mr. Seth

I’m not feeling all that great day. I’ve done a lot of moaning, groaning, writhing, and crying and a lot of nothing else. A lot of just being on the couch under blankets, and a lot of wearing of sweatpants, thick socks, and a sweatshirt. I’m not looking for sympathy, just saying…..days like this are meant to be used. For what, I have no idea. I mean, God gave us these capabilities for a reason, I’m sure. The teapot makes very dreadful sounds and lets off wet stuff, too, into the air, when it boils. So maybe that’s what I am doing. I know my heart stops aching for a while after a good cry. I want to be honest and true. I”m not all susie sunshine happy meeeeee I just love every minute of life isn’t it just grand? No one is. And gosh dang it I’m going to say so on the blog.

Today, I am sick.

……..but, guess what?

A package came in the mail from Aunt Colleen with two wonderful books and a most wonderful “thinking of you” note. Yep, cried (thankful)

AND Andre, the photographer, messaged me these two photos on Facebook.

I opened them, and cried again (why is mr Seth growing so fast and oh he is so handsome and I can’t wait to give him a hug in 20 minutes when the bus finally brings him home).

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


little walk

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Rich normally arrives home from work around 6pm but yesterday he arrived at 4:30.  I was just taking dinner out of the oven, I had made an early dinner not for the reason I believed (I was so hungry) but because Father-God arranged it that way so we could eat together.

I made a big casserole of about 5 pounds of browned hamburger, plus lots of taco seasoning, a big can of enchilada sauce, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of creamed corn, and cheddar cheese all mixed together.  I baked it in the oven until it was bubbling and melty.  It was sort of like a thick soup.  My thoughts were that we could each have a bowl of it, with a dollop of sour cream, chopped tomatoes, and black olives on top.  With a huge bag of tortilla chips, this was a dinner everyone loved.   Basically glorified chips and dip.

We had a nice meal together around the table with Dave (14), Caleb (11), Seth (7), and Sarah (6).  We were missing the three oldest children but I happily noticed how much David was talking and realized that with the three oldest growing up and not around to eat dinner with us as often, he is able to be the respected, listened to, older brother at the table.  It’s all good.  In a large family the middle children can let lost (or the youngest….but in our case Seth and Sarah have no problem being seen and heard).  It’s that middle one, Dave, who hasn’t had much to say with the older ones in the room.  He’s moving up in ranks, so to speak, and it is good.

We finished dinner at 5 and I said “let’s go to the school and go for a walk while we wait for Grace to be done at 6!”   The children scattered while I yelled, “Get a jacket !!!” after them, 25 times.

Still, Seth and Sarah had no jackets when we got there.

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The only thing I stressed about was that the typically quiet school road ended up being a lot busier than we expected.  Every three to five seconds there was a car going by us.  We kept the running, skipping, happy, offspring in the grass on the side of the road, trying to reduce their chances of running into the street.  Rich was relaxed, but I was on heightened alert.  MOTHERS!  Can’t relax.  *sigh*  It’s all good though.  (said a little less confidently).

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He wasn’t concerned in the least……I love him…..we balance each other out.

Other than the traffic, it was lovely in every way.  Cool crisp air, all of us together in a pack, and a nice walk up the hill and down.  Great for the leg muscles.

Oh and did I mention Dave was catching Pokemon?  He loves that game.

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Seth and Sarah’s arms were like ice.  Poor babies!!!!  They insisted they weren’t cold!

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It’s a very rare occasion when Seth gives me a sweet smile for the camera.  He looks so handsome (and cold) in this photo.

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We picked up Grace and went to McDonalds for 49 cent ice cream cones.

Incidentally, I bought Grace the shirt a week ago and she wore it for the first time yesterday.  I said, “Grace, you wore your shirt today!”  and she said, “I LOVE this shirt!  It made me feel fabulous!”  (tip for blue days!)

Even though I went out and had my nails and hair done yesterday, this little family walk was the highlight of my day by far.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17

life is a continual feast

 

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We found out on Monday that Sarah was born with a congenital obstruction in her right kidney.  And she also has reflux on that side.  The mystery of how she had the stones in the first place as been solved.  Unfortunately, this obstruction has caused her right kidney to lose most of it’s function.  Thankfully, the other kidney is doing the job of keeping her healthy.  (kidneys are amazing)  The next step is to meet with the doctor about doing surgery on the ailing kidney to help it drain better…..because with no treatments she will most likely end up with ongoing infection.  There is a chance that she may lose the kidney, but the doctor believes that even though it has lost significant function, it still appears to be healthy and he is leaning toward surgically fixing the blockage.  We meet with a second doctor next week for her thoughts as well.

 

Of course, I am not a doctor and I don’t know much.  I do not have the wisdom of the doctors, but I do have the wisdom of a mother.  As a mother, I was very upset by the results of these latest tests.  Truth be told, I did a lot of crying and lost my appetite for a day (but in the midst of it I felt I would be sad forever–strong emotions & dramatics have always been a talent with me).  But the doctor and nurse were both calm and reassuring.  As specialists, they told me that they see children all the time with the very same situation as Sarah so they know she will be okay.

Jesus was and is always near, so near, and I had time reading the Bible yesterday in which I read many verses that comforted and stayed my soul.  I also had a nice long talk with Gary (our pastor) and my dearest mother (with Dad listening, too).

Jacob’s girlfriend Emily comforted me as well.  I told her some of my imagined fears and rambling sad thoughts and she exclaimed, “Don’t think about those things!”  Which is such simple advise, but TRUE, and I tell you, do not be afraid to share (some) things with your teenagers because they very often have just the words you need to hear, sweet simple childlike faith……..”out of the mouth of babes”.

Enough about that.  All will be well.  Doctors are a gift from God with God-given healing wisdom and talents.  What a wonderful world we live in, where there is knowledge and support for so many medical conditions!  This world is full of people trained to help in many ways and I am thankful for everyone I meet who shares a smile, or a kind word, or gives time and energy to be active in the schools and community.  These sorts of people make me always to want to do the same.  The world is much bigger than a kidney.  🙂  You can quote me on that.

And by the way, Sarah Joy is pain free and completely healthy.  Like I said, the healthy left kidney is taking over for the lack in the right one.  So this is a huge blessing!  And she is on a daily antibiotic to keep infection at bay.  She’s happy and growing and active.  Not only that, but she’s still young enough that she isn’t worried about a thing (until we are in the doctor’s office!).

*****

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Last week, Rich took me to the Brimfield antique show and we had such a nice afternoon together.   I saw these Tasha Tudor books and looked through them.  I didn’t buy because they were on the pricy end (probably worth it but not to me).

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Birds we love.

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Necklaces made from odds and ends.

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Just as we are.

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What we purchased on that day.  We came home and I scrubbed everything up.

The disc pitcher and 7 tumblers are vintage and are for display only.  I did tell the children that when they grow up and have a baby we will do a toast with them at that time using these valuable tumblers.

The covered casserole and three light yellow bowls are retired yellow.

The mugs were chosen by my husband — two lapis and one shamrock.

The divided vegetable bowl is a retired piece in Ivory.

Three cereal bowls in lemongrass, white, and paprika.

And then two pasta bowls in paprika.

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I put the disc pitcher up high, next to my priceless Lilac one.

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My sweet Grace.

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darling cat paws

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nature is confused…we had a second round of toads this year.

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Remember the vultures?  We searched for the Death Thing and we found it… a very dead muskrat waving in strips in the stream.  EWWWWWWW

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My children; 19, 18, 16, 13, 10, 7, 5

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Rich and I went on a date Friday and found a restaurant close to home that we enjoyed very much.  My salad had roasted potatoes, tomatoes, crumbled cheese, and grilled shrimp on it.  Rich had a seafood pasta.

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Like I said before, nature is confused this spring.  We have toad nurseries in BOTH ponds now.  I took this picture because the toad was funny.  As soon as it sensed my presence it completely froze in this position.

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Rich and I went to a Farmer’s market and I was completely impressed by this handmade jewelry—made by tatting!  I bought an ankle bracelet for Sarah and she hasn’t taken it off.

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Grace is going to Prom on Friday.

****

“For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.”  Proverbs 15:16

 

by our love

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“Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!  What joy!”

Christmastime this year has been made brighter by the visit of my precious friend, Hannah.  I mentioned a few blog posts ago, when I posted pictures of the blouse she made me, that she is the only friend I have that has battled depression.  I have struggled once again with that old curse that I hate so much, and during this time, according to the typical nature of depression, I found myself closing off from almost everyone around me…..except for Hannah.  She lives so far away, in the beautiful state of Alaska, but she graciously and promptly answered all my texts, responding hastily with the love of Jesus, verses, encouragement.  We talked several times on the phone.  I felt comfortable voicing those parts of my heart that needed expression and light.

And then came the moment when she asked if she could come and visit me.  She couldn’t take the depression away but she could sit by my side in full understanding.  I’ll never forget her words, “If I had to go through depression in order to help you, it was worth it.”  We felt the visit was truly God-ordained, even to the price of her round trip, only 36 dollars!

Jesus is always with us, He promised in his Word that He would never leave us, nor forsake us.  I believe that He uses His people in tangible ways to love us.  What I mean is, Hannah has been *my Jesus with skin on*.  I hope that doesn’t sound disrespectful.  Jesus is within all believers, we are a temple of the Holy Spirit, we have this treasure in jars of clay, and as we hold one another, sit beside one another, speak to one another, we are experiencing His love through a brother or sister in Christ.  He loves me through her.  As I spent time with her, I felt as if Jesus Himself was with me.

Hannah is not the only friend I have like this.  If you’re reading this and you’re my friend then it is the same with you.  God places certain people in our lives whom we cannot forget even if we might sometimes want to.  Their names are written on our hearts.  I have friends that I will be loyal to until the day I die, I simply cannot neglect the brothers and sisters in Christ that God has brought into my world.  I’m thinking of so many people right now that have shared my life with me, and I with them, many of them are my own relatives but some of them are not.  Why does He do this?  I have to believe that it is because part of the work He has for us to do is to love each other deeply, encourage each other, sacrifice time and energy, so that the journey through life is not without abundant support and meaning.  It’s a beautiful thing to see.

The Bible says, “If we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.

HOW AMAZING IS THAT?

I found a quote on Pinterest that says it well:  “When God puts love and compassion in your heart toward someone, He’s offering you an opportunity to make a difference in that person’s life.  You must learn to follow that love.  Don’t ignore it.  Act on it.  Someone needs what you have.”

I’ve been writing about lifelong relationships, but this concept of being an instrument of God’s love applies to the “one time” act of kindness for a random stranger, too.  How many people have we unconsciously showed grace and love to, without even being aware that our smile, our small conversation, our politeness, touched someone’s life in a meaningful way at just the right time?  How many times did a stranger touch our hearts with kindness that made us thank God then and there?

Surely, God is in full operation at ALL TIMES.  Moving, breathing, shepherding us THROUGH EACH OTHER.  (and his Word, his World, and so many other ways, too).  Praise Him with me!

Oh for eyes that see and give Him glory.  And in all things, to give thanks.

A few days ago Hannah and I went to a museum together.  We drove into the city, parked in a parking garage, and walked a few blocks to the museum.  It was a special time at the museum, too, because of Christmas, there were decorated trees and choirs singing as we wandered delightfully through the rooms.  Oh how we loved the artwork!  We came away determined to enjoy more art and Hannah wants to study art history.  It was fascinating.

I took a few photos of the trees.  The first picture in this blog post is one that an older lady did.  She lives in a nursing home and knitted every single ornament and garland for her tree.  I loved it.  I loved imagining her working on it.

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A bird tree, a tree decorated with origami which reminded me of my David who loves to fold paper, and another view of the “yarn” tree.

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A Harry Potter tree!  (David is reading all the books these days, he’s now on #6)

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And then we made our way into the art exhibits.  There was a folded card which showed the details of each painting so we took advantage of that and studied each one.

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There was so much spiritual depth in the works, some we understood, others we felt as if there was more to learn….which I suppose is one of the purposes of museums and art…to create a thirst for knowledge as we appreciate the beauty.

And, by the way, we both wore blouses that Hannah made herself~art from the sewing machine!

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that beautiful blue color

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Book of Hours from the 1400’s.  Imagine the work that went into this amazing book and all the hands that touched it through the years.

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Egyptian cat

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Amazingly carved linden wood.

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“Still life with Ham” 

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a GORGEOUS silver center piece which we stood and looked at for a while

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This too!  A birdcage!

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made entirely of porcelain (I think…or something similar)….amazing detail and beauty

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God’s art….above and beyond anything we could even imagine!

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God made Hannah, too, a beautiful work of art, and He made YOU as well…so special and unique, truly one of a kind.

After seeing as much as we could possibly absorb in one day, we made our way to lunch at the cafe and then shopped the gift shop for Christmas gifts.

It was a memorable day with a dear friend.

You are LOVED!

when I taste your goodness, I shall not want

“Though the fig tree may not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines;
though the labor of the olive may fail,
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock be cut off from the fold,
and there be no herd in the stalls–
yet I will rejoice in my Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
Habakkuk 3:17-18

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:4-6

“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you.  I do not give it as the world does.  Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”  Isaiah 43:1

“….Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

“Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid!  God is coming to your rescue.”  Isaiah 35:4

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet!  Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”  Mark 4:39  (He does this to the storms in our souls, too)

Unless the Lord has judged our fears to be a great evil, He would not so often have forbidden them, or have prepared such a heavenly quietus for them.  Charles Spurgeon

“Permit me to say there is nothing in the Bible to make any man fear who puts his trust in Jesus.  Nothing in the Bible did I say?  There is nothing in heaven, nothing on earth, nothing in hell, that need make you fear who trust in Jesus.”  Spurgeon

“The Lord may be very close to thee, dear child, when thou canst not see Him, perhaps closer than ever he was when thou couldst see Him.  The presence of God is not to be measured by the realization of it.”  Spurgeon

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, the weapons we fight with have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:4-5

******

You see, dear friends, I have a daily struggle with anxiety and have very unwisely held on to fears and allowed them to grow.  I have allowed exhaustion to grow, too, until life itself seemed too much to bear.  And indeed, it was too much to bear.  How very thankful I am for Mother, who called me during her work day to simply listen to me cry and cry and talk it all out, and the wisdom she spoke to me.   “You’re exhausted.  You need to rest.  Don’t do anything during your free times but rest.  And then when quiet time is over, get up and bake something for your family.”

I am ashamed of my weakness when I think of many others in the past and present that have a life much more difficult than mine.  But the truth is, God is almost certainly going to gently allow EACH ONE OF US to sink to our lowest, our breaking point, to show us the comfort and delights to be found in Himself.  No matter what your life situation, there will be times of difficulty, and if you are a believer and a lover of Jesus, it is during those times when you will find yourself on your knees and know that your faith is not in vain.  It is a true faith, a simple childlike faith, in a God so big and loving that it truly does bring a peace that passes all understanding.

I pray my most desperate prayers in the bathroom.  I lock the door and turn on the ventilation fan so no one can hear me, and I kneel down by the bathtub and pray.  I tell Jesus exactly what is making me fearful or anxious.  I tell Him that I cannot control the anxiety and that I need Him to take over and do the work inside of me.  I tell Him of the verses I know that command me not to worry and that I trust Him.  How grateful I am when I pray it all out and find my spirit restored once again.  It truly does work, and not because of anything I have done, but because of Christ and His provision.

It’s been AMAZING.

AMAZING.

In between the prayer times, life has been relatively peaceful again…..true, the children are all getting sick over and over….but, ONLY BECAUSE I’m learning to let go and get through it the best I can without freaking out inside!!!  Life is not an emergency.

I’m trying to be more like my cat.

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Grace and Jenna taking tickets at the play we went to a few weeks ago.

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David

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Jacob and David, I think they were playing smashy road….Dave is using my phone.

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“This home is a shelter for those we hold dear, wishing peace to all who enter here.”

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David followed a youtube instructional video last night and made gummy candy out of jello.

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Here it is before he cut it.

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Sarah’s library book which was not intended for the highly observant child (the kittens were slightly different throughout the book but supposed to be the same three and she kept asking me who was who.)

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I colored her hair slightly with hair chalk, as per her request.  There is a small green streak on the left and a small purple streak on the right.

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Seth showed me his tricks while waiting for the bus.  He was kicking the football and then trying to catch it with one hand.   Hilarious

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Thank you for the beautiful plants, Amy!!!!

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If you’re anxious about anything today, find a quiet time to pray and let your burdens go to His capable hands.  Jesus is more than conqueror of all our fears and no one understands what men and women go through like He does.  We all have such unique and challenging lives, but in Him we can live them peacefully and calmly, with thanksgiving.  He will take those worries and destroy them!

And gosh darn it, slow down and get your rest.

Eat properly, too.

Drink water.

Get some sunshine.

Onward and upward.

You are loved.

go easy

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David’s little kitty, whose name is Gentleman Gray, isn’t allowed to go outside very often.

But when he does, he returns as soon as possible with an old dead mouse.

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The mouse was caught by one of Gentleman Gray’s housemates….he himself hasn’t caught any of them, he doesn’t have the opportunity, so he just enjoys playing with them.

Typically, I take the mouse by the ice cold tip of it’s tail and fling it right back outside into the bushes as far as I can fling.  But the other day I let him have it for a few minutes because his antics were making me laugh.

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He has several very nice fabric mice filled with catnip, but there’s just nothing like sinking your teeth into a real live dead one.

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The poor thing had such adorable ears.

If the children or I find one of our cats in the act of killing a mouse we ALWAYS save the mouse’s life.

My husband on the other hand……..is thrilled with every dead mouse he sees.

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There have been a few times when I threw a dead mouse outside (without him seeing me do it) only to have him bring it right back in!  What an amazing sense of smell cats must have.

*****

Sarah was so so sick last night.  She must have thrown up seven times in the matter of just a few hours.  She was distraught, pale, crying…it was terrible.  What a mercy that her body finally settled down and she was able to eat some animal crackers and keep them down at around 9:30-10.  But then Caleb got sick, and then David.  Pepto- Bismol was the key to helping their tummies.  They all made it through the night quietly so we had some sleep.  Today they have been on the couches all day long but able to eat more and more, starting with crackers in the morning and ending at 5:00pm with all three eating bowls of cooked broccoli!  If you can crave broccoli at a time like this I would say things aren’t so bad.

God has surprised me several times today with unexpected blessings.  One was a phone call from the kid’s doctor, wanting to apologize to me for being very distracted at the last appointment I went to, he even mentioned CHRISTIANITY, LOVE, CHRIST, and the HOLY SPIRIT in the conversation (!!) and other blessing was having Michael come to visit Jacob just in time to go pick up Ethan from school after practice.

Yet another time was much earlier in the day, when I went to drop off lunch money at the school.  The office lady asked how I was and as I spoke to her she could tell I was stressed out.  As I left she encouraged me by simply saying, “go easy.”  Those two little words became my mantra of the day.  Go easy on myself, go easy on my day, go easy with my family, go easy on the housework, etc……..

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I visited my hens.  I gave them fresh water and food.

And then some of them followed me.  I was about to take a very easy and short walk, close to home.

I saw a chipmunk on a rock in the stream.  It froze when it saw me and then as quick as lightening, vanished under some old sticks and leaves.

I wasn’t going anywhere in particular….so I wandered down to Ethan’s fort that he made this summer.

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It’s an interesting feeling to be all alone, looking at your son’s hard work.  Imagining him building it, seeing his thoughts and ideas on how to make it work.  I stood under the roof.  I saw the clippers and a garden tool.

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I admired the way he put together the low walls.

And when I turned around, I saw that one of my hens had crossed the stream to follow me to the fort!  It was an unexpected laugh.

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We talked for a few minutes and then she went back home.  It was a good thing because I really don’t want a lonely lost hen in the forest.

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I would love to know what this shrub or sapling is.  The stem is green but there is brown stiff paper-like bark sticking out around it.  It’s so pretty and orderly.

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The best part of my walk was discovering witch hazel in bloom.

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This is the very same plant that witch hazel astringent is made from, which has many uses and has been around for a very long time.

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It comes into flower just as everything else around us is dying from frosts.

Such a cheerful yellow.

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In the upper left you can see the brown seed pods.  The seeds within them open up on a sunny day and shoot out for a great distance.  Fun!

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I broke a branch off one of the bushes to carry it back to the house so I could admire it.  I’m hoping the seed pods open up and shoot.

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I did all my walking and came back home with my pockets looking like this.  Guess what’s in them?

it is well with my soul

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“I know the One in whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him…..”

“Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.”

“Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery.”

“The Lord says, I will rescue those who love me.  I will protect those who trust in my name.  When they call on me, I will answer, I will be with them in trouble.  I will rescue and honor them.  I will reward them with long life, and give them my salvation.”

Good morning, friends,

I have been absolutely exhausted this week, hence no blogging.  I’m sure you can imagine all that entails being a mom of seven and wife of a busy hard worker.  I love the life God gave me, but there are “crash days” when the responsibilities I have seem overwhelming and pressing.  I don’t even like to write these things, because it seems like a complaint when God has given me blessing upon blessing and I am ashamed of my weakness (although HE delights in it for only then can He get the glory for supplying my need)  How dare I cry and be sad?  However, exhaustion is no respecter of persons and no matter who or where you are, it can hit and cripple for a time.  And that is how it has been for me this week.

Well, that’s not exactly true, I certainly have NOT been crippled.  I have done all the things I had to do.  I’ve read chapters to my sick one, I’ve gone to the pediatrician twice, gotten medicines, drinks, teas, foods.  I’ve gone to a soccer game with a smile on my face.  I have a heart of love and longing to serve my family.  I’ve held and snuggled warm children.  I ordered vomit bags off amazon.  Yes, all these things have happened when deep down what I really wanted was to spend a week on a beach in Hawaii.

But enough of me, I hate writing about myself sometimes because it seems so annoying and self-focused.  Blah blah blah.  Hey, but it’s all the truth as I see it and that’s all I want to do here on my blog, write about my honest life which is very much feelings-oriented to me (which is why I especially appreciate the logical people in my life that balance me out).  And praise God I have eternal hope and salvation…..this current life is only the first page of what life is really going to be for me.  There is so much to look forward to, amazing unspeakably glorious things.

I love you all.  I’m so thankful for my Mom, husband, brothers, sister, friends and for all the verses words offered to me on FB when I wrote this week during a fit of crying on my part.  God has given us each other to help us get through the tough times!  There is so much to be thankful for and usually at least one thing that makes me sincerely laugh every day.  (like this morning when Dave’s kitten proudly carried in a dead mouse that one of our other cats caught and left on the porch).

Here are the pictures from Ethan’s senior soccer night (last night).  It was wonderful sitting on the bleachers next to my friend Caroline and watch our boys play.  Our husbands were there with us, and Jacob and Emily brought Caleb and Sarah as well.  The sky darkened into night and there was a time when the sky was so blue, as dazzling blue as sapphire fiestaware.

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He only has three more games left and he’s determined to make them last out the season.  They’ve been great soccer shoes and have served him well.

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Warming up with his best friend, Zach, before the game.  Oh, these two.  It’s been a joy to watch them grow together.  They are as close as brothers.

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During drills and warms ups they did this exercise where you jump up and bump your teammate.  Made us smile.

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They called down the parents of the seniors for a short presentation.  They called out names and each player was given a rose (to give to his parents).

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After a team picture they played their game and won 1-0.   I took him to the pizza place in town to celebrate with his friends and one of the other Dads brought him home afterwards.

We’re so proud of you, Ethan!

why I have the jitters

I sat down this morning after I got the kids on the bus, to write a blog entry, which I do so love to do, seriously— it is like therapy to me.  Then I thought, well, I better just call the Pediatrician first *just to make sure* I have Sarah’s appointment time right.  I thought it was at 10:30.  Nope, I called and they said it was for 9.  Which meant I had 15 short minutes to get myself looking presentable, find all my stuff, and go to the school and pick her up.  The jitters begin.

(mind you, this week I kept David home two mornings for a dentist appointment.  The first morning ended up not being the right day, consequently I don’t trust myself)

I went to get her from school.  The office ladies looked at me blankly.  “But she just got here.”  “I know, I know, blah blah” I had to explain myself twice, after which the ladies laughed and understood and reassured me that everyone does it now and then.

I took her to the docs and guess what.  The UTI hasn’t healed.

You see, we go to a group of doctors.  The doctor that diagnosed the uti last Monday put her on antibiotics for 5 days.  When today’s doctor (#2) found out, she thought that probably Sarah needed to be on a full course (10 days) of antibiotics in order for it to clear up.  She also told me glumly, that Sarah’s iron was low and to give her iron-rich foods and a suppliment.

So I left with my sick child to go to Target to pick up the prescription.  Sarah was and is acting FINE, happy, cheerful, bossy, she doesn’t act like a sick person.  She is pale, however.  That and the urine test are her only symptoms of ill-health.  But in my mind I want to wrap her up in a blanket and hold her on my lap and not let go until she’s all better……

TARGET DID NOT HAVE THE MEDICINE FOR HER.  The jitters are getting worse.

I left Target and took her to school, while she periodically yelled from the back seat,  “HURRY!  I have to get back to school!!”  If she was even slightly unenthused about going I would have taken her back home with me for snuggles and fussing over.

I picked up her prescription in town at Rite Aid and am now home.

I haven’t told you about last night, though.

(clears throat)  So.  It was about 4:30 pm and the phone rang.  I figured it was Ethan.  Ethan typically calls after soccer practice is over so that we know when to go get him.  Well, it wasn’t Ethan.  It was his coach.  “Ethan had a little accident….” I have a rush of adrenaline, and a mild panic attack, “…he cut his toe in the locker room.  He’s going to need a trip to the ER to get stitches.”

All the way to the school I was wondering to myself how on earth he did such a thing.  He didn’t break a leg during practice, or a knee, or hit his head, or anything….no, my son cuts his toe.  THE PINKY TOE, the most insignificant extremity.

I arrived at the school to see Ethan waiting for me with the athletic trainer and the coach.  His pinky toe is wrapped up in tight white gauze.

We loaded him into the car and drove to the ER.  Once the toe was unwrapped I could see that yes….he for sure needed some sewing.

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The soccer team goes off the field after practice, directly into the locker room through a heavy door.  The door is locked from the outside so if a boy gets stuck he has to stand outside and pound on it for one of the guys to let him in.  Yesterday, the guys were in the locker room after a rough practice, getting dressed to go home.  Ethan didn’t have his shoes on, as is typical for Ethan, and two of his friends were goofing around on each side of The Door, one kid was pulling to get in, one was pushing to keep him out.  Ethan “thoughtfully” offered to help out and the door ended up slamming shut on his toe.  He didn’t yell, he didn’t cry.  “I said, ‘Matt, my toe is stuck in the door, would you please open it?’  And he did, and we all stood there looking at my toe.  It was bleeding everywhere.  I thought for a second it might be gone, or half gone.  Then Mitch said, ‘Oh shoot, E, you’re probably going to need stitches,’ and he picked me up and carried me to the trainer’s office.  Blood was dripping the whole way.  I told Mitch to take pictures but I don’t think he did.”

The trainer stopped the bleeding, called the custodian to clean up the blood, and had someone call me.  I was told later that Ethan said, “My poor Mom.” which totally melted my heart.

(He felt bad because his Dad hasn’t been home since Sunday.  Dad is on a business trip–coming home tonight.  Meanwhile, the little boys had practice.  And Grace needed to be picked up after school.  Thank goodness for Jacob and his car!!!!!!!)

And praise the Lord for the athletic trainer.  He stayed with us in the ER the whole time and it would have been a lot worse without him there.  Because of him we avoided an x-ray and got out probably an hour or more earlier than we would have.

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The pain from the numbing shots almost sent Ethan through the roof.  He admitted it was worse than the actual cut.  He started feeling weird and broke out in a sweat, but he kept his composure like a man…which he is….a good strong man through and through.  Although one wonders if a real man would have ended up in this situation?

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I call it “frankentoe”

While we waited, I got Ethan a soda and a candy bar from the vending machine and we had conversations about all the strange things happening that day…Ethan wasn’t the only one with a freak problem…..some crazy kid microwaved raisins in the school to make smoke and cause a small raisin-fire, also the school lost power for 45 minutes because of a car accident, another kid showed up at the ER after getting his foot ran over by his dad, someone fell off a ladder, someone else fell and to make matters worse was on blood thinners, the board at the nurses station was FULL of patients at our small hospital in which hardly anything happens.  What was going on?  We decided it was quite possibly caused by it being the first day of Fall????????

Regardless, they kept us waiting forever because the doc decided at the last minute that Ethan should have an x-ray because if his toe was broken he wanted him on antibiotics.  The other patients in the ER were the priority so finally Daniel the athletic trainer used a tuning fork test on Ethan’s toe which indicated that it was not broken.  The doctor agreed but put him on antibiotics anyway as a precaution….(why do the x-ray then I internally cried???)…..and three hours later we left the hospital, it was now almost 7:30, and dark outside.  We picked up the medication, picked up the boys who did NOT get hurt at football practice (thank goodness), and got food at the McDonald’s drive-thru.

Ethan went to school today wearing flip flops and he can’t even put a cleat on his foot until Monday, IF and only if his toe has healed sufficiently.

These are such small and typical problems, in the grand scheme of things, I know.  I am jittering, but I am also laughing a little, too, and thanking God for everything, always.

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(Sarah, this morning, while waiting for the bus.)

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(Seth and Gentleman Gray, this morning).