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… 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… 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


weekend reports


Can you believe it’s only 55 degrees here today?  We woke up to rain, not a nice summer rain, but a very chilly rain.

A hummingbird landed wearily and cold on the porch feeder and just sat there for a while….too cold to move.

My friend Kathy came over today with four of her five children and it was a fun visit with pizza.

These photos are from over the weekend.


We went to the library and then the park.


We went from the library to the park to the coffeeshop.

The view from the coffeeshop window is always interesting.  A train went by while we were there, too.  Sarah sat across from me with an apple juice, reading a book about wolves.


We foraged for berries.  Sarah and I.


She gave them all to Grace.  (she adores Grace).


Someone brought a toady toad inside the house.  He visited for a minute and then went back outside.  His skin was so dry and bumpy.  A proper toad.


Seth stuck this on his sister.


I sat on the couch with my cup of coffee and a cat promptly got on my lap and the dog quickly followed to sit by my side.


what a spider!  It’s legs are so very straight and yes it’s on top of pond water!


At the coffee shop again the next day…with Grace, Jacob, Ethan, Zak, and Sarah.


I was looking for something to put monarch caterpillars in and we found this aquarium which I brought home and scrubbed and polished clean.  I layered dirt and stone on the bottom and then moved in the baby caterpillars, about 15 tiny ones and two big ones (one is already dangling from the top).


This is a caterpillar just newly hatched and eating milkweed.  It’s an amazing year for monarchs and I’m just so pleased.


Seth jumped (flew?) onto Caleb’s bed and hit his eye on the bookcase (the bed is pushed against a wall of bookshelves).  Rich and I were both sleeping on the couch when Caleb brought his brother to us, “We have a problem.”  I woke up, took one look and woke up to tell him he would have to take his son to get stitches.  I am so thankful it happened on a Saturday when Rich was home and even more thankful that Seth’s eye was okay.  It took SIX stitches to close the wound.


While they were away at the hospital, David gave Jacob and Ethan tattoos with Sharpies. Maybe he will be a tattoo artist?

IMG_5447 1

And then when they came back we all hung out on the front porch watching the older boys and Rich kick a soccer ball.  They were trying to kick it way across the lawn into a garbage can.  Seth didn’t want his face photographed.


On Sunday Jacob and his friend taught astronomy (earth, moon, and planets) in Sunday School, as a lesson on the amazing handiwork of God.  Jacob was a natural and was able to be himself in front of a room full of people of all ages.


Sunday afternoon photo-update on Seth’s face.  (he hit his nose and cheek at the same time).  He was still sore all day yesterday and asked for pain medicine but he’s better today.  He can’t get the stitches wet for a few days but they are the dissolvable ones so that’s a relief.    He and Caleb skipped a football practice and we all went downtown for ice cream on Sunday night.


THIS MORNING Sarah joined me on the porch, we watched the rain and she held Gentleman Gray on her lap while I drank coffee.

I am tired.