Monday, October 29, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3465-3491)

a friendly hug in Chipotle from a church friend who recognized me
crazy, awesome worship in church (still singing)
Dave's hello at the camera
coloring book runs before the storm
chocolates in the freezer
and milk in the fridge

a day off from school
wood delivered and stacked
a family day out
books to read
clean laundry and dishes

a Christmas CD playing in Erin's room
her sweet voice singing long and strong
leaves all over the front yard
leaf paths forged by little feet out back
a dancey, prancy dog in the morning

a good book study with ladies who go deep
dry wood at the fireplace
skate night with my daughter
laughter late with Shane
laundry chutes

and shoe piles
clean, cold water
socks for my feet
a good hot shower
a sturdy house

Jeremiah 51:15-16 before the storm

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Memory card

Pictures of lately.

picking up pumpkins

at the pumpkin place

Lanie and Nella

Ten candles

birthday song

David and Anita with us

Oak tree

Black snake in the pool shed


Shane scooting out the snake

Woods life


Wood stacked
Big storm headed our way this week. Stopped off at the store for staples like milk and peanut butter chips (I made chocolate cookies with chocolate chips and peanut butter chips and we're nearly out of them!). Stacked a 2-cord delivery of wood yesterday (partial picture above). Library books, phone charged, house cleaned. Just settling in to see what we're in for. Happy for fireplaces and blankets and decaf coffee.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


I took Lanie roller skating tonight at a local rink. It was Thrifty Thursday there, and she was my date. I texted a friend to see if she'd be interested in joining us, and she brought two of her daughters. Luckily, the girls were at the same beginning level and enjoyed each other's company in the beginner corner. Their mom and I enjoyed some great throw-back music: Def Leppard, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, and the Village People.

There were about fifteen people at the rink spanning generations. It felt so small town and friendly. And I was happy we are home schoolers staying out on a school night until the rink closed at nine. (Smiles--that's late for Lanie!)

Lanie hugged the wall at first, but by the end of the night she was skating around the big rink, lap after lap. I trailed behind her at a not-hovering distance. I enjoyed the lights and the music and the antics of the regulars there. And I felt especially thankful for friends who are spontaneous, who share great slices of life with us, and witnessing such a confident moment for Lanie.

She told me she felt like she was still skating when she got her street shoes on. Talk of coming back again soon. And having a birthday party there. I was thinking the same thing--for myself!

Good times.

Monday, October 22, 2012


It wasn't my first choice, but I decided not to drink caffeine today. So I had a cup of decaf for breakfast. And at lunch, I skipped the Coke with my sandwich and drank water instead.

I looked forward to picking the kids up and didn't feel rushed or cranky. When I often thought of caffeine as my energizer, I realized it is sometimes my irritant.

I was copying Lanie's homework assignments down, as she is trying to get a jump on the Tuesday load.

"I missed you," I told her.

"I missed you too," she said and hugged me. "I heard you laughing today." Followed by her imitation of my laugh, rather crow-like and boisterous HAWW HAWW HAWW.

"I don't sound like that!" I said.

I remember my mother for her laugh.

One thousand gifts and still counting (3448-3464)

another day
a family day out

dinner around the table
a good day
my kids' hugs
pictures on the big screen
friends to talk to

a waggy dog
Linda's hug at the door
friends who understand where I'm coming from
a fence
a good laugh

hiking trails
worship songs
this house
these woods

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Family hike along the red trail

We took a hike today, the four of us: Type A, Dreamer, Pessimist and 5 year old. I love our group, but our mix of personalities makes it sometimes hard to be all enthusiastic about a task.

Shane is very goal focused--we walked the red path, so he was concerned mainly with starting and finishing.

I am the dreamer. I'm the one who stops in the woods and says, "Look how tall the trees are." "Look at the colors on the leaves." "Check out the roots." "Oh, chestnuts!"

Lanie was our group pessimist. She was down on the whole idea from the moment we left the house. However, giving her credit here, she managed to have fun on an unexpected playground and later said during the hike, "I thought this was going to be boring. But it was lots of fun!" She wants to do this again soon, and even for her birthday next year.

Erin was overcome with thirst, fatigue, and at one point convinced Shane to carry her. When we got back to the car, she said, "That was awful! I never want to do it again!"

Pictures from our family outing.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The caterpillar experiment

In afternoon kindergarten, the kids are doing a science experiment of watching caterpillars do their morph. I went to pick Erin up after school and looked at the 2-liter bottles turned habitats, each with the name of the caterpillar inside. I loved the originality:


"Which one is yours?" I asked Erin.

"Rose," she said.

Rose has stayed in Erin's room, not doing much of anything but being a caterpillar. Some kids' specimens have already moved into a chrysalis. Not ours.

Reading Red Cat, Blue Cat the other night, Erin tells me she wants to change her caterpillar's name.

"But you already named her Rose with a Sharpie," I said.

"Just get a sponge and clean it off," Erin instructed. "I want to name it Blue Cat."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3421-3447)

sore legs
potato pickers
volunteers and generosity
pumpkin muffins paid forward
risking love

seat warmers in the car
mac and cheese made for Lanie by Linda
blueberry muffin mix
my man
barn cats
surprises for Lanie
braided hair at bedtime
hugs at 5:58 into her tenth year
remembering her in my arms for the first time
her best friend since kindergarten as a surprise on her day

shopping with Erin
a joyful little sister
decorating windows in love
pizza lunch together
surprise gifts at home (coffee! birthday! stickers! kindergarten!)

David and Anita: always! 
how they are there at all the highlights of my life
and that they treat me as a daughter bound by love
their sincere love and attention toward Nella
song around the table for Lanie

sweetest hugs and smiles at goodbyes
for Your song over me, all the days of my life

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Love never fails

Whenever Shane asked me what I wanted for Christmas or my birthday, I would often recite, "A baby, a dog, a dehumidifier."
A few weeks ago, after enough of playful hint dropping, I cornered Shane and asked point blank, "Can we get a dog?"

"I don't want to pick up poop in the yard," was his response.

With excitement, I filled out our application for a dog named Penelope.

We visited her at the rescue, and doubts started to hit me. She showed evidence of hard life. What would it be like having her here when the kids wanted a dog they could play with?

A friend at school rescued her dog ten years ago. She said to me, "You just love them. When does love fail?"

And while I knew enough cynics who could rattle off that love was not all-powerful, the Bible tells me: love never fails.

When I selected the dog tag for our Nella, I had it engraved upon the back--so that days when it seemed hard, I would look at it and her and remember:

Love never fails.

She is loved. And we are happy she's ours. She is putting on weight. Her coat is shinier. She wags all the time, my not-so-little shadow.

Thankful for a God who can make big promises. (And for sister friends who remind me of them.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Sometimes the days fly by.

Enjoying fall and friends.

Erin came down with a fever yesterday, asleep on her bed in late afternoon.

"Will you sleep with me tonight?" I asked her. "You and your fever can help keep me warm."

"I'll sleep in my bed first, then I'll come to your bed after you make it all cozy," she said.

She's better today. Awoke to her snores in my ears, which somehow became wild cat calls in my sleep. I cuddled her, and after some time she stirred and said, "I've been waiting for you to wake up!"

Monday, October 8, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3396-3420)

Nella, our sweet hound
a kind neighbor farmer
gentle pets for a trembling dog
sleep recovery
dream barks
soft blankets for her to claim

a good vet check up
nothing broken!
rainy, rainy days
leaves falling
air that smells like snow

counting thanks in her heart
pumpkin muffins delivered
by a friend
"gentle and quiet" bible study
texts from a sister

a surprise birthday luncheon
fall decoration for a mantel
Anita's tears for Nella's return
homeschool days
service at church

opportunities for hospitality
neighbors who check in on us
wood to burn
slippers that make my feet feel like it's summer
You, God, in all the moments

gifted slippers from a daughter

wood stacked


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Welcome fall

A very good friend has decorations for every occasion. She texted me she was putting up her fall decorations, and included a picture of some Halloween-style picture frames she got. I laughed, as she knew I would, because we hardly ever displayed pictures until this house, and I'm not sure I own fall decorations.

She remedied that for me the other day, gifting me a "welcome" sign in fall colors with springy little birds on top. I laughed, and loved it. It's on our fireplace mantel now.

Nella has returned home, our rescue dog. The kids adore her. She is my shadow in wherever I go. I haven't gotten any pictures of her yet aside from the ones from the rescue site.

Shane told me rain is coming along with a drop in temperature, followed by words like "hate" and "hate".

"I love fall," I said. I can already smell the woodsmoke from last year from the fireplaces, it welcomes me into rooms. "I love cozy on the couch and hot chocolate and fires."

I think of his computer desktop photo: the lone island empty and encompassed by brilliant blue on all sides, unblemished blue sky and palm trees. His dream place.

And I think of my dream place: crunchy leaves, cozy rooms, house full of my kids' sounds, my hunting dog trailing wherever I go, Farmer's Market candle tart scenting our rooms, that man of mine in yard attire and Saturday stubble on his chin, woods around us and woodland sounds serenading a different chorus in each season ... here.

I looked at Shane and my eyes danced and I beamed, "I love it here."

He knows.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pancakes, pancakes

We read Pancakes, Pancakes in kindergarten yesterday. Thank you, Eric Carle, for breakfast today. Googled recipe for pancakes using buttermilk, and modified a recipe to the following:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle
Don't over mix.


Monday, October 1, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3382-3395)

A roller coaster week. Gained a dog. Lost five pounds over stress. Lost dog when she got spooked outside and wriggled out of a body harness in her frenzy.

There are other letdowns too. Those weigh even heavier. I spent some time Sunday counting those, and each one brought me lower, sadder, discouraged and alone.

I count the gifts, because I look for God and his good in my life.

3382. Karen who helped us welcome home Nella
3383. and supplied us with tips and accessories
3384. a gifted dog crate from a friend
3385. a waggy tail at the dinner table
3386. and my kids' laughter at the best dog ever
3387. birthday wishes in the mail, Facebook, phone and email
3388. kisses in the morning and happy wishes
3389. neighbors who are friends driving around helping us to look for Nella
3390. the foster mom who made flyers and walked to help us look for her
3391. a woods walk as a family
3392. Shane, Lanie and Erin
3393. dinner out with cupcakes to follow
3394. coffee at the table with dog lovers
3395. for my Father, God, who sings over me: you are everything good