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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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

The Birthday

Once upon a month or more ago, I had a birthday.  Since it was a monumental birthday of sorts, my family decided a celebration was in order. We rented a house in Hocking Hills and had a grand weekend together.

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We hiked a little on Friday and some more on Saturday. Now, don’t imagine some kind of backpack mountain type hiking, no, that is not what I would choose for a birthday. This was fun and easy hiking, just my speed, one where the grandmas and kids could keep up well. In the name of honesty, we were probably pulling the reigns back on the kids most of the time.

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The scenery was so beautiful. There were so many things for boys to climb on, peer over and try out. There were also too many moments for the moms to gasp a little and reach to pull them farther from the edge.

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“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” —Jane Howard

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There was so much to do around the house that the kids stayed busy all the time we were there, which is always a good thing. It was also fun to sit and hash all the things with loud talking and big opinions. And eating too, of course, yes, we ate very well.

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My handcrafted birthday gift from my brother.
It is still sitting here looking at me today. I haven’t gotten up the nerve to use it yet. I don’t want to ruin it but I also wouldn’t mind keeping all of my fingertips attached.

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Yes, it was hot, why do you ask? Every square inch of shade was gobbled up.

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And in the end, I felt like Max!
After each place we went, another group would go back to the house. I decided I might be oldish, but I’m not quitting yet. I hiked them all except the last one. Only the men and two of the boys went to the last place and let me tell you, it felt pretty good to go home and collapse for a siesta.

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Some clowns showed up for a jolly good time to celebrate the birthday girls.

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This was our first weekend to go somewhere and do something like this without Tris. We talked about him often, discussed what he would have been doing, and thought about him all the time. It was bittersweet. I’m glad we are still a family, we still love doing things together, but we’ll always and forever be missing one.

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And at the last minute, when everything was packed up to go home, we thought about the ice cream still in the freezer. Grandpa says you should never wast ice cream, so they all got a spoon and dug in.

Life ebbs and flows, people around you come and go, but family is forever.

“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.” – Anonymous

A Hunting Saga

And so it was in the eleventh month of the year,
when the trees of the field had lost their leaves
and the harvest was gathered and stored,
a sudden illness of fever overtook mankind once more.
Lo, many were the bows, guns, and knives gathered
and much scheming of men did abound.

And all the swift-footed creatures of the forest
quieted themselves and turned their heads.
Then, lifting their noses they did sniff the air
and swiftly run for refuge and safety
from the cunning hunters that stalked them.

From generation to generation this saga continued,
men of old teaching children of youth,
line upon line, precept upon precept,
recounting tales of old and skills of new,
all for the cause of hunting the swift-footed deer.

And so it continued in the tribe of Eric, son of Dan,
for behold, the father of the tribe had been taught
this skill also and was well versed in the ways of the wild.

Now it was on the morning of the first day,
that he did send messages unto his brothers,
for they too possessed knowledge and skills in this quest,
gathered from the teachings of their father.
And they went out and from dawn to dusk
did hunt and stalk their prey, making much to-do,
but in the end, all efforts were to no avail.
Though they were much grieved in their spirits
by this failure that had come to pass,
many were the stories thereof told.

Now, the children of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan,
listened in amazement and did cry aloud saying,
“Father, let it be so that we also may join you.
For as sure as the night is dark and the day is long,
we will be able to remain silent
and retain our body heat while sitting in the forest
awaiting the arrival of a swift-footed deer.”

And all the while the mother of the tribe
wondered in bewilderment that you should desire
such a thing when the comforts of home were so sweet.

So it was on the morning of the third day,
the mother of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan,
did arise and prepared food for her household
before they should depart for their classes of learning.
For just as the dawn broke the eastern sky,
there was much hustling, bustling, and stirring about
amongst the children of the tribe.

And so it was that when his morning cup
of black brew was empty, the father of the tribe arose
and quietly left the cup upon the counter to be cleaned.
And standing for a moment did gaze out of the window,
and suddenly he began to call in quiet, frantic tones,
“Behold! There standeth within range,
a fatted doe, awaiting me!
Hide thyself from the windows
and speak with whispered words!”

Swiftly much ripping and racing about did occur,
but the mother of tribe merely raised
her eyebrows as she went about her business,
for she had heard this story before.

And as she called threats to her children to hurry,
there came a resounding, “BOOM!” from a window overhead.
And lo, how her heart did lurch in her chest
as she gasped in amazement from the sound.
Then much to her surprise, she heard a hiss from the stairs,
“The doe hath dropped, but another standeth nearby.
Bring now more ammo and that my daughter
may also harvest one!”

Now I tell you of a truth, that in all the world,
eye hath not seen nor ear heard
the flurrying scurry of all wild things moving at once
as did occur in the moments at hand.
For such a time as this, not one soul
was about to be left behind and all gathered in the bedroom
to behold the sight before their very eyes.

The father of the tribe, as his father before him,
instructed the daughter with care of sighting and aiming.
Tense words were whispered and many movements later,
we closed our ears and jerked to the thundering boom.
Much laughter and merriment did follow
as the children of the tribe cheered for two in one morning,
and none less than from the bedroom window.

But the mother of the tribe not caring as much as her offspring,
was not to be deterred from her mission
and hustled and bustled them around, calling out threats,
and behold, they were only eight minutes late to their classes.

And so it was in the fall of this year,
another story was played out, to be told and retold
for generations to come of the father and daughter
who stalked and took their prey from the comforts of home,
just as the mother of the tribe knew was the best place to be.

R hunts

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island (MAK-in-aw) sits in Lake Huron, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Most of the island is covered with trails, woods, and in them, you will find the limestone Arch Rock formation. Fort Mackinac was built in 1780 on a bluff overlooking the lake and was the site of 2 major battles in the war of 1812. In the 1950’s tourism took over but much of the island has undergone historical preservation including the village and Grand Hotel. The 8.3-mile island is accessible only by plane or boat and bans almost all vehicles with the exception of ambulance and fire. Transportation on the island is primarily by horse and carriage or bicycle.

In August we set off on a little family vacation with the first destination being Mackinac Island. We spent the night by the lake and took a ferry over in the morning. Our ferry crossed under the Mackinac Bridge on the 20-minute ride to the island. We were on the top deck of the ferry and of course that was much loved by Dakota.

The island is beautiful and well worth your time to visit! We all loved our day spent there and would have gladly gone back for the 2nd day of exploring.
There was something intriguing about all the shops, bikes, horses, and carriages in the little village.

If you didn’t want to walk, you could rent a carriage or a bike to get around.

The fort overlooking the village.
All the houses are quaint and beautifully cared for. Most of the houses in the village were for tourist lodging and the locals live up on top of the island.

The Grand Hotel.
We took a ride on one of these to get to the top of the island to do some exploring.

Our trusty guide always knew where to go and what to do next.

Probably the most beautiful spot on the island was all the way through the woods at the Arch Rock. The rock was so unique but the view over the water was amazing.

We spent some time at the fort and learned a lot of new things, most of which I have already forgotten, unlike my husband and children.

From the fort looking down over the village.

We had a small cooler along with snacks and water bottles so we took a little siesta on the lawn. Of course, the 2 that had previously been tired of walking were suddenly filled with energy and wanted to go for a walk around the lawn. I could have sat for a long time and just watched everything happening.

One of our drivers said there are 17 fudge shops on the island. There is only one doctor and he specializes in fudge overdoses. The driver also said if you would rather not buy the overpriced fudge, just stop at each one and have a sample.

We rented bikes to ride around the island. Due to all the horses, there were always road apples and piddles to dodge. We were warned not to step in any “water” because it had not rained for a while and therefore it was a piddle, not a puddle.

It was a beautiful 8.3-mile ride around the island and took us approximately 1.5 hours, probably because I made them stop all the time for another picture. Eventually, I got the hang of using my camera while biking, but I was better off not being close to anyone when I tried that.

The lake was clear and warm. The kids wanted to swim so very badly.

Everywhere you looked, every time you turned around, there was something beautiful.

Hours later we were happy and tired but not quite ready to leave.
Pack up your family and go for a visit to the island sometime.
You will love it.

Quote of the day: “We didn’t really waste (spend) much money today. We just rode the ferry, the carriages, the bikes and walked around.”

And A Little of June

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June, in all its glory, is a blissful month for many reasons. Warmth, sunshine, greenery, no school, water time, family time, birthdays, longest days of the year, no snow, fresh veggies, strawberries, raspberries, ball games, and a million blades of grass to mow. I won’t list all mine, make your own list of loveliness.

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Amazingly, they have become friends. He is more gentle with her than any of us. Not amazing at all is the fact that my relationship with him is still a little rocky. Days when he plays with the kids and they love it, I’m all cool with having him outside my door. Other days when I find half of the front porch chewed up in the driveway, I am not cool at all.

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As far as weddings go, this one was fun. I’ll now suggest a fun golf course with carts to any bride, so long as the men leave the clubs at home.

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We have formed our own little biker gang and we all ride together. Grandma’s lawn usually receives top-notch care until we get started, after that it just kind of looks like a race track. There are a few rules to the riding and so far everyone has stayed safe. The biggest casualty is running out of gas and having to walk back to the house.

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This is the spot where memories are made. There were sleepovers, fires, marshmallows, hotdogs, bike rides, stories, more stories, and lots of laughter and fun. Years from now I hope this little gang will look back and say, “Remember one time at the cabin when…”
My siblings and I grew up with a cabin and pond farther back in the field and we have lots of good memories playing there.  Although Tristan never lived to see this cabin, he is very much a part of us when we are there. Invariably when the kids all pile in for a sleepover and I am trying to get them to settle down, one will say, “Tell us stories, stories about Tris.” and so I do. We take walks down memory’s lane and recall all the things we did when I was a kid. My memories come alive for them and he lives on in them through me. Tell your children your stories, keep the memories alive.

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I do believe she wouldn’t mind having more than one birthday a year so she could dream up and create another cake. She spent the entire day doing what she loves, stirring around in the kitchen.

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Only go camping on the hottest weekend of the year if you have a huge fan!

There are times in a person’s life when events unfold that directly affect them, yet it is not their story to tell. Such is the case in my life right now. I have not told you, simply because it was not my story to tell.

Since Tristan’s death, you have followed along with my life and the journey of grief I have been on. What you are not partial to is the rest of my family and their journey, their story is not my story to share.

In 2015 our family lost a member, this year we gained a new one. It was a bittersweet day in June when Lisa married Laverne. The mixture of emotions is something that you cannot explain. There were tears for the past and what all we have been through, yet there were also smiles and joy for the present and the future. We are happy for them and we welcome Laverne into our family.

Our grieving is not over just because of these changes. Grieving changes along with you and hangs around for the rest of your life. In some ways the weekend was hard, we missed Tris so very much, yet we can also say the weekend was good.

Through all this, all my mind continually went back to a song I heard about God writing my story. “Is there room in my heart for God to write His story?” Am I willing to allow Him to orchestrate my life in a way so my story will bring Him glory?

Life may not turn out exactly as I had planned, but if I allow God to be the author of my story, life will turn out exactly as He has planned.

These are the Days

And then there was this one May we barely kept our heads above water but in the end, we did. Or I think we managed since we still have one more day to go.

I am always so ready for May. I imagine school functions, school ending, relaxed schedules, and warmth, but the craziness is almost more than can be handled at some points.

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These are the days when:

  • There are appointments for this, that, the next and everything.
  • School consumes your every waking moment and then thankfully it is over.
  • You celebrate Mother’s day in a whirl and then again the next Sunday.
  • You sleep in every morning all summer. ha. Only in your dreams! 
  • You settle more fights then you eat bites of food in a day.
  • Your child smashes his big toe and you earn a medical degree caring for him.

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  • Your family comes and you have fun together for three days.
  • You unintentionally recreate a Norman Rockwell painting at the supper table.
  • Everyone needs something. all the time.
  • Food, food, food is what’s on everyone’s mind. all the time.
  • You remember your serious diet while shoving a bite of cake into your mouth. too bad.

May 18 (2)

  • You send a child to the basement for french fries and she comes back with no fries but looking like a 99-year-old Grandma! (permission was not granted to share this photo)
  • You make a batch of protein balls and in a few hours, they have almost all disappeared.
  • You drill certain small persons on the etiquette of burping or farting and then laughing about it.
  • You write “Call the dentist” on the weekly to-do list for an endless amount of weeks.
  • You take a pair of boots away from Rocky the dog 98 times a day only to find out they were gifted to him that morning by a worker over at the shop! !!

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  • You spend quality time involving food with your friends and youth group.
  • You go to the library and in so doing create quiet time and work for yourself. They will all sit and read for hours, but when you want them to get up and work….
  • You come home from town and write something on your grocery list for next week.
  • You set the grocery bags on the floor and they eat the food right out of them.
  • The strawberries you dreamed of all winter are ripe!

May 18 (5)

  • You stand beside Lake Erie and watch the sunset and wonder what it looks like from heaven’s side.
  • You look through pictures on Memorial day and remember.
  • You celebrate your husband’s birthday and are glad he was born.
  • You sit around a fire with family.

May 18 (7)

  • You mention something coffee to your daughter and it appears.
  • You stay up late even when you are dreadfully tired, just because the house is quiet.
  • The next day you consider going to bed early that night. but you don’t.
  • After approximately 325 days with paint-samples splashed about on the bedroom walls and no plans of picking up the brush, you finally paint it.

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  • And then there was the weekend when you walked into your husband’s family reunion and 3 people said… Noooo, not “Hi, Shannon, how are you?” Nor did they say, “Hey Shannon, good to see you again!” Neither was it, “Shannon! So glad you’re here!” But rather their welcome greeting was, “Hey, how is Rocky?”
    After a momentary mental freeze at that question, the reply was, “The dog in question is lucky to be alive and doing well considering the fact that the kids left the front door open for 2.5 seconds and he ripped in, grabbed a pillow off the couch and went hauling out and around the house before he was caught!”
  • That is how Rocky the dog is.

These are the days!
They tell me I’ll wish for these days someday.

Rambings and A Question

“The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.” -Eyeore

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The same could be said of winter. Eventually.

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I know we all want to react and shake our fists at this never-ending winter, but really, it is God who we are complaining about. And remember, He has promised that the seasons will continue to change, so I keep looking forward to it.

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Imagine how much we’ll have to smile about this summer.

Be optimistic, like the child living here who is wearing her swimsuit and sandals this morning.

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In the meantime, we are just over here pretending it’s the 106th day of January while we bake and sing.  {maybe}
I’m not doing the baking, I’m eating, and I’m not really singing about it either, just trying to calmly endure to the end.


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Yesterday we celebrated Madison’s public declaration of faith with her baptism. It was a joyful occasion and truly a pleasure to see her growing in her walk with Jesus.

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Grandma and Grandpa came for the weekend.
Grandma is playing Old Maid with these two, but she hasn’t yet realized she is playing with a cheater who keeps looking in the window to see her cards when she holds them out for him to draw. Guess who won!


Now, my question for you.

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Recently, a vote was taken by the people of this household and the mother was overruled by the majority. Okay, so maybe the entire lot of them voted against me, but anyway, soon thereafter they became the owners of a new dog. After days of discussion, I told the man of the house I sure am glad we didn’t have this many opinions when it came to naming children. It was hard enough with only two.

So back to my question, what would you name this big black Lab?

The suggestions here have been numerous, yet no one can agree. Dakota suggested naming him after the guy we bought him from. For some reason that guy wasn’t thrilled about that for fear I would take his name in vain.

And the first person to tell me that every boy needs a dog does not win first prize!