Monday, April 29, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (4126-4160)

sunshine on the first tractor ride of the season
the scent of apple blossoms
sore arms
and good sleep
comfy shirts

friends for the ride to the curriculum fair
Erin dancing through the garden
her little shovel scoops of mulch into the wheelbarrow
a clean fenceline
and calluses on Lanie's hands

coffee plans by text with a neighbor
that You are trustworthy and faithful
Your peace
wall maps for the school room
a giant pink moon on the drive home

and favorite friends to enjoy it with
a waggy dog when I walk through the door
full moon walks in the woods
the smell of onion grass, cut
a vanilla candle from a teacher

bay leaf from my own backyard
books in my hands
Nicole at the table
and her infectious laugh
bread in the oven

apple trees to trim
yard work with Shane
a long-arm chainsaw
a fabulous perspective on suffering (a hearty amen!)
Chipotle for dinner with Jackie

a princess party of little girls
how Erin was so excited
and a pearl necklace around her neck
the green season, can't say that enough
or the difference here makes

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Approaching the green season

I spent five hours in the yard today. I mulched. I raked. I cut grass. I felt infused with sunshine. I also took a water break, lunch break, chocolate break, and a walk around the property with the camera. The apple trees have the sweetest scent.

Lanie was reading on the bench. Love this. Erin was dancing down the stone walkway at one point.

Primrose from a great aunt's garden.

Delicious scented apple blossoms.

My awesome yard helper. She still looks like a little girl.

Monday, April 22, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (4096-4125)

truth, as hard as it is, because it sets free
hearts worth mourning
my husband
and kids
this place, our home

and how Joel and Cindy stopped in
the scent of fresh bread baking
hot coffee in the afternoon
hugs with Julie
a comfy bed to sit on

and be quiet with thoughts
for permission to dust the dirt from my feet and move on
for wounds that are slow to heal, that mean lessons run deep
peanut butter on a spoon
friends having coffee with me around the kitchen table

tulips in a vase
a plug for bible reading on stage
and that I might have any part of it
to glorify You
a ready back

mulch to move
cushions for my feet
curtains to put up in the living room
a history in this home that I can know and be part of
night drives with Lanie

Erin's helpful hands
the green season
hedge trimmers like air guitars
yard arms
dandelions gifted during recess

Sunday, April 21, 2013

When doves cry

Spent the afternoon out in the yard (currently on water break). Trimmed up shrubs and some evergreens with the big hedge trimmers. Sticks out far--one hand extends back to hold the go button and the lock release, the other hand reaches out forward to do the trimming and shaping. This is a full body endeavor.

I saw Shane in the garage while I was trimming the bushes. I talked to him later while guzzling down the first bottle of water.

"Did you see me cutting the bushes?" I asked him. He looks at me plainly. "I was like a rock star rockin' out on a guitar."

He cracks the barest smile. I know inside he's cracking up. All the while, Prince's "When Doves Cry" electric guitar intro is blaring in my mind as I head back to work.

Hoping my arms work tomorrow.

When Doves Cry on You Tube.

Monday, April 15, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (4061-4095)

an unexpected splash of purple blossoms along the bank
a warm day to walk with Julie and her kids
Julie's hugs and prayer
sisters by Spirit and not blood

Lindsay's perspective
little mason jars for pies
service opps
and Kellie's reframing of the word service
Your work in my life

flowers opened up
frog peeps in the woods
this place, here
school at the picnic table
tulip petals for art work

blue hydrangeas, gifted by Linda
and delivered by my dad
mulch to throw down on the gardens
and a pink hydrangea too
a do-rag

cold water
a functional wheelbarrow
a fence kit
and seeds for a garden
Linda at dinner

home, sweet home
Erin's giggles at bedtime
pretty dresses for the girls
a bag of herbs to plant
and a shared color with Linda--weimeraner

bleeding hearts in the garden
blossoms on the cherry tree
a ten percent discount
an opportunity to help a friend (pictures for Julie)
Monday walks

a heating wrap on my back

Friday, April 12, 2013


We had our homeschool review yesterday. It went well. Lanie whispered to me on our way out,

"Did I pass?"

"Yes," I said.

I took the kids to Chipotle for lunch to celebrate.

Erin wiggled in her seat to the music. I drank a Coke (the first in months), and savored sweetness of a sunny day, and my people with me.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

24 pies

I had the pleasure of helping a friend with a project: baking Mason jar pies.

She brought over all the ingredients, pre-measured (because she is super organized), and all the things I'd need. And I set to work.

There were two extras for us (Lanie, Shane and I) to sample--and so we did. Can't wait to find another opportunity to do this again. Cute, easy, tasty. Good for picnics, cookouts, neighbor gifts (of course!).

Did I say picnics? Let's go.

Premade pie crust makes this super easy

frozen mixed berries

topped with crumb topping

Aren't these denim circles and embellishments adorable?

I don't know where she got the recipe to give it credit, but I have it here:

12 cups fruit
12 T sugar
12 T flour
1 t cinnamon
2 T lemon juice
6 T butter (to dot tops of pies before the crumb topping, but I think you could leave this part out if doing the crumb topping, because there's enough butter in that!)

 Use rims to cut circles for bottom of jars. Make rectangles and line sides. Press seams. Fill each pie with 1/2 cup of filling.

Topping (for 4-6 pies):

1 1/4 c brown sugar
1 1/4 c flour
10 T oats
1 1/4 t cinnamon
15 T cold butter

Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter, and cut to crumbles. Mix in oats. 

Bake 375 for 1 hour and 15 mins. Check crusts from time to time to make sure they don't burn.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


When we got her last fall, she was a bundle of nerves--frightened and skittish. I could hardly walk her outside without the snaps of sticks scaring her loose. And that first day I met her, how she hunkered and cowered--I cried all night to see this hollow shell of a creature. I wondered how we could take her--this was not the fun-loving family pet we wanted. And then I wondered how I couldn't--having seen her, how could I walk away?

I talked to Lanie about it.

"We don't know what this dog has been through, but she's afraid. It's going to take a lot of patience and love. Her fears run deep," I explained.

"It's ok, Mom. I understand her," Lanie replied.

And I knew this would be the dog for us. For Lanie.

Shane walks her in the woods, and one day from my bedroom window, I heard his laughter first, and saw his smile second as he came racing down the hill with the dog leading the way.

She smiles for us. She's learning tricks. She loves belly rubs. She comes to me when I enter the house. She prances at dinner time. She thumps her tail in her sleep, all happy. And she barks in her dreams as her paws twitch.

She dances at the mention of her walk. Or treats. And sometimes she dances for dinner too.

"To think this was inside her all along," I said to Shane. "She had this dance in her, just waiting to come out."

Yesterday's sunny warm day, and she was all smiles. We went for a long walk, and her tongue was hanging out. I snapped a few pictures when we got inside.

My sweet hound dog.

Monday, April 8, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (4029-4060)

the sound of an orchestra getting tuned

puppeteers dressed in black

Erin's laughter several seats away
a low grocery bill
a busy weekend
Tylenol for headaches
pine tree forts

spring green napkins picked out with Erin
and tulips: 2 bunches for $10
the little red pitcher
cinnamon chips for scones
a husband who gets donut holes early in the morning

and joins us all for breakfast
breakfast with friends
lunch with family
daffodils opening
peepers calling in the woods

Nella's dance, revealed
loud worship
Julie, a friend who stayed all day
a home to offer hospitality
big chunky letters that spell out HOME

Tracey on the phone
and on Skype
for my dad's hug
and seeing Tracey's face again after 18 years

that You were always with me
for Anita and David, who love me always
and Linda, who does too
buttercream frosting with lime
and a little star candle celebrating 77 years

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lunch with family

My dad turns 77 on Tuesday. We had Linda, my dad and sister over for lunch today to celebrate. My sister out-of-state Skyped with us. I hadn't seen her face in 18 years. I think we all looked at each other for a moment, trying to let those years sink in. You might not notice many changes in 3 years, but 18 years ... that's a childhood. I know in those 18 years, we all were stretched in ways unimaginable. Good and bad.

Dad and Tracey

my sister Lori, Linda, and Dad

I know it meant a lot to my dad to see her again. It meant a lot to me too--this moment where we were all together.

And that's my focus. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rockin' it

So we celebrated 14 years married, and one day. Took the kids to Red Robin--fun for all. Shane and I both ordered Burnin' Love burgers.


The server was really great. He chatted up the kids, which is sometimes no easy task. At one point, he asked if we'd like dessert (yikes, no), and when Erin cheered, he looked at her plate and said, "You didn't finish your dinner yet. No dessert for you!"

Shane and I laughed.

"I hope you tip him well," I said. We had fabulous service.

After dinner, we get the kids ready to go, and I lean over the receipt and write, "You rock. Thank you!"

Shane was standing away from the table.

"What did you write on that?" he asked.

"I wrote, 'you rock' on the receipt," I said.

"You sound like such a mom," he laughed at me.

I laughed a little too, and then wondered if my lingo was so outdated. I thought I was being hip. How many people do I tell that they rock? All this time, showing my mom-ness. Or nerdiness.

"Hey," Shane paused, "He's going to think I wrote that!"

Ok, well that part was funny to me.

Monday, April 1, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (4013-4028)

the sweet trail of freckles across her nose
how seven is "so far off" and there's still plenty of time for lap cuddles
a new friend from 66 Books at my table

on Good Friday
words that travel the world
yellow tulips in a vase
full moon in the woods
chocolate candy eggs

my church
a woodstove on a drizzly day
a smiley dog
texts from friends
how my kids run

a morning visit with a bestie
sunny sky
the sound of frog season in the woods