Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Birthday To My Sweet Mother in Law!

Today my Mother in law turns 97 years old!  Isn't she beautiful?  This is a photo of her yesterday holding birthday flowers.

She's having several days of celebrating (a woman after my own heart!) with family and friends.

Jean has had a amazing life.  She was a mischievous child, often getting into trouble, gave her heart to Christ and walked and served Him all the days since.  

She worked for Youth for Christ in Canada (she's from Orangeville, Ontario for my Canadian friends) when Leighton Ford was still in high school, went to Bible School, and missionary training where she met Tim's dad.  She was in her early 30's then.  They married, and went to Senegal to work with people groups who didn't have written languages.  She had 6 children, four boys, two girls.  Two boys died in Senegal.  She's Grammy to 15 and great Grammy to eight!

The family came home when Tim's dad struggled with depression.  They ended up working at the headquarters of the mission in Florida.  Tim attended junior high and high school there.  His dad died right after his high school graduation.   His parents were married 30 years.

Jean remarried for another 30 year marriage.  She continued to work with the mission, and then retired.  She did volunteer work at the local food bank for many years, Bible studies, caring for people through hospitality in her home, and she did prison ministry for many years.  For about six years she has been suffering with dementia (short term memory loss).  Her personality was always lively and telling stories and now she is quiet.  Her legs are weak, due to strokes, but her spirit is still one of peace and joy.  

I'm honored to know her and to be part of her family.

Today we celebrate her life, and thank God for her!

Happy Birthday, Mom!  We love you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Family Weekend

Rachel surprised us Friday night by banging on our deck door!  We had no idea she was coming!  I told her, "You didn't give me the opportunity to worry about you driving all that way!"  I don't really worry, but I do think about them and pray when they are journeying.

My niece Kaitlin also arrived at my parents house Friday evening to spend the weekend with her mom, who is visiting. (see previous posts)

On Saturday we went to Aimee Weaver's Fall Market at her small farm.  It was raining so they moved everything inside.  Aimee goes to my parents (we used to go there) church, and is a lovely person.  She has grown her business, and I love that she uses her creativity to bless other people.

A popular thing at her market was the chance to paint your own sign.  Here my sister in law is painting the sign she free hand designed.

This one is mine and I traced and filled in!  I loved it though, and its got my creative juices flowing!

Church on Sunday filled my encouragement tank.  It was so good, and a lovely thing happened on the way into the building.  A sweet gal, stopped me and asked if I was Deanna.  I said, "yes" and she went on to tell me that she read my blog all the time and loved it!  Thanks, Michelle!  It really filled my heart to hear your kind words!

These two slides from the power point during the message were really good, so I thought I'd share them here.

We also talked to a couple who we hadn't seen for many years, and seeing our kids, and Joseph and his brother Daniel all engaged in conversation with people was a real blessing and encouragement to me!

Then we all went to lunch with my parents, Paula (sil), and Kaitlin, my niece.  
Kaitlin took this photo of her and my dad while they were waiting for us!

We came home to some book discussion of a book Tim is reading.  Daniel, Joseph, Wes, Rachel, and Tim and I were involved.  I love listening to these young men, especially, discussing the church in general and specifics about being a part of a church fellowship.

My parents arrived later (after Kaitlin had headed home) and my sister in law taught me to play Farkle.  My parents, Paula and I played.  It was fun.  Rachel and Wes left to meet up with friends, Sarah was at Lindsay and Joseph's house. (Sarah and Lindsay had spent the day with friends at the Renaissance fair.)

Yesterday, I hugged Rachel goodbye, took Sarah to work, and headed to BWI airport to pick up my niece Carrie.  (Kyle went off to work on a job with Tim.)

There is a benefit to an early airport run.  I saw the most amazing sunrise!  I couldn't quite capture it, though.

This morning, I did the kid to work run, and came home to this beauty in my backyard.

My red sunset maples in the front yard are really changing now, and while not super vibrant this year, they are still full of beauty.  Look at that blue October sky, also!

I've taught myself to look for beauty and to see it in the every day.  Its all around us - a plowed farm field, sunlight streaming through trees, hand prints on windows, little kitty paws.

I hope you have a great day!  We're off to eat a soft pretzel and poke around some stores with my mom and Paula.  Tomorrow, I have another airport run, then I'll be focused on our Fall Fest which we are hosting on Sunday.  More on that to come!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Friday Five

We are going to tea today, so I am sharing five photos from my phone.

1.  Last week the sunlight on these clementines caught my attention.  

2. Wes sent me this photo of he and Rachel last weekend.  Aren't they cute?

3. Wednesday night Sarah hosted a campfire for friends.  It was pretty cold and after they had roasted all the s'mores they could hold, they moved inside for Jungle Speed.

4. This was my tree line yesterday in the morning sunshine!  So beautiful!

5. My sister in law brought me a tin of tea from Fortnum and Mason in London.  Of course I had to brew a pot yesterday morning.  It is delicious and gave me the opportunity to bring out my sheep tea cozy!  I love this guy!

I hope you all have a delightful weekend.  We are planning to go to a fall market and do some other shopping but we are supposed to get some rain.  If its not too torrential or windy, we'll still go out!  

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Glorious Autumn

No melancholy days are these!
     Not where the maple changing stands,
Not in the shade of fluttering oaks,
            Nor in the bands

Of twisting vines and sturdy shrubs,
     Scarlet and yellow, green and brown,
Falling, or swinging on their stalks,
            Is Sorrow’s crown.

The sparkling fields of dewy grass,
     Woodpaths and roadsides decked with flowers,
Starred asters and the goldenrod,
            Date Autumn’s hours.

The shining banks of snowy clouds,
     Steadfast in the aerial blue,
The silent, shimmering, silver sea,
            To Joy are true.

My spirit in this happy air
     Can thus embrace the dying year,
And with it wrap me in a shroud
            As bright and clear!

- Autumn 
by Elizabeth Drew Stoddard

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Road Trip

Mom and I had a road trip to BWI yesterday to pick up my sister in law, Paula who is visiting from California.  She came in to beautiful weather, with blue autumn skies and sunshine!

We had dinner out last night in Oxford, Pennsylvania at the Sawmill Grill.  It was delicious and we enjoyed hearing about Paula's trip to Kenya this summer with Robert (my brother) and other people from their church.

Today, she and my mom and I are headed to Lititz to shop at Pebbles and Lace and the Wilbur Chocolates store.  I may be able to talk them into a quick trip up to the Clay bookstore as well!  And while we are so close maybe we'll drive through Middle Creek Wildlife Management area and see the trees.  Sounds like a plan.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

How We've Helped Our Kids Become Their Own Person

I'm not going to get deep with this post, but I just wanted to share what's on my mind.

Many days, I am blessed to speak, or text with all of our kids.  I think that its from the family culture we built.  Spending so much time together due to home education, and helping our kids build friendships with each other has contributed to this, but mainly we were intentional in our building relationship in the family.

Don't think that our kids are tied to my apron strings, though I do have some cute aprons!  No, Tim and I wanted to raise adults who would go out into the world and bring friendship and hope to those God brought into their lives.

I learned to not hold on to them too tightly as they grew and began to spread their wings.  I stayed interested in their lives, and encouraged them (mostly) on their way.  I learned to stop parenting them and to be their friend, a listener and encourager, not a teacher as they became young adults and then adults.  

Each one has had their own way of becoming their own person.  A few took very independent paths.  Making their way, finding out where they fit in the world.  Some needed to spread their wings early, and we learned to release them.

For me, it was a slow stepping out to find what God wanted me to do with my life, and who He made me to be. We are each different, and that's exactly how God designed it to be. I believe that none of us can truly be ourselves, our own person, until we recognize that God has placed us here for a reason.

 Each person, at each stage of life has value and a reason for being.  My job at this point in my life, is to partner with Tim in the business and in raising up the last of our kids.  My job includes lots of conversations, encouraging, speaking affirming words, pointing to our loving God, walking alongside them.

What it looks like in person is lots of minecraft talk, reminders to a teenage boy to clean his room, Marco Polo with a sweet daughter who is mothering two full of life kids many hours away.  It looks like plant talk and lunch dates; phone calls, texting, SnapChat and Facetime with one who is trying to balance her desire to be home with being where she knows God wants her to be and finding contentment in the challenge.  Its babysitting the local grands, and encouraging their parents.  Providing rides to work, swing dancing, and tea and conversation.

We've learned a lot through trial and error, but we've also read books, and we've prayed and asked God to teach us wisdom and how to guide these amazing people He placed into our family.

None of our kids have arrived at perfection, and neither have we.  All people are flawed, and have some areas of life that need grace.  But we are delighted in each 'kid.'  They work hard, love their families, are good friends, good neighbors.  They each are growing and will continue to grow, as we all do, into who God wants them to be.

We are happy to walk alongside them as equals, crying and laughing with them in their joys and sorrows, helping bear burdens, and praying for each one.

Each of our kids knows that we are here for them, for help, for encouragement, but mostly for friendship. 

So that's what was on my mind today.  I hope that it encourages you in someway.  

Have a lovely day!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Greetings On A Crisp Monday Morning

I hope you had a good weekend.  We did.  Tim and Kyle worked on splitting firewood and delivering a load to my parents, while I worked on my closet and made Chicken Tortilla Soup for dinner.

Here are a few videos of my work in my room/closet.

The white desk had been in my closet where the smaller table and mirror is now.  I didn't touch any of Tim's things (yet) and I didn't sort through the bins, but I have some things to give away, and a bag of things for the trash.  Why do we hold on to things that are stained, don't fit any more, or we just don't wear?

My chicken tortilla soup recipe is basically the one Ree Drummond makes.  I just tweaked it a little.  Also I put sour cream and cheese in mine, so it looks creamy.  I also add some tortilla chips (broken up) to it.  So delicious.

My weekend traveler (Sarah) got back safely.  They had a fun weekend with Rachel.  She said it was cold in the Adirondacks! (grin)  She got in around 10:30 last evening and had to be at work at 7:00 am this morning.  It was dark still when we left to take her to work, but the sun was rising on the way home.

I went out on the deck before the sun was above the horizon but it was light out, to take this photo.
Just past the red playhouse to the left is a rogue black walnut tree growing.  I told Tim it has to go because its ruining my view!

This is the same view last week.  The color is coming on quickly now.  My sister in law will be glad!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday Five

Sarah is headed to the Adirondacks today to visit Rachel for the weekend, and they're both happy about this!  She'll get to stay in her dorm room, too, so that'll be fun as well.

1. Late afternoon in the living room.  It still looks bright outside but evening was coming on.  

2. Tim surprised me with these flowers this week.  Its a lovely autumn bouquet!

3. A few weeks ago I brought this ivy inside from being on the table in my cottage garden.  It has grown in this spot, it must have been too rainy in the garden!

4. We had a heavy frost advisory overnight so my aloe, my ficus and the begonia/coleus planting that Nate and Kay gave me for Mother's Day were brought inside.

5. I bought this at the store this week!  I couldn't resist!

I feel as if autumn is hurtling toward Thanksgiving at breakneck speed!  As if I'll blink and find the holiday is here.  This year my girls (except for Rachel) and Emma's babies are headed, with me, to Texas for a visit with dear, dear friends.  We're going the week after Thanksgiving! We can't wait!  Its going to be awesome.

This also means that it will be the Christmas season when I get back!  So I need to be thinking ahead for decor, gifts, etc.  Also I host our co-op Moms for a Christmas party, and I plan to host a tea in my home for friends.  Lots to think about and plan for, so no judgments about the magazine!  Lol!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Mirror, Mirror

I stopped in at a great store in a small town near to our cottage.  Gather Home Boutique and Furniture is a sweet place with lots of lovely painted signs and furniture, and other treasures for your home.  An acquaintance friend, has a small section of this store for her business Found and Fresh. 

My friend showed a great mirror on her instagram page for Found and Fresh that caught my eye, so I went over there yesterday to check it out.

I bought it, and a Christmas gift, but we won't talk about that yet!

Here is the mirror in terrible light.

This is a heavy wood frame, but I just love the way it looks, and I need to decide where to hang it.  The issue with where is that Tim would like to keep the desk top in the living room, so we are looking for a cabinet for it.  The likely place for that is my plate wall.  Sigh.

So depending on where the plates go (maybe to my bedroom) The mirror may go here in the living room or it may also go to my bedroom.  It could potentially go at the end of the hallway, so we'll see.

I'm working on having only things that I really love in my home, and in my closet, going by the William Morris quote:

Quote de William Morris: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful

 Isn't that a good motto to live by?

I really love this mirror and it was only $30.00.  Can you believe it?  Do you ever buy something, not knowing exactly where you'll use it? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Poetry Teatime

I watched the girls on Monday and Tuesday.  When they are here I'm trying to keep a schedule of sorts, since that seems to work well with them.

So first up, schoolwork for Kamryn (and Kyle) then lunch.  After lunch we watch a moving during resting time.  Klaire slept during resting time both days, but as long as she lays down, she doesn't have to sleep.  She does, usually.

I told Kamryn that after resting time, we'd have tea, and she held me to it!

She picked out the tea cups, while I brewed the Chamomile tea. I put out a few cookies for them, and Kamryn put a few clementines on the plate, too.

I like to incorporate some poetry exposure during tea time so I read Robert Louis Stevenson's Autumn Fires to them and we worked on memorizing it.  Klaire just ate cookies, but Kamryn is well on her way to knowing it!

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
and all up the vale
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail.

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers
The red fire blazes
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons
Something bright in all
Flowers in the summer
Fires in the fall!

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Autumn Activities

The temperatures have moderated and have been in the 50's, and though its been rainy still, I think that is going to change at least for one day this week!

Autumn brings the delight of wearing sweaters, dressing in layers; with a cute dress, leggings and boots.  Its clove and wild orange oil in the diffuser, and turning on ambient lighting as evening comes.

I've been using little battery operated strings of lights in my jars and votive holders.  It's so nice to have the light without having to deal with candles.

I love going outside and having the cool air hit my face, and enjoy the scent of wood smoke in the air.  I love the burning bush turning red, and the viburnum leaves going yellow.  I saw the first of my neighbors oak leaves in our driveway this morning, and while I know this means a million oak leaves are on their way, I really don't mind.  His tree will give us weeks of beauty to enjoy.

I've been knitting hats again, this time for a friends' granddaughters.  Kamryn has requested hats for her and Klaire, too.  They knit up so easily and are really cute.  I like feeling productive, too.

I think I may have to knit one for myself, too.  This pattern is really cute!  My problem is figuring out what yarn to use for myself, as I like a lot of different colors.  So...maybe that means more than one hat?!

Sarah and Rachel's boyfriend Wes, are headed up to visit Rachel this weekend.  Sarah is so excited to see Rachel, its been six weeks since she has seen her.  Wes is happy to go visit as well, as you can imagine!  Rachel's school requires her to have a chaperone if she goes off campus with someone of the opposite sex, so Sarah is filling that role this weekend, as well.

I think I want to have a campfire this weekend, if the rain will go away and allow the ground to dry out.  I even has supplies ready for s'mores!  

My sister in law, Paula, is coming for a visit next week.  She'll be staying at my parents house, but may stay with us a few days also.  I'll be picking her up at BWI on Tuesday.  We plan to go to tea, do some shopping, and maybe a fall foliage drive.  She's hoping for fall color but so far we don't have much.

I have Klaire and Kamryn again today, and I need to get Kyle and Kamryn started on their school work.  I hope you have a wonderful day.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Home Maintenance: Replacing The Toilet In The Guest Bathroom

When we bought our cottage, 17 years ago, we had many projects that had to be done right away.  With a tight budget, and a fixer upper house, we didn't bother to change out things that were working just fine.

Now we are at a place in life, and in the life of this house, that we have a list of 'small' projects we want to get done.

Saturday Tim and I went to our local hardware store and brought home a new Delta low flow toilet. It has a nice profile and fits the space in this bathroom very well.

The only issue is that with the smaller profile, the tank doesn't fit the exact space that the other tank did, and you can see the colors that our bathroom has been!

Thankfully we had paint left over from this room and Tim quickly painted a coat over this space and then attached the tank and we were in business!

Its the little things in life that are so satisfying, isn't it?

I'm a happy girl!

Next we have two projects, a different toilet for the master bathroom, Tim wants one that has two flush options, and a new kitchen door.  

Maintaining a house takes work, but its worth it!


  We are finally getting some blue skies with real clouds, and sunshine! I took sometime with Kyle and Kamryn's help to set up the deck ...