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.

 

when we’re together

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We watched a movie and matched socks.  Which, as you know, is a two-person-hour-long chore around here.

When the movie was half over she wanted to talk instead, so I pushed pause (and eventually turned it off); we can finish the movie another day.

We went upstairs and cleaned her bedroom.

“Cleaning is a good activity to do while you’re talking to someone else because you don’t even realize that you’re cleaning.” she said.  Take note.

Then we got dressed and went downtown to the thrift store.

She scored a July 21, 1969 edition of the Hartford Courant which had the headline “Man Walks on Moon” in bright blue on the front, plus a short stack of several more newspapers underneath.

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I was leaning against the kitchen island, on the computer searching for a photo of Sarah and her brother Ethan, when I glanced to my left and saw a most charming sight, of Grace in my red plaid jacket, reading her new very old newspaper.

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I got closer and bent my nose down to smell it, and then she did, too.

We’re two of a kind.

 

i just love a good story (but not this one)

The strangest thing happened yesterday.

One of my perfect children came home from school with a funny story to tell me.  It began this way:  “Mom.  Do you remember a while ago when I had you sign that form for Science?”  

Okay, so……I sign A LOT of forms.  And when I sign them I promptly forget about them.  Unless of course there is something I have to remember like a field trip, which in that case I run to my calendar right away and write it down because if I don’t I WILL forget about it promptly.

So I said to this child, “I think so?”  And he continued on with this amazing story about how he had the form in his backpack for a while and then when the day came that it was due to be handed in he couldn’t find it.  So the teacher said, “You’ll have to stay after school with me today.”  (in another word:  detention).

So then my perfect child went off to his next class and (he told me this) when he took out his folder for that class, out fell the missing form!  As soon as he could, he ran back to his teacher to hand it in.  Wow, that was close!  He almost got a detention!

I just love a great story, I laughed through the whole thing, believing every single word with my whole heart!

Later on, the perfect child told his dad the same story in the kitchen but my mean husband didn’t believe the story like I had!!  He was suspicious!  I jumped to my perfect child’s defense!  This child would NEVERRRRRRRRRR lie like this!  He wouldn’t even THINK of forging my signature!  Never!

Then, true to my nature, I promptly forgot the whole thing until this morning when I got the following email from his teacher:

Good Afternoon,

Last Monday students were given a form explaining some exciting STEAM work we have the opportunity to partake in over the next 2 months. Parents/students were asked to read and sign the form that they were informed of what this opportunity was all about, it was not a permission slip.  Students were asked to return the form on Friday, Dec 7.  ***** didn’t have his in on Friday.  ***** also didn’t have his form Monday or today.  He mentioned you had signed it but he couldn’t find it.  He came to me after 6th period with the form signed.  There is a copy attached.  It doesn’t appear to be your signature, but I thought I’d check with you.
I dearly wish I could show you the photo of the form with “my” signature written on it but the perfect child had the wherewithal to include our last name, so I cannot.  Suffice it to say it looked NOTHING like my beautiful signature!  It looked sort of the way I would have written it…….. when I was a little kid!
I could NOT believe it!  This child told me a story and I believed every word!  My mom instincts failed dreadfully.  I can usually determine truth from fiction just from a child’s face!  Honestly, there is still part of me deep in my heart that still believes him, so stay tuned!!
I contacted the teacher and my husband, both of whom have consequences to deliver.
Rich didn’t think any of it was funny, which is very ironic because he forged his Father’s signature all the time when he was growing up.  ALL the time.  Which actually gives me hope because if that little signature forger can grow up to be such a good man, I guess his son can, too.
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This past weekend Grace and Brittnee had their holiday concerts at college and Rich and I were not able to attend.  So I was delighted to receive some music clips, videos, and photos from Joanna AND my brother David!
Happy is the heart that can rely on family and friends to stand in the gap!

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I love this one of Joanna’s husband Steve with my brother, both with their amazing beards!!!!!

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My daughter Grace,  Brittnee (my son’s beautiful girlfriend & Grace’s BFF) and my BFF Joanna (who is also Grace’s second mother while she’s away at college!)  God is SO good.
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My beloved brother Dave, with dear sweet Grace.
One more thing before I go:
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Happy Birthday (yesterday) to Brittnee!
I’m so glad you’re in our lives.  You are a blessing.

it was a month ago…..

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Ask her what she craved and
she’d get a little frantic
about things like books,
the woods, music.
Plants and the seasons.
Also freedom.
~Charles Frazier

Grace turned nineteen on November 4.

When she was home from college for Thanksgiving break she said, “You didn’t blog about me on my birthday”.   So here I am, better late than never, with my sincerest apologies to you, dear Grace!

Grace was born in the very early hours of the morning all those years ago, our first daughter after two sons.  Born at 38 weeks, but so tiny that everyone stopped to admire her and call her “Peanut”, I delighted in being her mother.  I found a white bib that had a small peanut embroidered on it and of course I had to buy it for her and I bet it that bib is still here in a box somewhere along with many other keepsakes from that precious time.

She’s all grown up now and in the middle of her second year of college and doing very well.  She has her own dorm room this year which has been nice for her, but she keeps so busy she’s rarely in it except to do homework and sleep.

She’s healthy and strong, with lots of dear and close friends.

She loves to read and write, sing and play piano.  She loves to be useful.

I hadn’t taken many photos of her lately so when she was home for Thanksgiving we got the camera out for a couple of “Now You’re Nineteen” photos.  We were downtown that day for “small town shopping”.

The quotes are from Grace’s own personal collection of favorites.  (she has hundreds) ❤

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“Come, let us have some tea,
and continue to talk about happy things.”

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Don’t be so cool you can’t cry.
Don’t be so smart you can’t wonder.
Don’t be so set on your sunny days
That you can’t love the roll of the thunder.

He has made everything beautiful
in its time.   Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

 

“no days off”

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We all woke up this morning at 6 and couldn’t sleep anymore!  We don’t know why!

To break up the day we decided to go out together to first and foremost get chicken feed, and then do a little shopping, and have lunch.  I bought Sarah a cute dress, Seth some stylish sweatpants, myself some earrings, a vase, a liquid measuring cup for baking, and a couple of shirts, and Grace a brown bandana for her hair.  The tacos at Moe’s have gotten smaller but lunch was filling and delicious.  We listened to happy music on the way home.

David and Caleb are away at camp this week and Rich is on a business trip until Wednesday.

Grace went out for tea with a friend when we got home and we are having quiet time now because this evening is Seth’s first football practice for the season AND Sarah is doing cheerleading for the first time!  She’s nervously excited.

I am watching the Waltons and filling out their sports forms.  Mondays are always a “catch up on laundry” day and we’ll have chicken patties and veggies for dinner before we leave for practice later.

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My shirt says “no days off” and I wear it when I’m in a humorous mood because I didn’t buy it because I work out daily in the gym, I bought it because I’m a mom. And while it’s true that my current stage in life (“motherhood”) allows for almost no days off, I cannot complain as I constantly count my blessings, the first of which is that I get to be mom of these seven children of ours.  There are many busy and even chaotic moments in each day, but there are also many peaceful and quiet ones to recharge, like right now, while I’m blogging and watching TV……….or reading, petting the cats, scrapbooking, baking, walking, or taking off for a morning of shopping with the kids.

life is good and I’m glad I can flop on the couch in between laundry, cleaning, and dishes!

Happy Monday!

 

this is the sweet face of great relief

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“I feel like a huge burden that I’ve had since I was a child was just lifted off of me.”  

 

Here are the memories she doesn’t want to forget about learning to drive:

That time when her Dad had her drive around and around and around an empty parking lot at school backwards, this way and that way until she cried, and then he had her do it more.

The time she and I were going to the plant store and I didn’t tell her how long it was going to take to get there and she drove for an hour.

When she first really drove it was with her older brother Jacob and it was raining but she didn’t know how to turn on the wipers and when she did turn them on they went so fast she got nervous and asked Jacob for help.

She went to the H.S. to practice backing into parking spots and no one was there so her Dad got out of the car and walked laps while she practiced parking which was exactly what she needed…to figure it out on her own.

She had two college friends (April and Ryan) and Caleb and Kylee praying for her before her test this morning.

She and Caleb talked on the phone and went over traffic rules the morning of her test.  And he reminded her to turn on her lights and put on the emergency brake which were the two things she did wrong on her practice test last weekend.

To help them with their nerves, they had a movie going in the waiting room for the students about to test, and a box of munchkins for them to snack on, but she didn’t want to eat anything or watch anything …. but she did eat a munchkin because she felt she would be rude if she didn’t.  The movie playing was “Sing” and she was annoyed because she wanted to concentrate on her test but with the movie playing she started getting interested and watched it.

The songs she sang to herself while she waited for her test driver were, “Give me Oil in my Lamp” and “I love You, Lord”.

The man riding along to test was very nice; an elderly grandfather type.

She didn’t think she would do well, she didn’t think she would pass.

She and her dear friend Kylee both took their test on the same day and passed.  And when she walked in to the office to hand her paper sheet to the lady for her paper license the lady said, “Look at you, you little show off,”  because she got nothing marked wrong.

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She walked over to the garden center after her test to find me.

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mark twain house

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Grace and I FINALLY, after all these years, went to the Mark Twain house in Hartford, CT. It was easy to find, there was nice parking, and it was a charming destination for a half day exploration.  Grace has read several of Twain’s books and I read Volume 1 of his very large autobiography.  What a character he was, and what a treat it is to enjoy his writings.

We did the “Living Tour” with a man who was pretending to be the butler.  Indeed, he said he WAS the Butler.  (5 dollars more per person).  The house is heavily protected…..you may NOT sit on anything, you may NOT take ANY photos, also NO CELL PHONES, and you may NOT carry a pen in your hand.  (pencils only).  Because it was a living tour set in the year 1897 we were NOT permitted to ask any questions that didn’t have to do with that time period.  By this time I was so nervous I said not a word.

The inside of the house was GORGEOUS.  So lovely.  I have no photos of it, though!

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Thank Goodness we could take all the photos we wanted, outside the house!  And that was gorgeous, too.

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Look at pretty Grace.

The tour ended in the basement where we were allowed to take photos again, ask any question we wanted, and touch things.  I slowly thawed.  There were photos and books on a long table and while there was a question and resulting discussion (involving math) about exactly how old Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was when he spent time in Europe, I took a couple photos.

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His daughters and their friends putting on a play.

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Mark Twain’s Scrapbook!

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My favorite rooms inside the house were the library, the nursery, and the conservatory.  I could only get outside-looking-in photos of the conservatory.  Incidentally, if you would like to see photos of the rooms you can do a quick google search and find them all.  Check out the wallpaper in the guest room and master bedroom, it’s so elegant and whimsical.

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beautiful white lace curtains and the outside brick of the house

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THIS IS MY MOST FAVORITE PHOTO OF THE DAY; Of Grace in her skirt, by the flowerbed at the carriage house.  Our tour guide made a point about how the family of Patrick McAleer, with seven children, lived upstairs in the carriage house back in the Clemens’ day.  So Grace and I were intrigued, as that is the number of children in our family.  We were glad we did not have to live in the upstairs of a carriage house.

Well, actually, I may have gotten the feeling that maybe Grace would have enjoyed it.  🙂

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It was a wonderful house and beautiful morning.

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We left and went to lunch at a place called Tangiers International, which was a Middle Eastern Market half a mile down the road.  We shared an order of stuffed grape leaves.  I had a lamb gyro for lunch and she had chicken curry.  We bought a couple boxes of Turkish Delight on our way out.  David had asked for some at Christmas time and I finally found some, 5 months later.

“I was born modest, but it didn’t last.”  Mark Twain