misery and woe

ummmmmm…….. so thank you to those who have figured out and made the attempt to continue reading this humble blog of my life and thoughts.

I have been experiencing intense misery and woe but as I sit here I am filled with the desire to express it all with frankness and humor. If you can’t laugh about your misery and woe then it has its evil hooks in you and that’s just not a nice feeling ask me how I know this.

Gosh, life is hard sometimes!!!!! Isn’t it?

But then again, Jesus loves me this I know, and despite the misery and woe I find myself uplifted and laughing even after I stubbornly fold my arms in front of my chest, stick out my lower lip, and think, “I refuse and I’m simply NOT going to enjoy this day today.”

Saturday was one of those days! I simply failed to believe I would even smile. I had cried so much the afternoon and evening and night before that my eyes were practically swollen shut. I was not feeling pretty, or good, or worthwhile, or hopeful, or confident, or anything along those lines.

THE CHILDREN SAVED THE DAY. Why? Because Sethers had a baseball game. Therefore I had to get myself dressed and get my butt out of the house. Because baseball games are OUTSIDE, therefore the sun was shining upon me. (Try to be filled with misery and woe while sitting in sunshine, it’s hard to keep up.) ALSO, ALL MY CHILDREN (except David) went to the game to cheer on their little brother. (This sent not a little joy through the cracks of my heart.) Also, Seth hit a homerun!!!!! To be honest, it would have only been a triple but the ball was overthrown to third and he was able to get to home on that error. You should have seen his proud face when he came over about 10 minutes later. He silently approached with the look, “I’m coming because I just know my mom is going to want to tell me how awesome I am.” And he was right, I did. His Dad and I sat in our chairs, sat in the grass, sat on the bleachers (we get restless at these games) surrounded by our children plus our Brittnee and our Michael and had (dare I say) fun.

Grace kept bonding with tiny caterpillars.
Sarah played with new-found temporary friends (it’s what you do at your brother’s games)
RIch and Michael wrestled in the grass.
Jacob took his latest Steven King book and didn’t read it and then forgot it (but Sarah grabbed it for him)
Ethan, Caleb, and Jacob played catch.
We all got our first sunburns of the season to varying degrees. Brittnee’s knees especially.
The game seemed to drag on forever……but…..
Seth’s team won!

And then we all went out for pizza.

Here I am, in obvious misery and woe (and waiting for my coffee, also starving because I only had a yogurt for breakfast at 5:15am and it was 2 and I hadn’t had lunch.) Surrounded by the people I love.

Here I am wondering why my photo is being taken in such a state. And Ethan being Ethan, how I love him.
As I leaned across the table at her, I said, “I think what you’re asking me is “Can you play when you get home? “Yes” “Okay, then, you may”. Problem solved.
And then I laughed, what else could I do?
I forgot David wasn’t with us and I asked Michael to take a family photo of us outside the pizza place.
Being himself, he had to take one with himself in it.
….and then I said, “Brittnee, too!” I was so happy to get a whole entire family photo and we walked to the car while I looked at the photos and wondered why there were only six children surrounding us and then I realized, “Oh yeah, Dave is at a track meet!!” and my woe came back. Michael said “Settle down, it’s okay!” And I guess it was, but I miss David in these photos. By the way, he got another PR in hurdles.
I’m going to blog more about this, but here I am in the church downtown after a community concert to celebrate our towns 300th anniversary!!! Can you find me? I look rather pretty. (toward the left).
Rich took us girls out for ice cream afterwards and Sarah looked so picturesque that I asked him to take this photo. She’s wearing her sister’s boots and I think, “Pippi Longstocking” whenever I see her in them. (She wore them to school today)

Thankful for:
a healthy sense of humor even as I struggle
that toad I saw yesterday evening hopping purposefully toward my flower garden
the bookbag I’m carrying around everywhere I go that says “baby got books” on it and it’s indeed got books in it along with fine tip markers, a journal, Bible, and magazines. Gives me life.
my family and the things they do and say
rocking chairs on the porch
matcha tea lattes
my cats
and you, my friends

You are loved. Thank you for being here. Please pray for me as I will also pray for you today. Be encouraged, we have each other!!! and lots of love. We can do this! and the rewards of eternal life are unspeakable. Heaven’s not now……but it’s coming.

“How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in Him should ponder them.” Ps. 111:2

“If the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36

“For the despondant, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15


messy beautiful

friday bowling
mom of boys
Jacob, and Steven King
my life, my loves
messy beautiful!
seafood lunch at Coopers
back home
life is good
mama duck
my girlies
oh the smell of lilacs!
quite jaunty
mother’s day morning
Rich and Gracie
amazing!
Grace and her dad
me and my mama
gaming
healing
my darling brother
my all time favorite
I didn’t have to drive this time
dear daughter
another dear daughter
snow!!!!
snow on Mother’s day
Mom told me to make cookies
so I did, this morning and I also burned my finger terribly. I had three cookies for breakfast.

Sharing my heart..

I was lovingly reminded yesterday that God is not waiting to come down on me like a hammer everytime I get my toe out of line…….and then, this morning I read this verse, “The Lord doesn’t see things they way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

The Lord KNOWS MY HEART. When I don’t even know it, He knows it. He knows I want to please Him, He knows I beat myself up all day long over my percieved failings, He knows that I grieve and cry and long and hope and desire and love and give and give and make myself vulnerable and I fail and fail but I’m loved and I’m beautiful to Him.

In life’s choices, I choose HIM. To think this way is freeing to me.

He cares for me like no other. He knows I am nothing but dust, he knows my messy humanity and He understands. He knows I’m treading water here, trying to keep myself breathing. (Please don’t worry about me, I’ve never tried to keep depression/anxiety/perfectionism and my super-sensitivity to life and these things a secret. I’m okay, and people can be okay even when dealing with strong emotions.)

Anything that makes me small and Him big……is a good thing. Even though it can be painful. In this way, self righteousness is dealt with, and a true understanding of my need (and His provision!) is realized. No, I don’t want self righteousness or sanctimoniousness (from myself…..or others, either.) It creates fear. “Your boasting is not good. You know that a little yeast leavens the whole bath of dough, don’t you?” I corinthians 5:6…

We are to have mercy, and show love and grace. To others…..and to our selves.

“I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices. I would rather have my people know me than burn offerings to me.” Hos. 6:6

So, Mother’s day weekend. On the inside I was a storm of thoughts and emotions, but on the outside……life continued and there was joy and smiles and love. How funny it all is! A perfect mix of sadness and joy, love and sorrow, good and bad, seriousness and frivolity. So topsy turvy! “It is what it is” Maybe someday I’ll find an even keel. (yes, you can laugh at that).

“In acceptance lieth peace” ~ Hannah Hurnard

I accept it all, kind Father, often with great struggle, but thank you for loving me and being patient and kind. Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.

thank you for visiting my blog, friends.
you are loved

it doesn’t take much for a heart to glow

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Good morning friends!  After a raining evening we awoke to a glorious sunshine.  Rich took this photo of me at Seth’s little league game the other night.  ‘Tis the season.  Tonight we have three things going on; David at a track meet (really want to go), Seth at little league (want to go, slightly) and Caleb at a band concert (music trumps sports, IMO).  Therefore, the band concert is where I will be.

I was so tired yesterday that I went to bed at EIGHT THIRTY and slept all night.  I got up a couple times to get a drink but never fully woke up.  Then this morning, when Caleb dared to come right in the room to ask for lunch money, Rich got up to help him and let me sleep for another hour.  It feels so good to sleep again after months of restless nights.

As I sit here, I still feel like I could go back to bed and sleep.

However, I have dirty laundry washing, a load in the dryer, a big basket of clean n’ dry to fold, a cake in the oven (dinette), the dishwasher going, and am going out to lunch soon.  No time for sleeping.

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It’s also the time of year when I’m constantly going for the camera to take bird photos so bear with me.  Maybe you like birds, too?

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This one was from yesterday evening when it was raining (again).  I thought the drops of rain on its feathers was pretty.  It sat nice and still so I could get close.  I was out on the porch for a while as it rained, it suited my tired mood.

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A Heron visited the pond, which is how I got out on the porch in the first place, as Caleb came inside to announce “There is a big bird by the pond, Mom.”

He wasn’t happy about it though because he does not want the fish eaten by a heron.  He wants to catch them himself.

In fact, when I see worms outside I think of Caleb.  Yesterday I rolled over a log and found a nice big one and put it in my pocket.  Thank goodness Rich saw me do it because hours later he had to remind me to get it back out again.  (I had changed out of my skirt and into jeans).  The worm was still in the pocket, as moist as could be which I am sure was a survival tactic as pockets can be rather dry places for a worm.  I said, “Caleb I have something for you,” and you should have seen his face when out came a worm from the pocket.  We put it in a small box with dirt in it for when he goes out to fish again.

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I kept telling him to smile and he just kept twisting his ears.

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Somehow a log ended up in the pond and all day it floats slowly around.  Sometimes I see it on one side, at times it’s in the middle, or the other side, but it always has a turtle or two on it.  I want so much to add a whole fleet of logs and see if each one will gain a passenger or two.  Maybe I’ll even add sails.  How charming would that be?  Turtle boats.

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Irridescent feathers in the EVENING TIME

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Different lighting (same spot) MORNING TIME…..  are you the same bird?  I can’t tell.

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Sweet little bird and do you wonder how I got the yellow background?  My forsythia bush was in the distance and blurred out as the camera focused on the bird.

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showing off a fine suit of clothing (made entirely of feathers!)

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David went outside in the evening to shut in the chickens for the night and caught a spring peeper.  I was thrilled.

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Spring is made more beautiful because of their sweet singing.  Look at those toes.

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I haven’t stopped reading the Newbery books.  I’m currently on this one and I love it.  I’m a forever fan of Nancy Farmer now.  What a bright and original mind she has.  This is the second Newbery book I’ve read by her.

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I made this huge pasta salad yesterday.

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But the rabbit got a dandelion salad.  (possibly more healthy)

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We babysat our neice!  She’s so so so cute and looks so much like Isaac (her dad, my baby brother).

After Isaac and Cassandra came back we ate pasta salad and hamburgers and played a game of PIG which I won (as always), humbly noted.

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Last but not least.

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The beautiful Marsh Marigold (New England wildflower).

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Thank you for the comments left on my blog posts!   I do wonder sometimes if you guys see my replies, as I try to reply to most comments, can someone pretty please let me know if they are seen?  Should I bother?  Thank you. xo

Happy Wednesday, friends!
You are soooooo loved.

“Make someone happy, you can you know,
It doesn’t take much for a heart to glow.”

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but my heart.”

PS, the cake baked to a nice golden brown and smells so good.  I wish I could give you a piece!

 

 

 

 

 

 

weekending

“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.”  Erich Fromm

hellloooooooo

I have something to say to you!

The sun is shining for the first time in (what feels like) years!

How was your weekend?

I’ll tell you all about mine.

First of all, Rich came home super early on Friday to surprise us.  And with all the extra time, we decided to take the children bowling.  Dave didn’t want to go, so it was just Caleb, Seth, and Sarah.  We all bowled our best in the first game.  Rich got like 5 strikes and I myself got my new P.R. which was 113.  The next game wasn’t as good.  In fact, Seth made me laugh when they all watched me accidentally release my bowling ball in such a way that it went up in the air and then halfway down the lane with a boom.  I turned around in embarrassment and he said, “Mom, this was you,” he made the same motion that I did throwing my ball in the air, “here you go, Lord!”  

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It was much fun.

THEN

on Saturday……the boys got haircuts while Sarah and I went to a consignment store.

 

The clothes that I am wearing were the actual clothes I had worn to the shop.  The only thing I bought myself was a cute sweatshirt.  Sarah found a bunch of things, including this April Cornell dress.  I used to love buying Grace their dresses and was happy to find this one, and not only that but Sarah actually liked it, too.

Then we went to get the boys who were all done and waiting.

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When I pulled into the parking lot, I turned right and drove completely over the curb.  They all saw me do it with basically these same expressions.  They ridiculed me and Seth said, “Woman up, Mom!” in a rebuking way.  It made me laugh because I had worn a tshirt two days in a row that week with the words “woman up” on the front.  Apparently it made an impression on him and gave him the words to say when I ran over the curb.

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We went home to change and I put on my new gray sweatshirt and then we left for baseball games………. it was FREEZING COLD and I was a big baby the entire time.  It didn’t help that Caleb’s team lost terribly.

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We did some walking around and around the field.  (keeping an eye on the game)

 

David had a friend to hang out with, Sarah read a book, and Rich sat next to me in our lawn chairs.  We also ate wraps and cheetos and I had a scone (which is why we had to walk).

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Caleb catching.

He’s really good at it.  Funny note, a few years ago he became “famous” for making chicken sounds and everyone in baseball (including coaches) STILL calls him Chicken despite the fact that he has deep regrets and doesn’t make the sound anymore.

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Back home gathering eggs.   I was happy to find five, as they usually get eaten by the hens.  These were saved because a hen got broody and sat on them.

As you can see, the grass is turning green.

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Sarah fell asleep on me.  (heart melts)

 

Our college children each sent us a selfie.  Cannot wait to get them back home for the summer.  In fact, Rich and I are going to get Gracie this weekend.

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Beautiful Sarah; this is my favorite photo of the weekend.  Taken with my new iphone X! Portrait mode!  And…..she’s wearing one of her new shirts from shopping with me.

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We went on a 4 mile walk in the cold (she ended up wearing her Dad’s sweatshirt) and then went downtown for ice cream.

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A favorite place to stop for a bit is an abandoned house.

 

We picked flowers.

 

Took selfies and photos.  It was so pretty and felt secretive.

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I thought of my dad when I took this at someone’s house by the road in the neighborhood.  The wood is stacked so very carefully.  Art.

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When we got back home we found the boys watching tv and Seth sound asleep looking angelic.

 

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This morning I fried the dog an egg.  He waited just long enough for me to take a photo for the family group chat before he scarfed it down.

*****

It was fun to sit here and type although hard with these long fingernails.

Happy Monday friends, with lots of love!

(please leave a comment and let me know how you’re doing!)

“I never knew love had a sound until I heard you laugh.”

moss walk

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I was getting stir crazy so tied my boots on and went outside to visit a friendly cat and walk around.  I gathered four eggs and picked up some garbage off the lawn (tis the season).

Then, the schoolbus came and let off Seth and Sarah and suddenly I had a willing little friend to walk with me.  We thought we would go to the end of the road and back but she said “Can we go in the woods?” and naturally I said, “Of course!”

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We couldn’t help but admire all the moss, I wonder if it was because it was the only green in the forest and it just naturally drew our eyes.  We liked how it lifted off the rocks just like a rug.  Sarah put it carefully back.

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We even reclined on moss.

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We saw the first frog eggs of the spring, always worth bending down for a look-see.  Sarah would NOT touch them.

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But I don’t mind the feel of frog eggs, I quite like it.  The water was like ice, though, and my motherly heart just knew they would need a few warm days in order to hatch.

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She was determined to take me to Murkwood, one of Grace’s old haunts that she found and named and showed to her little sister.

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Going on this walk made Sarah’s imagination kick into high gear and soon I was being called BrightHeart instead of mom.  Her name was FlameStar which I never could get right.  She seemed more like a TwinkleToes to me.

Mostly she said, “Come on, BrightHeart” but one time when I was in front of her she said, “Slow down BrightHeart, you don’t want to get too far ahead of your leader.”  And then I knew she really was imagining things.

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I thought I found a hedgehog but then I realized it was just moss again.

(I started imagining things, too)

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I carried this pretty twig the whole walk and guess what?  Sarah, I mean FlameStar, changed my name!!  To TwigHeart.  I wasn’t sure what to think of that.  I guess I have a heart of wood.

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This made my heart happy.  I saw in the distance a flow of sticky pine pitch down the side of a tree so we went over to take a look and discovered a tick STUCK fast to the pitch.  As I look at this photo I can also see a tiny black caterpillar stuck there, too.  The tick was still alive, too, but stuck.  I was intrigued but Sarah looked off into the distance and waited in disgust for me to be done.

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Skunk cabbage, I broke a piece off to have Sarah smell it and she hated it.

She’s particular about what she wants to experience.

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However, she loved the water… she loved the rocks …she loved the trees …she loved the moss.  She was happy.  Just please don’t show her ticks or make her smell skunky things.

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There are many different kinds of moss.  If you touch them, some are soft and some are rough, some are wet and some are dry.  Some look like tiny ferns and some look like underwater grasses.    Some is short like carpet, some is fluffy and makes you wish you were tiny enough to snuggle within it.  Some is bright green, it hurts your eyes, and some like the moss growing on this boulder, is the deepest darkest forest green.

 

book giveaway/maple syrup photos

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(from a page in a book David is sending me)

The cats absolutely love to go outside and roll back and forth back and forth in the dirt.  Bagheera was at the window wanting to come in (we have low porch windows that they can easily jump through) and when I walked over to open up the window he jumped through with his shiny black fur just as dusty and dirty as can be, I had to laugh!

I was gone for a few hours this morning.  After I got Seth and Sarah on the bus and wrote a long long letter to a penpal, I received a text from a friend wondering if we could go walking together.  I’m finally feeling better and energetic after the awful cold I had so I happily said “yes!” and off I went to her house.  We walked over 2.5 miles together in a bright and cold New England morning, with the sky as clear and blue as the deep blue sea.

We walked past a wooded lot that had maple trees tapped for sap.  The sap was dripping from the trees into long thin plastic tubes, which led to clean white plastic containers but I like the looks of the old fashioned way the best (although I admit for large operations it’s much better to use tubing and tubs!).

My Mom and Dad boil sap in the spring and collect it using hooded metal buckets.

I’ve never been able to be home on a boiling day, but my brother David took some wonderful photos on Saturday (full of freshly fallen March snow!) and sent them to me and I wanted to share them here.

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Mom was talking about how to make Pesto while Dave took this video.  I asked Dave why there was a big pot in the middle of the pan of sap and he said that they add the cold sap to the pot to start warming up so that they can add it warm and keep main tray of sap at a constant good boil.

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Mom and Dad in their open shed, with their dog and wood and small homesteading maple syrup operation!  So satisfying.

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This is how they do the final straining of the syrup.

They make jars and jars of syrup and can use it all year long.

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Leave a comment on this post or on my FB page and I’ll draw a name tomorrow and send this book to the lucky winner!   As you know I’ve been reading through all the Newbery books and this 1957 winner was so charming and perfect to read at this time of year.   I will order the book for you on amazon and have it mailed, so you will have to give me your mailing address.  I’ll post the winner tomorrow at this time!

One of my little pleasures is warming up the children’s pancake syrup.  Rich’s Dad also boils sap for syrup and he gives us lots and lots of it every year.  Later on, after breakfast is over and done and I’m cleaning up, I like to stand and dip my finger way down into the leftover syrup and then pop my finger into my mouth for a nice clean mouthful of pure, sweet NY maple syrup goodness!  What a blessing!

‘”The sap running gives me a feeling I can’t describe,” Mr Chris said.  “Like it’s the blood of the earth moving.”‘  Miracles on Maple Hill, by Virginia Sorensen

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my parents, my friends

“Remember this, that very little is needed to make a happy life.”  Aurelius

Good morning, it’s 7:50am and 38 degrees here in our neck of the woods.  I didn’t get to see David and Caleb this morning as I got up after their bus came and left.  I woke up Seth with a kiss and he asked his typical, “Can you  make me an egg sandwich with cheese and ham?  Do we have bacon?  No?  okay, than with ham?” and then he took a 20 minute shower.  I had to go back upstairs to knock on the door and tell him, “Your egg sandwich has been done for ten minutes!”  Sarah Joy didn’t sleep well last night, and neither did I.  When I got up at 2 to drink some milk, I found her sleeping on the couch.  The dog was a few feet away, snoring and snoring.  It was rather cozy I must admit.  She was back in her bed this morning and didn’t want to get up.  The sooner she realizes that she can live life even when super- tired the better.

They have left for school now, leaving me home alone.  I’ve been feeling rather lonely lately and think I’ll try making a list of things to do in order to fill up my day and feel more productive.  This morning I want to blog, shower, get some groceries, clean the coat closet, go for a walk, and get some laundry folded.  Then this afternoon I’ll have to think of some more things to get done.

Sherlock the orange cat is stretched out on my art book, which I keep out on the table in front of the window here in the livingroom.  I have paints and pens and papers, my Bible, note cards, glue, and books all over the table and he seems to feel at home there.  Our black cat Bagheera is curled up next to me on a red wool blanket.  I am sitting cross-legged on the couch with a pillow on my lap, with the computer on the pillow, typing away………at times I reach out and stroke his beautiful black fur and he always purrs in reply.

I’m thinking about what I was doing last week at this time.  I was at my parent’s house and mom was frying us eggs.  She fried four; one for me, one for Dad, one for her, and one for the dog.  Dad mixed a few nuggets of dog food in with the dog’s egg and put it on the floor for him.  Mom made gingerbread pancakes for me and herself.  Dad didn’t want one.  We all had bacon.  Just as we were about to eat, Aunt Carol came.  She lives just up the road from mom and dad and recently lost her husband.  She would normally walk down for a visit but it was only ten degrees outside so she drove.  Dad made coffee and we all enjoyed having a cup together.  Mom showed Aunt Carol the scrapbook she is working on and I enjoyed watching the two sisters look through it, sitting side by side, and talking together about childhood memories.

I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for my family, each one is so special in many ways.  I’m glad that we have each other.  I’m glad I have parents who love me so much and want me to visit them.  Mom took Monday morning off so she could be home with me and not have to go to work until I had to leave.

We looked at old family photos, ate a yummy St Patrick’s day boiled corned beef dinner, watched tv, worked on Mom’s scrapbook, talked, went for a wonderful walk outside, and just enjoyed each other’s company.

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With my dear Dad!!!

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Little me, with my mom and dad over forty years ago.

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A meaningful quote in Dad’s writing, found propped against his books.

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These words are engrained in my mind, as I remember reading this plaque through the years.  The truth of them astounds me now, and comforts me.

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The sisters looking at mom’s book.

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Mom and Dad tap maple trees and boil sap in the springtime, so we walked up to check the buckets.

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And guess what?

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The sap was hanging from the spigots as icicles!  Dad had boiled a few days before but knew he’d have a few days off since it was freezing cold.  I love that they make syrup, there’s just something so satisfying about it and they have mason jars full of the finished product to enjoy all year-long.

My brother David sent me photos from this weekend that I’ll share tomorrow of the boiling.

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There is something deep inside that is always put at ease when I am home again, especially outdoors.  I find myself again and I’m me, just me, my mind relaxes as I listen to quiet and smell and see all the familiar things.

“I think this is how we are supposed to be in the world—present and in awe.”  Anne Lamott

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Just Shanda, out on a walk with her Mom and her Dad.

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Dad was telling Mom about the tree he found to cut up for firewood and mom was telling him all the ways to do it safely.

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Mom stopped to admire this rock.  I smiled.

“I tell you the truth, if they kept silent their praise of the Lord, the stones themselves would cry out the message.”  Luke 19:40

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Beautiful morning frost on the moss.   I got right on the ground to get closer.  Look at the perfect patterns!

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There is loveliness all around us, we just need the eyes to see and hearts to appreciate.

“The earth has music for those who listen.”  Shakespeare

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Back inside the warm house…..I gave mom the mushroom Joanna gave to me!  I knew Jo wouldn’t mind, as she loves my mom, too.  It just goes so well with mom’s corner collection (the one from me and Jo is on the green leaf).  Look, she even has a mushroom planter which maybe I’ll try to steal next time I visit………….

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Mom made this recently!

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Look at the back!  This was all her creation, no pattern, just some lovely fabric and an artsy soul.

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Time for this girl to go home to her own house and family.

But first a hug from mom.

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And a hug from Dad.

Time with you is always precious to me.

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My parents.

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My friends.

“time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life”

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It’s a peaceful morning inside and out.  The sky is overcast and a fine, almost imperceptible mist of glittery snow is falling.  Wild birds are busy helping themselves to the feeder on the porch and a cat inside is watching them through the window.  The dog is snoring and twitching next to me.  I’m sitting in the corner of the couch with my laptop, in my pajamas and red robe, warm and cozy under a vintage quilt.  The TV is on for company, but muted.

This week has been week of lots of children and lots of sickness.  I’ve been understandably distracted and haven’t been able to blog much, but my camera has still been busy as I all-the-time see things that I want to remember.  My darlings, my life, my home, my heart.

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I had Sarah on my lap one morning and it felt so good to hold her.  She’s a big girl now, a joy and a blessing to me and everyone else in the family, although her brothers wouldn’t agree at first.

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It was son Seth that was sick the longest.  Last Thursday the school nurse called me to come and get him.  He explained to me that his “legs felt wobbly and he felt tired”.  I’m afraid to say that sometimes my perfect children pretend to be sick in order to be home with their mother, so I didn’t wholeheartedly believe him until we came home and he went to bed and fell sound asleep.  Then I believed.  Seth doesn’t sleep during the day unless he’s sick.

He ended up being sick for six days with a fever.  It wasn’t his stomach although he didn’t have much of an appetite and lost a few pounds.  His main complaint was his head and he woke up every night with feverish nightmares.  Rich was away Saturday night and Seth came to my room so many times that I finally said “Get in bed with me” and when he woke up for real that morning he said, “How did I get here?”

We survived with the help of Jesus, cats, the couch, warm blankets, LOTS of snuggles, Tylenol, water bottles, ginger ale, and Dude Perfect.

He missed wrestling in States, which was disappointing as I’m sure he would have done very well.

Caleb was also sick and also missed States, but he wasn’t as sick and it didn’t him as long to recover.  He missed a couple of days of school and still has a cough, though, while Seth didn’t get any respiratory symptoms.

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He had his arms around me.  How could I ever be sad or lonely with such love in my life?

Even with sickies in the house, everyone has to eat, so I did get a few photos from the kitchen this week as we had Michael here for a few days, and Tommy, a friend from school, who has been staying with us while his mom was in the hospital after back surgery.   Tommy fit right into our family effortlessly and it’s been a joy to have him here and seeing him and the kids get along so well.

ALSO Jacob and Ethan have been home all week from college!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s been wonderful cooking for 10 again.  LOL  But see the photo with Michael?  He made dinner one night and it was great.  Every noodle was consumed by a hungry family.  On another night I roasted three pork tenderloins, made a big pan of homemade scallopped potatoes, and a pot of mixed veggies.  Last night was a big pot of chili and the night before was chicken and rice.  We had homemade brownies with ice cream for dessert.  Lots of chocolate milk in the fridge and egg sandwiches for snacks.

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A favorite moment of the week was on Wednesday when Seth finally made it back to school (in tears) and I sat on the couch with Ethan in a silent room.  No TV, no talking, just sitting together in perfect peace with the dog and a cat and blankets.

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I got up once to make us hot chocolate.  (it’s been so cold outside!)

Wonderful Hot Chocolate

2 T. sugar
1/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp vanilla (just realized I forgot to put it in!)
Mix cocoa, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir constantly until mixture boils.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Stir in milk until warm but do not boil.  Remove from heat and add vanilla unless you forget like I did which is fine you won’t miss it.

Give a big mug to your son and keep one for yourself and all your exhaustion (from being a mom-nurse) will wash away.

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Their little acts of service melt my heart!!!

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I was frying bacon when I got a hug from behind!!  From a small boy!

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AND THEN JACOB GOT SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He came down the stomach bug and was sick for a few days, sleeping nonstop.  I was thankful to have him home so I could take care of him.  He’s all better now, thankfully.

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busy kitchen, full tummies, full hearts.

They were talking about school and their teachers and laughing.  I sat across the room and listened with a smile.

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Sarah Joy in the morning.  First she came, then the dog, then the cat.

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CAT NIP!!!!!

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Rich called me a cat lady and I was fine with that.  🙂

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A rare photo of Caleb!!  (he doesn’t like me taking his photo, so I always have to ask and get approval)

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Yesterday…….oh how wonderful…..finally got out of the house on a bright sunny day.  The boys and I went to Trader Joes and the mall.  Ethan got some new Converse sneakers and Jacob got a Stephen King book.  We sat for a while drinking our Starbucks.  I looked at magazines while they went on their phones.  Now and then they would show each other things and laugh (which I loved).

My Ethan Gregory.

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I turned around quick to snap a completely unstaged photo, my favorite kinds.  It was wonderful to spend time with my two oldest children who are now 22 and almost-21 (in five days).

PAGES FROM MY LATEST ART/SCRAPBOOK:

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I keep all my stuff out on the little table that I have in the livingroom and I can’t tell you how relaxing it is to sit down and add a few quotes or do some gluing of photos while the children are busy around me or watching a movie.  I have a stack of these “commonplace books” now, with the intention of giving them to my kids and grandkids someday, if they want them.

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Laura Ingalls page

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On the left is wrapping paper from the birthday gifts Joanna gave me, along with printed photos, and on the right is ribbon and the homemade envelope and card my Mom gave me on my birthday.  I treasure everything.

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“….a work of beauty and grace upon the heart of the giver……”

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….ordinary life….

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she was beautiful.

Well, that gets us all caught up here in blog-land.  Today is Friday and I hope that your weekend is full of everything that fills your soul.

You are loved.

 

 

 

the babies

There’s a small hole in the kitchen, right in the corner where the dishwasher meets the cupboards.  Our cat Sam hates the other cats in the house and has taken to squeezing herself into that hole, ending up in the cupboard for hours a day.   The hole is too small for the other cats to follow her, so she feels safe.  Seth is home sick, getting over the flu, but wanted a cat so much that he went to pull Sam out of the cupboard, knocking over a bottle of sesame seed oil.  The cap broke on the floorm the bottle spilled, and so…. guess what…………I’ve already cleaned up half a cup of seseme oil off the floor!!!  Not a pleasant smell, either.  Seth was sent back to the couch without the cat.  In order to clean up sesame seed oil you need:  paper towels, Dawn dish soap, hot water, more paper towels, and cleaning spray that smells stronger than the oil.  (I used Mrs. Meyer’s Lilac)

I have to leave in an hour for a doctor’s appointment but am determined to post these photos.

My brother Nate and his family came out to Connecticut this weekend to visit my brother Isaac and his family, and the baby girl cousins were together!

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We had a wonderful time sitting around the livingroom visiting each other and admiring the girls.

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As soon as I walked in the house and saw them in their matching outfits I laughed.  They were impossibly cute!!!!!

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Isaac took all the photos.  Thank you Isaac!

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Isn’t it a joy to have a cousin to grow up with?  Cousins are the best.

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Seth named this photo “milk and cookies”.  He said Elena was thinking of milk, and Morgan was thinking of cookies.  He asked me which baby I thought was cuter and I said it was impossible to choose and then I asked him which one HE thought was cuter and he thought about it and couldn’t choose, either.

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They’re even cute when they cry.

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This morning we were pleasantly surprised by a beautiful snow.

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Happy Monday, friends.

You are loved.

 

weekending

I just got back from Agway.  The kids don’t have school today so I took Sarah with me.  She talked to me in the car, all about her future in which she wants “ten cats, including kittens.”  She’s trying to figure out what sort of job she should get that will allow her to take care of her cats and spend as much time with them as possible.  She dreams of mealtimes when she has them all sitting around the table with her “eating chicken scraps” while she “eats potatoes”.  She showed her love to me by generously telling me “I’ll give YOU a kitten if you want one.”  I told her she should write all of it down and title it “Sarah’s hopes and dreams.”

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I wanted to post photos from Saturday and Sunday on here because we had a nice weekend.

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On Saturday Rich was at a wrestling tournament with his team.  I had begged him to take Caleb along, as he sometimes has a struggle with boredom at home with me and his two younger siblings so…….. off he went with his Dad, somewhat reluctantly.  This left me with just Seth and Sarah for the entire day which was lovely.  They were good company for each other and for me.  We went to Barnes and Noble because I had bought Sarah a book as a Valentine’s gift but alas it was a book she already owned.  Thankfully, when we made the return, the one she wanted was at the store, but we had a few nervous minutes while the lady looked in the back for it.  Sarah LOVES the Warrior books by Erin Hunter just like her big sister Grace did at her age.

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I took them to Chick fil a for lunch and snapped this photo because Sarah cutely complained, “The chicken keeps slipping from my grasp” which I thought was an adorable way to explain the situation.  She ended up putting it down in the box it came in and eating it with a fork.

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The rest of the day was spent at home quietly with cats and books.

THEN ON SUNDAY;

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We actually had time to relax in bed that morning for an extra hour or so.  Rich fell back to sleep after taking Seth and Caleb to their coaches house, I looked at magazines and Sarah read her new book.

Then we got ready and went to see Jacob and Ethan wrestle!!  I was so excited to see my two biggest boys.

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Look at them!!!!  They are wonderful.  My heart was happy all day long even though yet again, I was in a wrestling gym.  🙂

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They had the best time together.

David alternated between hanging out with his brothers and his mother.  Sarah was all over the place, coming back to me now and then when she wanted a dollar or two.  She loves buying snacks from the concession table.  I think she bought Doritos, and a piece of pizza for lunch.  Her pizza looked so good that when she was done I had her go get me a piece (BECAUSE David wouldn’t!!  He said if I was a young pretty girl he would get it for me but because I am his mother he felt that I should be getting HIM a piece.  We laughed and laughed).

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I found Sarah sitting in a lounge area reading her book.

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I was up in the stands (bleachers were packed) watching my boy Ethan.

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He won easily.  I was cheering so loudly that Rich told me that at one point Ethan’s coaches stopped watching Ethan wrestle to look around and wonder who was yelling for him.  🙂

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He knew right where I was in the stands and made eye contact with his mom after his win.  So dear.

Later, we were sitting in the extra room where mat #5 was when Seth and Caleb were dropped off by their coach.  They had BOTH qualified for States AND they BOTH won 2nd place!!  It was very special to me because Seth was a little quiet and pensive the night before the meet.  I noticed and told him he didn’t have a thing to worry about and to “just do it for your hometown”.  About an hour later I was tucking him into bed and he told me he would “do it for his mom”.    So when he came in he gave me his medal.  In the photo I actually have Seth’s and Caleb’s medals around my neck but later on I let Sarah have Caleb’s.

Michael and Zach were at the meet, too, so they could see Jacob and Ethan.

The only one missing was our dear Grace.  I missed her so much.

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Sarah frolicking across the mat.  🙂

Jacob wrestling.  He’s so strong.

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So many people I love in one photo……Ethan had just gotten done with a match.  Rich and Jacob were busy discussing some wrestling technique with Caleb, Seth, and Michael looking on.

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Later on when the  meet was over……one last photo of Rich and his five sons, not wanting the day to be over just yet.   After we left them, we took the kids to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and then grocery shopping.

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Yesterday the children played in the newly fallen snow.

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Cats were sleeping everywhere.

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David cleaned his room without anyone telling him to do it, and he printed and taped up all these inspirational quotes above his bed.

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Yesterday I made pancakes, remember?  This morning it was waffles.

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And David got breakfast in bed again,  now with a nice clean bedroom.  I’m still in shock that he cleaned it.

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It’s a beautiful morning and there’s so much to look forward to.

As I type I can hear David playing the piano and the other kids fooling around on my bed.

“What is done in love is done well.”  Vincent Van Gogh