Monday, July 30, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3152-3166)

lessons learned the hard way
sweet fragrance of summer grass
a night swim alone
nature's serenade

peaches at a farm
a morning chat with Pete
a fun week at VBS
old roads that triggered good memories
for keeping on, keeping on

Kellie, a prayer partner
being invisible
sweaty, messy, mess--cutting the back hill
a great Bible study

prayer over me from Miss Nancy

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Three coats of chalkboard paint, with a dry time of 24 hours between each coat.

A friend reminded, "You know to prime the chalkboard with chalk?"

Luckily, I did. So if you do this, rub chalk all over the chalkboard surface, or as the story goes, your first words will always show (so make them good words if you tempt chance).

Black table:

Primed table:

Finished table:

I thought I'd write 'home' as my first words on this table. But JOY flowed from my fingers instead. Fitting first words, that if they always showed through, I don't think it would be so bad.

Monday, July 23, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3131-3151)

rain, rain, rain
six barefoot kids rain running in the yard
ice cream cake birthday celebrations
a friend to love like a sister
hot bubble baths on chilly days

"best friend" necklaces
Lanie and Olivia, and their years as buddies
Erin's screeches
brownies baked and a neighbor's swim invitation
good conversation around their table

answered prayers
peaches in the fridge for homemade jam
the DIY
a new lawnmower
the race marked out for me

chilly days
jamberry wine
Linda's thanks and hugs--family
black-eyed Susans in a vase

familiar roads

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Another Pinterest project: the chalkboard topped homework table. Perfect for working out math problems, diagramming sentences, practicing handwriting, and doodling.

Our kitchen table fit in our former kitchen, but it was too big here. Cindy was kind enough to let us have their kitchen table, and ours went into the schoolroom. But Shane hated how it looked there. When he threatened to get rid of it, I said, "I'm painting it."

And he agreed.

Today, as he left in the rain to get lumber to frame out the play set playground, I asked if he'd pick up some extra stir sticks from the paint department. I sanded the finish off our table.

Then I primed it.

It's still drying.

I'll paint it later: the top with chalkboard paint and the base with a color called Phantom.

Shane walks in from his trip to the hardware store.

"I didn't get the wood," he said. "I'll have to have it delivered. But I got you something."

"Stir sticks?" I asked.


"A dehumidifier?!"


"A dog or a baby?"


"Then what?" I wondered. What else have I asked for? Quite certain they don't have hand mixers at Lowe's.

"A new push mower."

And I laughed. He bought it for me! Our other one was well over 10 years old, and this place was its demise. Very literally, the past four times I've used it here, something has broken and fallen off. The rattling of it was so intense, it was like using a jack hammer! And this last time, cutting around the pool deck, something silvery fell off. I told Shane. When he picked it up, he told me it was an important piece. That mower was dead.

I love the couple we are becoming.

Glad that I was able to keep the table. I still remember when we bought it, when we were trying to fill the rooms of our other house. All the meals we ate around that table. The card games we played. Easter eggs dyed. Everything. Painting over it was bittersweet. I hated covering up the wood grain and character--water glass stains, wear marks from years of use. But it seemed fitting the table would be something different here: repurposed for something else than it had been.

Like all of us.

Erin barefoot, because "it's funner that way" in the rain. Swinging. At last.

Monday, July 16, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3117-3130)

a birthday party invite from Olivia
friends who stay friends throughout change
Friday dinners with Linda
a play set up

the return and relief of the familiar
Tuesday Bible studies
things that make sense after enough time
and peace that accompanies it

Lisa's hugs
her mom and dad
Robbie's shaky handwriting, love by mail
a child on my lap, swinging

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Up in the air so blue

How do you like to go up in a swing, up in the air so blue?

It was quite nearly a year ago we disassembled the play set to move it here. It was certainly the hottest week of the year, that week we moved. And lugging the play set into the box truck, I thought I would break. That song on the radio playing.

We hoped to have it assembled shortly after we got here, but Shane's back went out for six weeks. Then fall arrived and we were keeping up with leaves. And winter. Erin hoped we would have it up in time for her December birthday, but no.

We had a brick fireplace to demolition. And then the fencing around the dog kennel. Then the cement base of the kennel. We took down the wooden perimeter fence. And felled five pines. Enter jack hammer and removal. And then the hole to fill--in the hottest week of July. Shane's fever held us back last weekend, but today: we got it up.

The girls buzzed with excitement. I felt a sweet relief of the familiar. And nearly a year later, Erin sat in my lap on the swing as we swayed and she sang, "The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round." Life felt good.

We still have some framing to install, and wood chips, but the play set is up and functional.

"After coffee tomorrow, I'm going outside to swing and listen to the birds sing," I mentioned out loud.

"Me too!" Lanie said.

But tonight I went out after dinner, wine glass in hand, and sat alone on a swing. Thunder's muted rumble off in the distance. I think often of life before and after. And with a variety of undertones, I think to myself, I can't believe we're here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3096-3116)

a handshake like a hug
garden vegetables shared by a neighbor
fever cuddles with Lanie
a new community of friends
blogger cookout rsvps: yeses in the inbox

ice cream sandwiches on a Saturday night
a sleepover friend for Lanie
a hole filled with dirt
a day off
dinner with friends

a baby boy to gobble up
fireflies in a jar--a 4th of July memory with Erin
school books in the mail
the nearly-year meditations
black-eyed susans and echinacea

a cold Coke
cookies still warm from the oven
summertime horseshoes 

Shane resting the morning away

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I met another neighbor tonight from a few doors down. He was at the house when the kids and I pulled up; he was talking to Shane. When I got out of the car, this man greeted me with a handshake that felt like a hug, and his smile lit up his face.

He brought us a bag of vegetables from his garden. Items just picked today.

There were squashes of all shapes and colors, and cucumbers too. To me, nothing short of gold--this generosity of a neighbor. (And he didn't even know his smile alone was more than enough.)

"Would you like some herbs from my garden?" I offered. "I'd offer you some lettuce too, but the rabbits discovered it recently."

We talked and he told me some history about the area. About knowing it when there were only three houses here. About the first family, before Joel, and how when he was a boy he'd swim here too. He told me about his farm and the animals he had.

"Do you have goats?" I asked. He didn't anymore, because one was so mean. But told me how other breeds had better temperaments.

"This is a good yard for goats," he said.

"A friend said the same thing. We're going to borrow some for the summer," I told.

I met another neighbor this morning as Lanie and I walked trashcans to the road. She told me her story and I caught her refrain, her now so different from before.

Tomorrow marks the last of holiday milestones here. We've each celebrated a birthday, and all the holidays--the Fourth the last to complete us. A variety of seasons now past as well. A cycle of blooms makes me toggle at times between before and after, thoughts on echinacea and Black-eyed Susan, what was my garden and now is hers. I wonder if the yellow petals unfolded, and if she likes them, cheery in a corner. I smile because they bloom here too, abundantly, among lilies and hostas. And I breathe deeply the sweetness of happy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3073-3095)

cold water for wash cloths on a fevered forehead
a generous invite from a friend for us to come over, even with a feverish kid
freezie pops

vintage t.v. that stirs childhood memories
cold water bottles and drinks at the grocery store
carry-out pizza
a full house
the splash, and splash, and splash of Friday

banana chocolate chip breads in the freezer
purple cone flower blooming in the garden
planning for summer guests: GOATS!
neighboring fireworks
a good study, in perfect timing

Christy to catch it all and understand
a day off
power restored
dessert gifted
in a pretty sunflowery dish for me to keep

floating on rafts with Linda, just us for a bit
study commentary via text with Amy
couch cuddles with my little girls
big, floppy sun hats
Linda's hug and smile goodbye

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Storms passed through Friday night. We didn't lose any trees, but just lots of leaves and sticks to clean up. And we cut down the last of the pines by the pool Saturday morning. Very productive day outside, and the house stayed relatively cool inside with no power.

Lanie complained of not feeling well, and by mid-afternoon when the power was restored, she spiked a fever. Administered Tylenol, freezie pops (after they refroze), crackers and Gatorade. Cold cloth on her head. And a marathon line-up of "I Love Lucy."

It made me laugh how she likes "Little House on the Prairie" and "I Love Lucy", just like I did when I was her age. I remember my mom giving me cold cloths and freezie pops. But the best feeling was cold, clean sheets on the bed. I wonder what sweet memories Lanie will recall when she's grown up.