Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

(Pssst... I just deleted the words originally here because my husband said it was too wordy of a "Wordless Wednesday".... grin, grin....)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ten things I'm Thankful For

Time for another installment of my "Ten Things" to be thankful for, always varied and know my own personal thoughts on true thankfulness can obviously never be complete within one post. You can always view other posts on the same topic by clicking onto the archives HERE.


- 1 - I'm thankful for Autumn upon us and all of the simple pleasures it offers us. Gifts of the season vary from week to week with explosions of color appearing before us, and nature finds ALWAYS being offered on a continual basis, free for the taking. Have you begun a nature corner basket yet in your home?

- 2- I'm thankful for progression within the medical field to offer oxymetry sleep sessions at home rather than have to register in a hospital away from home to separate my hubby and I. Four nights were recently monitored with this compact device, naturally my hubby is anxious to know his results.

- 3 - I'm thankful for the concrete work almost complete in the front of our home. The stone was removed from several wall areas on our home from poor mortar used, the area sealed with stucco after a poly lining and then stone facing replaced with proper mortar. We await the roofers to finalize the warranty work on the roofing gutter systems nearby the stone work.

Last week I about went out of my mind as the stone masons "sanded" the concrete steps surface down, the noise something else within the home. At last the sanding is done and they are almost finished retiling the stair surfaces with new stone to eliminate the distance in step heights for passing our final inspection. Oh, and they found the doorbell wiring in two door areas, also having to drill into the stone and vibrate the house to bits. My ears are still ringing....but I'm thankful. :)

- 4 - I'm thankful for craft supply stashes we can grab in an instant whenever the impulse to "create" bites us. And I'm thankful for our local dollar store's offerings of these acrylic paints = one dollar each! Can't beat that!

- 5 - I'm thankful for rolling back yet again into a fall schooling routine with bookwork, chores and all the panic felt from those little squares on the calendar filling up with regularity to keep this mama on her feet. It's always comforting to find one of the children hanging around enjoying the pleasure of a good read. He's into the out of print books we own by "Sonia Bleeker" on specific native Indian tribes; two down and several more to go.

- 6 - I'm thankful for every little bit of sunshine along my path these days from nature finds, especially those sweet reminders often catching my breath during tough to handle days. Somehow lately I really desire to notice these things more and more as my cup generally seems to runneth over with hard knocks more now as an older woman than in my younger days, still temporary I know, but just there nonetheless to keep me on edge at times.

It's never a warm fuzzy sweetness for a woman to linger within difficult moments offered in life, but forever are the days when a mother's heart will succumb to continual matronly aches, sincere heartfelt worries and tremendous caring to such an intense extent that she must eventually realize how deeply affected she becomes when reflecting and learn to release them over time. Reflect on them - yes.... and then like sacred incense, allow all your cares to be cast heavenward. Dwell in loving places continuing to trust always, and end the day praying for a calm and peace that surpasses all understanding.

- 7 - I'm thankful for remembering how sacred and precious life is when these hand prints suddenly appear right when the suns blazes through my kitchen window over my sink, those hand prints left behind from hanging up the window blinds of days passed.

Knowing it is my least favorite chore to wash the interior windows to rid ourselves of views such as this one, I've had to lurch myself into gear by turning it around, oh yes! So instead of feeling the urge to get rid of these "evidence of life reminders" over my kitchen sink, I will smile when the sun shines to turn their invisibility to light, and offer prayers for the person instead (there are two of them) who left them there until such a time as I can/want to remove them. Besides, I kind of like them there

- 8 - I'm thankful for the imagination of a child who can surround himself with a large array of Lego and be completely content building something to give him complete pleasure. Everyone around here loves Lego. Even I love Lego!

- 9 - I'm thankful for
lots and lots of Lego and Duplo, staples in a child's world of play around here. This past week the children have refreshed and organized it all, the entire contents of their lego, duplo, wooden block and playmobil collections. On top of that, the entire room had a remodel job and I can't wait to share the end results with you in another post. Stay tuned.

- 10 - I'm thankful for family; both our immediate one and our extended unit, those who take the time to visit and keep in touch in person. The photo above was a recent gathering some of our older children/grandchildren were able to attend at the home of my husband's sister when relatives passed by from Holland. Not everyone who came to visit and mingle this day was present for the photo, but it's special to note there were four generations present! Super cool! Wish we could have been there everyone. Thinking of you all!

Michaelmas Day

"At that time Michael shall rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people: and a time shall come as never was from the time that nations began even until that time. And at that time shall thy people be saved, every one that shall be found written in the book."
~ Daniel 12:1

St. Michael is the patron saint of policemen, swordsmen, security forces, warriors, grocers (because he weighs souls, good and bad deeds on judgment day), radiologists and radiographers. He is also invoked against evil.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mail Call! Anytime is Grandbabe time.

To my family back west, my apologies; Lost are all my posts in draft form on my computer when all crashed and a new beginning enabled me to have a like new computer to work on. Never fear... I know I am behind and will catch up as time passes.

As I stumble along uploading all the photos again for the posts I'm rewriting and gathering the bits and snippets to go along with them, please allow me to share some sweetness here by way of a recent
"mail call" from family out west.

Our daughter and grand-daughters filled an envelope with many delightful hand written items, drawings, cards and a Cd of cheerleading cheers our younger grand-daughter is learning. We have a cheerleader in our family, a first, and it's been so sweet to hear of her efforts by way of watching her learn her songs and cheering efforts via the web, but alas we got our very own CD with a few bits to watch over and over again at home. So sweet!

Isn't she just the sweetest cheerleader you've ever seen?

(I had more of these but my internet satellite system
wouldn't allow for them all to upload. gahhh - crazy!)

Keep on pumping up that team spirit - Wooooo

Both girls are very involved in many activities and their mother leads a busy life playing taxi for them, something we all can relate to for sure. (wink) Recently we've learned our oldest grand-daughter has chosen to learn to play the saxophone, also a first to play one in our family. Bring on the jazzy tunes, how great it is she has chosen this instrument over others as we personally love the sound of saxophone melodies in our home.

We miss you too Sweetie!

As a way of keeping in the loop between those of us living over here and our grandchildren in the west, continually getting to know the happenings within their daily lives and preferences on purpose, I decided to follow the lead when prompted by our youngest daughter by drafting up a little questionnaire for them.

During the writing process, our other children began to mosey forth curiously into the kitchen where we were seated at the table, and within seconds I became verbally bombarded with all of their thoughts and suggestions on the questionnaire, completely hijacked if I do say so myself (laugh), leaving the entire thing almost completely completed with dictations by them. Talk about a group (hijack) effort (LOL) was great fun to get it all together.

Topics ranged from which foods they preferred, what their favorite colors were, favorite-many-things in fact, and all sorts of personal fun. When our recent mailing included the return of those same questionnaires complete with their answers noted on them, everyone here asked to see them and became so excited to not only read the responses but thrilled for mail from their nieces/sister. Funny how something simple is so treasured, and these are.

Since we now have several older grandchildren living out west, far from us while we remain living here in the eastern part of our country, it's unanimous here to keep revisiting this fun questionnaire throughout the years with all of them, if for any reason to remain in the loop and keep up with changes in their personal preferences acquired in their young lives as time flies by.

Just ask my hubby and he'll tell the same thing I feel - "Anytime is Grandbabe time!" :)

Thanks so much girls for the goodies!
We love you!

Love Nana and Grandpa

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Current topic of study= Native Indians

Can you tell after viewing my last post with our children's faces painted up that imaginations are soaring around here?

Our current topic of study is always most fascinating, even for me. It is obviously sending the children into imaginative play since our visit with our grandchildren recently, a time where together they all spent chunks of time running around the property barefoot, singing and performing Indian rain dances for one another resulting in fits of giggles, and where they were intent on remaining on task for continual hunting occasions throughout our property's forest in search of arrowheads. (wink)

One little, Two little, Three little, Four little Indians...

Looking at this photo above one cannot help but smile. All except for one of them are trying to look stern and serious, like real warriors. Truly though, I'm amazed over just how much all of the children have grown as our dress up clothing is looking mighty small on them now.

So cute, our grandson insists on carrying the beloved tomahawk his own father made many years ago (yes I saved it in our dress up trickle trunk), when he was not much older than his son shown below.

  • Hats off to the mother who allows for bulk sessions of imaginative play during her days.
  • Happy are the children who can put their own face paint on using the bathroom mirror and remain content throughout the day, even during the dinner hour over their choices of warfare facial artistry.

What has assisted in making this historical topic of study all the more interesting was noting the dozens of men who were dressed in full white garments only two (country) blocks away. Apparently they are in the process of an archeological dig after the chance discovery of an ancient Indian burial ground located there. Oodles of bright orange flags are inserted into the ground among digging zones. I can't wait to find out more myself!

Native Indian Burial Ground

According to the archeologists working there and local police who have cordoned off this area for study and digging detailing (some of whom I've spoken with), the exact native tribe name is remaining under wraps for now. Oh, it's all simply fascinating stuff!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A few thoughts on Autumn in our homes

"In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb color effects as from August to November."

- Rose G. Kingsley, The Autumn Garden, 1905

Are you nesting during this new season yet? It's hard work right, but someone has to do it.

At the end of a busy workbee day, reward yourself with a lovely bubble bath and some soothing moments to allow for rejuvenation wellness to rekindle your body and weary soul.

A few simple aesthetic placements can really freshen up your home for some seasonal changes as our days begin to grow shorter and the natural process begins for spending more time indoors.

Begin to rekindle and offer fresh and appealing items to your home environment by scattering the interiors/exteriors of your home with sweet reminders of the season; colorful arrays of decor from the autumn palette and harvest gathered reapings from a local farmer's stand.

There's nothing like a gradual stale air quality developing inside of our homes as we buckle down for colder weather ahead. Open up your windows as often as possible, especially in the morning to freshen up the rooms throughout your homes.

Or, why not find yourself a few scented candles to burn in your prayer corners. Careful for small children passing through, be fire safe at all times.

Diffuse your home with essential oil scents your family will grow to request and truly appreciate. Our family favorite is an orange blend for a super fresh and joyous lingering scent, lavender anytime, and a cranberry or pumpkin spiced scented candle. My husband loves the air diffused slightly with the true scent of pine or even with balsam fir smells, but I can't say I feel the same with those two. Since we all tend to find familiar and delightful scents inviting in our lives, why not allow for everyone to share their requests even if you yourself aren't partial to them. That's what we attempt to do over here "in the east". :)

Check your pantry stocks for a variety of hot drink fixings, various teas, hot cocoa and assorted coffees for those shorter day afternoon tea times and later evening savoring moments where everyone comes together during that huddle moment shortly before retiring for the night. With a hot cup of something, conversation naturally ripples through those taking time for sipping and simultaneously chatting together. Make time for this, be prepared with a splendid array of tempting offerings.

Savor the moments of this same timing by day's end with a warmly hued ambiance in your home, lighting a candle and filling the air with soft music. Browse through your music CD collection and gather a few selections to burn one or more special disks for the purpose of the "unwind" at the end of your day.

My personal musical preferences during the evening is music variations from classical background music (I have many mixes for evening or rainy day listening), Dan Gibson's "Solitudes" classics mixed with nature sounds, jazz (Kenny G), Gregorian chant is always soothing to the very core of anyone, a variety of assorted piano tunes (my favorite is "Lorie Line") and basically any assortment of music that fast becomes soothing, calming and preferably does not include any lyrics, just harmony to lull my busy brain, granting me a sweet timing reprieve from an often hectic pace of life.

Not enough music selection to throw onto your computer to create personalized mixtures of evening music to fill your rooms with? Never fear, why not try swapping cds you're tired of with a friend for a while, borrow a few from the library (reserve the ones you've been wanting to listen to), or buy a few new tunes off Itunes to keep you and your family entertained this autumn and winter.

No one else at home with you, or already in bed? Don't be shy! Go ahead and grab a steamy hot cuppa, and a warm blanket if appropriate to cuddle up into and take time to linger within the pages of a good book until the a deep yawning session takes over and the thoughts of a great slumber begin to call your name.

If I may divert here for just a moment, I'm going to go ahead and mention something which has grown dear to my heart. I find as a mother, my evenings for the most part MUST include a mental dejunking period and overall unwinding time allotment. There are often times when I'm plumb tuckered out and physically exhausted but my mind won't turn off right away. Allowing for a gentle yawning session by candlelight with my tea, a hushed chat catching up with my hubby before he retires (he heads to bed earlier than I), or even just a great soaking in a really warm bath for a while, I know I'm not alone with this absolute motherly necessity in life.

In particular, since the schooling year is now in progress, a homeschooling mother requires a personalized time carved out every evening to call her very own for she has been in ultra high demand the entire day and when mentally reviewing her priority list after the dinner hour, somehow, somehow she might find she's fallen down to the bottom of that checklist....again. Why is that?

An understanding husband will assure his wife gets what she requires at the end of such a day, even if that means he takes the baby and/or the young ones from her to ensure she has this time if they are still awake during bedtime hours.

I might preface this thought cautiously though first by saying, not all men can read a woman's mind and begin to recognize what their wife may require at the end of the day, so a bit of coaching may be necessary in advance. He wants to unwind after a hectic day just like you do, however he's not the one with the children all day long being pulled in every which way straight up to an evening frazzle.

If this is the situation in your home, two adults requiring down time at the close of a day, then why not just consider training and then tucking your children in to bed a little earlier at night as winter begins to approach, and then subsequently begin to quiet down the house soon afterward, but then seriously - off you go to do whatever it is you require by nightfall ..... wisdom words from an older mother offered here.

I will lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone,
O Lord, make me dwell in safety

~ Psalm 4:8

Regardless, I cannot stress this point strongly enough; be sure to find your own evening "moment", claiming it as your very own, alone or with your husband present. It easily becomes a prelude to an evening prayer time and a fitting end to your day so why not end it with a calm spirit, and a thankful heart for the blessings given unto you.

A mother of little ones well knows the big blur hour when feeling a hopeless physical exhaustion at the end of the day. A mother to older teens/young adults knows well the feeling of mental and emotional exhaustion. BUT, a mother of many who has a wide range of ages living in her home thus shoulders all combined.

For myself, I've had babies and adults living under my roof at the same time. Through trial and error I've learned to stop struggling with the guilt feelings associated when thinking it somehow selfish to continue pursuing this time I so dearly require, and I've learned how to allow myself the luxury of my own moments to melt away the stresses and cares of the day.

Admittedly in the midst of a busy life and so many family members to care for and love, I've used this time involuntarily to spill many silent tears at the close of extra tough days as the reality of what has freshly occurred that day still lingers and fills my weary heart with the weight of a heavy burden. Through grace and a little refreshment, our spirits can definitely become renewed quicker and our batteries recharged again.

I've said my evening prayers surrounded by bubbles, and lifted up many prayer intentions amidst candlelight in between sips of my evening brew.

I've had mighty talks with God during my evening rituals, and hearty and incredibly deep examinations of my conscience ... however they all choose to appear during my "unwinding" moments before I crawl into bed for the night. In the still of the night, all of my cares are eventually offered up and cast heavenward, and very slowly I can begin to be still to listen for His voice.

In the still of the night, if you carve out this time, your guardian angel will surround you with the assurance of a heavenly love. A quiet reprieve under any heavenly mantle is a wonderful place to take refuge, so go there, and be sure to linger as long as you need to. First though, develop the habit for including it - on purpose, every single evening and always remember, even Jesus went alone into the desert to pray. Our fuel tanks cannot run on empty. A mother becomes terribly worn out and can easily suffer from the consequences of burnout if they don't carve out time as necessary for refueling. Since she is the heart of the home, it becomes a priority to ensure she gets it. As any mother ages, they'll require more time, believe me. It's a rare evening when I actually miss out on "my time".

How about you?

Warfare words

Warfare Words

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

~ Psalm 19:14

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Autumn gifts

"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,

With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer."

- Helen Hunt Jackson, September, 1830-1885

Autumn Flowers and a Pumpkin Spice Latte!

My husband came through the door when he arrived home from work recently with a lovely autumn bouquet of flowers in one arm, and a frothy pumpkin spice latte in his other hand.

These were sweet surprise gifts for me, the blessings of the season surely was in his hands right during that very moment.

It was also there, when I realized for the millionth time just how lucky I am to be blessed with a husband like him.

Oh - how I just love that man to bits!

Autumn blessings

"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather

And autumn’s best of cheer."

- Helen Hunt Jackson, September, 1830-1885

And so, Autumn begins...

The fall and spring have to be my most favorite seasons but if I had to c
hoose just one, I would always pick the fall.

The glorious autumn color palette will soon extend beyond the horizon for miles and miles. Mornings have become somewhat cooler, and signs of Jack Frost will soon once again suddenly appear.

It feels bittersweet to watch summer slowly melt away, though happily our days are still yet very warm and trips to the water's edge are still calling my name.

A few overdue rains have lifted our second level forest fire warnings around the area caused by our perfect three week heat spell this past three weeks. Having a wet and moist raindrop spillage is a welcome reprieve from the thought of it all, a positive thing. Along with it however came an abundance of extra steamy humidity, a negative thing. My poor hubby has endured several tough days with respiratory issues. I'm thankful as we have been promised a mild fall this year, at least according to the Farmer's almanac, sans humidity.

It's that time of year to think about seasonal preparations. Likened to "nesting instincts", I am experiencing this type of feeling each day. So far this past week I've been "in action", moving and shaking to get those instincts worked off, and here's what we've been able to accomplish to date;
  • All of our family's bedding has been washed and fluffed up; bedspreads, blankets, and even pillows are smelling clean and wonderful. A splash of lavender essential oil drops had been included in the washing machine during every load. It feels richly rewarding to plop into bed when exhausted by day's end only to have a sweet whiff of the scent exuding from my pillow, radiating all around my head and face. Sweet dreams ensue until morning when the next tasks are at hand.
  • All of the garbage cans were removed from the house and taken outdoors where they were filled with water, soaked and disinfected, and finally dried before replacing into their assigned rooms. This task included all indoor and outdoor garbage cans and recycling bins. The detailing included new garbage liners thanks to my lovely daughter's help with this task.

  • Our outdoor dog pen was raked, lawn was mowed, rockery scooped from another area and brought over to lay near the gate for eliminating mud making with the rains, and the dog house was washed and disinfected.
  • Our animals tend to require larger seasonal care, especially their habitats, so our indoor flooring where the interior dog pen is had its floor brushed and scoured. The rabbit pens were emptied, scoured/disinfected and all animal pet containers were washed and cleaned.
  • Our back patio canopy, the one held together this year with duct tape has been disassembled and packed away until next year. Hopefully we can stock up on more duct tape and use it again. (smile)
  • Several of the back patio furniture pieces were washed down and brought indoors for winter storage.
  • Our big gun bug killer electrical zapper (which proved to be MIGHTY and FANTASTIC) was packed up and placed back into its original box. The electrical cord was rolled up and the bird hanger hook is now stored away with the patio furniture.

  • All of our bathrooms were scrubbed out. It's always amazing to me to think about how diligent one can be with regards to cleanliness and chore success only to find a seasonal scouring producing surprises at every turn. Since I took this job detail to task on my own, I armed myself by carrying a garbage can into each of the four bathrooms with me, finding several empty shampoo/conditioner bottles from the shower shelves. a stash of empty toilet paper rolls in a cupboard (someone was saving), old bath toys not worthy of keeping, bits of old soap, dirty q-tips, dental floss pieces hiding in drawers, you know....all the things a mother loves to find stashed away in those rooms. They all went "plop" into the garbage can. Gone are the old days when only ONE shampoo bottle and ONE conditioner bottle resided in our bathrooms. When children grow to become teens and young adults, they tend to "collect" various smells and get sucked in by copious amounts of commercial ad promises, resulting in mounds of unwanted items and/or empty bottles laying about. Our newly washed outdoor cans are full of stuff again, wahoo and good riddance to them all.
  • Surprisingly after the summer season a bathroom seems to require a real good dusting! I find the windowsills, tops of picture frames, tops of shower doors or shower curtain rods, wood moldings on the wall bottoms super filthy! Add to that the detail of the wood crevices on a wooden door, buffing up the mirror my way (grin), gathering all of the hair in the sink/shower drains and restocking the toilet paper and this seasonal mom-chore fast becomes a huge ordeal. Jeepers! And not to mention of course washing the shower curtains, glass doors, window coverings and glass, bathmats, toilet covers, doilies and more. The job really isn't even complete until it's all complete, right? Admittedly - the joy of checking that awful seasonal mom assigned task off on my own chore list was well worth the labor!

  • Our bird feeders are now filled to the brim again. I will leave the bird hooks and feeders up throughout the winter as I usually do, and can't wait for the return of those feathery friends coming for wee visits.

  • All of the family's summer jackets and hoodies have been washed, and are now ready for storage at a moment's notice with warmer jackets now resting in their places.
  • Footwear is dwindling as some of the summer items are removed from the hall closet. Sunday shoes have been buffed up, scuffs removed and shoe laces replaced as necessary.
  • Summer items from within the garage space are slowly getting removed and brought indoors for the winter. Soon nothing of liquid content can remain stored in there for fear of a frozen explosion (read mess!) with the frigid temperatures we remember well when first moving into this home.
  • I have many pots of perennials still yet to plant, and I'm beginning to feel a bit stymied by all of the scaffolding around my front garden beds, in the way hindering the transplanting timing before us. I also have some ready for the back beds, still yet carved. During the next two weeks, my older son and I will use the grass spade and get to work to complete this task, yes we will.

  • Our grass seed seems to have sprouted nicely save for a few bare spots to work on for next year. The growth in general has slowed leaving my hubby with the feeling perhaps in only one or two more mowings it will be time to have the John Deere lawn tractor serviced and stored. Oh, and that reminds me, note to self - have the snow blower checked in soon for winter preparation!

Whew...those are some of the basic chores to date this past week and I've not even mentioned the busy happenings in my kitchen yet. Meanwhile we'll be continuing onward with more progress on our autumn checklists. Back again shortly with many more tales of "life in the east".

God bless;