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.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sweet Sixteen!


Moving back in time a bit . . . to the weekend before last when we gathered to celebrate our Bekah's sixteenth birthday . . .

Again, this party was hers. She chose the colors, the decorations, the menu, and even made her own cake. She loves to plan parties and helps me all year long, but she knows that she is the Executive Planner on her own birthday and she revels in it! 

I think she did a good job! It was such a pretty party, perfect for sweet sixteen!









We took some photos of the birthday girl with each branch of the family . . .


with her oldest sister Kristin's family

with her brother Ryan's family

with her Gammy (my mom)

with her MomMom (Ron's mom)

I had to snap this shot of Peter with his spectacles. Isn't he darling?! He has been pretending to be "John" of the Peter Pan story. He was disappointed that he had to remove his "glasses" for the family photo. :) 


I loved Kristin and Macie's coordinating mother/daughter dresses!





Macie, playing with the Fisher Price cash register her mama once played with





Bekah wore her lovely hope necklace, made for her by our dear friend Terri. Hope is her middle name, and it is also her story.



What a gift this girl is . . . sweet sixteen, lovely, musical, artsy, bright, sensitive, tenderhearted, funny, unhurried, a lover of beauty, and wise beyond her years. On her birthday, I always reflect on the amazing journey that brought her here and my heart is filled with gratitude. 

Birthday blessings to our youngest, our Rebekah Hope! We love you with all our hearts and we pray that you continue to walk in His goodness and grace.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Resurrection Celebration ~2017~





I will sing of my Redeemer
He who took the nails for me
I've been purchased, I've been pardoned
Bound to Him I'm truly free




I will sing of my Redeemer
How He sought me while a slave
Loosed me from the curse of sin and
From the power of the grave





I will sing of my Redeemer
Lift my voice to praise my Lord
Ransomed by His blood and mercy
I am His forevermore




I will sing of my Redeemer
He who bore my cross, my curse
Came a servant, chose to suffer
Lifted up and cast from earth





I will sing of my Redeemer
Lift my voice to praise my Lord
Ransomed by His blood and mercy
I am His forevermore



I will sing of my Redeemer
Tell about the grace I've known
Here on earth with those forgiven
And one day around His throne






I will sing of my Redeemer
Lift my voice to praise my Lord
Ransomed by His blood and mercy
I am His forevermore





Friday, April 14, 2017

God Will Provide a Lamb


As we remember His immeasurable sacrifice . . . 





Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Catching Up


Big hugs to so many of you who responded to my last blog post with kindness and love! 

I am still trying to respond to you individually, but, as always, I am having a hard time catching up.

Life is so full at this stage of the game. When I was a young mom, I thought that life would get simpler as my babies and toddlers grew up, and in some ways it has. But each season of life has its own kind of busyness and its own limitations. So here I am, homeschooling a high schooler, grandmother of ten, coordinator of house projects, hostess, blogger, daughter, wife. Yes, life is full. 




A bit of what we've been up to lately . . . 


Some of our family had the opportunity to tour the house that once belonged to my great-grandparents. 


It was an amazing opportunity . . . and an amazing house! Craftsman style, built in the early 1900's. Beautiful mill work, inlaid wood floors, gorgeous chandeliers, built-in china closet, window seats, a back staircase that led to a maid's room, little doors and so many nooks and crannies, sweeping wide staircase with a solarium on the landing.

We all loved seeing this piece of our family's history, but I am especially grateful that my mom was able to visit it. It meant so much to her!




On Sunday, our family celebrated Bekah's 16th birthday. 


How can my baby be sweet sixteen?! Her actual birthday is tomorrow, and she has invited some friends to celebrate with her later in the month. No need to confine the celebration to one measly day, right? But we kicked off the festivities with a sweet family gathering. (I'll share more pics in another post.)




Progress continues in the library


The bookshelves are finished! The next step is painting, which will begin tonight. Then we'll allow the paint to cure for a week or so. And then we can unpack those boxes and shelve those books. Can. Not. Wait.

After the books are shelved and the piles of boxes are cleared away, we'll paint the rest of the room. We still have a ways to go, but the end is in sight!





Tenth grade is rolling along.


We have tweaked some things along the way this year, dropping some things that did not bring "shining eyes" and replacing them with things that do. There is new life in our little home school! I may write some more about that in a future post. (I seem to be planning a lot of new posts as I write this one!)

I so love homeschooling and I am sad to think that I have only two years remaining after this one . . . but I am not sad that this is the last time that I will be teaching Algebra II. I will say no more about that. 







Those are some of the things that are keeping me busy. We're also preparing for our celebration of Resurrection Sunday this weekend. What a glorious thing to celebrate!!

What is keeping you busy these days? (Do you ever have a hard time keeping up . . . or trying to catch up?)




Thursday, April 6, 2017

Up-Hill


     Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
          Yes, to the very end.
    Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
          From morn to night, my friend.
          ~ Christina Rossetti

image source



As bloggers, we often share the pretty parts of our lives. Beautiful children and grandchildren. Happy family gatherings. Pretty food. Freshly painted and spruced up rooms. Cheerful holiday decorations. Joyful occasions. Victories. 

When I show you those "pretty" things, they are real and they are true. I am so very blessed. 

But also real and also true is the fact that life is hard

"The road wind(s) up-hill."

Twenty-two years ago today, I delivered a stillborn baby, a little girl whom we named Kara Joy. Two days before, I had gone for a routine sonogram at 19 weeks of pregnancy and we were stunned to learn that our baby had no heartbeat. (There had been a normal heartbeat at my prenatal appointment a few weeks earlier.)

It rocked my world, and left me with a raw, jagged wound. Yes, I rested in my Savior, knowing that God is only always good, but my mother-heart ached for many years.

Life is hard. 

As we ran an errand together this week, I said to Kati, "This has been a hard year so far."

It has. 

Among our circle, since the year began there has been illness . . . yucky-but-relatively-quick viruses, and also long term serious illness. There have been muddled situations. Hurt feelings. Discouragement. A friend lost her job suddenly. Someone we love has come to the end of himself battling addiction; everyone in his family is affected. Another friend lost his father. Another friend has seen her husband's health decline even further, stretching their family's time and resources precariously thin.

Life is hard. 

At the beginning of this week, we had to say good-bye to our sweet boy kitty, Puss. He had lost quite a bit of weight over the winter. It turns out he had (among other things) FIV. He battled one infection after another and then took a turn for the worse over the weekend.

Oh, I know that Puss is an animal and I am not equating the loss of a pet with the pain of human loss or suffering or addiction. But, if you are an animal lover, you know that there is heartache when a beloved fur baby passes. It hurts.

Yes, life is hard. 

Please don't think that this is a sob story. I do not tell you these things so that you will feel sorry for me. Your own heartache, your loss, your struggles may be much greater than mine. I only tell you to acknowledge we are all on that up-hill road.

But, if we belong to Jesus, we are not without hope!

I certainly don't pretend to know the "why" of all my struggles, much less yours. But might I suggest that a part of the answer is so that we don't get too comfortable here? That our hearts might be kept longing for a better place?

"Heaven is not here, it's There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next." ~ Elisabeth Elliot

Even as we walk the road that winds up-hill, we can know that He is with us. "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'"

We do not walk the road alone.

Let us live as those whose hearts are longing for Heaven, for the road will wind up-hill to the very end.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What Kind of Clothing?


Clothing seemed (seamed?) to be the theme of this past weekend. 


Kati's collection of stripes ~ photo by Kati 


On Friday afternoon, I steeled myself for an afternoon of dress shopping with Bekah (nearly 16). She is not the stereotypical angst-filled teenage girl, but she is quite particular about her clothes. 

Bekah is my hardest girl to please in the realm of fashion. Something is either too long or too short or low under the arms or not the right shade or too frilly or too boxy or too fill-in-the-blank. She can't even please herself! She'll buy something and then it will languish away in her closet until she finally decides that she really doesn't like it after all. 

Even as a tiny girl, she felt strongly about what she wore. For many years, she only wore dresses or skirts. Even to bed. Nightgowns only. Never pajamas because they were pants. She would have a complete meltdown if I insisted she wear pants on a frigid day . . . as in sobbing her heart out. I finally wised up and bought her leggings to wear under her dresses. No more tears. (For either of us.)

So the thought of dress shopping with Bek brings a bit of angst to my own heart.  

But she needs a purple dress, solid or print, for her spring concert in May. So on Friday afternoon, we set out together, cheerful attitudes and everything, to find The Dress.

Fourteen stores later (not kidding), we had no purple dress.

This time, it was not Bekah's fashion sense that was the hindrance. It is the fact that "purple is not in our spring color palette this year." What?! Who decided that? Do all the stores have the same decision-makers?

In the course of the afternoon, she did find two lavender dresses and tried them on. Both {ahem} needed more fabric. (I will just insert here that I am so thankful that Bek has a sense of modesty. Even though we don't always agree on fashion styles, we have no disagreements about the appropriateness of a garment.)

We gave it a heroic try.

That evening, we came home and ordered a lovely dress online. Now we pray that it arrives at the beginning of the estimated delivery range and not at the end. (The last day of the estimated range is the day of the concert. Yikes!)


On Saturday (while Ron was working on the library book shelves . . . yay!), Kati, Bekah, and I all cleaned out our closets. Out came clothes that don't fit. Out came clothes that are out of style. Out came clothes that are worn or faded. Out came clothes that have been hanging there for a year or two but never worn . . . you know, those things that you like, but never feel good in, so you always choose something else? (In Bekah's case, out came clothes with tags still attached!)

Then Kati and Bekah decided to go to a local consignment shop as well as a new store at the mall to search for a few missing pieces in their wardrobes.

At the end of the day, there were piles of things to share with family, some bags to donate, and a few things in the trash. Our closets were tidier and were filled with clothes that we actually wear and love. Very satisfying.



On Sunday, clothes sorting was a part of the afternoon's activities. Kristin's girls' clothes are stored in our attic. She had gotten some of the boxes down earlier in the week and the two younger girls had already done the spring clothing switch. So those boxes returned to the attic and those in Maddie's size came down, along with another box that may have blue dresses which the younger choir girls need for the spring concert. (No blue dresses in the box.) The piles from the closets were looked through and both families took some.


If you didn't follow that, no worries. I am not even sure that I followed it all myself!
I said all of that to show you how much time and effort this weekend went into the simple business of clothing our bodies.


But then I consider these words and it is all put into perspective. 

Do not let your adornment be merely outward arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. (I Peter 3:3, 4)


Yes, clothing our bodies is necessary and good. It is even a means of expressing our creativity and our individual style. But that's not the most important adornment, even if it is stylish or beautiful or costly, because that is outward.

True beauty . . . that is inward.

It is the hidden person of the heart.

It is a gentle and quiet spirit.

And it is precious in the sight of God.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Tulips


Since early February 


tulips have adorned my kitchen island.


Sometimes they stand tall . . . 



. . . sometimes they flop carelessly.


Tulips are my favorite!

Biology at the island.

It seems that my love for tulips goes way back. :)

Me, 1963


During late winter and early spring, I crave the color and cheer that fresh flowers bring.

A granddaughter plopped Bongo by the tulips to wait for her.

As I grocery shop each week, I hear another bunch call my name from the table of cut flowers.
(I wonder why it's always the tulips that call the loudest?)


I think that five dollars is a small price to pay for spring beauty on the island.


Don't you?


Do cut flowers ever call your name when you're shopping for groceries?
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