brisk jaunt

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We had a deep deep freeze last week and now…..it’s 58 degrees.  Oh it’s just so lovely outside, the air is mild and moist, slippery mushy snow is covering the ground, a mix of warm air and cold snow adds a misty fog to the atmosphere.  Grace and I couldn’t resist a brisk jaunt.

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On school mornings, David’s alarm wakes him and he then goes downstairs to his brother’s room to wake him up.  Their bus arrives at 6:30 and I often don’t wake up until after they leave.  Seth and Sarah wake up next and I’m always awake and busy with them getting their breakfast and packing snacks.  Well, this morning to my surprise Caleb appeared from his bedroom half asleep.  He and David had both overslept and missed their bus.  I drove them to school, but had to wait until the digger got out of the way…..the town was digging out the beaver dam yet again.  A deep dark cold watery mix is what is left of the solidly frozen beaver pond.

Ice impressively thick and just the gentlest of blues……

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She threw in a small boulder of ice.

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Ice thickness

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fullsizeoutput_4fd9Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!

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Be not dismayed whatever betide
God will take care of you
Beneath His wings of love abide
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
Through everyday o’er all the way
He will care for you
God will take care of you.

***

deep down joy

fullsizeoutput_4e37A sibling may be the keeper of one’s identity, the only person with the keys to one’s unfettered, more fundamental self. ~Marian Sandmaier

Brother Dave came the day after Christmas and stayed until Friday morning.

He’s a brother in every sense of the word.

I noticed that Sarah in particular had to be close to him as much as she possibly could.

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He hardly had room for his arms at times.

It was like she could sense that deep down inside, Uncle Dave could use another human Right There.  Us Grown ups all seem to have a little bit of sad vulnerability within us that is healed by the love and simple phrases of a child.  “Sit by me!  Can I come, too?  Will you read me a story?  Let’s snuggle.  Can I have a taste of your smoothie?  Will you play a game with me?  I don’t want you to go!”  Healed.

If a child is not available, any ol’ human will do.  “It is not good for man to be alone.”

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Right away we had Christmas again.  Dave had already sent cards with money to the children but he brought the gifts from our parents that we all enjoyed opening up.

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Sarah received the most adorable green umbrella with piggies on it.

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The men received new shirts.

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Rich tied the ribbon around his head.

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Grace received beauty products.

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By the time we opened our gifts Rich was ready for a nap.  He had already been awake for hours and had worked out with his wrestling team.  He likes to trap Seth in his arm on the couch when he goes to sleep.  Seth either falls asleep too, or waits quietly until he can sneak away.

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Big family dinner all around the table.  I used the crock pot.  Flank Steak, sliced onion and green pepper, sliced fresh mushrooms, minced garlic, and a pat of butter slow cooked all day and then served over your choice of rice or mashed potatoes.

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After dinner we sat at the table and visited and I ended up french braiding Dave’s hair like a Viking.

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We went downtown for breakfast at the diner.

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“When your breakfast is brought last.”

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After eating we were filled with happy energy so we gave Dave a little driving tour of our town.

Meanwhile, it was so cold, in the single digits.

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We made a stop at the thrift store.

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I took this photo of Hess trucks to show Rich later to see if he had any of them as a boy.

And to show Seth what they used to look like.

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And this one for my son David who likes knives, especially sharpening them.

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Sarah found some boots for one dollar and a couple of books.  David found and purchased a big print of ships on the ocean.  Grace shivered.

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Then we stopped at the coffee shop.  (This photo was taken across the street from it).

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When I think back on our visit with Dave, the coffee shop stands out as a very pleasant memory.  It was warm and busy, art work on the walls and fairy lights around the windows was beautiful.  We had a corner table by the window, it was light and bright inside.  We played cards and talked and waited for our warm drinks.  Oh it was just so good for the soul.  Completely comfortable and relaxing…..so needed after a busy week/month of Christmasing.

Quick photos with five of his nephews and our dog Parker who also loved Uncle Dave.

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Another very special memory was the walk we went on, just the two of us.

It was, I say again, icy cold outside.  But we bundled up and walked briskly in the freshest of winter air.

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It was a delight to see tracks everywhere in the forest.

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Shards of snow

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Visiting the stream deep in woods is always a winter wonder.

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sister and brother

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We ended up at the chicken coop and I walked back to the stream to get a bucket of water.

DSC_1025Our brothers and sisters are there with us
from the dawn of our personal stories
to the inevitable dusk. ~Susan Scarf Merrell

 

stunning sunrise & sledding

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For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.  I Timothy 4:10

I didn’t want to get out of bed Sunday morning.  Seth had been awake in the night all upset with a fever and I was still tired.  But I could hear the kids in the living room and got up to make sure Seth was okay.  I glanced out the window as I always do, just to take a look at the weather, and was astounded by the most beautiful sky, coupled with dark trees and the whiteness of our first “sticking snow” of the season.

Seth was on the couch and hadn’t slept all night (he said).  When Rich got up he too wasn’t feeling well.  The family stayed home from church, we snuggled on the couch all day in soft blankets.

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Sarah and Caleb were feeling fine and went outside over and over again, they came inside just get get warmed up enough to go back out.

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I was saving these new saucer sleds for the first sledding day.

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chickadee on the feeder

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Our house sits on a hill so the children do not have far to go for good sledding.  They just have to watch out for the pond and pine trees.

They very much enjoyed working on several different tracts, some with ramps and some with twisty turns.

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In the afternoon the snow started falling off the branches, sparkling with the sun.

I spent most of the day with Seth snuggled nearby, so it was good to go on the porch now and then to breath in some fresh air and watch the children sled.

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falling snow

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It was a most cozy day.

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I even made homemade pizza.

This morning, Seth was better.  He went to school.  I went to school, too.  Sarah had a chorus program at 9.   I sat next to another lady who had come to watch her granddaughter and was disappointed that the program was only 15 minutes long.  She had come from a few towns over.  All that effort for 15 minutes.  It’s worth it, though, right?  I then went to the grocery store, came home, put everything away, got laundry going, tidied up the kitchen.  I’ll be leaving soon to pick up David for a doctor’s appointment.

He rules the earth with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of His love.

These words are running through my heart this morning, from the hymn “Joy to the World”.   I am so thankful for Jesus.  How astounding that He rules with truth and grace….especially when you see all through history the ways humanity has ruled.  How beautiful and rare are the good, kind, and loving rulers who reflect His ways.  

For Jesus Himself rules with perfect love. . .wonderous love and glorious righteousness.  

beaver ice

On a very nippy morning, after a freezing night, the town came and dug up the beaver dam, and when the water receded, an inch thickness of ice was left suspended in the grasses and bushes.

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(I needed a human to show the scale of the ice in my photos, and my obliging son took his “modeling” job quite seriously. )

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The work of beavers and ice hanging off stumps.

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All the twigs on the ground were stripped of their bark by beavers.

***

I thought the children would have lots more fun with the ice, but overnight the temperatures rose, a melting rain fell, and it all went away……….

 

 

beginning with the nighttime moon

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“Oh, if there’s only one song I can sing,
When in His beauty I see the great King,
This shall my song through eternity be,
“Oh, what a wonder that Jesus loves me!”  ~Philip Bliss

This hymn is stuck in my head this morning and I’m just so happy because today I have absolutely nothing pressing…..in the last week this family has had a total of 10 appointments (mostly dental, one doctor, and others) and I’m ready to have a peace-full morning instead of getting ready to go…….I’m a home-bird…..

I have a steaming Scarlet fiesta mug of green tea on the coffee table in front of me, and a curled up chocolate lab snoring by my side on the couch and I’m ready to let my fingers tippety tap along the keyboard….I love blogging…everyone should do it.  Life is so interesting.

Last week, Rich was gone on a business trip for five days straight and our college son Ethan was home for the week, too.  After Caleb’s dentist appointment and right before his doctor’s appointment, we had time to sit at the bookstore and drink hot coffee beverages.

(Caleb had no cavities but was put on antibiotics for a sinus infection).

(a page from the latest Victoria magazine–I was so tired last week that I had to read this quote like 5 times before it made sense.  And… Seth, waiting for the bus one morning).

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Hanging out on the porch with Sarah.  She was blowing the whistle CONSTANTLY.

She gets to learn how to play the recorder next year at school and the whistle is a tiny recorder.  So she would blow and then take a break to say things like “Can I buy my own recorder, Mom?”  “I’m going to get a pink one.”  “Did Caleb buy his?”  “Where is it?”  “What color was it?”  “Seth doesn’t bring his home.”  “He doesn’t like to play it.”  and so on.

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These muffins were yummy.

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Rich took this at the football games on Sunday.

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Reading on the porch with my kitty.

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Ethan was home all last week and so (because I’m a good mom) I thoughtfully made him a dentist appointment for a cleaning.  (he was less than thrilled because has bad luck always at the dentist).  He drove himself.  I was at the grocery store when they called me, “Hello we have Ethan here and he has a couple cavities that he didn’t get filled last time and the dentist has time to do them now if you’d like us to do that?”  And naturally I said, “Oh yes, that would be awesome, and please have the Doctor check Ethan’s gray front tooth.”  Then we hung up.  After another hour or so, Ethan came home with his eyes sad and face blank.  He put his papers from the dentist down on the counter.  Ethan doesn’t talk much so I had to pry.  “What did they say about your tooth?”  “They said the roots are a little shorter and it might fall out eventually so I have to go to a specialist to get it looked at.”  I ran over to the referral paper, and called the number right away just to see if perhaps they could get him in while he was home.  And yes, they were able to get him an appointment on Thursday.

So Thursday came.  The appointment was at 8:30 in the morning.  As soon as the kids left on the bus at 7:30, Ethan and I got in the car to head to his appointment, which was on the other side of Hartford.  Ugh busy city traffic.  We had no time to go through the Dunkin Donuts drive- thru.  So we battled on through the traffic and got to the Endodontist with just enough time to park, find the office, and fill out papers.

Ethan was called to the back for his appointment and I followed, simply because, like I said, Ethan doesn’t talk much and I wanted ALL the information.  The dentist took an X-ray, and tapped on his front teeth.  Then he held a tiny piece of cotton with his dentist tongs and sprayed icy cold air on it.  “I’m going to put this on your tooth and you raise your hand when the pain is unbearable, okay Ethan?”  He pressed the cotton on Ethan’s gray tooth and Ethan never raised his hand.  “The reason you feel no pain is because that front tooth is dead,” the dentist explained.  “You will need a root canal and then eventually we can bleach the inside of the tooth the next time you are home from college.  I can’t just put the bleach in it this week or you might end up with a brilliantly refrigerator white tooth and that would be worse than the gray.  I need to check the bleaching process every few days so we can take the bleach out once that tooth matches the other ones.”  Wow, this was getting interesting.  Ethan didn’t say a word.

We left with a root canal appointment for the very next day.  Ethan’s bad luck at the dentist continued but you know what?  It had to be done and it is all done now.  The two of us had breakfast together that morning and then went to the mall and consoled ourselves with new shirts (Jcrew for him and Anthro for me).  Rich came home that night and took Ethan the next day for the root canal and now he’s all set until he can get his tooth bleached.

Why was his tooth gray in the first place you might ask?  He cannot remember the injury, but at some point when he was younger he bumped the tooth hard enough for it to die.  With seven children and five of them boys, it’s a wonder any of them have white teeth.  Seth had a gray tooth for a time, too, but it was a baby one and fell out.  My brother David says Ethan should just get a gold tooth and be done with it.

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I bought this vintage wool hook rug at an antique store this weekend….it’s now on the pantry floor and I love it.  I’ve been waiting for just the right throw rug for my pantry.  The outer part of the rug is dark gray, then a beautiful dark blue and light blue design, with light gray after that and a bunch of bright flowers in the middle.  The blue matches the blue glass bottles in the window.

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YESTERDAY it was Seth and Sarah’s turn at the dentist……(and tomorrow is my turn).

For prizes, they got teeth.

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And then we went to the grocery store.  I made them leave the teeth in the car and when we were checking out, Sarah turned to Seth and cried, “Seth, we can go to the car and put our teeth in now!”

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Back at home…… (with a fogged up camera lens again, it was so damp and rainy)

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David was on the roof.

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He was bouncing a small basketball off the house and trying to make a basket down below, with the help of Caleb and Seth.  He made it once.

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(I took this one through the window)

It was pouring rain.

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Last night my husband went downstairs to check on Seth, who was crying in the basement.  He and Caleb had been fooling around.  David and I looked at each other with alarm when we heard Rich yell, “DON’T PLAY FOOTBALL IN THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!” and Sarah came running upstairs laughing.  “What happened?  Sarah, tell me!”  “Seth hit his head again and it’s bleeding a little bit right here,” she pointed to her head, “on the side of his head.”

Sure enough, Rich marched Seth upstairs, who already had a goose egg forming next to his temple on his forehead, and got him an ice pack.

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This morning it already looked much better, but you can see the remainder of his injury next to his eye.  (he had a bump up higher on his temple, and a scrape by his eye).  I mean, at least it wasn’t his tooth.

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7:15 this morning as I put away the dishes.  “Mom, take a picture!”

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Kids left on the bus.  All is calm, all is bright.

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The sun is shining!  After a long weekend of rain, it is pure delight.

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We end with the morning moon.

Happy Tuesday, friends.
You are loved.

 

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cobwebs

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I went out the door this morning to sweep a little pile of cat puke off the porch and noticed how lovely it was what with the fog as thick as pea soup.

So I put the broom away, dusted off the camera, and ambled a bit.

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top-heavy sunflowers

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I didn’t know it yet but these cobwebs were a foreshadowing of things to come. . .

(namely, this blog post)

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And it came to pass. . . . . that nature was getting ready for halloween a month early.

S P I D E R   W E B S

It’s a good year to be a spider, a population explosion, lots of neighbors, no loneliness.

Perhaps a shortage of meals, however.

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perfect works of wonder

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And dew-bright webs festoon the grass 
In roadside fields at morning.  ~Elizabeth Akers

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spooky cat

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“I come to the garden alone….while the dew is still on the….cobwebs….”

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“Perhaps no structure made by a creature lower than man is so exquisitely perfect as the orb web of the spider.”  Anna Comstock

ordinary morning, I love you

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Exciting!

We have three black swallowtail chrysalises in our butterfly nursery and the first one emerged today and unfolded its wings.

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

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homemade rolls, warm from the oven

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There’s the pretty-pretty pinterest way (which I love)….and then there’s the “I took old bread down to the chickens and used the empty bag to gather the eggs” way.  (which I also love).

Happy Monday, friends.

You are loved. 🙂

It’s ordinary to love the beautiful,
but it’s beautiful to love the ordinary.