Friday, August 30, 2013

Last Days of Summer

I'm grieving the end of summer.  It was too short!  There were so many things I wanted to do but didn't.  What seemed to overshadow the summer was my surgery and the doctor visits afterwards and then all the work we did for 4-H.  That's what stands out.  I'm feeling deprived.  I think I'm forgetting the good things.  And I'm forgetting that my life is not my own.  It's about doing what needs to be done.  It's about people and giving.  I need to let go of my plans, my control, my perceived needs. 

Once school starts life is all about the girls and my job that will help pay the bills.  I've been called to homeschool.  It's my God-given task right now, so I have to make that my priority.  My teaching job at the co-op is God's provision for our family and I take that very seriously.  But sometimes when I try to do all the other things--be a good wife, a good mother to my other kids, a good grandmother, I often get overwhelmed.  I get tired.  How about some peace and quiet!  How about some alone time?  I need that.  And summer was supposed to provide that and didn't.  So here we go again into a new school year.

So now I am "alone" while the girls sleep, as I am almost every morning.  What do I do with that time?  Do I read the tempting headlines on yahoo?  Do I peruse Facebook?  What a waste of time the internet can be.  A young man we know wrote a great blog post about his smart phone.  See it here:

Instead of playing around on the computer, I could go downstairs and watch the birds leave the bamboo grove and center myself with prayer and God's word--communion with the Creator of the Universe!  Do we realize what a privilege that is?  Sometimes life's best gifts are left unwrapped and unnoticed because we don't stop our busyness to see them and open them.

So I will spend that treasured time with God and he will give me peace, contentment, purpose, vision, clarity, gratitude, strength and joy.  NOW I'm ready for the day!  NOW I'm ready for a new school year!  Now I can set aside my regret over a lost summer and remember what made it good.  I think of...

Adirondack chairs on the deck made with my own husband's hands, watching the sun set with cricket song.  Fred's good grilled meats and watermelon and ice cream and lush tomatoes on my countertop.  Flip-flops on our feet and sunshine on our skin.  Bluebirds on the wire and a cloud of butterflies around the butterfly bush and Liana running for her camera.  Our okra forest--what a funny plant--and noticing for the first time that bees are doing all the pollination that produce those beautiful flowers.  We harvested a bounty from our garden.  I think of Arielle delighting in new friendships and teenage girls giggling around our table.  We witnessed baptisms and changed lives.  We had barefooted babies to love and hold, babies that will be running  around next summer, struggling to be free of our arms.  Then there were bike rides along the rivers and cold water that refreshes us and laughter with the wind in our ears.  I'm grateful for it all.  It's been a great summer! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

End of August

Our summer is ending with lots of activity!  More on that later.  Here are some photos that capture our laughter, our joy, and our chaos.  Family and friends--what could be better than this?

Caden, Lana and Laci--cousins!

Cousins at Chrissy's shower
Laci, Lana, Joey, Jordan, and Caden

Julia and her niece Skylar
Liana and Arielle with Joey and Jordan

Two seconds later--babies say, "Let us go!"

Precious!  Arielle's shirt says it all

Friday, August 16, 2013


"Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide."—Genesis 24:63.
Very admirable was his occupation. If those who spend so many hours in idle company, light reading, and useless pastimes, could learn wisdom, they would find more profitable society and more interesting engagements in meditation than in the vanities which now have such charms for them. We should all know more, live nearer to God, and grow in grace, if we were more alone. Meditation chews the cud and extracts the real nutriment from the mental food gathered elsewhere. When Jesus is the theme, meditation is sweet indeed. Isaac found Rebecca while engaged in private musings; many others have found their best beloved there.

Very admirable was the choice of place. In the field we have a study hung round with texts for thought. From the cedar to the hyssop, from the soaring eagle down to the chirping grasshopper, from the blue expanse of heaven to a drop of dew, all things are full of teaching, and when the eye is divinely opened, that teaching flashes upon the mind far more vividly than from written books. Our little rooms are neither so healthy, so suggestive, so agreeable, or so inspiring as the fields. Let us count nothing common or unclean, but feel that all created things point to their Maker, and the field will at once be hallowed.

Very admirable was the season. The season of sunset as it draws a veil over the day, befits that repose of the soul when earthborn cares yield to the joys of heavenly communion. The glory of the setting sun excites our wonder, and the solemnity of approaching night awakens our awe. If the business of this day will permit it, it will be well, dear reader, if you can spare an hour to walk in the field at eventide, but if not, the Lord is in the town too, and will meet with thee in thy chamber or in the crowded street. Let thy heart go forth to meet Him.

Charles Spurgeon

Monday, August 12, 2013

Historical Fabric

Here is the fabric I got at the fair.  My niece wanted to see a picture.  I thought at first it looked like cotton and that maybe it was from a southern design.  But after doing some research I found out it came from a quilt made in York County, Pennsylvania in the early 1800's.  I read that the fabric was mostly likely bought in Philadelphia and had been imported from England.  Of course, it came from a reproduction of an antique quilt and is not the original fabric.  Now I am interested in finding the rest of the fabrics that were in this quilt.   And who has all the reproductions that were made?  There is a museum in York that I believe has the quilt and a store in Gettysburg might have some of the fabric.  It will be an interesting search.

Friday, August 09, 2013

New Friends

It's fair time again!  We love the 4-H fair.  It's the same old fair but each year we have new experiences and meet new people and new animals.  Nick, Kristina and the kids all came today and we got to share the fun with them.  But unfortunately, they left before we met these new friends.

The reptile club gave a demonstration and people were invited to touch the animals.  The goal is education--to end the "Ugh!" factor and appreciate each animal for its special characteristics.  We met this beautiful tarantula and were encouraged to pet her back if we wanted.  Okay, I did it.  Then her owner said we could hold her.  Why not?  I let her walk back and forth between my hands.  The owner retrieved her when she started climbing up my arm.  I know, a tarantula is not a reptile, but this guy had one.

Then we met a ball python.  He is a beautiful snake.  Guess what his name is?  No, really, try guessing.  What would you name a python?  I'll tell you at the end of this post.  The young man asked if I would like to hold him.  Why not?  My age and I've never held a snake!  He was heavy and it was fascinating to feel him move.  Arielle held him also to my amazement!  Not Liana though.

We also interacted with some cute goats, soft bunnies, amazing alpacas, and our favorites--guinea pigs!  All you old people like me--go to a petting zoo and enjoy the animals!  They aren't just for kids.

We spent most of our time in the fabric sale room.  It was very hectic on opening night with everyone looking for a bargain.  We're always looking for our own treasures that we get for free because we're working.  This year I got 8 and a half yards of a historical fabric.  It is a replica of a design taken from an antique quilt.  I love it.  It's enough for a quilt backing and someday I will do something with it. Too many other projects going on right now though.
Okay, did you guess the python's name?  Monty, of course!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Still Counting

"Do all things without grumbling or disputing..."  (Philippians 2:14) 
"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you..."  (I Thessalonians 5:17)

When we are grateful for the gifts, complaining fades away.  When we are thankful for the small things, we don't covet the big things. 

1,290.  Special time spent with Liana while her sister is away
1,291.  Provision from our garden to nourish us this winter
1,292.  Seeing Arielle's face after a week apart from her
1,293.  The gift of a song

I heard this song for the first time Sunday.  It's not new, but new to me. It's called "10,000 Reasons".  Such beautiful music!  Lyrics that are so meaningful to me.  It reminds me of Psalm 103, read by my son at my wedding.

 Bless the lord, oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship his holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship your holy name

The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

You're rich in love and you're slow to anger
Your name is great and your heart is kind
For all your goodness I will keep on singing
10,000 reasons for my heart to find

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Soon my soul will sing your praise unending
10,000 years and then forever more.

Listen and be blessed!  I hope I live long enough to count 10,000 gifts.  God gives them everyday, but sometimes I don't recognize them or thank him.  I'm too busy complaining.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."  (Psalm 103)

(photo by Liana)