tiny music maker

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Lately I’ve been feeling blessed by family in so many ways.

Look who came to visit Aunt Shanda today!

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The three of us sisters sat and visited over tea.

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And then I took the baby to the piano and showed her the keys and what they did.

She figured it out easily.

It was a beautiful moment, to see these tiny baby hands making baby music.

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She absolutely loved it, and so did we, as we watched her delight.

We played a few hymns, including Jesus Loves Me.

Then we took her out to the livingroom and ate cookies (she couldn’t eat one so she had some milk) and then she fell into a sound and happy asleep.  She had an exciting morning.

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milk-drunk

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We also put her hair in a pony tail.

Ah it’s such fun to play with real live baby dolls!

Thanks Amanda and Cassandra and Elena for visiting me today!

1 concert, 2 concert, 3 concert

“Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body.  If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.”  Luke 11

Grace longed for us to be there for her Holiday concerts this last weekend but it was not to be.

Thus, on Friday evening I sat alone on the couch by the light of the tree, and by the light of my reading lamp.

The house was FINALLY quiet after a longer-than-usual evening.

I was nearing the end of my book and I was totally immersed in its pages.

Everyone else was asleep.

 

 

I had my phone nearby and I heard it notify me of a facebook message, I turned it over and saw it was from Joanna.

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While all was peaceful one moment, in the next moment as I listened to the sound clips she was sending me and saw the photos, hot happy tears were running down my face.

I hadn’t known she was going to be there at Grace’s first concert with her husband, Steve.

You can imagine the moment; a quiet house, a lonely mama missing her firstborn daughter, and like a kiss from heaven the gift of words, music, and photos from a dear friend.

Heart bursts.

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And it didn’t end there.  On a whim or a prompting, I texted my brother Grace’s concert schedule for Saturday and as he was free for the 3pm performance he drove almost an hour to go see her.  He had a big delicious meal at a local Greek eatery and then went to campus, found our girl, and sat in the audience for her second concert.  He recorded every song for us and sent beautiful photos of the two of them after the show.

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For her third concert, her boyfriend Caleb was able to drive from New Jersey to attend.  They went out to watch the new Star Wars movie together afterwards.

So you can see, even though her parents couldn’t make it to her first Christmas concerts at college, we were overwhelmed by the blessings of a best friend, a wonderful brother, and her dear boyfriend who all stood in the gap.

(At about the 2 minute 15 second mark in the audio posted above you will hear Grace’s voice singing a descant part in the beautiful and mournful song “Lully Lulla Lullay”.  There is a video HERE.)

Our eyes are wide open to see God everywhere.

Yes.

 

 

 

life itself is grace

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(violets for thia) my friend

“Real love creates a generous openness.  Have you ever been so caught up in something that you just had to share it?  When you are walking alone in the woods, something takes your breath away–a sunset, a waterfall, the simple song of a bird–and you think, ‘If only my beloved were here’.  The best things in life were meant to be shared.”
The Sacred Romance, by John Eldredge

I do so love to share life with you here.  We had a full and happy weekend and I know you did, too.  Isn’t it grand?  Air to breath, faces to smile, good food to enjoy, family, friends, sports, hometown plays, children, grown ups, secrets?

beautiful things don’t ask for attention

open your eyes and notice (be on the look out!)

often life brings me to tears

lovely things are silent

Lovely things are silent….
Rosebuds waxing bloom,
Shadows stealing softly
In a darkened room;
Dragonflies on rushes,
Stars in dark blue skies;
Hatching, fuzzy birdlets,
Love in sweethearts’ eyes.

Lovely things are silent. . .
Rainbows in the sky,
Violets shedding fragrance,
A soft breeze waltzing by;
An apple tree in blossom,
Sunsets all aglow;
Moonlight on the water,
Falling soft white snow.

Lovely things are silent. . .
Foam clouds in the sky,
Hummingbirds at flowers,
Butterflies gliding by,
A spider’s dainty spinning,
Wild flowers on a hill.
I bow my head in silence
And in my heart I’m still.
~Betty Fox Solberg

It’s 44 degrees at our place this morning and there is a cheerful fire going in our wood pellet stove.  I’m still in my comfortable clothes, with thick socks and slippers on, too.  Jacob is getting ready for college and work, our chocolate lab is snoring at my feet.  Cat snoozing on the windowsill behind me.  The house is quiet and peaceful.

Outside purple and white violets are still in bloom.  Some of our town has lilacs open, but mine are not flowered yet.  I worry about the trees because last year’s gypsy moth eggs have hatched, there are tiny baby caterpillars everywhere.  Baby turtles were found on the bank of the pond this weekend, a miracle in miniature.

‘Tis the season of shivering as we watch our boys play little league baseball.

My husband preached yesterday in church.  The whole service did something to my heart; softened it.  Love was in the air.

Our daughter Grace is a senior in High school.  There is nervousness in the family because we know “last times” are happening and happening fast.  In the fall, our three oldest children will be going away to college.

This weekend was “the last school drama production”.  I cried and so did she.  Oh how she has loved being part of it all. . . .

Grandma and Grandpa came to watch her.  We had time for a ramble in the woods and a trip to town, too.  Ice cream cones, laughter, games of catch for the boys.

*  * * *

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory.”

“. . . .this happened (life itself?) so that the work of God might be displayed.”

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girls visiting before getting ready for the play on Saturday; Brittany and Grace

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our family pianist

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Grandma’s here!

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my mom, my friend

we enjoy the same things; home decorating, kitchen life, family, and nature, birding. . .

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I ran the baby turtle back to the house to show the children. A wonder and a marvel.

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thick grapevine growing up and into a tree

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marsh marigold, ferns growing

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crossing the stream with a handful of apple blossoms

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garden flowers

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granddaughter and her grandma

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the brothers were practicing baseball and grandpa couldn’t resist joining in

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I think ofttimes as the night draws nigh
Of an old house on the hill,
Of a yard all wide and blossom-starred
Where children played at will.  ~Author Unknown

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coffeeshop

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street bench

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little lady with her grandpa, eating chocolate

ice cream

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Grace’s last high school drama production:  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

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dancing in the middle of the stage with the boy in white shirt

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“Old bamboo” number

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scene at the beach song and dance

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very old inventors “The Roses of Success” song and dance (Grace is in the middle)

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teamwork song (second to end, next to her friend Jenna)

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“The Bombie Samba”

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final bows

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finale

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a touching tribute to their beloved director, as this was her last musical

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after the show on Saturday night

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lots of hugs

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with her proud Grandpa and Dad

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after the show on Sunday

many tears were shed

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Dad with his precious daughter; we are so proud of you, Grace.

Happy Monday friends!

thankful for:

friendship
love notes on the counter from an older brother
little hands touching my hair
questions from curious minds
my husband’s embrace
my husband going to the gas station to get me cream for my coffee this morning
a caring school nurse calling to tell me Sarah has a sore throat
purring cats
warmth inside when outside is shivery
guitar clips via text from Ethan, who is coming home this week
the start of a fresh new week; may God bless us everyone!

“And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.”  Isaiah 35:7

 

victorian christmas

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As promised, today I would like to show you the photos that I took at the Madrigal performance on Saturday.  The group sang at this old house-turned-museum, which was decorated to the hilt for Christmas.  The community had it open for the public to come in and enjoy, free of charge, with a donation box for those who could give a little.  There was also a small craft table for children to enjoy, a gift shop with reasonably priced Christmas items for sale, and refreshments.

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small table tree, covered in decorations

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paper dolls under the tree, artificial fruit bowl, ginger bread man, fruit garland.

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This was a cobweb Christmas game.  The children would each have their own color yarn to follow and as they went along the string they would come across small gifts to keep.

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the main Christmas tree, with examples of gifts all over the floor underneath.

The clothesline was hung in the house at Christmas so that the children could each hang their own pillowcase on it, which would have their name on it and be filled with gifts.

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The dining room…I loved the wallpaper in this room.

Garland and bows hung all around the tops of the walls.

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I have two fireplace mantles at my house so I love to see examples for how they can be beautified for the holidays.

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Now this is something that I could handle….simply placing pinecones along the windows.

The day after we visited the museum Sarah and I went in the woods to find some.

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Another lovely mantel.  So beautiful.  Sarah thought the oranges at the tops of the stockings looked funny.

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This was a Christmas idea for Grandmother, called a wonder ball.  The family would unwind a ball of yard and then wind it back up again with little gifts inside of it for her to discover as she used it up in her knitting.

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This pie plate was full of little gifts which were then covered over in bran.  Each person at the table on Christmas day would use the spoon to lift a surprise gift…

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This is a variation of the bran pie.  This one is covered in paper with strings to pull a gift out through a slit in the paper.

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“Festival decorations are not designed for close inspection but for general effect, and simple materials may be used with the most satisfactory results.”  Vicks Floral Guild 1879

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Sarah and I had time to explore the house and then it was time to listen to the Madrigals sing their lovely old fashioned Christmas hymns and carols.

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Grace signing “Silent Night”

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The audience had to stand through all the songs and I did feel sorry for the elderly folks.  The man standing by the mantel propped himself up by his fingertips on the mantel…..but he loved hearing the children sing and at each invitation from the director to “please join us in singing this song” his beautiful old baritone voice could be heard singing.

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Grace and I have been listening to a beautiful Christmas album by Elizabeth Mitchell while we work on a Nativity puzzle.  This is the song Grace wants to listen to over and over…….(the whole album is on youtube for you to enjoy)

 

I’m so homesick for Jesus and Heaven.  Isn’t it wonderful that this world is not our home….we’re just a passing through.  In the meantime, we can fix our eyes on Him and know He never leaves us alone.  He loves us so much.  At this time of year it’s comforting to snuggle up close to Him and thank Him for all He has done.

sarah and mama duet…piano and recorder

This is the most precious and adorable thing.  Sarah has been getting the recorder and playing along with me as I play hymns from the hymnbook.  I know without a doubt God loves it, too.  He loves Sarah and He loves a joyful “noise”……and I can’t help but smile big when I listen to her play.  I’m sure you won’t believe this but she’s never even had a music lesson!  And she’s only five years old!

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Refrain:
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

words by Frederick M. Lehman

pictures of mostly kitchen doings

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My husband arrived back from his business trip safe and sound.  All is well.

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As soon as the sunflower was done blooming a smart goldfinch began eating the seeds from it.  I took a picture of it through the kitchen window this morning, through glass and screen.

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Listening to this song over and over and dancing as I cook.  Cute, happy song from Jacob’s H.S. graduation.

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Made a blueberry/blackberry coffee cake, Grandma’s recipe:

1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 350.  In a mixing bowl shortening and sugar together, add egg and beat until fluffy.  Mix in the dry ingredients alternating with the milk.  Spread in a greased and floured 11 by 7 inch pan or two 9 inch pans.  Sprinkle the top with 2 cups of blueberries.

Crumb topping:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

Mix together with a pastry blender or a fork until crumbly and sprinkle on top of the berries.  Bake for 30-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

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I like making recipes that my Grandma made when she was my age, and older.  I think about her and feel like we are connected.

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Amish Macaroni Salad recipe here.  (I made as written except reduced sugar to 1/4 of a cup.)

First photo of Rich, Sarah and Seth was from last night.  All the rest of the photos were taken by me this morning.

Happy Thursday!  (I love you!)