30 August 2010

Gratitude Journal: August 30 edition

Still counting with Ann at Holy Experience...we're almost to 1000! I hope you might start listing your blessings, as well. I'm pretty sure it will change the way you see things.
More later. Busy week ahead.

0889 sunshine after long rainy days
0890 much needed rain!
0891 cleaning lots of STUFF OUT of my house
0892 a few more days before school starts (now it's only TWO for Lucy and me!)
0893 forgiving neighbors
0894 birthday boys
0895 cakes!
0896 routines - I need some new ones
0897 Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars - STILL getting played with after all these years!
0898 garbage (or rubbish for New Englanders/Brits) service
0899 Theo saying, "Tomorrow we've got to sponsor some kids!" (We do.)
0900 a brilliantly clear morning - 59 degrees (fall is coming!), sunny, green trees on horizon, not a hint of humidity
0901 warm last days of summer...still not ready to let go
0902 church (again, and again, and again)
0903 giving bags and bags and bags away
0904 Mark 20:17,18 "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him. Praying scary prayers.
0905 book of Jonah
0906 swimming all together
0907 my friend Ann
0908 being able to really connect with Theo in reconciliation even as I corrected him...he is such a tender, tender soul
0909 realizing how much our children NEED us and our attention
0910 Groupon - have you tried this yet?!
0911 beginning of year cook-out - makes me not quite so nervous

holy experience

28 August 2010


Walter is 12! That's twelve years of being a mama, twelve years of knowing this interesting little boy who is now growing into a man.
Walter and I are very much alike. I think that is why we have struggled with each other so much over the years; that, and my HUGE SIN PATTERNS.
It's always nice to hear from people outside the family that your children are a delight. This is especially true when maybe those children are not always quite such a delight in the home. Ahem.
I must note that in the past week, since picking up the boys from camp, Walter has truly, truly been a delight, both in the home and out. He's been an encourager to his siblings, helpful to his parents, and quite thoughtful.
I really, really like this guy. Happy birthday, my first-born son!

We had a lovely birthday breakfast. Crepes were requested for the second time this week, only this time we made the custard to go with it. Yummy.
There was definitely a baseball theme with the gifts this year.

We ended the day with a picnic of cheeseburgers and corn and IBC rootbeer. Then we played the ninja game. I just learned it tonight.
And cake. Don't forget the cake.
I'm kind of glad the days of making cakes into different shapes are mostly behind me. Man, I used to slave over those cakes when they were little!

26 August 2010


Do you recognize this little bald-headed guy?
That is Theo on his first birthday. With his bug cake.
Here he is around the same age. What a cutie patootie!

That guy turned 8 years old today!
We celebrated with crepes for breakfast. Theo had his with strawberry jam and powdered sugar.
His requested dinner menu was breakfast! So we had fried eggs, bacon and pancakes. It was so good. Must do that more often.

Ever since he was born, Theo has had a zest for life, an infectious laugh and VERY strong emotions. He is so interesting. I'm so glad I get to watch him grow and learn.
Theo, we are so proud of you and blessed by your life.
(And hope you enjoy rocking out to your new AC/DC tunes!)

23 August 2010

My heart is filled thankfulness...

...to Him who walks beside; who floods my weaknesses with strength and causes fear to fly; whose every promise is enough for every step I take, sustaining me with arms of love and crowning me with grace.
- Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend (I really like THIS version of this song)

Summer is winding down (WAHHHHHHHH! no, no, NO...stomp, stomp, pout, pout, wrestle, punch, grrrr...sniff).
I have three days of teacher meetings this week and a TON of stuff to do for school.
That is to say nothing of the remaining two birthdays of Summer Birthday Season which are this week and my determination to have at least ONE more summerish day, maybe a beach day if the rain will let up (not complaining at all; the rain is welcome and needed; even if it weren't, I shouldn't complain, now, should I?!?)
I'm going to continue my list, as there are so many many ways the Father shows me His love, if only I will look and notice and acknowledge Him.

(child additions to the list here; bet you can guess which ones)
0864 candy
0865 cider doughnuts (how can it be cider doughnut season already?!? NOOOOOOO!)
0866 New York
0867 going to Border Cafe with Papa
0868 the world
0869 forks
0870 Wilson Farm and all the yummy food
0871 clothes
0872 making Theo giggle
0873 wrestling
0874 how Lucy smells when she wakes up
0875 anticipation of seeing my boys at camp!!
0876 cool late-August morning
0877 T Downs and her servant heart
0878 freshly-painted classroom (thanks to T)!
0879 working HARD on that classroom
0880 making something that once looked yucky into something that is beautiful
0881 eager colleagues
0882 colleague's new granddaughter with a beautiful name
0883 EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. I have to hug my children
0884 going to bed with my husband
0885 praying for dear friends across the wide ocean - joining with many others
0886 new arrangement of an old song (go HERE to hear a bit)
0887 this blog post
0888 these feet and the boy to whom they are attached

holy experience

22 August 2010

My people are back

We set out early on a gloriously sunny summer morning, past the salt marshes of the North Shore and across the Merrimac River.
We procured sustenance for the journey from the land of the Golden Arches. It was better than nothing.

North we drove, toward the land of Live Free or Die, the land of the White Mountains, the land of no sales tax.
Freakazoid drivers (like the car on the right) were few and far between. We made good time.
We arrived to piles of luggage, sleeping bags and dirty laundry, just in time to catch the last few minutes of camp's closing ceremonies.
There were sweet hugs all around, and many stories ensued. The best part was seeing each boy say good-bye to his cabin-mates and counselors. It was evident that good relationships had begun to form.

We stopped by the camp store for one last soda and a camp magnet.
Lucy said, "Take a picture of me and the new guys!" And Theo said, "Walter, this is the longest you've been nice to me."
Maybe an overstatement, but not by much. For the record, Walter has been SUCH a sweetie all day yesterday and today.
AND, bonus for this Mama's heart, last night he wanted me to sing him two songs and tuck him in for bed. He's still my boy.
So grateful for being able to send them to camp and for all that they learned...more on that tomorrow for Multitude Monday!

19 August 2010

One thing

My husband pointed out to me that his picture is curiously absent from my new blog header. Let's see, there's my brother. There's me...there are the children. But no husband.

"But there aren't that many pictures of you!" I protest.

"Mmhmmm," he replies. Stonily.

Not really on the stonily part. That just makes it sound more dramatic. He's a good sport, he is.

My bad, my bad, my BAD!!

Here is my cute, sweet and funny and long-suffering husband:

Oh, wait. Just kidding. Here he is:

No, no, no, this is a family-friendly site!! Dang. HERE he is:

Okay, okay, not funny. He's not that mad. And he doesn't have rocket boots. This is it. See, he's really cute. And nice. And I love him.

17 August 2010

An awesome evening

Not much to report today.
We did stuff at home, I had a visit to my chiropractor (nothing wrong, just regularly scheduled maintenance), we stopped by my school and did a bit of classroom cleaning and prep.
Stopped at the farm stand, came home, ate lunch, did some laundry chores and then we took ourselves to the pool.
After some swimming we met up with John here.

I had to take the man to see Toy Story 3 so we could cry together.
Do you know something AWESOME about this theater? MANY of their shows are only $5 per person. Did you hear that? Only 5 dollars. Not doll hairs. Dollars.
The second awesome thing about this theater is that you can get a beer. On tap. Or a glass of wine. And drink it WHILE you watch a movie. How cool is that? You can even drink a beer while you watch Toy Story 3 with two of your kids and your husband.
Theo asked a million and one random questions on the drive home, Lucy fell asleep in the car, we put her in bed, we made dinner which included CAULIFLOWER (impressed are you? eh? eh?) which was not yucky.
Then we watched River Monster with Theo. Seriously, how many fishing shows can they come up with? I mean, really.
And that is the story of our awesome evening.

16 August 2010

I will mention the lovingkindesses of the LORD...

It's Monday (for a few more hours!) so I'm joining the gratitude community and recounting the ways the Lord blesses. He is merciful and good and He cares in ways that we often overlook. Give us eyes to see, Lord!

I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. Isaiah 63:7

0842 new (old) tablecloth sent by my mom; reminds me of home
0843 black-eyed Susans on the table
0844 flowers in jars

0845 friends who bring flowers from their yards!
0846 taking time to make things lovely
0847 not worrying about reputation; just hoping to love
0848 gathering of church women at my house

0849 all ages sharing time and talk together
0850 brave new-comers! Brava!
0851 TWO kinds of muffins!
0852 staying up late and getting up early; seems to be how I function under pressure
0853 loooongggg naps
0854 friends who stay long after everyone else has gone; I've always loved that
0855 mornings on my little porch
0856 community
0857 having only two at home this week; it's so different
0858 praying for my mom and dad on their trip to Europe!
0859 praying for Walt and Clay everyday; imagining what they're doing
0860 buying paint and picking colors
0861 scrambled eggs
0862 news of new pregnancies
0863 these cheeks

holy experience

12 August 2010

Favorite Corn Recipe

Wednesday is farmers' market day in our town. So yesterday I loaded up on some fresh corn, tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, arugula and greens.

Corn on the cob is always a hit. But sometimes I like to change it up a bit.
Here is a favorite way to prepare corn, sent to me by my mother many years ago. I believe it first appeared in Gourmet magazine. It's a bit spicy, which we love, but often I'll tone it down for the chilluns.

Ishmail Merchant's Cayenned Corn (yes, Ishmail Merchant of Merchant and Ivory film fame)

1. Cut as much uncooked fresh corn as you have mouths to feed (roughly one ear per person, maybe slightly more).
2. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet and add the corn, a couple of chopped-up garlic cloves, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you like it spicy!) and salt to taste. Cook this mixture a few minutes over medium heat.
3. Add 1/2 cup cream (half-and-half or even milk will do; I've used all of them with success), cook the mixture for another 8 minutes or so and serve it hot.

It goes without saying that you can adjust the amounts depending on how many ears of corn you use!

Enjoy the taste of summer.

11 August 2010

Best Reads of the Summer (so far)

I've done a fair bit of reading this summer, much of it in preparation for teaching English/Language Arts to one class of 7/8th graders this year. I've tried to change it up with books I feel I "have" to read with books that are purely for pleasure.
I thought I would share with you two books that have been my favorites in the last several weeks.

One day, digging something from the basement, I happened across my high school copy of Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. It still has my high school history teacher's phone number scribbled on on the inside cover. Are you out there, Mr. Brown?!

Perhaps inspired by the World Cup being hosted by South Africa, I knew I wanted to re-read this one. It did not disappoint. If you have never read this classic, I highly recommend it. It is tragic and yet full of hope. The language paints such a picture of the landscape and the hearts of the people it portrays. I loved reading it and wished it would not end.

The second book is one I read about on someone's blog (maybe Ann's?). The Betsy-Tacy series is written by Maud Hart Lovelace and tells the story of two little girls who become best friends. It takes place at the turn of the century (ca 1900). When I spied it at the library, I decided to give it a quick read to see if it might be something to read to Lucy.

I found it magical. The illustrations are by Lois Lensky, whom we know from the Small picture book series (Cowboy Small, Fireman Small, Engineer Small). Lucy AND the boys have enjoyed it as a read aloud; it's really the first chapter book that I've selected with primarily Lucy in mind.

We're now onto the second book called Betsy-Tacy, and Tib. Tib is the third friend who was introduced at the end of the first book. I'm not sure how far into the series we'll get, as I believe it follows Betsy into adulthood. The humorous writing, imaginative adventures of the girls, the description of life in another time and the simple yet accurate illustrations have given us much pleasure this summer.

09 August 2010

1000 Gifts: August 9 edition

Has it really been a week since I last posted?
It's been fun and busy around here, and we've been enjoying the days of summer.
So let me take a few moments to record a few of ways in which the Father has blessed us this week. I'd love for you to join in!

0822 fresh veggies from farmers' market
0823 air conditioning in our car...ahhhh!
0824 piles and piles of socks, undies, t-shirts and shorts for camp...who wants to bet they wear the same thing for two weeks?!
0825 huge duffle bags
0826 sleep-overs with best friends
0827 helping a friend clean for a move
0828 New York City!
0829 college friend, so dear, a real, true heart friend
0830 seeing that friend in NYC
0831 our kids immediately hitting it off...so cute
0832 listening to Lucy's make-believe play
0833 experiencing New York with our children
0834 my brother
0835 my brother's tiny, cute apartment
0836 our children sprawled all over the apartment sleeping
0837 a cold shower at the end of a hot city day
0838 a new adventure for two boys
0839 praying the Lord will use their time away
0840 oldest son telling me on our trip, "This is so cool, Mom!"
0841 Sunday's sermon about church: why we need each other, how we don't get to choose each other; we're really family

holy experience