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.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Snapshots From Our Visit (LOTS of Snapshots)

Yes, the visit with our faraway family is all that I've been talking about this week.  But I am a grandmother.  That's what grandmothers do.  So I have loaded this post with photos, and then I promise to move on...will not show you any more...will try to talk about something else.  (It's going to be hard!)  


Having Fun With Papa


Good Times


Playing With Kittens



Peter Turns Two!


With Grandmothers/Great-Grandmothers

Pajama Times


What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.  
~ George Eliot



P.S.  I may show you a few pictures taken by my dear friend (and photographer) Frances, but I'll wait a few days.  ~ smile ~

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Faraway Grands When They Were Not Faraway



Oh boy, did we love having these sweet little folks here for five days! We were in grandparent/aunt heaven! Hearing their little voices chattering first thing in the morning. Watching Peter toddle through the house. Seeing their dear faces around the table.  Reading stories. Giggles. Goodnight hugs and kisses. The stuff dreams are made of.

We threatened to keep a kid or three, but their parents wouldn't hear of it. (Actually, neither would the kids, but you can't blame us for trying.) Good thing Kati was able to fit in a nieces-and-nephew photo shoot on Monday morning before they left.

Eve (5), Peter (2), Lucy dog, and Nora (3)


Would you humor this Gran 
and take a quick peek at some more pics from Kati's photo shoot?

Just click right ~HERE~ to zip over to Kati's Little Corner...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Family Picture ~ 2012


Loving the fact that we were all together...

Monday, November 26, 2012

With Thankful Hearts



We have been anticipating our Thanksgiving visit from our son Ryan and his family since the beginning of autumn.  Not a day passed that I did not think about their coming.  Knowing that they would be here for Thanksgiving made my beloved season of autumn even more delightful.

Now those long awaited five days have come and gone...and our hearts are full.  

We could not have asked for more.  We enjoyed sharing Thanksgiving, all together.  We spent some time with extended family, with friends, at our church fellowship.  Our sweet friend and photographer came to take some family pictures.  The eight cousins and their very slightly older Aunt Bekah played together.  We shared leftovers, and leisurely breakfasts, and a little junk food, and lots of coffee.  We listened to Bible verses, shared long conversations, enjoyed Christian fellowship...and watched Peter. Peter is delightfully two!  He is a handsome little guy whose expressions are priceless and they change by the second...and one really could be entertained by just sitting and watching him!  

When they left our driveway this afternoon, there were teary good-byes, but knowing that they are now closer and that we have plans to visit them in the spring made it a sweeter parting than the last few have been.  We are so blessed to have been given this time together.  




Because I took a blue million pictures, and because my dear friend took some wonderful family shots, and because Kati did a photo shoot with the children, and because our days were full, it's going to take several posts for me to share all that I want to share!  

Today I'll share some glimpses of our Thanksgiving Day...


The tables were set, three of them this year for our group of nineteen...
the four of us, 
our daughter Kristin's family of seven, and Brian's mother, Yvonne,
our son Ryan's family of five, 
and my mom and dad.

Bekah kept watch...

They're here!


Little girls getting reacquainted.

Pilgrim Gavin

 Alaine was Grandma's girl that day.


We always sing a Thanksgiving hymn before we pray, this year "For the Beauty of the Earth."
The verse that expresses praise "for the joy of human love: brother, sister, parent, child" 
was especially poignant.



Ben was impressed with his leaf place card.  :)

Oh how I love all the faces around this table!


As always, Kristin and Kati were the servers.  
(Someone called them the slaves.  "Not slaves, servants," replied Kristin.)


The servant's table.  :)

Do you think we had enough pies?



I will praise the name of God with a song, 
and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Come Before His Presence With Thanksgiving


Picture via The Graphics Fairy



O come, let us sing to the Lord: 
let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation. 


Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, 
and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms.




I will be stepping away from my little bloggy space for a few days.  We will be taking time to rejoice in His goodness, thank Him for His blessings, enjoy long-awaited family togetherness, feast, sip coffee, have lingering conversations over leftover turkey, celebrate a little boy's birthday.  

I pray that your weekend is also filled with memory-making moments.  Even if life has been hard, if we belong to Him, then His blessings are too many to count.  


Thanksgiving blessings to you, my friends!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Snapshots: Pilgrim


Today, Pilgrim found a new home.  

On Wednesday afternoon, the tiny thing showed up on our doorstep.  He startled the napping black cat, Moses, who has been living on our back porch for several months.  We heard a tussle, went to investigate, and there he was, small and cute...and alone.  

My heart sank.  I couldn't bring him inside, because our Pinky is...ahem...not a nice kitty, although we love her in spite of herself.  We were afraid to leave such a small thing outside, with Pinky coming and going, with the chill night approaching.  It didn't help that he kept staring in through bottom windows of the back door.  Nor the fact that he started to meow, and then to jump up and down trying to get in.  

We finally decided to set up a temporary shelter for him in Kati's bedroom to allow us time to find a solution.  A solution needed to come fast, for we needed this room for our visitors (including our granddog) the next week.  

Bekah insisted that we couldn't just call him "The Kitten" although I did not want to name him.  I agreed to a temporary name, but warned her that we could not keep him.  We decided on Pilgrim, partly because he came so close to Thanksgiving, and partly because pilgrim means "wanderer" and it seemed appropriate.  

For five days, we enjoyed Pilgrim.  His temporary quarters were visited frequently.  He was given toys and treats and attention.  He slept with Kati every night.  All the while, I tried to find a home for him. And we all prayed for a solution and a home for this darling kitten that we were growing to love.  



And so today, Pilgrim went home.  We told him that he was going to a new land.  He boarded the Mayflower (truck), and crossed the ocean (some roads), and arrived in the land of plenty (his new home).  I talked later to his new mommy, and she reported that he had made the voyage well, had explored this new land thoroughly, and was taking a nap under the sofa with the tip of his tail revealing his whereabouts.  

We already miss him, but we thank the Lord that tonight Pilgrim is safe and loved.  



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tweaking the Autumn Decorating (Again)...and Why We Are Especially Thankful This Year


Because autumn is my favorite season (you may have heard me say that ~sheepish grin~), I decorate early.  As soon as the triple birthday celebration is over, I am planning my fall decor, and by early September, fall is in the house.

This year I eased into fall with some fruity touches.  Shortly after, we went to the farm for some pumpkins and mums, and then I went all out and tucked fall into every nook and cranny.  

In November, I do my final tweaking, and bring out all the Novembery, Thanksgiving-y things that I have held back.   


***

This year, I am thrilled to be serving everything from coffee cake to soups to weeknight suppers to afternoon tea on (and in) my new Friendly Village dishes.  (Do you get excited over dishes?)




Primitive Tom (last year's project and table centerpiece) takes his place on the pie safe, strutting his stuff!



This wooden pumpkin stands as a reminder of the reason of our Thanksgiving.  Being thankful is an empty idea, merely a feel-good exercise in positive thinking, unless we are offering our thanks to the Giver of the gifts!   



Once more the Thanksgiving mice gather on the sideboard.  But wait!  Are there six?  Yes, this year there are six, the result of a fruitful eBay search.  



And the Thankful Tree adorns the front door, beginning to fill with leaves of blessings.  There is a special blessing hanging there this year.  That golden yellow one near the top. 


"Visitors," it says.  


Oh, delight of delights!  This year our faraway family (still faraway but much nearer) is coming for Thanksgiving!  For the first time in six years!  Ryan and Sarah and Eve and Nora and Peter (who was born on Thanksgiving night two years ago!) will be gathering around our Thanksgiving table(s)...and we. can't. wait.  


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekend Snapshots: Togetherness

The event sometimes known as the Umpteenth Annual Mother/Daughter Christmas Shopping Trip was this past Friday.  My sister Linda and I have had a special Christmas shopping day with Mom almost as long as I can remember.  Neither of us knows exactly how many, but it has been more than 40 years.  (It makes me feel old even to say this.)  We shop and we eat and we shop and we drink fancy coffee drinks and caramel apple cider.  We ooh and aah at Williams-Sonoma and at Pottery Barn.  We listen to Christmas music.  We walk our legs off.  

Sometimes a baby has joined us, or a daughter who has reached the required age of eighteen. Sometimes a new daughter-in-law, or a new grandbaby. Sometimes a mini van full of mothers and daughters, sometimes just the three of us.  This year, we three and Kati made four.

We love this tradition and are thankful for another year of being together.  

Top: Mother/Daughter Christmas Shopping Trip 2012
Bottom right: 2009; bottom center: 2010; bottom right: 2010




After the delightful busyness that was last weekend, this weekend was slow.  We eased into Saturday, putting away gifts purchased on Friday, catching up on laundry, doing a bit of cleaning in fits and spurts.  Ron and I slipped out for a while on Saturday evening, to run a couple of errands and to savor some time together, just the two of us, making plans and lingering over coffee.  




Today found us on the road to Kristin's house, looking somewhat like the Beverly Hillbillies, as we lumbered over the roads with a bookshelf loaded at an awkward angle and tied down in the back of Ron's pick-up.  It was the partner to this one, and Ron put the finishing touches on it only yesterday. After a yummy lunch (in which Kristin's family made hospitality a family affair!), Ron and Brian brought the bookshelf in and installed it.  



Papa and Alaine enjoyed some togetherness over books.  Take a look at the size of that stack!  I think Papa panicked at first, but Alaine took them over to Aunt Kati after he had read one or two.  Sort of a toddler book tag team.  I took a turn too.




I also enjoyed some together time with four-year-old Ben.  He chose facing pages in his Veggie Tales coloring book for us to color.  I teasingly told him that I thought I'd color Larry the Cucumber in red.

Ben:  "No. Larry is green."  

Me:  "But I think he'll look good red."   

Ben:  "Gran, remember, I'm in charge of this coloring book."


***

Uncle Max (Ron's brother) and Aunt Pat were invited for dessert this afternoon.  Ben had asked for dessert several times since finishing his lunch.  Brian and Kristin both told him that we were not going to eat dessert until Uncle Max and Aunt Pat came.  

When they did arrive, someone saw Uncle Max through the sliding glass door and announced  "Uncle Max is here."  And Ben shouted, "DESSERT!"  


Here, Kristin's family poses with Uncle Max and Aunt Pat, after dessert of course!  





Friday, November 9, 2012

Practicing What I Preached


Last weekend was full!  Full of food, full of fun, full of fellowship...and, yes, full of lists and preparation and busyness. Do you think I'm a little nuts for hosting two gatherings in one weekend?  

Sometimes it just works out like that.

When we decided to host a soup supper for our church fellowship, we presented several dates to the group, and Saturday, November 3rd, was the day that worked for most people.  Kati's birthday was also that week, and we typically have family celebrations on Sunday afternoons.  So that meant back-to-back events.  

Let me tell you how we pulled it off...without pulling our hair out!    

We began earlier in the week by making a master list.  The list included cleaning tasks, mini projects, foods to prepare, and serving/decorating details.  We not only planned what to do, but when to do it, so that everything didn't get pushed into Saturday morning.  (We procrastinator types need to plan when, and we depend on the other family members to keep us accountable.)  

All week, we plugged away at our list...a little dusting, a little vacuuming, paring down the magazine stacks (yes, stackS, as in plural), shopping, ironing tablecloths tossing tablecloths in the dryer with damp laundry to ease out the wrinkles, making birthday dessert, baking bread.  




Until Friday, which was Kati's birthday and we put away our list so that we could celebrate.  Oh yes indeed, we celebrate that girl!  





Saturday was a chilly November day, perfect for a soup supper!  

Back to "how we pulled it off"...

Our fellowship has had soup suppers for years (this is the first one that we have hosted), and everyone pitches in on the menu.  That meant that we didn't have to do all the cooking.  I made a pot of Baked Potato Soup.  Kati had made sweet French bread (thank you, Deanna and Rachel!).  And at the last minute, she decided to make some no-bake cookies.  But we had two other delicious pots of soup and scrumptious homemade bread and scones and apple crisp...yum!

I made my go-to hors d'oeuvres.  

We ate from disposable bowls and plates and used pretty paper napkins which made for easy clean-up, important on this busy weekend.  

I forgot to play the music I had selected.  

And I did not remember to take a single picture.  Not a single one.  (As an aside...I intended to take photos of food or the simple fall decorations, but I confess that I feel weird taking pictures of my guests.  I don't want people to feel uncomfortable.  My friends know that I blog, and I don't want them self-conscious about me lurking around with my camera, probably fearing that they'll end up on the World Wide Web with a mouthful of food.  How do you, my fellow bloggers, handle that?)

So no one went home hungry (or fearful of seeing their faces on the WWW), and I believe that we grew in love one for another as we shared in fellowship.



 
On Sunday...I overslept.  Yes, I did.  Even with that "extra" hour of sleep that I was supposed to get, and even with all of the last minute things I needed to do to get ready for the birthday party.  Uggh.

(Again) back to "how we pulled it off"...

Thankfully, our hospitality IS a family affair, and everyone pitched in to make the house presentable and unload the dishwasher and set the party table and so on.  Believe it or not, by the time we went to church, things were again under control.  



We had another easy peasy menu.  Kati had requested tacos and cilantro-lime rice...wonderful, because everything could be prepared at the last minute.  Just what we needed for party #2.  We girls cooked and chopped.  Ron went on a mission of mercy (to Food Lion) when I discovered that we had no limes.

Mom brought a pretty bouquet of balloons.  



I forgot the music (again).  

I did take pictures.  Lots.  

This time we used the white dishes.  They were a perfect fit with the lovely napkins (bright aqua blue with white polka dots) that Kati had chosen back in August (she is not the procrastinator).  We also used the white pedestal for the birthday cheesecake, chocolate with raspberry sauce.  

It was another great day.  A time to cherish Kati.  A time to enjoy being together.  A time to take the time for one another.  





So, it was possible to have two gatherings in one weekend.  It was possible by keeping it simple, not striving for perfection, accepting help from others...and just doing it.  

I wouldn't want to do it every weekend, but it was well worth the effort!  

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