All is well. Turns out that so far Jacob is the only one of us to come down with Covid, and he’s now all better and going back to work soon. We have settled into a routine and it’s been cozy and delightful for the most part (I have to be honest!). With nine of us in the house you can imagine how much activity there is here………
……and today was a very rainy day.
You are loved.
Rain and wind speak more than just water and air Rain patters hope Wind whispers let go… ~Terri Guillemets
Good morning, it has been a beautiful fall weekend. Admittedly, the days are blurring together now. Jacob was tested positive for coronavirus last week, along with his two friends who were at the house visiting us recently. After calling the schools, we were encouraged to take the family to be tested so we did that on Friday (3 days ago). So far we have learned that Brittnee and Rich are both negative, and we are awaiting results for the rest of us. The test was a simple throat swab, done in a drive-through. We couldn’t help laughing through it, despite the strange stress of “finally” being exposed by direct contact through a family member and friends. And, Jacob is already feeling better.
So the days are spent at home, all of us are here. Rich works from the office in the garage and the four public school children work in the house with their school-borrowed laptops. They will be home until this personal quarantine is over, and we don’t know how long that will be, since there are so many of us here in the house who haven’t gotten it yet, but might. Jacob, Ethan, Brittnee, and David aren’t able to work, either. They can’t be around anyone until this sickness within the family is over and quarantine is up.
It’s all rather up in the air.
So I don’t spend much time thinking about tomorrow.
I take each day as it comes.
I’m not upset or stressed or freaking out. Why? The grace of God, really. For this experience, He has given me a calmness. Whether calm or anxious, I know He loves me just as I am.
And I think this is what I am learning most. To let myself be, to stop “picking” on myself, my faults and bad habits, my thorns in the flesh, my besetting sins. Despite the flesh, despite that it is weak, my spirit is oh so very willing. I long and want to please my heavenly Father. I feel His love so delightfully, and His gracious and merciful relationship with me gets me through each moment. I see Him everywhere, and I revel in the eyes He gave me; eyes that see, eyes that search, eyes that feast on his showers of blessings. Blessings for me, and blessings for all who love Him. “What a joy divine, leaning on the ever lasting arms.”
Come boldly, believer, for despite the whisperings of Satan and the doubting of your own heart, you are greatly loved. CS Lewis
I went out to toss the garbage in the bin and I was stopped in my tracks by a singing bird. It didn’t stop making music, even though he was in the midst of fluffing and arranging his feathers and looking all around on high alert. He was a busy bird, but sang all the while, for minutes at a time.
He can’t help it. He must let loose with music.
All of God’s good creatures are the same. As we go about our days, do you see the friend nearby, smiling to herself? Or giving a small gift to another? Neighbors visiting with sincere care and concern for each other? That stranger in the distance, dancing to music only the can hear? That man, tenderly helping someone not as strong? Teachers patiently taking on the challenges of the day, with understanding and example? flowers, phone calls, healthy foods, pets, music of all kinds, wise words in books and online, curiosity, ideas, love……..
All of these good things are from God.
Seeing and experiencing His love makes the path to Heaven tolerable, no not tolerable, more than that…….the path to Heaven is rich and fragrant, just think; we start out as spiritual babies and enter the gates strong and fat and mature, on his grace and care. The path to Heaven is life-giving and we are the partakers of this life. Abundant and free.
There is so much freedom in a simple life, and simple thoughts, like a trusting, content child.
Now and then the wind blows, the fire burns, the water drowns, and yet those are beautiful times as well, because they make the child stronger, and increase faith and trust.
Serenity under the roar and rush of unexpected evils is a precious gift of divine love. CS Lewis
You will never know the fullness of Christ until you know the emptiness of everything else. CS Lewis
The God who has been sufficient until now can be trusted to the end. CS Lewis
I have no problem with incontinence. I’ll very likely be incontinent sooner rather than later. In fact, now and then I sneeze and have a startling moment of it already.
I woke up yesterday morning, went to the bathroom, and realized that it was that time of the month again, and I had nothing with me in the hotel Rich and I were staying in. “Can you run out and get me some pads while I get ready for the day?” He was happy to do so and even asked me what exactly I required. “I want natural cotton, WITH WINGS.” “Wings?” “Yes, wings, pads, natural cotton.” “Okay, I’ll be right back.”
I put on my make up and got all pretty for our day. Eventually, he returned, and he was annoyed.
“That CVS is terrible! They had like NOTHING. These are THE BEST I could find for you, the very best.” In all his honest manly innocence, he handed me the plastic bag and I opened it.
My heart sunk. I felt terrible. Should I pretend they were what I wanted? No, no, I had to say something. “RICH THESE ARE FOR BLADDER, NOT FOR PERIOD!”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“Rich it says right on the box, look here on the back, these are made for ‘drips, spurts, bursts, surges, streams, and gushes. I can’t. I can’t wear these. I have to return them.”
I was close to tears. Somehow, although we were both laughing, the thought of using a product for incontinence just wasn’t something I could do. Is it because I could see it so vividly in my future? Or because,
on this very day,
the day Rich bought me a box of bladder pads,
we were celebrating
our TWENTY FIFTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
and my “getting older” emotions were already red-hot aching for all the years that have come and gone?
Not to mention, that after 25 years he could STILL make such a shocking error?
By the time we got in the car to drive back to CVS, I was recovered enough to start documenting the whole thing, “I truly believe God gives me experiences like this so I have fodder for my writing.”
From the outside of the box, I could certainly understand the mistake.
But the back. I can’t even tell you how my sensitive soul reacts to these words, this idea. I mean, praise the Lord we live in a time that products exist like this to help us stay dry, but still.
He eagerly went inside with me and wanted to show me exactly where he found them, “They were way back here in the far corner, come here and see!”
“Wow, what a surprise!!!” I say, sarcastically.
A sense of humor is a must. After 25 years of marriage it’s my go-to response, if I can possibly muster it up.
I thought I was dead. I was in the “dead position”.
Then, a gentle being hovered over me and I felt a gentle finger stroking my belly. I instinctively moved my feet and found that they still worked, and I gripped her finger tightly, so tightly that my claws pressed into her soft skin.
I looked into her eyes, and then into a black rectangular thing, which I found out later from the older birds was a phone. She was taking my picture. They said she must have thought I was handsome, a handsome bird.
Handsome or no, all I could think was “I guess I’m alive?” “Maybe?”
“Maybe I’ve died and gone to heaven.”
A handsome bird like me…….should enjoy the experience of a long life……so, I gave a blessing.
I didn’t know at the time exactly how I did the blessing, but it didn’t take long.
I saw her smile.
I thought about it a lot, and decided it was a blessing of connection, of two hearts touching. Closeness, if even for a moment.
I did it, by being me, a handsome bird.
I flew away, leaving something lasting; a sweet memory, and a feather upon her shoulder.
A tail was found on the beginning of the trail leading up to the watershed area on H Road yesterday. It was found by one of our Most Curious and Observant Citizens, who says the tail was in one piece, dry, clean and neatly removed from whomever it belonged to. It is approximately five inches long, three inches wide, and shaped like a flat oval with a slight point at the top and bottom. The tail is burnt-orange-brown in color, with black around the outside, and tipped with blond fur, quite lovely to see and very light in weight. The person who lost it surely must miss such a glorious tail as this.
If you or a loved one is missing a tail, or if you see someone walking about tail-less, please call 000-000-0000, day or night. The number will connect you with the Observant Citizen who kindly found and reported this missing item of interest. She also is quite emphatic to relate, that she requires no payment or reward for service rendered, and is very willing to sew the tail on the unfortunate one who lost it, with firm thread tied in a strong knot.
Attached are two photos of the tail, but alas, they aren’t attached to the owner, only to this report.
redeemed–to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something)..
(in this case, a bad grilled cheese)
good morning, it’s Wednesday and my children started their school year yesterday with a trip to school, wearing masks, and encountering a lesser populated classroom experience. It was good for them, good for me, good for this house.
I’m finally feeling like I am truly “back” after being at our cottage home on Jekyll Island for three months. And I credit the kids starting a new school year. The schedule works wonders. I’m laughing because it’s only been a day……….but Brittnee and I accomplished so much yesterday that I can sit here and relish a time of typing out a blog post and oh it feels so good to do so.
This morning Brittnee called Sarah, “woman” and Sarah said, “I’m not a woman……. I haven’t even lost all my baby teeth.”
So then, Brittnee said to her, “When you do lose them all you still won’t be a woman yet.”
“Brittnee, you just burst her bubble,” said I.
“Someone had to,” says she.
Little conversations like this keep my heart full of joy on a continual basis.
I was looking for my laptop. I eventually found it in a laundry basket of clean clothes downstairs in the boy’s room and here I am, sitting on my bed……..
So anyway, Brittnee thoroughly cleaned the kitchen yesterday.
This is a good image for the day…vacuuming, throwing things away, rearranging, sweeping, dusting, washing, organizing, and endless laundry to do. We even went to the post office and had time to do a little reading and watching TV together.
I concentrated on the Pantry. Oh my, it was a disaster. A mess in every sense of the word. As I cleaned, I emptied out old cereal and crackers into a bag and took it to the hens. We only have these two ladies now, but thanks to me getting my husband books about farming and homesteading, he readily agreed to Sarah’s and my slight pressure to get us new chicks. He cleaned the coop, got new water and feed containers, new mulch, fixed the fenced in area, sawed down broken branches from off the fence, and made everything look neat and tidy again.
Ready for our new up-and-coming egg layers! He bought 15 baby chicks of three different varieties; Rhode Island Red, Ameraucana, and Isa Brown.
David just came in my room (the door is open, which means “you are welcome”) to chat. He is talking about how his friend messaged him that I made muffins and he hadn’t even known yet (I had posted it on instagram) and then he told me that he maxed on dead lift but his video timed out before he even lifted the bar so it wasn’t recorded. He’s sitting on the recliner now quiet, I can continue now………
The boys got home from school and I stood in the kitchen talking to Caleb (I have to look up to see him now, he’s growing like a weed) and he began a story of woe about how “LUNCH was TERRIBLE! The only thing I look forward to at school is LUNCHTIME and it was GRILLED CHEESE MOM, a disgusting grilled cheese, the worse I ever had, the cheese was WEIRD and there was too much of it. It was like they melted the cheese in between two pieces of bread that wasn’t even TOASTED. It was SO bad!! I didn’t even know what lunch was gonna BE because they gave it to me in a BAG and it was terrible Mom.” Then Seth added his complaints, “I asked the lunch lady what the hot lunch was and she just put a grilled cheese in my bag, I could have had HAM.”
“Mom? Could you make us grilled cheese?”
I was surprised they even had the desire, but I gathered that the “terrible” disappointing school grilled cheese somehow had to be redeemed by yours truly. Plus they were hungry.
“I don’t have American cheese, only cheddar”
“That’s okay, we don’t care.”
“Alright, go ask David if he wants one, too.”
Brittnee just came in to complain to me about her Bible homework that she just did that should have taken maybe 10 minutes but it took her half an hour to do. “How am I supposed to know how the people in 1 and 2 Kings lived by faith? They were stupid!” (somehow this seemed profound to me, like being “stupid” or, “not relying on their own intelligence or knowledge” was a key to having child-like faith in God). She and David are both on the bed with me now………but I cautioned them NOT to be in sight of my screen or I wouldn’t be able to flow out a blog post.
Also, she’s wearing one of my shirts which was kinda a surprise. She said I had given it to her. It looks better on her, though, so I gave it to her again.
I made the grilliest, toastiest cheesiest sandwiches with all my heart.
And got doubled hugged without even asking!!!!!!!!!!!!
Within seconds, the school grilled cheese was completely forgotten.
Moms, we got powers!!!
David needed me to take him to his friends house to deliver a birthday gift. I had already been to town with Brittnee so I said “no” in my heart but wrote “of course!” to him (via texting). I said yes because one time I complained to my mom about having to take Jacob someplace before he got his license and she put it in perspective by telling me, “He depends on you, Shan”…….so thanks mom, your advice is evergreen.
Evergreen: universally and continually relevant: not limited in applicability to a particular event or date.
I got back from that errand and got busy making cookies for the kids, with Brittnee’s help. Once again, because Mom told me to. I could sense it, “The kids need cookies, Shan, especially since it was a busy day for them.” Rich took this photo of me holding the flour while Brittnee measured it out, I’m yelling at her not to pack it down, “KEEP FLOUR FLUFFY!!!” She’s the type that immediately packs it even more just to bug me, we are always laughing.
Waiting for the cookies to bake….they must be perfect!
thanks, mom! thanks, mom!
So that was yesterday. This morning, I made two dozen muffins (Ethan had seven) and am thinking about maybe going to the library later since Seth and Sarah are already done with school for the day. (they homeschool three days a week).
is our last full day on the island. It’s been a wonderful three months and although we feel strangely grief-stricken, we keep reminding ourselves of the numerous blessings we have enjoyed here; first of all, the TIME, so much time, three months! A trimester of island living.
The intense sun that soaked Vitamin D all the way into my bones, the salt water that relaxed my soul like being in the womb of God Himself. The birds, the alligator that came to visit, our new cat Penny, the kindness of strangers, the food, ice creams, walks, sleep, family, laughter, volleyball, books, reconnecting with my cousin Elisha, kitchen work, end of the day snuggles, happy mail from Kara, being able to trust the children back home to take care of things, and so much more.
I wanted to blog in honor of this last day but there are so many photos that I’ve taken this summer and I really can’t decide which ones to share, so I thought I would just blog about yesterday, which began as most days do, with coffee in hand, and walking with my husband around our little neighborhood as he read out loud to me. After we were done, I decided to keep on going, and he went inside to work. The photo I posted is my favorite destination when I walk on the sidewalk (rather than the. beach). This house has the most amazingly enchanting garden taking up the entire front yard, and some of the side yards, too. I literally stop and gaze several times a week. The only person I have seen in the garden is a big middle aged man, usually smoking a cigarette, and a dog, too. There are potted plants everywhere you look, and garden tables and chairs. It is not so much what is there, it is the quantity of it all that makes a wondrous statement. I have a hard time keeping two hanging plates alive all summer, I marvel at the time it must take to keep all these plants watered in the southern heat of Georgia. However, there is plenty of shade in this garden, which is another thing I love, it’s sheltered by trees and plants, and on a corner of two streets. I JUST LOVE IT. I guess I would say this is the most inspirational real-life ordinary garden I’ve seen OTHER THAN MY PARENT’S gardens.
Once I walked back home, it was time to take our cat Peninsula (who is growing like a weed) to the vet for the rest of her kitten boosters. She also had been scratching so much that she had a sore on the back of her neck and a couple of bare patches on her neck. It turns out she has a flea allergy, so we dosed her good with “revolution” after we got home. Her appointment went well. I also ran into the post office (not with the car) and bought some beautiful stamps for my pen pal-ing. The stamps have fruit and vegetables on them in bright vibrant colors and are simply lovely. We ordered Starbucks drivethru (I had a matcha and she had a sandwich) and headed back to Jekyll Island, to home away from home.
Being the last few days here, I wanted to do as many outdoorsy things as I could so I went for a short bike ride to Horton Pond, parked, and went for a walk on the trail there.
I was a little skittish while I walked the edge of the pond, imagining alligators coming at me with their teeth, but I saw nothing, and only heard a slight rustling in the bushes, which I imagine was made by a smaller creature like a lizard, maybe. I kept on going. The trees were so tall, with Spanish moss and vines draping through them so prettily. I had to slap mosquitoes off my bare arms and legs now and then, and I found a small white feather. I saw mushrooms but I saw no insects (only felt them bite me).
I mean. Stop and praise God!
Looking at these photos makes me want to go do this walk again right this very minute but I have to make blueberry muffins to use up more kitchen stuff and I want to finish blogging, so maybe after. Maybe I’ll take warm muffins and go……..
After a million New England walks, I feel it magic to find palm trees in the woods.
I love having packing tape on the table next to my scrapbook. I use it to tape all sorts of things in the pages; a flat frog, shells, found pennies, and feathers, which is where this one ended up.
“When you die, I’m going to look at pictures and think ‘I had a crazy Mom.'” Seth, Aug. 14
Sarah and I had two outings yesterday. The vet, and then Pottery class. We made our objects last week and yesterday we went back to paint them. After such a busy morning, I sat down at 1 o’clock in front of my clay mushroom and painted it. I promptly felt waves of intense fatigue. I was so tired I did something I rarely do; or rather, I didn’t do what I normally always do. In other words, I took no photos.
Then, we walked to the cupcake shop, and the walk woke me up, or maybe it was the cupcakes.
“GOD DID THIS”, a simple sign in this small humble cupcake shop, moves me, and makes me think I should have it hanging in my house, on my heart, on this blog, tattooed on my arm………..
We ordered pizza to take home to our boys. We walked to the library while it baked. We walked back. We held hands. We drove home reading stories. Sarah read them, I listened. We drove home in thunderous rain.
It was 4 o’clock. For the rest of the day I relaxed, and that was the end of
I was sitting on the front porch reading my current novel (American Dirt) and drinking iced tea when all of a sudden I shut the book and walked down the steps and down the road. Do you ever just get the feeling like you need to move? I went to check the mailbox and there was an amazon package for me, but I left it there because I wanted to keep going…….I needed to be alone, I needed to walk and walk and walk.
I was feeling a little down. As soon as I acknowledged it (to a friend, on my phone), the wind picked up. A few large pine needles and some leaves flew through the air, the sky darkened with rain clouds and it began to rain. I was so happy. I do so love the rain.
I remember when my little brother Isaac would run in the rain with me. That was so long ago now, but still I go……..
I turned left to walk toward the ocean and soon I was all alone on the beach wondering if I could get home before the tide was at the steps of the pier. I walked and walked, my phone got so wet that I couldn’t charge it for half the day. Wet birkenstocks are the worse, the ocean was warm. So, I took off my shoes and splashed through the water. I picked up a shell and a little chunk of wood shaped like a heart. I was drenched. I saw seagulls.
I would much rather walk in Georgia rain than the hot Georgia afternoon sunshine.
I’m sorry I am a terrible blogger. And I thank you (all who continue to visit) for your care and friendship. I am not the same person I used to be. And yet, I am the same in the most important ways; heart, soul, and mind. Life is a journey and I shall rejoice and be glad.
I have a lot inside of me that I can’t seem to get out, I don’t have the words neat and clear yet. I don’t like having my blog private, it feels restrictive. So that right there; these two things; this already dampens my writing obsession.
Also, the children have taken over my computer. It’s rarely charged and rarely available. I could put my foot down; but I don’t care enough to do so.
I feel like I am in a waiting room. I’m stuck here for now. Some days are better than others.
And yet, here I am!! I’m doing it today!
I send lots of love to each of you. No matter what, you are loved. Do you feel it? If not, go look at the sky for a while……….look at the trees, and how the tops of them blow gently in the breeze. Notice the little wild things around you; the insects, the birds. Listen to water, of streams, of rain, of ocean. Watch how people smile at you and say hello. Perfect strangers with lights of friendship in their eyes! Hold a child close to you……. remember the Words of Life. Listen to music, read a good book. All these things are gifts.
I care a lot about people, and I want to care about you and love you. This blog is a sort of love letter, you know that? It’s mine, from my heart to yours.
This is the face of our little cottage by the sea. We live in a neighborhood of like cottages, they all look slightly different though, because people like to make things their own with different wreaths on the door, different gardens, little touches of personality, I notice them all as I walk or ride my bike. We have a wicker rocker on the front porch right now, which I had Seth carry from the back porch, but we are planning on finding something permanent in the next week. (Rich is taking next week off from work).
This is our downstairs back porch. It’s screened and there is a ceiling fan. You can see the top of Sarah’s head (just barely) she is inside watching TV so you see how the view is close to everything we do. We have a corn hole set (on the right), and it’s such fun to play in the evening when the back yard is in the shade (still hot though!).
The rope is the edge of our back yard, then there is sand and then the rocks. There is a walk-over on the right (not pictured) so it is easy for us to get to the water. However, at high tide we can’t go as the water is up the rocks. I have an app on my phone that tells me when the tide is rising and falling, it’s been such an education to learn the ocean’s ways. It’s always changing with different sunlight, weather, wind, tides, clouds or no clouds, smooth or rough. Such a delight to notice these things.
For example, sometimes the water reminds me of that old “fuzz” we used to get when a channel on the TV went out. The water glitters and moves just like that.
And then, another day, I just got settled with my book when a rain cloud opened up above me. It was the most magical experience to sit in the rain by the ocean. I took the photo right after it stopped, when the sand was so wet it became a mirror of the sky…….
Books read on the beach get rather abused. I’m sorry, books. (they are mine, not borrowed, don’t worry). I’m making memories with them! They are forever baked, wetted, and sanded by my hours reading.
I try to bake or cook in the mornings. Today I did bacon, eggs, and toast. The children were very appreciative; Sarah said, “I just love it when you make us breakfast.” And Seth said, “yes, it reminds me of home.” (to them, this is not home, CT is home.). My heart melts.
A few days ago I stood and sliced fresh peaches into a pie plate, I pulled apart fresh cherries to get the pits out and added them, too. Then I sprinkled on some frozen blueberries, and some sugar, and then a crumb topping. No recipe (signs of a maturing homemaker)…..
The cups are new, I found them at TJ Maxx and I had to have them because they made my heart sing. I love the very light beige color and the blue hydrangea pattern. I’m drinking iced tea out of one as I type this.
Rich likes to use heavy cream AND half n half in the coffee now which is so nice because that means I always have it on hand to whip up for a topping; here’s my fruit crisp on a fiestaware cinnabar small plate. I was VERY generous with the crump topping made from white/wheat flour, dark brown sugar, and good butter.
I opened up an organic avocado and found it was already growing, so I got potting soil but forgot a pot. I made my own out of a cardboard box……and yesterday I found the first sprout!
Rich’s morning alarm goes off at 7 and I spend a few lazy minutes in bed while he showers. Then, we get dressed, he makes the coffee, and we walk outside drinking it while he reads a devotional of the gospels out loud. He took this photo while I was waiting for him to get ready.
Some mornings, like today, I am too tired to get up and I sleep in.
I went to Brunswick, a town I love, to visit the library this week. I went by myself and it was food for the soul. I looked at a dollhouse book but spent the most time looking through a nature book filled with photos of New England plants and insects, butterflies and moths, berries, trees, etc. How charming, to know oneself, and delight in the things God gave me a passion to know about.
So when I saw this children’s illustration on instagram I immediately knew it was me.
When Rich and I came across a huge spider web I asked him to reenact the” illustration of me”; as you can see it didn’t turn out. However, it gave me a huge laugh. The spider IS in the photo, but he focused on me and my face instead.
Here’s the spider from my angle. It really was a very impressive personage. The web! So intricate. He wasn’t thrifty or stingy or lazy with his work. Recklessly (joyfully?) used TONS of webbing. I really should go try to get a better photo of the web, it’s quite hard to photograph, or maybe I can draw a picture of it. That’s a good idea.
We drove over to beach volleyball to watch Caleb and Seth play with a community group that meets every Thursday and I promptly saw this amazing sight. AMAZING.
Rich took this photo of me giving praise.
David my son saw the photo and said “You are incredibly dark. That’s sick, I’m glad one of us can actually get dumb tan.”
To which I laughed continuously over, for the rest of the day. He has a way with words. His own way.
The nicest people ….. welcome the boys and anyone who has any desire to play. It was a joy to sit in the shade of some bushes and watch them. Rich made me laugh to tears when he said in his calm way to me, “Oh! did you leave that there.” I looked at what he was pointing to on the ground between us; deer droppings.
Another kitchen success; French bread pizzas that I made (Caleb sliced the pepperoni). This is Seth doing a happy dance over his first piece.
Grace sent us this photo today; David. My heart can’t take it. Look at him. I miss him so much, this is the longest we have been apart (he went home with the others in the beginning of this month). He had a job interview this morning at the Big Y (grocery store) and got it!
My mother texted me this photo that I just had to share with you. She found this old mailbox in the stream by her sister’s house and took it home (she loves rusty things). She hung it up on the woodshed and……..
Look! A robin made a nest in it.
I told her it was more beautiful than a Tiffany jewelry display.
Don’t you agree?
“the woods call to us with a hundred voices. but the sea has only one — a mighty voice that drowns our souls in its majestic music. the woods are human, but the sea is of the company of the archangels.” ~LM Montgomery
“I find it very moving that after all is said, experienced, and done, the words, ‘I love you’ end up being the most important words left to say.” Joyce Landorf