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Wherein you will find posts with humor, photos, reviews, occasional rants and journalistic entries of interest to me alone but that I hope will touch you, the reader, in some way. I remain sincerely yours,
A Work in Progress

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankfulness Part I: Family


As we are heading into November, that wonderful month wherein lies my most treasured of holidays, I have decided to write on thankfulness.  The photo above is our family table at Thanksgiving last year.
The table we grew up sitting around, evening after evening, sharing our meals, our lives, our hope and dreams.  The time we spent around it, growing up, are a huge part of who we are today, especially to each other.

I have been blessed beyond blessing in my family.  My parents, my sisters, my husband and our children.
Today I am telling you all how thankful I am for each of you and how very precious you are to me.



You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back.     
~William D. Tammeus

To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to brothers and sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each other's hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.  We live outside the touch of time.  ~Clara Ortega

 Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing.  There are many things below it, but there are also things above it.   You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. 
It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling.  Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all.  Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last, but feelings come and go.  And in fact, whatever people say, the state called “being in love” usually does not last… But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love.  Love in this second sense — love as distinct from “being in love” — is not merely a feeling.  It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God.  They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself when you do not like yourself.  They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be “in love” with someone else.  “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity:  this quieter love enables them to keep the promise.  It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run:  being in love was the explosion that started it.          
~C.S. Lewis


Sometimes the laughter in mothering is the recognition of the ironies and absurdities. 
Sometimes, though, it's just pure, unthinking delight.  
~ Barbara Shapiro 


 She was perfectly quiet now, but not asleep--only soothed by sweet porridge and warmth into that wide-gazing calm which makes us older human beings, with our inward turmoil, feel a certain awe in the presence of a little child, such as we feel before some quiet majesty or beauty in the earth or sky--before a steady glowing planet, or a full-flowered eglantine, or the bending trees over a silent pathway.  
~George Eliot


Thank you God for the gift of my family.



There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained
~Winston Churchill

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Linking up today with Wordless Wednesday and the WTM Boards.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Fun with Mom and the Girls

A field trip to the festive Country Gardens, a family favorite.   

I love the parliament of owls.
 Choosing a pumpkin is serious business.
 Posing in front of a giant spider is not.
 This guy was awesome, I love him.
 Even the fish wore Autumn colors!


"O hushed October morning mild, Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild, should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call; tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild, begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief. Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know. Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf; One from our trees, one far away."
-   Robert Frost, October

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

There Be Dragons


Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."  ~G.K. Chesterson
  
Ephesians 6:12  "For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

There are times in our lives when it appears all is well and out of nowhere comes trouble.  Out of nowhere, trouble came to me.   Malevolent, pernicious, spiteful, wicked, hurtful trouble.
It has taken me some time to come to such terms as I am able and it has left a pocket of persecution behind in it's wake.   The inevitable conclusion when slander, unchecked is allowed to spread.
There is nothing I can do about it as I utterly refuse to give it credence with a defense.
Part of me, the angry part, says, "screw them", but the better part of me thinks, "what a waste".
Either way, people will think what they will and all I can do is to continue living the life I am called to live as best I can.  
I will not tell you it doesn't hurt.  On a purely visceral, fight or flight, instinctual level, the whole affair has been one big punch in the gut and I am left bruised and battered from the siege.

There is, however, treasure amidst the wreckage.  I was, unexpectedly, thrust into a group of incredible women, who have been a  fortress of love countering the siege.  God's timing is perfect.  For whatever reason the trials, He sent me angels and I am so deeply grateful for these friendships.  
The humor, laughter, support, counsel and love I have received has been a balm to my wounds, revitalizing my faith and uplifting my spirit.  Sallying forth, (to continue my fortress theme) old, dear friends also kicked in responding to some of the self- righteous crap that was directed at me.  They rock.  
Also my family, as always, supportive and loving, a refuge in times of trouble.

At long last rejuvenated,  I hunger even more deeply to be a part of needed spiritual renewal in the realm in which I dwell.  Refreshed and restored I can suit up and battle on and I know these friends have got my back.  They are my Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, they are my Samwise.  They are Hermione and Ron to my Harry, they are my Malcolm Reynolds and I am their crew.  

Mine is a simple world and in it there be dragons.

Ephesians 6:14-18
"Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and,  as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints the helmet of salvation, "


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Daybook for October 12th, 2010

 Click here to participate or learn more about the Simple Woman's Daybook..

FOR TODAY

Outside my window...
It is gray and damp, forlorn looking.  The brilliant colors are just appearing, not yet bright enough to counteract the dullness of the weather.

I am thankful for...
Absolutely everything, God's provision is perfect in all things.  Last week He cleaned my carpet.! 

Around the homeschool...
Jenny is done, she sat and did most of her lessons last evening so she would have a short day today.  She began going over her material for the National Mythology Exams in the spring.  Rowan is downstairs working on Algebra.  We are sorely disappointed with the BJU distance learning Algebra 1 teacher but it is a good lesson for her to learn.  She will encounter other bad teachers in her life and be grateful she learned how to learn in spite of them.

From the kitchen...
Mike is making something to eat and is puttering about and spluttering about something being too hot.

I am wearing...
A black long-sleeve t-shirt, my black sweater, black pants and Uggs.  
(Which is a shock I am sure, lol)

I am creating...
Nothing as yet but I am going to get my pattern books out and find a lovely project to begin making Christmas presents.  Perhaps mittens?

I am going...
I don't actually have to go anywhere until Rowan's piano lessons at 5:00 but I may bop out the the library to return some books and see if others are in. 

I am reading...
I had gotten Mark Twain's Roughing It for the Dewey Read -a-Thon and didn't get to it, today in Jenna's American History we learned about Mark Twain so I began it with her as a read a loud.  I am also reading in the Book of Joshua, the 5th Book in the Temeraire series, and I am listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
I am hoping..
That Mike continues to have work throughout the winter.
I am hearing...
Jenna in the kitchen singing some of the Seeds Family Worship songs and making herself pasta for lunch, Rowan downstairs listening to the BTVS musical while she works on Algebra, and our birds singing merrily.

Around the house...
We have begun getting ready for the winter, the wood stove room has been cleaned up and the chimney cleaned.  Mike has painted much of the living room and it looks so new and bright and cheery.  The curtains and the futon cover have been washed and are fresh and clean too.

One of my favorite things...
Caramel apples.  Made this week by Rowan from apples we picked ourselves.
A few plans for the rest of the week:
Weather depending, park day on Thursday, Bible study on Friday, St. Barnabas Clothing sale on Saturday.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
The silver of the bayberry is so lovely, shimmery among the turning green of it's leaves.  

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Today is the Dewey 24 Hour Read-a-Thon!!

27 minutes to start time!

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

It is the Little Things

I don't write about my relationship with God much.  And before you stop reading, I am not really going to do so now.  I just have an observation and a story.

Daily in my prayers I thank Him for the basics we often take for granted, for food in the pantry, a working vehicle, work for Mike, the clothes on our backs, I try never to assume those things on any given day and my gratitude for God's provision and faithfulness in these things is beyond measure. 

Very often though, I forget that He and I have a very special, one on one relationship and that He loves me, not in a general way but specifically.  Yesterday, I was reminded of this in such a very special way.  In a way that would matter only to me.

God had my carpet cleaned.

He did!  I have longed to have them cleaned and it has been at least 5 years.  Though I vacuum almost daily and scrub the spills and stains, it was looking pretty poorly.  
Especially in contrast to my newly painted walls and ceiling and in my heart, it really bothered me.  But is wasn't something I would pray for you know?
  
All of a sudden, the phone rang.  It was some lady from X company and she was offering a free carpet cleaning in exchange for a marketing demo.  I told her she was wasting her time, that honestly, she wouldn't make a dime from coming here and she said it didn't matter, that they had to do a number of these a month blah blah.  

Long story short, 2 nice young men showed up at my door, I listened to a 15 minute spiel and then they proceeded to use their (rather amazing) product to vacuum and shampoo my poor, filthy carpet.  And off they went.  

And there I stood in my beautiful, fresh, clean living room marveling that something as little as a carpet cleaning, a small secret longing of my heart, He would provide for out of nowhere.
And I am amazed anew at His love for me and by showing me in the little things.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Word Filled Wednesday, Treasures, Strung Together

"A faithful friend is a strong defense: and he that hath found such an one hath found a treasure." Ecc. 6:14  

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

Well, not really, but if ever there were a weekend so full of treasure almost utterly robbed of joy by idiocy, it was last weekend.

It was with my usual mix of frenetic energy and anxiety on Friday morning as I excitedly joined some dear and new friends for a weekend trip to a Beth Moore Conference.  I don't know that I have ever actually gone away for a weekend alone since I had children and if I have, I sure don't recall, so it's been too long anyway.  I was greatly looking forward to this time though I was nervous about the volunteer gig I signed on for to get my free ticket. 

With a few u-turns and a stop for lunch we made it to the hotel in spite of the GPS, which was positively smoking in annoyance by the time we arrived.  I quickly changed into my nice new outfit (thanks Mom) and the gals hustled me to the Tsongas Center where we arrived 30 minutes late for my volunteer gig but it didn't matter a bit.  The Lifeway folks were awesome and I really enjoyed helping people find what they were looking for as they shopped prior to the conference.  Thank the good Lord for cell phones, I found my peeps with only a slight misstep as Travis Cottrell began to sing.  The praise and worship time was incredible and then Beth Moore came onstage. 

I had never seen her in person or heard her speak before and is she something!  This dynamic, lovely, kind, inspirational, Southern lady was ON!  And I listened and I thought and the first night was pretty good.  I had to be there early the next morning to volunteer and one of my dear roommates is SO not a morning person.  She mumbled as we got up that it isn't right to be up at the buttcrack of dawn.  Well this was hilarious enough for a Facebook status in our estimation and having so posted, off we went.  Saturday Beth brought all the points home, illustrated with stories from her life, anecdotes, humor, and the Bible.  I love the way she teaches. 

She had eight points about the treasure all around us and in our lives but the take home for me was this.
That we have an "all bad file" in our heads and that sometimes things are, in fact ALL BAD.  But, and likely more often, you need to go through the "all bad file" and see if there were not treasures there in the past, even if it is an "all bad" thing now.  Because treasures, strung together, can bring healing.  

Now I don't know about you, but there has been some stuff in my life, especially recently, that has felt ALL BAD.  And yet while she spoke, I was already taking some files out of the ALL BAD drawer, and my heart was softened and there were some treasures there and I really felt the healing love of the Holy Spirit helping me pull them out.  I am still working on this exercise and pondering each file and it will take some time to go through, but right off the bat, there was healing in my heart.

Following the conference was free time. A whole afternoon and evening away from home to hang out and have fun with pizza and a pajama party in our room. I had not had such fun in a long time, and rarely with a group of 23 women that aren't my family and there was laughter and joy and hilarity and testimony.  We finally got the internet to work and here and there we were checking Facebook and other stuff and I went to check mine and BAM. 

There are no words for how sick I felt.  Two people who surely ought to know better had written judgmental comments about our morning status post.  If I had been home, I could have just removed them and be done with it but not away.  My mobile Facebook doesn't have that capability and I had to watch it play out.

This was the first inappropriate comment: 
Wow, two beautiful women of God using some very ugly words..I think that's sad :(
And this was the second:
  (names the previous commenter)you are THE BEST! I was thinking the same thing. Do all the Christians think that when God says to rid ourselves of filthy language that He was joking?

And all I could think was what were you thinking?  That these two and their thoughtless, reckless comments were exactly the kind of Christians that make people run from churches!!! 

Did they not think for a second about what kind of damage they might cause with that kind of judgmental statement to friends and family on my page who are not Christians?  Did they not even hesitate to wonder about the way it would look and sound?  I truly have absolutely NO words for how utterly flabbergasted I was with their legalistic moralism.  I didn't care what they said about me but about my friend that they have never even met too!!!!  
Even with all the mitigating, funny and loving comments that were also written, that ugliness was there and there was nothing I could do about it.
This went in headfirst, headlong in my ALL BAD file.  People, I  learned my lesson, someday when this is not so raw, I will try to find treasure in it, but not yet, not now.

There were more treasures in my weekend.  I adore my new gray flannel pleated shoes.  I enjoyed Cracker Barrel, I had never been there. I loved L's feistiness, C's quirky cuddliness, H's humor, D's quietness, M's gentleness, and La's steadfastness.  They are all treasures.  
I treasure the healing that had begun in my heart, the friends who came to see my at my volunteer gig, the folks I met, worked with and played with.  There was treasure in the very clothes on my back, a gift from my Mom, and in the weather, crisp and clear.

And there was treasure in my homecoming, because where your treasure is, your heart will be also.


Leaving you with a song I love, give it a listen, you'll hear why.


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Friday, October 1, 2010

Apple Picking!

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree Toward heaven still,  And there's a barrel that I didn't fill.
Beside it, and there may be two or three , Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
excerpt from Robert Frost, After Apple Picking

Honeypot Hill Orchards, Stow, Massachusetts  

Yesterday didn't look like the most promising day weather-wise but off we went.  
My BFF driving and our 4 girls off on an adventure again.  It had been entirely too long.  Those kids handpicked every apple from the top of every tree, ladders, branches, it was all is fair in the quest to spot and reach the perfect apple.  

We learned that the Macintosh grow high and on top.  That Cortlands grow low and under and that Empires were the most red of the three.  The trees full of Golden Delicious were stunning and we never did find the Crispins.  Each were as delightful as the other to munch on.

It was a beautiful place, well maintained and the stone walls were gorgeous.  The kind of place that makes you proud to be a New Englander.  The rain held off to almost the end of our day and even wet, it was hot and humid so we were fine.  The hedge maze was great and the apple cider donuts worth the entire trip.  What a wonderful day we had together.

One stop at Dunkin Donuts, $15 
4 bags of apples for 4 girls $47.00
4 kinds of apples ripe for picking
A day with friends, priceless.











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