Monday, April 30, 2012

Goodbye April

Goodbye April

Goodbye another year older

Goodbye Aloria's baby-hood

Goodbye last bit of winter's snow

Goodbye sledding and goodbye snowshoes.

Goodbye neighbor-cousins

Goodbye short days

Goodbye soups and stews

Goodbye mulled cider scented candles

Goodbye heavy jackets and goodbye drying rack in the living room.

Goodbye crackling fire in the fireplace

Goodbye wood chips on my floor

Goodbye snuggling deep under blankets

Goodbye warm leggings under skirts

Goodbye winter stillness and goodbye cold.

Hello May.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Drive

We rode not in a horse-drawn buggy; but armed with a mocha and some field glasses,
the Bugletts and I decided to drive the back roads home from town this afternoon.

"Exploring our own territory" as Zack aptly put it, I had been wanting to see what lay
behind one humble street sign and dense forest line.  I often peer down that road on my
way zipping past on the highway.  It looks long.  And hilly.  And full of possibilities.

 This past week I was homesick for all my girls - my girlfriends  in every nook and cranny
of the earth.  Every nook but here.  My nearest buddy lives 2 1/2 hours away in another
state.  She is my spend-all-day-together friend.  I need friends that will let me crash in on
them like that - with a zillion children in tow, hungry for fellowship, hungry for food.
Sweet is the friend that welcomes and shares a full day with me and my Bugs.

But I miss my "can-I-just-pick-up-corndogs-for-16-and-and-come-now?" girls.  They are
a luxury I miss and want to say, need.
Girls, I miss you.  Thanks for flexibility.  It's a sacred word :-)

Today was the day to escape the cabin before fever set in, and find out where that country
road led. 
I was tempted to stop at every home with a friendly yard bearing toys, to see if
the inhabitants wanted new friends. Ha!
I restrained myself, and was contented to sigh over all the amazing topography and old barns.
We LIVE in this place I have been known to repeat in awe, to myself or no one in particular.

The Aspen, and Birch are just starting to leaf out, and gardeners are working the soil.  It looks as if
spring is actually going to stay for a while.

In front of one home we drove past, a couple was building a raised bed. 
It was not your average raised bed mind you.  There was a reason it was in front of
their house - each of several beds already built (I estimate) was 16 feet long and 6 feet across.
The garden bed walls were made up of logs - and I do mean logs!  The project was so impressive
(and beautiful) that I had to slow down and cran my neck around to really ogle. 

I made up for the intrusiveness by issuing a friendly wave :-)

I was refreshed and inspired, and now I can't wait to jump into a new week (and maybe a garden!).

That drive restored my vision, but what followed revived my spirit.

On the way home, my car drove into a neighbors driveway.  A neighbor I drive past every
time I go to town.  One who has reached out to me whenever I extended my howdy,
but one whom I've never gotten to know really because of two busy lives with two very
busy families.
This woman, has 10 children - five still in the nest.  She is of the Race that Know Joseph
(If you know what I mean) and today she was home. 

One impromptu meeting, 9 children playing Marco-Polo in the field, and two of us on
the playhouse porch swing.  It was balm.  And it was one more example of the Lord's
favor on me - no one important.  No one special.  Just one He loves.

He provides OH so much beauty!

And He provides me girlfriends wherever I go.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Front Row Seating

Don't know if Shirley Temple is really this exciting -
or if it's just nice to beat the crowd for the best seat in the house :-)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

In the Abundace of Dirt...

The day started off with a flurry.

A phone call,
visitors expected,
only an hour to make a path through the toys/gear/shoes/papers/dirt/debris.

Beloved friends coming by make my day....... and send me into a tailspin.

As I whisk through the house setting things in order, I suddenly notice the dust
so thick I could write a message in it with my finger.  With all my fingers.
On both hands. At the same time.

And I knew there were cobwebs hanging there, but that many?  Jeeper's they're long!
Where are the spiders responsible for such engineering feats? 

When was the last time we cleaned the toilet, and how did I not notice the jam
sticking to the side of my counter.  Never mind the fingerprints covering every glass
surface and don't even bother about the mop-desperate floor... but
Why are there hairbands in that pile of dust in the corner?  Who will sweep that?
Fill that? Move that?  Put that away? ?  ?  ?

Worried-worried, furrowed brow, in my mind I am somewhere else.  Wondering what
part of my dusty life my friend will see.  Am I really worried that she'll see it? 
Or am I embarrassed that it's there?

I move quicker than a spinning top.  Brushing through every thing - every person - in my path.
Don't get in my way!

Now's my chance!  Gather some perspective while there's still time and hold onto it!

I call my children into the room where I slow my pace, dusting the piano with more
deliberate motion than fervor.  I think before I open my mouth again, but when I do,
I hear my own voice speaking softly.

"Children,"  I say
"Children, Please forgive me for being in a hurry, for being grouchy, for being... bossy.

We have the pleasure of guests in a short while, and that is an honor.  I am thinking that
we want to enjoy them, and to bless them when they come into our home.
But you are them most important to me, and enjoying you is more important than making
things look just right for them.

No amount of surface-cleaning a stinky old grave can make it smell pretty.  
What's on the inside of our hearts, MY heart, is going to show through.  
I want to show a true picture.
If there are dust bunnies popping out from under the couch, that will be okay with me
because I want our home to be full of joyful fellowship between each of us!  
I refuse to behave poorly to you guys in order to impress someone else, so let's ask 
the Lord to prepare our hearts for enjoying each other and blessing our friends!"

Smiles and forgiveness, and a good lesson I learned before it was too late today.
A hard and humbling lesson. 

Hard because I want everything to look serene.

Humbling because my children know me. 
They know the truth - whether the truth is beautiful or not. 

Humbling because I have to throw my pride away and enjoy coffee in the shadow of cobwebs.

Good, because if the secret of our household is that grace and peace, truth, joyful hearts, and
glorious fellowship reside in the abundance of dirt...
we've got it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Aloria!

Dear Bitsy,

I love you so much I can hardly stand it!  Can't really believe it's been a whole year since
you joined our clan; I'm sure I've known you all my life.

Will you please stay this darling forever?
Thank you.


Your day started off with Birthday breakfast cake that Zachary made.  I think you were thrilled to get your
fingers into it :-)  That candle wasn't bad either, was it.

Then your helpers brought you gifts, among your favorite were the beautiful bead necklaces we got you
from the dollar store.  Isn't it amazing how much pleasure one dollar will buy?

 Your big brother appreciated your loot too!

Do you think you'll remember Zachary reading your new book to you all?
I think that was a hit too :-)

And then Gramsie outfitted you in this perfectly birthday-ish, deliciously bright
and sunny party outfit.

You are pure sunshine Aloria and  I'm so thankful to be your mother.  My only request is that you don't grow
too fast, but if you're going to... I hope I'm here to see it all!

I love you baby!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Last Weekend

We bought something kind of fun for the fam!

And we took it on its Maiden Voyage last weekend.
What a good time we had!

We've been talking about buying some kind of trailer ever since our lives started
including a lot of road travel (for both work and play).  Hotels have become
increasingly more difficult as we arrive late at night, haul 9 tired people into
two rooms and lay our heads on expensive pillows for only a few hours before
returning to the road.

Did you know we actually lived in a travel trailer once upon a time?
(Don't most honest people?)

We thought it would be an awesome thing to start off marriage debt-free and
without paying a rent bill.  It was awesome.  And it was an experience :-)
Needless to say  we returned a lot of wedding gifts.
There wasn't a lot of storage in our tiny home (If you think a one bedroom apartment
is small...)  One good humored friend recommended we watch The Long Long Trailer
with Lucille Ball.  If you haven't seen it, you should.  It's loads of fun
- especially if you've shared a similar "experience"!  There's more truth to that story than
I'd like to admit. HA! 
Our trailer dream lasted all of 5 months when a manufacturers defect in the hot water
heater landed me ankle-deep in a pond when I stepped out of bed one morning.
I climbed back in bed that day. :-)
It was fun while it lasted, but after the flood of '97 and all the complexity that added
AJ told me to put a bullet in his head if he ever suggested buying a travel trailer again.
What?!!  Life would lose a lot of laughter if I got that serious :-D

Besides... circumstances are different than they were the first time
(they always are aren't they?).  For one thing,  we aren't planning to live in it.
Woo-HOO!  Good news.
Second, when we travel and can pull over, having beds ready to climb into - that
will be really truly wonderful.  Also, we'll be hauling a ready-made guest room for
us when we "drop in" on our friends!
Besides that, we hope it will help us get a little further from our own yard to adventure
with the hoodlums.

When we took our new-to-us light-weight-23-foot-sleeps-10 travel trailer on its Maiden
Voyage we only traveled a few hours from home, found new hiking trails to explore, and
were forced to set up chairs around a campfire and be smoked roast marshmallows together.
The kids thought the 4-bunk room on one end was cool, and I loved that Aloria's port-a-crib
fit perfectly between the bunks for a total of 6 Bugletts in that cozy space -YES!

So after all these years, I am still a sucker for the crazy-fun ideas my Favorite Man dreams up.
Here's some pictures :-)

So was something else that made this weekend interesting:
Char and Hannah moved to another state.

It's a long story, and intertwined with bright hopes and new possibilities for them,
but there are (at least) two things on my heart:
1) I hope that this next chapter in their lives is an amazing adventure for them -full of
new friends, experiences, and new opportunities to serve and glorify the Lord.
2) I hope we get to be neighbors again some day.  Sooner if possible :-)

We camped with them for part of our Maiden Voyage as they picked up stakes and
headed out toward their new life far away.

Needless to say, Marvel Hill will feel a bit empty this summer.
(We love you Auntie Hannah, Uncle Char, Ellie, Judah, Micah, and Jo!)

("Don't take a picture of me Mom")

All agreed that our new trailer is great!  We were cozy, warm, comfortable,
and delighted with every amenity.  Can't hardly wait to take it out again :-)

We also agree that it's been a quiet week without the cousins up-hill.

Always another bend in the road.
I look forward to watching God's grace unfold in more miraculous ways.
He takes care of the details I would forget and which make the journey so lovely.