As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

"Come, Ye Disconsolate"

Our dear friend Frances recently introduced us to this moving song, a beautiful invitation to bring our wounds and our neediness to the Lord. Are you disconsolate? Lonely? Comfortless? Discouraged? Wounded? Needy? Let the words of this song bring a balm to your weary heart. 

  1. Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
    Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
    Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
    Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal.
  2. Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
    Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
    Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
    “Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot cure.”
  3. Here see the bread of life, see waters flowing
    Forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
    Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
    Earth has no sorrow but heav’n can remove.

Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls. 
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Matthew 11: 28-30

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Honoring Mothers

Amidst the challenges of living in a sad and broken world, Mother's Day is not always cotton candy sweet. There are women who have lost their mothers. Women whose relationships with their mothers are strained or broken. Women who do not have children or who have suffered the loss of a child. The year that we lost our Kara Joy, Mother's Day was a painful day.  

Motherhood is not something that is automatic. It is not a given, nor is it our right.

But, if you have been given this grace, the privilege and responsibility that is motherhood, then what you do with this gift is of eternal significance!

Mothering is hard and important work and is worthy of honor

On Sunday, we gathered together to celebrate and honor the mothers in our family.

This view from my kitchen window is a wonderful sight!

I think this was Paul's first time at the Big Kid table. His mommy noted that it was not a "baby" bite he was taking from his roll!

My darling great-nieces, Ivy and Isabel

We took a photo of each mother with her children . . .
Mom and her daughters

My sister Linda with two of her three children: Amy and Alec

My niece Amy with Isabel and Ivy

Our daughter Kristin with her children
(l to r) Maddie, Gavin, Alaine, Baby Macie, Ben, Owen

Our daughter-in-law Sarah with her children
(l to r) Nora, Paul, Peter, Eve

Ron's mom with one of her eight

Me with my children: Kristin, Kati, Ryan, Bekah

This was the very best of gifts: my grandchildren's sweet and beautiful voices blended to sing a prayer, "Teach Us to Love," accompanied by Bekah on the piano. It was so beautiful, and it fills my mama-heart (and my gran-heart) to know that their hearts and minds are being filled with spiritual truth. 

And, of course, the day would not have been complete without one of our favorite games: Wrapping Paper Antics. ๐Ÿ˜

My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother;
For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck.
Proverbs 1:8, 9

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Pineapple House | Bekah's Room

It was last September when we painted the girls' rooms. Shortly after, I showed you Kati's room at Pineapple House. She had begun planning her new room weeks before we moved in and everything was already in place. The fresh paint simply completed it.

Bekah, on the other hand, works more like her mama. Slow and steady. 

Her room was a total change from her old room in style and color, and she was also working with some new (to her) furniture pieces, so it took a while to develop her plan. She slowly added and Pinned and tweaked and took away. Decorating is a process!

Over this year, she has learned what her style is. She is becoming more confident in her choices and more at home with what she really loves.

Here is Bekah's new room . . . 

Just to the left of her closet door, she created a small gallery wall. When we cleaned out the attic of The Farmhouse before we moved, Bekah claimed the antique mirror as well as the little demilune table.

On our last day at The Farmhouse, Bekah took snippets of several plants that she loved, brought them here, and pressed them. She later made this framed collage of Farmhouse specimens, remembrances from her childhood.

The Ikea chair that she has had since age 9 is still a cozy place to read. Some day, a new chair could replace it, but until then . . .

Bek found this pair of pillows that coordinated with her new color scheme for $3.00 each in a local antique store. She only bought one until she could see if it would hold up in the wash (must be washed!). It did, so we went back to get the other. 

Her second rug from Rugs USA. The first one went back. (Not the right color.)

I knew that Bekah had been looking for a piecrust table, so for Christmas Ron and I decided to give her money towards the purchase of one. Who knew that she already knew the one she wanted . . . and that the amount of money we gave her was the exact cost of that one? Not us! On December 26th, off we went to the antique store, hoping that "her" table was still there. It was! 

Do you remember my Aunt Lynn's highboy that I wasn't sure what to do with? (I even considered painting it, causing a collective cringe from many Thinking About Home readers. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ)

Well, Bekah knew what to do with it.

This is Pinky's furniture. ๐Ÿˆ

This room is a bit like a bride: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.

The "something borrowed" is her bed, a family piece that actually belongs to my sister who does not have a place to use it in her current home. It is one of a pair. I have known "the twin beds" all of my life, first in my great-aunt's house, then in my aunt's, and I have slept in one many times. Before that, they were at my great-grandparents' house (the ones who owned this house). My mom remembers sleeping in them as a child.

Ron made the night table for her room at The Farmhouse. It started out seafoam green, but Bekah painted it this shade of periwinkle for her new room. 

Bekah is still tweaking the art work in her room. She has framed a couple of old maps, but she would like to add more color, so she is planning to add some botanical prints to her walls.

Bekah's favorite piece in her bedroom is this family heirloom. It was my great-grandfather's (her great-great-grandfather's) desk and it too has been passed down through the generations. It is such a handsome, yet graceful, piece.

Although Bekah was sad to leave her room at The Farmhouse, I think she has done a beautiful job creating her own space here at Pineapple House!  

(A look through the years . . . Bekah's room at the Farmhouse . . . 201020132015.)

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Purple Dress {And a Beautiful Song}

You may remember the story of The Purple Dress that Bekah needed to wear for her choir's spring concert. After a long and fruitless search, we decided to go online and order a dress that was scheduled to arrive sometime between mid-April and May 5th, the day of the concert. Too close for comfort! But Amazon had always come through for us, so I was fairly confident that the dress would arrive in time. 

So we waited.

And waited.

And concert day arrived. If the dress did not arrive in the afternoon mail, we were up a creek!

As we were leaving our house to go to the final rehearsal, we saw the mail truck drive away. Hoping against hope, we checked the mailbox and the front step.

No dress. 

I was probably even more disappointed than Bekah was. (I may have cried.)

I dropped Bekah off at rehearsal and I asked the Lord to help me find my girl a dress for this special night. I went in five stores (if you know my speed, you are amazed at that!) and I bought three items: two pretty tops and a dress, having NO idea whether Bekah would like any of it because she has a hard time even pleasing herself!

As we were leaving rehearsal, dear friends who knew of our plight offered dresses from their own closet, so we followed them home and borrowed all of their purple clothes!

Back at home, we had a (quick) fashion show. When Bek came out of her bedroom wearing the dress that I had bought, she was smiling and I knew that we had a winner. Amazing! (And it was on clearance too.)

Oh, it was such a wonderful evening! Bekah sang in the older choir and accompanied the younger choir for several songs. Eight of my ten grandchildren sang in one of the two choirs; some also performed in solos or ensembles. The music was glorious . . . songs with stirring melodies, rich in faith and praise.

As I listened, I was thankful that the Lord heard a mama's prayer for her daughter. I was thankful for sweet friends willing to help. I was thankful that He cares about the little things in my life (like a purple dress). I was thankful for our home school choirs and for the teachers who are pouring their gifts into teaching our children. I was thankful that my daughter and my grandchildren have the privilege of learning beautiful and God-honoring music.

I was even thankful, in spite of the stress of the afternoon, that the dress had not come. If it had arrived early, or even on time, we would have missed seeing these other gifts.

Maddie and Bekah , , , wearing their purple dresses ๐Ÿ˜Š

I am sharing two songs from the concert. This gorgeous Chopin piece was performed by the older choir. (Bekah is in the back row on the far right. Granddaughter Maddie is at Bekah's immediate left, and grandson Gavin is on the far left also in the back row.)

"To God Be Joyful," performed by the younger set, is a song of exuberant praise. Bekah is playing the piano accompaniment for this piece. (Granddaughter Nora is in the front row far left. Alaine is also in the front row, wearing a color-blocked dress; her brother Ben is to her immediate right. Grandson Peter is on the far right of the front row. In the back row, grandson Owen is on the far left, peering just above Nora's shoulder, and granddaughter Eve is on the far right.) 

Watching God provide  . . . and an evening of beauty and praise!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Gathering the Moments | April

It has been a while since I have gathered the moments here on my blog. Life moves so quickly from month to month and after I missed a couple of months of "gathering," it became a little easier to let it slide. But I really do enjoy marking the moments and looking back before moving on, so when sickness kept me home from church yesterday, I decided to gather some photos and some memories and some thoughts from the month of April.

A group of us were able to visit the former home of my great-grandparents, an amazing house full of artistic details and rich with family history. What an opportunity! 

We said good-bye to one of the sweetest kitties I have ever known. He had come to us nearly nine years ago. We just started seeing him around The Farmhouse . . . way out in the fields, away from the house. We would put food outside at the edge of the yard and he would wait until we were back in the house to gingerly walk up and eat it. He was so very timid, in fact, that we weren't even able to touch him for almost a year.

Gradually, he got closer and closer, and eventually he would come into the back porch. (Ron had fashioned a little cat door on both sides so Puss wouldn't feel trapped.) He remained an outdoor kitty all of those years at the Farmhouse. He did not want to come in! Only late at night would he lay just inside the open (it must remain open!) door and allow one of us to rub his belly.

When we planned to move, I knew that we couldn't leave our boy behind, but I was also worried that he would not make the adjustment to living indoors. Every night I'd tell him, "You're going to be a house cat." And he would say (in my imagination), "I don't want to talk about it."

It was an adjustment, but Puss actually learned to love being a house cat! He'd greet me every morning, winding around my legs as I attempted to get his breakfast. He'd stare at us when we ate dinner, hoping for a morsel (or two or three). He learned to be held and cuddle and he even lay in laps!

We miss him and wish that he could have been a house cat for longer, but he was an old boy (not sure how old he was when he came to us, but he only had two teeth left) and we are happy that he lived out his days with us, wanted and loved.

(I didn't plan on telling the whole story here today, but that's how it happened.)

We celebrated Bekah's 16th birthday three times! A celebration with extended family, just the four of us on her actual birthday, and a game party with friends

We "sang of our Redeemer" with a Resurrection Day celebration.

We gathered with family to celebrate the 50th birthday of Michael and Michelle, Ron's youngest siblings. 

We had a Shakespeare Reading Day. We had ordinary days. A friend brought tulips. We babysat our granddog Lucy while her family was traveling.

We celebrated one full year at Pineapple House! We watched the azaleas bud and bloom for the first time. (They were already in bloom when we moved in last year.)

We worked on the library. We are on the home stretch! (Sneak peek below.) 

If you're a longtime reader, then you may remember the 31-day series that I wrote on celebrations. Do you remember the definition of the word celebrate that I used? 

cel·e·brate  /หˆselษ™หŒbrฤt/

(v.) to mark a notable occasion with gratitude and rejoicing

(synonyms: commemorate, observe, mark, keep, honor, memorialize)

And I also wrote this:
If our focus is marking the occasion, commemorating its significance, if our hearts are full of gratitude, knowing that everything comes from His hand...then our celebrations will be those of true rejoicingand not just meaningless exercises in "having fun"!

This April . . . it has been full of celebrations. 

Full of the marking of occasions. 

Many of them fun and exciting and glorious. Some of them sad and discouraging and even life-changing. (Some are not my story to tell.) 

We must continually "tune our hearts to sing Thy praise," knowing that everything comes from His loving hand, and that He gives only good gifts to His children! 

We have so many reasons to be grateful!

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