he never leaves me lonely

“Mom! I’ll take your picture under the rainbow!” ~Sarah Joy

There’s a peace in my heart that the world never gave,
A peace it cannot take away;
Though the trials of life may surround like a cloud,
I’ve a peace that has come here to stay

a full, double rainbow over the sea, standing in my own backyard; praising!

!Constantly abiding, Jesus is mine;
Constantly abiding, rapture divine;
He never leaves me lonely, whispers, oh, so kind:
“I will never leave thee”—Jesus is mine.

everything was seen through a pink hue. simply stunning

All the world seemed to sing of a Savior and King,
When peace sweetly came to my heart;
Troubles all fled away and my night turned to day,
Blessed Jesus, how glorious Thou art!

this morning’s sunrise

Constantly abiding, Jesus is mine;
Constantly abiding, rapture divine;
He never leaves me lonely, whispers, oh, so kind:
“I will never leave thee”—Jesus is mine.

God, the original modern artist!

This treasure I have in a temple of clay,
While here on His footstool I roam;
But He’s coming to take me some glorious day,
Over there to my heavenly home!

hymn written by Anne S. Murphy

rain

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.

The rain cheers my soul.

it is well

Greetings!

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

a chair to sit upon

I finished a book this afternoon which I can highly recommend; The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton and Lara Love Hardin.

*****

Good afternoon, friends! Rich went paddle boarding with the kids today on the calm morning ocean, and while he did so, I slathered on sunscreen, grabbed a water bottle, and biked over to the Jekyll Island Club resort. The ride was meditative and I found myself saying over and over; “Heart to God, soul to God, mind to God”. And then I thought about my flesh. Does that go to Him, as well? I sure don’t want it. Would He? I ended up deciding, “yes”…..”flesh to God”. He’s the only one would can handle it, right? Someday we will be made completely NEW. I am lonely for my real self. I am lonely for That Day. I am aching for Home.

I also contemplated relationships, and compassion and how the one is ideally permeated by the other. I have ideas, exciting ones that I can’t tell you about yet.

So I pedaled and pedaled the bike trail. I stopped to look at a lizard, it turned out to be dead, poor thing. I also almost ran over a second lizard, this one was young and I could tell it wasn’t used to bikers because it didn’t run away from me, it ran all over the trail like it wanted me to hit it. I screamed a little scream like I always do when I almost run over something (startling everyone in the car) and looked back….it seemed okay, maybe a little shocked.

My goal for the next few days is to get going on my bike more gracefully, I realized that I get on and wobble everything, mostly the handle bars and front tire, for about 10 to 12 feet before I find my balance.

By the time I got to the club, I was moving much slower, had the beginnings of a headache, and was hot and sweaty through and through. I parked my bike, it’s turquoise with a wire basket, and climbed the steps wearily to the white rockers on the front porch. The wooden floors are painted blue there, and lazy fans circle from the ceiling. Big, generous hanging baskets decorate the front, and now and then people wander by…..my favorite being a tiny girl who locked eyes with me and smiled all the way out of sight, turning her head to keep looking, and I smiled back. Connection.

Rich texted me when he got back inside our cottage from the beach with the three kids and I asked them to come over and have lunch with me. While I waited, I sat and read my book and rocked. When they arrived, my heart filled with joy. They all had their eyes on me and looked so clean and happy. The ocean agrees with them. Sarah was wearing her new shoes, Caleb’s shirt matched his shorts, and Seth looked so dark and tan in his red t-shirt which I had bought for him when we first got here in May.

We ordered our food and ate inside, in the cool air conditioning.

Then, I didn’t want to bike back home. Caleb nicely took my bike back for me and I rode home with Rich, Seth and Sarah in the car.

Now we are relaxing. I just got done coloring my hair and Rich is on the couch, starting the book I just finished.

*****

The other day, I was in the laundry room folding clothes when Seth came in. He leaned against the washing machine and sighed, “I love it in here, it smells so good.” I told him the story of when Colleen and I, as children, discovered the warmth and comfort of the laundry room. “We used to shut the door and sit on the washer and dryer and play. If I had a chair in here I would sit in here all the time.” “You WOULD?” he said……..”We need to get you a chair!”

He’s the only one of my children who puts their head inside the washer as I load it, he even sniffs the empty jug of Persil in the sink. “You are so funny,” I say, “you could be a commercial for Persil.”

I only buy that brand because it smells wonderful. I smile that he noticed.

Now, it’s been a few days since that little conversation and I’m loading the washer again.

And I see it.

Our one and only beach chair.

The last time I saw it was yesterday when Sarah carried it back from the beach for me and put it away in the garage. It was covered in sand, and was now clean and set up right in the spot I had pointed to, when I had told Seth I would sit, if I only had a chair to sit upon.

He did it for me, without saying a word, and left it for me to find. I ran down the stairs and told him thank you and I loved him so much. I blew him a kiss, which he returned with a smile.

You’ll most likely find me, in the laundry room.

yellow

Just a quick post to say hellllllllllo to my friends here in blog-land.

We are still on Jekyll Island in our cottage. Rich and Seth are cleaning and organizing the garage. Rich bought two paddleboats and needed to hang brackets on the wall to hang them up safely. I went out to check on them and found Seth using the power drill (for the first time) under his Dad’s guidance. I am very thankful for the blessing of a good father for our seven…….what always impresses me the most is his instant belief that once they are taught they WILL DO IT RIGHT. He had Seth drill in a screw for him and the the next one he let Seth do by himself WITHOUT HOVERING OVER HIM waiting for him to make a mistake.

Inside, I made homemade blueberry muffins (1 dozen), roasted sausages, and hard boiled eggs for breakfast//brunch. Caleb is still asleep. I have a radio station called “Hymns and Favorites” playing through the speakers, and a soy candle lit on the counter. The dishwasher is softly washing the dishes and I am getting ready to put clean sheets on our bed that I freshly washed this morning. So we have a lovely atmosphere inside, too.

The kitten is alive and well and getting plump! Thank you for praying for her, she is Sarah’s particular friend and they spend hours together every day. I will post photos soon, I hope.

Anyway, I wanted to show you something that amused me as I scrolled through instagram this week.

first; from a bird account:

And then, from taproot, a post about a knitting pattern:

I had to keep going back and forth, it was so charming to me.

you get me?

its not fair

I’m avoiding the news, but I am aware of current events; all the issues spread across the land like a heavy cloud. I think about the issues because I care, I wish I could figure things out neatly and satisfyingly. Its frustrating.

I’m reading a memoir written by Lorene Cary, “a bright, ambitious black teenager from Philadelphia, who in 1972 was transplanted into the formerly all-white, all-male environs of the elite Saint Paul’s School in New Hampshire, where she became a scholarship student in a ‘boot camp’ for future American leaders. Like any good student, she was determined to succeed. But Cary was also determined to succeed without selling out. This wonderfully frank and perceptive memoir describes the perils and ambiguities of that double role, in which failing calculus and winning a student election could both be interpreted as betrayals of ones own skin.” ~quote from book description on the back cover

There are some hyper-sensitive souls among us who are in near-continual grief over the unfairness of life; sickness, death, discrimination, cruelty, abuse, neglect, handicaps, poverty, and so on. It all seems so overwhelming and heartbreaking that the more we think about it, the worse our own inner being becomes.

We need to lean on you more stoic, logical ones. We need to be nurtured. You help us with your strength and understanding; THANK YOU.

Oftentimes, though, we feel alone. We know who we are; deep feelers in a world of hurt. We can’t imagine adding our own hurts to the pile, so we suffer alone. We use our minds and our quiet books, our ears, and our hearts to try with all our might to make sense of it all……….

Jesus was called a man of sorrows.

“He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief.” Isaiah 53:3

When he hung on the cross, He cried out to the Father, “WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” (Matthew 27:46)

He was born, and lived his years in this world, in grief (but He didn’t wallow in it, he had things to do.)

“I carry out the will of the One who sent me, not my own will.” John 5:30

The other day my son confessed, “But I don’t like to cry, it feels weak.”

I turned around to look into his dear face and reminded him that the shortest verse in the Bible was “Jesus wept”…….It takes great strength to cry.

The Bible also says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

Maybe the sensitive among us shouldn’t try so hard to be “happy” and “upbeat”.

Maybe their anguish, like all anguish, is the key to something different, a sweet pathway leading to the overwhelming comfort of a loving Heavenly Father, who, like a mother, takes the time to scoop up a crying child and spend all the time her baby needs her, holding and rocking and singing over her, with soft motherly kisses in her hair……..soothing and gentle.

“It hurts, it hurts!” I know, dear one, come near to me and let me love you.

“It’s not fair, it’s not fair! I want to fix it and I can’t!” Yes, sweet love, now you can let go and wait for Me to fix it for you. I love you, trust me my darling child.

and when it comes to that, we can continue.

In my book, when Lorene accepts the fact that despite all the hours and hard work, calculus still wasn’t making sense to her, she would fail the class, and she went to a friend in tears. It wasn’t fair, she felt that the teacher wasn’t treating her fairly because she was a female student in a time when the college was just starting to try co-education, she felt that he favored his male students, she was tired and frustrated. Her friend listened to her and said, “It’s hard to know when it’s really happening or when it’s in our heads. There’s nothing we can do about that right now-the fact of it or the way we feel-except to do what we’re doing and be the best we can.”

This struck me as wonderful, because when all is said and prayed and felt, the next thing is to DO.

I’m a thinker and a feeler, I often forget the health-giving gift of WORK.

write the blog
get some exercise
clean like I mean it
care for the needs of my family
explore

I wrote down a list of things that truly take me out of my head:

MUSIC; singing, playing piano
COOKING and BAKING (this could be an all day affair if I let it! why not? it’s fun to chose recipes and make delicious dishes)
NATURE; especially bugs (they are everywhere and easy to photograph)
BOOKS; reading, bookstores, the library
FLOWERS
COUNTED CROSS STITCH (I passed a little stitchery shop last week and made myself turn around to visit it, I walked it, it was like an oasis of beautiful colorful yarns. I picked out a small kit and purchased a tiny pair of scissors from a sweet older lady in a blue dress).
PHOTOGRAPHY; (I’m enjoying a Polaroid camera!)
GYMNASTICS
TALKING

The kitten we adopted is very very sick. We watched her weaken and took her to the vet on Saturday for medicine and special food. The very next day, she was huddled in the corner in a little bed we made for her. I had already given her medicine and water through a dropper and was discussing her impending death in the kitchen to my husband. Our sensitive boy, the one who doesn’t want to cry, overheard us and silently went into the closet and wouldn’t come out for over an hour. When he finally came out, he was sobbing, “I just don’t want her to die alone! I don’t want her to be in that closet and die by herself!” We comforted him and encouraged him, we stepped up our game with trying to nurse the poor thing back to health and keeping her company. She made it through the day, and even walked over to her new friend, who was on the couch, and jumped up on to his lap.

We still don’t know if she will make it, but we are learning what everyone in the world is learning; life hurts. it’s unfair. we want to change things and sometimes we can’t. Jesus understands. and those who love us will comfort us.

and then we stand up, and get to work.

Father’s Day

We are at our place on Jekyll Island again. Grace’s boyfriend was here for a week and the family took him to the airport on Saturday morning so he could catch his flight home. The children asked for Chinese food; we ended up at a Japanese place in Brunswick. Seth and Sarah constantly ask for ramen (they watch manga) and were thrilled to get some.

Rich had a massage scheduled at a place on St. Simons Island, so as we were waiting for the kids to eat the rest of their food, he took the car in order to get to his appointment on time. The children and I took the opportunity to stay in Brunswick so we could shop for Father’s Day (which was the next day).

We finished up our food and walked across steaming hot parking lots to Target.

Why is it when a woman is in Target with five children and knows she’s stuck there for two hours, that she automatically is done with it all within half an hour?

Grace and Brittnee had their own ideas for gifts, and I asked Sarah (a card), Seth (a digital weight scale) and Caleb (a dad trophy) to each pick out something for their Dad.

He ended up with so many gifts that I made a comment on how he got way more than I did for Mother’s Day. (teasing).

Right after I said it the girls put their heads together and said things under their breath like, “We buy her things all the time, don’t listen to her, it’s totally fair, we never buy Dad anything, she’s spoiled…” and so on. It filled my heart with joy that they stood their ground, and they WERE right. I laughed and took a photo.

I was amused, but also tired out and a little snippy (not about the gifts, but just because I was tired and done and hot and wanting to go home). I was even snippy to the lady taking my order at the Starbucks in Target. Then, being an empath, I felt guilty for it and felt like a bad person. But she didn’t need to ask me so many pointless questions to try to understand why I needed a side of cream for my latte (there are NO pitchers of cream left out for customers anymore, ya know?). I like to top it off, okay? Am I that confusing for asking for a little cream in a cup? The regular Starbucks do it cheerfully without question!

So we got done with our shopping and left the store because there is NO place to sit indoors in public places anymore, ya know?

We found one bench under a tree in the shade and sat there to wait for their Dad to return.

Seth wandered off and found a bees nest.

He also stood on top of the Target ball;

Sarah cried because she needed water so I asked Grace to take her inside to buy some (there are no public water fountains anymore, ya know?)

Brittnee pretended to push the cart into the street to see what I would do. (I got more anxious).

Sarah and Grace came back and after Sarah revived she asked to go to Petsmart which was a few stores down the plaza so I asked Caleb to take her. “Why do I always have to take her?” “Because, Caleb, Jacob had his turn, Ethan had his turn, Grace had her turn, David had his turn, now it’s your turn.” (sibling age-order of responsibility). He didn’t argue with that (Thank goodness) and off they went, only to return 10 minutes later, “Mom! Mom! there’s a kitten!” “Can you come see it?” No way was I moving myself off the shade covered bench, so I sent Grace and Seth ran off to see it, too. We all miss our cats back home and have been wanting a kitten ever since we got here (a month ago). I told the children to be on the lookout for a feral kitten to adopt off the island but no luck. They looked in Petsmart before, but on that day there were no kittens. But on Saturday, June 20, their luck finally improved.

Brittnee was alarmed, she knew like they all knew that their Dad had said no to a kitten, but I was in that perfect *mood* to do what I wanted to do. She stayed behind with me and took a call, she wanted no part of the kitten adventure.

We also took a selfie.

Soon, Grace and Seth came running back, “Mom! It’s so cute, she said we could have it for 25 dollars!”

I handed over my credit card and wallet and they were astounded, followed by instant and joyful glee. Seth took his flip flops off so he could keep up with Grace as they ran back to Petsmart as fast as they could go.

And then Rich arrived, all relaxed from his massage. We loaded up the purchases and hopped into the air conditioned car.

“Where are the others?”

“Oh they will be right back, they are in Petsmart.”

(This is where I would have known right away what was happening, but he is so trusting, so honest and pure, that he had NO suspicion of wrongdoing.)

Grace came running back, again. This time with a clipboard that I had to sign in order to adopt the kitten.

He yelled. “WE ARE NOT GETTING A KITTEN!”

I didn’t know what to do so I signed the paper and Grace left looking worried but determined.

I sound like such a terrible wife, but I know my husband and this family better than they know themselves. I KNEW without a shadow of doubt, that we needed a kitten. And I knew from experience, that my husband would come around.

“NO! I TOLD YOU NO, I TOLD EVERYONE NO! SARAH ASKED JUST YESTERDAY AND I TOLD HER NO!”

“YOU ALREADY HAVE THREE CATS AT HOME, WHY DO YOU NEED ANOTHER ONE?”

“I’M TIRED OF SPENDING HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS ON CATS!”

To each claim, I countered.

He sat there, looking out his window, and trying not to smile.

We drove down to Petsmart so the kids didn’t have to walk back AGAIN in the heat.

waited and waited

And they came out triumphantly, all in a row, Seth carrying a litter box and cat food, and Caleb carrying a cardboard box with a kitten inside it.

Rich continued to look very disturbed, but melted just a tiny bit when we realized the kitten was already spayed and he wouldn’t have to pay for that. She had all her shots, too.

“And they gave us coupons for the litter and the cat food.”

The kitten was pulled out of her box as soon as the doors were shut to the car.

“IT’S NOT EVEN CUTE.” he remarked.

We went home. Everyone wanted kitten time and I ended up having to set my timer in thirty minute increments.

my turn was short changed and also I wasn’t left alone with her. 🙂

The kids are IN LOVE.

Sarah’s turn.

Sarah being consoled because it was Seth’s turn next.

By the end of the day, someone else even had a turn.

“This kitten is skin and bones. I think she’s cold.”

This man.

He has so much grace and forgiveness for his wife and family.

We all see it. We all love him. We all want to please him.

On Sunday morning, he opened his numerous gifts as we sat and watched. He opened each one carefully and thankfully, ending with a note from Brittnee, who thanked him for being the Dad she never had, and asking him to dance the Father/Daughter dance at the wedding next year. “Of course, Brittnee, of course I will,” he gently said.

“This day is special because of you all, you know that, right?” he started to cry a little. “You are the ones who make this a wonderful day for me.”

It was such a pure and tender moment, time stood still for a moment, and several of us also shed a companionable and understanding tear or two.

He works so hard as the rest of us spend our days having fun in paradise.

He wouldn’t have it any other way and resentment is never part of his character.

I look up to him and respect who he is. I wish I could be more like him.

He comforts me and protects me.

In return, he has the love and respect of a family of ten………….

…….and, a kitten.

moose

I woke up for good this morning at 9am. This is a nice and lovely later hour for me. I feel rested. I made coffee and took it to bed with me, after voicing an open invitation for anyone who wished to join me in my room (the Queen’s chamber). I turned on lights and opened the curtains, revealing a rainy world outside. Seth was the first to come in, to eat his breakfast on my bed. He had made himself a piece of toast cut in half corner to corner, an over-easy fried egg that ended up dripping on my comforter (ignored because it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things), and one slice of bacon. Funnily, it was the “last egg” and the “last piece of bacon” in the house…….”It must be his birthday,” I said to Sarah, who had in the meantime got under the covers with me to complain that there was “no cereal”. She and Seth left and Ethan came in with his coffee to drink, sitting in the recliner positioned by my side of the bed. Soon Seth came back in with the laptop open and Ethan helped him order a new playstation controller “because ours all stick”. He left again and Ethan went in my bathroom to take a bath, he’s getting a cold and is all stuffed up this morning. Grace came in with her Bible, I was already reading a book, and she snuggled close. This is where Rich found us and he took a photo at my request………you may see it on the ‘gram.

We are dressed for the day now, and out of the bedroom. Grace is at the other end of the table doing school work.

*********

The other day I went walking in the woods and made a first-for-me-nature-discovery.


It turned out, after I did some sleuthing on google, to be MOOSE POOP. I had no idea they made a multitude of pellet-style poo when they had to “go”. I had no idea that some people even make crafts with them.

We hear of Moose sightings in our area, and I would absolutely LOVE to see one and photograph a Moose, like I did in Alaska once. In the meantime, I delight in the *sign of life* I found. Now I know where a Moose has been, in the woods, by the stream, less than a mile from home.

Then, the woods offered up a proposal to me. A ring in my size! Yes, it is a perfect round circle with no breaks……we sealed a lifelong promise with one another, the woods and I. A promise to always maintain a good and wholesome relationship. I will visit it and enjoy everything I see, and the woods will soothe my soul and calm my troubles. It will add to my joy and subtract from my sorrow. It will give me fresh air to breath, and calming scents to inhale. How can I thank it enough?

“For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.” God our Father, to His people, in Psalm 50:10-12

I brought home pinecones and some moss. I emptied Tylenol into a baggie and used the empty jar for my specimens. When I texted my Mother, she said, “Someone will eat that, you better label it.” I was feeling obedient and mischievous, so I did.

She wasn’t going to condescend to answer, so I pressed. “Oh brother” was her reply. I offered some of the “chocolate” to the children but NONE of them were even slightly convinced it was a treat. They all knew right away to be suspicious. They were more alarmed as to why their mother had POOP in a jar in the first place.

toadally

It was Saturday morning and we woke up to every growing thing outside bowing down under a heavy load of SNOW. Can you believe it? It was a winter wonderland and we didn’t even mind in the least because we knew it would not last long. In fact, we started a fire and played Christmas music.

Grace and I were on my bed being mom and daughter and I began telling her about what I hung on the wall recently.

My mom sent me a package in the mail for my birthday and inside was a gift wrapped in the paper of my childhood bedroom. I cried and cried. (Not that much though. I slightly cried.) I was moved. I loved it so much that Rich agreed that it should be framed and he even measured the paper and found the frame for me at Michaels. This was way back in February but being quarantined all, I finally got it hung up the other day. Then, it got me to thinking about the little band box that Mom made me a very long time ago, using the same wallpaper. I had Grace get it out of the bathroom for me and I dusted it off. Inside it is nothing but pedals and ribbons from flowers my boyfriends gave to me. Not all of them, as *I received so many flowers that they were too numerous to save, but just a select few, and at this point I don’t remember who they were from except for one and I’ve told this story to Grace several times so obviously it made an impression on me. ….this one flower was NOT from a boyfriend, but from a boy who became mesmerized by me as I sang a solo way back in H.S. during the awards ceremony. I sang an entire solo dedicated to a classmate of mine who had died that spring (heart breaking, I can’t talk about it). The reason I was the one to sing was because I had gotten the highest mark on that year’s NYSSMA solo. I sang the song in German, and a very lovely lady from the school taught me how to pronounce all the German in the song and it was a very lovely song, I still have the sheet music for it. So I was to sing the solo at the awards banquet but then my music teacher changed my song to “I hear Leesha” by Michael W Smith, to be dedicated to our dear classmate. After the banquet was all over, this boy came to me and gave me the flowers off his table. My mom told me that she saw him staring at me as I sang. This was touching enough for me to remember all these years later and I mention it here because it’s just one of My Little Stories.

Then, I had Grace get me my bear that my mom made me and we agreed with each other that Mom (Grandma) was very crafty indeed. Artsy. I texted Mom right the to tell her that I never got tired of looking the wallpaper, with the pretty girls and flowers on it, and that she did a great job picking it out and I asked her where she got it. She replied, “Binghamton at a wallpaper store off the end of Bevier Street. I can still drive right to it in my mind. It’s no longer there.”

It was the “I can still drive right to it in my mind” that got me in the heart.

Then I decided that I wanted to find a pattern online of a bird. I traced the pattern on a piece of tissue paper and cut it out for the “bird window” that I watch the birdfeeders through. I only made two. I’ll make more someday maybe. One is yellow and the other is green.

I got some lovely bird photos with my big camera. I hope I post them, but I can’t make promises. I have so many things to tell you that I don’t know exactly what will happen or when.

But this blog post is titled “Toadally” for a reason.

It’s about a toad.

A toad on the snow.

A bleeding toad, hopping very very slowly on top of the snow.

I was alerted to it by Sammie the cat. She looked out the window and said very quietly, “there is a toad out there” and I rushed over to the window in disbelief.

Then naturally I had to go outside to rescue the poor frozen toad. I could tell it was frozen by how slowly it was moving.


I made it to the back of the house and found toad in this position. I had never seen a toad on top of snow before. Then I noticed it was bleeding. Whenever I see a small creature outside bleeding I blame the cats. I did ask but he was too cold to answer and I agreed it didn’t really matter. I picked it up and held it in the palm of my hand.

It was a very beautiful toad.


And it matched my brown slippers. It pressed itself into my hand, it was grateful I think.

I took it inside and sat with it for a while until it revived. As I sat I began to feel motherly.

Incidentally, I clipped my nails because Seth tried running from me when I asked him to empty the dishwasher and I grabbed at him in fun, but scratched him. “YOU NEED TO CLIP YOUR NAILS!” he scolded as he lifted up his shirt to look at his mom-scratch. So I did, right away. I need to be able to grab running children without scratching them.

I couldn’t sit and hold an energetic toad and I didn’t want to put it back outside in the snow, so in a box it went. Much like how I dealt with Seth when he was a crawling baby, come to think of it.

This is when he was named Chewy the Toad. You can say it was inspired.

While he stayed in the dark box, I went on to do other things…….

I wanted to show you my “Magpie Findings” of things I pick up off the road while I am walking. This represents about a year of walking. I found two more things today for my jar. I tend to gravitate toward metal but I have also found perfectly good string and brought it home. Honestly, some of the money you see here wasn’t from the road, it just ended up in the jar after I picked it up in the house.

See the cat?

Sarah was reading the paper and then wadding up the sheets and throwing them in the fire.

I am currently reading The Harvester, by Gene Stratton Porter

By the end of the afternoon, the sun was warm enough to melt a lot of the snow so I took Chewy outside to let him go.

I toadally enjoyed his visit and pray he has a nice long life. I hope to see him again.

Wait til you hear what I saw today!! Stay tuned…….

*just trying to be funny, I didn’t get THAT many.