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 home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—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.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A Mother's Musings: Changes and New Mercies

It has been an exciting and bittersweet year. 

There have been so many beginnings and endings in our world these past months, making a mother's heart flutter. 

This past spring, we watched a nest of baby robins in a rhododendron in our backyard. As we came and went, we'd walk over and peek in to check on their growth: first eggs, then hatchlings, then little bodies covered with soft down. It was exciting to see the changes day by day. Soon, they had fledged and were off on their own.

At the same time, one of our "babies" was preparing to leave the nest. 

And there was grief.

Oh, lots of joy too, for these were good changes, answered prayers . . . but still. There was a grieving of sorts. A child getting married means the end of that relationship of primary confidant. I am no longer the most important person. The spouse is. And that is certainly how it should be! That is healthy and good and right and I would not want it any other way. But it is still a grieving of what has been and now has changed.

Some of the things I miss:

 ~ I miss car trips and drive-bys and running through the drive-through at our favorite coffee place.

 ~ I miss "Morning Meeting" and mochas on Saturday mornings.

 ~ I miss Kati coming in to talk to me while I cook.

 ~ I miss her great organizing skills. 

 ~ I miss her asking me for advice.

 ~ I miss seeing her pull up her hair in a ponytail in the evening.

 ~ I miss sharing giggles at midnight.

That is a little of the "bitter," but there is most definitely the "sweet." 

We are delighted when one of our children finds a soul mate, a helpmeet, when God knits two hearts together and they begin their walk through this life. Our family grows and our hearts grow to include the new spouse. Three times now, children have fledged, and oh the blessings that each change has brought!

Then there is the bittersweet of a September with no back-to-school. 

No first-day-of-school breakfast at Chick-fil-A. No first-day-of-school pictures. No new notebook with dividers. No new books to open. No lists of hymns, poets, composers, artists to learn about during Morning Time.

Yes, this is the "bitter" because I miss homeschooling! I miss the excitement of learning, the feast of ideas, the (semi) regular schedule, the togetherness, the purpose, the discipleship.

But, there is also the "sweet" as I reflect on the joys and the fruit of the season past. I realize that this season has ended naturally, and that there is a new one ahead with new work and new rewards. We are all making steps towards the future, learning to hear His voice of direction. He is faithful!

As I reflect on these days of change and the seasons of a mother's heart, I have to thank our loving Father for His mercies that are new every morning . . .

There was one morning at the beginning of the month that our son was in a serious car accident. It was a three-car chain reaction in which he was struck, and his vehicle left the road and rolled over into a field. He was injured (three broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung) and was kept in the hospital overnight. It has been a painful recovery, although he has improved and has returned to work.

That is the "bitter."

But we can certainly see the sweet, sweet mercies of God! Ryan is tall (6' 3") and his head is only inches from the top of his vehicle. But even with the rollover and the severe damage of other parts of the vehicle, the roof was intact. How very different the outcome could have been! It makes my heart flutter every time I think about it . . . and it also causes me to praise the Lord!

So as this mother muses today, I cannot help but thank Him for the beginnings and the endings, for the bitter and the sweet. It is all grace! 

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations. 
Psalm 89:1

Friday, September 20, 2019

New Stepback Cupboard

As I told you last week, our three year search for a stepback cupboard for our dining room has come to an end! Yes, three years of looking in antique stores, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace for something with the right color, the right size, the right "presence," the right patina, the right price . . . and it had to be swoon-worthy. (Do you swoon over furniture?) 

Ron and his brother took a road trip last weekend to pick up the cupboard. (Thanks, Ron and Max!)

And Bekah and I spent the better part of the day on Monday reorganizing all of the contents of multiple pieces of furniture!

The old cabinet (here ↓↓↓) . . . 

. . . went to the sun porch, which meant that candles and table linens could not stay inside it. (Summer heat and humidity = melting and mildew.) 

So . . . candles went to the corner cupboard. Corner cupboard contents to the cabinet on the sun porch. Linens to the stepback cupboard. Paper products (napkins, plates, place cards, straws) also in the stepback cupboard. Party supplies (banners, birthday candles, crepe paper) to a drawer in the guest room. It felt kind of like a long game of musical chairs! 

This day, the table was set for our homeschool girls' book club.

It was worth the wait! 

Have you ever waited to find a specific piece of furniture? How long? 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Around the House

In the past six months or so, Thinking About Home has mostly been a blog for recording major life events: a bridal shower, a high school formal, a wedding, a graduation, a big party, milestone birthdays. Yes, it has been an eventful season! 

Maybe it's time for a little this-and-that post. Let me share a few things that are happening around the house. 

After a three year search, I have found a step back cupboard for the dining room! 

When we moved into Pineapple House, we realized that our china closet was way too big for the dining room, and the search began for a stepback cupboard. On a whim one day, we decided to move a cabinet from another room into the space and I propped an old mirror on top to give it height. 

I have been happy with that solution in the meantime, but I never gave up the search.

On a trip to Lancaster last weekend, we found it . . . the perfect piece for our dining room! It is tall enough to hold its own alongside the piano (and there is no other wall in the living space that will accommodate the piano), but narrow enough to fit in the space without feeling crowded. The color is right and the style . . . well, I'm swooning! Ron and his brother are driving up to get it tomorrow and I can't wait. 

Here's a peek at it in the Strasburg Antique Market. 

Progress is being made on the kitchen. 

Indirectly, that is. 

You may remember that our washing machine is in the kitchen? We have been remodeling the kitchen in stages (most recent updates ~here~), but from the beginning we have planned to eventually move the washing machine down to the basement. 

Last week when Ron was off, he did much of the prep work: ran electric, adapted the plumbing, installed a pump and a laundry sink. The washing machine will be heading to the basement soon! (I will miss the convenience, but I really can't wait to have it out of my kitchen!)  Then we Ron can begin to move the refrigerator in its place, adapt the cabinetry, build a lower cabinet, and install new countertop to match the rest of the kitchen. We hope to have these changes completed by the holidays. 

We have a new family member!

Bekah is thrilled! He is a stray cat from my parents' neighborhood, and they have been taking good care of him. He is still getting used to being an indoor cat, but he's making progress. He is such a sweetheart! 

We will have a special guest tonight!

We are continuing our one-at-a-time sleepovers with the grands. On their visit, they get to choose a carryout meal, a game to play and/or a movie to watch, a movie candy, and they get to sleep in the new guest room (Aunt Kati's old bedroom). Today, Bekah and I are going to a ladies' luncheon at church and then Alaine (9) will come home with us for her turn. 

Is it autumn?

I went to my friend Barbara's house for coffee yesterday, and her house looked and smelled like autumn! As I sipped my (two cups of) coffee, I was inspired to fallify my house a bit, so I picked up a white pumpkin with a great stem when I was grocery shopping. Hoping to do a little more fallifying by early next week . . . 

What's happening around your house lately? 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Celebrating Eighty Years!

We recently gathered to honor my mom for her 80th birthday! 

Years ago, Mom was babysitting a couple of neighborhood children for the day. The little boy, Curtis, asked her, "How old are you?" 

Mom: "How old do you think I am?"

Curtis: "About a million."

Mom: 😮😭

At the time, Mom was 28, which shows that you should never ask a child to guess your age. 😉

Mom, of course, is a far cry from Curtis's guess, but it has been a few years since that day when she was 28 years old!

Ryan (who asks good questions) asked Mom what was the best thing about being 80. 

"My family," said Mom. "Now that I am 80, there are more people in my family and it just keeps getting better." 

Ryan also asked her what were three highlights of her first 80 years. 

Her answers: 
1) Being saved
2) Her marriage
3) The births of her children

We asked Mom what her favorite trip was. She said that the trip to Israel had to be the first because of the spiritual significance. Her favorite "fun" trip, however, was the trip to England and Scotland with her sisters. 

Some family photos . . . 

Mom says that she never expected to live to be 80 years old!  But as part of God's plan, she did! She says she must still have work to do. I believe that too!

O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.  Psalm 71:17, 18 ESV

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