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.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

You Are My Sunshine!

In a few days we will celebrate the sixteenth birthday of our precious daughter Kaitlyn. It sounds "cliche", but I can hardly believe that my "baby" is going to be sixteen.

When we were expecting Kati, our older daughter Kristin was thirteen and our son Ryan was eleven. The reactions to our happy news ranged from delight to pity to consternation! "I'm glad it's you and not me" was a common remark, to which I responded (mentally, if not verbally), "So am I!"

And what a blessing Kati has been!

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right. Proverbs 20:11

Our Kati was such a pleasant, happy baby. She grew into a sweet child with a gentle and generous spirit. Now she has blossomed into a young woman on the brink of adulthood whose many talents are being revealed to me daily.

Kati reads voraciously, loves to bake, dabbles in photography, watches birds, memorizes poetry almost effortlessly, enjoys decorating her room.

She is a tremendous help around the house. She sees what needs doing...and does it! (And helps keep me on track too!)

She is orderly and sensible. Quiet, but a deep thinker.

Kati is a wonderful daughter, sister, granddaughter, and aunt.

And she loves the Lord.

As I rocked Kati to sleep when she was a baby, one of my favorite songs to sing to her was "You Are My Sunshine."

Kati, you're still my sunshine! And I thank God for bringing you into our home, our lives, our hearts! May your "sweet sixteen" year be filled with blessings as you continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Happy Birthday, Kati!








Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Considering My Words

Words. I love words. I could never relate to Eliza Doolittle when she sang to Freddy Eynsford-Hill, "Words! Words! Words! I'm so sick of words!" and "Never do I ever want to hear another word. There isn't one I haven't heard."

Unlike Eliza, I am enamored with words. I have always loved to read. I am fascinated by word origins. I love to play Scrabble and do crossword puzzles and play Word Twist on Facebook. The "word" categories on Jeopardy are my favorites...like "C's the Day" where all the answers begin with the letter C. I like to put my thoughts into words (hence this blog). I admire ideas well-expressed, such as those in hymns and poetry and great literature. I am stimulated by good conversation.

Maybe sometimes I have used too many words. I recall Ryan's request years ago when asking me an algebra question. "Mom, I have a question and I don't want the long answer. Please don't give me a long explanation. I just want the simplest answer to my question." And I must admit, I had to refrain from providing the "long answer" and reteaching a lot of algebra in the process.

The words of a Michael Card song have recently caused me to think about words.

You and me we use so very many clumsy words.
The noise of what we often say is not worth being heard.

And that led me to pondering the words of Jesus who said,

Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

And the words of wise Solomon,
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. Proverbs 10:19
Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2
But words can also be used for good!

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverbs 25:11

And so I pray,

Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3

and

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Future Plans

Overheard in Ron's shop this afternoon...

Gavin (almost 7): I love tools. I am going to be a construction worker when I grow up and build houses. Want to help, Bekah?

Bekah (8): No, but I'll decorate them.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It Is What It Is

Three-year-old Ryan sat on the sofa enjoying a crunchy apple. Teacher-type mom that I am (even before the days of homeschooling), I decided to share some science trivia with my little son.

"Ryan," I said, "some people call an apple 'nature's toothbrush.'"

The blonde boy held his apple in front of him for a moment considering, then replied, "I call it an apple."


That's my boy--then and now. Let's talk straight and call it what it is.

Congratulations to...



~~Barbara~~

Yeah, Barbara! The fall tablescape will be coming to your house...and Andrew can enjoy some gourds inside. ;-)

Thanks to all who participated in my first giveaway!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Who Am I?

A recent thought on my "Apples of Gold" daily calendar:

In Matthew 16, Jesus didn't tell his disciples that the important thing was to discover who they were, but "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" and "Whom say ye that I am?" Never are we told to get to know ourselves, but to know Him; it is no more I but Christ; beholding in a glass—not our own glory or discovering who we are—but, beholding Him, we become like Him; when we see Him, we shall be like Him—not because we have at last found out who we really are in Christ, but because we will see Him as He is!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. ~ I John 3:2

Monday, October 19, 2009

FALL GIVEAWAY!

I have a weakness for fall decor...so when I saw this tablescape at Pier I on clearance a few years ago, I brought it home with me. But now, thanks to an overflow of things autumnal at my house, I am offering it to one of you!


The tablescape includes four ceramic gourds (approximately 2-inches long), five metal leaves, and the gravel. (Unfortunately, it does not include the pewter tray on which it is displayed for the pic, as the tray belongs to a cream and sugar set and does not wish to leave its mates.)
If you'd like to have this tablescape, simply leave a comment on this post by midnight on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, I'll select (via random.org) and announce a winner right here. (Giveaway open only to those in the US.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Isn't autumn the best? From the cooler temperatures, to the bursts of color, to the new nut brown sweater I received for my birthday, to the return of soup to the menu, I love it!

All during the summer, I am watching for signs of autumn. The appearing of the reddish berries on the hedge is the first sign...in July! The shortening days and the display of school supplies in the stores say "fall is coming." And then the first mums and spicy pumpkin candles appear and I succumb. Time to put away all that speaks of summer and fetch the box from the attic ask Ron to fetch the box from the attic that contains everything that speaks of fall. (And fall does a lot of speaking around here.)


Autumn is in every room...

Living Room


Dining Room

Kitchen
(even the) Bathroom ;-)


...and outside too.


So it has happened that I have something extra that I'd like to give away! If you'd like a little something new to add to your autumn decor, then check back in later today for details on my Fall Giveaway!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Enjoying the Flavors of Autumn

Wish you could be here to enjoy the aromas in the kitchen today. Lots of cooking and baking in the works...
  • Sweet potato pies...to be made by Ron who saw the recipe in my latest Country Living magazine...deja vu! :-)
  • Rosemary bread...in the works by Kati, for our church fellowship's soup lunch tomorrow.
  • Shortbread cookies...for Owen who is coming this afternoon for his Papa-and-Gran Day, baker TBA.
  • Cream Cheese Chicken Soup...to be made by me, also for tomorrow's soup luncheon. This is a favorite introduced to us by my dear daughter-in-law, Sarah; Kristin posted the recipe on her blog a while back.

Love autumn's bounty!

rosemary bread rising

sweet potatoes waiting for pate brisee

* Check in on Monday for a fall give away!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rainy Day Wishes

Kati was able to fulfill her rainy day wishes.



So was I, although I did not photograph it.

Bekah, not so much. Maybe next time, Bekah!

Rainy Days and Mondays

Do "rainy days and Mondays always get you down" (as they did Karen Carpenter, for readers of my generation)?

Let's start with Mondays. They definitely don't get me down. In fact, I love Mondays! Of course, that is due to the fact that I love what I do...home making, home educating. And Monday is generally an "at home" day. Mondays mean back to routine, a fresh start, back to the books. (Although I love Mondays, I can sympathize with those who don't...if I had to leave my home and go back to the work-a-day world, I'm afraid my love for Mondays would quickly change.)

So how about rainy days?
Well, I kind of like them too. Not if they come day after day after day. Not if it rains on a day of outdoor plans or on vacation or while I'm grocery shopping and I have to load umpteen bags into my car and back out of my car when I get home.
But a rainy day can be cozy. Kati says a rainy day is good for a snuggling up with a blanket and a cup of tea and a good book. Bekah thinks they're good for sleeping in (and then hastens to add that she'd like to do that every day). I think they're good days for making soup and lingering over read-alouds.

What about you? What do you like to do on rainy days?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spending My Days

Today we celebrated the birthday of my youngest grandson Benjamin. It was a wonderful day, even with the Birthday Boy's short-lived emotional breakdown upon discovering that it was his moment in the spotlight and he wasn't up for it. We enjoyed a leisurely dinner, lots of chatter (children's voices, yes, but adult voices too), yummy chocolate birthday cake (I was ready for birthday cake again), and a beautiful autumn day. I was particularly struck by Ben's siblings' wholehearted enjoyment of his special day. They comforted him through his breakdown, oohed and aahed at his gifts, delighted in singing "Happy Birthday" to him, touched him, talked to him, and giggled with him. It was a day of rejoicing.



This evening as we reflected on the day, we grew pensive.

Ron has been on vacation this week and so when he remarked about how fast time passes, at first I thought that he was thinking about returning to work tomorrow and how quickly his days off had passed. But then he said, "Doesn't it seem like such a short time since Kristin and Ryan were celebrating their first birthdays?" In an instant, I was remembering their first birthdays in vivid detail. Little red-haired Kristin (Benjamin's mama) in a little yellow romper with a bright yellow flower with a big green leaf...sitting on her knees...opening a present from her Gammy and Gampy and tossing the gorgeous dress with the hand-painted buttons over her shoulder to get to the two books that were also in the box...birthday cake with an icing kitty. Then little chubby-faced blonde-haired Ryan in navy sunsuit with a red sand pail on it...sober expression...being pulled around the kitchen in a Little Tikes red wagon by his two-year-old sister until she pulls too hard on the handle and dumps him out...birthday cake with a tiny train candle holder.

It really does seem like these days were yesterday. How can it be that they were many years ago?
The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away... so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. ~ Psalm 90: 10, 12

Yes, teach me to number my days, Lord. Show me the brevity of life. Cause me to see the scope of eternity. For if I get a glimpse of the number of my days, then I will apply my heart unto wisdom. I will spend my time on things that are eternal, and not on the temporary. I will encourage the noble, and not settle for the ordinary.

How have I spent these days of my life? How will I spend the ones that remain? Oh that I may I "apply my heart unto wisdom."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Adorning a Home

I have such fun with my house. Now, that is.

We bought our house over 28 years ago due to the foresight and vision of my husband. I saw a house in very rough shape and lots of work ahead of us. He saw an affordable house adjacent to family property with lots of potential. Actually, we were both right.

But that was many years ago, many dollars ago, many hours of work ago. Many gutted rooms, refinished floors, installed windows, reinvented rooms, moved doorways and driveways. Rewiring, replaced plumbing, revamped heating.

Now, I have fun with my house. Home is the best place to be. I enjoy rearranging furniture, making curtains, deciding what to hang on the walls, choosing paint colors. I love finding those little finishing touches that add heart. I like to light scented candles, decorate for each season, set a pretty table. I even like to clean. (I was once called a "sick puppy" when I confessed to my sister that I'd rather clean the toilet than go grocery shopping...but we all have our preferences. :-))

But no matter how I adorn my house, it is not a beautiful place unless there is this all-important sound:

The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. Psalm 118:15

If there is not the voice of salvation, the sound of joy, the kind words and pleasant atmosphere that accompany His salvation, then true beauty is not here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gotta love...

Yes, you gotta love...

...men who do windows

...cracking pecans on a crisp autumn afternoon

...and girls who make cashew chicken for dinner.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Way of the Cross Leads Home

This morning, the words of a hymn are winding their way through my mind and spirit. I have not heard the song recently, not thought of it in years that I can recall, and yet I am remembering every word.

I must needs go home by the way of the cross,
There’s no other way but this;

No other way but this.

We have been reading aloud Little Pilgrim's Progress, Helen L. Taylor's retelling of John Bunyan's classic allegory. This week we met Ignorance, a boy who was casually, carelessly making His way toward the Celestial City. He knew that the Prince had promised a white robe to every pilgrim, but he was "taking his journey comfortably."

"I do try to obey Him," answered the boy. "I have left my home and become a pilgrim. What else can I do?"
"You did not pass by the Cross," said Christian.
He quite forgot that the King had desired His pilgrims to begin their journey at the Wicket-gate and to travel by the Way of the Cross.
He had not passed by the Cross?

I shall ne’er get sight of the gates of light,
If the way of the cross I miss.

Ignorance finally reached the gates of the Celestial City.

When the King heard that a pilgrim had come to the gate who had neither a white robe nor a Roll, He said, "I do not know him. He must be sent away."
No other way but this.

I must needs go on in the blood sprinkled way,
The path that the Savior trod,
If I ever climb to the heights sublime,
Where the soul is at home with God.

Then I bid farewell to the way of the world,
To walk in it never more;
For the Lord says, “Come,” and I seek my home,
Where He waits at the open door.

Yes, I must go by the Cross to begin my journey, but I must continue to travel in the Way of the Cross, the way of submission and sacrifice, to "reach the heights sublime," and I must forsake the Way of the World, the way of sin and self.

The way of the cross leads home,
The way of the cross leads home,
It is sweet to know as I onward go,
The way of the cross leads home.


The only way home.


(You can sing along here.)
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