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, August 31, 2013

August


This month has found us numbering our days. 

Birthdays (plural!) were celebrated and we have numbered the days as one year has passed into another. Anniversaries (plural!) were celebrated and we have numbered the days and years spent together. 

We have tried to make the most of this month, the last one of the summer season, and I believe that we have. We have visited family, taken time away, gone for drives, taken walks, had a few parties, gone on coffee dates with friends, slept in, gone to the beach, wrapped presents, and eaten cake (and pie).  




For the first summer in years, I have been content to let this summer linger. Maybe it was the somewhat milder weather we've had. Maybe it was because this summer was "easier" and did not bring hard knocks. And maybe it's because I've been numbering my days and not wanting to rush any of them.

Autumn is in the air. I can hear it whispering as the pyracantha berries blush the palest orange and the corn stalks tinge brown and the sun sets a bit earlier. 

And as the calendar page turns to September, I will continue to number my days.


So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Best Kind of Birthday


After celebrating with my mom and my daughter on Sunday, and after a busy first part of the week, I looked forward to a quiet birthday yesterday.  

Photo by Bekah


It was rather quiet...and yet filled with delights!

It was a jammies-until-noon sort of day.  A day which began with a birthday phone call from my mom. And then a birthday phone call from my daughter Kristin. 

It was a day of leftovers for lunch. A day of reading birthday greetings on Facebook, kind words from friends and family far and near.

It was a day that our school order came in the mail and we nosed through our new books and got excited over the year to come.

It was a day in which I did a little window shopping and then bought groceries (oh well...I said the day was quiet, not perfect ~smile~).  A day in which I ran into a friend who didn't recognize me at first (note: gray hair and new bifocals) and then I began to feel another year older. And then I heard a familiar voice call my name as I was leaving the store and I looked and saw my dear Ron who was running an errand on his way home from work (he may or may not have been buying a last minute birthday card).  And he grabbed my arm and said, "You are the cutest thing." And I left the store feeling "cute" even with the gray hair and bifocals. 

It was a day of an Asian Chicken Salad at Panera. And of talking about buying a lemon crumb pie on the way home but the girls saying, "Birthday dessert is already taken care of." 

It was coming home to the sweetest message on the answering machine. The voices of Ryan, Sarah, Eve, Nora, and Peter singing "Happy Birthday" and each one of them wishing me a happy birthday...oh those voices!

Yes, it was an evening of sweetness...pretty ice cream cupcakes from Dairy Queen and a candle to blow out and thoughtful gifts. 

It was an evening of music and worship as I asked Bekah to play my favorite hymn on the piano and my heart was stirred and tears welled in my eyes as I sang the wonderful words. 
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart.
Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.
And then we asked for others and she played and we sang and my heart was full.
Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth you have for me...
I sing the mighty power of God...
Amazing love!  How can it be that Thou my God wouldst die for me?

Oh, it was the best kind of birthday!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fruit On Tuesday {Round Up}

You know how I love a tidy little place to corral everything!  This is it...photos of all the featured foods from this summer's Fruit on Tuesday series, and links to all the recipes.




Clockwise, from top left:
Week 4: Raspberry Sauce
Week 6: Key Lime Pie
Week 9: Peach Chutney
Week 12: Plum Kuchen





I promised you a few bonus recipes...
ones that were not a part of this series.
How about these?


My daughter Kati has treated us to Pineapple Whips a couple of times.  They are a wonderful summertime treat...so cool, so refreshing!

I ran out of summer before I ran out of fruit ideas!  I had hoped to try a popsicle recipe before time got away.  It won't be part of my series, but I will be making these Almost Pina Colada Popsicles sometime before the autumn chill sets in.  I have been reading Lorrie's Fabric, Paper, Thread blog for a couple of years, but only recently discovered her recipe blog, Pass to the Left, and it is full of delicious inspiration!  Go take a look around!

Here is one of our old friends, Blueberry Cheese Pie.  I believe it is the first recipe I ever shared on my blog.  It is easy, cool, and yum-dilly-icious...which is why it is an "old friend" on our summer dessert menu.  




Thank you to all who have joined me each week for Fruit On Tuesday!  

Have you found any fresh new fruit recipes this summer...here or elsewhere? 


Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday Snapshots: Triple Birthday Party 2013




Again, it was...
3 women, 
3 generations, 
1 party.

This time, it was...
160 years' worth of birthdays.

(I think I need to quit doing the math.)


Happy Birthday (today!) to my lovely Mom!







Saturday, August 24, 2013

Blessed With Thirty-Five Years



Earlier this week Ron and I stepped away from the day-to-day, away from the job, away from cooking and cleaning, away from blogging, away from the clock. We stepped away to unhurried time together and a pause for reflection on the thirty-five years we have shared. 

We stayed at a B&B in a quaint little town. We took meandering walks and oohed and aahed over the charming buildings and maritime scenes. We lingered over a scrumptious seafood meal on a dock, mere inches from the water, as ducks swam and waited for crumbs. We poked our heads in a few shops, shared a vanilla-maple-bacon cupcake, and wondered out in search of our evening coffee. 





















And we thanked God for the blessing of years together and for all of His good gifts.







Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fruit On Tuesday ~ Week 12 {Plum Kuchen}



At the end of my Salad On Tuesday recipe series last summer, I sneaked in a salad that looked ahead to fall

Perhaps I was doing the same thing as I made this plum kuchen (kuchen is the German word for "cake") over the weekend. I can certainly imagine sitting on the patio on a cool autumn evening, enjoying a warm piece of this cake, with its brown sugar batter, hint of cinnamon, and abundance of plums. But we enjoyed it aplenty here in mid-August! (There were requests to make it again, which is always a good sign.)





Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
8 plums, halved and pitted*

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan (or spray with non-stick baking spray).
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Beat butter at medium speed until it is soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat for 1 minute after each. Beat in oil, zest, and vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients, mixing only until blended.
  4. Spread the batter in the pan and smooth the top.  Arrange plum halves cut side up in the batter.
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes, until top is brown and toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean.  Transfer cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes, then  run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up. Sprinkle cooled cake with confectioner's sugar, if desired.
* Because of the size of my plums, I could not fit 16 plum halves in my cake! I could barely fit 9!


This ends my
Fruit on Tuesday series...and I'm already thinking about a new recipe series for the winter!  

Next Tuesday, I'll be back with a handy-dandy index of recipes, a Pin-able button, and some links to a few bonus recipes!





Have you discovered any new fruit recipes this summer?




Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Snapshots: Kristin Has a Birthday












Next Sunday, we'll have our annual triple birthday party to celebrate three generations of August birthday girls. But Kristin's actual birthday fell on a Sunday this year, so quite naturally we honored our firstborn with a special birthday meal and a few tokens of our love. While it rained outside, we ate crab cakes, corn-on-the-cob, Caesar salad, and pineapple stuffing.  When I asked Kristin what she wanted for her birthday dessert, she simply requested pie. "Surprise me," she said.  Blueberry pie was the surprise. (Honestly, I was a little surprised myself. My pie-making attempts have not always been successful.) 

This month, I have shared this Scripture with our two oldest children, both of whom have August birthdays. 
"The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son [or daughter] rejoices in him." (Proverbs 23:34)

We rejoice. All by His grace.  




Friday, August 16, 2013

Giving Thanks


Sometimes, there isn't any big thing to say.  Sometimes, it's the little pleasures, small treasures, and simple gifts that have consumed the week...and that is the big thing.  

This was one of those weeks that I have waited for all summer. The calendar was filled with white space. I used the white space to enjoy some lazy mornings and some afternoons of research and planning for our upcoming school year. (I love planning.) God gave cooling breezes, low humidity, and sunny days. I flung open the windows and soaked it all in. 

Some of the little pleasures that have filled my week...


Zinnias on the kitchen table.


Watching Bekah begin and finish a lovely craft project.


Sun filtering through white curtains on the ironing board.


Home grown tomatoes parading across the porch rail.


Furry affection.


A meandering drive through a local town, iced coffees in hand, admiring houses in an older neighborhood.


Having time for a walk, and enjoying a few minutes in this inviting gazebo.



All blessings from my Father...for me...this week. And I am grateful. 

Another week, the rain may fall, the flowers may fade, my time may be filled and my days stressed. There may be sorrow or strife or struggle. Will I recognize that these too are blessings when given from the hand of a loving Father? 


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