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.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Sixty Things About Me

Now I am sixty. 

The ladies in our family gathered this week to celebrate Kristin's 40th and my 60th birthdays. It was such a special day! We all went out to lunch, then came back to our house to continue the celebration with a game, gifts, and birthday cake. Good times . . . lots of laughs . . . lots of love! 

I have not dreaded this milestone birthday in the least, and I have no qualms about anyone knowing my age. I feel that every year, every day, is a gift from the Lord. So, even though there are definitely more limitations as the years fly by, there are also different opportunities and I hope to serve Him with all of my allotted days. 

For my sixty years, I thought it would be fun to tell you sixty things about me. Some are inconsequential. Some extremely important. Some you probably already know if you're a Thinking About Home reader. Some are little known facts. 😊

Here goes . . . 
  1. I have had a baby in four different decades of my life. (I had my first baby when I was 19, eleven days before my twentieth birthday, another in my twenties, another in my thirties, and my fourth when I was 40!)
  2. I would rather clean bathrooms than go grocery shopping.
  3. I love seafood (but not oysters).
  4. I have lived in seven houses.
  5. I am 5 feet, 8 inches tall.
  6. I homeschooled my four children over a period of 28 years.
  7. One of my favorite activities is antiquing.
  8. Another is having a long chat with a good friend.
  9. I am often almost always late.
  10. I hated field day in elementary school. I would much rather have been in the classroom. (Weird, I know.)
  11. My favorite color is red.
  12. I married at age 17. (I turned 18 a few days later, but Ron's good friend/best man would have been back in college by that time.)
  13. I have recently found that Walmart grocery pickup is my jam.
  14. I wear makeup every day. (Unless I am dreadfully ill.) 
  15. I fight with my hair. It is thick and has just enough curl to be annoying, but not enough to let it do its thing.
  16. I always wanted to be a mom.
  17. I never wanted to be a nurse.
  18. For years, I asked for a pig for my birthday. 
  19. I don't know one car from another. I call an SUV a "van thing" and I have no idea what anyone drives. So if you don't have a bumper sticker or a noticeable dent, I probably won't know who you are when you pull into my driveway. 
  20. I enjoy cooking more than baking.
  21. I am a procrastinator.
  22. My first airplane flight was at age 47. 
  23. I am not a good traveler. 
  24. I taught myself to sew at age 8 and proceeded to outfit my Barbies. 
  25. I make a cheesecake every Christmas. 
  26. My first grade teacher called me The Poky Puppy.
  27. I loved school. 
  28. I cried the first day I could not go to school because I was sick.
  29. I cried the first day my teacher was absent from school.
  30. I cried the day that there was tomato soup for school lunch. (Weird little kid, huh?)
  31. I am a cat person.
  32. I am a house person.
  33. I have had a lifelong struggle with time management.
  34. I can't kill a cricket (can't stand the crunch ~shudder~ ) but I can sweep them outside. 
  35. I don't like milk.
  36. I love to sing my praise to the Lord! Hymns are my favorite. (And I have several "favorite" hymns. How can you choose just one?) 
  37. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Psalm 90. (Again, I have several "favorites." How can you choose just one?)
  38. I miss homeschooling. 
  39. I will do almost anything to get out of making a phone call. And I say ridiculous things on answering machines . . . not on purpose. 
  40. Autumn is the season that makes my heart sing. (But you knew that, didn't you?)
  41. Does anyone love the Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella as much as I do? ~swoon~
  42. I am the kiss of death to plants.
  43. I was once eyeball-to-eyeball with a snake who got in my house. (Would you like to hear my snake story sometime? I can talk about it now.)
  44. I have lived in Maryland all of my life.
  45. I love lists.
  46. I admire a pretty yard. I desire a pretty yard. But I hate yard work.
  47. I love candles . . . food scents like cinnamon or orange or carrot cake, but not florals. 
  48. I have a ginormous collection of paper napkins, and a decent collection of cloth napkins. I can't help myself. 
  49. I don't remember the first time I met Ron.
  50. I have a fear of heights. 
  51. Math was one of my favorite subjects, but it was one of my least favorite subjects to teach.
  52. I didn't go on to take French IV in high school because I didn't know who I would sit with at lunch. 
  53. I'd rather have lemon pie than a birthday cake. 
  54. My favorite childhood book is Heidi.
  55. I ♡ Thanksgiving. 
  56. My "uniform" is jeans, a pretty top (love black, but also bright colors), and silver hoop earrings.
  57. My earliest memory was seeing my new baby sister in her bassinet when I was two years and four months old. Not long after, I picked her up and "burped" her while Mom was hanging something out on the clothesline! 😲 I don't remember that, but I've heard the story so many times that almost feel like I do. (My poor mother!) 
  58. We have spent most of our 42 years of marriage remodeling a house. 
  59. My dream is to write a children's picture book. 
  60. My life was changed by the Gospel when I was 12 years old. I realized that I could not be good on my own, no matter how hard I tried. I accepted Jesus's payment for my sin and He forgave me and made me a new creature in Christ

I'd love to learn some new thing about you! If you have the time and inclination, tell me something in the comments! 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Twenty Years Later

Yes, now it is twenty years later, but I don't ever want to forget how gracious the Lord was to me and to our family, and I want to thank Him for it and give Him praise!

Would God still be good if life had turned out differently? Absolutely! He is always and only good. But I praise Him for His plan for my life, and for His deeds among the peoples!

Permit me to repost my story . . . 

Ten Years Later (originally posted 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 the nights that my mom slept in a hospital chair to offer a calming 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)

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Watermelon Birthday Bash

Sunday was the day of our annual SUMMER BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION, the we celebrate 10 birthdays!  

For years and years, my mom has bought me a Wattamelon Roll (watermelon sherbet with chocolate chip "seeds" and a lemon sherbet "rind" . . . yum!) for my birthday. This year, she bought two so that we could have them at the summer birthday party and I had them tucked into my freezer. 

As party day drew nearer, I had not had opportunity to shop for party goods. But as Bekah and I ambled over to look at paper plates and napkins in Target, it dawned on me: We were going to have the watermelon sherbet, and I had a bunch of watermelon plates and napkins in my stash! So a theme was born right there in the Target aisle and I didn't spend a thing!  

At the hors d'oeuvre station . . . 
Watermelon plates (from who-knows-where because I've had them so long)
Fire and Ice Salsa (made with watermelon, recipe~here~)

I got no photos of our birthday lunch of ham and cheese sliders, chips, and a melon fruit salad.

Zinnias and a watermelon made a simple and summery centerpiece.

Mom brought goody bags for all of the birthday people.
Can you believe she had watermelon print tissue tucked into the gift bags, 
tissue that my sister had purchased for her weeks before the watermelon theme was chosen? 

Four-year-old Macie was the cutest little Birthday Fairy passing out the gifts!

My daughter Kristin had made a chocolate-oatmeal cake, 
and my granddaughter Eve had made a lemon layer cake, 

but we decided to put the birthday candles on a Wattamelon Roll!

We sang Happy Birthday three times!

First up were the July birthday girls, grandaughters Eve (13) and Maddie (16).

Next were the August birthday peeps . . . first being a little silly . . . 

. . . and then ready for the cacophony that is our August birthday song!
Left to right: our son Ryan, Ron, me, Mom (Gammy), our grandson Owen (14), our daughter Kristin, and our grandson Judah (2).

🎵 "Happy birthday, 
dear Ryan-Daddy-Ronnie-Dad-Cheryl-Mom-Gammy-Mom-Owen-Kristin-Mom-Judah . . ." 🎵
(And not in any designated order . . .  🤣)

Last (but not least!) was our granddaughter Alaine (10) who missed an August birthday by a single day! 
September 1st is still summer though, so she's part of the Summer Birthday Celebration.

Maybe I should not have done the math, but we celebrated 10 birthdays and 338 years! 

And every one of those years is a gift from God.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Guest Room Updates

Shout out to Bekah who spotted this little table buried in a corner of a favorite antique shop! 

Bekah has a great eye and she knew it would be perfect as a night table in our guest room. (It was also a bargain! Can you believe $40, and then 10% off that?)

A few weeks ago, I uncovered this little rattan stool while antiquing with my friend Barbara. When the room was Kati's, she had an ottoman in this tiny space between the closet and the doorway, a perfect little landing area for purse or packages. But this little stool better fits the aesthetic of the new room. 

Oops. Didn't intend to photograph the cat toy. 😉

The guest room is coming together! 

Still to do: 

  • Ron will be making paneled shutters for the windows, and I will be making fishtail swags.
  • We're still hunting for a small-ish wingback chair. (I purchased a chair on Facebook Marketplace, but I didn't like it in the room and moved it to the library. We play a lot of "Musical Furniture" around here.)  

Perhaps it would be nice to decorate in one fell swoop, but it really is fun to slowly curate a room a little at a time. What do you think? 

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