And Then There was 2020

Is it Tuesday? Or Wednesday? 24th? 26th?
Who would know? The days have all run together in a big, long, heap of a week.
Friday?! Praise Jesus.

3-20 (4)

It wasn’t long ago I was wishing for time to slow down.
It wasn’t long ago I was wishing to stay home more.
It wasn’t long ago I bemoaned all the running to and fro.
And lo, it hath happened!

3-20 (3)

Yes, we are staying at home, but no I don’t feel like I have any extra time. I am now Mom and school teacher, plus all the usual, and I have been made aware of how very much I love school teachers. God bless you people!

One thing I have figured out though, at the end of a stressful day of teaching, a teacher gets to send the students home to the parents.
What does a home school mom do with them when a stressful day of school is over?
Just switch from Mom-teaching to original “Mooooommm-ing.”

3-20 (1)

But we will survive.
And not just survive, but live and thrive and use this time for good.
Who am I if I cannot bring glory to God in everything?

We are prone to engrave our trials in marble and write our blessings on sand.
Charles Spurgeon.

Prior to quarantine, we spent our time…

3-20 (14)
Deep in the throes of remodeling.
If you haven’t remodeled any part of your house, just sit still and quietly trust me that it is no picnic. It.never.ends. The end.

We added a room to the back of the house that is now the living room, the old living room was then turned into the dining room and next, we proceeded to rip out the kitchen and move it to the garage while a new kitchen is being installed, all the while, none of these rooms are completely finished, but we live in them all. Wow, that sounds nice and simple written in one long run-on sentence. Divide that into days and weeks and months and it will be about right.

3-20 (13)
Oh, and we are also finishing three rooms above the garage.
I thought I would be painting for years. Stiiiiiiiiiiillllllllll not done.

3-20 (2)
But once again, there are worse things.
I have all the luxuries, except a dishwasher, and for that inconvenience, I have children. (insert mucho laughter here)
They have always been spoiled with a dishwasher so this is actually very good for all of us. It brings back many memories of washing dishes when I was a kid.
Mom, I’m sorry I made this process so painful for you.

Other things that happened…

3-20 (5)
For a boy, having the kitchen in the garage is almost a dream come true. You grab food, back the car out, shoot some hoops, bike a circle around the island for an orange, and then rollerblade right over past the cookie box. Next, you bribe your sister into a round of 4-square, then race her on the scooter, all the while you are still in the garage where Mom liked to send you for her peace of mind, but now she has to be out here with you!

3-20 (8)
One little girl turned seven.
Tell me how?
(Here you may insert all the sappy Mom thoughts
about her baby growing up so quickly)
She was almost sick on her birthday and then home from school sick the two days following.

3-20 (15)
Madison whipped up some macrons one day.
They had caramel in the middle.
I won’t ever tell how many I ate.

3-20 (9)
She made a birthday cake for a fish-loving little boy.
All the fish were chocolate and quite edible.

She has been battling Lyme and a few other autoimmune diseases and hasn’t been baking as much she would like this winter.

3-20 (7)
Reagan and her team won 2nd place in their division at Ohio Valley Bible Quizzing.
She worked long and hard for it and now knows 7 chapters in John.

— — — — — —
We took a week and celebrated Spring Break in FL.
Only to come home and be on permanent break from school.

3-20 (10)

It was a good week.
The kids love to go feed Aunt Sandy’s neighbor Donkey.

3-20 (12)

We played Frisbee at the beach one night, or some of us did and some of us just watched. A lady watching offered to take our photo. Okay, so maybe it was after she watched this mom’s feeble attempts to take a family selfie.

I am enjoying this stage of life. They are all still at home, all able to fend for themselves, and we have so much fun together.

3-20 (11)

When you are seven this is called having the world by the tail.

— — — — — —
3-4-20
And in the middle of all of this, Eric and I celebrate 20 years of being married.
The day we got married, 20 years seemed a long, long way off into the future.
I’m not sure how it got here so fast, but it sure didn’t seem like 20 years.

Indeed, I have much to be grateful for.

Grateful

Each November a grateful feeling
pulls and tugs one thought after another
from us, prompting a spirit of thanksgiving.
Large things, small moments,
family, friends, and food aplenty,
our list goes on and on.

My mind wanders in circles,
thinking, remembering, and thanking.

I wandered across the beautiful times in life,
easy to be grateful, so much to love.
Life was clear skies, sunny days,
the perfect times to be alive.

I wander through the cloudy days,
a little foggy to remember
the times of trials and challenges.
Life struggled to be full of sunshine,
but there were still
so many things to be thankful for,
even in the days of gray.

Still farther I ventured,
deeper into the darkness.
Before me loomed the hard days,
full of tears, heartache, and pain.
Was there anything in those days
to be grateful for?

There were times my faith was stretched
to the point of snapping and breaking.
But other times faith grew.
It was small moments, little drops of hope,
God planting tiny seeds, urging me
to keep believing His promises.

Days of turmoil felt endless,
restless, sleepless nights filled with anxiety.
Yet in the midst of them all,
a quiet peace was always below the surface.
His whispers were so gentle
and a hopeful hush would fill my heart.

There were prayerless days,
empty, hollow and still.
There were days of shouted words,
hurled at the open skies.
But always I came,
circling back to Him with tearful prayers,
pleading for forgiveness and answers.
His voice, a quiet whisper on the wind,
spoke deeply to my heart,
assuring me of His presence
even when I felt Him least.

My strength was depleted,
I lie prone and helpless, unable.
God in His great mercy
lifted me up and walked me
through day after day after day.
Never did He leave my side,
always my support and my strong arm.
When I was unable, He was able.

Those dark and heavy days
taught me to love unconditionally,
to hold family tight and enjoy.
They showed the beauty of Jesus
in the body of believers.
I reflected, remembering good,
finding laughter in memories,
and reveling in the gifts
I had been given.
In the quiet stillness, I learned
God is trustworthy, faithful,
and a dependable source of strength.

The dark valleys were not easy.
I was stretched and tried,
and slowly but surely my faith grew.
My heart knew greater dimensions,
fears were conquered
and challenges overcome with His help.

Am I grateful for the dark days?
I am thankful for the things I learned,
for new truths, a closer walk,
deeper communion,
and eyes that see the world
in a new light.
Even in the darkest times,
there are tiny specks of light,
just enough to be thankful for
and just enough grace for today.

20191020_162118

Octoberish

Are you a procrastinator? Or would it sound better to say you are one who prefers to defer or delay action? That doesn’t sound too bad, really. It is good to think things through before jumping into something, correct?

I am unsure if I fit into the above description or not. Sometimes perhaps, but not always, for sure. If it is something that needs to be done, if it has a deadline of sorts, I will get it done on time. If it is something that I roll around in my mind, that would be good to do, in due time I will accomplish this said thing. If it is a project that I dislike, like painting, I’ll put it off until Jesus comes back to rescue me.

So am I a procrastinator? I don’t know. Why am I asking? Because I’ve been thinking about it and wondering.

11-19 (15)

October showed off beautifully here and I do love a good October. If I have to endure the next five dreary months, I need a good and beautiful fall to get me through winter.

11-19 (14)

October used to be my favorite time of the year, but less so the last few. I choose to find joy even amid the heaviness that it brings.

__________________

11-19 (2)

Our church went camping, well we call it church camp, but it is technically not camping but very technically a good time anyway.  They had a big Candyland game for the kids and I got to help! It was fun.

11-19 (4)

They played a lot of volleyball. Emphasis on “they” because it sure wasn’t me.

11-19 (5)

This is an interesting thing I challenge you to do with your church sometime. Everyone was supposed to bring a photo of themselves from their toddler years. No names attached, they were hung here. It was a lot of fun to look through them and play the guessing game. Mine was no fun, everyone knew who I was because they said it looked just like all three of my girls, none of whom look like each other.

_____________________________

11-19 (7)

Do you know your neighbors? We happened to be related to or go to church with a large percentage of ours but there are some we see only once a year at the neighborhood bean supper.  Mr. Gary invites everyone to bring a can of beans to dump in his big black pot, any kind will do, and he’ll grill hotdogs. You gather up whatever else you want to share and we have a picnic of beans, hot dogs and good fellowship.
Try it with the people around you.
Or move to our neighborhood.
Either one will work for a good time.

___________________

11-19 (12)

We went to IN on the coldest weekend in October and roasted hot dogs with the gang.
Grandpa had the grand idea of everyone roasting their own lunch. It sounded like a good idea. There were a few burnt, a few cold, a few dirty, and a few good ones, but everyone had fun.

11-19 (13)

Are you a marshmallow fan? Tell me if you are a mom and I’ll tell you if you are a fan of roasted messes. But they love them, so we let them.

11-19 (11)

I was excited to read through this cookbook while I was there. I sent it to Mom when it came out and wanted to see it for myself after hearing her good reviews on it.
My advice, go to Amazon and buy one. It is beautiful and everything in it is worth making.

____________________

11-19 (1)

If you stop in here, chances are you will get just a bit of drywall dust on you from somewhere in the house. We are under construction.

We added a room to the back of the house which will be the new living room and it will spill into the old dining room and the old living room will be the new dining room. Did ya follow all that?
It’s not a just a Saturday night project, it’s an every night project. One of these days, it will all be done… but will it? I always think if you are a homeowner there is always one more thing waiting to be done.

______________

11-19 (6)

We took a cake to the church carry in last week, not this one but another kind, and not one person asked if I made it.  hmmm  Wonder why they always think Madison bakes all the things.  – – Because she does.

11-19 (17)

Madison and her friend Emily hosted a girls evening on our front porch. It was beautiful. It made me want to be one of the girls, minus sitting on the floor, of course.
I taught the youth girl’s Sunday school class the last year and enjoyed spending time with them very much. They’ve taught me a lot.

____________________

11-19 (9)

“The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and to be stretched large by them. How much sorrow can I hold? That’s how much gratitude I can give. If I carry only grief, I’ll bend toward cynicism and despair. If I have only gratitude, I’ll become saccharine and won’t develop much compassion for other people’s suffering. Grief keeps the heart fluid and soft, which helps make compassion possible.”
Francis Weller

Four Years

Autumn’s beauty gives way to Winter’s chill,
Winter eventually thaws to Spring.
Spring slowly warms to Summer,
and Summer cools to Autumn’s crisp.
The changing of the seasons never cease,
each takes a turn, another year gone.

Another year of missing you each day.
Another 365 days of wondering;
what do the glories of heaven look like,
the streets of gold, the crystal river of life?
Do the walls of jasper glisten,
and the gates of pearl shine?
What does it feel like to be Home,
to gather with Jesus and the redeemed?
Another year of longing to join you in song,
singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” around the throne.

Family (107)

Four years ago when you left us,
we gathered to mourn, to grieve,
and remember the life you lived.
Over and over those days
Isaiah 41:10 played across the screen.
“Fear not, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed,
for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you,
I will uphold you
with my righteous right hand.”

And true to His word,
He has done this for us.
On the darkest of nights,
He was with us in our fears.
In the deepest valleys of grief,
He sustained and strengthened us.
His strong right arm upheld us
when we were weak and worn.
We learned to lean on Him,
to trust his unfailing grace every day.

Four years of walking this road,
and not a day has gone by
that Jesus has not walked with us.
Our faith and trust have grown stronger,
we know His Word to be true,
He is the strength He promised to be.

6-15 (10)

But still, we long for more,
every day we hope, waiting patiently.
We long for the days of grief to end
and our tears be wiped away.
We long for the day we will hear Him say,
“Well done, my child, welcome home!”

Tris, one day we’ll see you face to face,
one day we’ll praise His name together.
Until then, we miss you,
we watch and wait with longing,
walking by faith, until then.

IMG_8790

See you in the morning.

Drink in the Wonder

The smallest things in life can squeeze your heart the most.

Ordinary things take on a new light when seen through eyes of gratitude.

Observe the little things and watch them turn into something amazing.

Savor the moments. Sit and drink it in. Treasure today.

Sept (2)
See life through the eyes of a child. Drink in the wonder.
Did you know a worm can become a candy cane?
Enjoy the laughter, the chattering long stories, and even the arguing.
They are only this age once, it won’t last forever.

Sept (11)
Take the time to sit with family, listen to them, love them, make the most of the days with them. Overlook their faults and shortcomings, you have some too, by the way. Just love them because they are your people.

Sept (14)

Bless someone.
A man behind me in line paid for my pizza one night. It left me sputtering thank yous and “I’ll pass it on.” He smiled. I smiled. Another man smiled. The clerk was just happy to take his money since I had come up lacking.
Now it’s my turn to be a blessing to someone else and see them smile.

Sept (16)

Take a photo of the morning chaos that is breakfast, packing lunches, pulling on clothes, scrubbing faces and teeth, pushing and willing them out the door in peace.
One day it will be but a memory.

Sept (10)

Breathe in the smell of the flower passed from one woman’s garden to the next, carefully treasured flowers that speak of life and love.
Stop and enjoy the leaves turning a beautiful hue, the green becoming golden, and the whisper of the voice of the wind. It is life.

Sept (15)

Raise your hands to Jesus. Whisper thank you for all your treasures, the people in your life, the moments you’ve been gifted today.

_ _ _ _

Today as we watch and wait with bated breath, a little boy is slipping from his Mama’s arms into the arms of Jesus. Whisper a prayer for their hurting hearts and ask Jesus to hold them close.