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.
It was a beautiful day, this day that four of our loved ones were "baptized into His death."
Our church fellowship gathered at the home of our dear friends. We worshiped together in their back yard, walked next door to their neighbor's pool for the baptism, and returned for a shared meal and fellowship. A glorious day!
Oops. Monday got away from me. It's been a busy summer, friends!
Kati was off all day yesterday, so we girls decided to go out for snow cones in the afternoon. We were all hoping to end the summer with an egg custard snow cone. (Egg custard isn't really custard, nor does it contain eggs. It's a Maryland thing.)
Our local snow cone stand seems to always be out of egg custard flavoring and we decided before we left home that we only wanted egg custard. In fact, we became passionate about it and said things like "No tutti frutti for us!" and "If you don't have egg custard, we don't want anything!" and (Patrick Henry-style) "Give me egg custard, or give me dea..." Okay, that's a little dramatic for a snow cone. But you get the idea.
Can you guess what happened?
No egg custard. Blah.
So although we did not make any of the impassioned declarations that we had made at home, we did say "no, thank you" and headed off for iced coffee which became frozen coffee when we saw that on the coffee shop menu. (It was sort of like a coffee smoothie and it was the bomb.) Then we did a "drive by" and meandered around some of our usual places and then we got off the beaten track and went into some different areas and saw houses and streets and roads that we had never seen before and then went in a totally opposite direction and meandered some more.
The best thing about this kind of afternoon? Not the snow cones coffee and not the house ogling. It is the conversation. As we meander, we talk about everything from coffee shops to work situations to homeschool science to wedding gowns to God's unique plan for our lives. Priceless.
Last week Ron and I spent some lovely days at the coast, celebrating thirty-seven years of marriage. We enjoyed time at a beautiful B&B and wandered around some seaside towns.
All summer, I have been looking for a starfish. I don't do a lot of decorating for summer, but I thought a small starfish in my potpourri bowl would whisper summer. I found some that were too wide, too large, too expensive, or too many (a package of ten), but since a starfish isn't really a "must have," I decided to wait until, like Goldilocks, I found what was just right. And I found it in one of the seaside towns. Success!
We came home from our trip in time for a weekend visit from some of our favorite people, our son Ryan and his family. They were staying at their "vacation home" this time, but we spent lots of time with them over the weekend.
Isn't this baby boy growing up?!
I haven't told you the primary reason for their visit. I'll do that in a separate post.
Labor Day is late this year, and we've done almost everything on our summer list, so we are going back to (home) school next week. We are both ready.
It will be the first year of high school for Bekah! (My "baby"?! Yikes!)
Let's end this chat with an informal poll. On our outing yesterday, I posed this question to the girls. How would you answer this?
With which of the following do you associate the first day of school?
It has now been fifteen years, and I am reposting today as a testament to His mercy in our lives. So grateful...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
(Repost from August 20, 2010)
This morning I am quiet, sober, reflective...and my heart is full of praise.
Ten years ago today, I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance after suffering a grand mal seizure, following several weeks of mysterious neurological symptoms.
Most of the time, I don't even like to think about those weeks as they were so troubling. It was like my brain was short-circuited. I'd try to say something, and before I could finish my sentence, I would not know how to complete the thought. I couldn't remember words. I couldn't look up my friend's phone number because I couldn't find the H's. My daughter had taken me to the ER during this time, and I couldn't even answer the simple admittance questions, like my birth date or my home address. My right hand had a tremor.
Then I had the seizure, and woke up two days later in ICU, not knowing where I was and how I had come there.
I don't intend to tell the whole story as it is also painful to remember. It is enough to say that the ensuing days were filled with tortured thoughts and hallucinations, mostly brought on by the medication with which I was being treated.
But the end of the story is cause for rejoicing. Lots of good came out of that painful time.
I eventually returned to normal health. Before I regained consciousness, my family had been told that there was a possibility of permanent neurological damage, but I experienced literally no long term effects. In many of the dark moments during my hospital stay, I asked the Lord to restore me to health so that I could raise my young daughter. My illness was never definitively diagnosed, but as I was weaned from my medications over a period of about a year, the symptoms did not return...and ten years later, I remain symptom free.
I was bathed in the love of my family. From the night that Ron rose from sleep to come to the hospital and calm me...to the nights that my mom slept in a hospital chair to offer a calming presence...to the countless things that my daughter did to make her little sister's life as undisturbed as possible.
I experienced the love and care of friends in amazing ways. "Acquaintances" would not have done for me and my family what my brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ did...prayers, meals, words of encouragement, babysitting for my six-year-old, yard care, generous financial gifts, chauffeuring services during those many months when I was not able to drive.
Shortly after my illness, I became pregnant with our youngest child. We named her Rebekah Hope, for I felt that she was a symbol of the hope that was given back to me.
As I reflect today, I am grateful for His mercy.
This life is a vapor. It is tenuous. There are no promises of tomorrow.
But I am thankful for His plan, for His mercy, for His grace.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139: 1, 14-16)
This was not the regularly scheduled week for our annualtriplebirthdayparty, but nothing this summer has been "regularly scheduled" so we just did it.
It's a good thing we had stocked up on cheap frugal party supplies in advance!
On an early summer outing, we found ourselves at Target (imagine that!) and we began with browsing the Dollar Spot where they had just put out some new back-to-school themed items. We saw some little tins that had a notebook paper design. My sister Linda suggested that they would look cute at a party with utensils in them...and thus a party theme was born. Mom, Kristin, and I all loved (love) school, so a back-to-school theme was fitting.
Let me show you how we used a variety of one dollar items, as well as a few things around the house, to create a fun party.
I filled an old stoneware bowl with apples...
(Thanks, honey, for running out to get those apples on Sunday morning!)
...and put my Great-Aunt Minerva's school bell beside it.
(That was Bekah's suggestion. Party planning is a family affair!)
Bekah wrote a greeting on the sandwich board.
Notebook page banner from Target.
Oops! I should have bought two of those.
There were only enough "pages" to write "BIRTHDAY"...no "HAPPY."
Ben (6) noticed. (Ben is a noticer!)
One package of notebook page treat bags.
We filled them with mini composition notebooks, a colorful mechanical pencil, and Pixie sticks.
We put plastic utensils and paper straws in the notebook page tins.
Kati made the plaid apples a few years ago.
I love these little alphabet stickers!
I had put them in my cart two times and put them back because I wasn't sure what I'd do with them.
Then I picked them up the third time just because I liked them.
I found a way to use them. They were sturdy enough to mark our cups! Hooray!
Packages of chalkboard and notebook page gift tags for a dollar?
Linda even found the chalkboard tissue paper! (I missed that!)
For mathematics class:
3 generations, birthdays within 11 days of one another, 166 years, 1 party.