Monday, March 31, 2014

One thousand gifts and still counting (5408-5424)

a jumping break on a busy Tuesday
a conversation with other moms of tweens
the beautiful snowfall

a mama's perseverance, example and love

rain showers and rain boots on little feet
an all-weather child
coffee and pancakes on a rainy Sunday morning
the spring peepers singing in the back yard

an afternoon with David and Anita
a pantry full of cookies
a Father who loves lavishly
a daughter's friend's mama's request for help
the privilege to do so

Joel's hug
dinner and dessert at the table with Linda
this wonderland
wool socks

Sunday, March 30, 2014


My kids were outside riding scooters and bikes. I could hear the wheels grind against the pavement. I could hear their shouts out to each other. It feels like spring is just around the corner, even though it is spring. We still have snow in the yard. Erin's snow tower is a shrinking mound along the driveway. The winds blew the cover off our very little wood stack. I grabbed a few pieces of wood and put the cover back on. I made a fire in the fireplace for morning school work.


A friend's father died the other week and I met with her while she's in from out of town. She sat with me in Panera and told me how his last day was. She was with him. I'm thankful for many things--for a summer she survived; for a father and a daddy's girl; for her parents, divorced and never remarried, but sharing a last kiss and a moment's last breath. I had prayed that God would show himself--and I see him in that room. God of reconciliation and forgiveness.

She rests against me on the rug by the fire and I read from a book. I act out the characters and dramatize the scenes, and she's caught in it with me. I feel like these are the moments that I want to pause--these moments of homeschooling that are everything I love about it ... peaceful and enjoyable ... today, no rush of agenda, but a leisurely read. I wonder why we choose to rush. Slow is better. I fold the corners of the pages.

"Why do you do that, Mom?" she asks.

I always turn down a corner in the books I read, and I go back and visit the words again later. (Very much like the after-hours sneaks of chocolate from the freezer when the kids are in bed.)

In the dungeon, there were rats. Large rats. Mean rats. Despereaux was destined to meet those rats. Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform.


Wasn't it a good thing to love? In the story in the book, love was a very good thing. Because the knight loved the fair maiden, he was able to rescue her. They lived happily ever after. It said so. In the book. They were the last words on the page. Happily ever after. 

(Both from The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. A first grader's literature reading, and a mama's delight as well.)


Friday night around the table, food and drink. She and I, we talked and laughed and talk got real and honest. So glad we could share rich moments like that. Hugs goodbye and love expressed.


Joel outside in the rain with his hat on. I called to him to stop in before he left. He joined us at the kitchen table--his former table, his former house. We talked a bit about plans and future and snakes. He shook Shane's hand goodbye. I reached mine out too. He took it, and we ended in hugs because it didn't seem right not to. I love that man.


An afternoon at David and Anita's. His hair is longer and his face is bearded gray. Erin spent a quiet portion eating cookie after cookie after cookie after cookie. She played with their dogs. I sat by David and held his hand the whole two hours.

"I have a new daughter," he said to me.

"Who is that?" I asked him.

"You," he said. "And it's absolutely wonderful."

"I'm your old daughter!" I laughed.

At church later, listening to talks about God and his love for us. How God delights in us as his children. And I felt grateful to have an example here of being loved and delighted in. A real-time glimpse of a fraction of my Father's love--and it moves me to tears.

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17 NLT.


It was Saturday night and I heard the gentle fall of rain. And then this sound: the spring peepers singing their night chorus to the woods. Another season here--this wonderland.


A sticky post on the counter, used as a bookmark. Written on it: I love books! (accompanied by many hearts). Erin now stays up late at night reading books.

Monday, March 24, 2014

One thousand gifts and still counting (5387-5407)

Linda back at the table
a fun afternoon bowling
tulips to gift on Ivette's countertop
her sweet remembrance of the girls while she was in Florida

an opportunity to help a neighbor
calls when the power went out
grilling days
good laughs
a thought-provoking read

a Sunday snooze
warm tea in a mug
a drop by from Linda and Dad
a merciful end for a friend's father
a great video message at church to number days

girlie birthday party for Erin to attend
Nicole at the table for iced coffee
and cookies warm from the oven
thoughts on connecting with others
Erica's kindness to the kids

FB chats with Cindy
an opportunity to see Kristine

Friday, March 21, 2014


First day of spring--I spent it wearing a fleece jacket and had a fire going in the school room. I'm always cold. It felt warmer outside in the sunshine getting the wood than it did walking through the laundry room.

Trying to plot out the days before the green season is upon me. A few lingering inside things to wrap up.

I loved the days off this winter, loved the smoke smells, lap blankets, books to read. Loved the feel of time slowing down. And now I'm looking forward to warmer temperatures, woodland fragrance, worked muscles and sunshine. Oh, and my bike.

Happy spring!

still have to finish doors and cabinets (and doorknobs)

the kind of snow drops I want to see

gardens to prep

spring riders

lots of branches to pick up--some as big as trees

the only flowers in bloom, but lots of blades peeking out from the ground

Monday, March 17, 2014

One thousand gifts and still counting (5378-5386)

cozy spots
old pictures (this place before us and a hidden bell)
a skating party that was lots of fun

fresh bread from a bakery
Linda on the phone
good books
tulip or daffodil sprouts (I can't tell which)

the view of land again, before more snow

Sunday, March 16, 2014

On the wall

I was looking at some pictures I have saved elsewhere, going through the before pictures of this house before it was ours. I even have a picture of the captains bell; but at the time I didn't know there was a bell underneath all the vines. I looked at that picture for a long time today, and I smiled.

We are minimalists when it comes to a lot of things. Decorating for us was paint on a wall. Maybe one picture. And after two and a half years here, I think it's amusing that we are just getting the school room finished. We still would like to add a comfy loveseat, bamboo shades, maybe a couple of other pictures on the wall. But it's definitely nice to have finished putting up the wall maps.

Ran into a neighbor the other day who has major work ahead of him this spring because of tree damage.

"I wish I had jobs like other husbands, the ones who fix one thing or hang a picture," he said. He's got siding to replace, downed limbs to remove, regrading land, and an ongoing project of refinishing a barn.

Shane got to be one of those other husbands today, with a honey-do list that was all about hanging stuff. He got it all done: securing the curtain rod, stuff up on the school room walls, a decorative thing in the dining room, and leveling out our wedding pictures in the bedroom (I just stuck the pictures on the nails that were already there and the pictures have been wonky for about a year).

I love this guy.


still need to add metal washers to picture display so magnetic clips will hold

this is our old kitchen table with chalkboard paint

Thursday, March 13, 2014


A friend has a friend who also lives in the woods. Sometimes when I mention the challenges of living in the woods, she says her friend also has the same challenges--mostly to do with natural light, forever snow, and spooky trees in weather events.

"It was downright creepy with the ice storm we had," I told her. "I was outside photographing the ice on the trees, and unexpectedly a pine limb came crashing down."

"Yeah, the winds and ice. My friend's husband says he lies in bed at night just waiting to die," she said, laughing.

"What?!" I asked.

"You know, when a tree is just going to fall on the house and kill them."

The thrills of woods life.

Sneak peeks of the goings on:

Probably the arrangement we'll go with, except with real stuff and it will be straighter because Shane will hang it

For painting the trim in the laundry room

Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore--very fresh and bright

Place holders on the wall--didn't like this one as much

Monday, March 10, 2014

One thousand gifts and still counting (5357-5377)

for the mom who thought she'd poke her eyes out if she ever had to homeschool her kid
and her curiosity months later to ask me about homeschooling
co-op afternoon walks with Michelle
big sky

the writers on 66 Books
for You, that You desire such a relationship that You meet me eagerly
opportunities to serve
skating with my kids
friends around

a mom race against Beckie
and that I didn't fall
good laughter
time with my family

sunset views outside my window
milder temperatures
a pencil sharpener in the laundry room
hook boards up
sermons online

camera 2
burrito bowls

Thursday, March 6, 2014

To the point

  • He told me the dog cried after I left, then went to her space and didn't come out till I came home. My heart surged with love for this pup who has changed our lives. 
  • Kids at a table, and we're trying to slow down and eat meals for enjoyment--not for rush. The girls start singing along with the radio, songs we've heard a million times. They knew all the words. I did not. Heart felt happy for the words they were singing. 
  • Sitting by the fire and reading Dr. Doolittle with Erin. She curled right up in my arms. The hot blast was wonderful and unbearable at the same time. We couldn't turn away.
  • Writing elsewhere about clover and big sky. A #tbt prompt. Big sky. It still takes my breath away, just as much as these little faces do.

  • We have discovered the sweet delight of dark chocolate tucked inside a French bread hunk, just warmed. It is a four o'clock favorite here, for all of us.
  • I arrived at school yesterday and realized I left my purse at home. The next moment, I realized I was still wearing my snake stompers (for the trek to the street with the trash cans). Later I went home on break to get my purse and change shoes. I remembered the purse ... Shane said I have got to stop wearing my stomps in public. (I wore them to the library today because I didn't feel like looking for socks. The boots are lined and toasty.)

Monday, March 3, 2014

One thousand gifts and still counting (5339-5356)

blacktop on the driveway
some mild days before the next storm

the vanilla and almond bread
good books
boxes in the mail
half-off sale
things coming together

and a Marshall's-mom-like vision
stain and boards
frozen yogurt out with the family
clean water to drink
wood stacked in the garage for the week

times to hunker down
images of deja vu
thoughts, again, and wrestle
my husband and family
this life

ashes, and the beauty brought from them

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hang it up

I can't stand how the wall  maps look on the wall. I never planned to have them like this--sticking them up on the wall was a temporary fix while I was in search of the perfect frame at Goodwill, yard sales and antique shops. I thought maybe I could affix some clips on the frame to swap out the maps for kids' artwork and stuff. But the perfect frame never came.

Then, the other day scooting through the pages of Pottery Barn, I saw this.

It looks like a measure with clips stuck on it. Then I realized: I don't need a big frame. I just need a stick with clips on it. And, to my surprise, Shane agreed.

dark walnut, I love you

bare board

first coat


I got a roll of magnetic tape too and the magnetic bulldog clips. I have a long board for the maps (42 inches. I can hang the two together, with the world map in front). I also had Shane cut a smaller one (18 inches) to hang on the wall for the kids' artwork.

I got two coats of stain on, and finished with a top coat of polyurethane. I'll put up a finished picture after I get the wall all put together. We've only lived here two and a half years, and finally getting this room put together.

Lots of pre-spring to-do's. I really want to be finished with the getting things done so that I can enjoy some spare time. I can only imagine all the books I'd read. 

Looking forward to a winter storm and hoping to maintain electric. I'm drinking coffee first thing. Next week has to get warmer.