As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sunday Snapshots: A September Birthday


This little girl missed the August Birthday Train by one day. But she's okay with that. She gets to ride the September Birthday Train all by herself! 



On Sunday, we celebrated Alaine's 7th birthday. Homemade banana ice cream was on the menu!













We had a special guest at our party: Lucy, our granddog, who was spending the weekend with us while her family was on a camping trip. We ❤ Lucy! 

(Okay, maybe we don't all ❤ Lucy.)

We even had some Wrapping Paper Antics. Uncle Ryan would be proud!



I think this face is a sign of a successful party! 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Change


Over the summer, we made some changes around the house. Those changes were exciting. Sprucing up the sun porch, some additions and rearranging in the living room, fresh paint on some of the outside trim. New perspectives. Freshening. 

And then there are the changes of September. Tinges of color appear in the shrubs and trees. The hydrangeas are take on their autumn hues. Days grow shorter, shadows longer as autumn nears.



But life also brings changes that are not so exciting. 

It happens to us all. There is a fork in the road that you were not expecting. Or there's a detour sign and you have to take the long way. Or maybe even the path on which you were traveling suddenly ends. There is no more road and you have to forge a new path, or at least search for another. 

Those kinds of changes are not as welcome. 

And yet . . . 

Change is an inevitable part of life.

When I hit the detour or when the path ends, I have to adapt. If I dig my feet in or refuse to find a new path, I am only hurting myself. I am missing out on the joy that is there in the new path. I am missing opportunities to grow.

All of this, I believe.

But changes came and I found myself looking back. Longing for what once was. Wishing that I could return. Yes, I was looking for the new path, but I was also wondering about how I could find the old one again. Lord, it was such a good path. Why did it have to end? 

One day the Lord showed me what I was doing, how I was responding to an unwanted change. He didn't speak in an audible voice, nor through another person, nor even through His Word. Just one moment I didn't see it, and the next moment I did. I knew then that my looking back was keeping me from the joys of the forward journey.

When such changes come, when a path ends, it is okay to be sad. It is okay to grieve a loss. But in our heart of hearts, there must be acceptance. There must be a willingness to keep on walking.

Can I welcome the change that comes into my life as a gift? Do I believe that my Heavenly Father's plan is good for me? Is there a purpose that I do not see? Can I find the joy that is there in the new path?

Do I trust Him? 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Another First Day





Today, we started our "formal" (using that term very loosely, as there is not a lot of "formal" in our school) homeschool year.  This is my twenty-seventh year of homeschooling...and my school now has one student. 

But it's her very first time in the eleventh grade. 

And just because we've cycled through ancient history three times before, and just because the other three children have challenged me to remember those algebra concepts I learned so long ago, and just because the others know geography and sewing and Monet, doesn't mean that Bekah doesn't need to learn all of those things and have a mom/teacher who is enthused to do all those things with her. 

I have often said that "A baby is never 'old hat.'"  Each baby is a new person, a new creation, a new delight.  Each milestone is his/her first time.    When child #3 took her first step, or lost her first tooth, or learned to read, or graduated from high school, it was her very first time, and it was worthy of all the excitement that was garnered by the first or second child's same milestones. 

So it is with my schoolgirl, Bekah, my last child.  And when we delve into our studies, it will be with a sense of wonder and delight at all there is to know and learn, a sense of curiosity about this world and Bekah's purpose in it, and a sense of awe as we see His hand in the midst of it all.  



~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


I originally wrote this in 2011 when Bekah was beginning 5th grade. (Oh how the years have flown by.) Today, I updated it with current information, but the sentiment is the same. And now I have only one more "first day of school" to come. I can hardly believe it. 


Friday, September 8, 2017

Gathering the Moments | August 2017


It seems that I am gathering the moments later all the time! 

Even so, today, eight days into September, is the day for looking back because:
  • Today is our last official day of summer vacation (back to homeschool on Monday!), so I will take a look back before moving on. 
  • My gathering the moments posts serve as my own memory-refreshers! I can't tell you how many times I have searched them to remember when this or that happened. (I am disppointed when I have missed gathering some months.) 
  • When I gather the moments, I always see how God has guided and provided, whether the month has been "good" (from my perspective, that is) or whether it has been full of challenges or sadness or difficulty . . . and it moves my heart to gratitude. 



Remember how I told you we were squeezing summer

We continued to do so!

Typically, I don't schedule a lot of "extras" in August because it is a full month already. But after all of the detours and difficulties of June and July, I determined to say "yes" to any opportunity and squeeze it all in. Yes, it was somewhat exhausting, but oh-so-good! 

Six birthdays, four anniversaries, two water parks, two trips to the beach, coffee with a friend, lunch with another friend, dinner with more friends, a ladies' birthday lunch, another birthday lunch with family, and a few birthday parties (including a rescheduled party for one of the July birthday girls) . . . there were many moments to gather! 








I have to insert something here. See that guy in the picture below, the one who is flying down that water slide?! That guy is my hubby who had a blast at his company's Associates' Day! At the beginning of the day, I said, "Pace yourself, old man." 😉

No need to have said that. He did it all and still got up and went to work the next morning. 

Clearly, I am the one who is old. (See me in the middle photo of the collage?) 



Also in August . .

Bekah took on a new piano student. Both of the girls got new hairdos. Peter lost his first tooth. Alaine made her first cake to bring to a family gathering. Grands came for a visit. We bought a new hammock, not for afternoon naps, but for the grands to play on. We watched Paul as he listened to an airplane and then a train as we sat on the sun porch. (Oh, those expressions!) 






Truly, life is made up of moments . . . one at a time  . . . one after the other. 

As I gather my moments today, I am aware of others who are suffering. I am aware of how much life can change, even in a moment. I am aware of the brevity of life . . . of our fragile state. 

And that is all the more reason to tend the moments. To choose wisely. To choose people. To spend the moments we are given with eternity in mind. 



"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." 
Psalm 90:12




Saturday, September 2, 2017

Changes in the Living Room


So what happens when you "shop the house"?

You get to furnish and/or decorate a new space without spending a lot of money. Like we did when we created our library from our extra bedroom. We pulled the wall cabinet from the dining room, the desk from our bedroom, and the wing chair from the living room. We purchased very little specifically for the library. Other than the materials (wood for the bookshelves, paint, overhead light), we only bought a rug and a mail tray.

But . . . you also create some empty spaces in those rooms from which you pulled!

  • To fill the space in the dining room where the wall cabinet had been, we shopped the basement and brought up three framed botanical prints that had been in The Farmhouse dining room. They may or may not be there permanently, but they're fine for now.

  • To fill the space in our bedroom where the desk had been, we also shopped the basement and used a table that Ron had made for The Farmhouse living room.

  • Alas, there were no wing chairs in the basement. So we went shopping. Not in the house. 

Here is our new chair-and-a-half . . . thanks to the library project!


We went searching for a traditional wing chair, but Ron was sold on this chair-and-a-half due to the increased seating options. Two kids, maybe even a third little one, can sit comfortably. Certainly an adult and a child. Even two very slender adults. I must admit that I had reservations, preferring the more traditional look, but now that it's here, I do love it.

I was happy with how it complemented the other furniture in the room.



But then . . .

On a Saturday that Ron was out of town, the girls and I rearranged the living room.

Bekah and I had tried a similar arrangement a couple of months ago, but there were things we just couldn't figure out so we moved it all back. But I kept seeing the sofa on that other wall (loved it there!) so I kept mulling it over. This time we had another set of eyes (Kati's) and we had all day, so we pulled and hauled everything around again and moved and tweaked some more and we got it!


Here is the wall that I envisioned. (I need to lower that mirror now that the sofa is on that wall. It's funny how photos make things obvious. Have you ever noticed that?) 


Ron has completed one set of shutters for the living room windows! (You may have noticed the two different window treatments in the photos above. We're getting there . . . ) 


Another angle . . .



And then on the opposite wall . . .



As we finished the reset of the room, we made a dash to a local antique store. I remembered seeing a pine drop leaf table there and I had tucked it away in my mind . . . just in case!

It was still there and it had an incredible bargain basement price: $49! When I told the lady who was working that day what I wished to purchase, she said, "I am surprised it hasn't sold before now!"


I love having a more open feel in front of the picture window. It draws the eye to the sun porch and to the back yard. The table also provides a place for seasonal decorating.




A few more changes are in the works.

  • Ron is working on the second pair of shutters. 

  • I am planning to paint the fire screen black. (That was one of my summer projects, but I never got around to doing it.) 

  • Ron is also going to build a taller cabinet for our television this fall. The current media cabinet was intended to be a temporary fix, but with the new living room arrangement, the time is right for this project. Ron will mount the TV in the cabinet with an extension bracket, allowing a greater viewing range. A taller piece will also provide balance with the other furniture in the room. And the doors can be closed when the television is not in use. (Remember my policy of hiding ugly stuff whenever possible?) 


Then the living room will be finished.

(Or will it? Because is anything ever really "finished" if you like house-y stuff?)




Has anything changed at your house lately? 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sunday Snapshots: Birthday x 6




It's been a while since I did a Sunday Snapshots post, but we had a grand time yesterday celebrating all of the August birthdays, so I've gathered some photos to share.


After we ate lunch together, we set up the party table with birthday pies: blueberry, lemon meringue, Key lime, and chocolate.

Everyone looks deep in thought because we were playing a party game. Each August birthday person had been asked a series of questions (i.e. Cake or pie? Math or English? Summer, winter, spring, or fall?) and players had to guess how each one had answered.





Birthday peeps: Mom, Kristin, Owen, Ryan, me, and Ron

Singing "Happy Birthday" was a hoot! It went something like this:

 Happy birthday dear Miriam Mom Gammy Kristin Mama Owen Ryan Daddy Cheryl Mom Gran Ronnie Dad Papa . . . Happy birthday to you!  


Blowing out candles in order of birth date . . . 



Alaine (who missed being an August birthday by one day!) was our Birthday Fairy, distributing lovely packages to the recipients. 





Decisions, decisions.

Macie chose chocolate.




It was a happy, healthy gathering! And it wouldn't have been complete without Wrapping Paper Antics! 😁



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