Today!

Today is my birthday.
Today I am privileged. I have things many do not have, privileges many wish for and today I have chosen to be thankful for all of these things.

I am staying home all day, a place I love and something I love to do. I have the privilege of spending the day with my four children. These children of which I speak do not always get along so very well, but how can I complain? Some people only wish for children to hear pestering each other and arguing. Now I did send these children to pick raspberries for a few minutes of peace and quiet, lest you think I am supermom.

My husband is home from a week of fishing and he is working in the office today. I had the privilege of making lunch for him and the kids, something some ladies long for the chance to do, just one more time.

I was also able to clean up the house, sweep and mop the floor and watch Madison bake my birthday cake and plan supper. Today my laundry was washed in my new laundry room, so much fun. The room isn’t finished but the washer had to be moved out there last night due to a water leak. Who cares if it isn’t done, I have a laundry room.

And I am thankful for friends! So many friends wishing me a happy birthday, showing me they care. I am so rich in this area of life while some people long for just one friend.

I am thankful for all these things today, to live another ordinary day, to celebrate another year in an ordinary way. Not everyone has this privilege.

~~~

June was crazy busy.
I had two weddings to photograph, two weekends in a row and both were in IN. Eric then left for the North with a fishing pole and we stayed at Grandma’s for awhile. I think my family had enough of us to last them awhile.

June 17 (1)

Who among you is able to photograph this many kiddos and get them all to look and smile? Not me. You can see my attempt in the bottom photo. The top picture was Sarita, lining them up by age.

June 17 (2)

The kids just had a blast playing together, or at least my kids did.

June 17 (3)

Ice cream. We love ice cream. Tris was especially a fan of ice cream, all hours, any kind, big bowls full or even right out of the bucket. We had the ice cream machine again and used it about 3 or 4 times a day. The kids would come running and line up in a fighting mess to pull the lever and make themselves a cone. Good times, good memories and I’m sure Tris was smiling.

Madison had a birthday while we were at Grandma’s.

June 17 (9)

And we celebrated Miss Aleigha’s birthday a week early.
I found the perfect little gift for her this year.
Do you recognize this family?

June 17 (7)

We went swimming one day and taught the city-slicker children that a pond is just as good as a pool. Maybe even better if they would just admit it.
On the right, Grant was spraying Libby with his water blaster and she loved it. She would stay right there and wait for him to come back with another load of water.

June 17 (12)

Little people chasing fireflies in Grandma’s garden.
On a side note, I need some lessons on gardening from my mother.

June 17 (13)

This cat is thee most patience cat I have ever seen! The kids can do anything to her and she seems to love it. Grant named her Sandy-Clete. ? 🙂

June 17 (15)

June 17 (16)

We were happy to spend Father’s Day with this man. He has invested hours and hours into our lives and now he is doing the same for his grandchildren.

June 17 (10)

Tys cleaned up Tris’ old truck.

Junse 17 (17)

And while we were busy at Grandma’s, he kept himself entertained tossing a line in the water and reeling it in. It is beyond my comprehension that this could be called fun, but he claims it is.

~~~

Now my friends, I am off to sit on my porch and enjoy this beautiful, sunshiny day while ignoring the spider webs. Why don’t you do the same?

A Galaxy

Right now it seems that every way you turn there are hurting people. People suffering losses, heartache, dealing with fears, worry for the future and so much more.
My heart goes out to you but I also want you to know you are not alone. It may feel as if you are lost alone in the wilderness and no one understands, but fear not, God is watching out for you. He is prompting and sending his messengers to aid you, care for you and assure you of his love. There are times they will tell you they’ve prayed but other times you may never know who all whispered a prayer for you. Just rest assured, you are not alone in this.

 

A Galaxy

The night is so dark.
The moon, but a thin rim.
Only a few stars twinkle.
A cloud passes over.
I lie and look and wonder.
How far does it go?
What is hidden beyond the dark?
What is just out of my view?
I see but such a small space,
a few tiny stars
and one sliver of moon.
What does the realm around me hold?
What is spread across the sky?
What beauty might my eyes behold
if I could only see past the dark?

This road I walk
so dark and lonely.
I look all around
and see nothing but pain.
The darkness threatens to choke me,
sadness, loneliness, and grief
are my companions.
I see only the rough road,
the weariness of traveling it.
Tears fill my eyes
as the pain envelopes my soul.

Yet I wonder,
what is beyond my peripheral vision
along this lonely road?
What is outside the scope of my sight?
What are the scenes God orchestrates
behind the curtains of heaven?
Of people set in motion,
of things set in place,
circumstances long foretold,
just for me.

I wonder if only I could see,
what a sight I might behold.
Knees bent low in prayer,
care-filled thoughts ascending.
Angels descending to lend
strength for my journey,
a hand for the rough of the road.
Neighbors and friends
answering God’s prompting
and whispering prayer late at night.
The Spirit of Comfort descending,
wrapping arms of love around me.
Fellow travelers around
who have traversed this pain,
stop and walk along side,
offering encouraging words.
All just for me.

My view is so small,
so wrapped around me.
How many times do I forget
what is out past my sight,
what is hidden beyond the darkness?
Not just one star or two twinkling,
but a galaxy wild and bright.
And out past those millions,
is Jesus who stands
at the right hand of his Father
interceding for me.
He sends out his Spirit
to prompt and move,
all working on my behalf.
And far beyond my imagination
are plans already in place
by the Father
to carry me through.

I don’t travel this road alone.
I have a galaxy around me,
supporting me.
And so do you.

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May Craziness

Things are a bit wild right now with too much happening, as my neighbor likes to say, it is unbelievable. I would like to think it will slow to the speed of Herbert the Snail once June hits, but alas, one look at the calendar tells me it is not so.

We started school two weeks late last fall so it pushed us to the end of May this Spring. Tomorrow. Tomorrow it ends. I am so ready for this but sometimes I fear for my sanity. I told my tribe they have a few days to relax and then their Taskmaster Mother is going to emerge and the work will begin. For some reason, they didn’t seem too worried. We’ll see.

~~~

I still find time to snap a few photos here and there, mainly with my phone these days, so, a picture post it is. It’s been a work in progress over the last few weeks.

May 2017 (1)

As in years past, the animal loving teacher of the 1st and 2nd grade helped her students hatch a batch of chicks. Of course, these babies were the talk of the town and they just loved to play with them. All too soon there was a note saying the chicks need homes.

Well, remembering previous experiences around this farm woods, this Mother was a mean one and did not allow her son to bring his precious little chick along home. The chick was sold to the highest bidder, or rather they drew lots for his feathers, and I think Matt was the lucky winner. Or maybe it was Heidi. I can’t remember.

If you are wondering about previous experiences, go here and here for the Duck stories.

May 2017 (2)

We had a fundraiser breakfast at school one Saturday.
The sheer amount of sweets could have put someone into a sugar coma.
But they were so gooooood. All you Trim Healthy Mamas just close your eyes.

May 2017 (3)

The same day was a beautiful wedding!
These old doors! love!

May 2017 (9)

Mother’s Day happened and we had visitors from the south so lunch together was in order. These little girls were fascinated with little Miss rolly-pollie because our baby selection is rather slim in the fam.

May 2017 (4)

~~~

May 2017 (5)

One day I got a text asking if I was home for the day… a few hours later lunch was dropped off for us.  A friend just wanted to let me know she had not forgotten my loss of Tris. It was a beautiful gesture and warmed my heart in ways she has no idea!
Thank you!

Do something for someone today to let them know you care.
Call. Text. Send a card.

May 2017 (7)

We stop right on the road for a good picture sometimes!

May 2017 (8)

This hair. every morning.
On Instagram I wrote:
When I hear ladies say they wish their hair had more volume, I’m assuming this is what they mean. 1980 called and wants its hair back.”

May 2017 (10)

We spent a day watching track and field at the school. I did none of the running/jumping activities but felt I could be sore just for watching them.

May 2017 (12)

Last night the kids performed a mid-century play and did a fabulous job!

The last time there was a school play a comment was overheard around here.
“I wonder if anyone has ever done a play about Adam and Eve?”
Minimal effort needed for the costumes with this idea.  😀

May 2017 (6)

When you stand in front of the paint chips too long she says,
“Mom, just paint the whole house pink!”

Now I am going to get back to kicking rolling my paint can around the kitchen in an effort to mix the paint. At some point, I actually need to apply the paint but for now mixing it well sounds like a good idea.

A Mother’s Day Apology

Dear Mom, this Mother’s day I would like to apologize.
There are so many things I need to apologize for now that I have children of my own. I’m so sorry about these things, but why on earth did you not tell me this stuff back then so I would see the error of my ways and be less likely to encounter it these days?

June 82

I’m sorry for fussing about how close a sibling was sitting in the backseat of the car. There were only 3 of us back there, plenty of room, I now know. I don’t know why it mattered if they were sitting a half inch on my side of the seam or touching my dress.

I’m sorry for picking petty arguments with one of the brothers just because I was bored. I know your brain was probably on overload after getting us all ready for church on time and then I had to go and pester one of them all the way to church. And the crying, I’m sorry for all the crying when he would then turn around and pinch me. It was really my own fault, my apologies.

I’m sorry for hiding in the bathroom with my book and pretending I didn’t hear you call, even when you were right outside the door. I know now I should have been at your beck and call waiting for another job.

I’m sorry for making the lunch dishes take h-o-u-r-s with my piddling around. If only I had listened and just hurried to get them done so I could go play, like you suggested. Instead, I whined, fussed and complained about the horridness of the job and how long it was taking. I humbly apologize and every time my children do this with their modern day dishwasher, I repent again.

Grandma chicken
I am also sorry for ruining every photo you have of me.
This must have been when you had to cut the gum out of my hair!

I am deeply contrite for all the times I fussed, whined, complained or wailed about my hair and my clothes. ( although it appears ^^ as if I had a just reason) I should have appreciated the fact that you combed my hair every morning and had nice clean clothing available for me. But no-o-o-o, instead my hair were too tight or too loose, too high or too low and if none of the above, then they pulled up front or felt weird in the back or just looked ugly that day. When I finally forgot about my hair, then my clothes weren’t right. The socks were itchy, they were tight or too loose, the toes of the socks didn’t fit right inside the shoe and I hated how the knee socks felt behind my knee. The dress was either too long or short, the sleeves pinched, the elastic was twisted, I didn’t like the color, or it just didn’t f-e-e-l right. And my shoes, they were so old and floppy, too cold or hot, too tight or loose and not as cool as my friend’s. Then, of course, the Velcro straps didn’t close tight enough or the ties were just not, not, not, quite right. I apologize for crying when the lace loops were not the same length. I am so sorry. All of this and more has come back for me.

TN-47

And eating, I’m really sorry about not eating everything you put on my plate without fussing. I know it was all good and healthy for me and I should have just happily eaten away. I now realize how many hours you put into a meal and then to have me sit there and say I don’t like it, well, I really shouldn’t have. Cook for me again and I promise to eat it all without complaining.

I humbly ask your forgiveness for all the wailing that occurred when it was time to pick up toys. As I recall, I was never the one who dumped the toy box, or the Legos or spread the doll clothes all over the room. The mere thought of picking up one toy every five minutes produced copious amounts of tears and now I do regret that. I should have grabbed handfuls and been done in five minutes instead of dragging it out for hours.

kids games

I cringe thinking about all the glares and snappy remarks, and even pinches and hits, over my sibling’s noises, such as chewing, tapping, humming or the kicking of my chair. My bad, I should have just let it slide, especially when they would make a face from across the table, put their foot on the bar below where my foot was really supposed to be or patted my shoulder on their way passed. So many regrets.

And one really big one that I need to apologize for, although I’m not sure if it should be to you or Dad because I learned it from him. The whistling, I am so sorry for all the hours I spent in your hearing trying to learn to whistle. It pains me to recall this as I listen to mine try to develop this trait.

Kids (2)

Apologetically I say this, but I recall sending younger siblings in to ask permission for something because I was quite sure you would give me a job and them a yes for our proposed mission. I’m sure there was work I could have helped with instead of sneaking off to the creek, cabin or the barn to avoid it.

I’m sorry for the grudging way I help with the jobs I hated, like butchering chickens. I should have been happy, cheerful and ready to work. I also apologize for all the grumbling when you made me re-do a job so it would be done right. I vividly remember having to wash the car three times to get it completely clean. Why didn’t you tell me you were teaching me a good lesson for later in life?

Sami wash

And while I’m at it, I really should apologize for the bad attitude about working in the turkey barn, but I can’t because I still feel that way.

This one I do not remember, but I am sure it happened at some point in time. I am sorry for not wanting to take a nap. Why ever did I fight with you about something that now looks so wonderful? I promise to take enough now to make up for all the days I didn’t want one back then.

Why didn’t you explain this to me back then and warn me that a better behavior would be in order because having children of my own would cause a repeat of my childhood actions and I would regret so very many things? Should I prompt my children to read this in hopes of them not repeating this with their children? Or shall I just let them deal with it when their time comes?

Mom & I

I am deeply indebted to you for all you have done for me. Thank you, Mom, for loving me so well and putting such a huge effort forth in teaching and training me as a child. I have come a long way because of your efforts. at least I hope.

 I love you.

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Spring Days

The dogwoods are blooming, tree buds are opening, and flowers are showing up overnight. My ferns are starting to unfurl and things that I have no name for are popping up in the flower beds. We here at the little house in the little woods are quite happy to see that nature is closing in around us and we are no longer able to see the road. All that to mean, the people on the road are no longer able to see us!

April was a triple hitter with things happening, but May is going to knock it right out of the ballpark. I don’t know if my brain will be able to keep up with my body. Sadly, June is shaping up to look exactly the same. Slow, lazy summer, where art thou?

We were in IN for Easter.
It was a good weekend and we enjoyed spending time with family again, but we all missed Tris. There is just a big empty spot in all of our hearts now. Everything we do reminds us of how much he would have liked it or something he would have said or done.

I was thinking about Easter, the resurrection, our situation and what this day represents for those who have lost a loved one. Because of this resurrection, we have hope and believe me when I say hope is a beautiful thing

Grandma and Grandpa put a little cabin back in the woods, “for the grandkids'” they said, but we all like to spend time back there. We roasted hotdogs for lunch on Saturday.
And I heard you thinking the word redneck. What in the world would make you think that? Perish the thought! 😛

This little guy can’t wait for the day he can drive his Dad’s jeep.
The rest of us can hardly wait either because we have a good feeling about him.

Of course, there was a lot of this.
Big guys teaching the little guys.

~~~

This guy has been dreaming of ball games day and night. He will beg and plead endlessly for someone to play with him.

Once upon a time, I baked bread frequently… lately, um, not so much. The other week Eric found a big batch of morel mushrooms so I decided to make some fresh bread to go with them. I forgot how good it is.

Do not take this girl to a store such as this. If given permission she would empty your wallet before you could turn around.

~~~

These girls, when their Sunday school teacher’s birthday was coming up, they planned a party to surprise her. Or maybe it was just an excuse for them to have a party.

Sadly the night turned quite chilly but they wrapped up and had a good time.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about making the dessert with my in-house baker.

~~~

Our neighbors have a rooster.
The little chicken living here has learned to call to him and he will often answer.

~~~~
A few questions:

If you were painting a mudroom and laundry room, what color would you paint?
What do you have, or wish to have, in either of those rooms that is most important?
What is a good organization system in the mudroom so it doesn’t look like a shoe store just threw up?
And any other good things about either of these rooms?

It was Me

They led Him down to Calvary,
broken, bruised and wounded.
He was beaten and scourged,
whipped by their cold, calloused hand.
Despised and rejected by them,
He was taken as a lamb to the slaughter.
They openly mocked and mistreated
and in oppression and affliction,
He quietly bore the pain of their grief.
The crowd roared with harshness,
“Crucify! Crucify!” yet no man came to His side.
In innocence He bore sins and sorrows,
the cross weighed heavy on his back.
He was nailed, pierced and crushed,
and then in agony, He gave up the ghost.

We read and observe,
we recount the old words,
we pause and we wonder,
“Just how could it be?”
Where was their heart,
were they really that course,
how blind were their eyes
to the Man they led to the cross?

And I think, “What of me?”
Had I been standing there,
what might my reaction have been?
Oh, I never would have marched,
and called, “Crucify this man!”
how appalling and bitter the thought.

But today comes to mind,
and my head drops with shame,
do my actions still crucify him?
Am I beating and kicking His bruises and scars,
despising and calling out names?

Do dark, ugly sins, hidden down deep,
keep pushing the thorns in His skull?
Is it my hammer of ill-will, I harbor inside,
pounding the blows to the nails?
What of my attitude, small though it is,
is it piercing the sword in His side?
My lack of devotion, my heart less than contrite,
is it whipping and scourging his back?
Does His head hang with shame while He cries,
over the pride in my actions and words?
Unforgiveness, bitterness, and so much more,
am I crushing him low with my blows?
Am I swinging the whip and calling the names,
with my heart filled with mire and deceit?
Do I crucify Him over and over again
and yet think I would not do the same?

“Jesus!” I cry, as I kneel at His feet,
“Forgive me, forgive me today!
Forgive me for swinging that long, brutal whip,
while I accused others of causing your pain.
You hung on the cross with your head bending low,
and it was my eyes you saw staring back.
It was my sins you bore and my ugly, dark heart,
when you cried, ‘Father forgive, they don’t know!”
Then with love in his eyes, He stretched forth his hand,
and held mine with forgiveness and grace.

Thank you for loving me in my lowest of low,
for staying and taking the blame.
Thank you for walking that long, lonely road,
for dying that slow painful death.
Thank you for rising and setting me free,
Hallelujah, you’re coming again.

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Things I Learned on Vacation

Vacation [vāˈkāSH(ə)n] noun: a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday.

  • There is no such thing as the word ‘rest’ for the Mom while on vacation.

Everyone still needs all the things they needed before. Everyone still says “mom” and many more times than need be. All we did was leave the house and drive many hours to keep doing most of the things we did here.

  • While on vacation the father of the tribe does more than he is given credit for.

When he gets sick and spends a day in bed and another day recovering, you quickly realize how much weight he pulls.

  • Watching your kids learn about history is fun.

I am not a big history lover like their Father. He could stand in a museum and read for hours. I, on the other hand, get all twitching and itchy after 10 minutes of reading. The kids were highly intrigued with the Titanic and came away with lots of new information.
They were especially interested in this Captian and his story.

  • Cell phone addiction is a serious problem and some people are in need of rehab.

We spent a few days at an indoor water park and the kids loved it. I mainly spent my time people watching and standing in the shallow water keeping an eye on Kennedy.
I knew that people are addicted to their phones, but this took it to a whole new level. Seriously, people could not put their phones away to swim! They had them around their necks in a waterproof case or just carried them in their hand while they swam. (or tried to swim) Some of the parents carried theirs but for the most part, it was the teenagers and a few younger kids.
I overheard a conversation and I assumed it was a mom and her son. She was trying to get him to put his phone in her bag while he went into the water. He had all the attitude in the world as stated that he would not be putting his phone down for anything, not even swimming. As I said, rehab!

  • One little boy can do a lot of damage to some wings.
  • It takes a lotta, lotta food to feed this tribe when you eat out!
  • Little things can create great arguments.
    Like pushing the elevator buttons.
  • When the youngest of the clan calls from the backseat of the van and says she doesn’t feel good … you better MOVE! Now! Enough said on that subject.

  • Although it might not bother me in the least,
    fear of heights is a very real thing for some people.

This fear was much to the amusement of the other person on the lift with her.
We took the tram and then the lift to the top of the mountain. One of the girls had a much harder time than the other one. I’m all like, “Just close your eyes and don’t look around.” I was informed that doesn’t work because your mind is still working.

  • You know Spring has arrived when little flowers appear in little hands.
    (and you can’t resist those eyes.)
  • TN has some wicked pollen and northern people get attacked quite viciously.
  • I should probably not move to an area with a high tourist count. I would have to forever and always be repenting for swearing in traffic.

  • You take yourself (and your brain) along on vacation.

There is nothing like leaving it all behind, forgetting and not thinking about stuff. I sat in the big rocking chair on the back porch of the cabin with a coffee cup and contemplated life for a long time. The good, the bad and the ugly that has come my way.

Life keeps moving, changing, the words of my story keep flowing, page after page. There are pages written that bring laughter, when I can smile and say, “God is good!”

But when the paragraphs of fiery trials are written, what is my response? Do I want to rip that page out of my story and scream “No! Why?” Do I constantly want to grab the pen and reword it to suit me?

I can ask “Why?” all day long, but generally, there is no answer to that question. Instead, I often hear three quiet words from Him, “For My glory!” When the pages with trials are being written, am I looking for ways to bring glory to God in the midst of it or am I fighting, kicking and still asking why?

Am I allowing Him to write my story for His glory?
I cannot change what happened, but I can control my response.
It’s ugly, I don’t like this part of the story, but am I willing to say,
“Use me, for your glory!”

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