grace (graduation)

It was about a week ago now that I met a homeschooling family at one of my son’s baseball games.  The mom and I had a nice visit together as we watched the boys play and at one point Grace came walking by with her friend.  I stopped her and introduced her to my new acquaintance.  “Oh, I used to be homeschooled,” Grace offered excitedly, “I loved it.  I never wanted to go to public school but mom made me.”

Part of me cringed to hear these honest words.  However, after last night, watching Grace with her class and teachers, seeing her bright smile, how mature she was, how capable, her light shining bright, it all became clear to me.

She bloomed where she was planted.

She took a difficult change in her life and made the best of it.

She had ups and downs, more downs, a few more ups, on and on for the six years she was in school, rather like a roller coaster.

She had fun, tears, anxiety, sleepless nights, songs, dance, silence, wide eyed wonder, false friendship, true friendship, romance, responsibility, headaches, dizziness, academics, good grades, good books, teachers who were kindred spirits, teachers who were her second mothers, and through it all…….she had her faith in an unchanging dependable Father God keeping her steady.

She did it.  Rich and I could not be prouder of our daughter.

*******

A month or so ago I was feeling a little desperate about Grace leaving home so soon and mentioned, half teasing, that she might like to take a year off from college and just stay at home with us (me).  After all, she did start school when she was four and was younger than a few of the juniors this year.  “We would have so much fun, Grace!”  to which she replied (and I quote because I wrote it down):

“I know we would but. . . .we have all summer.  And I need to move on with my life.”

I just had to laugh with respect, happy to have a child this steady and focused on her goals.  I know how much she adores her siblings and depends on her parents.  The relationships within the family circle couldn’t be better, which is to say, perhaps this is the very reason why she is confident in moving on; her needs are met so she is not needy or clingy.  Plus it’s just her personality in general.  She’s forward-moving.

She’ll be attending Christian college in the fall about 5 hours from home (not too far), easy enough to get her home for the holidays.  I know she will have the time of her life there.

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For our small town, the class of 2017 was rather large and cars parked all over the the place outside in the parking lots AND out of the parking lots.  I drove up over the curb with my big mama vehicle and parked in the lawn!  Saving seats was a hostile experience!  But we all got squeezed in and you can see my view from the middle of the room. . . . . .thank the Lord once we sat down I found that I could see Grace if I leaned over to the right and then forward in my seat.

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There she is!

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Recognized with the other scholarship and honers students.

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waiting in line for her diploma

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two hours after walking in……the class left the gym to loud & happy music.

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(dear girl; Emily–our neighbor and also Ethan’s girlfriend’s sister…kids rode the bus together for years)

and now for the fun photos:

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With gratitude to the teacher who understands that some families NEED more tickets, Grace’s siblings were able to attend this year’s graduation ceremony.  (all 9)  Her two big brothers visited the old HS stomping grounds and saw some of their teachers and friends.  (I say “old” but Ethan just graduated a year ago, and Jacob the year before that).

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After getting through the crowd and out of the gym, we found our girl.

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Oldest girl with youngest girl; oldest boy with youngest boy.

 

 

friends

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adoring little sister

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One of “our other kids” Zak, also graduated.  He is a close friend of the family.

My husband coached him in wrestling.

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brother Dave

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W E N D Y ! ! ! !

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I had left my purse unguarded in the hall so Jacob collected it for me.  Brittany is another dear friend of the family and graduated with Grace.

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Caleb and Seth got through the night thanks to the kindle and…..cheese.  🙂

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Ethan with his girl.

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My daughter, my friend.

Love you, Grace…

How hard the battle goes, the day, how long;
Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song. ~Maltbie Babcock

 

 

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dishes n’ daisies

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I’m posting these photos today because my Aunt Colleen came home from an amazing cross country roadtrip with a bag all the way from West Virginia for me!  Guess what was inside of it?  A fiesta daisy plate!   She gave it to me when I was at her house this weekend and the first thing I did when I got home was tuck it in my collection; just right.

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Thank you, my friend!

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Wild daisies are just coming in bloom here in Connecticut and it’s hard to say which is my favorite; a handful of daisies or a fiestaware daisy plate.

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It was fun to take a few minutes to play with these colorful dishes in the midst of a busy morning.

“I will go pick daisies
and have a happy heart.”

 

bird pics//sugar crinkle cookie recipe

Monday night we had two baseball games at the same time so Rich and I wandered between two fields, it was freezing cold outside and I had a winter coat, a pair of jeans over leggings, gloves, a big scarf, boots on my feet, and a thick blanket around myself like a native american.  We watched more of Caleb’s game than Seth’s because the older kids know more about the game and therefore do more exciting things.  Seth’s team surprised us, though, we saw a few nice plays and Seth got the game ball.

Yesterday Dave had an orthodontist appointment at 11.  I was out in the field until the very last moment and then rushed to get him from school.  Afterwards we went to Panera for lunch.  He was craving a broccoli and cheese soup bread bowl.  We sat near the garbage can and were shocked at how much food grown ups were throwing away.  For example, we were there for about 20 minutes and two people threw away their entire bread bowl after just eating the soup out of the inside, “criminal” says Dave.  One wonders if the parents say the words, “finish what’s on your plate” any longer.  Or, “don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach.”

Yesterday’s after school activities were 1) Dave had a baseball game 2) Seth had a baseball game, and 3) Caleb had a band concert.  All at the same time.

I made tacos for dinner, dropped D and S off at their respective fields, went back home to get C, and went to the concert while Rich got home from work, changed his clothes, and went to S’s game.  I pulled Caleb out of the auditorium as soon as band (the only thing he was in) was over because I just could not/would not sit through another 2 hours of chorus and awards, and we went to D’s game down the road just in time to see him get his one and only up to bat–a nice base hit.  Seth’s team lost, David’s team won by the mercy rule so we were home just in time for Dave to watch his favorite TV show “Flash” at 8pm with Michael and the girls (who had stayed home together).  In fact, David’s baseball expertise is stealing bases and his nickname is “Flash”.  oh boy.  Have I mentioned he’s taller than I am now?  This morning I am washing dirt and taco sauce off of his white baseball pants because he didn’t eat his dinner until after the game.

This morning I’ve been crazy busy trying to get the upstairs ready for the professional carpet cleaner guy to come at 10.  Although we use a gate on the bottom of the stairs, Parker continues to do some “marking” in Sarah’s room whenever he finds it left open and although I cleaned it the best I could with my small shampooer, I felt it was time for the big guns, so to speak.  The carpet guy is also cleaning two area rugs on the main floor.  Jacob is sleeping downstairs in his room.

The dog is not on my good side as he is also digging huge holes in my gardens.  HUGE!

Tonight David has another game and Caleb has practice.  And the weather is till winter-like.  (currently 50 degrees)

Jacob is going to drive to Vermont to get Ethan tomorrow with Rich’s truck because E is done with finals and ready to come home for the summer.   Grace and Jacob are both going to Senior banquet on Friday and then…….FRIDAY is ALSO Brimfield antique show with my brother, sisters, and sons and the weekend is more sports and church and then next week Rich is gone on a business trip and Ethan starts his new job………and life is just going too fast……all I can do is employ a good sense of humor and let out a necessary ahhhhh (scream) now and then.

so let us watch birds and make cookies for a little rest and relaxation, shall we?

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I took these photos yesterday from 9 to 10 in the morning.

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As I took these I thought I was shooting the same yellow bird, but when I got home and looked at them closer I realized they were different.  One has a black mask.  Taking bird photos is surprisingly hard, imagine trying to focus from across the room on a ping pong ball during a game.  And then put trees, branches and leaves in the way.

Maybe bird watching isn’t as relaxing as I thought.  LOL

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These birds were moving around in the grass so quickly I didn’t even know they were sparrows until I looked at the photos later.

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Ah, now we’re seeing something exciting…..

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I ADORE the colors in these bluebird photos.  So calming.

Aren’t the early springtime trees beautiful?

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My friend Mr Mallard Duck, I saw him the other day, too.  I refrained from saying an excited Hello as I did not want to scare anyone else away.

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like this Solitary Sandpiper!  I do so love to see these birds.  They do the funniest motions when they walk, bobbing up and down.  They are pretty little water birds with long legs and a long beak.  It’s my favorite photo of the bunch, I love the reflection in the water, the muddy bank and the blurred out grasses in the foreground.  Not to mention the bird itself is pretty, too.

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Delicious cookies for Mother’s day or any other day!

Sugar Crinkles

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening (I used half butter and half butter flavored crisco)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
sugar

Cream together the sugar, brown sugar, shortening, vanilla, and egg.  Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.  Roll into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar.  Place the balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake in a 350 oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

I was a little late picking up Grace from school the other day because these were baking in the oven but she was pacified with three fresh and warm cookies (the ones in the picture!) when I finally arrived.

now

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Little joys.

Living in the moment.

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Because the moment is what you have.

Look out with eyes of love, eyes of wonder.  Live now.

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Wrestling season is over and now it’s all about brothers and sisters, bare feet, early spring, and baseball.

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thin ice and ripples on the pond

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different mosses

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things growing in the flower bed

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Marvellous happy it was to be
Alone, and yet not solitary.
O out of terror and dark, to come
In sight of home.
~Walter de la Mare.

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When you’re a busy woman and you step outside at the end of the day to let the dog out and see glory.

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The sky was high and clear with a brilliant moon.  But what made it special was a layer of clouds passing between it and earth.  All the light from the moon lit up the clouds.

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“my soul is elsewhere, I’m sure of that.
and I intend to end up there.”  RUMI

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the stars were twinkling

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God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.
Their words aren’t heard,
their voices aren’t recorded,
But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.

Psalm 19

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The further the clouds got from the moon the darker they became so that I couldn’t make them out very well anymore.

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*****

“The LORD will command his loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me” (Psalm 42:8).