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.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday Snapshots: After the Storm



Here in the East, the weekend was dominated by an uninvited guest: Hurricane Irene

On Saturday, we prayed and ate (too much!) and watched movies and waited for Irene to come and go. 

Saturday looked like this...





 

But by Sunday afternoon, it was a different world!  Hallelujah!  (We count ourselves among the fortunate who never even lost power.) 







 
On Saturday morning, I heard my husband singing this old song...
 
Till the storm passes over,
Till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky,
Hold me fast, let me stand
In the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe, till the storm passes by.

This storm has passed.  But, as long as this world continues, there will be others. 

It is the same with the "storms" of life.  They come, they pass, there is a reprieve, and then there is another. 

There is only one place of absolute safety...in the hollow of His hand. 

*~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *


 The eternal God is thy refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Deuteronomy 33:27

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Weeping

Minutes after I published this post about our birthday celebration, I learned that my dear friend's husband had passed away.  Once again, I am contemplating the dichotomy of rejoicing and weeping

What a season this has been.  A season of rejoicing and weeping indeed.  I do not think that I have ever experienced such a swinging back and forth of joy and sorrow, over and over, in such a short time.  One's heart can hardly keep up. 

But today is a day of weeping. 

My friend has lost her husband, her partner, her soulmate.  After his diagnosis of metastatic malignant melanoma in late June, shortly after the graduation of their son Hunter and our daughter Kati, Joanie and Gene have walked a difficult path, and that path that was much shorter than anyone had expected.  Today, Gene's suffering is over, and because He knew Jesus, he has gone home to eternal rest. 

No, the weeping is not for him.  It is for my  friend, and for their adult children, as they walk a new path, without the husband and father that they loved and honored.  It is not a path that they would have chosen, but it is theirs to walk. 

In these two short-long months, we have hugged, talked, broken bread together, prayed, and chatted on Facebook into the wee hours of the night.  That is what we do in the Body of Christ.  We "rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."   (Romans 12:15)


Grace. 

We depend on His grace to carry us through the joy and the sorrow, the rejoicing and the weeping.  It is all by His grace. 

"Yes, I will run the race, till I see Your face, Oh let me live in the glory of Your grace!"
 

Vintage Kitchen Birthday Party


I love to plan theme parties! Most of the time, we plan for weeks, collecting just the right touches to fit our chosen theme.  This year's Triple Birthday Celebration, however, came together in a few hours







* ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *



On Sunday morning, I began to set the table for the afternoon party.


I began with these paper napkins and plates that I had purchased at Hobby Lobby. 




Ron brought in a bunch of our limelight hydrangeas.  I decided to put them in my antique ironstone pitcher the pitcher I bought on clearance at Target...and that is when the inspiration hit!

The hobnail edge on the pitcher made me think of a "vintage" kitchen.



Hmmmmmmmm....



I rummaged through my fabric stash and found a piece of gingham--another clearance item, this one purchased at Walmart for $1.00 per yard.  I used my pinking shears to cut out a square.  No time (or need) to hem.

Then I remembered bookmarking these recipe cards on my computer "favorites,"  so I printed out a few for party favors.  (The children loved them as much as the adults did!) 





I pulled out some true vintage kitchen tools that I have collected over the years.  I placed them on the table to decorate, but we also had fun trying to guess the purpose of each tool.
 



I have been purchasing these bottled sodas for summer entertaining, so I decided to move some of them to the party table to add some more vintage ambience.




When I went upstairs to get dressed for church, I glimpsed this old bowl in Kati's room.  I'm sure she didn't mind that I darted in, dumped her summer seashell display onto her table, and borrowed her bowl for candy.  Thank you, Kati!  ~wink~  (If I had known my theme ahead of time, I would have purchased vintage candies like Red Hots or Sugar Babies or Tootsie Pops.)




Before the guests arrived for lunch, Kati did a Google search for 1930's music, loaded a selection of songs on Grooveshark...
   


...and we were ready for the Vintage Kitchen Triple Birthday Celebration to begin!



Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday Snapshots: Triple Birthday Celebration


As I have told you before, we have Birthday Season around here.  Most folks have summer, winter, spring, and fall.  When Bekah was learning about the seasons, she kept wondering why we didn't have five seasons, as the Christmas season should certainly be included. 

But we do indeed have a Birthday Season in our family.  In July and August, we celebrate TEN family birthdays!  Throw in a few close friends' birthdays, add three wedding anniversaries for good measure, and you have a perfect picture of celebratory craziness!  


Each year, we end Birthday Season with a three-in-one birthday party for my daughter Kristin, my mom, and me.  (Hey, it means only one more cake, one more party...instead of three!)  And yesterday was the day for the annual Triple Birthday Celebration. 

The Birthday Girls :-)


Some party hightlights:
 




 













Tissue paper "mummies"...

 

















...and other creations.


A little dancing...


And I just had to include this one: Papa helping a tiny party guest with her tiny shoes.
I love her sober expression! 


Tomorrow, I'll be back to tell you all about our party theme.  It kind of just happened, most of it at the last minute, but it was lots of fun!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Legacy of Love

The day after my father-in-law passed away, the family was gathered at his home, collecting photographs, looking for needed paperwork, reminiscing.  My brother-in-law discovered a letter that Dad had written to his fiancée (who would later become his wife) as he served in the Army Air Force during World War II. 

Max read the letter aloud, as we all listened attentively to this voice from the past.  Max's voice caught a bit as he read, for at the close of the letter, Dad had written to Mom, "I will love you as long as I live."

My eyes filled with tears as I heard that declaration, for he had meant those words, and he was true to them.  In his later years, she who had once been the beloved war time fiancée had to take on more and more responsibility as she cared for him and attended to his needs.   But he loved her for it, and I had heard him weep as he thanked her for her faithful care. 



Today, I have been married for thirty-three years to the son of the man who declared, "I will love you as long as I live." And that legacy of love continues, for I am loved.

So today I say to my husband...

I am so blessed to be your wife. I love you, and I thank you for loving me with a life-long love.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thirty-one Years of Blessings!


H
appy Birthday

to our firstborn!


Kristin

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice:
and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. 
Proverbs 23:24

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trusting His Heart


"God is too good to be unkind. He is too wise to be confused.
If I cannot trace His hand, I can always trust His heart."

Charles H. Spurgeon

::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::


Oh, what words of wisdom and comfort these are!
My heart continues to be heavy as dear friends are suffering. 
But my heart is also encouraged as they are suffering and trusting

When suffering comes, faith is revealed

Do I trust You, Lord, when I cannot understand? 
Do I trust You when I am walking a path that I cannot see? 
Do I trust You to do only what is good and just?


::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::

Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
Genesis 18:25


Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday Snapshots: Rainy Day


It's a rainy Sunday afternoon.
But we want to go with Kati to her pet-sitting job.
Bunnies, birds, a cat...awwwwww!  Let's go!



Back home.
Make a run for it!


Dodging the raindrops in a colorful way!


Uh oh. 
Gran didn't get the photo she wanted. 
Do over.

Back at the starting gate...


Reenactment!
(With a bit of dramatic flair! ;-)

Such cooperative children/grandchildren I have!  Anything for the photo!  ~grin~

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Boys and Girls

One evening when my two oldest children were young, Kristin asked me to play Barbies with her. I was busy washing the dinner dishes, but my husband volunteered to go upstairs and play. He also enlisted our son Ryan.


I thought all was well, but only a short time later, Kristin stomped back downstairs and stood beside me at the kitchen sink.

What’s wrong?” I queried. I thought you all were playing Barbies.”

An exasperated little girl replied, “Dad and Ryan are making their Kens fight!

Hmmm...no difference in boys and girls? 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kristin and Brian: Ten Years!


Happy TENTH Anniversary!


Pop on over to Kristin's blog to wish them a Happy Anniversary (and see some more wedding pics)!

Who Shall Stand?

Continuing my musings from yesterday...

Our Lord's complete forgiveness is not something to take lightly.  It is an gift that is amazing and so undeserved


“If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities,
O Lord, who shall stand?  
But there is forgiveness with thee,
that thou mayest be feared.”     (Psalm 130:3, 4)
   

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Forgetting

I live by my lists.  If I don't write something down, I cannot be relied upon to remember it.  I sometimes blame it on my age, but really I have always been a bit forgetful. 

When Bekah was younger she would say to me, "Mama, you're a good forgetter."  How's that for putting positive spin on a flaw?  ~grin~ 

I'm a "good forgetter" all right. 

But not as good as my Father is!  
"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."  (Psalm 103:9-12)

 "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."  (Jeremiah 31:34)

Oh, what an awesome truth!
  And if I know that my sins are forgiven, then I can deal with the cares of this life, and put them in perspective. 

I love Wayne Watson's song about this concept. 

Note:  Although this is You Tube, it is not really a video per se; the only image is the that of the album cover.  But you can listen to the dynamic words, and if you need to do something with your eyes, you can follow along with the lyrics which I have posted below.




DON’T YOU REMEMBER


You've got my file right in front of You,
That's it, that’s right, that's me,
My bag of sorrows and my sack of blues,
Every doubt, my unbelief
See, I've got page after page
After pitiful page, a list that never ends
Feel the need to bring up these old bones again

Don't You remember all the times I failed You,
All the times I wandered away
And don't You remember all of my offenses
Walking with the fools on parade?
I know You'd really like to help me out,
But You don't even know what I'm talking about,
It's not so much that You don't remember,
It's more that You choose to forget

How does it work that omniscient God
Can wipe the slate so clean
That if you looked for a single spot
A single spot could not be seen?
Oh, still I've got page after page after
Pitiful page locked in my memory,
Then I heard Him when He said to me:

Don't you remember I promised to forgive ya?
Gone as far as east from the west
And don't you remember I promised to be
Faithful to wash away the sin you confess?
You know I'd really like to help you out,
But I don't even know what you're talking about,
It's not so much that I don't remember,
It's more that I choose to forget

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunday Snapshots: The Makeover


BEFORE


Another Sunday afternoon. 

Same old, same old?  Not a chance!  You just never know what Sunday afternoon is going to be! 


Kati is going to be a bridesmaid in her friend's wedding later this month.   So yesterday, Kati, Kristin, and I were talking about her hair and makeup for the wedding, and mentioned having a "practice session" before the big day.

We had no idea that the little girls were listening, but apparently they were...because, next thing we knew, they were giving Kati a wedding makeover!   



Bekah started with the make-up...and Maddie began with Kati's long, very thick, curly hair.  "I'm going to comb it lock by lock," Maddie was overheard to say (to which Kristin replied, "Then we might be here all day."). 



Still grooming...




At one point, Gavin rushed in to his mama who was changing the baby's diaper in another room and shouted, "Mama, you've got to come see this!  Kati is UG. LY."



Then the girls changed places, and while Maddie applied yet another layer of lipstick to Kati's now slippery lips, Bekah began the up-do.
 


Hmmmm...trouble with the hair.  (Not with the lips though...they just need another layer.)



Doing some hair research...



Papa gets in on the makeover.  "No make-up please, but feel free to style my hair."



Almost there.  Just needs some tweaking.  And maybe another layer of lipstick.



AFTER




Voila! 



All ready to be a bridesmaid, right Kati?  What a look! 





{Kudos to Kati for being a good sport and enjoying this just as much as the little girls did!}

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rise and Shine!

Although this is not the year for special birthday posts (last year I posted a message to my husband and each of my four children and eight grandchildren...that was a lot of posting!), I just have to pop in today to say Happy Birthday to my only son Ryan! 

What is a mama to do?  She is a full participant in that day of birth, and then she coordinates birthday celebrations for the next umpteen years...but then they grow up and move away (far too many miles away!)...and they go and have birthdays without you!! 

So today I want to tell you a sweet story about my boy and then give him a special birthday message. 

We have always been ones who have shortened the names of our children.  At home, Kristin was "Kris" and Ryan was "Ry."  We intended to call Kaitlyn "Kati," but she became "Kate" at home.  And Rebekah's chosen nickname is "Bekah" which usually comes out "Bek."  Verbal laziness?  Maybe so, although there is usually is no lack of verbosity around here. 

Does anybody remember Psalty the Singing Songbook?  When my older children were small, we had quite a collection of these Kids' Praise cassette tapes, and the children often listened to them at bedtime. 

As an older child, Ryan confessed that he once believed that one of the Psalty songs was about him.  Mentally going over the myriad of Psalty songs that Ryan could relate to, I could not think of the one that I thought had Ryan's name written all over it.  But when he told me, I could see that it did indeed have Ryan's name "written all over it." 

The song was "Arky, Arky" and the line that Ryan identified with was:


"So rise and shine and give God the glory, glory!"


which he heard as

"Ry's and shine and give God the glory, glory!"



And  I want to say to my Ry on his special day... 


Rise (Ry's) and shine and give God the glory!
(And I know you will!)
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