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, May 25, 2005

The Heart of the Home

Our small town offers all the necessities for living, without the endless and unnecessary options of a large city. We have a bank, post office, small grocery, a library, a fire station, two gas stations, a ball field, several church options, and two large brick buildings that serve as a school system for kindergarten through 12th grade. All of these are conveniently located on the main road connecting well-known Owego with well-known Ithaca. It is not coincidence that they are all on the main drag, rather, that is what EVERYTHING centers around. The majority of houses rest on the shoulders of the road. Only two small back roads on either side connect to make small stubby “blocks” and those, too, begin and end with the main road
Corynn and I walk the streets of this town nearly every day. When we have errands to do, we walk. If we don’t~ but it is a nice day, we may go to see the dam, or walk to the playground at the school. Though we walk so frequently, I am never in need of things to look at. The glass door of the grocery is decorated with a poster announcing the birth of a baby boy to one of the employee’s within. That same store, takes your groceries out to your car for you. When they see us walk by, even if we are on the other side of the street, they will wave and shout “Hello!”
One of the things that never ceases to fascinate me on our walks are the homes. Because our little town in sandwiched between Owego and Ithaca, many of the professors from Cornell, and other professionals who want to escape from city life and city taxes, retreat to Candor to live a blissfully “slow” life in the “country”. This results in the gloriousness of Main Street. The houses are massive. Many sport three or even four stories…some roof lines towering over church steeples! There are, in fact, several homes WITH steeples and/or Rupunzel towers included in the architecture of their homes. The power and solidity of these homes can be overwhelming. Each home has a certain aura of strength-as if nothing could penetrate the walls or enter if unwelcome. Though powerful, each one also holds a feminine flair, with dainty decorum and intricate detail…many with scrollwork or ornate _____________ There are countless houses who flaunt their wealth with the glow of reds and greens, blues and golds all joined together by a glue of lead-creating a balance of beauty and protection in windows and doors.
While I can certainly understand the gloriousness of living enveloped within such beauty, I often wonder how two people could ENJOY living in such LARGE homes. Wouldn’t they be more work than they are enjoyment? Why can’t families who NEED them (with many children-or in my case-hopes of many children) use homes like that? I sure would love it!
Every single house on “Excess Row” also contains something of a porch…most stretch the length of the house, some wrap around completely; even the most humble of porches offers many a seat to sit a spell. Porches are one of my very favorite features of a home. In the home I spent my teenage years, our wrap-around porch was a place of sheer enjoyment in all sorts of weather. It allowed me the privilege of sitting within the gray outdoors, feeling the wet air all around me as I enjoyed the light-filled rumbling skies of a storm and the beating of intense downpour as I read, comfortable and dry. The shade and openness of the porch gave me coolness on even the hottest sun-filled days. I hope beyond hope, that some day I have a huge wrap around porch that I can leisurely look out on my yard full of children as time passes without notice.

Up until this point, this post was written a few weeks ago. I never got around to finishing it-but if I had, it would have been brimming with my own personal dreams of a home and all the wonderful details of the home in my mind that I hope to someday have.

Now, here I am, finishing the post-but not in the way I had at first intended. A different perspective has given light to my dreams and desires.

Psalm 23. “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Pastor spoke briefly on Psalm 23 on Sunday. When he read this verse, however, it was like I was hearing it for the first time. It touched my heart in a different way and made me ponder its meaning and application.

It is every believer’s gift, to dwell in the house of the Lord. We are all unfit to be in His very presence, let alone fellowshipping with Him in His own home. It is both an encouragement and promise for the present and the future. To Paul, in prison-it is both a relief and sustenance. Being in the Lord’s presence, being a part of His family, is all that one needs to live. One does not need a large, fancy-shmancy house. (AH! Print this because it is hard for me to say!) One must not live on 100 acres to live, or even in their own home. Paul was in prison-and yet, he was HOME.
Solomon had great riches, and yet he called it Vanity of Vanities! Comforts of the body are only valuable when they serve to enable believers to live for God. Being close to the Lord is being Home.

And so, while it is very true (and there will probably be posts to come on this topic) that houses should be made attractive for the glory of God; you needn’t have a home that is stunning, a home that is large, a home on acreage, a home that you own free and clear… for the Lord invites us to dwell in His house FOREVER. All the days of our lives. Not our life after death life-but our lives this very moment. Twenty years ago. Twenty years from now. Into eternity.

And so-this two bedroom apartment that does not allow animals or ample room to garden, which doesn’t provide a garage for Matt to work with his hands or trees to fell or chores to do… This home that lacks privacy and requires self-sacrifice and patience-is still our HOME. It is filled with the presence of the Lord-in our thoughts. In our actions.

John Calvin, in his commentary on this passage says, “It is as if he (David) had said, ‘I do not live for the mere purpose of living, but rather to exercise myself in the fear and service of God, and to make progress daily in all the branches of true godliness.’”

It is our gift. Our inheritance. We dwell in the house of the Lord.

Here is a picture of the quilt I made for Samuel. I am able to post it, FINALLY, because I gave it to Elizabeth this morning. She liked it. (I stayed up until 1 AM hand stitching the binding while having an all night Little house on the Praire movie-a-thon.) Posted by Hello

I embroidered the word "Precious" with a design and his initials. I forgot to take a picture of it, but the back has all the messages from the ladies at the baby shower.  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Irdsbay in the Ardyay...bittids you might like.

The other day we decided to take a heel of bread out and break it up for the birds. I split it in two giving one to Corynn and keeping the other for myself, showing her what to do. I broke apart my piece and looked up, and here was Corynn chomping away on her bread-halfway done. Needless to say, she didn't share her half with the birds.

We have two birdfeeders up, one in a lilac tree near our driveway and the other hidden away in the trees in the very back of the yard. All sorts of birds have come to feast, some just for a day and many come back each day-sometimes, several times. We have also been fighting with the squirrels, grackles, and blackbirds.
Matt (conveniently) got a pair of binoculars for his birthday from his parents, and so it is quite fascinating to watch their antics from the mudroom. A pair of bluejays grace us with their presence daily-at least two or three times a day. They have the same routine too. The female bird sits enthroned among the lilacs while the male bird gets seed from ground under the feeder. Then, he flies up to the female and gives her the seed. As I watched through my binoculars, I was surprised by their actions. I knew adult birds fed babies but I had never seen or heard of males feeding females. As beautiful and stately a Blue Jay is, it has an awfully ugly call. It sounds like a crow, which is not hard to understand because it is from the crow family. (There is a children's book called Rainbow Crow. I really enjoy it,as it is an Indian legend of the crow. Certainly, it goes against the whole creation concept-but it all comes together in a neat way. I would suggest you read it to your kids...just let them know it is an Indian folklore.) My least favorite attribute of their is that they are a very skittish bird-and very cautious. If they see me move too quickly in mudroom they will fly off. This is very frustrating to me because I keep trying to get some photos of them! Grrrr....If only I had a telephoto lens!

I much prefer the American Robin in my backyard. Though nothing stands out about their features, their disposition is wonderful. They are not afraid of people, and "Rob" from our backyard, actually sees us and comes for a closer look! I love also, how they find food themselves and only occasionally go for some dessert of bird seed. And I mustn't forget their beautiful song.

Here is a bird QUIZ for you...take it if you dare.

1)The American Robin cocks it's head to the ground as a way of ______________ it's food.
2)An American Robin belongs in the __________ family.

Okay-so it is only two questions...one easy, one more tough. The answers are in the comments section.

I guess that is all for now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


There is an abundance of eggs at our house-and they needed to get used up. That happens when, I buy eggs 1 1/2 dozen at a time, and Matt buys eggs from a coworker! Needless to say, I had to come up with something to DO with these eggs to use them up and make more room in our small fridge. One of Matt's favorite EGG eats are Pickled Eggs. So, I made them this morning along with some egg salad. Since not many people have heard of pickled eggs, I thought I would put the recipe out in cyberspace for all those brave souls willing to try something new. The recipe make A LOT which can be canned and such-but it can also be divided with good results. I used about one third of the ingredients to make my batch today.

Pickled Eggs
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. crushed red pepper
6 t. Pickling Spice *
6 c. white vinegar
2 Large cans of Beet Juice
4 cloves garlic

Hard boil 4 dozen eggs.
Mix all ingredients (except garlic) and bring to a boil. Let simmer for one minute. Put garlic in jar (old bulk pickle jars work well....) with 4 dozen eggs. Pour beet juice mixture over eggs. Let set in fridge for 2 days. Shake jug occasionally. If low on juice add white vinegar to cover eggs.

* I don't have pickling spice so I looked it up and made some of my own. Pickling spice contains mustard seed (I substituted ground mustard), cinnamon (crazy, huh?), bay leaves,black pepper, cardamom, all spice, ginger, turmeric, and mace. I just put it all together in what I thought would be good proportions-and it worked.

For those of you who try this recipe... let me know how it turns out and what you think of your pickled egg experience!

Monday, May 16, 2005

My birthday feast with my birthday prince (and little princess.) Actually, now that I think about it...if Corynn is a princess we must be King and Queen....man, I AM getting old! Posted by Hello

You won't believe this.....Matt can cook-and he's GOOD at it too!

Well- I'm a year older making me a whopping 23. And it's a good thing I am not superstitious because I hate odd numbers.
My birthday was wonderful. Matt made me feel like a princess. My sister, Mom, and I all met in Ithaca and went shopping. It was nice to have all the girls together. I bought a new (on sale) dress for the first time in ages. When I got back home, Matt told me I was no longer allowed in the kitchen-so I sat at the computer and did some work. He brought me wine and a bowl of cashews (my favorite!) and sporatically refilled my cup. When it was close to dinner he ran upstairs and put on his Sunday best, came down and walked me to the table where a silk rose adored my place setting. Candles were lit on the table, a new Gloxinia plant was in the center of the table, and latin music was playing in the background. He had made dinner for me....consisting of bacon wrapped chicken, swiss cheese mashed potatoes, sauteed sugar snap peas, and cashewed beets. And for dessert...homemade hot milk shortbread covered with homemade blueberry sauce and topped with cool whip. WOW. I didn't even know that man could cook! This is coming from the man who gets out a bowl of generic lucky charms whenever he has to 'fend for himself'. I was shocked. Then, in the morning...he made me breakfast in bed with sparkling grape juice. I wore my new dress and after church, went to my parents' house and had the best steak I had ever tasted, the sweetest watermelon ever, and you guess it-white chocolate rasberry birthday cake that Matt made for me. So, somehow, I cheated time and had TWO days worth of birthday magic.

But the best part was Matt working so hard, putting forth time, effort and thought just to make my day special. I don't ever remember being treated so wonderfully as he did for my birthday...my prince.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Our house....beautified with hanging plants. Posted by Hello

Our back steps are transforming into little container gardens...I have four grape tomato plants but am planning to get several large tomato plants too. I will also put pepper plants in pots. I WILL get home grown veggies this year...with or without a large garden plot. Posted by Hello

Call me a romantic...or even mushy...but I made Matt a suprise "love note" in the ground.... M+R with a heart. Can you see it? Posted by Hello

This heart will eventually be filled with Cosmo's...they are just thinking about budding right now....lazy little guys! Posted by Hello

Helping Grandma plant tomatoes. Posted by Hello

Corynn sittin' pretty in her new bed! Posted by Hello

Hey! This bed has springs!!!!!  Posted by Hello

Washing the vinyl siding....many hands make light work.... Posted by Hello

Busy Beaver

Well Well Well. A moment at last. It seems time has been getting away from me. At least I am being productive. The past few weeks I have wanted nothing to do with cleaning, housework, cooking, or laundry. All those "necessary" things-Who needs 'em???? The horrible part about it all is....I am not pregnant so I don't have any excuse other than sheer LAZINESS! I am thankful to be out of that rut-and in fact, I am on a roll now! This past week I have organized Corynn's closet (I think it is common knowledge how closets are clutter magnets so this IS a feat, believe it or not.) Cleaned and organized the downstairs bathroom/utlity room. Organized the mudroom. Took six trips of STUFF to the basement. Organized and packed away some baby clothes I have bought at Salvation Army for my non-existent 'peanut'. Furniture polished, dusted, vacuumed, swept, moved furniture around, cleaned upstairs bathroom, dishes-dishes-more dishes., planted four tomato plants, six packs of viola's, and filled a huge flower pot which is now brimming with oranges, yellows, reds, and purples. And here are the exceptional ones....Swept the porch ceiling of cobwebs, dust, and groedy-ness AND scrubbed down the vinyl siding in the front of our house. It was DISGUSTING! So-I will be good to go until my spider friends wake up and rebuild their homes tonight, until the dust settles, and/or until the next meal Corynn eats.
Corynn, after having slept uncomfortably on the hard plyboard in an old fashioned playpen for far too long, now has a real bonafide crib to sleep in-with "new" bumbers and a blanket to boot. I say "new" because they are new to me-very 'chic' with a price I liked... $2.00. I also got a beauitfully crocheted mint-green blanket that matches at Salvation Army for $1.50. She is stylin' now!
I plan to post some pictures very soon...pry this evening. Matt gave me an "early" birthday present which was an inexpensive digital camera. I am not having much luck. There are stripes in the photo's that I just don't like. If it a toss-up between stripes and an angelic glow when shooting out in the sunshine-give me the heavenly aura anyday. He can have the new one and I will keep my old one. We can't take it back since he made me THROW AWAY THE BOX!!!! (Do you sense some resentment?!?! hehehe)
Potty training is killing me. Corynn seems to digress and thus increases my STRESS! I was hoping to be DONE by now, but truly, not much progress has been shown. She is even beginning to refuse to go when she is on. I am wondering if the "next step" should be taken. Is there ever a time when spanking is a course of action or is that unnecessary, unhelpful, and unfair? I don't know-I wish I did. If anyone has any advice....I am eagerly awaiting it. Am I being too hard on a 20 month old or not hard enough?
And now that naptime is almost through, I leave you with one more comment. An remorseful admittance, for sure. for all those wondering whether or not I have completed Elizabeth's quilt, I ruefully hang my head in shame. I have not even started such a project................................................................................

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Picking a bouquet for Mama... Posted by Hello

Beauty girl.... Posted by Hello

Even Dandy-lion's can be beautiful! Posted by Hello

Hello, it's been a while! Boy, does it feel GOOD just to type in an almost- vegetative state.... :-)

The weekend is over and I am trying to get back into the swing of things. My parents’ house is never in a state of calm…never is there the opportunity for time (any length of it) to stand still. It is nice to be back home with the quiet and calm of Candor. The kids did surprisingly well, considering new rules were enforced for the weekend. No TV, no dessert, and no back-talking. Am I a grinch or what?!?! Before leaving the table, the children learned to ask, “May I please be excused?”. They also learned to eat the crusts of bread, drink WHITE milk (as opposed to the strawberry and chocolate they drink any other time), and make their beds. I was impressed…until my parents’ came home and my authority was gone-and all the good lessons learned disappeared with it. It nearly broke my heart. I was thankful though, that Corynn didn’t pick up anything that can’t be nipped in the bud this week. I will say this, this weekend was an eye-opening experience. I think I learned things I never had learned about the children…and realized that I had preconceived notions that were not entirely correct. I was glad to realize the good and bad of each of the children. It made me feel closer to them I think.
Samuel and Adrianna’s baptism was a special time, despite some ridiculous happenings. It is a joyous thing, to be reminded once again of the covenant the Lord God has given to His children. My dear hubby, on the way home from church, reminded me that the sacrament of Baptism is one that we focus too much on the promises WE make, and not enough on the covenant the Lord has made with us. It’s a good point, even better when coming from him; his speaking far surpasses mine in eloquence and passion. Sometimes I wish I could see just a fraction of the passion he has in the characters of the elders and laymen within the universal church.
I am sad to report all of my individual seedlings have perished in my absence. Matt says he watered them-they were growing so well!!! But, alas, they must have missed me and thus withered away into nothingness. Some were spared though; my marigolds are still going strong as well as some baskets I am making. I guess I will just have to purchase some more plants than I had at first anticipated. After I post this, I am heading out to plant some flowers up our walkway and in a planter out back. Matt got me a much-coveted Hydrangea for Mother’s Day. Flowers open your heart and soul to beauty and passion in a way not much else can. I can never be down-trodden when I am looking at flowers, feeling their soft petals, or smelling their sweet fragrance. And so for all of you out there, like Matt and I, who live humbly and with much less than many people would ever want to live…I leave this quote. It comes from some notecards I got unused at a rummage sale…
“The key to being Happy is learning to make a Bouquet of the Flowers within our reach.”

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Heavy Hearts and Hurried Haste, and Things that Beautify a Place...

I have been so wrapped up in baby Samuel, I haven't really "written" anything in a while. I thought it was about time, even if there is nothing spectacular to write about. I am busily preparing for my adventurous weekend. I have been trying to get caught up on laundry but the weather is making the drying part very difficult. I want to get it all taken care of 1) so Corynn and I have clothes, 2) so I don't have an avalanche when I get home and 3) so Matt doesn't have to worry about it while I am gone. I have been trying to get together different foods while I am away, for Matt to eat. I have put yard sale bins away-that was long overdo! And basically just kind of tidying so Matt doesn't deal with it and I won't be overwhelmed when I return.

I have also been busy doing things to "beautify" the church. So much work has been done to the church, much of the cosmetic stuff was done on Saturday's work day. With just four guys and myself, we managed to paint the ENTIRE downstairs completely! The next day a person came back a did a second coat on the floor and we are DONE! The walls are yellow going up to the stencilling and then left white so it looks like a border. The floor is green. It all comes together nicely because the stencilling if of golden wheat and green stems. I just finished making floral centerpieces for the tables. I have posted a picture for you to see. I am also hoping to write some special verses ornately and have them framed (with pressed violets and grasses that I had pressed last year)for wall hangings to replace the yucky ones that were lucky enough to be ruined in the flood. Since I am doing two of them , I am limited and therefore want to pick the "best" most all-encompassing ones. Each and every church has short-comings, though some may not like to admit it. Perhaps this is...oh, too presumptuous...too spiritual...too wacko...but I would like to have them serve as a beacon some how. To provoke thought and encourage change, to visually remind people things they may already know but never fully adopt. It would be nice to unify a church that isn't as unified as it should be-on MANY different levels. I know it is a lot to ask of just a single verse...and certainly it is the Holy Spirit at work within us that can be the initiator of change and the revealer of truths-but certainly all can agree there are means to that end as well. Any suggestions would be gladly taken.

I have not even started Elizabeth's quilt but hope to tonight. Leah gave me WONDERFUL advice, for which I am SOOOO thankful, that should speed the process up a bit. I can't go into it since Elizabeth now has access to this blog. Don't want to ruin any surprises! I really want it to be done for the baptism but as it stands right now-I am not so sure.

I am not looking forward to being away from Matt from Thursday to late Saturday night. The other day I got a flat tire-but only saw it after I had been driving for-oh, well, 30 miles! I guess I bent the rim up pretty bad and so Matt won't be driving it until we get another spare and we get the rim fixed or replaced-whatever. I am going to miss him like crazy. This will be the longest I have been away from him ever since we've been married. I guess it is preparing me for next week when he has to go on a three-day conference.
I am also worried about Corynn...she is going to be in an environment so unlike the one she lives is normally. She will be away from her Daddy longer than ever before. I will be preoccupied (very!)and not able to give her the attention I do normally. I really hope, for her sake, it isn't too overwhelming for her. I am planning on bringing some books, sewing stuff and some scrapbooking stuff for those "alone" times (HA!).

My heart is made heavy with all of the concerns I have; the upcoming weekend pales in comparision to the heartbreaking struggles my family is going through and the great struggles and problems within our church. I am made fully aware of the great need for wisdom. Forgiveness. Humility. Compassion. Sacrifice. I am also fully aware that many see no such need or even worse, won't seek these changes out of laziness. It occurs to me that these sins are the result of the great immaturity of Christians these days...and I wonder why it is so. I have my theories. One thing I know for sure, is that we are in need of a reformation. We are in need of spiritual maturity-and it just doesn't seep in through osmosis. We can not rely on getting spiritual maturity through leaders of a church or from the Pastor one day a week. It is not the responsibility of the Pastor to give us all we need...for he can not. We are given a charge, on an individual basis, to seek after wisdom and knowledge...to grow in grace. We must not be so quick to shift the blame onto others, for only we can be responsible for our thoughts and actions.

My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up they voice for understanding;
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:1-5

Here are the floral arrangements I made for the church. I had the flash on so the colors look very unnatural...but I am hoping they will brighten up the downstairs-adding elegance not cheese. Posted by Hello