..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

a wonderful weekend for Grace

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

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

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

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

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

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

She sent me this photo later on in a text:

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

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

 

grandma wants to stay home

Saturday morning.

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

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It takes me a second and then I realize.

She just called me Grandma.

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

home happenings

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Good morning!  It’s good to be home, my children are home…..for it’s Columbus Day.

“One misty moisty morning, when cloudy was the weather……”

That’s us this morning, rainy and cloudy, cozy and cool inside, oh so beautiful outside.

The colors are always so vivid with a washing.

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EVERYTHING outdoors is covered in a fine coating of dew.  My camera lens instantly fogged up, making a lovely “filter” for these orange flowers in the garden.

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I wanted to show you the trenches in the lawn.  Rich wants to heat the garage with propane and I said, “Only if you bury the tank.”

We are also having the upstairs bathroom remodeled and it is currently gutted down to the bare boards.

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Seth and Caleb both had a game this weekend, and as their parents we were so very proud of them but alas both teams suffered losses this time.  And as it was damp and a little drizzly, we spent most of Seth’s game sitting in the truck.  The weather for Caleb’s game was nice so we sat in our chairs, side by side, while Seth, Sarah and David ran around and played with their friends.  I ate TERRIBLE yesterday……not only a dunkin donut but also a reeses pb cup.  My chin feels a little extra dumpily today.  But oh, so good.

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After Caleb’s game, Rich went right down to wait for his son, ready to comfort and encourage after a tough loss.

DSC_1219 1“The gardener knows the seasons better than other people, for he tells time by Nature’s world, by what the garden yields each week or month.  It has given us a purposeful feeling to complete the cycle, to know the beginning and the end.”  ~Home Gardener’s Cookbook

I found this 1974 vintage cookbook/gardening book recently.  It made a pleasant “porch read” this weekend while sitting in my rocking chair.  (Along with the book Gentleman Gray used as a pillow).  Always have to be reading…..how about you?  Any engrossing recommendations?

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This morning was an excellent morning for muffins.  And so,

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(yes I gave him one)

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“Mom, these muffins are GOOD!”  ~Seth
“EVERYTHING Mom makes is good!”  ~Caleb
“Thank you, boys!”  ~Mom

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snippets

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Dryer is humming.

Lights are on; it’s 5:30, very gloomy, and raining.

When cars go by they splash up rain off the road, a lovely sound.

I made chicken and dumplings for dinner.

Seth got mad at Sarah because she started to give him a candy and then took it back.

The coffee table is covered in books and toys.

I finished a book today, and started another.

Sarah acted so guilty as she walked by me that I asked her what she had in her hands.  It was a package of crackers, a package of fruit snacks, and a granola bar.  “I’ll drink some water after.”

Caleb watched numerous youtube videos of football clips when he got home from school.

Seth liked dinner for the second day in a row and gave me a hug.  “I’m on a roll this week,” I tease.  “You’ve been on a roll with me since I started eating your dinners,” he replies.

I tried calling Rich but he didn’t answer and then he called me back later to make sure everything was okay.  Practice is cancelled so he might take the boys for haircuts later.

I took David to the orthodontist this morning, and then drive-thru breakfast.

Then to high school—–HIGH SCHOOL!

I found a vintage fiesta teacup (no saucer) for 50 cents today.

I took a newly hatched butterfly outside.

Seth and Sarah are busy running a bath, for their stuffed animals.

This was after I said “no” to washing the cat.

They are calling it the Shower Pet Shop.  

There is a pile of shoes and backpacks by the door.

Mail on the counter.

I heard from Grace today, briefly; she had a quiz in math.

And Ethan got an “A” on a paper.  He had interviewed his Dad about being a Manager.

Rich says it’s his first college “A”.

I think Caleb fell asleep in his room.

I know David did.  I took his picture.

I normally don’t allow 5:30pm naps.

But today it just seems right.

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first day of school 2017

Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8

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Blessings to the children, first of all, on another new school year.  You have each grown so much over the summer, but still young with lots to learn.  What bright and willing minds you have, eager for education and eager to have fun with your teachers and friends.

Blessings to the teachers, who work hard to make the school year as successful as they can, with patient and mature minds, eager to “go forth and conquer” all the challenges that come about each day.  Blessings to you as you prepare and teach. Your life’s work is importance and we thank you.  You are touching countless young lives.

Blessings to the families who let go and watch their children go forth and experience life, who do everything they can to help.  Blessings to the mothers and fathers who nurture and provide a home for children to come back to at the end of the school day.  May the afternoons be full of welcome and love.  And cookies.

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I like to imagine all the good things happening that no one will ever know.

The mom, busily packing school lunches, slipping in an extra package of snacks, “so you have something to share with a friend.”

A music teacher, choosing a special song with a certain student in mind.  “He’ll love this one.”

The office ladies picking up donuts to share with any parent who comes in during the day.  Adding fresh flowers from the garden to a vase to brighten up the space.

Cheerful volunteers who do what they can to help.

Children picking out their favorite outfits and wondering if their best friend will be in their class this year.  Such smiles when they reunite with their classmates.

Janitors keeping things extra clean, who get to know the children by name.

Teachers who purchase extra supplies just in case a student isn’t prepared.  Showing a caring heart.

School nurses who welcome the wounded and show patience to pretenders.

Dads smiling over the texts messages; photos of his dear ones.

Mothers left alone in a quiet house, quietly cleaning and working, preparing for when everyone gets back home again.  Or off to work, glad to have something to do, with thoughts of her babies always there.

And so on.

Secret prayers, deep thought, problem solving, strings pulled behind the scenes, all sorts of people taking an interest and making good things happen for their communities.

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. . . .encourage one another and build one another up . . . . .

“We can only see what we have grown an eye to see.” Rachel Remen

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This little boy wants to be just like his older brother, so he found Ethan’s old backpack and claimed it for this school year.

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Sarah only likes ponytails, so I took a quick picture just before twisting around the hair ties.

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Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

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……encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all……

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Time again for an early morning “wave” from the next door neighbors as they get their kids off to school, too.  We’re in this together.

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……..anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad……

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Have a wonderful day!

You are loved.

 

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adventure

We are leaving to take Grace to college on Friday morning.  Jacob will be coming home this weekend while we are gone, to pick up Ethan and take him back to college with him. So we are savoring the last week at home before a very busy weekend.

I’m sitting cross legged on the couch, still in my pajamas.  The kids are playing a game and Parker the dog is stretched out next to me, snoring.  Gentleman Gray is grooming himself on the end table.

We had rain in the night.  The outdoors is fresh and clean and the sun is shining bright.  I ate a piece of pie out on the porch and watched the morning birds fly about.  I saw a hummingbird chase around a titmouse and a bee sipping nectar from a flower in my garden.

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I recently made a pound cake and it turned out so good I thought I would share the recipe.  Click HERE for a yummy Vanilla Bean-Brownie Ripple Pound Cake from Southern Living.  And it used up five eggs so it was a winner in every way.  (I’m always looking for recipes that use up the eggs from our flock of 14 hens).

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I quartered some baby potatoes and fried them with an onion and some peppers.  When they were done, I made a spot for four eggs and cooked them with the lid on until they were just soft in the middle but not gooey in any way (I hate runny eggs).  It was a delicious breakfast and so easy.

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I was gazing at the monarch caterpillars when I saw Gentleman Gray trot by the window with a frog in his mouth, legs every which way.

Cats are funny.

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Ethan spent over an hour yesterday morning learning a new song on the guitar.

It was like he couldn’t stop, he was so focused.

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Why yes, she WAS singing “Do you Want to Build a Snowman?”

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Caleb got his summer reading assignment done.

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Grace and Tessa worked on a puzzle.

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Watching a movie with the kids (Lego Batman).

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The two swallowtail caterpillars finally stopped eating and began the chrysalis stage.  Instead of dangling like the monarchs do, they hang themselves under a stick using a loop of silk.

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And then, like magic, they turn into something that looks just like a stick.

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I recently got this at Goodwill.  “Five little maidens out on the green, Happier maidens never were seen.”

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legs

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I have about 10,000 peaches to take care of thanks to our one and only tree being LOADED this year!  (I made a pie yesterday).

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Grace and I finally got her college preparations done yesterday.  AND manicures and pedicures.

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*****

“The less we are attached to life, the more alive we can become.  The less we have preferences about life, the more deeply we can experience and participate in life.  This is not to say that I don’t prefer raisin toast to blueberry muffins.  It is to say that I don’t prefer raisin toast so much that I am unwilling to get out of bed unless I can have raisin toast, or that the absence of raisin toast ruins the whole day.  Embracing life may be more about tasting than it is about either raisin toast or blueberry muffins.  More about trusting one’s ability to take joy in the newness of the day and what it may bring.  More about adventure than having your own way.”

~Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. in Kitchen Table Wisdom