church, salvage, my sweater, more fiestaware, art journals

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Parker the dog woofed and woofed to let us know that our annual visit from the mallard ducks happened this morning.  I opened the door to admire the ducks floating gracefully on the pond.  He was still barking at the waters edge and I understood what he was trying to say so I called down, “I SEE THEM, Parker, THANK YOU!!”   Caleb, coughing at the end of the couch, also understood, “It’s a sign of spring.” The ground is covered in snow and the pond has a thin sheet of ice over half of it but this faithful visit from our old friends cheered our hearts.  It’s currently 31 degrees.  I will be leaving in about an hour to go pick up Caleb’s school work so he can do it this weekend and not get too far behind.  Thankfully, he is feeling much better.

As promised, this is a photo- blog- journal report on SUNDAY the 18th of March.  Grace and I had slept together in a hotel the night before and Joanna picked us up for church at 9:45. At church, we enjoyed singing hymns, listening to Scripture, and hearing a sermon before heading out for lunch at a popular diner.  Joanna treated us to a very filling meal and we sat by a big window, talking and laughing as we ate.

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Grace had a steak.  Joanna and I both had huge de-constructed gyro salads. (SO good)  (could not finish)

With very full tummies we headed out for a few hours of shopping.

olde good things

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Olde Good Things was a huge warehouse full of architectural salvage.  We walked through the door and immediately became inspired by the smells of dust, old wood, paint, rust, and metal, and invigorated by the cold temperatures of the warehouse.  The building was stacked floor to ceiling with everything imaginable coming out of old hotels, buildings, churches, and museums of the past.

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There was even a horse hanging from the ceiling.

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We explored to our hearts content.

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And as typical of her, Grace climbed into every upper level, no matter if the floors were uneven and stairs steep and deadly.  I kept expecting her to fall or have things fall on her.    18 years old and she still awakens the “I must keep my child alive” nervousness in me.  She has always loved climbing, so much so that one of her childhood nicknames (which she hated) was “Grace Goat”.

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Some of Olde Good Things’ salvage jobs have been The Plaza Hotel in NYC, the JFK International airport, and Rialto Theatre, Times Square NYC.  Check their website for all the interesting details.  Joanna has been following them and visiting their warehouse for years.  I was once again impressed by her design sense, she has great instincts and ideas.

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a feast for the eyes

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We were upstairs in a “door section” (the stuff was all very informally organized) I arranged Grace (in my favorite sweater) in front of a white wooden door, I imagine it must have been a back kitchen door as someone resourcefully covered it in blue linoleum.

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This upstairs floor was loose sections of open iron grating, giving us a strange feeling of fear, we were up so high but knew we were safe enough because after all there were thousands of doors, wooden pillars and posts, and so on.  But then to see, instead of “safe” steps, an unsecured little ladder leading up to yet another level and the words BE CAREFUL WATCH OUT. . . . .it was amazing.

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Everything about this place was inspiring to all three of us.

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a treasure trove of old metal

***

NEXT STOP WAS

on and on vintage, antiques, repurposed, handmade marketplace

in Scranton, PA.

This place was wonderful, not just because of the stuff they sold, but because the owners were so warm and cheerful and obviously liked each other, their shop, and their customers.  They were due to close in five minutes but happily stayed open for us. (!)

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Right away Joanna asked if they had fiestaware and the lady led us straight to a few displays.  I wanted the vintage green covered casserole quite badly but sadly there was a big chip on the lid.  It was 25 dollars.  I did find two place-setting bowls in retired colors, Seamist and Chartreuse, still shiny and perfect.

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We wondered why These Happy Golden Years wasn’t in the box.  Laura Ingalls Wilder fans for life!

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The combination of the chair and the quilt stopped Joanna in her tracks.

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Lastly, Joanna took us to two local Indian grocery stores where we had a great time buying some snacks, drinks, and treats to take home with us.

We went back to Joanna’s house feeling full in every way; physically, mentally, and spiritually. . . . .

We had just an hour or so to do the one remaining thing on Joanna’s list of things she wanted to do with me during our visit.  

art journals

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She set to work painting pages in my book while I looked through her art book, and Chloe’s, too.  Grace did her homework across the table.  Steve and the older boys were in the living room and the littles came in and out to see what we were doing.  It was cozy with beautiful music that Joanna turned on for us, filling the air with hymns and praise songs. . . .

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She was on her mom’s shoulder like this for a long time. . . .so dear.

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Joanna’s art supplies purchase recommendations for the next time I go to AC Moore.

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Behind me was the wall she started recently for the little ones. . .tiny art in tiny frames, carefully arranged way down low, eye level for toddlers.  Just right for the small ones in the family.   Mini-art gallery perfection.

Grace and I had to leave at 7:ish so that we could get her things from the hotel and take her back to college before 8.  I took her to the grocery store quickly for some healthy snacks and drinks and some cash so that her Grandma and I could have peace of mind that she had everything she needed.  I took her to school and helped her get her things back into her dorm room, taking away her Christmas tree.  We hugged outside the building in the dark and even after all day of me saying “don’t forget you have to change out of my sweater before I drop you off” she somehow still got away with it.  In leaving my beloved, I forgot my sweater.  We had a good laugh about that the next day.

Thank you again for a great weekend, Joanna!  I was touched by the time and thoughtfulness you put into making plans for us.  It was truly appreciated way down deep.

And God bless you, Grace, as you finish up your first year of college.

 

 

 

 

 

quilts and fiestaware and salt cellars and . . . . . . .

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Good morning!  I can’t wait to tell you all about when I took Grace back to college this weekend.  But first a little update on the day so far.  It’s snowing, for one thing.  I have a boy home with the flu, for another.  On a scale of 1-10 my mommy-burnout meter is at about a 6. . . .so thank goodness there was no snowday today or it would have shot up to a 9 I’m sure.  I plan on a quiet day with Caleb, four cats, and the dog.  Caleb is snuggled up with Parker at the end of the couch, wearing a flu mask.  He looks much better this morning, although his eyes have a sad look to them, which is what prompted the doctor to do the flu test on Tuesday.  He is looking out the window.  He feels sorry for the birds,  digging in the snow for birdseed, which we have run out of.  He assures me that I can leave him at home while I go get more.  “They depend on you,” he reminds me.  And there goes the snow plow, rumbling by.  Sherlock the orange cat is sitting on the windowsill also watching the birds (he doesn’t care what they eat as he would rather eat THEM) and our two black cats (adopted in December) are chasing a marble around the room like little spitfires.  How two cats can make so much noice is beyond me. . . . . .

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Grace and I left the house Saturday morning at 6:15, she was rather annoyed as I had said to her that we would leave at 8.  But I could not sleep anymore so I woke her up and we drove away from home.  It was very cold, quiet and as dark as night.

We arrived at Joanna’s house around 11:45 and we headed out to a few shopping destinations.  The first one we went to was a shop/antique store in a building on someone’s farm property.  The owners sell new items, with unique older pieces mixed in everywhere, so exploring was very exciting.  I bought some new kitchen towels that I really love because after washing and drying them the hems around the edges did NOT curl (which I hate), I bought a vintage salt-cellar, white with a hinged wooden lid, and a few other odd and ends.

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We LOVED the big heavy teapots on top of the wooden stove in the shop.  This place was full of women shopping and we were very impressed that although it was out-of-the-way, it was apparently quite popular and visited by groups of enthusiastic customers.

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It was such fun to include Grace and Chloe, our two beautiful young daughters, with us for the day!

If you would like to visit this quaint and lively shop it is called Feick’s Vintage Finds (click link for more information)

It was almost an hour drive from Joanna’s house but totally worth it!  I would go again in a heartbeat.

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On down the road to another antique shop.  This one was called “Apple Wagon Antique Mall.”

I found an amazing beveled mirror framed in a grass green wooden frame (old) and a fiesta tripod bowl in persimmon (first time seeing one of them!).

Other things seen and noted:

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Mortar and Pestle used to mix paints (old) that Joanna snatched up (she bought two on this day).  Joanna has a great artist’s eye for things and knows just what she loves and what she would do with the items she sees, color, art, etc.

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Grace saw this shelf of goodies first. She called me over and then said, “I won, Aunt Joanna!” because she was proud of herself for finding the first fiestaware of the day.  The tripod bowl is not in the photo because it was already in my hands.  I think what I’ll do is an instagram post of some of the things I bought.  I was very tempted by the dark green small plates (6 dollars each) but I was trying to be a good girl and to be honest I already have a stack of like 15 small plates (but none of them are dark green.  sigh.)  Some of the shapes here are not fiestaware.  They are made by the same company (HLC) but from a different line called Harlequin.  The colors are similar but even the feel of the plates is different.  Harlequin is much lighter in the hand.  Some fiesta collectors end up collecting harlequin as well.

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Vintage Button collections— made me think of my mom— but these were a little out of my price range.  Aren’t they lovely?  We would display them right up on the wall and admire them daily.

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This is just one of the reasons why we love antiquing.  It is a huge source of inspiration.  Don’t you just want to find an old family black and white photo and put it into a bottle now?  I know I do. . . . . .

This whole place was a treat to visit.  The prices were encouraging and negotiable, and there were many unique things to see.  Not to mention the homemade cookies and coffee-free to anyone who needed a pick me up, which was definitely us by that point!

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The beautiful hands of the woman who totaled up our purchases.  They even used a very old cash register that dinged when the drawer opened.   This is one of my favorite photos of the day.

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The girls each bought a red-covered book.  Grace bought Robinson Crusoe and Chloe found a copy of Black Beauty.  2 dollars.

As we drove Joanna kept saying, “LOOK at the beautiful mountains!”

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We drove to the middle of the town of Tunkhannock, PA for the final shop of the day and coffee.  There was also an amazing mural Joanna wanted a photo of, and as it was St Patricks day, the green was very fitting.

“The Old Store” was small and cold yet I found a pristine round fiesta platter for only 4 dollars (in “Rose”)!!!

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She was right about the mountains……..

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What a fun day we had all together with our girlies.  I’m just so deep down thankful.  Chloe is 13 and Grace is 18 but they got along like two peas in a pod.  Like sisters.

A quick walk down the road, Joanna treated us to lovely drinks (I had a hot chai tea latte) in a warm ‘n’ cozy coffee shop and then we took one last photo before heading back to her house for pizza.

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When I sent this photo to my brother he thought of stained glass windows.  (he’s taking a class and making his first one). . . . .

Thank you for a wonderful day, Josephina!

Tomorrow I will share photos from Sunday and what we did on that day together before dropping Grace off at college.

 

 

friends together

Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s best gifts.  It involves many things, but above all, the power of going out of one’s self, and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another.  ~Thomas Hughes

Joanna graciously brought our daughter Grace home from college on Friday night and was able to stay for a weekend visit.  We had such a lovely time.  My husband took care of the children so I could be completely free all day Saturday and Sunday.  Jo and I began the day chatting in the guest bedroom upstairs (which is David’s room when there is no guest) and listening to the birds through the window, which was slightly difficult what with all our nonstop talking.  We admired a brilliantly red cardinal up in the treetop.

For breakfast, we went to the diner just a couple miles away.  In fact, we spent all of our time in town so that we wouldn’t have to use up time in driving.

******* what does it mean to be a friend? *******
a helping hand to the journey’s end;
a loyal heart and a loving, too,
no task too great for a friend to do!
Anne Campbell

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We had our nails done in the salon the same exact color as a green trunk we both admired as we ducked into several different shops around town…….a festive green for St. Patrick’s day.

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The green trunk was spied in the type of place in which there are piles of things EVERYWHERE……this particular shop downtown specializes in cleaning out estates for re-sale.  It’s almost too full.  Jo and I both love old things and the feeling that there are treasures to be found underneath all that other stuff.  We spent a long time rummaging around the rooms.

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My friend has such a good eye for the perfect items, we didn’t buy much, but what we did was meaningful.  Photos, weights for my coo-coo clock, a few old papers for our scrapbooks.

Most of the fun was in the prowl.

It is good to pause and rest awhile
From life’s demanding pace…
To leave the loud,
Chaotic crowd (our children, ha ha)
And find a quiet place,
To put on the cloak of quietness
With heart and mind at ease,
To sit with a friend
At the long day’s end
And recall fond memories.
And whether we talk or whether we dream,
You’ll find that in the end,
No treasure, though rare,
Could ever compare
With the quiet hours spent with a friend.
Barbara Burrow

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The little quotes and poems in this post are from a book Joanna gave me for Christmas, a 1971 Hallmark gift book titled, Friends Together.

Tomorrow I will blog about the rest of our visit.

Happy Wednesday!

21st birthday

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I took this five minutes after I said to my children, “I wish a cardinal would come to the feeder.”  (we hadn’t seen one all winter)

It was such a vivid reminder of what prayer is.

It’s about Father-God hearing our honest hearts, and isn’t it true that so often what we think are “not prayers” really ARE prayers because HE KNOWS and understands us better than we know ourselves.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for.  But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words……..Romans 8:26

When I said that I wished a cardinal would come I didn’t realize at the time that what I was doing was praying a very basic and child-like prayer to a personal God who cares about everything big and small.

This is why I do not worry about the eloquence or religiousness of my prayer life.  I am His, so I cannot help but pray on purpose and quite unaware at times, too.

Maybe everything we say and think and feel is a prayer and the answers are all around us.

“To the poet,
to the philosopher,
to the saint,
all things are friendly and sacred,
all events profitable,
all days holy,
all men divine.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Dear Jacob turned 21 on the 31st of December.  Like he does every year, he once again invited a group of his nearest and dearest for an all day and all night gathering here at home.  They played lots of games, visited, talked, ate good food, had a secret santa gift exchange, and so on.

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Jacob and Brittnee

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Ethan and his girlfriend Tessa.

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Michael after saying something sexist just to get a rise out of us ladies.

He is lucky he wasn’t told to leave and never come back.  😉

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volleyball in the house is never a good idea

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sweet Sarah watching a tv show

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please Dave, please let me take a photo of your face

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thank you????????????

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Found Seth with the whole bowl of fruit with an expectant dog waiting but being ignored..

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such dear faces, each one

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singing the song

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making a wish

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blowing out 21 candles

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now time for the epic nerf battle (annual event)

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Caleb and Ethan

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He didn’t know his sister was just around the corner……

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Jake and Zak

Happy Birthday, Jacob!

other sights around here lately:

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Sarah’s safari watering-hole playset was a big hit for Christmas.  She can spend an hour or more at a time, making up little stories with her animals.

sunbeams

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watching our son wrestle with the magic of live-streaming online video

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Another Christmas present that Sarah LOVES is a fairy garden set.  It came with everything she needed, including soil and seeds, to grow a little garden.  The seeds have already sprouted and because she learned about growing seeds at school, she insisted we use a growing light, too, which turns everything underneath it one of her favorite colors. She checks on her seedlings constantly and even said good night to them (while giving me a mini-lecture complete with wide eyes and hand motions on what TRANSPLANTING means) last night before bed.

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Happy Tuesday, dear friends.  You are loved.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K Chesterton

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..we should not call anything trouble which brings to pass good..

DSC_0325“I am anxious, and it soothes me to express myself here. It is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” —Mina Murray in her journal

Sunday morning.  I had considered going to my parent’s house for the day as it was only an hour and a half drive from where we were in Pennsylvania.  But I was suffering with a cold and we decided to stay where we were.  Grace showed us a nice coffee shop and the three of us had breakfast together there.

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We spent the rest of the morning at a bookstore and Grace bought a journalling Bible with a beautiful cover and nice wide margins for her thoughts.

She was craving macaroni and cheese for lunch and we went to Ruby Tuesdays.

By this time, Joanna’s family was back from church and she was able to meet us with her daughter.

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I love her.

Joanna took Sarah along home with her.  Grace and I went to the hotel to get her things so she could do homework at Aunt Joanna’s house.  And then we spent the rest of the afternoon until bedtime with them.  It was as cozy as could be with all the family and me and my two girls all together in the cozy kitchen, dining room, and living room.  We had delicious Dominoes pizza for dinner.

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We love to exchange our big journals and look through them as we visit.  Joanna’s journal is big and heavy and full of quotes, pictures, found papers, and art.  Coco stayed by us and was inspired enough to get up and find things to glue into her first journal.

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((red shoe))

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Inspiration, Idea, Execution (the top corner of her journal shows a picture of how she came up with the art on the wall—her own photography))

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(green page)

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(brown)

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(old recipe)

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(photo by Jo)

“Some may say [journal keeping] is a great deal of trouble. But we should not call anything trouble which brings to pass good. I consider that portion of my life which has been spent in keeping journals and writing history to have been very profitably spent. If there was no other motive in view [except] to have the privilege of reading over our journals and for our children to read, it would pay for the time spent in writing it.” —Wilford Woodruff

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“Never forget that writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things — childhood, certainties, cities, doubts, dreams, instants, phrases, parents, loves — that go on slipping, like sand, through our fingers.” —Salman Rushdie

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.

grace (graduation)

It was about a week ago now that I met a homeschooling family at one of my son’s baseball games.  The mom and I had a nice visit together as we watched the boys play and at one point Grace came walking by with her friend.  I stopped her and introduced her to my new acquaintance.  “Oh, I used to be homeschooled,” Grace offered excitedly, “I loved it.  I never wanted to go to public school but mom made me.”

Part of me cringed to hear these honest words.  However, after last night, watching Grace with her class and teachers, seeing her bright smile, how mature she was, how capable, her light shining bright, it all became clear to me.

She bloomed where she was planted.

She took a difficult change in her life and made the best of it.

She had ups and downs, more downs, a few more ups, on and on for the six years she was in school, rather like a roller coaster.

She had fun, tears, anxiety, sleepless nights, songs, dance, silence, wide eyed wonder, false friendship, true friendship, romance, responsibility, headaches, dizziness, academics, good grades, good books, teachers who were kindred spirits, teachers who were her second mothers, and through it all…….she had her faith in an unchanging dependable Father God keeping her steady.

She did it.  Rich and I could not be prouder of our daughter.

*******

A month or so ago I was feeling a little desperate about Grace leaving home so soon and mentioned, half teasing, that she might like to take a year off from college and just stay at home with us (me).  After all, she did start school when she was four and was younger than a few of the juniors this year.  “We would have so much fun, Grace!”  to which she replied (and I quote because I wrote it down):

“I know we would but. . . .we have all summer.  And I need to move on with my life.”

I just had to laugh with respect, happy to have a child this steady and focused on her goals.  I know how much she adores her siblings and depends on her parents.  The relationships within the family circle couldn’t be better, which is to say, perhaps this is the very reason why she is confident in moving on; her needs are met so she is not needy or clingy.  Plus it’s just her personality in general.  She’s forward-moving.

She’ll be attending Christian college in the fall about 5 hours from home (not too far), easy enough to get her home for the holidays.  I know she will have the time of her life there.

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For our small town, the class of 2017 was rather large and cars parked all over the the place outside in the parking lots AND out of the parking lots.  I drove up over the curb with my big mama vehicle and parked in the lawn!  Saving seats was a hostile experience!  But we all got squeezed in and you can see my view from the middle of the room. . . . . .thank the Lord once we sat down I found that I could see Grace if I leaned over to the right and then forward in my seat.

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There she is!

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Recognized with the other scholarship and honers students.

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waiting in line for her diploma

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two hours after walking in……the class left the gym to loud & happy music.

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(dear girl; Emily–our neighbor and also Ethan’s girlfriend’s sister…kids rode the bus together for years)

and now for the fun photos:

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With gratitude to the teacher who understands that some families NEED more tickets, Grace’s siblings were able to attend this year’s graduation ceremony.  (all 9)  Her two big brothers visited the old HS stomping grounds and saw some of their teachers and friends.  (I say “old” but Ethan just graduated a year ago, and Jacob the year before that).

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After getting through the crowd and out of the gym, we found our girl.

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Oldest girl with youngest girl; oldest boy with youngest boy.

 

 

friends

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adoring little sister

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One of “our other kids” Zak, also graduated.  He is a close friend of the family.

My husband coached him in wrestling.

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brother Dave

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W E N D Y ! ! ! !

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I had left my purse unguarded in the hall so Jacob collected it for me.  Brittany is another dear friend of the family and graduated with Grace.

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Caleb and Seth got through the night thanks to the kindle and…..cheese.  🙂

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Ethan with his girl.

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My daughter, my friend.

Love you, Grace…

How hard the battle goes, the day, how long;
Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song. ~Maltbie Babcock

 

 

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