how can we bear it?

“But only the strange power

Of unsought Beauty in some casual hour

Can build a bridge of light or sound or form

To lead you out of all this strife and storm….

One moment was enough,

We know we are not made of mortal stuff.

And we can bear all trials that come after,

The hate of men and the fool’s loud bestial laughter

And nature’s rule and cruelties unclean,

For we have seen the Glory—we have seen.“

-CS Lewis

Rhubarb quick bread with cinnamon sugar topping

I just got back from delivering medicine and fluids to Jacob (who is married and has the stomach bug, two conditions which are, I assume, unrelated, as Brittnee says it’s food poisoning hmmmmm.). I was at home folding clothes like a good little housewife when Brittnee texted and asked me if I loved her and my son, I answered “probably not”, because I was already suspicious. Then she asked if I would drop off Pepto and Gatorade, since Jacob was so sick and she had to go to work. Naturally I said “sure” because I guess I’m going to keep being a mother even when the child is married, in his own apartment, and 25 years old.

I got home to find David watching a movie and I started a friendly conversation with him about calling the grocery store to get back to working shifts and making himself some money. I was so convincing that he made faces like HE was now the one sick, and asked, “where did you come from? and, when can you go back?” I laughed and laughed. I know he will follow my guidance, the children all know that my wisdom knows no bounds. So now Dave and E are gone to pick up a package from the Post Office. The mailman tried to deliver it here but I was gone and Ethan assumed it was the Schwans guy and ignored the doorbell. Jokes on him because it was his package. At least now I home alone for a half hour……

This morning when I first got up and still had my pajamas and red robe on, I went outside to do a little work in my garden. I have a couple sprouted potatoes planted, and I planted sunflower seeds the other day. This morning I planted a baggie of marigold seeds from a lady at church who saved all the heads of her marigolds and dried them to save the seeds. Two baggies of marigold heads equals approximately one million billion thousand seeds. I already scattered around one baggie in the flower beds. I don’t know what to expect. Marigolds everywhere. While I was busy with the seed planting, I also weeded around my strawberry plants and decided to harvest some rhubarb. I wanted rhubarb so bad, now I have it and now I need to use it. The pressure. Mr Gordon gave me some of his patch years ago and it’s such a thrill to see it growing each spring almost right away. then comes the responsibility to use it all up and not let it just grow and bolt into flower. I took a small knife out of my pocket and cut some crisp juicy stalks.

After gardening comes kitchening. It naturally happens. I’m so thankful I can walk right back into the house and be in my kitchen. I set to work making, believe it or not, MRS Gordon’s rhubarb bread. I had enough to make a double batch, which meant four loaves. While they were baking I folded laundry and by the time the bread was done I had already committed myself to taking care of Jake so I left with a small plate of warm sweet bread and ate it while I drove to …….Goodwill. I needed to see if they still had those Hummel figurines that I had left on the shelf yesterday. They did not. But they did have some art pieces for the wall, a country primitives lighted house, a tshirt for sarah, and an S letter for my mantel which will sit right next to the R that I already had found a year ago. The unfortunate part is that the R is gray metal and blends right into the stonework above the mantel, and the S is bright white. David says it’s even harder to see the R with the S next to it. If that’s not a parable for Rich and myself I don’t know what is. (teasing).

The grocery store is right next to Goodwill and I ran over and got the things for my sick child and drove them over. We hugged and I left him to try to get some sleep. Within moments I had a text, “I am so thankful for you.” And my heart melted and I was also thankful. Thankful for gardens, and children who need me still, a husband with a sense of humor, neighbors who share, a car my very own to drive whenever I want, this beautiful day, and the energy and desire to do good things for people I love. For smiles and a heart that’s full of cheer. And my cats.

Marigold seeds
I love how the cats come watch whenever I’m in the garden.
Mrs Gordon’s recipe calls for vegetable oil which is how the paper became saturated with it.. For several years I couldn’t even read it, but I also couldn’t throw away her handwritten recipe. After some time, like magic the ink came through just enough for me to use it again.
This is how I remove bread from the pan.
Mr Bones on the porch (I made the blanket).
Real paintings for two dollars each.
I loved this copy, illustrated by Charlie and Lola’s Lauren Child, of a favorite book.
The R and the S


1 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup oil, 1 beaten egg, 1 cup buttermilk; whisk together.

Sift in a separate bowl 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt.

Add liquid to flour, stir until combined and then fold in 1 and 1/3 cup finely diced rhubarb.

Grease two loaf pans and pour batter evenly into pans. For topping, mix together 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon and sprinkle on top of batter.

Bake at 325 degrees 45 mins or until done.

Happy Friday!

gratitude is nourishing

I stood inside the house, in the tub, to take this photo. Through a window.

There is a very persistent cat bird beaking itself into the bathroom window. He appears to be obsessed with getting inside. I tell it, “You don’t want to come in here. We have cats. Real ones.” It doesn’t listen to me. He’s in love. With me!! I say, “I’m a human.” He says “I’ve seen all you do for other birds like me. You are full of compassion, keep the feeders full, give treats, sing to us, and look at us lovingly.” I say, “A lot of humans are like me.” And he says, between knocks to the window, “there. Is.” he’s going to die if he doesn’t stop. I have to make him stop. Talking didn’t work. I’ll have to resort to action.

I’m sitting here thinking, “He must have heard me tell Sarah that catbirds are my very favorite.”

He’s driving me nuts and hurting himself. Toxic love at its finest. He truly doesn’t care about me, he just wants what he wants.

Aren’t relationships wonderful? Why yes, they truly are, until you get mixed up in an ugly one. Then you find yourself studying “trauma bond”, “narcissism”, “manipulation”, “sociopath.”

This is taking a very dark turn!!!

Let me just say to you; beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing! The lessons are numerous but the tears will be as waterfalls. Wolves I can deal with. The ones who dress up like sheep are truly scary.

Recovery is possible!! I suggest EMDR therapy. It’s working for me!!

Honestly, I’m still the same beautiful soul, I just have to learn to keep the guards in front of the door to my heart.

Thank goodness gracious 98% of the people I meet are good people. How rare, how precious, how worthy of praise are they? How blessed am I? So in living, my heart goes around on a path of uncertainty, but always ends up … that divine and nourishing place of gratitude!!


On a lighter note, my husband bought me a pint of Ben and Jerry’s cookies dough core ice cream the other day. And do you know what happened? I sat down and…..ate the core right out of it. Then I was in a fix. Who wants chocolate chip ice cream without the cookie dough? Not I! So I put it back in the freezer for a couple days. Until I was craving ice cream again. What to do? Have Rich go get me new ice cream? I knew the answer to that one……hmmmmmm

I pondered the situation and finally realized “At this point it takes me all of five minutes to mix up a bowl of cookie dough.” I have 26 yrs of skillz.

“no more core”
bowl of fresh cookie dough
refilled core
And an extra layer on top.

Time for me to shower and dress. Rich is working from home today, so is Ethan. David is also home working on college courses online. Seth has his first baseball game since Covid happened so we are excited to go watch him play later.

And tomorrow Caleb goes to prom.

((((My heart!!!!))))

You know it’s true friends, we are all so very loved.

“Oh God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” St. Francis of Assisi

soul full, heart full

I’m in my bed with Sarah, arguing with her, because I told her it was bedtime and she doesn’t want to go. I had been reading The Wind in the Willows to her and she almost fell asleep so off to bed she’s going for sweet dreams. First she needs a hug. Then she needs to complain because tomorrow isn’t Saturday. Then she needs another hug. So I listen, and hug, and pat, and finally she’s settled down and ready.

……She says there’s nothing she’s interested in more than space. She reads Google Space News every day at school on her chrome book. I know all about her interests, and pointed out a book for her when we were in Jekyll last month, it was a book about the constellations and how to identify them in the night sky. I’ll never forget what she said, “I don’t need that! I’ll make up my OWN!” I was stunned, I had never thought to stare into space at the stars and see what I could see, myself, without a book or old wise men telling me first.

She and I went for a little walk this afternoon. I found a chunk of an old bone off the beaten path, and a wonderful little den of sorts underneath the roots of a tree loosely sitting on the ground. We didn’t find any feathers, we didn’t see any beavers. But we saw the sparkling sun glittering on the water and it twinkled on our faces like magic.

Never underestimate a walk away from the house, or a drive away from home sweet home. Both are good for breezing the cobwebs out of the mind and soul. David and I took a little trip today. We drank healthy smoothies and went out for a bit of shopping. It felt so good to sit and talk and listen to music as we drove along. And when we came home we both took naps and I had food to make for dinner later in the afternoon. Frosted cinnamon rolls, fresh bread, seafood stuffed salmon, brownies, butternut squash.

Now it’s getting dark and the lights are on in all the rooms in reckless disregard for the electric bill. Everyone is off doing their own thing quietly. I can hear the boys in the kitchen finding snacks. They have music playing. I’ll be putting clothes in the dryer soon, and doing the normal nighttime things. Little by little everyone will slow down and cozy up in their beds and sleep. Thankful for another end to another gift-of-a-day.

Sarah the Sweet
glitter everywhere
a secret animal place in the woods
Peace, like a beaver pond, attendeth my way

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

cookie dough brownies 2

“God’s love is wrapping all around you, whether you notice it or not.”

“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your Word.”


I’m on the couch. I put my book down because I can’t concentrate on it while Caleb and David are jamming; Caleb on drums and Dave on piano.

Today was lovely but on the chilly side. The sun came out now and then, the air was bright and made all nature look vivid, but the wind was cold. I went for two walks. One alone, one with Rich.

I found a dead fox over a year ago in the woods. I had wanted the bones but they were still being cleaned by bugs and worms so I left the skeleton by the stream for time to go by. I finally brought a selection of the bones home last week and today the lawn company came and accidentally ran over some of them, (I had them bleaching in the sun) but I still have the skull, a couple leg bones, and one jaw.

Sarah is excited her birthday and making plans for friends to come over. She will be turning 12 on May 30. She has a dance recital in June and she showed me her dance outfit today, it’s a red tutu and she will look beautiful. I’m so glad she’s been dancing this year, she’s learned a lot. Yesterday while we were walking into the grocery store together she told me about a certain tap-dance step that everyone who knows how to tap in the whole world knows. And I thought about dance and how it unties people and how beautiful that was.

I made cookie dough brownies today. David and I were craving something sweet. I’ve posted the recipe before here:

The book I’m currently reading.
Sherlock at my feet.
David got a gift in the mail from Aunt Josie; a weighted blanket. He loves it.
The cold walk.
Royal Doulton demitasse cups I found at the goodwill this week.
Caleby (one of my nicknames for Caleb)

The drumming is driving me wild!! 🙃. My heart aches with the joy of watching my boys be brothers, loving and protecting and spending time together. Thank you Jesus. Thank you that we are never alone.

Happy Wednesday my friends!

goodwill 1

Goodwill:: a store where people donate their unwanted things which are then priced and put out into the store for me (and other people) to buy.

Goodwill:: an actual treasure box in which a beautiful understanding and appreciative people will almost always find something wonderful meant just for them to adopt and bring home.

Yesterday, after yet another satisfying trip up and down the aisles of Goodwill, I stepped out of the store with my purchases. My arms were full and I was foolishly trying to carry a large and heavy print by its frame, with one hand. As I was walking lightly (and triumphantly) to the car, the weight of the print pulled the frame apart and broke it at the corner seam. In an instant, the glass and print fell forward to the pavement and loudly smashed into a million pieces. I let out a shriek as the print immediately lifted up and blew away in the wind (as naturally, it was a very windy day.). I looked down at the frame, still in my hand, one corner separated and the rest of the corners bent and twisted at varying degrees (none of them 90). A little nail was caught in the threads of my shirt. I watched the print fly away as I walked to the car and untangled myself, put the frame into the trunk, and slammed it shut with annoyance.

I chased the print across the parking lot, down the road, and into a nearby field before I could catch it. It ripped several times as I carried it to the car, flapping. The wind was determined to carry it away again. Good grief, I thought. I just paid 10.99 for this beautiful thing. With the print safely in the back, I drove to the “scene of the accident” to retrieve the cardboard backing. As the glass was unsalvageable, I left it and drove home.

I told Sarah the story when she got home from the school. She started laughing and then covered her eyes with her fingers, “I’m glad it happened mom,” she said with sad honesty. “Where would you put it??” She uncovered her eyes and gestured around the room. Truly, it did seem that there was no wall space left anywhere in the house. But I just knew I could find room.

Later, when Rich was home, I told him the sad story, too, and we went out to the car so I could show him what I had left to work with; a broken frame full of nails, the print, and an old stiff piece of cardboard. Everything in pieces, yet to my eyes, beautifully aged and redeemable. Without hesitation, he carried the broken frame to the trash. I protested, “Don’t throw it away, I’m going to fix it!” “What?” he said laughing, “No you aren’t, it’s broken! It’s old! You can get a new frame, I’m helping you.” In the trash it went and then we silently stood and looked at each other.

He: “what’s she going to do.”

She: “I guess I’ll get a new frame, I do love that one though it has character and it’s old and I don’t care that it isn’t perfect, it’s a nice frame made of hardwood and matches the print perfectly.”

Together we entered the house.


Welp. This morning I found myself home alone with nowhere to go. I sat on the couch with my coffee and noticed that the cat was curled up on the table—on the print— like it was his bed. As I looked at him sleeping, I found myself rising up off the couch and ……. then I was standing in front of the trash can outside in my bare feet. I blinked my eyes. I watched as my own arms slowly stretched toward the frame, and then my own hands delicately lifted it from the garbage.

I stepped lightly (triumphantly) across the driveway.

I went inside the house.

I fixed the frame the best I could.

I pulled out all the little nails in back. (quite satisfying, I felt like a dentist).

I put the print and cardboard back inside the frame.

I found a place to hang it.

Sherlock sat on the print.
Back in the frame, I admired the details.
oh I just love it

As I worked I thought, what is it about me that didn’t just leave the print blowing around in Plainville? Why didn’t I throw the frame away myself right there at the goodwill? Why did I go back and pick up the backing? Why didn’t I throw it all away? It had fallen apart and broken and ripped, the very definition of garbage. Why did I chase after it? Why did I drive it home? Why did I take the frame back out of the trash can? Why am I planning on finding a piece of glass for it?

Quite simple; I wanted it. I chose it. I paid for it. It was mine.

And when I want something I don’t throw it away unless I truly must. I’ll chase it, and gather up its pieces, and figure out how to put it back together again. It’s mine.

what can I say?

“All these earthly goods were medicine for what ailed me, evidence that the same God who had breathed the world into being was still breathing. There was so much life springing up all around me that the runoff alone was enough to revive me. When it did, I could not imagine why I had stayed away so long. Why did I seal myself off from all this freshness? On what grounds did I fast from the daily bread of birdsong and starlight?” -Barbara Brown Taylor

Am I sad? I’m always a little bit sad. Who isn’t in this messy beautiful world? But these are a few of the things I am finding joy in lately:

Therapy. Two weeks ago I shared with my therapist-healer a traumatic memory that even in sharing it two years or more after it happened brought my emotions to a ten. Last week we used tappers to go through the memory again, already it was, like magic, shifting. Already it was below a five on the emotional scale. Today it is hard to put a number on it. Anything below a five is so much of a relief it’s beyond even using a number. It’s using a hallelujah.

Books. This year 2022 I am reading more than ever. I have a red-covered notebook that Elisha gave to me for Christmas that I am carefully recording each title as I finish it. Some of the books are lackluster, but when I come across one that shines it makes my heart sing. Reading has always been good for the soul for me. I have quite a stack waiting for me and I look forward to them like I look forward to cookies to cool so I can eat one.

Family. Rich is my comfort, companion, love, and joy. He’s back to work in office now, and we both believe that even though Covid was heavy, it made our relationship better than ever. The children are doing well and keeping me challenged. I was thinking this morning about the simple words a friend shared with me the other day; “Don’t give up”. So often lately I have found myself impatient with myself as I mother my two youngest, forgetting that they deserve the attention and freshness that the older ones had from me. Instead of curling up with a book this afternoon I plan on investing in them, I know their hearts and I know the love we share can be rekindled and refreshed at any moment. We can go for walks, play a game, I can listen better to their stories that I often feel I have already heard a thousand times….but I haven’t. Not from them. Middle school life is new and exciting for them. Being 11 and 13 is amazing and wonderful for them. And for them, I won’t give up. Being intentional is half the battle. Poor things don’t know what’s coming. Lol

Nature. As always, a walk through the woods, or even something as simple as an open window letting in fresh air and birdsong lifts my spirits.

Cats. Art. Friendship. Food. Home. Music. Shopping at goodwill deserves its own separate post. Travel. Writing. The list grows even longer. Isn’t life grand?

But above all these things is love. 1 Corinthians 13

“moment by moment new mercies I see.”

Happy day my friends. Let me remind you and me both….we are greatly loved.

the fifth

The fifth cat that is.

I can’t believe it’s already almost a week since Grace and I tried to lure a stray cat to us with a bowl of dry cat food. To our surprise and wonder, it actually came. It was wearing a flea collar and was nothing but skin and bones. It meowed but it’s voice wasn’t a thing of beauty. It said, “Hello, I am a starving cat. I’ve been watching you for a month. I already met your other cats. The black one chased me away but I had a feeling you would welcome me inside.”

And I said, “Ohhhhhh my goodness, come on inside you poor poor little baby kitty, you’re so handsome and sweet you’re so thin, let’s feed youuuuuuuu.”

Seth wanted him so I said he could be Seth’s cat. Then Caleb came to me and said “I can’t believe you gave that cat to Seth.” He thought it should be his cat. Then Sierra sent me a text. “Can that be Ethan’s cat? We want it.” (They don’t know this but all the cats are secretly….mine). I tried to be a peacemaker the best I could but we started arguing about what to name him. Clyde? Clive? Lorenzo?

I’ve been calling him Mr Bones.

Yesterday I overheard Seth call him Little Sticks. I’m not sure which name will stay.

Seth and Sarah don’t like to pet him because all they can feel are his sharp bones jutting out. Shoulder blades, hips, and heels especially.

Within days I had him at the vet getting his rabies and distemper shots. On Tuesday he will be getting neutered.

He drinks from the toilet and eats from the kitchen sink and I wonder if his previous owner ever gave him a proper meal for cats, you know like actual cat food in a dish?. He’s obviously not partial to bowls and saucers. He only weighs seven pounds. He’s had butter, a leftover sausage, part of Davids egg sandwich including the bread, and some of my matcha latte. Who knows how long he was outside starving in the cold winter.

Regardless, he’s mine now. He’s been thoroughly adopted.

The day we met.
He has beautiful eyes.
I was shocked when he ate off dirty plates in the sink. Did his previous owner take care of him?
He’s trying to make friends.
He’s so thin.
He drank some of my matcha!!
I love him.

This morning I was making a cup of coffee when I noticed that my husband had written something on one of the fridge magnets:

He’s very patient.