friendship

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After a week, it was time to take dear Gracie back to college.  We didn’t have the adventures we thought we would have, but she was a comfort and a companion to me when her Dad was away and I was sick for days.  We headed back to Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon.

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Always with a stop at Starbucks.  It’s a must for a road trip.

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On Sunday morning I got dressed up and went to church.  I had forgotten a Bible so I took the Gideon one out of the hotel room and I will cherish it forever as I had already read it the night before, and that morning as I ate breakfast in my room by myself.

“No good tree bears bad fruit.”  (that’s me!)

“The good person out of the good treasure of her heart produces good.” (that’s me by the grace of God!)

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“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be the daughter of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”

We hear a lot about the wrath of God, it was a “brought me to my knees” reminder that He is also good to the ungrateful and evil……….HE IS GOOD……

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My dear daughter.  So proud of her.

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Gracie between Mom 2 and Mom 1.  With moms like these she’s in a good place.  Always.

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Joanna and I left church together and went to lunch at a new place.  It was busy, exciting, alive, and bright, AND THEY SERVED ON FIESTAWARE!

We had to wait for a table but that was okay….we just walked back to the car and sat for a while talking like two soul-sisters do.

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My beautiful friend.  I love her so.

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she had chai, I had matcha

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The food was amazing!  Just the best.  And to sit and spend time together alone just the two of us was a gift from God.  I felt so very blessed.  And while we ate, I had a text from my dear mom wanting me to stop there on my way home….I felt even more wanted and loved….and texted Michael who said a quick and cheerful *YES* to helping me get the kids on the bus the next morning so I could stay a night at home*sweet*home with my parents.

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She pointed out the church she went to as a child.

Back at her house, she gave me a kitchen-tour and showed me her amazing new pantry.

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I got to linger over the pages of her Dawn-Journal.  Always inspired.

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And then, we went to a favorite antique store where I found a dear Periwinkle disc pitcher to take home with me!

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We were in the land of “The Office” and loved this quote which was up on the wall for our amusement.

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So thankful for a Jo in my life.

It’s one of the blessings that I will be forever humbled and grateful for.

Friendship.

 

permitted

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We left at 8:15 this morning to drive through rush hour traffic to go to the DMV testing center.  The weather was astounding; pounding rain and in the 50’s after days when everything was frozen solid and not even 10 degrees.  We drove through it together, my hands on the steering wheel, his hands clutching the laptop on which the driver’s manual was displayed.

Neither one of us slept much last night for whatever reason.

When I tried to make conversation he said, eyes on the computer screen, “Shhhhh, stop” and so I just reached over and patted his shoulder with a laugh.  I’m glad he’s safe and comfortable enough with me to be true.

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We arrived 15 minutes before the doors would be unlocked and Dave thought it was just way too long of a wait.  He was nervous.

Just as I knew he would, he passed easily.

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“That was incredibly nerve wracking.”

“My hands were shaking the whole time.”

“Okay now I gotta do my History homework.”

And that’s what he did.

We also got Dunkin Donuts coffees and listened to music.

Me and my buddy Dave.  How I love him.

I dropped him off at school and then got groceries…and very wet…..came home, and crashed on the couch.  I didn’t do a thing for the past 2 hours but watch TV and snooze with a cat on my lap.

When Caleb got home from school, he joined us.

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This is the view from here.

Happy Thursday, friends.

doxology

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It’s Saturday afternoon.  Joanna and I go back to her house and find her son Eti in the kitchen busy with dinner preparations.  Beebs the baby is playing with the trains I gave him.  Jeff is working on the computer and the girls are playing.  Her husband Steve has taken good care of everyone all day long while we were at church.

There is just enough light left outdoors for some photos.  We want to take pictures of the girls in their matching clothes.

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The children are happy all around us and us two mamas are laughing….we try and try for just the right picture.  And then we hand our cameras to them and let them try.

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I think about 20 years ago when I first met Joanna at Bible college.  I marvel at the longevity of our friendship and all the things that have happened since then; marriages, births, adoption, moves, and all the other events of living both big and small.

The biggest blessing of all to me is the soul and depths of two women sharing with each other what they are learning deep down in their hearts.  Truthfully enjoying motherhood, deeply loving our husbands, joy-aches, sorrow-aches, emergency prayers, understanding, wisdom read, copied, scribbled on slips of paper, sent through the mail, saved, savored, felt, journaled.

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We add the moments of this very afternoon to our collection of friendship memories with the knowledge that life is short, and full of holy experiences.  Our hungry eyes search for them all, each one worth praising God for; the innocence of childhood, the smells of good food in the kitchen, a loving man, adoring happy daughters, steadfast sons, a friendly dog, crunchy leaves underfoot, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness.

******

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above all ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

afternoon outing

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present’.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

We had thirteen young ladies stay here overnight last night.  They were from a NYC youth group traveling into New England to visit Six Flags, Lexington/Concord, and Vermont.  We knew some of them from years of camp so it was an easy “yes” to host them overnight.  Plus, they ate dinner before they came AND brought their own cereal and milk.  Grace very much enjoyed the visit and sat in on their *before bed* devotions.  I got lots of hugs this morning as they left in the rain…..thankfully it did clear up later on for their outdoor tour of historical battle grounds in Massachusetts.

After they left it was rather quiet, the maids came to do their weekly cleaning and the girls were asking for macaroni and cheese so I decided to take the kids to the diner just a couple miles down toward town.

David stayed at home and ended up using the time for a long bike ride.

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The diner has old black and white photos of the town on the walls and the kids were thrilled to see their friend Logan arrive to eat lunch with his Grandpa, too.

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The kids meals came with a free drink so Seth and Sarah chose hot chocolate, which meant they helped themselves freely to my coffee creamers….in no time at all we used up about 10 creamers.  I told the kids the waitress should have just brought us the carton.

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Waiting for the food is the most difficult part but thankfully it didn’t take long at all and the boys brought things to read.

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You may not think so by his face but Caleb has been so appreciative of this magazine subscription….every month I get a thank you.

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Grace read a book, too, by one of our favorite authors, Isabel Allende.

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Sarah ❤

(I was sandwiched between the girls–such fun)

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My lunch (actually, I had already eaten a salad at home so I simply HAD to get my favorite—strawberry sundae).

Sarah ate a pancake with french fries (I had to laugh when she ordered it) and the other three kids got hamburgers and fries.

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It became the *thing to do* to keep passing around the ketchup.  Seth and Sarah put it on their fries like toothpaste on a toothbrush.

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Grace’s lunch.

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Sarah had birthday money and bought this animal yesterday so she had to bring it everywhere with her today.  It’s name was Lee Ann but she renamed her Rosie.

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Seth’s is named Rufus.

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I ate all my sundae and then offered “the rest” to Seth….and he completely enjoyed the melted remains (all 1 teaspoon).

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Well, we were all happy and silly from a good lunch and decided to go antiquing at a “new to us” place in the next town over.  I was thankful to have such fun friends along with me.

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Right away I saw some HLC dishes, although not fiestaware, these are from the harlequin line.  So pretty.

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Seth saw some cool things, too!

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I always like these needlework things. . . but didn’t buy any today.

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Caleb found a Patriots football pennant and a football coin.

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Between the three youngest children I admit I said, “Don’t touch” about 1,000 times which made for a good discussion with Grace on the way home.  Did they touch things so much because I was obsessed with them not touching (and kept saying so)?  We decided that in their immaturity, they had a hard time obeying my rule, but as they get older they will learn self-control and be more obedient.  However, at the same time, there is also a truth that in the act of overstating/overemphasizing rules, we somehow make them more likely to be broken…..it’s simply human nature.  (see Sarah’s arm on the right of the photo holding the sharp gardening tool??  yeah…….)

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Tiny butter dish for a half stick of butter–so darling (didn’t buy).

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This vintage kitchen towel was only 2.50 so I had to buy it (it has a small hole that I can easily stitch).  (kids behind me….touching things….)  I know I do need to lighten up some, as well.

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I found a vintage fiesta lid!  (no one understands why I had to get it).  But I did!

Caleb’s Marshall Faulk coin (Rams football player).

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NEXT STOP….I found more fiestaware but this collection was P86 (periwinkle, yellow, and ivory) and overpriced.

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And then…..oh my goodness!   They wouldn’t sell just the serving pieces (I asked) so I was simply FORCED to buy the whole lot, thankfully I did get a great deal on it.

ROSE fiestaware:

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(back at home and unpacked)  I am so pleased with these beautiful dishes, Rose is discontinued and so nice to have on Valentine’s Day.  The mugs are not fiesta but still made by HLC (maybe restaurant ware?  I have to look it up–but its the same glaze).

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Kitchen towel, plus a vintage “radioactive” red fiesta mixing bowl (with chips) that I bought along with it at our first stop.  They go good together, don’t they?

The kids were great…we stopped at the gas station to get drinks along the way and they watched “Garfield the movie” in the car while Grace and I went into the second shop together.  (I couldn’t stand any more begging and touching).

When we got home Rich and Ethan had just arrived.  They were able to leave work early and now its the start of a nice long weekend.  They don’t have to go back to work until Tuesday.  I had dinner ready in the crock pot so I was able to feed the hungry men right away.

David got home safe and sound from his long bike ride, all hot and exhausted.  He said he “wasn’t going to do that again for two months.”

Ethan and Tessa are here, but Jacob is still at our friend’s house, as he is house sitting for them this week.

We are watching Little House on the Prairie and it’s super dark outside; a thunderstorm warning is in effect for the next hour or so and it’s raining.

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.” E.B. White

you’re part of my heart

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SUMMER
VACATION

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We went to the playground.

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The boys had friends over to play baseball, football, video games, fishing, swimming….

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If we should be so lucky
as to touch the lives of many, so be it.
But if our lot is not more than the setting of a table,
or the tending of a garden,
or showing a child a path in the woods,
our lives are no less worthy.
Kent Nerburn

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Grace and I went for a long walk through the woods, visited Sam-cat and the chickens.  She read to me the medicinal values of yarrow and elderberry, she chewed yarrow even though she didn’t have a tooth ache and said it made her tongue numb.  Mountain Laurel is in bloom and almost done.  We ate wild strawberries and sniffed deeply of wild roses.

I think this is how we’re supposed
to be in the world ~
present and in awe.
Anne Lamott

We went together to take our small visitors home and then to the grocery store where she is getting ready to work this summer.  I made chili and pasta for dinner.

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It’s fake blood.

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I sent Sarah upstairs to play while I worked in the kitchen.  When I went to get her for dinner I found her on the floor…fast asleep.

Summertime, fun and exhausting!

How was your day?

grace (graduation)

It was about a week ago now that I met a homeschooling family at one of my son’s baseball games.  The mom and I had a nice visit together as we watched the boys play and at one point Grace came walking by with her friend.  I stopped her and introduced her to my new acquaintance.  “Oh, I used to be homeschooled,” Grace offered excitedly, “I loved it.  I never wanted to go to public school but mom made me.”

Part of me cringed to hear these honest words.  However, after last night, watching Grace with her class and teachers, seeing her bright smile, how mature she was, how capable, her light shining bright, it all became clear to me.

She bloomed where she was planted.

She took a difficult change in her life and made the best of it.

She had ups and downs, more downs, a few more ups, on and on for the six years she was in school, rather like a roller coaster.

She had fun, tears, anxiety, sleepless nights, songs, dance, silence, wide eyed wonder, false friendship, true friendship, romance, responsibility, headaches, dizziness, academics, good grades, good books, teachers who were kindred spirits, teachers who were her second mothers, and through it all…….she had her faith in an unchanging dependable Father God keeping her steady.

She did it.  Rich and I could not be prouder of our daughter.

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A month or so ago I was feeling a little desperate about Grace leaving home so soon and mentioned, half teasing, that she might like to take a year off from college and just stay at home with us (me).  After all, she did start school when she was four and was younger than a few of the juniors this year.  “We would have so much fun, Grace!”  to which she replied (and I quote because I wrote it down):

“I know we would but. . . .we have all summer.  And I need to move on with my life.”

I just had to laugh with respect, happy to have a child this steady and focused on her goals.  I know how much she adores her siblings and depends on her parents.  The relationships within the family circle couldn’t be better, which is to say, perhaps this is the very reason why she is confident in moving on; her needs are met so she is not needy or clingy.  Plus it’s just her personality in general.  She’s forward-moving.

She’ll be attending Christian college in the fall about 5 hours from home (not too far), easy enough to get her home for the holidays.  I know she will have the time of her life there.

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For our small town, the class of 2017 was rather large and cars parked all over the the place outside in the parking lots AND out of the parking lots.  I drove up over the curb with my big mama vehicle and parked in the lawn!  Saving seats was a hostile experience!  But we all got squeezed in and you can see my view from the middle of the room. . . . . .thank the Lord once we sat down I found that I could see Grace if I leaned over to the right and then forward in my seat.

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There she is!

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Recognized with the other scholarship and honers students.

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waiting in line for her diploma

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two hours after walking in……the class left the gym to loud & happy music.

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(dear girl; Emily–our neighbor and also Ethan’s girlfriend’s sister…kids rode the bus together for years)

and now for the fun photos:

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With gratitude to the teacher who understands that some families NEED more tickets, Grace’s siblings were able to attend this year’s graduation ceremony.  (all 9)  Her two big brothers visited the old HS stomping grounds and saw some of their teachers and friends.  (I say “old” but Ethan just graduated a year ago, and Jacob the year before that).

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After getting through the crowd and out of the gym, we found our girl.

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Oldest girl with youngest girl; oldest boy with youngest boy.

 

 

friends

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adoring little sister

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One of “our other kids” Zak, also graduated.  He is a close friend of the family.

My husband coached him in wrestling.

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brother Dave

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W E N D Y ! ! ! !

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I had left my purse unguarded in the hall so Jacob collected it for me.  Brittany is another dear friend of the family and graduated with Grace.

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Caleb and Seth got through the night thanks to the kindle and…..cheese.  🙂

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Ethan with his girl.

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My daughter, my friend.

Love you, Grace…

How hard the battle goes, the day, how long;
Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song. ~Maltbie Babcock

 

 

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collaboration

Good morning friends!  I just had a bowl of oatmeal with a tablespoon of chia seeds on top.  I don’t know what possessed me to buy them but they’ve been in the cupboard for months.  I rediscovered them this morning.  A serving has 4 grams of fiber and, although I had concerns, they did not detract from the overall taste of my oatmeal.  With just a tad of coconut oil and a splash of maple syrup-yum!  I love eating a good healthy breakfast.

What’s your morning routine?  I usually get up around 6:30, hopefully in time to see the older kids before they get on the bus.  Seth and Sarah need to be up by 7 at the latest but they are usually awake before that time.  This morning the house was quiet when I went directly to the coffee pot and got shot at…thankfully the nerf bullet missed me.  I turned around and scanned the room but saw and heard– no one.  So, I teasingly whined, “You’re a meany, Seth!” hoping for giggles and guess who popped out from behind the basement door?  A giggling Miss Sarah.  She was having a nice morning time of target practice before getting ready for school.

On a typical school morning, I oversee Seth and Sarah getting ready.  They need a healthy breakfast, too, plus clean clothes (underwear…why do little kids try not to wear it??–how many times have I asked the question, “Do you have underwear on?”  so embarrassing–not for them, for me!)  I get them clean socks from the basket on the dryer and they locate their shoes and put them on.  Together, we make sure they have a snack and their homework in their backpacks.  Seth’s bus comes at 7:30 and then Sarah and I sit on the bench by the door and read out loud from our current book.  We only have 2 pages left.  We read and wait for the bus and when it comes I have to walk Sarah right up to the door of it.  I watch her go up the steps and then I turn around and wave to all the little faces looking at me.  There are a couple boys who smile at me and sometimes they even wave back.

Since I already have shoes and a jacket on, I go to the chicken coop and let out the hens.  Lately they are free-ranging and it makes me nervous that they will be attacked, but right now their fenced in area is still covered in snow and the poor things don’t like walking in it.  The ground in front of the coop is clear but rather muddy, and they have a path to walk on which leads down to the pond.  They like to go there and drink.  They move in and out of the coop as they wish.

Then I head back to the house and proceed with my morning; cleaning, showering, treadmill, laundry, daily bible portion, and…..blogging.  I do have the freedom to mix things up, or leave things out, but for the most part this is my routine.

I keep finding more and more chia seeds in my teeth.

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extremely humbling

One of my friends just sent me some happy mail.  I found it in the mailbox on Saturday and opened it up so excitedly.  I read the card out loud to Rich and the children…..it was a lovely letter from Lois, someone who has read this entire blog and enjoyed it so much that she sent me a painting of a peony photo from it.

I will treasure it always.  Thank you, dear Lois.  And what a reward to meet kindred spirits in this way.

A collaboration!  God’s masterpiece, my photography, and your painting.

Eyes to see and admire the world around us.

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painting

I put the painting in the living room on an end table by the rocking chair in front of the window.  There is a flower calendar next to it, a candle, the lamp, and a small rose fiesta vase.  I’m working on making a pretty little display and will post a picture when I have it to my satisfaction.  (you know–pinterest worthy).  🙂  Isn’t it fun to feather a nest?

“Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable,” Sarah Ban Breathnach

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God–you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
Psalm 139