little graduation party

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Grace graduated from HS a few weeks ago and we had a “plan B” celebration for her on Saturday.

We are just thankful things worked out and we even got to HAVE any kind of gathering at all.   Ya know, life.  It’s messy beautiful; surprising, chaotic, and crazy.  A healthy sense of humor is the best thing to have when living life and raising children………

Laughter is carbonated holiness. -Anne Lammott

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My brother Isaac took most of the pictures.

The weather was very nice, we had expected a day of thunder storms (so we set up the food tables in the house) but nothing eventful happened, only some lovely dark clouds at times and a nice downpour in the evening.

Grace had a wonderful time.  In fact, we didn’t see much of her or the rest of the teens.

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My brother Nathan and his wife Melissa were HUGE helpers!!  They stayed here with us for two nights with Makayla and Greg and we very much enjoyed our visit with them.

My bestie Aunt Colleen and her girls also came out from NY —thank you!!   Also Mom and Dad, my sister Amanda with her kids, and Isaac & Cassandra.

This was our third graduate in three years.  David is a freshman this year so it will be a few years until the next graduate.

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They had a long walk in the rain while the rest of us sat on the porch, relaxing and visiting.

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Grace with her cake, 5 cousins, and 4 friends from school.  They’re all so pretty with those bright smiles.

It is cheerful to God when you rejoice or laugh
from the bottom of your heart. 
-Martin Luther King Jr.

clumped

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photo by M

Just because I was sitting on the couch when right in front of me most of the family clumped together by the door to listen to Jacob tell a story to his Dad and all of a sudden I wanted a picture of my darlings just the way they appeared in the moment.  M said, “I’ll take it so you can be in it, too.”

 

like no one’s watching

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt.,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.
~William W Purkey

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“……YOUR REAL LIFE IS HIDDEN WITH CHRIST IN GOD.”  Col. 3:3

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No one knows the real you, the deep down you.  Isn’t it grand to know that there are private parts, secret ideas, thoughts, dreams, goals, passions, smiles, and joy that you yourself might not even be able to articulate?  But your Father in Heaven knows, he knows you inside and out, just the way He made wonderful YOU, there is no one on earth like you.

That’s freedom to me.

Being able to be myself; to wander around with my camera, to be with people but only for a little while, to enjoy my family and my community, my church family. . . .not having to explain, or ask questions, thankful that the sacred things of the heart are sacred because they are so often not expressed in words.  Waiting for the Day.

“Our true life lies in the other world.”  Matthew Henry

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We need a little quiet, sometimes, we need a little distance.

We need room for breathing, thinking, being.

Remembering who we are and what is yet to come.

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I love mystery and curiosity.

I want to learn skills, subjects, and ideas that make the world a better place.  I want that for my children, too.  I celebrate those who work quietly, not asking for attention, making a difference in their own circle.  Being true.

I want to be busy enjoying my one little life and the many busy, young lives around me each day as we work and grow together as a family.

There is a deep down contentment in this kind of living.

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I’m thankful to know so many incredible, unique people who graciously and unknowingly show me the grace and joy of a quiet life lived in trust and expectation of a glorious future in Christ.

*****

I am currently sitting on the front porch with the most delicious breeze blowing through the flags and flowers.  Cat and Dog at my feet, the sound of my own three children playing in the pond.  I’ve missed blogging and my friends here.  How was your holiday weekend?  Rich went back to work today and now it’s “prepare for Grace’s graduation party” for the next few days.  We got a good start on it today.  She had driver’s class this morning so I took David, Caleb, Seth, and Sarah with me to Sam’s Club and opened a membership there since it’s in a different “neck of the woods” than Costco and will be convenient to shop there when we are in that direction.

After a busy morning, it’s good to be home.  Grace is taking a nap on the couch before work.   (we have to leave at 3)

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These are some of the pictures I took over the last few days.  We had several family walks.  I try to spend as much time as I can outside because the alternative is being inside (and cleaning).

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It still looks like early spring because of the lack of leaves on the trees. They should be full and lush and green…but thanks to those gypsy moth caterpillars and their appetites they look bare and thin.  However, there is a moss on the trees that has killed a lot of them before they could turn into moths and hopefully next year the forest will be back to normal.

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They amusingly froze stiff when they saw me creep through the tall grasses to their hidden pond.

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Porch Happenings; where we read, drink coffee and iced tea, and put our feet up until we have energy for the next adventure.

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DSC_0857 1All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. – Henry Ellis

 

 

 

afternoon outing

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present’.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

We had thirteen young ladies stay here overnight last night.  They were from a NYC youth group traveling into New England to visit Six Flags, Lexington/Concord, and Vermont.  We knew some of them from years of camp so it was an easy “yes” to host them overnight.  Plus, they ate dinner before they came AND brought their own cereal and milk.  Grace very much enjoyed the visit and sat in on their *before bed* devotions.  I got lots of hugs this morning as they left in the rain…..thankfully it did clear up later on for their outdoor tour of historical battle grounds in Massachusetts.

After they left it was rather quiet, the maids came to do their weekly cleaning and the girls were asking for macaroni and cheese so I decided to take the kids to the diner just a couple miles down toward town.

David stayed at home and ended up using the time for a long bike ride.

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The diner has old black and white photos of the town on the walls and the kids were thrilled to see their friend Logan arrive to eat lunch with his Grandpa, too.

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The kids meals came with a free drink so Seth and Sarah chose hot chocolate, which meant they helped themselves freely to my coffee creamers….in no time at all we used up about 10 creamers.  I told the kids the waitress should have just brought us the carton.

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Waiting for the food is the most difficult part but thankfully it didn’t take long at all and the boys brought things to read.

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You may not think so by his face but Caleb has been so appreciative of this magazine subscription….every month I get a thank you.

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Grace read a book, too, by one of our favorite authors, Isabel Allende.

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Sarah ❤

(I was sandwiched between the girls–such fun)

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My lunch (actually, I had already eaten a salad at home so I simply HAD to get my favorite—strawberry sundae).

Sarah ate a pancake with french fries (I had to laugh when she ordered it) and the other three kids got hamburgers and fries.

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It became the *thing to do* to keep passing around the ketchup.  Seth and Sarah put it on their fries like toothpaste on a toothbrush.

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Grace’s lunch.

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Sarah had birthday money and bought this animal yesterday so she had to bring it everywhere with her today.  It’s name was Lee Ann but she renamed her Rosie.

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Seth’s is named Rufus.

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I ate all my sundae and then offered “the rest” to Seth….and he completely enjoyed the melted remains (all 1 teaspoon).

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Well, we were all happy and silly from a good lunch and decided to go antiquing at a “new to us” place in the next town over.  I was thankful to have such fun friends along with me.

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Right away I saw some HLC dishes, although not fiestaware, these are from the harlequin line.  So pretty.

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Seth saw some cool things, too!

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I always like these needlework things. . . but didn’t buy any today.

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Caleb found a Patriots football pennant and a football coin.

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Between the three youngest children I admit I said, “Don’t touch” about 1,000 times which made for a good discussion with Grace on the way home.  Did they touch things so much because I was obsessed with them not touching (and kept saying so)?  We decided that in their immaturity, they had a hard time obeying my rule, but as they get older they will learn self-control and be more obedient.  However, at the same time, there is also a truth that in the act of overstating/overemphasizing rules, we somehow make them more likely to be broken…..it’s simply human nature.  (see Sarah’s arm on the right of the photo holding the sharp gardening tool??  yeah…….)

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Tiny butter dish for a half stick of butter–so darling (didn’t buy).

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This vintage kitchen towel was only 2.50 so I had to buy it (it has a small hole that I can easily stitch).  (kids behind me….touching things….)  I know I do need to lighten up some, as well.

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I found a vintage fiesta lid!  (no one understands why I had to get it).  But I did!

Caleb’s Marshall Faulk coin (Rams football player).

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NEXT STOP….I found more fiestaware but this collection was P86 (periwinkle, yellow, and ivory) and overpriced.

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And then…..oh my goodness!   They wouldn’t sell just the serving pieces (I asked) so I was simply FORCED to buy the whole lot, thankfully I did get a great deal on it.

ROSE fiestaware:

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(back at home and unpacked)  I am so pleased with these beautiful dishes, Rose is discontinued and so nice to have on Valentine’s Day.  The mugs are not fiesta but still made by HLC (maybe restaurant ware?  I have to look it up–but its the same glaze).

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Kitchen towel, plus a vintage “radioactive” red fiesta mixing bowl (with chips) that I bought along with it at our first stop.  They go good together, don’t they?

The kids were great…we stopped at the gas station to get drinks along the way and they watched “Garfield the movie” in the car while Grace and I went into the second shop together.  (I couldn’t stand any more begging and touching).

When we got home Rich and Ethan had just arrived.  They were able to leave work early and now its the start of a nice long weekend.  They don’t have to go back to work until Tuesday.  I had dinner ready in the crock pot so I was able to feed the hungry men right away.

David got home safe and sound from his long bike ride, all hot and exhausted.  He said he “wasn’t going to do that again for two months.”

Ethan and Tessa are here, but Jacob is still at our friend’s house, as he is house sitting for them this week.

We are watching Little House on the Prairie and it’s super dark outside; a thunderstorm warning is in effect for the next hour or so and it’s raining.

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.” E.B. White

birds and a rainbow

It’s a bird morning!  Every few minutes I find myself scanning the trees trying to see what I’m hearing. . . . .

Sarah is on the floor playing a game of SORRY with a stuffed animal friend.

David and Caleb are up the road with friends (they spent the night).

Grace is still asleep.

I haven’t been sleeping well.  As it is, I’m easily disturbed, & it doesn’t help that the other night I was awakened by our orange cat Sherlock cornering a FROG in our room.  I woke up hearing strange small noises which turned out to be the frog saying “help” the only way it knew.  By the time I got to it it was very anxious and covered in dust, still very much alive and well.  I threw it out the window along with the cat and then shut the window tight. . . .unfortunately now as wide awake as could be.  Rich refused to move through all of this and stayed asleep, only asking once, “What is going on?” to which I replied sarcastically, “Don’t worry about it, I’m taking care of it!”  But glad he was able to sleep through it as he’s been working so hard during the day.

Last night nothing like that was going on,  but I kept waking up over and over. . . .finally getting up at six this morning with dry eyes. . . . . .

. . .to enjoy the bird morning!

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And Grace’s bible that she left by the bench on the porch.

“But as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you–see that you excel in this act of grace also.”

*****

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The other evening we had a rainbow.  Sarah jumped up and down with glee.

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Grace on the front steps, watching the sky.

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Sunshine through fat raindrops.

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The sky was doing beautiful things.

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Now that life is calming down just a little (from a vacation with Rich, end of school excitement with a graduate, and a trip to NY) I’ve been puttering around the place, cleaning, and rearranging, catching up on household things.

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And going for walks with the kids (mostly Grace). . . . .

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baby bird

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another baby bird

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end of the day sunshine through the trees, on a walk with Rich

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keeping an eye on Seth as he exaggeratedly looks “both ways” before he crosses the road (retrieving a baseball)

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Yesterday was a gardening day.  I took Grace to driver’s school and went to a nearby gardening place and bought three perennials.  They were giving away some old annuals that looked sad so I was able to get some free plants to baby back to health; flowers, cabbages and leaks.  Then later on Rich and I went to the home depot for three tomato plants (one yellow, one purple heirloom, and one cherry), cucumber, watermelon, two hanging baskets for the porch, and some petunias.  I’ve already got all but a few of them planted.

music and slideshow

(MUSIC)

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We took so many photos that I thought it would be fun to put them in a slide show along with music to listen to if you would like, while you look at the pictures.

We had the party at my parent’s house “up on the hill” where mom and her sisters grew up.  We all have deep roots in this land, farm land, quiet country, woods, blueberries, birds, so many memories….all of it.

We had chicken BBQ (thank you Dave and Maria for all your work to make this happen!)

Kids played together as a pack; croquet, football, chalk on the driveway, running wild.

Mom was overcome with emotions a few times, just so happy to have all the people she loves the most with her.

One of my favorite memories was when sister Amanda and I were off by ourselves lost in conversation and Mom appeared wanting us back with her.  “You’ll have to leave soon and I want you with me!”

Cousin Erika made the birthday cake, I sure wish I had a piece with me right now while I write this post.

All she wanted for her birthday was her family.  And that’s what happened!  What a great day for a great lady.

Happy Birthday to our beautiful Cindy, Mom, Sister, Grandma, & Aunt.  You wear many hats and we’re thankful for who you are in our lives.

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(with a photo of her first birthday)

you’re part of my heart

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SUMMER
VACATION

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We went to the playground.

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The boys had friends over to play baseball, football, video games, fishing, swimming….

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If we should be so lucky
as to touch the lives of many, so be it.
But if our lot is not more than the setting of a table,
or the tending of a garden,
or showing a child a path in the woods,
our lives are no less worthy.
Kent Nerburn

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Grace and I went for a long walk through the woods, visited Sam-cat and the chickens.  She read to me the medicinal values of yarrow and elderberry, she chewed yarrow even though she didn’t have a tooth ache and said it made her tongue numb.  Mountain Laurel is in bloom and almost done.  We ate wild strawberries and sniffed deeply of wild roses.

I think this is how we’re supposed
to be in the world ~
present and in awe.
Anne Lamott

We went together to take our small visitors home and then to the grocery store where she is getting ready to work this summer.  I made chili and pasta for dinner.

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It’s fake blood.

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I sent Sarah upstairs to play while I worked in the kitchen.  When I went to get her for dinner I found her on the floor…fast asleep.

Summertime, fun and exhausting!

How was your day?