flowers under cloudy skies


I hit the road Friday morning and drove to my parent’s house to spend a long weekend.  Although I felt a little sad leaving all the children home with Rich, I knew that it was important for me to get away for a *body mind and soul* rest away from the endless rewarding yet sometimes quite stressful jobs of parent and housekeeper.

A retreat to Mom and Dad’s house was just the place of peace and relaxation for me.


We had a chilly but invigorating walk on Saturday morning.  But before we went up the road, Mom and I put on our necessary rubber boots and meandered about the gardens to see what was coming up.

Mom has extensive flower beds; she absolutely LOVES gardening and has over 45 years of experience growing things.  She knows where everything is and where everything came from and delights in the many surprises gardening holds, too.  Volunteer plants show up all over the place.  She knows when she weeds she has to be careful, but not too terribly careful, because then in one of those fun surprises, the flowers will transplant down the bank where she throws the weeds.  And that’s a smile just waiting to happen.


pink and salmon hyacinths

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The only one we saw.

(I have a small patch of them in my garden, too; does anyone know the name?  I forgot.)



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Aunt Rita started planting them here years and years ago and Mom continues.  Daffodils are very obliging when it comes to multiplying each year.

“I hope to have them go all the way down the stone fence eventually!”

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darling mini daffies


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Mom planted Tasha Tudor foxgloves by the house but now they’re gone; they reappeared at the edge of the woods.

I gave her the seeds from Tasha Tudors website years ago when Tasha was still alive.  She also has a signed print from “The Secret Garden”.  We are fans.



There are things all over the place in the beds to make things interesting.  For example, this roundish rock has been in the garden in various locations since I was a kid.  Her brother Chris (they were less than one year apart in age) found it on the farm and asked her if she wanted it.  We call it the Fred Flintstone bowling ball and mom believes that perhaps the groves were made so that Indians could crack Hickory nuts in them (you can see the tool marks on the rock).

Besides the flower gardens, Mom and Dad work on a big rustically fenced vegetable garden and maintain trails through the wild blueberry patch and into the woods.  There is a crick, mature trees and forest, wildlife abundant, places for summertime campfires, benches, and healthy moist lawn perfect for barefeet.  In my opinion, all of their well-tended 16 acres could be featured in any issue of Country Living magazine.

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After the garden tour we headed up the road together to take ourselves and the dog for a walk.


Uncle Brian and his dogs were out; we stopped for a chat.  He had recently seen two big Tom turkeys both trying to impress a hen in all their feathered glory.  We told him he should have had a camera and he said he had enough to keep his hands full with the dogs.

He and Dad do a lot together throughout the week working in the woodlot.


The land on both sides of the road used to belong to Mom’s parents.  It’s old farmland.  Much of it is still in the family; the parts than aren’t still feel like “ours” deep down inside.  It’s quiet and peaceful here; hardly a car goes by and you can’t even hear the sounds of distant traffic, only nature and maybe some of the far away neighbors target practicing.

This day was cloudy and overcast but the sky made all the photos beautiful.


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When we arrived back home we had some visitors.


“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” –Robert Louis Stevenson

We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps;
Perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvest reaps.
~A. Bronson Alcott, “The Garden,” Tablets, 1868

for a 60th


I decided to blog while I’m waiting for Sarah to have her procedure…… in six days.  Isn’t it so weird when you have to continue on with life even when things are happening that make you want to *sit and wait it out* instead of proceed with the days as usual?  How weird to make dinner while thinking about packing a hospital bag?  Or cheer for a wrestling meet while knowing in one week your child will be put to sleep for surgery?  I have had this sensation many times (for other reasons) and will no doubt have it many times to come.  It’s anticipation in it’s lower form—  A not nice “anticipation” for a dreaded event to come and most importantly, GO.   But thank goodness for work and keeping busy to take our minds off things!


This morning we allowed dear Ethan to sleep in because he’s been working very hard at keeping in top shape for wrestling but has had a bad cold for several days.  I took him to school at 9:30 and then parked the car so I could walk up the hill and back.  2 miles in the cold sunny air.  I found myself getting almost chipper as my legs stepped along at a quick pace.  I thought about how many times when I was a child I would run off into the woods to cry things out.  Without knowing it in so many thoughts or words, my soul knew that I would come to peace out under the trees, curled up in a ball on soft green moss.  These thoughts quickly proceeded into thoughts of Heaven and how wonderfully pure and sweet each emotion will be when that time comes, how good food will taste, how comfortable our bodies will move, and how wonderful it will be to spend eternity with Jesus and family……..I spent the whole walk thinking of the ways I thought Heaven might be…..sparing a few thoughts of gratitude for the tissue in my pocket.


Do you know what DNR means?  It means “Do Not Resuscitate”.

The main purpose of this post it to show the photos I took this past Saturday at my Dad’s 60th birthday party, at which he received two bracelets from Aunt Carol, who is a nurse (and pictured directly above this paragraph with the baby).  The other one that she promptly put on Dad’s opposite arm proclaimed him to be a “fall risk”.  So right away we are laughing.

I’ve known my dad for almost 40 years.  It’s funny to think of it that way.  But we obviously go way back.

I’m just realizing now that I don’t even have a picture of Dad and myself together from the party day.


My sister’s boy, my boy, and my brother’s boy.  How can it be?


My brother Nathan and his wife Melissa with some goof-ball.




I admired Nate’s facial hair.

Nate, you’re handsome.


Cousin Erika made Dad’s drum cake.


Grace, Abbie, and Maria (my sister in law)


One of the ways Aunt Mary keeps forever young is to spend as much time as possible with the children.




Erika’s baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



We all signed our names on a new volleyball for Dad to keep.

Uncle Brian (Aunt Carol’s husband) also gave Dad a suitable gift for old age:


I heard they were made out of York Peppermint Candies, which elicited even more humorous remarks……..


I put together a slideshow of photos for Dad…….




And then it was time for volleyball for those who wanted to play.



We are a talented group.  Not to mention all the women are gorgeous.



And children well behaved, creative, and vibrant.




I love the hands in this photo, fussing with the baby.



Time for the song and the cake!





The many names of Dad.






and more L O V E


I caught this adorable moment between cousins (only three months apart) Gregory and Seth, showing each other how to tie a shoe.


Emily and Jacob played checkers





Happy Birthday to my loving Dad.  It was such fun spending the day with you and the rest of the family………

Here is our group picture!!!!!!!


Click on it to see it bigger!

Thank you to the church for letting us use the gym for the party and for everyone who helped out and made it a happy day.

Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future. ~Gail Lumet Buckley

If you’re interested in seeing the slideshow, click here.

{this moment} goodbye, old friend

A Friday ritual.

A single photo.

Capturing a moment I want to pause, savor, and remember.



Our pets show love and devotion and win our hearts without ever speaking a single word.

Brutus was a black and white puppy that my brother Dave adopted in 1999.  Brutus lived with Dave a few years and then spent the rest of his life at my parent’s house and was a constant companion to Dad and Mom.  Part of the fun for my children in going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house was visiting with Brutus.  They all have grown up with this special dog.  My son David’s team won their baseball game yesterday but David said the joy of victory was spoiled for him when he learned of Brutus’ death.  He was truly a family pet and we are all sad.

The beautiful picture is of my Dad and Brutus from a few years ago.

He died at home yesterday, looking into Dave’s eyes.  He was a good dog and had a good life.


like father, like daughter (and I hardly ever, ever make molasses cookies)

Last night Mom called me to remind me that American Idol was coming on in five minutes.  We used those five minutes to fill each other in on our respective days.  She told me that she had bread almost done, had put together a lasagna, and was about to make cookies.  My mom is very industrious (she does all her baking when she gets home from work.)

“What kind of cookies are you making?” I asked.

“Molasses,” she replied.

“WHAAAAAT?” I cried, “I made molasses cookies today, too!”

She laughed.  “Dad asked me to make them.  He wanted them.”

It was such a fun little highlight of my day.  For sure, girlfriends, me and my Dad have a connection.  (You might say we’re kindred spirits.)

I ate a cookie while I wrote this and I bet he’ll be eating one when he reads it.  I love you, Dad!