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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017



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A storm rolled in late last week.  The Eastern sky was bright and cheery and to the west an ominous cloud grew into a sky of blackness.  The winds began to whip, the air tasted heavy and the smell of storm filled my nose.  I took a picture but not having taken a picture of the bright sky behind me, you can't see just how dreadful a sky it was.  Moments after grabbing clothes off the line, I came back in and a wall of water just fell to the earth...sheets, coming down.  I am certain, in those first moments, that the front half of the house was stone dry even as the back of it was being drenched, so exacting was the rain.  Little hailstones pelted the animals out to pasture and they flailed about a bit until they resigned to their fates, heads down and leaning into the wind.  I looked out at the animals and felt a moments' pity until my eyes landed on my fruit trees and then WOE!  WOE!  Those fragile little blossoms are being pelted by ice!  (I realize how this makes me sound...)

It wasn't long before ice balls turned into droplets again and the droplets didn't cease until a day later.  And thankfully, the fruit trees weren't too damaged in the process.  I think storms are cozy things.   Make you want to curl up with a book and ride it out.

I worry that my children won't know how much I enjoy reading because I so often save my reading until after they are in bed.  If I sit down with a book and intend to read, without a doubt a child brings a book (or several) and asks me to read to them.  That always wins out.  Truth is, I can't usually concentrate for more than a minute anyway- even if the children don't ask to be read to, they ask me if they can make cookies or share tidbits of "Did you know that the Netherlands helped to finance the Revolutionary War?" or "Would you let me own a rabbit or two?"  or less impressive things like "Mama!  Judah just jumped on me and won't let me be!"  It is impossible.  So I wait until children are tucked into beds and I am tucked into mine to bring out my book(s).  I choose from the pile of already opened ones.  And there are a few books I tuck into small spaces when I can't be found or won't be disturbed.


Peace Like A River by Leif Enger (this usually makes the cut before bed.  I love it.  Matt usually forces me to stop reading it so he can finally go to sleep at night. It's nearly done and I'll be sad when it is.)

Perelandra by C.S.Lewis (This is one I come back to every now and again because I know I need to return it to its' owner soon...I want to get through C.S.Lewis' space trilogy but I like this one less than the first so it is often set aside for Enger.)

A Fine Romance by Susan Branch (detailing her trip to England and the many National Trust places she visited...including Beatrix Potter's beloved home and countryside, Rudyard Kipling's home, the home of William Wordsworth and William Morris, Hever Castle where Anne Boleyn grew up among many, many other places.  I travel vicariously through these pages and I long to one day walk the paths she walked with feet instead of eyes only.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (I thought I had read this but when speaking with a friend, I couldn't remember the ending... I thought I would give myself a refresher so I got the audiobook.  I listen to this in the car or when I am working on cleaning rooms of the house...moments when I can actually listen.  Which is less often than I would like.)

I have been decluttering and purging, a typical spring thing for me.  The other day I tackled the storage container cupboard kitchen.  It was getting overrun with plastic stuff (and we don't even like USING plastic containers) so I hauled into it making sure each container had a matching lid and so on.  After I was done I had a full to the brim plastic bag of random plastic lids or containers that had no matches.  An entire bag of JUNK I have been pushing around and putting up with for who knows how long?  Getting rid of that bag made me feel so good...one more bag of headache OUT of my life.  I've gotten rid of trashbags of clothes, shoes....just STUFF.    How many times have I cursed that cluttered up messy container cupboard or stepped over piles of clothes that needed sorting?  Reminds me that everything we have takes up not only space in our homes- but space in our heads too.  I long for empty spaces and order.  It's in my nature.  The fact that I have five children means I have precious little of those things but I like to think that, when those rare moments happen, I appreciate them that much more.

My first harvest of 2017- fresh chives for cheese!  Oh blessed day!  I marked the day with a photo.

Sunday was my Mom's 60th birthday.  All of my siblings got together and a few of hers, as well to celebrate.  (I totally stole the above group shot from my sisters' facebook page.  I know she will forgive me.  But seriously scary as to how easy it was to do...)  A few people missing (Matt...ahem.  And Judah- who didn't want Papa to feel lonely.)  Mom and I share many genes, one of which is our  feelings of 'eh' in regards of traditional cake.  I made her, instead, an Angel Food Cake (with whipped cream and strawberries) and cream puffs.  It was the first time I have made cream puffs and they were too good to believe.  For the 'cream' I used cream whipped to peaks and added a sugar free box of white chocolate pudding with just a spoon of powdered sugar.  There was 1 T. of powdered sugar in the whole batch.  Practically health food, if you ask me. Which is why I had FOUR.

I've been negligent at answering questions in my comments section lately.  I am sorry about this!  I enjoy your comments so much I want to be sure I get back with you when you ask me something.  I resolve to be better at this starting now.  Wanna test my resolve?  Go ahead and ask me a question.  Anything you've been dying to know?  I dare ya.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful picture of your mom! Deb M.

Abigail said...

Seconded! That is a wonderful picture of your mom. She looks lovely and happy! Of course, a day of celebration surrounded by her children PLUS angel food cake and cream puffs (a personal favorite of mine, too) may have had something to do with that bright smile.

I read Peace Like a River several years back, and it settled in the center. It's such an unassuming, quiet book that one doesn't realized how deeply it's pierced until weeks after finishing, and it continues rising up in still moments. Ron Rash is another storyteller I love whose books have affected me similarly, tho' his sometimes have more demanding emotional tugs.

Perelandra: Don't worry about it! Take your time. :)

Gilead remains on my shelf by its companion books. I'd still love to hear your thoughts when you finish it! I'm in the middle of Godric (again!) and Brendan, both by Buechner, nearly done with Lafferty's Fourth Mansions, and then I started the poem Paterson (in five books!) that John just gave me for St. George's Day. It's denser poetry than I usually read before bed ('cause my reading habits-- time/place-- are nearly identical to yours), so then I picked Wendell Berry and Billy Collins off the shelf to balance things out, and now I'm feeling that what I SIMPLY MUST DO is hole up in the bathroom for the next two weeks and chew through these stacks! It's not like the spring season has any pressing chores attached to it, right? ;)

Ah, if only. Maybe someday, our children will come to visit us, and think that all we ever do is stuff our noses in books.

Here's a probing question for you: When can you hop over here and clean out my kitchen cupboards? I am drowning in stuff and wealth, and the girls have been bugging me to lure you all here soon, anyway. Let me know. I'll pay you in cream puffs. ;)

Abigail said...

You're not chattery. I'M chattery.

I'm finishing up supper right now (can you tell?) and was trying to finish a few pages of reading at the same time when I realized how laughable my plump-sounding reading list is. Some are books I've been trying to finish for months, snatching a page here and a page there before my eyes refuse to stay open, and I fall asleep. Just didn't want you to think I was more erudite than I actually am...

Rebecca said...

Deb M.~ it helps when the subject is lovely!

Abbypal~ I understand completely about your blog postscript...that is it exactly for me as well. I think how SLOW a reader I am when Corynn comes and tells me she finished the 3rd Harry Potter book from start to finish in a day and then I realize- well, my books MUST last longer for me because I read only four or five pages a night. It isn't necessarily that I am slow (though I suspect I am in comparison to most) but that opportunities (or lack thereof) necessitate drawn out book reading. Lingering, as it were.

I am also heartened to know that I am not the only one who has several books opened at once. I feel slightly appalled when I see the stack of currently-reading books that I can never seem to finish. (I wonder WHY when my attentions are spread about so much.)

In answer to your question- I'll gladly clean out your cupboards whenever you'll allow me but I suspect you'd never ACTUALLY let me since I can barely sneak in the cleaning up of my own childrens' messes and dishes when I come to visit. Of all the getting rid of stuff (probably 15 garbage bags full of stuff by now), it is funny how that little bag of plastic lids affected me. I guess because I shoved those things out of the way so many times a day, them being in the busiest and most used part of the house, the satisfaction of being rid of them was that much more potent. Either that or because it was JUNK. No justification there as with clothes, or toys or books or fabric (we may need them, we may use them...) Just useless junk. Anyway. Here I go again gushing about that bag. When can we come? Any time you wish! But if you are able and willing, I'd love to have you all come here FIRST because we have puppies for 2 1/2 more weeks that I know your kids would love to hold and love on and I've been promising them all a fun day of tramping (that is, jumping on the trampoline) for too long. We'd gladly take both opportunities to visit, of course, if you'd let us.

I'll talk to you more about it on Sunday.

Lisa C said...

Peace like a River and Gilead are among my favorite books. I love Marilyn Robinson's style of writing because I find it so soothing. Have you read a Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving? If you like Peace and Gilead, I think you would like that as well.

And as always, I am inspired by all you accomplish with littles at your feet. Well done!

Abigail said...

Yes, please, to visits on both hills! Then perhaps I won't overrun your blog with a flood of comments that just aren't as satisfying as a good chat-on-the-couch (or in the kitchen, as it usually seems to be!).

I've been doing the same wealth-weeding on my end. The big difference, though, is that the bags and bags sent to the thrift store don't make much visible difference in the house. Others are so generous in sharing their bounty with us that getting rid of 15 garbage bags in a month (as I've surely done) still leaves our house cluttered! This is not a complaint. God has been so good through the hands of others. I just need to be better about getting rid of much more than we accept, instead of nearly equal amounts.

I did organize my plasticware cupboard yesterday. :) Thenks for the inspiration. I also got rid of enough books from the library shelves to (almost) fit everything on properly again, which means...you guessed it...a couple of bags of books for YOU on Sunday! Hehehe.

And PUPPIES! Can't wait. I'm already mentally steeling myself against their adorable pudge in preparation.

beth said...

oh my! WHAT is in that amazingly delicious-looking item in the round cast iron pan??....which leads to another question: do you still add to your recipes blog? some of my family's favorites are from there......hint, hint (..though perhaps you have a few other demands on your time taking priority!?). would so love to know what that deliciousness in that photo is and whether it's a recipe you'd share-?

Sarah Benedict said...

How are the pups coming? ;)

Rebecca said...

Lisa~ No, I haven't read that yet! I'll put it on my list though- I love recommendations. Thank you!

Beth~ I'm not sure which cast iron dish you are referring to. In this post alone there is banana bread, cornbread and sweet pan chili. Probably the latter? I'll definitely post the recipe on that long foresaken recipe blog soon- sweet pan chili is one of my 'convenience meals' for a quick and painless supper. I have such good intentions for posting recipes on that blog and my time is always eeked away elsewhere. I'll try and get that done for you this week.

Sarah~ it's about time for an update soon, isn't it?! Good news- all are spoken for and will be going to their new homes in just another week or so. Better hop to it then!

beth said...

what's (still) got me crazy drooling is the 11th photo from the top.. is it a cobbler?
that said, am feeling guilty about asking you to take the time to share a recipe; please only do so if doing so requires no more than a minute!
you are wonderful. and amazing. thank you for sharing your beautiful life in photos and words. xo

Rebecca said...

Oh that! Well, that's just plain ordinary banana bread with streusel topping that I decided I'd like to cook in the cast iron pan instead of bread loaves. It was good and it worked like a charm- but the cutting it into slices seemed a bit more complicated than necessary. Banana bread wedges were not as ideal to spread with butter and a sprinkling of sugar. ;-)