little graduation party


Grace graduated from HS a few weeks ago and we had a “plan B” celebration for her on Saturday.

We are just thankful things worked out and we even got to HAVE any kind of gathering at all.   Ya know, life.  It’s messy beautiful; surprising, chaotic, and crazy.  A healthy sense of humor is the best thing to have when living life and raising children………

Laughter is carbonated holiness. -Anne Lammott

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My brother Isaac took most of the pictures.

The weather was very nice, we had expected a day of thunder storms (so we set up the food tables in the house) but nothing eventful happened, only some lovely dark clouds at times and a nice downpour in the evening.

Grace had a wonderful time.  In fact, we didn’t see much of her or the rest of the teens.


My brother Nathan and his wife Melissa were HUGE helpers!!  They stayed here with us for two nights with Makayla and Greg and we very much enjoyed our visit with them.

My bestie Aunt Colleen and her girls also came out from NY —thank you!!   Also Mom and Dad, my sister Amanda with her kids, and Isaac & Cassandra.

This was our third graduate in three years.  David is a freshman this year so it will be a few years until the next graduate.

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They had a long walk in the rain while the rest of us sat on the porch, relaxing and visiting.


Grace with her cake, 5 cousins, and 4 friends from school.  They’re all so pretty with those bright smiles.

It is cheerful to God when you rejoice or laugh
from the bottom of your heart. 
-Martin Luther King Jr.

thoughts about brother ass

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We are composite creatures, akin on one side to the angels, on the other to tom-cats.

It is a bad thing not to be able to take a joke.  Worse, not to be able to take a divine joke; made, I grant you, at our expense, but also (who doubts it?) for our endless benefit.

Man has held three views of his body.  First there is that of those ascetic Pagans who called it the prison or the “tomb” of the soul, and of the Christians like Fisher to whom it was “a sack of dung,” food for worms, filthy, shameful, a source of nothing but temptations to bad men and humiliation to good ones.  Then there are the Neo-Pagans (they seldom know Greek), the nudists and the sufferers from Dark Gods, to whom the body is glorious.  But thirdly we have the view which St. Francis expressed by calling his body “Brother Ass”.  All three may be–I am not sure–defensible; but give me St. Francis for my money.

Ass is exquisitely right because no one is his senses can either revere or hate a donkey.  It is a useful, sturdy, lazy, obstinate, patient, lovable and infuriating beast; deserving now the stick and now a carrot; both pathetically and absurdly beautiful.  

So the body.

There is no living with it till we recognize that one of its functions in our lives is to play the part of the buffoon.

The fact that we have bodies is the oldest joke there is.

CS Lewis, in The Four Loves

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Isn’t it a relief to have a proper view of oneself?  And to laugh at oneself?  It is akin to the times when the children and I are sitting around the living room, watching TV, and little Seth says, “Wait for it, wait for it….”  and before I am properly aware of what’s happening so I can stop it, out comes a giant toot from Seth’s bottom and loud laughter from his siblings.  I try to pretend to be affronted, but I too am laughing and have to admit that the laughter is good.

We have inner treasure (our souls) in an outer jar of clay (our body).  Our outward self is dying (our bodies), but our inward self (our soul) is being renewed day by day.  We are like both angels (our soul) and tom-cats (our body).

I have spent lots of time over-valuing my body; my appearance, my health.  These griefs are “common to man” and will never go away completely.  But reading Lewis’ thoughts released me from some of the pressure, pressure that I put on myself as an at times, vain woman.

With Lewis’s wisdom in mind, I have a choice; I can sometimes laugh.

(St. Francis himself took a much harsher view.  Although he referred to his body as Brother Ass, he treated it (his body) cruelly in an attempt to punish and/or “tame the beast”, so to speak.  He grieved the “ass”, and had a hard time tending his body with compassion, much less with actual laughter.)

WHO CARES about appearances and perfection?  Well, we all do to a certain extent.  But if we “go further up and further in”, we realize that yes indeed it is true; beauty is in the soul, and not in the body.  It may be that our body is beautiful for a time, but not if you hang around it for very long.  It will most certainly “toot”, produce strange smells, do strange things, & drive you crazy.

Doesn’t it feel good to laugh about it?

From now on I want to teasingly say to myself when I get caught in a depressing reminder that thing are going downhill bodily speaking despite my best feeding and nurturing, “Oh brother Ass, you donkey, you” and put it on a lower level of seriousness and higher level of comedic relief.

If I hear a loud sound coming from one of my children, I would like to say, “Brother Ass is in the room, I see.”  But alas, I am not comfortable saying “ass” as it is mainly used as a curse word these days.  I tried it with my oldest son Jacob the other day and he turned around and said in confusion, “What?”   Frankly, I don’t need little Seth running around saying “brother ass” at school …… so I guess I will use the other word, which is Donkey.

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Take good care of your Donkey self today, with a healthy dose of laughter, and remember your soul, which is everlasting and renewed day by day by the grace of Jesus.

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  2 Corinthians 4:16

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.  2 Corinthians 4:7


the fun in life: sauce for a dull day

A sense of humor is more valuable for a busy woman than all the latest inventions for making housekeeping easy.  The patent dish-washer, the self-feeding and self-shaking range, the washing-machine, the bread-mixer and the egg beater all put together will not help “mother” through Saturday morning so well as the ability to laugh long and heartily.

Unfortunately, there is no school where this accomplishment can be learned.  The giggling girl is not so sure to grow up a laughing woman.  She may regard herself and her own affairs with a portentous seriousness.  Egotism is fatal to a true sense of humor.  So is a lack of imagination.  So is that morbid conscientiousness which is our least desirable inheritance from Puritanism.

That family is fortunate indeed where the mother is first to see a joke and to lead the mirth.  In too many homes her sole share in merriment is her dismal “I’m sure I don’t see what you’re laughing about!”  The mother, an invalid for years, who could answer an inquiry about her health with a quizzical smile and a quick “Sick abed, and worse up!” was not a burden but a joy to the children who found her room “the jolliest place in the house.”

A nonsense rhyme, a droll conundrum, a lively repartee, a story of misadventure may all serve as sauce for a dull day.  The appetite for fun may be coaxed to grow by what it feeds on, until the mature woman, laden with responsibilities, can smile at her own small trials and help others to follow her example.  She will learn first not to cry over spilt milk, and later will master an even more useful accomplishment, and will laugh over it.

Youths Companion, 1903

We laugh a lot at our house.  I mean, honestly, there are gloomy times as well like just yesterday when they (not I) decided upon the idea of going to Subway for lunch after church…ordering subs for 11 people and overtaxing the employees can put a damper on any joyous attitude.

However, in general, we are constantly laughing over things…like, for instance, the funny things that the little ones say.  Yesterday Sarah was riding in the backseat with her brothers.  They were playing with toy animals when we overheard her little voice saying pleadingly, “Will you please give my ear a little nibble?”

We read humorous stories from the latest Reader’s Digest out loud on the way to church.

We love watching funny movies.

Sparing back and forth with my husband…we get ourselves laughing and happy to be together.  Like last week when I had to use the bathroom twice in the first half hour of church…as I pressed myself past him during a song he said sarcastically, “What did you do, drink a gallon of water before church today?”

I make up funny songs and sing them to the kids…like this morning when Sarah was trying so hard to look sad because she hasn’t seen a baby calf and I sang, “Sarah looks sad but her Mother think she’s funny!”

After the initial shock, we even laughed about the applesauce.

“Sauce for a Dull Day”

The other day, Seth wanted some applesauce so he brought me a new plastic tub of it from the pantry.  I was busy making dinner with several children around me underfoot.   “Seth, we already have one open, go put that back.” I told him rather impatiently, only to hear a loud crash when he went to do it.

“What was that?” I cried as I left my dinner preparations to walk to the pantry.  I met Seth on his way out with a very messy jar of opened sauce.  “What did you do?”

“I threw it in the air and didn’t catch it,” he explained with no remorse.

There was applesauce across the floor, into the cat food dish,  and on the front of the freezer.  A couple of days later I happened to look up and there was some dried to the ceiling, too.

Emily helped me make him clean it up, I was silently seething, but by the time we got done with the mess I had found my sense of humor again.

“Now, what was I doing before my son decided to throw applesauce into the air?”  I asked, as Emily pretended to throw her own imaginary jar of it, sky high.  We laughed together at our crazy little boy who is so impulsive.  Later on when Rich was home, I took Seth to him and said, “Seth, tell Dad what you learned today.  About applesauce.”

“I learned not to throw applesauce too high or it will ‘splode.”

(six words too long of an answer)

I believe in happy people, happy Christians…joyful hearts…giggling in church…life is hard and dreadful at times, so we need to laugh as much as we can…it’s the best medicine in life!


eggs in bike

I put the morning’s egg collection in Sarah’s bike while she played and I gathered rocks to surround a flower bed down by the woods near the long pond.  (thinking of Aunt Carol as I did so).


This is what the baby toads look like now.  Growing so fast, they spend their days swimming.


Violets as delicate as purple tissue paper.


Strawberry blossom.


More violets…our property is overrun by them, to my delight.


We decided to go for a little walk with Dave, who was home from school with a stomach ache.  While Sarah hesitated on the other side of our makeshift bridge, David dissevered a baby lizard in the water (unphotographable) and……………


a small snapping turtle!


He picked it up carefully by the tail.  It’s little arms and legs spun around and around in fierce anger.  His neck stretched out so that he could face his foe:


Oh he wanted a piece of Dave so bad.  David left for home with his prize while Sarah and I continued on our walk.


I wanted to see the violet patch in the field by the edge of the forest.  There were thousands of them blooming all at once.



There were also a great number of bright dandelions, fully opened with nice thick stems.  I taught Sarah how to make a dandelion chain with them and she had no trouble making me a wreath for my hair, as I made one for her, too.

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You can see that she was smelling them..her little nose is yellow.  I tucked an apple blossom into her wreath, and some violets, too.  She looked so pretty.


When we got back home, Sarah wanted to see Dave’s turtle so bad.  Dave had put it in a bucket by the pond so we ran down to look inside.  It was gone, completely gone, David’s head turned this way and that in disbelief.  When we told Jacob later on he spoke with experience, “Oh snapping turtles always escape from buckets, every turtle I ever put in a bucket got out.  You can’t keep them unless you put a lid over it.”  And we wondered.  How can a turtle climb out of a bucket??  And now that snapper is no doubt in the pond waiting to bite off the toes of my children this summer as they swim.

There was a box on the porch from a friend…with beautiful fiesta dinner plates contained inside!  And an encouraging note and card:  thank you Jami, from the bottom of my heart.  God bless you.


ex library books…beautiful books…library bindings, hard covers, oldish copies of good, wholesome, living stories for my own collection of the best books for my children and someday grandchildren.  all for a song at the thrift store.  TWO DOLLARS!


Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, by Tomie DePaola

Such a heart warming, sentimental story that David was very touched by that day he was on the couch with the stomach ache and I made him read all the books.


A wonderful story:  Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by Steig



“because it might make life hard for a hen”

Happy Monday, my friends!  Hope you have a great day with lots of belly laughs.

We love to laugh
Loud and long and clear
We love to laugh
So everybody can hear

The more you laugh
The more you fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more we’re a merrier we. 

(Mary Poppins song lyric)