Saturday, October 31, 2015


Erin was an owl for Halloween this year.

Lanie happily donned Erin's dog ears from last year.

Viviana was a black cat.

This sweet trio of girls were ready to go. A perfect dark night. Warm temperatures. And how they ran ahead, glow sticks glowing around them. They ran down the street and through the grass.

"Trick or treat!" they sang.

And of the porch lights that were on, kindness answered with sweet treats and happy wishes.

"Thank you!" they replied and ran on.


"Is this our fifth year?" Shane asked.

I paused to think.


 Ivette made the girls Halloween buckets filled with treats and glow sticks and jewelry. Helen had special bags made up as well, and invited me in quick to show me their remodel in their basement. We hugged at least twice.

"I miss your face!" I said to her. "How do we live right next door and not see each other?"

Plans over Thanksgiving for coffee.

And more hugs.

Janice texted me this afternoon: are you coming over tonight? We have gluten-free candies for the kids.

This mantra seems to spread out from a home and echo in community: welcome, safe, loved, included.

Shane and I walked behind the kids as they ran ahead and we think long about these memories they are making. And it goes without saying between us, our gratitude. 

Candy spilled across a table as trading ensues.

Squeals of absolute delight that they were gifted Halloween styled Beanie Boo key chains.

"They do it every year!" Lanie said. And it's something she looks forward to.

They settle in to watch television specials and eat candy.

As we finished reading Gilgamesh the Hero in Great Books a few weeks ago, I said to my class, "Write this down and remember it: Whether you plan on it or not, you will leave a legacy."

While these neighbors of ours shine welcome from porch lights, their kindness and actions impact my children in ways they'll carry their whole lives. Little do they know, the gift bags and welcome are a legacy of love.

At this age, my kids just see it as trick-or-treating. But maybe one day they'll understand the deeper treasure of community.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Which explains a lot

It was going around on Facebook--the personality test. So I took it again because I forgot what letter combination I got some time ago.


And when I searched my archives with the letters, I saw that I'm still me. I read the description of my type, and thought of people who are are similar to me and very different from me and wondered what they were.

I said to a friend tonight, how we innies love deeply and selectively. So true.

Note to self: the hunches? Trust 'em.

And the bit about messes--not surprised.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The stuff

Photo shoot last weekend. Shane said to me, "You look like you're dressed for severe weather."

I had on a sweater turtleneck and a duster cardigan. The outside temperatures were delightful, but inside our house felt like the inside of a fridge. This house is fabulous for insulating against warmth.


I had a cup of coffee out with a friend who just wanted to touch base and see how I was doing this year with all the changes.

Seriously, this amazed me that the whole purpose of our time together was to check on me.

After coffee, she walked me to my car and put her arm around me and prayed for me.

I gave her the biggest hug.


Caught in the straddle of time at being glad that October is nearly over (co-op) and wanting to savor it (my kids).


Slept in until 8:15 this morning. Erin did too. I thought I would regret losing time, but it was delightfully refreshing. And stuff still got done.


Erin asked about being baptized. She's already planning who she wants to invite. She asked if Shane and I would baptize her. Oh my heart.


Stitches out tomorrow. A shoot on Friday. Hair cuts for two with my girlie on Saturday. Church and Halloween. It's even a fall-back weekend for an extra hour. Sunday is our family photo shoot.


Scripture that's open on tabs, because, you know, LIFE.

23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. 2 Timothy 2:23-26, NLT.
16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Ephesians 3:16, NLT.

18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT.



birthday mug from Erin

soup season

Monday, October 26, 2015

And still counting (7727-7760)

peppermint oil for achy joints
hair clips
big bandaids
pumpkin cake (good reviews for Lanie)

hugs from Erin in the lunchroom
and her kisses
good days in Great Books
even, or maybe especially, on my hard days

coffee for three instead of coffee for two
Your arrangement of situations to save me from my big mouth
a happy welcome home
my waggy dog
a good sermon online about judgment

another good sermon on standing through seasons
a field trip to a local farm
fun with friends
apples in the car
friends to sleep over for Lanie

hot coffee
a fun shoot for a good friend
camera 2
2 photoshoots, 2 sets of tracks, 1 puppy


clothes in the mail that fit

a warm poncho my dad made
Kathy S.'s hugs in the director's booth
David L, who saw me on Saturday
Erica's happy hello

clean margins
beef and rice bowls
Wegmans white chocolate raspberry ice cream
Erin's enthusiasm playing old piano songs
coffee on a Monday morning

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hashtag Tuesday

Yesterday, while it was still o'dark o'clock. The heat was on upstairs, toasty warm. Downstairs it was kicking on too, which meant it was pretty cold.

I went upstairs to wake Erin. I listened to her breathe. I stared out the dark window and thought about schedules and days and months. Thought about how I wanted to sleep in with my kiddo and wake when the sun came up.

Today, I got up to make Shane's lunch, and then went back to bed. Rolled out when the sun was up. (Normally I stay up with him, but sometimes this Mon-Fri up at 3, well, while productive, means I'm beat by 8 p.m.--sometimes even by 7 AM!) It was a treat to sleep in.

We started our work, Erin and I. Because in third grade, we do all subjects together. On this Tuesday, science took a grueling two hours. The coffee was cold before I even finished what was in the mug.

Those thoughts about schedules and days.

I called Erin over to my lap. She smiled and nestled in for the hug.

I caught myself wanting to mutter about Tuesday and, like she just knows, Erin said, "Tuesdays should be Terrible Tuesday."

On a break for lunch prep and, you know, BREAK.

Completed: science, grammar and math. Still to do: literature, writing, history, geography.

And pumpkin cake to bake for Lanie's snack contribution for CBS.

If I had this day without demands--we would be pancake eating, woods walking, picture taking, book reading, home-working, cake baking, enjoying the minutes (and coffee hot) of the day.

I love these girls. Underscore: there's no place like home. Glad to be home.

Glad to be home.


Monday, October 19, 2015

And still counting (7689-7726)

fall colors out the window
socks for my feet

clean laundry
a fun day in Great Books
a great check-up for Lanie (up 15 pounds and grew an inch since June)
a fall photo walk

and coming upon toys left from play in the woods
Erin was here, though she was nowhere to be found when I discovered this. Tea for two in the woods.

an unexpected visit from Anita
her hugs
her example
her love for us

ice cream from Wegmans
a teenager in my house
reflections of the years with Lanie
how the afternoon sunlight through the woods takes my breath away
birthday wishes for my girl

an open can of worms
Julie by chat
Anna to sleep over

Erin's rap video
Lanie's request for bacon and coffee

a warm blanket
reflections and reminders of the journey from there to here
a good recipe for coffee cake
a Sunday shoot
tires for my car

that man of mine
tears in a classroom reading over Gilgamesh
soup recipes
wool socks

my guy and his sense of humor
Kellie and her family and a sunny day
Fernanda next to us at church
Erica's hugs
how good it feels to give things away

movie watching (Home) with Erin

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Squat here

I had my first photo shoot at the house for the fall.

I went outside to find good light.

"Can I come?" Lanie asked.


We went out together. We walked in the crunchy leaves.

"Do you want me to be your model?" she asked.

"Sure," I said. "Squat here."

What a beauty.

Friends over for a family shoot.

good friends

We also went down by the train tracks and they were willing to even head into the swampy areas (now dry).

Seriously. I can't breathe it in enough, the woods. Like I'll never be full of its beauty. Since I was on a gig with friends, I didn't go nuts taking woods pictures. But I definitely see a walk in the future.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


I was searching through old photos this morning to put together a little collage of Lanie in honor of her birthday. Sadly, my digital photos only go back to 2009 (because of a terrible drive crash and then theft of said drive after we moved here).

Old photos from life before.

nugget with the goofy play glasses

in from the snow

a piano recital

a piano recital


these two


And photos when this place was so new to us. For whatever reason, I feel lost in color.

a fireplace for roasting marshmallows

going on nine

I had this image printed out and hung up in our office at the other house as a constant visual of God's urging

before it was ours, during a visit

she was going on nine

her new room

first fall here

our year at home in third

first day of fourth

when we got our dog

Happy thirteenth to my sweet girl.

She requested bacon and coffee for breakfast.

I stood quietly with Shane last night, holding his hand. We were both acutely aware of the time we have left with her.

I don't even know what to say, except I have a teenager.

(time, go slow.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Door no more

Finally. (Finally!)

No more cleaning every individual square of glass (all thirty of them--sixty if you count both sides!).

No more paint issues.

No more finagling a quirky doorknob.

No more wintry drafts from warping wood and cracks of daylight near the hinges.

No more messing with weather stripping.

Shane may have hated the school room (before we remodeled it), but for me, the old door was losing its charm--especially when I'd get the living room (winter) temperature up into the eighties at bedtime and wake to find the temps had plummeted to sixty in the few hours I got to sleep.

I love that the (new door) grids are between the glass so that I can easily clean the panels with a smooth motion. (I have a thing for clean windows--probably because I wear glasses that are in varying states of clean. I don't need anything else fogging up my view--though with a dog, kids and woods life, who am I kidding? At least the door is easier to clean!)

I love that there's a very decent chance we'll have a warm living room this winter.

I love that this was a project Shane and I did together.

Lanie loves the replacement doorknob--a French-style knob in oil-rubbed bronze (hey, even if that color has seen its heyday, I still love it. Feels very farm house-y to me.).

Shane probably loves that it's one more thing off his list to-do and he won't have to hear about how much I hated the other door anymore.

Erin, my sentimental one, wanted to save a piece of the door. Later, she's holding the old brassy knob that Shane removed for her.

This weekend, perhaps an inscription, and replacing the trim around the door.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Snickerdoodle cookies, a green balloon, and a song in my heart

A student in my class had a birthday today. I baked snickerdoodle cookies for him. I had the class sign a card for him. I brought in a party hat (that he wouldn't wear). And I gave him a helium balloon.

We sang to him. Another student prayed for him. And the kids ate up all the cookies, which is great since it was a new-to-me recipe and I wasn't sure how it would go over with them..

After school when we were leaving, Lanie said, "Look, (he's) still got the balloon."

There he was, standing outside the school door holding a green balloon. He's seventeen.

This was so precious to me.

Yay for birthdays.


2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 T vanilla
7 T grapeseed oil

cinnamon/sugar mixture for dusting

Whisk dry ingredients together and then add wet ingredients. Plop by tablespoons onto parchment paper. Gently flatten if necessary. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar. The cookies will spread out. Bake at 350 degrees, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from parchment paper. Made about 2 1/2 dozen.

Thanks to Denise for sitting on the couch with me last night going through cookbooks to find gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. Snickerdoodles won. (I haven't yet played with the coffee cake to sub out the sour cream for pumpkin.)

And still counting (7664-7688)

a chat with Janice
colorful mums

the warmth of a lap blanket
pumpkin muffins
hanging out with Lisa skimming cookbooks
good thoughts from Rising Strong

a Celiac luncheon
shopping with Erin
Lanie's 15 pounds
a friend's successful surgery and homecoming
friends who are trustworthy

a Saturday night service with my kids
running into friends
sweet potato fries

sunlight filtering through fall trees
a dry place during the storm
table for four on a Friday
the door, replaced
a gluten-free restaurant

Denise at the table for Sunday dinner
her friendship and generosity
spaghetti squash

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Around here

Lanie's birthday is coming up and she's all about it. You'd think the celebration lasted a month. I said something to her like, "You know, when I'm older, I expect you kiddos to take the day off to come have lunch with me. Tell your boss you want to see your mom." (I truly don't require this.)

"Mom! I'm going to be the boss!" Lanie said. She wants to be a dentist.

"Well, then, tell your employees that you are taking me out to lunch," I said.

"I'll be working. But you can come in for a free cleaning," she said.

Oh. My. Gosh.

This was hilarious to me.


Erin is all about Lego Friends. She even got library books about them. A friend of hers has the cruise ship, and it's all Erin can talk about--to the point that now she wants to go on a cruise.

Shane and I compromised that we'd do a nice harbor cruise or something in the spring.

She can't wait. We looked up options for our area.


The pumpkin spice tea has become an unexpected pleasure and flavor saver. (Not an affiliate link. I actually purchased mine from Wegmans.)


The kids shot out this morning to ride scooters. They came back in shortly after to get hats and gloves.


We got the door installed!

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Someone is about to turn thirteen.

She has started a most verbal countdown.

"Seriously! Where did the time go? You were just a baby in my arms," I said.

For the longest time, I'd make her popovers for her birthday breakfast. We used to call them fluffy buns, a Pinky Dinky Do reference.

"This year," she whispered to me across the couch during a piano lesson, "I want bacon and coffee for my birthday."

"Bacon and coffee?" Me. Surprised. I laughed.

She laughed too.

"And for dinner ..."

"Make a list, tell me later."

Today, my brain is in a thick fog and all I want to do is sleep.

Creamy butternut bisque (made with coconut milk). Warm shawl around my shoulders. Eyelids heavy.

I didn't want to forget her request. From the mouth of the same girl who just told me she wanted to skip using her iPod today so she could ride scooters with her sister.

Monday, October 5, 2015

And still counting (7618-7663)

chocolate quinoa cake
birthday wishes

pumpkin pie with Lanie
birthday crashers singing a song
the sound of southbound geese
good friends
an apple slicer

and a big blue mug
their delight in giving
rainy days
wood to stack

His love in their silence

kind words and reminders
10 pounds and six inches gone
sweet potatoes
a gifted basket for a photo gig

a lesson in temptation
gluten-free biscuits with fig jam
naps on rainy days
a big mug of warmth
morning face time with Julie

Thursday through Sunday
read alouds with Erin
his favorite dried fruit snacks, found
zuppa toscana
flowers in a vase on the counter

socks on my feet
leaves changing
reasons for thank you notes
David on the phone
colorful mums around the patio

how she plays outside in the rain
Satsuma smells in the school room
a purple blanket after eight
these last weeks with a twelve-year-old
an unexpected visit from my dad and Linda

belated blankets
a hug with him
clothes shopping with Lanie
ice cream in a little dish
an old, cold house

a visit to a favorite library
lots of good memories
the library couches for a family selfie

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cake for breakfast?

It is so, ahem, tempting, cake for breakfast.

Lisa and her kiddos birthday crashed me last night. Showed up with cake and singing. I cut slices for us, and then the first taste. Not only delicious.


Who would know it's made with quinoa?

Seriously, a show stopper. If I ever have to bring a dessert someplace--it's going to be this one.

Unforgettable Chocolate Quinoa Cake. 

And unforgettable friends.

some of our first friends when we moved out here--country neighbors

and there was some left over!


God had this day covered in love