some hope

Last week I walked past the *up the road* neighbor’s house and she had a bunch of thoughtful birdfeeders, therefore she also had a bunch of happy birds, including (I counted) SIX baltimore orioles. As they don’t eat bird seed, I noticed she had a tray of jelly to tempt them for a visit. I love Baltimore Orioles, they are always a thrill to see with their bright orange feathers. I remember finding an oriole nest once, filled with fat baby birds. I remember taking a photo of a bald eagle and seeing an oriole in a branch above. I remember seeing an oriole in the sky, flying after another bird up the road, away from its nest. I’ve taken photos of them and it’s always a good bird day when I get to do that.

So I thought rather enviously, that I would buy some grape jelly, with just *a little bit* of hope that maybe one would come to my not-as-thoughful birdfeeders. I had *some* hope, but not very much. I half- heartedly bought the jelly and half- heartedly put it in a plastic dish (as purple as the jelly) and half -heartedly put it on the porch. I didn’t have great expectations but I did have curiousity and wanted to see what would happen.

Two days later………..

Joy!

(HOW DO THEY KNOW??????????????? Can birds smell grapes out of those hard beaky noses?)

As I thought about this, I at first I believed that I had NO HOPE in them coming, but then I thought, “Well, I must have had SOME hope, or I wouldn’t have put the jelly out in the first place.”

~no hope means giving up…..thinking and doing nothing with our desires/goals (big or small)

~some hope means any amount of thinking and doing……… and living life curious…. because after all, that desire/goal (big or small) just might come to fruition

It might!

You are loved.

I just cried a little

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Brother Dave sent me this text last night:   _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ !!!

We texted back and forth, playing “wheel of fortune” style but with only one letter guesses like every hour or so and none from 9pm-7am.  He was very strict.  If I tried to sneak in extra guesses I got a big huge red “X” back.

After all those hours, I finally ended up with this:  happy _a_ _ !!! and then while I was down taking care of the chickens waiting for the time I could guess again, the answer popped right into my head.

So then the mail came and there was a package.  I ran to the house, opened it up and saw a wrapped present, which revealed neatly folded yards of fabric:  one of cherries and one of cats.  Two things I ADORE.

This is from my brother.  He’s turning 40 in a month.   What 40 year old motorcycle riding manly man with a big beard and tattoos does this???  My brother that’s who.

He had driven our mom to the fabric store over the weekend and as she browsed, he selected and bought the fabric for me, took it back home with him, wrapped it in pretty paper, and mailed it.

I’m crying over the thoughtfulness and text him a big thank you.

He writes me back, “It’s the little things that mean the most.”

 

sweet boy & sweet cake

The other day a sweet boy who lives here came to me and said,  “Mom, when I was walking to Logan’s house I passed a construction worker on the side of the road picking up garbage,” he paused to self-consciously clear his throat and continued, “I stopped and told him he was doing a great job.”

“The reason why I said that to him was because Cody told me it was the little things like that which make a big difference in a person’s life.”

“When I was almost to Logan’s house, he drove by me in his truck and honked his horn and waved.”

We looked at each other and I saw in his loving eyes it was something that meant a lot to him.   You might say, although he has never been anything like Grinch, “his heart grew three sizes that day”.  His story touched my heart as well, and I’ve thought about it over and over this week.

It’s so strangely beautiful that when doing something for another person you not only bless that person but you also bless yourself.

In fact, this huge concept is something I use in my mothering bag of tricks.  If I notice that the children (some or all) are not getting along with each other I ask them to do “something” (make a sandwich, pick a flower, give a mug of tea) for that particular sibling they aren’t getting along with.  Maybe even give a hug or write a note.  It does wonders in creating smiles, melting hearts, and breaking the tension in the air.

 

******

Cherry Coffee Cake

We explored an old abandoned house last weekend and took away a few recipes cards which we found like garbage upon the messy floor…..this was one of the recipes.

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It is simple and, without any extract, the cake itself tastes nice and buttery.  The cherry pie filling could be switched out for any fruit filling and you could add a touch of cinnamon to the topping, too.  I bought a can of raspberry filling to try next, with maybe a 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract added to the cake.  Blueberries would be a nice variation, too, with lemon extract.

It bakes up as a thin cake, so it’s more of a snack (to eat with a mug of hot coffee).  The kids ate it in their hands like a brownie and they all liked it very much.

having fun

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Rich always gets a craving for Pinkberry on Sunday afternoons…..I am SO over it….but he mentions it, and since I can’t always say “no”, this past Sunday I said, “Okay, lets go but we are taking the children to see Santa Clause.”  To this he had less enthusiasm but as he would do just about anything for that tasty frozen yogurt treat, he said, “You know the line is always super long for that.” and I understood it was a “yes” from my husband.

The line was a little long, but not too terribly bad.  Our son David, who is now 14, absolutely refused to see Santa, because “it would ruin his dignity”, and went away to wander the mall while Rich and I took our three youngest through a process of getting a special badge, doing a few fun North Pole activities, and then finally visiting with Santa for the all important portrait.  Seth was the most reluctant and shy, Sarah was the most excited.  Caleb was in the middle (perfect).

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There was one part of the event where the children were able to go into a little room of sorts to stand in a beautiful falling artificial snow.  I, of course, right away thought to myself, “Perhaps we should avoid that part or they will get covered in it for their photo with Santa.”  I thought it was very unwise of the elves to put the messy snow BEFORE Santa, why not AFTER?  However, I am super proud to say, I put aside my own controlling tendencies and let them have all the fun they could possibly have.  I pretended I didn’t care.  Although we brushed it off them, you can see the snow in Sarah’s hair like dandruff and some flakes of it on the boys, too.

There was a dear mom behind us with her two PERFECTLY dressed girls in all their Christmas finery (velvet and hair bows, white tights and black patent leather) and they avoided the flakes of snow like it was the very plague.  They stared in wonder at Sarah scooping it up and throwing it sky high, while I heard the mother whispering instructions to her prim and proper daughters to not get any of it on their dresses, and I could tell by their faces that they had no intentions of doing so.  And I knew that could have been my mothering technique, as well.  I understood perfectly how they all felt because I felt that way a little bit myself.

I don’t really have a point to this story except that it was a close call for Sarah, and a learning experience for me (again).  Every day is a lesson on “control” for me….and slowly God is taking it gently from my hands so I can have a little fun, too.

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You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.  Ecclesiastes 11:9

what would the wise woman do?

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I ask myself this hypothetical question often, “What would the Wise Woman do?” and I asked it this morning after dropping a child off at school for a final exam.  I would have to return to the school after 2 hours to pick him back up.

I like to pretend that the wise woman is my Mom, my Grandma, or my dearest friend.  What would they tell me to do when faced with a certain decision?   Somehow it makes it easier to find the right thing to do when imagining what they would do.

I felt depleted physically and run down mentally, from days of rushed activity.  So I asked myself.

What would the wise woman do with two hours?

She would drive into town for a favorite drink and an apple juice for the preschooler, find a quiet table near the window and sit for as long as she wanted.

She would write a list of  thankfulness with a pen on a paper napkin.

She would say “yes” to walking to the empty park nearby.

She would lay back in the grass under a bright blue sky and let the hot sunshine melt away that sinus headache and listen to the birds and her little daughter singing as she played.

She would loiter everywhere she walked…slowly…taking everything in.

Sh would really taste that iced chai tea, down to the last drop.

That’s what the wise woman told me to do.  And that’s what I did.  Thank you, wise woman!