Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gathering The Moments - September

September was packed with busyness for our family.  We went on a vacation and took Emma to school.  We got my parents off on a two week visit to California, and today we pick them up.  

I love this quote from George Eliot!  It is how I feel about the Autumn season.

We have been busy here at the cottage with school, and with life.  My friends' dad died suddenly last week, and they had to go out of state for the funeral.  We have been going over to their house twice a day to feed their dog and give her some attention.  She is such a good girl, she does not need to be kept in a crate.  Tim also mowed their yard yesterday and we took care of some of the housekeeping things that were in progress when they got the call.  I didn't want them to come home to any kind of work after such an emotionally draining week.

We've had a normal routine here at home.  School, meals, chores, frisbee, dishes, laundry.

 Trying out new hair styles on Kamryn


Enjoying a beautiful sunset last night.

Fun projects

 Lovely campfires

Historic Williamsburg

Missing my girl, but enjoying being able to text and have FaceTime with her.  She is doing well.

I am happy to see September slide away gracefully into October.  Looking forward to chilly weather, wearing boots and scarves, and hats.  My birthday is Friday.

Thanks for Gathering with me.

You can join us at Cheryl's beautiful blog Thinking About Home.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

I Think I Touched A Nerve

with this post - I've Always Thought You Were So Beautiful.  

 I had many sweet comments that really encouraged me.  God gets the glory for His work in my life.  I also had so many who could relate to what I shared, and that made me sad.  

A casual friend sent me a private message.  She mentioned how we as woman have bought into the culture - we all judge each other - whether we comment aloud or just give someone a makeover in our minds.  It made me think how many times I have thought those kinds of things, too.  Her wise words and shared understanding gave me a lot to think about.

My post wasn't about sympathy, but I wrote it because I want to be able to be free.  Free of judgement, free of expectations, free of _____ (fill in the blank.)  I wanted to open dialogue.  I don't want to compete with anyone.

Most of you know I have six children.  We had them in 'batches'.  The first three are 25, 22, and 20.  Then we have a 5 year gap and have three more who are 15, 12, and 9.  I bring this up because I saw huge changes in the expectations of pregnant women over those years that I was pregnant and giving birth.  By time I had the last two, pregnant women were supposed to do it all and be sexy while doing it!  Really?!  

Where do these ideas come from?  

My weight didn't hold me back from doing things I wanted to do, mostly, but meeting new people or going into a new situation makes me uncomfortable.  Will people see me for who I am or just the weight?  Will they talk about me behind my back or to my face?

My daughter is a pretty girl with a great personality.  She is often judged by people who assume things about her.  Some women and young ladies are catty toward her.  It hurts her.  Why must some people put others down, or speak negatively about them in order to feel better about themselves?  She has told me she feels like she can be herself around guys more than she can around women, because of how she has been judged by women.

A friend told me that she had a "friend" who, after my friend lost some weight, asked another woman from church if my friend had gained her weight back!  Why?  Did it make this woman feel better, if my friend had gained her weight back?  Sometimes we feel better about ourselves if those around us are just like us - don't anyone dare rock the boat!  I've seen women turn on a 'friend' because the friend has dared to step outside the prescribed box she had been in.  Judgement comes flooding in to make the person feel better about themselves.  

What if we just decide to opt out of the judgement of each other?  What if we just decide to encourage one another?  What if we tell each other what we appreciate about the other person?

What kind of confidence might that give us?  What an amazing burst of encouragement that would be!  What might we be able to do in serving God and one another?

I'm willing to find out.  Several years ago, I opted out of competing with others.  I live my life for my family, my friends and mostly, by grace, for the Lord.  I've focused on encouragement - not of everyone but of those that the Lord has sent my way.  I'm working on the judging thing.  

So, how about you?  Are you in?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Water Color Leaf Garland

As you know I homeschool my youngest three kids (the other three are already graduated from our homeschool) and I am doing preschool with my granddaughter.

Kamryn, age 4 and Sarah, age 12 really enjoy art, and Kyle does it because I ask him to, as he just said, "It's not my top subject.  That would be math."

A few weeks ago I had them paint using fall colors.  I keep pads of watercolor paper (very inexpensive at craft stores) and watercolor packs and brushes in our art box, so this is easy to get started.  I am all about easy.

 They did some great papers, Sarah even added texture using bubble wrap.  You can see it on this last painting.  The next day I had them paint the backside of the paper too, because I had a project for fall decor in mind.

This past week I traced an oak leaf cookie cutter on the pages and then we cut them out.  Kyle took a hole punch and we strung it on twine, and hung it in the front window.

There were a few leaves from papers that had only been painted on one side, so we took fall color crayons and quickly scribbled the backs of those.  We didn't want some to be white on the back. 

I think it turned out so well, and it makes me smile to look at it.  This is a great project to do with kids, and easy.  And like I said, I am all about things being easy!

Let me know if you give this a try!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I've Always Thought You Were So Beautiful

"I always thought that if you lost weight, you'd be really beautiful."

Said by an acquaintance, to me, on Sunday.

I was kind of amazed and said, "Thank you."

Why did I thank her for making me feel as if it was a compliment?

I think she was meaning for it to be.  After all I had been talking with the ladies about Trim Healthy Mama, and how I was finding it doable.  I guess maybe that, "opened the door" that made her feel she could say something?  Like I don't know that I have been carrying the weight that would equal a small person around with me for 25 years, and if I could just lose it, then….

Then what?  Would I be more loved? More accepted?  More culturally accepted?  More beautiful.

I know that I've always been 'cute.'  I had a curvy figure on a small frame early in my life.  Women always think that if their breasts were larger then all their problems would be solved.  It isn't.  It just draws unwanted attention, from guys in school who think they are so clever and call you Dolly Parton, to complete strangers hollering at you from their cars as you walk down the street.  I hated it.

After I married I got busy and lonely while my husband worked nights and lots of hours.  Small kids to deal with on my own, and a love of Coca Cola.  And chocolate.  And carbs.

My husband has loved me through it all.  But I don't think I've really loved myself.  Not enough.  There was always the feeling of being too much, and yet not enough for people.  

The comment on Sunday brought so much back.  As a cheerleader and Student Council member in high school, some kids thought I was so popular.  I didn't.  That group over there - they are the popular ones.  I'm too short, a bit chunky, too curvy, but never, ever beautiful, or cute enough.  You know the thoughts you have in high school.  

Now here I am facing that kind of thing again.  I'd be beautiful if I just….Why wasn't it enough to just say, "I've always thought you were so beautiful, and I'm glad your happy about your weight loss." Does there always have to be a caveat?  

I wasn't expecting it and feel blindsided.  I am going to have to prepare to hear comments that are meant to encourage but that will just tell me how people saw me all these years.  And by that I mean how they saw my weight and not me.

In spite of my weight I've been a good wife, mother, daughter, friend, leader, tea party giver and event planner fanatic.  I'm happy, I'm fun, I'm serious about things.  I'm tough when it's needed and great in a crisis.

Isn't that good enough?  Or do I need to weigh 100 pounds less for it all to mean something?

I am going to lose the weight I need to, but I am not going to do it for acceptance, or for approval from others.  I'm doing it for me, the me inside this person who weighs too much.  So I can be free to be all that God wants me to be, by His grace.

Will you pray with me as I journey on this path?  I'm going to need it as I sort through the emotions of it all.

Silver Tray Project

I love silver.  I collect silver and silver plate as I am able, creating my own heirlooms for my family.  

I had a tray that was silver in color, likely stainless, but I did use it.  Over the years it had discolored in spots (like tiny rust spots) and it was taking up space in my storage.  So I decided to try to make a project based on something I saw in a store. 

Behold the Chalkboard Silver Tray.

I started by using Frog Tape to tape off the sections I didn't want to get paint on.  

I pulled out a can of chalkboard paint that I have had for a couple of years!  Shook it really, really well, then in my usual fashion, I just started spraying!

I put three coats on it over a few days, and let it sit for one more day.  Yesterday, I added the message in chalk.

It's not perfect, it's hard to tape off those scalloped edges, but I don't even care!  I may try to tidy the edge but I probably won't.  

Happy Fall, Y'all.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Love Autumn

One of our calendars say today is the first official day of Autumn and the other says tomorrow.  I looked it up and it happens today but in the evening, so tomorrow is the first full day of Autumn.  Either way I say,

I'm so excited for my favorite Season!

Here is my list of things I LOVE about Autumn.

1. Changing leaves

2. Beautiful skies
3. That crisp chill in the air
4. Wearing boots
5. Purple Asters
6. Pumpkins
7. Cold Apple Cider
8. Shorter Days
9. Campfires

10. Candles
11. Sweaters
12. Pea Coats
13. Knit Hats
14. My Birthday!
15. Enjoying the Outdoors
16. Hot Chocolate
17. Flannel Sheets
18. Plaid Blankets

19. Scarves
20. Fall Foliage Trips

Photo - Lindsay Rabe Musser
21. Mums in the Garden
22. Knit Gloves
23. Warm Socks
24. Warm Mulled Cider
25. Family Photo Shoots

Now it's your turn to share!  What are some of your favorite things about Autumn?

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Time Has Come

The Echinacea (purple coneflower) and the Black Eyed Susan's are finished for the year.  My front garden is looking like Morticia Adam's garden.  It's time to cut it back for the year.  

I like all the seasons of the garden, from all the freshly blooming plants in the Spring to the dormant garden of the winter.  The only reason I keep these flowers around as long as I do after they have gone to seed, is that the finches like to visit the coneflowers and eat at the seed heads.  

Can you see the little visitor we had the other day?

She wasn't as bright yellow as most, in fact she seemed a bit greenish, but she was sweet.

I may need to get the bird feeder out soon, because this garden is going to sleep tomorrow.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Update On Lindsay

Thank you all for your concern for Lindsay and for praying for her.  It's been a frustrating three weeks, but this week she finally got a diagnosis.


After the nurse called with the lab results, she looked up the symptoms of Mono and texted me.  "I have every one of the symptoms."

They have put her on Prednisone.   She is beginning to feel better, thankfully.

Brewing Irish Breakfast tea.  We drink it hot and cold all day long!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Home Again

We arrived home Sunday evening one person less than we started out with.  Emma has started her two year program of Bible Study at a small school in South Carolina.  She's doing well.  

Monday, we took the day to unpack and to get the Autumn decor out of storage.  Every year I change up what I do and where I use things.  I am not a scarecrow kind of gal, I tend to do natural things, flowers, leaves, berries - that kind of thing.  I have been following a nice fall home tours in blogland hosted by Laura @ Finding Home.  I'm enjoying it, and I haven't looked at it yet today, but I am finding that every 'big' home blogger is doing neutrals.  I just couldn't live with that!  I need color!  The reason I love the Autumn is the amazing colors of the leaves changing!

We also are back into the school groove.  Yesterday the kids did watercolor painting and today we will cut leaf shapes out of them and string them up to make a garland!  These kinds of things make our days fun, and make learning more than just academics.

Yesterday we got my parents to the airport and off on their two week visit to California.  They get to hang out with my brother and sister in law, my nephews and niece and their children.  My parents have three great grandsons who live out there!  

While Tim and the girls took them to Philly, I took the time to decorate for Autumn at my Mom's house, with her things.  When she gets home on the 30th her house will be all ready for her to enjoy.

Now today I am headed to take Rachel to Cello and run a few errands.  Then home to finish school, and do some reading and to have rest time.  This is something I did when the older kids were young.  An hour after lunch to be quiet (the little ones always napped) and read or listen to an audio drama and do quiet activity like Legos.  Every one gets a break from each other and time to do something they want to do alone.

I'm certain I'll be drinking some tea during my quiet time.

How are your days going as we slide into Autumn?  We've had warm, mild days and cool, chilly nights!  Love it!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Things I'm Drawn To

 Jamestown Museum

 In the Jamestown Fort - Delft Tiles from Holland

 Jamestown Fort - Chest Detail

 Peyton Randolph House - Williamsburg

 The Randolph Silver - Originial - Williamsburg

 Elizabeth Randolph's Mirror - Originial - Williamsburg
 Elizabeth Randolph's bed - After Peyton's Death

 Yorktown Museum - Men's Waistcoat and trousers

 Yorktown Museum - China teapot - 1768

 Yorktown Museum - Woman's Jacket

Yorktown Museum - Same Jacket

Yorktown Museum - Women's shoes

I love the details of a person's life - how they lived, what they wore, how did they cook, what did they cook.  I should have been an anthropologist.  I guess I'm an amateur one!

Jamestown is early 1600's.  Williamsburg and Yorktown are 1770's.

Information Friday, On Saturday

  Well, I was all set to do a post yesterday, but I had trouble uploading my photos. I really thought I'd get it done in the evening, bu...