Monday, June 28, 2010


Oh Summer!  You are finally here! 
Your warmth, your color,  your adventure, and your bounty!
A little dramatic perhaps,  but between overcast skies, a herd of mosquitos hovering outside my door and the endless packing going on around here, I had a few glimpses of glorious summer this week.  

My list of 1000 gifts continues...

237.  the variety of geraniums at the garden center
238.  what $20 bought at the farm market
239.  little girls shelling peas,
240.  washing chard,
241.  cutting strawberries,
242.  wearing their aprons,
243.  and loving every minute of it

244.  the color and variety God supplies

245.  hula hoops
246.  friends who are gentle with your children
247.  and who share their favorite seacoast spots with you
248.  rocky beaches
249.  conquering the mountain
250.  delighting in cold water
251.  a day of sandcastles, ice cream, salt water taffy, and friendships
252.  the nonstop imagination of children,
253.  manning battle stations,
254.  exploring the desert island,
255.  creating castles,
256.  being mermaids

257.  shell collections

258.  a little girl, dreaming of being big girl, but not wanting her shorts to get wet

259.  piano recitals
260. good teachers
261.  a little boy who makes sure his wallet is tucked in his pocket before church
262.  progress 
263.  sharp tape guns
264.  bubble wrap
265.  organized chaos
266.  nearing the end
267.  looking forward to the cabin again
268.  and the 4th of July festivities

270.  Grace everyday
271.   Assurance of Love
272.  Confidence 
273.  Freedom 
274.  Hope

"...Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love, into our hearts"
Romans 5:5

I have a few schedules posts over the next month but my blogging days are few and far between.  I can't wait to show you our new home. I hope you have a wonderful summer full of adventures, plenty of ice cream and blessings to count.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Yesterday we had an outing to the coast with some dear friends.
The New England coastline is so beautiful!  We walked the Marginal Way, which is a paved path overlooking the rocky cliffs of Maine.  All along the path grow these beautifully fragrant roses.

Of course with 5 children, strolling the rose lined path wasn't going to cut it.  We needed adventure!

There was lots of rock climbing,

rock launching,

rock collecting,

and looking out for enemy aircraft.

All good adventures must include good food.
We had a picnic of sandwiches and watermelon,
followed by wonderful ice cream,
(this was the "kiddie size")

and then some salt water taffy from a candy shop called Goldenrod Kisses.

Then it was on to the beach for some sand between our toes.

The kids had a great time in the cold water and playing in the sand.  The mamas enjoyed the ocean breeze and the good conversation.

Pam has been a dear friend and support to me during our time in New Hampshire.  She has taught me what real friendship means with her honest conversation, her gentle ways with my children and her willingness to help at any time.  She was also what I call my "welcome home fairy".  Often when my family would travel (which we did a lot this year!) she would have milk and eggs in the refrigerator, and dinner in the crock pot when we came home.

We really enjoyed our perfect summer day with her and her daughter (who is really my 5th child!)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I picked up this yarn and a free pattern for the "Holey Batman" scarf  at a great knitting store called Loops.  We were in Tulsa visiting my family and since my mother is a knitter too, we had to go.

We made a stop at the library first and checked out about 30 pounds of picture books.  Taking 4 children into a knitting store required some preplanning.  The books worked well, as did the promise of a treat for good behavior.  Half way through our visit the staff showed us a playroom in the back that was more than a basket of worn out toys tucked into a corner.  This was an actual room with french doors, an art table, a cute kitchen set, and some trucks and trains.  "Oh thank you!" I said with gleaming eyes.  (More time to browse without the rising panic that the kids are beginning to unravel!)

I've already packed it all up for our upcoming move or I'd tell you the name of the yarn.  It was wool (with just a little nylon I think) and lovely to work with.  I loved the variegated  shades of blues and grays. The finished scarf is long enough to double up and loop around the neck.  This is just the kind of fun and easy project I needed this season and I can't wait to wear it in Colorado this fall.
P.S.  We loved the store so much that we filmed our movie there.  Thanks Loops!

Another P.S.  I posted about the Keep Calm and Carry On mugs back in February.  Well I just found these knitting project bags  that are along the same lines.
"KEEP CALM AND CARRY YARN" -my new motto

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Today we had our last visit with the residents at a local assisted living home.  We have been visiting them on Tuesdays for the last several months.  It has been a good experience for all of us and we will miss them when we move.

We never really planned anything.  We would just show up with a puzzle or some postcards, a few books or a favorite doll just to break the ice.  They taught us how to play marbles, they were a great audience for my son's piano playing, and delighted in just watching the kids play.  

Today we enjoyed the warm weather in the courtyard.   The kids passed around a box of shells and then lined them up according to shape.  It was a delightful morning!  I would encourage you to try it.
The young with the old - It is a gift for all involved.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Monday, June 21, 2010


“Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language”  - Henry James

In the midst of our moving preparations, it is difficult to slow down and enjoy the summer.  By August 1 we will be in our new home and just a few weeks later our kids will be starting school, which for a former homeschooling family will mean a huge change in the the amount of time we spend together.  

I continue to be amazed and thankful for how the Lord has provided this opportunity for change in our family.  However, I will admit that all the work to get there has made me a little grumpy.  The best medicine for that is to get back into the gratitude saddle and continue my neglected list.

211.  a new hat 
212.  a favorite ice cream spot
213.  fresh picked strawberries 
214.  strawberry shortcake
215.  a swing near the lake
216.  the magic that Hello Kitty bandaids have
217.  evening light that makes her hair golden
218.  a little one rocked to sleep on a boat ride
219.  daredevil jet ski rides
220.  secret gardens
221.  the sweet smell of these flowers
222.  a budding reader
223.  encouraging words
224.  visits with friends
225.  being half way packed
226.  having the power to change my attitude
227.  a trip to the Canterbury Shaker Village
228.  the charm of New England
229.  sunshine in an old barn
230.  a barefoot walk with Daddy
231.  a tight grip from little hands
232.  the encouragement I receive during Sunday worship service
233.  dedicated Bible class teachers who give their time for my children
234.  spiritual questions from young children
235.  the fresh scent of lavender in the sunshine
236.  the fresh fragrance that God's grace provides in my life
Enjoy your summer!

P.S.  I was recently inspired by Gina who wrote a sweet post called Recipe for a Summer Afternoon.  The pictures made me want to forget my chores and remember to spend time with my children.  Check it out.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Sadly my gratitude has shriveled up this week.  I'm in need of an attitude adjustment and I know it.  I'm in the sorry state of "half-way".

Let the whining commence.

I am half packed for our move across the country.  Half is not fun.  It means that book I wanted to read this summer or the size 6 knitting needle I need to finish my latest project is likely packed.  It means the daunting task of packing up my kitchen still looms large because it's too early to pack the essentials.  It means the pictures are coming off the walls and I'm noticing every nail hole and scuff mark on the bare walls.  It means we have canceled the cable service and I really wanted to watch the Next Food Network Star.

I have piles.  I hate piles!  There is a pile on the kitchen counter of stuff I'm collecting for the drive west - coloring books, maps, DVDs, band-aids.  There is a pile on my dryer of clothes that are clean and waiting to be ironed (but I may have packed my iron).  There is a pile on my bedroom floor of random stuff that goes to Goodwill.  I have piles of boxes in every room and I had a total tantrum yesterday when my son untaped a box and pulled something out.  "I have an announcement,"  I yelled. "WE ARE PACKING NOT UNPACKING!  Nobody is to open any boxes that have been taped.  DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"

OK I'm finished.  I'm obviously not wearing my yellow shoes today.  
I promise I'll be back next time with my gratitude levels back to normal. 

Friday, June 18, 2010


File:The Secret Garden book cover - Project Gutenberg eText 17396.jpg

What little girl doesn't love this book? 

Guess what.

I have a secret garden.

I have written before about the cabin that we are blessed to have.  It is in the Finger Lakes Region of New York and has been in my husband's family for years.  We have had many grand adventures there.
It is an untamed forest but there are garden secrets everywhere.
See the overgrown forsythia bushes tangled with assorted vines, weeds and raspberry canes that line the gravel driveway?
I haven't been there in early spring when they bloom in close to 10 years, but I know they show off their glorious yellow dress to the birds, the bunnies and the deer while everything else is still waking from a long winter's nap.
In May, if you look in shady spots near the stream, you will find tiny violets.

The moss is like green velvet,
the creatures are brilliant,
 even the weeds are beautiful in my secret garden.
There is a creek that runs down the mountainside in my garden.
It is lined with ferns more artfully than any landscaper's design.

When we arrived in time for Memorial Day this year, I was delighted to find the final moments of bright orange poppies growing near the house.  In all the years we have been here I did not know they were there.  And yet they have been secretly blooming every spring, for the glory of God, without human applause, for years.
My girls quickly created an arrangement for the table with their final fiery blossoms.

Last week I found a bush, along a steep portion of the creek bank, that I had in the first home my husband and I owned.  I know it as a mock orange blossom but I do not know if that is its proper name.  The little white flowers are so deeply and sweetly scented (like jasmine, or gardenia) that it was their perfume I recognized and then turned to see the bush shining with raindrops.

This secret garden, these woods, and the 2 cabins hidden here are loved by my husband for their childhood memories of family and adventure.  It is a place steeped in memories of his grandparents.  Their very hands building the walls, their feet planning the path for the roads we wander now, their work that blesses my children with adventures.  I have enjoyed sharing these memories with my husband's family but I have grown to love this magical place for my own reasons.  Soon we will be moving west and we will not be able to visit as frequently but I love the idea of this secret garden waiting patiently for its visitors.