walking in the woods

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We decided to go on a family walk through the woods.  Rich had to caution Seth several times because a broken collar bone doesn’t slow him down anymore.  Gentleman Gray made us all happy by coming along with us and being a funny cat.  We followed the trail.  David brought one of his sharp knives which gave me anxiety about someone getting accidentally cut but all in all it was a nice little walk.


This morning I almost forgot to get David and Caleb to their physicals.  I had just enough time to shower, go get them from school, and take them.  They are old enough that I sit in the waiting room.  The nurse took them back first to get their weights and heights, and check their ears and eyes, then she took them back to the doctor.  She returned to the waiting room to tell me, “I just love your boys, I had to tell you, they are such good boys.” Of course this made me proud and happy so when David came out, done with his appointment first, I told him what she said.  “I’m sure she was referring to ME,” he said with his nose in the air.  “I’m sure you’re right,” I said rolling my eyes.  “You gave birth to warriors.” he continued……….    (I really gave birth to funny people)


I found several good recipes in the Family Circle magazine while I waited in the doctor’s office.  I took pictures of them;  Roasted Kale and Butternut Squash,  Pork with Cauliflower and Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Jamaican Coconut Collard Greens.  I’m trying to eat lots more fruits and veggies.  I had a smoothie for breakfast; canned organic pumpkin, ice, milk, frozen banana, cinnamon and nutmeg.  YUM


I need to get myself organized for Thanksgiving dinner, which I am preparing this year for my family.  One good thing is that I’ve done it enough to know what I’m doing.  I just have to get that big grocery shopping trip done.  What are your plans for the day?


The first photo is of *the first ice of the season*, which is always celebrated, on the stream.  The children said it looked “like South America.”  Sarah has been going outside every day to skate around on a frozen puddle at the end of the yard.


Rich is working late tonight.  David has already told me he wants to make dinner; spaghetti with meatballs.  And no doubt we will watch some of Monday night football.


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy



Jacob and Ethan came home for a visit.  They arrived Friday night and left Sunday morning.  Ethan was busy with his girlfriend, but we were able to have a nice long visit with Jacob.  Here he is with his girlfriend, Brittany.

Jacob has been away from home for several months now, and this is his first time living away from the family.  He is almost 21 and is attending the same college as Ethan after living at home, working, and doing community college.  He loves the campus, he and Ethan share a dorm room, Jacob is finishing up a football season and will be joining Ethan in wrestling soon.

We knew as soon as we saw him that he had gotten bigger.  He wondered if he was taller than his dad, so I got something to stand on and measured them both against the wall.


And a milestone was reached.


Naturally, I had to measure David, Ethan, and Caleb, too.  And then I thought I may as well also get added to the wall.  As you can see, Ethan and David are the same height.  Next one down is me (Jacob measure me and wrote Momma) and then, Caleb.    (Seth and Sarah’s marks are down further and Grace wasn’t home to be measured so I’ll get her next time.)  We also measured the dog.


When Jacob and Ethan went back to college, we followed behind.  It was a nice drive to Vermont, and we watched Ethan’s wrestling team scrimmage.  We arrived back home Sunday night and went to bed.  During the night there was enough of a heavy wind and rain that trees and branches fell all over the town and surrounding towns, causing the children to miss two days of school and have a two hour delay on Wednesday.

This is the first quiet morning I have had at home since last week.  It’s been chaotic, but God’s grace has been sufficient as it always is.

We were thankful not to lose our electricity for very long.  It went off for about 5 minutes at a time.  Other homes in our area have been out of power for days.


We had time for a nice pancake breakfast.


And some nice family dinners with sports practices cancelled.


**warm blankets and companionable cats**


**reading and turkey sandwiches**


I had to take a photo because the kids and I found it amusing that Samantha-Cat was growling at the boy-cats to keep them away from her canned cat food.  They kept their distance and respected her.


I had to take Caleb to the doctors Tuesday because he has been limping. . .turns out the pain in his heels were only growing pains, so we were thankful that he hadn’t suffered injuries during football. We went to the Goodwill store where Sarah Joy found these two mermaid toys.  She got them both for a dollar…..the reason this is worth recording is because when she got home, she took 2 hour long bath with them.  She won the family record for bathing the longest.  I kept knocking on the door to see if she was okay.


Then, I had to take Seth to the ER on Tuesday.  He and Caleb were playing football on the neighbor’s yard and Seth ran out for a pass and ran into a big wagon wheel that they have propped against a white birch tree as a decoration.  He cut his head above his ear –but back a few inches in his hair.  Caleb walked him back home and I rushed for paper towels.  “Here hold this on your head,” I said.  “Ouch, I can’t move my arm!” he replied.   Upon inspection I saw that his collarbone had a bump on it and I knew with the cut and the strange bump we would be going to the hospital for an X-ray.  Sure enough, he had a fractured collarbone and now has to have his arm in a sling for four to six weeks.  His head wound required 3 staples to close.  He has been a much quieter boy since it happened almost 2 days ago.  He’s had the wind knocked out of his sails, so to speak.  When the Motrin wears off he is still in pain because of his collarbone, but his head hasn’t bothered him at all.  I think it helps that he can’t see the cut or the staples.  Today was his first day back to school.  I wonder how it’s going. . . . . . .

That night, Rich took only Sarah out trick or treating.  Seth and Caleb had already had “tricks” and weren’t going to get any “treats”.  (Sarah did give them some candy when she got back).


Baseball cards are a nice activity for a one handed boy.  Seth is right handed, which is the arm in the sling, so the next few weeks will be a little bit of a challenge for him.  I’ve already seen him adapt with his left hand quite well.  He even ate 4 tacos without making a mess.


Sarah is being WAY too thoughtful and helpful to Seth, offering to put his seatbelt on him in the car, telling him to be careful, encouraging him that he CAN go to school with a broken collarbone (she asked her teacher), getting things for him (“don’t move” she cautions), and so on. . . .it makes me laugh and irritates Seth.


In the meantime, I came across these two butter knives on the mantle as I was cleaning.  David did it.  He took them out of the drawer, sharpened them and put points on them like steak knives.  I was not happy about my knives and told him not to take things out of my kitchen anymore.  “The thrift store has lots of metal objects you can get for almost nothing.  You can get some there and sharpen them.”

He also shaved the side off a penny.  I’m not sure HOW he’s doing these things. . . . but David is that sort of person who is endlessly learning and getting interested in things.  For now, it’s knives (making, sharpening, etc), soccer, music, and sometimes mouse traps.


I’m currently reading this. . . .


….and drinking tea.

And I’m trying to fight a cold.  Sarah and I are leaving tomorrow afternoon to go visit Grace for the weekend.  I cannot wait.  I think I need a weekend off.


Corrie Ten Boom Quote:

Someone said to me:  “When I worry I go to the mirror and say to myself:  This tremendous thing which worries me is beyond solution; especially it is too hard for Jesus Christ to handle.  After I have said so, I smile and am ashamed.”




depths and riches

Our daughter Grace is doing very well at college.  To no ones surprise she is handling things with cheerfulness and above all, quiet confidence.  She enjoys her classes, has a pet fish named Snape, recently got a care package from her boyfriend, joined the volleyball team, has time to read her favorite books, was asked to volunteer once a week as a student editor in the english department, and has had achieved high grades on her writing.   She is a secondary English education major.

She is attending a Christian university in Pennsylvania and before she left I told her it would be the most wonderful experience…..to be surrounded by classmates and teachers with the same foundational beliefs.  There are still many many differences in personalities and non-essential beliefs (which is a good and wonderful thing) but to be with so many others who first and foremost love Jesus….wow what a blessing.  She is learning so much.

I knew she would love it because before Rich and I were married I was able to squeeze in one year of Bible college at a local school in New York.  I lived on campus and had such fun.  In fact, that is when I met my forever friend Joanna.  She was doing the same one year program before marrying Steve.  We had a lot in common and got to know each other throughout that year.

One of the blessings of my Christian college experience was the dorm Mom.  I absolutely loved her…..instantly I knew she was someone I could trust and talk to about anything.  And all of us girls felt the same way.  She was an older lady with grown children and a husband who was a Professor on campus and she took all the students under her wing, especially us girls.  She talked with us about Jesus, showed us the love of Jesus in her care for us, and also talked to us conversationally about what it meant to be a godly woman, wife, and mother.  I remember sitting under the trees outside as she spoke gently and with a great sense of humor and love to a handful of us engaged girls about practical “newlywed” type of information….everything from laundry to the bedroom.  Even thought I also had the best upbringing of my own dear mom, I appreciated it Mom P’s extra knowledge much.  She was an excellent dorm Mom.  In one of her notes to me she wrote, “I do not push myself on anyone, but any who want me, can have me.”  And that is certainly how I felt around her….”she’s a friend, she loves me, she cares.”

After I was married I continued to keep in touch with her.  When Rich and I had our second child I experienced Post Partum Depression.  At the time I didn’t have the name for what I was feeling –but it was terrible–and my dear Dad encouraged me to go and talk with Mom P.  So I did.  I remember sitting in her office and soaking up her encouragement and love.  And most of all I remember how she took newborn Ethan in her arms and we walked downstairs to the cafeteria where she happily showed him off to everyone.

After Rich and I moved away from the area I sent her Christmas cards and I believe I talked to her once on the phone, or maybe in an email, asking for a church recommendation, and we had a nice time catching up.

Then FB became a “thing” with people of all ages and she and I found each other on Facebook….she continued to show an interest in me….asking about the kids, loving the photos, showing true interest and joy in my life.

She and her husband retired a little while back and moved further south and I felt a twinge of sadness knowing she “wasn’t there” at the college any longer.  To me, she was something of a college institution and should never leave it.  🙂

This story is getting longer and longer, I just wanted to tell you a bit about Mom P, because I had the best surprise last week.

In each dorm building at Grace’s school there is a set of “parents” who are there to provide any type of basic need that a student might have in the dorms….a married couple to stand in the gap for the students who are away from their real parents for probably the first time.  I met Grace’s dorm parents when we moved her into her room and it was a good feeling to know that they were there, living with their young daughter just down the hall from Grace and all the other dorm girls.  I saw a bunch of photos that Grace’s dorm Mom took of “her” girls on their first few days of school.

So imagine my complete and utter surprise when my own Mom P. sent me a message on FB on October 3rd:

Hi dear Shanda, I just met your sweet daughter Grace. She is in my son & d-I-loves dorm. They are wonderful with the girls if I do say so. Grace is so precious and beautiful like her Mom!! Look forward to seeing her more this week!! God bless you all!

and from Grace:

“My dorm Dad is Mrs. P’s son.  I just met her and she told me all about how amazing you are.”

OF COURSE after laughing and crying at the same time I BEGGED FOR A PHOTO:


When I sent the photo and little story to Dad via texting, this was his reply:

“Oh the depths and the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God……..”





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.



brimfield again


We live about 40 minutes from the Brimfield antique show so I will have at least one post a year (I think this is the second one this year) regarding the show…..it is just so fun to drive up in the morning, walk all over the place, eat lunch, and then come home.

Especially if you’re with a sister or two.


This reminded us of our own Aunt Mary.  ❤



Amanda found a nice green table with glass inserts right away for only 40 dollars so we walked it back to the car.


I saw a few pieces of fiesta that I wanted to buy, but I decided not to because I have so much already……

Apparently I can show restraint now and then.



She loves sunflowers.


We thought this was neat…someone “carved” these tins into Halloween jack o’ lanterns.  They will look neat with a light inside.



Amanda bought a wool blanket.  I found three wooden bats for Seth.

And, I bought this little xylophone.  It makes a very pleasant musical sound.


We had lunch right there at the show (hot buttery lobster roll for me!) and then headed home, stopping at the thrift store in town and the diner for ice cream cones on the way.


Yesterday we had drizzly cold rain for 12 hours straight and I was outside in it, under an umbrella, during two football games (for the boys).

By 6pm we were back at home, and to my amazement, the sun started shining through the rain.  I ran to the window and bent my head to take a good look, up up into the sky.  Would there be a rainbow, too? …..and….yes!  Blessings upon blessings.  Praises and calls of “come and see!”



My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky…
~William Wordsworth