a high vale

Often, a phrase or sentence will jump out at me as I’m reading or just going about my day. I started a new art/scrapbook journal yesterday with the intention of using it to record some of those wise words I collect because words are treasures to me, and a well turned phrase is worth keeping.

I read this quote a couple days ago and the words “high value woman” hit my soul. I have often called myself a queen, but this hits different. I’m a high value woman! I decided this would be my first page in the new book to remind myself that whenever possible, to chose the most nourishing and best of life’s offerings. (“He preparest a table before me….”) I sat down and brushed a thin layer of pastel pink all over the page. Then, I chose a shade of green to begin the lettering. I was taking myself seriously. This book was going to change my life and the lives of my descendants.

I should have known better. Life has a way of reminding me not to take anything too seriously. I’ll always make interesting mistakes. And some of them are downright instantaneously funny.

work in progress
work completed

I finished the page today. I also did a TON of cleaning. Like, a bucket of soapy water washing the walls sort of cleaning. The sun is shining and it’s a cold and windy day….. a lovely day for lighting candles and tidying my home. Soon the children will arrive from school. It’s been a wonderful day so far, I wonder what’s ahead for the second half?

We are loved. (1 John 4:11)

the pillow mom made me

Good morning friends,

Is anyone here? Have I been away long enough?

While I was away, I turned 46!

My parents sent me a package through the mail for my birthday and inside was a marvelous pillow. Using a quilt square that I hand-stitched together as a child and fabric and a hand crocheted doily out of her collection of keepsakes from her grandmother, mom thoughtfully sewed a pillow for me, and sent it with a note of blessing for the hands who worked together to make it: her own hands, her grandmother’s hands, and her daughter’s hands.

I look at it every day. Really look, with my eyes and with my heart.

It graces our master bed. Which I am sitting upon as I type, with cats, a mug of coffee, a book, a notebook, and the remote.

Happy Tuesday!

We are loved.

2/2/22

2day baby boy turns 13.

I love this child with all my heart. He’s my sunshine every single day, my laughter because he has a free and special sense of humor, my surprise because I never know what he will do or say next, my riddle when I don’t understand what he’s thinking, my friend because we know each other so well, my comfort because he’s always been good for a snuggle, and my son, born of my body, a miracle!

I wish I could give you everything you ever wanted. However, it wouldn’t be good for either of us. So, I’m sorry that you’re disappointed I didn’t get you the Nike Air Force 1 high top sneakers. I know you really don’t mind, also this is why I don’t really like Christmas and birthday lists anymore….they make you kids think whatever you write down will come to pass. But I digress. You looked so handsome when you left for school this morning in your LLBean moccasins and white champion hoodie though!!

And yes I know Sarah ended up with a pair of moccasins too, but honest, hers were on clearance and it would have been silly not to get her them.

I’ve been busy cleaning my room today, Seth, and I found a couple of journals that I hadn’t read in a while and as I turned the pages I saw something you wrote to me. I just know I was meant to find it today on your birthday. What a special surprise this was…. and it filled my heart with joy to read your words:

Mommy and Daddy both adore our Sethie. You’ve been such a treasure. We saw you for the first time 13 years ago and we just knew good times were ahead for us.

Maybe later I’ll tell you all about the day you were born. It’s a story I’ll be happy to share with you as many times as you want. Our favorite part is when Daddy faints, isn’t it? Regardless, it was one of the best days of our lives…when we welcomed you into the world.

I’ve been working on your ice cream cake. It was fun to crush Oreos for the crust and soften ice cream to layer on top. Soon I’ll add drizzles of chocolate fudge sauce, cool whip, and lastly, a generous sprinkling of Oreo crumbs. You’re determined to go to the wrestling meet tonight so we won’t be blowing out candles until who-knows-when.

All good things for a day for Seth. You are the best Seth ever. And very very loved.

Always and always.

make bread

Rich, Ethan, Caleb, Seth, Sarah, and I are at home sitting warm and snug in a blizzard……. and today was the perfect day to make bread. I’m sharing the recipe because it’s worthy (I doubled it).

softest white pillows in lovely brown cases; delicious
dreaming of Valentine’s Day

I found her sisters

This was fun. So I’ve gotten really into second hand shopping over the past couple years. I’ve always been a thrift-store girl but now it’s kicked up a notch to the point that I would rather go to Goodwill than pretty much any other store. We have a tiny thrift shop in town so I went yesterday after taking Seth and Sarah to school (after dentist appts) and I found some delightful treasures including this fancy and charming lady:

I didn’t know what she was and I hadn’t noticed anything like her before in all my adventures. She was 50 cents. Her hat had a mended brim, which I didn’t mind. Her skirt was a bell! Her head was a candle stick holder! She was so pretty! I had to bring her home.

This is where she now resides.

Today I had an orthodontist appointment and it literally took five minutes and naturally I just couldn’t go right back home so I went to another favorite antique shop. I hadn’t been to this one in well over a year and I had a delightful time slowly going from booth to booth when ……what do I see?

I could not believe my eyes.

My lady is a napkin holder!! The openings in her bell-skirt are for folded napkins! I saw six more today. Yesterday I saw one and today I saw six. (I did not purchase any today).

Here is a photo of the sticker inside her dress:

More photos from the antique place:

“Cats booth”
Glass eggs
signage at the register

After I left I had to go to the store to get Rich some crunchy peanut butter and some coffee creamer and while I was in there I left my cart in line to rush over and grab a drink. To my shock when I got in the car I noticed that it wasn’t actually mango seltzer:

I’m not this type of person.
I got a new hat today.
Rich took this. He must’ve thought I was cute.

We are going to have a big snow storm soon. I am content. Let it fly; I am a Proverbs 31 woman.

You are loved.

yet I will rejoice

I’m reading Station Eleven, after having watched the series on HBO. Something about the story pulled me in and inspired me and the more I think about it the more I know it is because of one of the main themes of the book is “survival is insufficient”. This book, this story, had soul.

Sometimes survival is sufficient. During a season of complete lack of basic needs (emotional, spiritual, physical), survival seems like everything, the main thing. “Survival mode”. “I’m just trying to survive” “I need to keep my head above water”. “One moment at a time”. Survival itself can be a full-minded and full-time job because something within us is telling us “You aren’t safe yet”.

Once those basic needs are met, during a season of safety and plenty, survival has now become…… insufficient.

But wait!

Some would argue that EVEN IN A SEASON OF LACK SURVIVAL IS INSUFFICIENT.

My own little life, my own ordinary story, my own history, my own past and my own “now”, deep deep within my heart, mind, and soul, I’ve always known that just beyond survival is something grand, something sacred and beautiful.

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” ~Jesus Christ

“Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” Hans Christian Anderson

Just a moment ago…….. I looked out the window. We live on a slight hill, the road runs by but the house faces not the street, but the woods. I see part of humanity each time a car goes by, but facing forward I can see trees and sky. The birds are singing (not every bird has a beautiful song, and yet……every bird does indeed, to those of us who listen with more than our ears). The sunshine is bright this morning and because the trees are frozen and frosted, they glitter gorgeously in the sunshine. The sun is golden and the trees are silver. The ground is coated with snow, in shades of blue and gray and white.

I invite the world in every time I turn on the news. Every time I open my computer. I myself am of the earth, fully human, ugly (and beautiful) all the time with such variety that it’s next to impossible to even guess what sort of day I will have even without stepping outside or turning anything on to see what the rest of humanity is up to. We are a mixed bag of situations, emotions, work, and even our science and logic is often tipsy.

My great grandmother told me that the basic patchwork quilt looks it’s best when the squares alternate between light and dark fabrics. One light piece, then a dark, another light piece, then a dark.

good, bad, good, bad, good, bad

easy, hard, easy, hard, easy, hard

Just a moment ago………. I imagined the beauty outside my window gone. Instead, it’s rubble, or sand, or disaster.

There would still be the sky.

What if? what if? what if?

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

I find it pretty amazing that almost without fail, a person will naturally find something to be thankful for and enjoy, even when going through a truly tragic and difficult experience. And these people shine brightly in the darkness.

Because mere survival is not enough. We were made for more.

Tasha Tudor said she would read Shakespeare while making jam in her kitchen.

wildflowers in a tin can

a ribbon in a ponytail

a smile to a stranger

leaning close to admire the tiniest of insect

the taste of a fresh crispy salad

a child playing happily in a sand box

a handicapped girl, always fighting infections, often near death, yet ever-learning and ever-loving (I know her) living on her own, having a dog as a pet, taking care of herself the best she can

a man who lovingly remembers and honors his son-in-heaven every year on his instagram account

a friend who works from home alone during the day, yet lives faithful and honorably, minding his own business, yet reaching out to people he loves to make sure they are okay.

a poor man, with only a little lamb, but he loved it

a rich man, with everything he could ever want, but only wanting what he couldn’t have (that little lamb)

Will I be content with what I have? Will I hold sacred what I have been given? Will I act with a loving heart?

We’ve read of mothers raising children in poverty, and yet keep their children clean, continue to patch the same dress over and over, and why? Why bother when no one else will see and everything else is falling apart? Maybe because this woman craves something beautiful and desires something more. It’s important to her. Her children may not have enough to eat, but they are scrubbed within an inch of their lives and their hair is combed. They may not have shoes, but they are loved.

When I scrubbed the upstairs bathroom the other day, I found myself thanking God and blessing my own children who use the shower, who dirty the sink, those whom I mother and care for. So you see, even the most humble of chores can be sacred. Any task can be made meaningful.

I want to have what I have, and love it.

I don’t want to be caught up with a life of always wanting more, or worse, wanting my own way and being selfish.

We are living in a pandemic. And many of us are thriving.

“This strange and awful time was the happiest of my life.” Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel

bonding moments

When I was visiting my Aunt Colleen and her girls recently she got out all the painting things and the four of us sat at the table to paint pictures. I realized how relaxing it was as we each thought about what we would paint and then set to work.

I had already noticed that all over the main rooms of the house there were paintings and drawings hung….that were painted or drawn by the family. And I really liked that. It made the house more cozy and personal and meaningful. I enjoy seeing people create things to feather their nests. I get the same inspired feeling when I visit my parents and my bestie Josephina.

I got out my paint stuff here at home yesterday. Before I knew it, Seth and Sarah joined me, without even being invited. We had our own little painting session together. Seth got out the hair dryer to help speed along his drying paint, Sarah quickly lost herself in her artwork and was never quite happy with her results, and I just started painting and ended up surprising myself.

It made us feel together. It felt good.

“Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.” -St Augustine

a crazy cat lady

I didn’t want to get up this morning but Rich said I had to because he had important things to do today and we had to drive down and get my car and I said “I’m gonna sleep for a couple more hours” and he said “that won’t work for me” and I said “an hour then” and he said no and left the room. I stretched and yawned and twisted and opened my eyes and sat up. I flung the covers off and got out of bed. I put jeans and socks and shoes on, threw my coat on and grabbed a hat and my purse. It took me all of three minutes and there I was in the kitchen staring at my husband making coffee. I didn’t say a word as he turned to look at his wife. He had stayed up late to watch the college football championship and was sleep deprived and yet still couldn’t help but laugh the moment he saw me, taking out his phone and snapping a photo.

*fake smile

He texted it to me and when I looked at it I realized that I’m (see title)……

He handed me my coffee and off we went.

still reading the newberys

I plan on reading a lot this year. I’ve been a passionate reader since childhood so that’s a good indication to me that I should (as I heal from and process trauma) ….just go on reading. There’s something soothing, nurturing, and safe about books. This morning I finished a sweet simple tale from the authoress Elizabeth Yates. It’s about a little boy and his parents, and the hired man, who all work together on their quiet country sheep farm. One day a wolf went into the flock while they were grazing unattended and killed six of them, so the hired man stayed out all night until he could shoot and kill their predator; a wolf. I was reminded how in Scripture we are warned of “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and for that very same reason; if not for a guiding Shepherd, wolves would seek out and destroy the gentle tender hearted sheep. I thought I would share this quote from page 83:

“ There are some things that can’t seem to live right with the rest of the world. They cause trouble to the good things and so they have to leave. I don’t like what has to be done at times like that but a man’s got to be able to do it. In the Bible, David the Shepherd boy was able to do it, and he wasn’t afraid to stand up to a big one named Goliath who was causing trouble in his countryside. Easy going is the way we all like to be, but we can’t let easiness take the fight out of us.”

As a kind and gentle woman, I am hurt by “the things that can’t seem to live right” with the rest of us. I try my best to be loving to and to enjoy this beautiful world we live in. Once in a while something tragic happens that frightens me. Once in a while someone comes along who says persuasive kind words, but their behavior shows them for the wolf that they are. We have all learned some valuable lessons through horrifying experiences. Like the boy in the story, we want to be easy going, but there are times when even the kind and gentle ones must stand firm and fight and say “no more”.