Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Monday, June 30, 2014

Gathering The Moments - June

This was a very busy month for us.

 After a cold spring, June was a welcome gift!  Everything started to bloom!

 We had our best crop of Strawberries ever!

 We had such fun at Knoebel's!

 My friend and I went to see the Downton Abbey Costume exhibit at Winterthur!

 An unexpected trip to Florida turned into a family reunion with fun at a tea shoppe and the beach!

Lots of life happening here at the cottage.  Beautiful flowers in bloom, children thriving, projects with friends, kids safely home from their youth conference.

God is good to us everyday.  We just need to have eyes to see Him at work on our behalf.

I wonder what July will bring?

I'm joining Cheryl @ Thinking About Home today for her  great series Gathering The Moments.  You can join us too, here.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Garden: At The End Of June

My cottage garden in the front of the house gets a bit wild every summer.  Right now somethings are in bloom, and some are just beginning to bloom.  Let's see what's happening in the garden.

Ah, my poppies!  They are spreading to different areas of the garden.  A friend gave me seeds and now these self seed every year.  Such a pretty color!  Did I ever tell you about Tim 'weeding' these out of the garden one year?  They had just begun to come up!  Oh my!  Luckily a few survived and now they are back and cheerful!

 This started to come up this year and I didn't recognize it.  (I think I may have 'weeded' this out last year, but this year there was quite a bit of it so I decided to see what it was.  Larkspur!  I don't think I have ever planted it, but maybe my girls has some seeds?  Anyway, this plant is a delight in the garden!  Because it is tall I can see it through the front window!

 The Bees like it as well!
Do you see this vine everywhere?   It looks like Morning Glory leaves, but it never flowers just grows and wraps around EVERYTHING!  We try to keep it at bay, but its a constant battle.

Feverfew coming up amongst the Echinacea.  

 I sowed many, many Hollyhock seeds, but this is the only plant coming up!  I love Hollyhock.  I hope that more come up!

 First Echinacea in bloom!  The finches love this plant!

 I cut my Gold Leaf Spirea back this year and it is doing very well!  Love the pink blooms against the gold leaves.

 My Hydrangea.  I thought it had died this year.  The old growth did, and that is where you get your blooms.  However the plant is alive and healthy and so I look forward to many blooms next year! I am sad though, as I relied on it to supply so many beautiful flowers for my home every year.

Black-Eyed Susan almost ready to bloom.  

We lost a rose bush and four butterfly bushes to the harsh winter.  I'm sad to not have these friends around the garden, but change in a garden can be fun.

This year may bring lots of change to the garden as some of the picket fencing needs to be replaced and spruced up.

We really could use new siding on the house - it's a pale yellow and 20+ years old, with lots of damage spots from becoming brittle over the years.  I'd love to do white siding - I'm already painting my shutters black this year, and I have red doors!  Wouldn't that look cute?  Oh, to be a big name blogger and have a siding company offer to re-side the house in exchange for blogging about it! {grin}

How does your garden grow?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hospitality: Look What I Found!

I've been on the lookout for a large drink dispenser, but was only coming up with plastic ones.  One day I spotted one that looked like a canning jar, which is such a great look, but it was plastic too, and I was sorely tempted to buy it as it was a very good price.  However, I opted to wait and I am so glad I did!

When I'm in Florida, I always take a trip to World Market. Have you ever been to one?  I really love this store but the closest one to me is in Rockville, MD, nearly two hours away.  So instead, I drive 1,000 miles to go to one near my in laws!  

They have so many interesting things household accessories, furniture, candles, bath items, dishes, kitchen accessories, food from around the world, many kinds of tea and coffee.  My girls love to go there because they may find a cute pair of earrings, or as Sarah did a gift for her friends birthday.  She bought her a cute sealing wax and seals set for $9.95.  It was the perfect gift for this friend.  

Anyway back to the dispenser, I was in the kitchen section of this store and there it was in all its gorgeous canning jar glory, a great color, and I thought to my self, "It's plastic, everyone only carries plastic."  I touched it - it was glass!  Wow, could it be real?  The next thing I do is check the price.  The box I see says, $19.99 - Seriously?  That can't be the right box, the one in the box must be plastic and this one must have a different box.  No way, could it be 20 bucks.  But it was!   

It went right into the cart!  I didn't even think twice about it or about the fact that we were taking two big suitcases back with us for Tim's brother, I would have held this thing on my lap the whole way home!

We used it Sunday when we had some people in, like we do every Sunday.  I also like having it there and saying to the kids when they are thirsty, "there's ice water right there!"

I'm a happy girl.  Can you tell? 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

So I Thought This Would Be A Slow Week

With Summer in full swing, and Rachel and Emma gone to a youth conference, I thought I'd take this week to be slow and relaxed.  A few days of visiting with friends, and working on small sewing projects at home.

 Max, Emma, Rachel and Will before the headed out early Monday morning.

Well, so far I've had the fun friend visits, one I ended up driving an hour to meet my friend who had some scheduling conflicts.  Sometimes that is what you do to share time with a friend.  So while it was not in my plan, it was a good thing.  My friend who comes over on Monday afternoons, invited the kids back to her house for dinner and swimming on Monday, so Tim and I took the opportunity to go to dinner.   That was very nice!  We went to a local restaurant we like and sat outside in the beautiful weather.  Such a treat.

 Today, I had the day ahead of me, wide open, knowing that I needed to mow, and that the septic guy was going to come pump out our septic tank.  Great.  I was taking my time, reading email, puttering around when I got a text from Lindsay requiring a ride to work.  Her ride forgot an appointment and couldn't pick her up.  That's no problem, I'll pick her up and take her to work.  So now I should get ready to go out, and just do get ready when the septic guy shows up.  Okay still no problem, if I need to leave he'll leave the bill.  I pop my head out to say good morning and a few minutes later he wants to 'show me something.'  Sigh.  It's not a big deal but takes a few minutes and the time is ticking away and I have to get going.  Plus, you know, it's the septic system which, well, stinks!  I am thankful for these businesses.  My great- grandfather and great uncles owned a septic business in Waterford, Michigan.  Todoroff Brothers is still in business being run by family members and they are the #1 Business in the #2 Business!  

 I came back after taking Lindsay to work and then did the mowing.  I then let the younger chicks into the bigger run area.  It was funny to see them head over to where the big chickens were resting in the shade.

These girls are growing well.  They like it when I mow near them because I always blow clippings into their space!  They especially like the plantain.  

Looking ahead to the rest of the week, I have tomorrow free, and then Friday is my big shopping day for groceries.  Saturday the girls will arrive home, Sunday is church, and then Monday we are back at a busy schedule, Rachel will be doing some baby sitting, cello lesson….life goes on.

Thankful for all the people in my life who make my days busy, and full and rewarding.

What are you up to?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Home Keeping: Comfort says the following about the word Comfort.


  [kuhm-fert]  Show IPA
verb (used with object)
to soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to: They tried to comfort her after her loss.
to make physically comfortable.
Obsolete to aid; support or encourage.
relief in affliction; consolation; solace: Her presence was a comfort to him.
a feeling of relief or consolation: Her forgiveness afforded him great comfort.
a person or thing that gives consolation: She was a great comfort to him.
a cause or matter of relief or satisfaction: The patient's recovery was a comfort to the doctor.
a state of ease and satisfaction of bodily wants, with freedom from pain and anxiety: He is a man who enjoys his comfort.

The older I get the more I love this word.  I long for our home to be a place of comfort and encouragement for my family and my friends.  Likewise, I like for this blog - my home on the web - to be a comforting place for those of you who visit me here.  I want you to be comfortable when you come to my house or blog.  I want you to feel our welcome of you and for you to know we care about you.

Coming home from this trip to Florida was comforting.  Our home welcomes us, and we feel at peace here.  There is the rhythm of life here that we know and love.  In a world where there is chaos and uncertainty, it is delightful to have this kind of haven.

Why is coming home such a big deal to us?  After all we just got back from being able to go to the beach, swim in the pool, eat out, be with family we don't see often.  Why the joy in being home?

I think it is because we have made this home a place of comfort and consolation.  We know that we have comfy places to sit and candles and good food, and tea and coffee to share.  Our beds are comfortable and there are places to put your feet up in the living room.  Quiet spaces to read, a table with chairs to sit at on the deck with candle light in the evenings.

Our children and our granddaughter will have the memories of growing up here - playing in the creek, catching frogs and fireflies, collecting eggs from the chickens, riding on the horses.  They will have the memories of picking flowers from the garden, and picking strawberries.  Our friends kids will have those memories too, and of tea parties, and lots and lots of laughter.  The comfort of a home and family life that is centered on the Lord.

I think the ultimate comfort is to know and be known - to know that you are accepted and to know the comfort of the One from whom all comforts come from.  One who gives us companions to share joys and sorrows with, to comfort those who need it with the same kind of comfort we were comforted with.

2 Corinthians 1:4  - who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
This has been an important truth that has played out in our lives over the years, and we have been both comforted by others when we were going through a struggle, and we have been allowed to be comforters to people who were likewise struggling.  We could comfort them, because we had been comforted and we understood.

I hope that you all have made this kind of life for yourself.  It takes thought and it takes sacrifice but there is such a rich reward, that it makes it all worthwhile.

The post I intended to write was just a chatty one about getting home and back into a routine and getting the kids off to their conference.  But I guess that God had other ideas about this post.  The importance of comfort in uncertain times.  And in case you don't know, Jesus is the source of all comfort.  Look to Him to see how you can make your home a place of comfort and welcome for others.  A haven of encouragement and friendship, that will be a blessing to others and to yourself.

I'd love to hear how your home comforts you and others.

Catching My Breath

We arrived home Friday afternoon.

We stopped at a favorite restaurant, The Gallery Grille, to eat some lunch, then jumped right back into our normal lives.

I unpacked right away, like I always do unless we are arriving late at night, or in the case of my trip to Scotland, when I arrived home rather jet lagged.

Then Tim headed out to mow our property and Rachel and i headed to get some groceries.  When we got back Tim was weeding the veggie garden and I picked lettuce.

Yesterday was errands and normal life stuff, like a boy haircut, because he was getting shaggy, cooking, and a nice long talk with Emma when she got home from work in the evening.

Today is church and prep for Emma and Rachel's trip to the youth conference - they leave early Monday morning.

I'll be back then with a bit of this and that.  I just know you are getting that on your calendars so you don't forget!  Lol.  In the meantime, I hope your Sunday is wonderfully slow and relaxing.  I pray that your Sunday is a day to fix your eyes on Him.

A week ago we were here, but, Oh, it is so good to be home.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Heading Home

Our time here has been short, but long enough for now.  We've filled it with fun and family.  Tim's Mom has had these four kids of hers together for 3 days.  It's been fun.

We've gone to the beach twice, swam in the pool several times, watched the USA beat Ghana in the World Cup, had tea, gone to lunch, did some shopping.  Mostly we've shared our hearts, watched our beautiful, talkative Mom, sit quietly very unusual for her.  

We got together for dinner at Tim's oldest sister's home, and took a few family photos.

 Dan, Virginia (Ginna), Mom (Jean), Esther, and Tim.

 Sarah, Anna, Kyle, Nicole, Grammy, Sara Anne, Rachel, Crystal and her daughter Miriam.

These are just a few of her grandkids and one great grandchild of the four she has!

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos, it was late evening, and low lighting.  I will try to do some editing when we get home.

We are thankful for this time we've had with them all. 

God is good.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tea Time: Garden Gate Tea Room

I can't begin to tell you how special this place is.  I have been here many times when visiting my inlaws and have brought my mother here, my daughters, my friends.  

Yesterday, the ladies in our family that are here for our reunion, went together with our Mom/Grammy.  She is going to be 93 in October and has, in the last several months, begun to develop short term memory loss.  We are together here, as an opportunity for all her living children be together with her.  We are thankful for this time.

I should have gotten up and taken these next two photos with the light behind me, but I didn't.  They all look serious don't they?  They were enjoying the Carrot Bisque soup.

 Sarah and Rachel love this tea shop and have been several times.

This space used to be a garage!  But with a lovely mural on the walls and sky blue ceiling draped with miles of tulle, it is a lovely space.

 Our table.

 This is my tea cup.  Not the saucer and tea cup don't go together.  It's not important - I like using the vintage things!

This is a lovely place, and any bad shots are because of my photography.  This is my chicken salad which I photographed after I had begun to eat.  That is an edible orchid on top!  It was so delicious with fresh fruit and two mini muffins.

The owner is closing this shop later this month!  But she is hoping to find a new location, with more outdoor seating space, and more room inside.  The other rooms in this shop are quite small, but so lovely.  If you followed the link yesterday, you can see how delightful the whole place is.

I'm thankful for the time yesterday.  Sharing how the Lord is encouraging us, and enjoying time together.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Family Time

Some of us are in Florida, to have a quick mini reunion.  We are only here for three days, but are planning to make the most of it.

After arriving yesterday, and going to lunch at a Mexican restaurant with Tim's sister and brother in law, we took the kids to Bethune Beach.  It was lovely weather in the evening.

We ladies (10 of us) are headed to Mount Dora today to eat lunch at the Garden Gate Tea Room.  I'll be sure to take photos.  We are taking Tim's mom with us!  It will be she, two daughters, two daughters in law, and six of her 14 granddaughters.  

Hoping for a beautiful time.


  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We spent Saturday, doing things around the house, and then we swam. Kyle and Sarah left after that...