ready

Dearest Father in Heaven,
Bless this child and bless this day
Of new beginnings.
Smile upon this child
And surround this child, Lord,
With the soft mantle of your love.
Teach this child to follow in your footsteps,
And to live life in the ways of
Love, faith, hope and charity.
~Gaelic blessing

We had a full and fun summer with just enough boredom, chaos, and lack of schedule to make the first day of school somewhat of a relief.  Okay, maybe I’m speaking for myself.  I was wondering why I wasn’t sad in the least to have children get on the bus a few hours ago and I think it is because there were no major changes this year….no one is going into their senior year, no one is entering High School for the first time, no one is going off to college for the first time.  “Sigh” everything’s sort of the same as it was a year ago.

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David saw me get the camera and said, “No”, but even as he said it he was getting up off the couch to go to the door…….he knew it had to be done and maybe I’m fooling myself but I think he was glad that I was still going to take photos just like all the years before.  He is in 10th grade now and will turn 16 in a month.  Caleb is 13 and in 8th grade.  My heart swells with pride and love when I look at them.  They’re just so great in typical teenager boy fashion.

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Seth is in 4th grade this year and has the same teacher that his big brother Caleb did in 4th grade, and he’s excited that he has a man teacher for the first time.  We visited his classroom yesterday and he was thrilled to discover that he had several of his good friends in his class.  Seth took special care in putting together his first day of school outfit which I thought was adorable.  He grew a lot this summer, into a big solid boy.

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Sarah had an entire new outfit that I bought for her yesterday (she even picked it out herself with no help from me because I was busy chasing Seth around the store).  But at the last minute, she went with an old- but stain-free-, comfortable- but pretty-, shorts and shirt.  Then she grabbed the kitten and jumped.

Sarah is in 3rd grade and has the same teacher that both David and Caleb had in that grade!  She also has a male teacher for the first time and he’s just the nicest man, we see him and his family around town often.  It’s such fun to have repeat teachers, and really get to know them.

Jacob, Ethan, and Grace are all off to college and settled into their dorms.  The boys share a room which has no air conditioning so they sweat and swelter, and Grace has her very own room which I am sure is a relief to her after having to share with Sarah all summer.  I’ll do a better update about the college kids eventually.

After I waved the kids onto the bus, I got dressed, tidied up the house, gathered up laundry, and emptied the dishwasher.  I also let out the chickens, and had to shampoo Seth’s rug.  Now I’m done with chores I’m going to the garden center to spend my rewards cash before it expires in 2 days.  I guess it’s time to get some fall mums.

Thanks for stopping by, friends, it’s a beautiful day.

You are loved.

PS, kids I’ll be home and waiting with cookies when you get off the bus.

 

breakfast treat (brownie muffins)

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Chocolate Brownie Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl combine the first 6 ingredients.  In a separate bowl beat the eggs, milk, melted butter or oil, and vanilla.  Pour the liquid ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients.  Stir until just blended.  Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

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I made these muffins for the first time this morning, with Seth as my helper.  The recipe said it made a dozen but I got 48 mini-muffins so you could probably get 18-24 regular size muffins.

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We leave tomorrow to take Grace back to college and then spend a few days with Caleb, Seth, and Sarah on a weekend vacation together.  School for them starts on the 30th.

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The muffins are SO SO SO SO SO SO GOOD!!!!  Make them!

 

 

fortnite, or fortnight?

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Today we were all in the living room and I said, “Seth and Sarah come sit on either side of me like the good old days and I will read you a book.”  And they did.

When we got to this page (and to a certain word) all the gamers in the room started cheering and clapping until Sarah clarified, “It’s two weeks.  A period of two weeks.”

David’s Baptism

David wanted to be baptized so we asked Gary if we could do it before Ethan and Grace went back to college, although sadly Jacob had to miss it because he is at college for football camp.  We asked if he could baptize David at our house in the pond and he readily agreed.

Saturday our family spent the day in preparation by having a major house and yard clean up.  It was extra-motivating to know we were having our church family to our home and I happily washed all the windows on the main level of the house, inside and out.  Rich and the kids did a ton of weeding outside.  I scrubbed and polished the kitchen sink, used granite cleaner and polish for the counters, vacuumed, organized, etc.  When I was done, the house felt light and fresh.

Sunday morning at church Rich gave the opening prayer, Grace and I sang a duet with Katie playing the piano for us.  We sang “Redeemed How I love to Proclaim it.”  And then David went up on the platform behind the pulpit and gave his testimony.  Rich and I didn’t really know what to expect, and we were thrilled that he did so well.  We had smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes.  Gary (our pastor) was a little emotional during one part and the video Brittnee took captures a loud sneezing type sound as he blew his nose.

Rich and I left with the kids as soon as the sermon was done and Gary was praying the closing prayer.  We drove home and found my sister Amanda with her family, and my brother Isaac with his wife, Cassandra, who is 9 months pregnant with a little girl baby, on the front porch waiting for us to get home.  We were so happy they could come and watch David’s baptism.  Rich went out to get the pizza we were serving for lunch and Caleb ran down the yard to jump in the pond because as we were leaving that morning, we noticed there was a tire floating in it.  Can’t have tires in the pond during such a special day.  (kids)

Very soon we had our church family arriving and parking on the lower yard and driveway.

We set up chairs and the sound equipment and settled in for David’s baptism.  Amanda sat by me and it was so special to sing together the old familiar hymns.

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Katie and her husband led the singing from the dock, and Grace and Sarah joined them, too.

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Gary spoke briefly about baptism and the significance of it.

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And then he and David waded into the pond.  They were both wearing their t-shirts from this years Camp Impact (the Christian camp our church helps run every summer).

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I love David’s smile in this photo.

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Gary told us later that he used this hold because he was afraid that he would fall over into the  pond as he baptized Dave.  I’m sure every pastor has a few baptism stories to tell.  When he saw the photo he was trying to politely compliment me on my photography but then the honesty came out…..”It looks like I’m choking him, though, doesn’t it, poor David.”

He wasn’t squeezing David’s neck so he really didn’t do any harm, it just looks funny.

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Gary was so good to David during this whole process and even came to our house one day two weeks ago to speak with him one-on-one.  Rich and I were not home, David was here with some of his siblings.  Gary said that Seth and Sarah sat and listened carefully to their conversation and that David “was delightful.”  I have to agree.

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It was such a special day.

 

be amazed!

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First of all, it’s been a joy and a delight to watch kitty-kitty Walter (our new pet) get used to his new surroundings.  He is curious and “literally plays with everything”, says Dave.  You see in the photo that he is being tempted by Sherlock’s twitching tail.

Second of all, it’s 8:07 in the morning and I’m the only one awake!!  Seth NEVER sleeps past 7 and most of the time is up even earlier.  I just found him sleeping in the addition on the couch.  He spent the night in there because of the air conditioning.  So I wonder, is he still asleep because 1) he didn’t sleep well? or, 2) he COULD finally sleep peacefully out of his hot upstairs bedroom?  Whatever the reason, it’s nice to sit here and type………….

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“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”  Psalm 16:11 (thank you, husband, for sending along the verse)

I was thinking this morning about the enjoyable fruits of the Holy Spirit, those only-from-above giftings of God to our souls.  In those oftentimes rare/unnoticed moments of deep spirituality when we find ourselves really able to love outside of ourselves in a mysterious way.  We have joy,  and it is unexplainable, gentleness toward every living creature, peace, beyond comprehension!  And, patience like our *big brother* Job.  These beautiful character qualities/fruits aren’t from us (we cannot muster them up, they cannot be faked) and are the Holy Spirit within us, given to us, and no reason for pride or boasting.

….the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22

For in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28

Alas, sometimes it’s just simply hard to breath “down here”.  And this is the reason we pour over the Scriptures as much as possible, and remember, and think of Him, and pray, we do these things to stay connected, to stay reminded.  To stay breathing.

“But, first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.”  ~CS Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia

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Home on Earth, real Home “in the sky”……….

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We have had such hot days lately, it was pleasant to sit with my latest Newbury medal winner (I’m attempting to read them all) while the children swam in the pond……..

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….and to have Jacob walk down the hill to show me a cool caterpillar.  Thanks, Jake, for grilling us all a nice lunch yesterday!!!

At my house yesterday there were all these people:  Rich, myself, Michael, Jacob, Ethan, Caleb T, Grace, Kylee, Brittnee, David, Caleb, Jack, Seth, and Sarah.  But not all at once.  Some came for a while and then left.  Some worked all day and then came home.  🙂

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Yesterday afternoon on the couch, David helped me identify a bug using the internet.  It didn’t take us long, but seeing the different insects online filled me with the desire to go back outside to look for even more bugs with the magnifying lens attached to my camera.  It’s such fun to stand over the flowers and plants and search for insects with your eyes……….at first you see “nothing” but little by little you see 100’s of creatures……and much activity.

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This was a small moth, about the size of a fifty-cent piece.  But with my lens I can get a nice close-up.  It’s amazing to see the details.  Observe.  Study.  Be amazed.

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These pretty little white flowers grew in clusters along a thin vine-like stem.

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Meanwhile, Dave was looking in the pond for a big snake but had to make do with a little frog (sitting on his leg next to his thumb for size comparison).  He sat nicely for his portrait.

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This plant has been tearing the skin on my legs my entire life.  It’s just a tad thinner than spaghetti and grows plenteously by our stream.  One direction of the plant doesn’t scratch you, but the other direction, oh it sticks so tightly to your legs and scratches them terribly.  I’ve never identified it’s name, there is a small white flower that grows on it, maybe I can look it up in my flower identification book today.

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a cluster of silvery eggs……so beautiful!

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The band on his tail makes him special.  You can see Ambush bugs to the left of it.

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THIS IS THE BUG I JUST HAD TO FIGURE OUT.  AMBUSH BUG

The other day I saw one gripping a yellow jacket.  The yellow jacket was upside down and dead in its front claws.  It was a sight to see.  And these ambush bugs are all over the flowers right now (especially Joe-pie weed and goldenrod).  I beg you to read the link, you will be amazed.

In a nutshell, it sucks the bodily fluids out of its prey.

As my brother Dave says, “its horrifying”.

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“slurp”

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It would take me a long time to identify all these insects but I sure would like to do it.  Each one has fascinating characteristics and wears the nicest bug-clothes.

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Another ambush bug!

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And this one!  I’ve never seen it before, it was so tiny I only noticed it because I was photographing another bug nearby and saw it waving around first one tissue-paper wing and then the other.

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This bee posed so nicely, I felt as if it was just WAITING to be noticed.   Yes, you’re lovely.

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After I breathlessly captured this photo (I thought it would fly away before I could get close) I talked to my friend Lea Ann and then took the kids to music lessons and football practice.  I spent time walking around the cemetery next to the fields and then met my husband for a quick trip down town for strawberry sundaes, just the two of us, before practice was over.

When we got home, David made a chocolate cake from scratch …….

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……and we had a rain storm.  I sat on the porch to watch it for a while before bedtime…..

If you watch carefully you will see the world light up in a quick flash of lightening.

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And now it’s Wednesday.  Good morning!

You are loved.