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

Monday, August 31, 2009

Gratitude Monday

Under a twilight moon.........

50 :: High on branches turned to roosts, 36 chickens huddle together with deep throat coo's

51 :: a kitten catches her first mouse and MEEEOOWS until we admire it and give her the praise she deserves

52 :: short grass glistens in the moonlit dew, father-in-law who drives riding mower here while Matt is gone away for a week. Not because he has to, just to lighten a load.

53 :: Pink and Lavendar cosmos turned heavenward, to peer at the same

54 :: wood, curing, as temperatures drop

55 :: A dog's low growl, as she dreams of hunts and chases

56 :: A house sits, quiet. dark. A single window alight, glowing from within. All others glow with the whiteness of moonbeams.

Within these four walls.....

57 :: A Papa loves dearly

58 :: Children sleep in a bear cave, an owl's nest and a rabbit hole

59 :: Windows close, air too cool by morning to be welcome

60 :: A sewing machine sits with green and pink fabric, birthday present in the works for a not-so-little girl anymore

61 :: pained gums on wee one as tooth juts through into toddlerhood, finally drowned by sleep

62 :: cinnamon pickles soak, waiting for tomorrows "big day"

63 :: a handful of books lie still, marked with slips of paper and scribble drawings, all awaiting the next free moment

64 :: cold milk in the refrigerator, yum

65 :: dishes dry by sink, done by husband tonight

66 :: a woman feels not limited, but expanded by her ability to be home

67 :: a girl counts days until her birthday. "One more full one and one more night until then!"

68 :: a husband's arms surround his wife, then sleep turns them both and wife wakes up with arms around her husband

69 :: the dimple in a Panda's cheek when he smiles

70:: a boy who sleeps soundly with a perfect face, after a very near (within inches), very scary fall into an outdoor firepit the night before

71 :: food in the pantry

72 :: boxes of grownup books, being unpacked after a year without bookshelves enough to hold them.

73 :: newly hung, freshly stained bookcases, floor to ceiling. Husband said " Don't buy that JUNK at the store-bookcases need to be REAL wood, I'll make some for you" and after a while, he did.

74 :: remembering old friends

73 :: cookies made by 90 yo Gram, despite the fact that even just walking is hard work these days

74 :: singing Psalms and Johnny Cash

75 :: fine point sharpies in very fun colors~ oh the letters I will write!

76 :: A woman sits, counting her blessings, and realizes the list could go on

and on

and on

Celebrating these bits of beauty with the gratitude community~

holy experience

Friday, August 28, 2009

The youngest of the bunch....

In lieu of Foto Friday this week, I am going to share some takes from a recent photo shoot.

On our trip, I purposed to shoot five girls (with a camera, that is) because....well:

1) They were willing
2) I need the practice
3) Two are seniors
4) Because who can STOP me when I am behind a camera?!?

One "working woman" had to have her photo shoot alone, but the other four all had a fun, energetic photo shoot together which I thought worked out wonderfully. They were all eager to pose, but the others were occupied with chitchat while I worked with my "model" so she never became uncomfortable with stares and silence. It was relaxed, low-key, and the smiles came all the more naturally around friends. PERFECT!

I took A.LOT. of photos and I will spare you all the redundancies (I am going to TRY to limit to five pictures per girl. TRY.) I'll cover them in the course of next week but I thought I would share the two youngest girls today.

Meet Caitlyn:

~ her smile just doesn't stop, so she actually found it challenging to have a more serious face. I personally liked seeing BOTH sides of her.

Meet Megan:

~She is quieter and (dare I say) shy so I was surprised she let me get all in her face with my camera. But she was a great sport. Thanks, Megan!

Look at those eyes! WOWZA!

Megan and Caitlyn are best friends and have been since I've known them.

So I thought it fitting they both share the frame a few times.

The one below is my total favorite though~ because it so perfectly reflects their different personalities.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's been a while

I pushed the "publish" button that Friday, two Friday's ago, not knowing that my face would be plastered atop this blog for days (nay, weeks.) I might have done things a bit differently had I known. But alas, LIFE got to turning and who was I to stop it?!

Since we last met:

  • Girlies, grown into Mothers, had a date. A girlie, gigglie, appetizer-included, only babies allowed date. And it was grand. So was the wee one in the middle~that day celebrating a month of life...on his due date. Oh my~I could have another one of those.

* suitcases filled, which then filled a van, along with people, pillows and BOOKS to visit old friends.

* I prayed and tensed as lightning crashed and the sky opened up. While we were in the car. Driving. And it lasted for the entire 4 hour car-trip.

* I watched a capable man lead us to safety

* We spent $60.00 on approximately 25 burgers, fries and milkshakes. Give or take. And they were REALLY good, too.

* Knitting needles joined the ranks of crochet hooks. My tension is getting better, eh Nanc?

*I didn't see my girl-child during our entire stay~but I always knew who she was with. Good friends, they are.

* Mama-roos taking their littlest ones with them in their pouches, knowing that before too long the pouches will no longer do.

*I drowned the sweat in a jacuzzi tub and was rendered useless for the rest of the night.

*I saw a brother and sister fall asleep on each other on the way home, after they had shared giggles and stories in the back seat.

* I realized only seven days remain before my baby turns six years old. I'm not ready.

* I was threatened by laundry many a time, but always the dragon was vanquished.

* I laughed at the antics of 36 chickens running about the yard (and following me around should there be anything in my hand.)

* I brought 3 laundry baskets worth of garden produce to the kitchen to work through~after only five days of being gone.

* I came to terms with my tomatoes. They died a brutal death. All 40-some beautiful plants I started from heirloom seeds. Of late-blight. And now, no tomatoes for us. Or spaghetti sauce. Or salsa. Or pizza sauce. Or tomato soup. :-(

* I saw a Dutchess, who missed us while we were gone. She appreciated a bit o' fetch after the famine.

*I saw a man and woman cling to one another, realizing that the years only get more sweet.

*I waved my husband off in the early morning light of our 7th anniversary for a week long business trip. I hugged myself but slept alone that night and every one since.

*I saw a once warm and welcoming bed become cold and cruel and avoid it until the wee morning hours. I hear the beat of a heart pining for another.

* I see a little one, ever losing her baby-ness. This week she began doing this:

and now it is very hard to keep up with her AND my work.

* Said child began also to do this:

....a very "Hail Hitler"ish sort of wave, but nevertheless, quite charming to her Mother.

* I tasted our first homegrown beet. As delicious as it was beautiful.

* husband changed his camoflauge and my face gets red and scratchy again.

* a camera snapped too many pictures of too many beautiful girls. You'll see...

*Moments fluttered by and a girl named Rebecca enjoyed them all.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Foto Friday

Lookie Here! A Foto Friday post is ACTUALLY turning up on a FRIDAY! Wonder of wonders!

Don't get used to it though~next week I have to skip out on the post (I have an excuse, really I do!).

I have pretty much exhausted my meager photographic-know-how so I think from this point on, Foto Fridays will happen as I think of more tips, as I answer specific questions, and eventually-as more of a challenge to extend myself into areas I am not so good at by creating a subject assignment (that you all can practice on too---please?!?).

This week's Foto Friday is in answer to several questions I have received about the pictures of MYSELF on this blog.

I had grand intentions to do a "photo shoot" and take some recent pictures of myself to show you (you know, REALLY good ones!), but alas, didn't happen. You get the leftovers molding in the Picasa fridge. surry

99.9999999% of the photos I post on this blog of myself are taken by, none other than....ME.

Here is why.

I am horribly unphotogenic. It's true! Matt even says so. When anybody takes a picture of me I look ginormous and swollen and...hideous. H.I.D.E.O.U.S
(One particularly heinous photograph had me in tears and Matt said to me "Sugarbear, you just aren't photogenic. You don't look like that in real life." Still to this day I don't know if that comment made me feel better or worse.)

But, it was the truth nonetheless.

What?!?! You don't BELIEVE me?!?! oh man.

should I?


ok. you asked for it.

(and that one isn't even the worst of it, because it still lives in Picasa and wasn't destroyed immediately.) There. I feel cleansed.

I feel it is necessary at this point to include this disclaimer: "I have a very low-tolerance high-powered ugliness filter on this blog and therefore, any photos posted of myself on this blog have made it into the "nice" category. All other rejects are quickly ripped and burned. Ugly photos WERE harmed in the making of this blog. Thank you."

My hideousness behind the camera is in part due to:

1) Me being uncomfortable in front of the camera so inevitably, I wind up making silly, uncomfortable faces without even realizing it.

2) At six feet tall, I tower over everyone so people who take my pictures get a wonderful focal point of my double chin.

And okay...because I am the rest of those things too.

BUT. I have good teeth. I have that going for me.

I hated pictures SO much of myself and felt SO bad when I saw them, that I eventually began hiding BEHIND the camera and for a (blissfully) long time, I never saw myself or my insecurities.

Then one day, it hit me like a mac truck. I am the one who is with my children every moment of every day. They wake up to me singing "Good morning", they go to bed with my tucks-in and kisses and I am the one who shares with them all the moments in between. Every day. And yet: there was no PROOF of that. No pictures of us together. I found that to be incredibly sad and tragic. I wanted them to have more than memories to look back on.

So I began taking pictures of myself again. And it must have worked alright because several of you have asked how I take "such good photos of myself".

Here is how.

1. I have really long arms.

2. I wrap my camera strap around said arm so that on the off chance that the camera being haphazardly clutched by three fingers ends up falling, my life will not shatter along with the lens.

3. I always hold the camera HIGHER than my head (even just slightly) and point down (just a bit). This helps to thin a face.

4. I smile. I almost NEVER take pictures of myself when other people are around, so I don't have to feel all weird about it. So a real, live, genuine smile can happen without me feeling like a dork.

5. I pull my chin AWAY from my chest. Not a lot. Not like a turtle or anything but even a bit helps to eliminates a double chin.

6. I take lots. When you are as unphotogenic as I am, one picture usually doesn't end in a great shot. You need several takes to find one that is suitable.

7. Most of the time I use my own finger to snap the picture but occasionally~ I use the 10 second timer and set the camera on a rock or something. That is usually when you can see more of me than just my head, or if I have more than one child in the frame with me. No one is watching, so again~no need to feel dorky running to the "spot".

Most of all~ you just need to DO it. Because your loved ones deserve it. Besides, they see you every day- flaws and all. And LOVE you despite them (if they even notice them...)

But if these things don't work for you~ just purposely obstruct a view....

...or make a funny face.

Then at least they will know you TRIED.

Thursday, August 13, 2009



beautiful peaches.

An Amish fellow down the road ordered 500 bushels of peaches and sold out of them within a week. The next week he bought 250 more bushels and had only 20 bushels left by the end of the day they were delivered.

I was the lucky recipient of 1 1/2 bushels sold at $14.00 per 3/4 a bushel.

I didn't know just how great a price that was (having never bought bulk peaches before) until I talked to someone who bought a bushel for $37.00 locally LAST YEAR.

And these are some real beauties.

I haven't gotten sick of eating them yet (oh and I am canning some every now and again too), especially when made into my fabulous peaches and cream pie. It would be IMPOSSIBLE to get sick of eating that!

I hadn't blogged in a while, and after yesterday spending about 14 hours straight in the kitchen, I was due to "get off my feet" and I thought it was high time for a nap-time blog marathon. Thus, plenty of posts in one day...but now naptime is over so this is where I leave it.

For today.

Hope all is well.
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I see DEAD things

Hope no one has an aversion to dead things, because I have some stories to tell.

A few weeks back, the children found salamanders, caught them and made them a nice, wonderful home in a coffee container. The next day, we had to leave the house for an ALL day excursion and ALL of us had forgotten about the poor salamanders. It was 90 some degrees that day.

When we got home they were crispy and hard. Poor guys. I felt so bad. I tossed them out and then went inside and spoke to the kids. Something about the importance of not capturing wild animals if we couldn't take care of them properly. Stressing the importance of letting the animals go after we had enjoyed them a bit.

At first, Corynn was sad but after a brief moment, her face lit up. "HEY! Dead animals can be fun too! We could take their dead bodies and PAINT them!!!"

My eyes shot wide and my jaw dropped to the floor as my mind tried (in vain) to grasp what I had just heard.

What sort of a child am I raising that gets giggles from painting corpses?!?!? wow. I am worried. VERY worried.

Dead butterflies and moths are accumulating in our home, slowly and surely, and placed onto vases of flowers. They are already dead. They are still just as beautiful. And it beats paying for those queer little plastic ones in the store. Besides, never can you have such an upclose look at a real one... OK. Now I know where my weird children come from.

But even *I* wasn't prepared for this:

Corynn finding a dead bird, picking it up and gently placing it in a nest we had found and saved and proudly bringing it to me to show me.

When I gasped (loudly) she said "But Mama! It wasn't bleeding or anything!!!"

But now that I think about it...it was pretty weird of me to take a picture of it.

I guess apples don't fall too far from the tree.

BTW-you germiphobes out there will be pleased to know that I had my children wash up good afterward.

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Lost Children

Yesterday morning, I nursed Miss Adele' and set her down in the living room to shower before starting my big day in the kitchen. When I came back out, she was gone.

I figured "Oh. Corynn must have taken her on a walk around the yard." so I headed straight to the kitchen to get some work done. Lots of beans to wash, snap, and cut for blanching which I dove right into. After half the bag was snapped, I realized I hadn't seen hide nor hair of my children ever since stepping out of the shower. An hour ago. Having the children consumed for an hour in a project is nothing new (ona good day!) but usually I do hear murmurings and so forth coming from the other room so I know they are ok.

I began to wipe my hands and get outside to track them down so I knew JUST what they were up to when Andrew came in. I asked him what they were all doing and he said "Oh-Wyn and Miss Adyay are pwaying in da caw".

Oh. Ok, cool. They are safe and well and if I interrupt their nice play~inevitably the magic spell is broken, so I resumed bean snappage.

Andrew went back outside.

I got back into my bean snapping and 45 minutes LATER, I still hadn't heard anything from the children (and Adele' never had even eaten her CEREAL!) so I thought "Wow. They are really having fun." Then all at once I realized it was like 80 degrees and while I HAVE told the children never to play in the car with the doors closed (and they have always done good about that) I realized I hadn't been actually OUT to check on them.

All at once every bad thing imaginable flashed through my brains about doors being locked and unable to get open. Passed out children. Children with heatstroke.

I raced outside and headed straight to the car and saw:

Three smiling, sweaty children who had made a car-home out of dress up clothes, pillows, an umbrella, books and musical instruments.

Corynn had dressed Adele up in a ballerina costume and baby was happily buckled into the big-kid seats, no worse for wear at missing cereal.

I left them with "bring the baby in when she gets fussy" and went back to the kitchen and worked in absolute quiet for another hour, until I called the children in for supper.

A brand-new, unexpected place to play= three happy children, a happy Mama, and three hours of uninterrupted kitchen work.

Sometimes I underestimate the power of play.

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A run for my money

This girl of mine...this skirt-wearing, frilly-loving, daredeviling tomboy of mine has given me a run for my money. I used to fear, knowing that any son of Matt's will likely try and kill himself lots of times before he becomes an adult. I never thought it might be a daughter!

Two weeks ago she tried poisening herself with poisen berries of some sort.

She pooed all over herself on the way to the bathroom where she began dry heaving. I heard her muffled cries for me and came in just to find she was ashen and sweaty, weak and lethargic. Before she began speaking inherently (and then collapsing onto her knees) she kept repeating "This is not a good day. This is not a good day."

Not knowing WHAT she had gotten into (they had gone blackcap picking), I kept thinking what it would be like for those to be the last words she ever spoke. Thankfully, poisen control said children won't DIE from ingesting poisen berries, I found out later.

Eventually, her eyes rolled forward again and she began to speak (and make sense) and by the end of the night, was requesting chicken soup and crackers.

The next week, she was doing tricks and flying by on her bike-turned-Aladdin-carpet and then kamikazied through the air and landed face-first on the gravel/concrete driveway. She came in with blood pouring from a small (but very deep) forehead wound and a goose-egg the size of Miney's fresh-laid eggs right smack dab inthe middle of her forehead.

I did what any self-respecting mother would do. I complimented her on her "gash" to which she replied "what does GASH mean?" and I told her the truth (no need to baby the truth in this house)...

"Oh-a gash means a cut SO deep and SO horrible that your brains are practically falling RIGHT out!"

That got her to chuckle (I don't know why...brains falling out seems quite a serious matter in MY book) and eventually, she got calmed down.

Until much later, that is, when I came upstairs to find her sniffling and qiuetly crying in front of the mirror. I knew where this was going.

"What's wrong, honey?"

"I just...sniff, sniff...ugh. I'm just So UGLY." she cried.

I got down on my knees, cupped her chin in my hands and said...

"You listen to me and you listen good." Her eyes were deep and brown and penetrating; anticipating the reassurance that she knew would be coming. "You are a beauty. You have been since the day you were born and you will be forevermore. God made you to look like you do and when He made you, He gave you pieces of HIM. You are RADIANT, just like Him. And this here?" fingers, gently tracing her gooseegg and tattoo band-aid "This here is just proof that not ONLY are you radiant and beautiful, but you are ALSO brave."

"BRAVE, Mama?" she questioned. should she dare hope?

"Yes, Brave. Anyone who sees your forehead will think 'my what a brave girl she is!' because what other five year old can speed so and do so many tricks on her bicycle?!?"

And the smile that chased the tears away told me that she knew it was so.
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Oddly enough....

Corynn's suicide attempts happened while I was teaching my sister how to sew pillowcase dresses for her littlest girlies.

Didn't she do a fabulous job?

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