1, 2, 3

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And the third?  Coming soon.  😉


I liked this quote:

“I never saw my mother sleep.  In fact, she only sat down during dinner and later for about three minutes in the tub of our one bathroom.  Although Mom was perennially pregnant, she was always on the move–a blurry blue Sears housedress topped by a wavy blond perm and supported by two sturdy speed-walking legs.  She had bulging varicose veins that grew with each child, and I was always worried they were going to pop, but they didn’t.
“On any given day, Mom could be found in one of two places:  the outside landing, where she hung the laundry, or the kitchen, where she jogged between the ironing board and the oven.  It seemed my mother could do a hundred things at once, all the while keeping at least one of her blue eyes on her ten children.
“‘Watch yourself, Eddie!’ she’d shout down from the landing to my oldest brother in the side yard.  ‘Remember, you’re a born leader and all the boys are watching you!’  Then she’d vroom down the fourteen wooden steps, hip the laundry basket through the banging screen door into the kitchen, and dump it onto the table.
“‘You’re the absolute best helper, Ellen,’ she’d say as my eager sister did the folding, ‘You’re going to make a wonderful mother!’
“Shortly after noon, Mom would begin preparations for dinner, served nightly at six o’clock sharp, ‘Barbara Ann!’ she’d yell down the basement stairs as she peeled potatoes.  ‘Come on up here and take Florence, Tommy, and Mary Jean.  They need some entertainment and if you’re going to be a star, you’ll need to practice.’
“And that was my mother’s genius.  She kept her house going by putting her finger on the special gift she saw in each of her children, and making each and every one of us believe that that gift was uniquely ours.  Whether it was true or not, we all believed it.”

~Barbara Corcoran, in her book Use What You’ve Got




madame butterfly

Oh what peace we often forfeit,
Oh what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

“I trust You.  Give me wisdom.  Give me love to spill over.  My life is Yours.”



A simply DRENCHED bumble bee, waiting out the rain on a bee balm blossom.


I don’t know…..but again, drenched.


close up of a zinnia.. .. .gorgeous color pink.


My nature studies have gone from birds to bees and other insects.  It’s such a pleasure to walk around the outskirts of our lawn, where the mowed grass meets the wilder grasses and flowers and look for insects.  There are always interesting things to see.

I still like to watch for birds, too.  In fact, I keep seeing a yellow warbler (wearing a black mask) peeping at me from the bushes, it must be distracting me from seeing a nest because it’s a typically shy bird.  I’ll try to photograph it today.

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breathtaking greens and yellow

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I showed Sarah the photos and when she realized what she was seeing, she said “Delete it!”

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This is my favorite photo of the bunch.  The wings!  Did you ever guess there would be wings like this on a tiny bug?  (it’s on a yarrow flower, a common wildflower in our area)

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It’s not a very clear photo because just as I was taking it I felt a cold thing go across my bare big toe………


It was a big juicy worm.


This gorgeous bug, if it senses an enemy near. . . . .

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….drops down and plays dead.  It literally plays dead!  It had me fooled for a moment.


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Yesterday I was on the porch and saw a Monarch fly by.  I walked around to follow it and discovered it busily laying eggs on the milkweed that I let grow in the garden.  See how it presses it’s tail to the leaf?

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It leaves an egg behind, a teeny white egg.  When it hatches, the caterpillar will be all set because it simply LOVES milkweed leaves.

By gently turning the leaves over on the plants I have found at least 5 eggs.  We plan on collecting them after they hatch and watching them grow.  It’s one of our favorite summertime nature studies.



A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Proverbs 31:30



madame moth


One evening this week I went into my room and found a large brown moth playing a rather dangerous game of tag with the ceiling fan spinning over my bed.  I quickly turned the fan off but the moth continued to fly around like something crazy so I turned off all but one of the lights in the room.  The moth gravitated toward it and settled down on a closet door.  I was able to get a photo and then attempted to trap it under a large glass in order to take it outside where it belonged.  However, Madame Moth had other ideas and escaped the glass with fluttering wings…..to my shoulder.  I did a quick, sly shuffle, while squealing, toward the door but alas, it vanished off my shoulder and disappeared.  For the remainder of the night I found myself absentmindedly brushing at my hair and clothes.  I hadn’t seen the moth fly away and felt as if it were still on me somewhere.

The next morning……….


I found it on the light pink curtains in the bathroom.  The curtain rod was one of those spring loaded kinds that can be adjusted between the window frame so I took another photo and then pulled the entire curtain down and took it and the moth outside….where it belonged.  We have a large wrap around porch and I put the curtains on the quiet side, away from doors and activity of people and pets, on a small table.  The poor moth was so still and silent that I wondered if it was even alive.  I checked on it throughout the day and it never moved.  I felt badly that I hadn’t been able to get it outside the night before when it was so obviously full of life.

The next morning…….


It was gone, all but a single leg and 11 chartreuse colored eggs.  I think it left it’s leg behind because even I had a hard time removing it from the curtain, it was hooked into the fabric rather tightly.


The eggs look amazingly like green grapes.

like no one’s watching

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

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

That’s freedom to me.

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

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

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

We need room for breathing, thinking, being.

Remembering who we are and what is yet to come.

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I love mystery and curiosity.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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




birds and a rainbow

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

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

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

Grace is still asleep.

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

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

. . .to enjoy the bird morning!


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

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


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



Grace on the front steps, watching the sky.


Sunshine through fat raindrops.

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The sky was doing beautiful things.

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

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


baby bird

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another baby bird


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

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

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

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I slept so good last night, finally, after a week of having the world’s worst cold ever.  I made it through the day yesterday with no nap (feeling better!), plus five miles of walking outside in the fresh air, two baseball games at the end of the day, trip to town for errands, weeding in the garden, cough medicine before bed, yes indeedy it all made for a wonderful night’s sleep.  I woke up with my face glued to the pillow I had slept so heavily.  It’s 8:30 and I still feel sleepy.  Delicious..

Kids are all in school, their last day is the 20th.

There is so much going on in my life.  So I haven’t been able to blog as much this week because I’m very distracted.  However, I did take some photos here and there throughout the week so I thought I would make myself sit still on the couch and post them this morning.  They are mostly nature photos.  The sun has been shining bright and we have two lilac bushes in bloom attracting the most beautiful little creatures. . . . . . .


So I sit in front of the flowers in a lawn chair with my camera and it’s just the nicest time in the sunshine and perfume of the lilacs.

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I love the tips of it’s antennae.


wildflower I smiled to see



the purple ones smell like grape koolaid.  I’ve picked them and put them in the house for the most lovely of smells. . . ..natural air freshener at it’s best.

The peach ones smell good, too.  Thanks to mom for sharing her irises with me.

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Getting off the bus one day.

I sit on the bench on the side porch with a book and my camera next to me, ready to shoot anything interesting that comes along.

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Ugh…gypsy moth caterpillars are everywhere.


This is a pretty little bird, my flash went off and the picture came out nice.  I like it’s eye and beak.


A community of mourning doves at the end of the day…they were roosting together and cooing.

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see the green grasshopper on the pansy?


It was raining outside, I was in the house on the phone with Tara, and took the photo through a window and porch railings.  Not bad!!! I love these birds (Northern Flicker).  They have stripes, polka dots, red, yellow. . .so pretty!  They eat ants and beetles and have been visiting our front yard to find food.


so lovely (see the blue on it’s wing) –such beauty in a small bit of nature. . . .it’s wings flutter so quickly at times it’s hard to see the details, which is a nice benefit of photography!

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Sarah got new clothes, she picked them out of the miniboden catalogue.  I love their clothes and Sarah likes wild cats, reading about them, playing with her toy cheetahs and lions, so when she saw this shirt she just had to have it.  So this is what she wore to school yesterday, and even though she’s not partial to a top knot, I fixed her hair in one.  Adorable.  She didn’t know kitty was coming  . . . and then was so sweetly happy to hug him.



Back of the shirt. cute, right?


HUMMINGBIRD MOTH, one of my favorite visitors!!  They flap their wings so fast they are a blur.

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I threw something out on the porch at 8pm the other night and was surprised to see one “working overtime” in the dusky evening shadows flying around, dipping into lilac blossoms.

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The bumblebees were most amusing…there were so many the became territorial.  Flying, hovering, making contact with each other in the air, buzzing around.  Pollen looked like gold dust.  Wings as purple as the flowers.

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It was quite a challenge to be fast enough to focus my camera on a hovering bumblebee.



last but not least…..I was at the edge of the woods at the end of the lawn and saw a chipmunk.


It was busy eating a dragonfly!!


As I was typing the last sentences, and before I had time to edit, the school nurse called because Dave had hit his head in gym class.  He hit heads with a classmate, causing the classmates glasses to cut the classmate (he feels so sorry for that) and then fell on the floor hitting his head a second time.  So he has a headache and has to rest in a quiet room today. . . . . . .

I just hopped online to edit and publish again.  Happy Friday!