What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig




over Toronto- on my way


over  Holland and empty tulip fields... we were TOO LATE for the TULIPS! 
Whaaaaahhhhh!

On my way home again....only the excitement and anticipation of seeing my family would see me looking this perky and cheerful in an airport after waking up at 4:30 am.  (Which was actually 10:30pm, our time)




 










I am home again from my wonderful trip to Holland and trying to acclimate myself to real life (and this time zone) once again.  I had very little sleep on my trip, and particularly on the travelling to and from-which demanded no sleep over two day periods at both the beginning and the end of the trip.  I tried desperately to sleep on the plane-but not such luck.  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I saw so many beautiful sights in Holland and met so many wonderful people (Hello Hans!) and enjoyed such delicious food that *I* didn't cook and was surrounded by ancient buildings and incredible masterpieces painted by Masters and did so many things I had never done before in my life.  It was overwhelmingly good.

And yet, surrounded by thousands of people and beauty all around, it was surprising how lonely I found myself at times.  I missed the laughter of my own people and the understanding and listening ear of my husband and the snuggles and the flowers and the familiar food and the orchestra of nature lulling me to sleep and the good-natured smiles of people driving by and the taste of peppermint iced tea.  While away, I couldn't get this poem out of my head...

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,
Which, seek through the world, is ne'er met with elsewhere.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home, oh, there's no place like home!

An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain;
Oh, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!
The birds singing gayly, that come at my call --
Give me them -- and the peace of mind, dearer than all!
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home, oh, there's no place like home!

I gaze on the moon as I tread the drear wild,
And feel that my mother now thinks of her child,
As she looks on that moon from our own cottage door
Thro' the woodbine, whose fragrance shall cheer me no more.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home, oh, there's no place like home!

How sweet 'tis to sit 'neath a fond father's smile,
And the caress of a mother to soothe and beguile!
Let others delight mid new pleasures to roam,
But give me, oh, give me, the pleasures of home.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home, oh, there's no place like home!

To thee I'll return, overburdened with care;
The heart's dearest solace will smile on me there;
No more from that cottage again will I roam;
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.
Home, home, sweet, sweet, home!
There's no place like home, oh, there's no place like home! 

~John Howard Payne

I was welcomed home with love notes and giraffe drawings, husband-made waffles, and irises blooming.  While I was gone the lilacs, azaleas, rhododendron came and went.  I missed them entirely.  I just barely got to see my bridal veil spirea in all its glory and the bleeding hearts have started to set fruit.  Thank goodness I didn't miss the peonies!  They are just about to pop.

It turns out, time moves on- with you or without you.  You may notice or you might miss it.  May I have eyes wide open for all the gifts that show themselves in my life, even if only for a brief moment in time.  From the wonders of Rembrandt to the glory of the iris in my own front yard.  This world is a beautiful place.

This week should be incredibly busy for me...before my trip, the weather was such (rain, rain and more rain!) that I could not till or plant my garden.  This is the latest I have ever waited for the garden and I can't say I am entirely comfortable with it.  So the gardens must be put in and the weeds towering over everything must be attended to.  And at some point, the children really do need to begin homeschooling again after a three-week-hiatus (maybe even four if this week continues at it has been...) so we can finally finish up the school year.  I will try to post photos of my trip as soon as I am able- but the vegetables must take priority!  You understand...I know you do.

Because I happen to know I have the best blog readers ever.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Little Dutch Girl Goes to Holland









 








 






Tuesday was my birthday.  I am now officially 36. That feels older than it is (I hope) but not as old as Judah thought I was turning...  "What are you turning Mama?  56?" 

Hmph.

The day came and went like any other day, except the lilacs bloomed just in time to be a birthday bouquet for my bed and to decorate my birthday cake (which was the best part of it, unfortunately) which really is the best repeat present a girl can get.  I am particular to May babies for the lilacs and bluebells alone.

Every birthday I wonder what this year is going to look like for me.  Will it be a good one?  A hard one?  This, I believe, is going to be a stretching year for me.   A stretching out of my comfort zone year, a stretching to do hard things, deal with hard things and grow better/wiser/more (?) in the process. (I hope that is the outcome, anyway.)

With only a week or so of 36 under my belt, I am going to have my first major test.

I have been given the incredible opportunity to travel abroad to the Netherlands with my Mom, my few uncles and an aunt as they travel back to their familial home, visiting another brother, cousins, aunts and friends, who all live there, in the process.  I am the tag-along and self-proclaimed historian of the group.  ;-)

It is a lifelong dream that I never dreamed would ever actually come true.  And it is going to be amazing.  I am so grateful to be able to go.  I am so excited to have this opportunity.  It is a great gift.

But with it comes real stretching.

I have to leave my family, whom I have never been away from for more than two nights in their lives (and only that on one occasion), and my baby who I have NEVER been away from at all...and I have to do it for 9 days.  NINE DAYS.  This is truly devastating and heart-wrenching to me.

And I have to entrust their entire and complete care to Matt, who is capable and wonderful, but has never had to shoulder such a great responsibility before.  And frankly, is someone other than myself.

It's hard for a Mama to let go.  It's excruciating.

Matt took off two weeks for me so I could do this and has encouraged me so many countless times to "Go!  It will be fine!  Have fun!  We'll be great!  This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!"  He's so wonderful.

But I worry about Matt being able to handle it all.  I worry about stress.  I worry about Corynn shouldering the heavy load of mothering the baby alone.  I worry about Judah and his belly.  I worry about Matt working outside too much (leaving the kids alone) or working too little (and not getting to do anything HE wants to do.)  I worry that the baby will wander off for a split second (like she always does) and I won't be there to interpret the silence and find her quickly.  I worry of sister squabbles and grocery shopping (has Matt ever even GONE grocery shopping?) and of laundry and gardens.  I worry about tempers.  I worry that the baby will be desperate for me and I will be unable to comfort her.  I worry that she will not need me so much when I come back.  My heart breaks a million times every night in bed as these things swirl about my head, refusing to quiet themselves.

And those are just the worries for home.

I could worry, too, about going to a whole new country by myself.  About flying for 7 hours.  About flying at all.  About zooming through six time zones.  About jetlag.  About my time without the comforts of my family, without the distractions of children to smooth uncomfortable situations. Being without my children for the first time in 15 years- who is that girl and will I be comfortable alone with her?   I could worry about being the only one in the entire group who does not speak Dutch.  I could worry about myriad other things, I am sure, if I had more experience travelling than I do but my lack of experience and imagination prevents it.

None of these take my breath away, constrict my throat, sting my eyes and keep me awake at night like the worries for my family though.

Thursday, the journey begins.

I have lists and lists.  Lists to do before I go, staring me in the face every time I am in the kitchen.  (Which is a lot!)  Lists of words to try to learn before I go.  Lists of things I need to buy for my trip and for my family while I am gone.  Lists of things not to forget to pack.  So many, many lists!  My To-Do list gets crossed off and two more are added in its' place.  So much to do!  I know it won't all get done and I am trying to be okay with that.

I don't know if I will be able to blog while I am gone or not.  I'd like to.  (I have a sneaking suspicion I may be taking a few photographs...)  I'll try if I can.  Otherwise, I'll be back in a few weeks...as an International traveler.

Any advice for a newbie traveler?  Advice for a Mama who is struggling with the thought of leaving my family?  (AMY!  YOU DID THIS!  YOU KNOW!)

Prayers for us Newmans?  Would you please???

Matt bought me a little tablet-thingy to take with me so that I can video chat with my peeps while I am gone.  I am so NOT technologically savvy.  Like, at all.  Trying to figure it out...with a cute little leprechaun behind me and a sleeping troll on top of me.   I don't know where to look to do a 'selfie'.  Maybe I am 56 after all.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

A Dozen















Andrew has always been my gung-ho boy.  When he jumps in, he jumps in with both feet.  He gets so enthusiastic over things that he can drive me CRAZY telling me every.single.detail on his latest passion.  He works harder than any boy I know.  He talks like a true country hillbilly.  He saunters around like a cowboy and wears camo almost every single day.  (He shines up for church, thankfully.)  He gives wonderful hugs and tells the funniest stories with the craziest, coolest sound effects ever.  He can easily get me laughing so hard I cry. 

And now he is 12.

His latest passions are camping and survival, rabbits and deer farming.  A solo week-long camping trip is his big dream for the summer.  (Don't ever give a boy My Side of the Mountain and expect anything different.)  This was very much a camping themed birthday. 

I hid all his gifts in the stairway going upstairs so he had to seek them out before opening them.  He got a tent a whistle/compass from Matt and I and a sleeping bag from Grandma and Grandpa.  He got some money from Nanny and Poppy to put toward deer raising and the sequel to The Green Ember for his reading pleasure.  Aunt Holly and Uncle John got him a waterproof notebook.  And I found a pair of camo pants at Walmart deeply discounted for just $3.00. 

And since I despise camo in all its' redneck forms- so you know I love the boy to buy him those for ANY amount of money!  ;-)

(His birthday cake was Green Ember inspired too.)

He declared it his best birthday ever.ever.ever. and was walking on air the rest of the week. 

It was wonderful.

He is wonderful.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

It Must Be May




































Laundry swaying in the breeze.  
Chubby, bare naked baby legs in canary yellow boots.  
Folding clothes on the porch.  
Flowers, finally flowers!  
Green.  
Eggs in abundance, the chickens are as happy as we are.  
Painted piggy toes.  
Bed on the porch.  
Shirtless boys (and the shirts I find scattered in the yard).
The dreaded and loathesome winter/summer clothing switch... it's done!  YES!
Cleaning out and organizing hidden spaces of junk.
The song of the peepers, lulling me to sleep.  
Windows opened, fresh sheets on beds.


So many good things...such long awaited, yearned-for goodness!

Andrew had his first litters of rabbits a few weeks ago, and they went from a nest of tailless rat-like creatures to these impossibly sweet little bunny rabbits.  He had four adult rabbits.  And then the other Mama had another litter.  We now have 20 darling baby bunnies...which is a bit overkill, if you ask me.  But no one minds that many when they are so sweet and cuddly and cute.  But in just a few short weeks those babies are going to turn into rabbits and then we may find ourselves with a little problem.  The goal is to sell them at a local auction (that sells livestock too).  I hope everything works out just.exactly.as.planned.
That's usually how things work, right?  a-hem.

I've been sorting and cleaning lately but with homeschooling, it seems like it is impossible to get anything more than ONE 'extra' job done by the end of the day, so it is very slow going.  The cubby today.  The mudroom tomorrow.  Sorting winter clothes.  Donation bags, storage piles, bags for friends.  I am trying to be content with those one 'extras' getting check off the mile-long list and not frantic about the fact that when one things gets checked off, two more take its' place.  

  I am high on spring right now- and it is pretty hard to get me down.  
Everywhere I look, promise.  Everywhere, life.  Reaching up.  Growing sturdy.  Becoming refreshed.

And so am I.