same.  They missed being together.  It had been too long.  Six months and five days, to be exact, according to Grace.

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So of course, this weekend, when Caleb was finally coming home to his parent’s house, Grace was going to try her hardest to get home, too, and had an AMAZING and GENEROUS friend drive her back as a surprise for him.  He walked into his house Saturday evening and found not only a “welcome home” party with friends and family but also……coming in the side of the room last, as a surprise……Grace.  As soon as he saw her, he took her into a hug and walked a few steps out of the kitchen into the dark hallway and….. there they stayed for quite a long moment.  I wasn’t there to witness this, but I saw the video and showed it to her Dad, too.  It made him feel awkward watching it as the seconds ticked by and by.  “What are they DOING out there?”  I laughed at him.  Oh Grace.  You’re in love and it’s sweet.

The next day Rich was away at our sons’ college in VT for a wrestling clinic.  I had football games to attend for Seth and Caleb, and Seth was going to a birthday party that afternoon, too.  I was able to spend some time with Grace that morning and then again, briefly, when I came home to pick up Caleb and Sarah.

As I drove back down the road to go to the game, I pulled over to take a photo of Grace and Caleb, who were out walking in the beautiful fall day with Tessa and Myranda (Grace’s excellent friend who drove her home).

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Grace and Myranda had to leave that afternoon, and Caleb plans to visit her again next week.  He’ll be based in New Jersey, which isn’t THAT far from Pennsylvania.  2.5 hours, according to Grace.

She sent me this photo later on in a text:

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“If there is anything that is a miniature picture of heaven upon earth, it is a pair of
Christians happily united, whose children grow up in the fear of the Lord, and render
to them increased comfort and joy every day. Oh, how much some of us owe to the
gospel for the happiness of our homes!”    ~C.H.SPURGEON

Grace, your Dad and I pray for you (and Caleb) each time you come to mind.   You and your siblings truly bring us “increased comfort and joy every day”.  Thanks be to God.

 

grandma wants to stay home

Saturday morning.

I have bread dough rising.  I’m wearing a cute outfit and feeling young and healthy.  My daughter Sarah is in her own little world on the floor and I hear her say to herself as she busily works at taking a fancy dress off her doll, “I’m going to teach Bitty Baby to do a CARTWHEEL.”   I get the camera because she’s cute and she holds up her babies and sings, “Hi Grandma!!!!!!”

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It takes me a second and then I realize.

She just called me Grandma.

I’m also annoyed because my dough has an hour to rise and my husband just told me I have to ride along all the way to the airport so he can pick up a big van from the rental place and drive it home.  (I say annoyed but we are laughing about it.  I’m whining, “I want to stay home!!!!” and he’s not listening to me and saying, “Too bad!!”)

this morning

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(woolly bear caterpillar on the road)

Amanda came over for a few hours this morning.  She brought her dog Lloyd.  The three of us went on a nice walk together.

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The air was crisp and clean.  The kind of morning when you want to breath deep.

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my sister ~ my friend

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scenes from the neighborhood

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“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands”
~Christina Rossetti

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“How beautifully leaves grow old.  
How full of light and color are their last days.”  ~John Burroughs

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My sister almost stepped on a lizard!

I was so thrilled and promptly took photos from every angle.

I looked it up when we got home and discovered it was a “Spotted Salamander” and Connecticut’s largest salamander.

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Just look at the spots!

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Maybe it was trying to find a little warmth on the road?  But the road is a very unsafe place to be, so I saved its little life by putting it in the leaves on the edge of the woods.

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heading back home

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I made pumpkin cookies this morning, too, from a 1972 Pennsylvania State Grange cookbook.

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If anyone knows Mrs. Robert Conaway tell her I used sunflowers seeds instead of nuts, and I also included one egg.  They were delicious.