I, am here.
And they, are there.
How exciting for our Caleb!
I, am here.
And they, are there.
How exciting for our Caleb!
I was dancing around the house coughing with a box of tissues for alas I was sick with a mild cold that had kept me up half that night. I sent a note (rolled up and tied it to a dove) to my friend Kati, who has amazing hair and also two baby boys. And what I wrote to her in the note said, “Dearest Kati, I will miss you for I cannot travel to the donut shop as I have a terrible cold.” Soon, the dove returned saying “I will arrive later with soup for you.” I knew what she meant, because she’s given it to me before; a Very Healing Chicken Soup. I ate it and didn’t get sick again for many many years. In a way I was thankful to once again have a cold just so that I could rejuvenate myself with her delicious soup. At the end of the afternoon, I heard the sound of footprints and there she was, coming to the door with a steaming pot, a smile, and a prayer. Since that moment (midweek) I have had nothing but soup, morning noon and night. It’s rich golden flavor is healing me of all my ails; cup after cup of buttery chicken soup with carrots of brightest color and taste, no celery (cooked celery has the opposite effect on my well being) small chunks of soft potato, and bites of tender chicken. After that first meal of soup, I poured the leftovers into glass quart sized mason jars and found out that even after eating my full I had more soup than she had originally gave to me. I put it away carefully and then slept for a day and a night. This was healing and generous magic indeed.
Scientist proof isn’t necessary to believe in the powers of homemade soup.
I Corinthians 13
Ps, I wrote this story at full strength using parchment paper and an ink filled quill. While sipping soup.
I look all around me. Do I have too much stuff? It is rather difficult to keep 1,000,000 various objects in their place. And yet, this is what I enjoy. Interesting things. At least now I am selling Interesting Things on ebay. I only mention it because of a little story I have to tell.
I was at Goodwill with Sarah over a week ago. We were making this stop amongst other stops. She wasn’t feeling her best so I was being as time efficient as I could be, walking over to the toy section last. She was right by my side when I found a small troll buried in the stuffed animals and dolls. “Mom, put that thing back, its disturbing.” It had wide round eyes, painted on eyebrows, and hair as long as it’s body, hair that was as fine as cotton candy, and even pinker. Somehow I was attracted to the little guy (what this says about me no one knows). It was just weird. Plus it’s hair was soft. I just liked it. I couldn’t put him back, especially when I noticed that he was a dollar. Not only a dollar but also his particular color price tag was half off…..making him a whole two quarters. “If no one wants him on ebay, I’ll keep him,” I argued. “Mom, no, please, I hate it.” “I love him!”
He sold yesterday for 55 dollars. Today I will pack him gently in his box and say goodbye. I’ve had such fun watching his price go up over the week. I told the girls that once I bond to an object, I cannot sell it. This was a close call. But off he goes, to his new and happy home, to a collector with many brothers and sisters for him to stand at attention with. I hope he doesn’t forget me.
I was told recently that I’m not the sort of woman people forget. It pulls out some sort of very uncomfortable feeling inside of me, an unsafe feeling, like “Why? I don’t understand,” followed by tears.
I just came to me that maybe that’s part of the reason.
So I feel safe and cozy in my home full of treasures. I realized that it is not materialistic, but wholesome and good to love our homes…..to tenderly care for our possessions with respect and gratitude. Dusting, rearranging, blessing,…. these beautiful emotions as we handle our things are God-honoring. Our places and belongings are both held loosely, ready to be given up, AND held tightly, rather like a hug, with prayers of thankfulness, to use for good; welcoming friends, serving, having parities, having a “Holy Spirit” house of openness. This is why I absolutely love to cook and clean. I have my favorite window cleaner, a multitude of cleaning products (thank you Family Dollar), brushes and scrubbers, and many stories I could tell just about my vacuum cleaner.
For instance, we have mice. Mice live here. Or rather, are lost here. Our cats have taken to bringing their LIVE catches INTO the house. This is different from years past when they would LEAVE their DEAD catches outside on the DOOR MAT. THAT’S the rule for cats. But NO. Now they bring them in, put them down, and off they run. Mice and chipmunks. No birds yet. So anyway, I realized that once a mouse has been chased around and scared half to death, it is in the perfect physical condition to be vacuumed. Its tired of running. Its defenses are down. What’s a tube of air-suction compared to a cat? Basically an amusement park ride! So yes, the vacuum cleaner is also a mouse trap. I can take the whole canister outside and let the mouse go. It doesn’t go very fast, but it does go. Hopefully far far away.
It’s a frosty morning. Rich is taking a call in the living room before driving in to work. I’ve had a cold all week, and also how is it only Wednesday? The sun is shining brightly and quite distractingly. I made an apple pie yesterday for dinner, along with goulash (baked with lots of mozzarella cheese and pepperoni on top), and fruit salad.
I had to take Seth to practice after I made the dinner. David wanted to come along. David has had some struggles lately and has found himself bored with no phone or playstation, so has been rereading some of his favorite childhood books (the Percy Jackson series) which we own but have proven hard to locate on the many many shelves of this house (I love having so many books). He couldn’t find number four, or five (or was it three and four?) and actually wanted to go to the library. All his idea, so yes I was thrilled. …. David leaving his room to go with his mom to the library? Awesome. The angels were singing. I was singing. Off we went. Dropped off Seth, dropped of Sarah (at cheer), and went to the library. We had a good half hour before Caleb was done with football practice (we had to pick him up) so we both found some books and let the library soothe our nervous systems (late afternoons tend to slightly rattle us all). Since we had time, we sat and read our books until Caleb called, then we went to the desk to check out and !!!!!!!!!! why is this always and forever happening to me?! “Your card is blocked.” the nice lady said. “Four books were checked out in March and never returned. They need to be returned or the fine is seventy dollars.” She searches the shelves just to be sure. I didn’t even REMEMBER the books (they were Sarah’s). We asked to see if David still had a card to use. The nice lady helpfully looked him up. “This card is flagging a family fine of 120 dollars.” I start to get the giggles (I can’t help it, life is so weird, so ludicrous). “But,” she continued, “David’s card only has a three dollar fine, so I’ll let him use it just this once. We have to renew it though. Is he over 18? “Yes,” I say proudly, “he’s right here, and he’s twenty.” “Do you have your license with you?” “No” “Any piece of mail with our name on it?” “No”. “You’re going to hate me………”
Turns out if you’re over 18 you have to have proof of address to renew your library card. He had no such proof so we hung our heads and left the library ……..without any books.
Caleb and three friends bouncing down the road toward the library, so stopped to pick them up. They had all been in football practice and were loud and very very smelly. They had to cram tightly into the backseat (four HUGE teenage boys) with their backpacks on their laps. The outside boy had to try shutting his door three times. “Move your knee! It’s your KNEE!” My car instantly smelled of cow-barn with all these dirty sweaty boys.
I drove home after a disappointing library experience, plugging my nose and listening to Caleb and his friends talk about the most random of subjects, laughing a little and thinking, “This is so weird. Is this really me? Is this my life?”
They lifted weights in the home gym and then came inside and ate all the food, (with my blessing) but not the pie, the pie was for my husband.
Speaking of my husband, his call is up. He just came to me to say, “Just so you know. There’s a chipmunk in the living room. It came out and looked at me during my call and then ran off.” “Was it lively?” I asked. “I’ve seen more lively.” He replied. “You might want to shut a couple cats in there with it.”
With that, he gave me a kiss and left the house.
SUNDAY we took the children to church and then went to the grocery store to get things for lunch and a day of watching football and being family. Seth and Sarah played with their animals by the fire and when they decided to bring in the leftover helium balloons from the Jack and Jill we sent them out of the living room. They came back half an hour later saying that “Chiyo was dead. Gone. The balloons had taken her away.” After questioning, I got the visual; Seth and Sarah tying their beloved “Chiyo” to as many balloons as it took for her to float away. She was tied and taped to them (safety first). They stood at the top of the driveway and let her go. Nine times out of ten she didn’t get far and they were able to run after her and snatch her back. Then, the tenth time, she went more “up” than “down” and ……. she was gone. (Gone=dead) and Sarah changed into black pants and a black shirt and started cheerfully planning a funeral. They did have a brief search party. I am filled with curiosity and hope that as today is a day-off from school, we can take a wander through the woods and see if we can locate her. Stay tuned.
SATURDAY evening Sierra’s Mom hosted a Jack and Jill party for Ethan and Sierra, who are engaged to be married. I was involved in decorating, baking brownies, and buying various items to be raffled off to the guests, in the hopes that money could be raised to support their wedding. It was a fun and exciting evening. But these things are always a bit emotional for me because my heart is seeing the deeper, the sensitive, the yearnings……I missed my family, most of which is in New York. I saw Sierra’s aunts and grandma and cousins all rally around her and felt lonely for those days when I felt like I was in my own close family circle, too. So you can imagine my joy when in walked my brother Isaac with his wife. I wasn’t expecting them! And they came. We sat and visited all evening long and it felt right and good. These are the sweet and simple ways in which God our Father is always surprising us. Enough and more.
FRIDAY. the evening before the day of the Jack and Jill, I was filling 20 quart sized mason jars with water on the driveway, and filling each one with marigolds that I planted myself from a large sandwich baggie of saved-seeds given to me by an old church lady named Ginger. I was arranging and working in the quiet and lonely “missing my family and how is Ethan old enough to get married anyway” mood. It was sun-setting time, but with just enough sun to shine through rain and clouds and arch a rainbow through the sky to lift my spirits. A miracle! Sarah and I took photos of each other. thanking God. Over and over.
THURSDAY, WEDNESDAY, on and on it goes, the trip backward in time, to catch you up on all our family happenings. Sarah recovering from mono. Caleb recovering from bronchitis. Me starting and busying myself with my eBay shop. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Seth spraining his ankle and recovering from that. David adjusting to working at Fed Ex. Ethan moving out of the house and into his own apartment. Grace coming to visit. Football games. Cheerleading. Church. Bible study. Walks in the woods. Reading. Housecleaning. Laundry. Meals. Ordinary moments. Bad days. Good days. Magic. Loving. Always loving.
A month ago we drove to New York for a family reunion of sorts for Rich’s side of the family. I say it that way but they truly my family too, in every sense of the word. I am so thankful for the best in-laws I could possibly have. Dad with his teasing love, interest and support and pride, Leslie with her quiet warm care and concern. The aunts and uncles so down to earth and kind. Everyone with their endearing personalities— making each other feel wanted and welcomed and happy. Yes, it was such a happy day.
“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” LM Montgomery
All the days are the sweetest and nicest.
WE ARE LOVED
I have so much more to share.
Last night I awoke very confused from a deep sound heavy sleep with my hand securely attached by my ring to the lace collar of my nightgown. In my sleeping stupor I felt myself rising to the challenge. Indeed, I for some reason got out of bed and stood up in the darkness. I tried in vain to get it free but finally gave up and simply took the ring off (or, took my finger out) and slept with it caught in my nightie just like you see in the photo above. For the rest of the night if I woke up even a little bit I was patting myself, making sure it was still there because I really didn’t want to lose my ring from Tiffany & Co. but how weird that this even happened, right? Rather disturbed my whole night to have it *not on my finger* but leaving it behind on my nightgown was all I could think of to do whilst half asleep. I didn’t even think to turn on the light because I didn’t want to bother my husband but you know what he did to me? He bothered ME this morning by taking my car to drop off Caleb at school and then parking it as faaaaaaar away from the house at the very end of the lower driveway as possible. I had my arms full as I looked all over for it; (I had expected it in the upper driveway where I always park, or in front of the garage)!
I got a FREE PEOPLE clothing catalogue today and I don’t buy from them because $$$$ but it’s fun to see the outfits and make up my own similar, with less expensive pieces. Since my husband was in the kitchen with me as I looked at it I told (I mean asked) him to give me a quick YES or NO to each one. These are the ones he would see me wearing;
(I’m just thinking now that it would have been funny to show the ones he hated too but oh well, mainly what I realized that he has a particular negative reaction to baggy wide legged jeans and also ….fishnet stockings).
The kids are home from school and soon some of us will be going to Caleb’s football game at the HS. Tomorrow we leave for NY for a family reunion and it’s the first one we have had since COVID so we are all excited. Not only will I see my extended family but also all ten of my children, Lord willing! I’m one happy mama.
It’s a gorgeous September day, and a happy day for me, and I pray God’s peaceful and rich blessings on each one who reads this. Much love!!
“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are
something to do
something to love
and something to hope for.” Joseph Addison
Good morning my lovlies~ I have done the past couple of blog posts from my phone but today I am in front of the laptop so have freedom to tippety- tap away as fast as the words can flow from my fingertips…….what delight, to sit and express here, a few little happenings of my heart and life. It’s only 7:15 in the morning and what promise there is for a full and bright day! The weather has changed and Summer is now gently introducing Fall. Autumn, my favorite season when I feel most alive in not only energy, possibility, and inspiration, but nostalgia, contemplativeness, and a sort of “taking stock” of my innermost life, and it is good.
That word…..good, it’s such a Father-God word, isn’t it? I just love it so much that when He did the work of creating this world, he took the time to see and pronounce it GOOD. And I find myself trying more and more to do the same as I go about my household duties, those beautiful acts of daily life. Yesterday was vacuuming (and more), today is baking (and more), and I hope that when I complete the tasks I can remember to also take the time to look at what my hands have done, and take a moment or two of satisfaction from the work.
So, let’s see……updates……
Jacob and Brittnee are happy in an apartment not far away. We typically see them here at home with us on Sundays. They have taken on the role of “firstborn” together, and are such a comfort to me and their Dad, just knowing they are there. Both of them fun loving and responsible.
Ethan is engaged to Sierra now and they are busy preparing for their life together. He is still at home for about a month, after which he will be moving into an apartment. He’s working hard and counting down the days until the wedding (April, 2023) and we are so happy for them both. It’s fun to have “young love” in the house…..a couple just about to be married with nothing else really on their minds…..as it should be. They eat, drink, and survive on “wedding//newlywed preparations”.
Grace and Brogan are happy in an apartment way too far away. Like five hours. (wink*wink, I know five hours is not as far as they COULD be, but also they aren’t next door like they COULD be, so……..) we stay connected a lot through texting and phone calls, and try to see each other as much as we can. They recently invited an unwed and homeless mother CAT into their home to have her kittens and now have a total of six cats of various ages to enjoy. (if you want a kitten and will be in Scranton PA, let me know……..)
David got through a year of college and is now taking a year and working while living here at home. He just started work at Fed Ex and he will be amazing. His outlook and thoughts on life are so relatable to me and we share a deep bond. He is recovering from a serious stomach bug AND starting his new job at the same time……and not complaining, either. (no energy for it).
Caleb is now a Senior in High School, Caleb the one who was “Baby” when I first began blogging here. Caleb my little sweet tenderhearted gentle boy. Still the same in essence, and so much more as he matures and grows. He’s busy with football these days.
Seth is in his last year of middle school. Stlll as joyful in heart and energetic in body as ever. He has my heart in his hands, this boy-man of mine. We have such fun. He brings a playful spirit into our home on a constant basis. He also plays football and is QB and a kicker, playing offense and defense and guess what? I can’t sit still for nervousness while we watch his games, and I pray constantly. But don’t tell him that. 🙂
Sarah Joy -oh my goodness- is 12 and we are so proud of our youngest one, she’s in 7th grade this year. She’s my little friend, and always has a word of encouragement, and common sense dictates that she also can hold her own in this house where everyone is older than her. Also, she loves putting on a little make up and doing her nails. She’s getting so big!
I absolutely love KNOWING my children. Seeing them for who they are, knowing that their lives are all their own and that I have the amazing honor of sharing each day with them as long as I live. I take the things they say and do and keep them to remember and think about.
Rich and I celebrate 27 years of marriage soon….Septemeber 16….which is yet another reason why this time of year is special to me, and to him, as well. He is still working hard, but not as hard as when we were first married. With time comes a security and a blessing in understanding that the world can keep going at it’s fast pace even as we take some time to slow down and focus on what truly matters; our health, our ability and opportunity to “stop and smell the roses” and our relationships. It’s so satisfying to enjoy the unique passions and interests that God put in us, and important to make sure we aren’t too busy to do the things that make our “hearts sing”.
I will write more about myself soon, but the most exciting for me recently was opening my own ebay shop and starting to sell things that I collect around in my thrifting and goodwilling and antiquing adventures. I’ve made a few sales and find myself taking a moment to bless the recipient of the treasure I have chosen to offer in my “shop”, I just can’t help myself, my mother- heart wants to know that everyone is okay and if not, help in some small way even with just a little prayer over a box to a random stranger is enough. I enjoy everything about it, and it’s such fun to have a little bit of pocket money that I’ve earned all on my own (I’ve been a stay at home mom since day one of marriage), and thus life goes on…day by day…mile by mile…age to age.
Life is a struggle!!! and for me, the struggle is keeping myself aware and understanding that there is always beauty HERE and NOW, even when I am sad or grieving or tired or overwhelmed and ready to give up. God always brings me back around to the truth that I can trust Him, He leads us gently, He loves us without reservation, and He is generous beyond measure.
So let’s allow this ordinary day surround us like a warm hug.
“Surely the Lord is my help; God is the One who sustains me.” Ps. 54:4
PS, David just came home from work (he works nights) and asked me if I wanted to go to Chipoltle, to which I replied after laughing because it’s not even 8 in the morning yet, “NO, but do you want to go to the Woman’s Bible Study this morning with me?” He also said NO.
dear God please reveal to us
Your sublime beauty that is everywhere, everywhere, everywhere, so
that we may never again feel frightened.
St Francis of Assisi
writing always writing
I kicked off my flips and am sitting cross legged in a comfy chair facing the windows looking out over a parking lot, it’s not an ocean view like in Jekyll but it’s just as interesting, and there is a steady flow of cars. My husband is next to me on the floor and when he wanted to convince me to build a log cabin (he’s looking at a magazine) by reading me an article (from it) that lists (helpfully) 10 Reasons Why We Should, I said please don’t because I could give you 35 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t. The first being I’m Too Tired and the second being I Don’t Want To. He laughed and now he’s looking through a different book.
I brought my notebook and after choosing a few books to look at I wrote down some quotes from them;
“We could strain for hours today for the meaning of something that may come in an instant next year. Let it go. We can let go of our need to figure things out, to feel in control. Now is the time to be. To feel. To go through it. To allow things to happen. To learn. To let whatever is being worked out in us take it’s course.” Melody Beattle
“It’s okay to be the teacup with a chip in it. It’s the one with a story.” Matt Haig
There are a lot of people here in the bookstore today. We think because it’s the perfect day to be here; it’s raining outside and what better place to visit than a bookstore. You know I was thinking as I browsed the thousands of books here; bookstores glorify God. So much abundance can only come from Him; topics, authors, colors, stories, words, they seem endless, but only He is truly endless. The beginning and the end. The alpha and omega. The first Author. It’s a moment of awe and gratitude for me. Always looking for those.
We are loved.
“Write it down, when I have perished:
Here is everything I’ve cherished;
That these walls should glow with beauty
Spurred my lagging soul to duty:
That there should be gladness here
Kept me toiling, year by year…..
Every thought and every act
Were to keep this home intact.”
-Edgar A Guest
Today I woke up as Rich was getting ready for work and he told me that when he went to let the chickens and ducks out he noticed that the chickens were in the wrong part of the coop–they were up in the loft, so, for whatever reason, (not a good one) he decided to get up there and shoo them down but when he did he fell against the inside wall and hit the top of his head on an exposed nail (the sharp end). It’s not bad, but it was the top of his head and he couldn’t see it. Consequently, that’s what I did first thing this morning. I checked his wound. It wasn’t a puncture, it was a scratch. That’s exactly what I told him.
I got up and dressed and got a box ready to mail to my dear friend, which I always love to do, pack up a happy box and traipse to the post office with it and see how expensive it will be this time (12 dollars). I invited Sarah to come along and off we went. We tried to listen to Dateline the podcast on the way but she said it was making her sad so we switched to her music choice; Taylor Swift. We stopped for gas and went inside for drinks. She got one of those egg candies that have a toy inside and guess what it was a beaver so she gave it to me. It’s so cute! I got a cheesestick and a low calorie gatorade. We continued on down the road…..
Consignment shop was the first stop, where she found a nice backpack for school. It was so large that all our purchases fit inside it to take to the car. She found some shirts that she liked (I’ve already taught her that she must try things on before making a decision, and to only say yes to the items that make her feel so very pretty and good in). I bought three pairs of jeans because I’m finally getting a mom-pouch stomach that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get rid of (I’d like to lose 10 pounds, not that I’m not beautiful the way I am, but because I just feel lighter, brighter, and happier in the 138 range). So theses jean will be nice for now, because they fit just right, not “a little bit tight” like my other ones. I also bought a few other little things to try to sell on eBay, which is something I am starting to try my hand at. It’s also nice to have a pleasant hoard of gifts ready to send out to friends who need a little pick-me-up.
After the post office we went to the Goodwill where Sarah found some “super hard to find” strange looking stretchy toys that she really likes, “Don’t you remember I asked Uncle Dave for one for my birthday?” she asked. She then found two pictures for her bedroom, “I just love decorating my room.” I found some odds and ends, my most exciting find being a ceramic (?) vintage squirrel holding an acorn, which I love, in the “bric a brac” section, my favorite. We then made our way to Starbucks where she ordered a Caramel Frappechino. She didn’t like it. It tasted of coffee. As we have purchased hundreds of drinks at Starbucks over the years, I figured just this once she could try to give it back and try another flavor, so she did, and they were happy to oblige even though Sarah wondered if they probably think she is “spoiled”. I assured her that I knew she was NOT. She ended up with a regular vanilla bean frappe with some caramel syrup. She was cute as she figured these challenges all out.
We came home, Seth was a little feisty as he thought we took too long (awww he missed us), he wanted the iPad. iPad usage is under strict surveillance for him as a curious young boy the google bar is very tempting. He had to wait until I got home for his time on it. He called twice to ask when I would be arriving. In order to curb this habit with the children, I always give the calling child a chore each time that they call. So he had some things to do for me, and probably only called twice for that reason alone.
David was still asleep so I woke him up and told him to clean his room and comb his hair and start going to bed earlier at night. He did as I asked and then went to the grocery store because he is in the process of making homemade dumplings for the first time. He made the dough last night. He also had to go get Caleb from school because Caleb was alway all day for a wrestling clinic. Ethan worked from home today as usual. I felt overwhelmed until I gave everyone jobs to do, and I myself undertook making a new recipe for dinner; spinach lasagna, which involved a LOT of processing. Squeeze the spinach, process it. Process the onion and garlic, saute it, add crushed tomatoes for the sauce and meanwhile, process the ricotta cheese with spinach juice, eggs, parmesan, etc. I never processed so many ingredients in my life……Rich and I loved the lasagna but not sure if the kids will eat much of it.
Brittnee (Jacob’s wife) has had a migraine for a couple days so she is out shopping for new glasses. She’s a go-getter. She had a doctors appointment and an eye doctors appointment both today, to try to get herself feeling better.
And then poor Grace texted me as well, saying that she went to the dentist with wisdom tooth pain and has to have them all pulled out because some are sideways, and some are impacted. And she’s in pain.
Ethan and Sierra went to look at a house (they are engaged to be married in April).
There is always stuff going on when you have a large family. Seth and Sarah are just over Covid; they had it conveniently at the same time and are all better now except for the coughs.
When Rich got home from work this evening he said “My head was bleeding and oozing all day, are you sure it’s just a scratch?”
So I had to look at it, again. I looked and examined. When he said “Ouch, why did you have to press on it like that?” I said, “Because I’m Nurse Shanda.”