Endless Gifts

Sometimes, my heart feels so full to …bursting. This year it brims. It brims in every way.

-sweet, sweet Thanksgiving

-their thankfulness round the table; tucking in a small sister, music lessons, acro, the anticipation of Christmas, cousins coming to visit, time to rest and renew over the break, being able to help a fellow Scout on his Eagle project; such goodness

-new Christmas traditions in Maryland: electric parade, Christmas lights, the promise of a neighborhood Christmas lights walk and cocoa, Advent beginnings, book wrappings, tree decorating,

-turkey soup

-memories of special late night movie watching with Todd and the three oldest boys, and realizing the fitting-ness of it all. This season.

-the laugh Abi and I shared as the rabbit float rolled by

Crushed peppermint on cupcakes1126171953

The little light show at the college and the girls’ singing and delighted

everyone, back to class and school, and the hope of Christmas break

Spangler candy canes and home-made elderberry syrup; hot tea!

Time together in the quiet

Coconut Whip floating in coffee and hot cocoa, such delight

Advent candles on the table

quiet words for my heart

-Endless gifts in photos-



Thanksgiving 2017

Sweet, sweet is the day and the feast and the merry-making and the soft, landing for weary, weary bones.

Tucked in, cozy…candle flicker, feast foods

a sunset walk and

warm welcome back.

Menu 2017


Veggie Platter

Triscuits and Special Sauce

Ham and pickle roll-ups

Deviled eggs

Main Menu

Roasted Turkey

Steamed corn

Steamed green beans

Italian Salad

Broccoli Salad

Holiday Cranberry Relish

Holiday Rolls

Sweet Potato Bake

Whipped Mashed Potatoes


Apple Crumble Pie

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Roll

Dairy Free French Silk Pie

Chocolate Chip Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Jewish Apple Cake

Photos from Thanksgiving Day and Prep Day (the day before…)

Notes: Micah made the broccoli salad, bread dough, special sauce and pumpkin pies; Nathanael made the Cranberry Relish and Jewish Apple Cake; Asher and Nathanael made the vegetable platter; Asher and Abi made the pumpkin roll and pumpkin bars, Abi helped with the deviled eggs;  Abi and Joshua rolled the ham and pickle roll-ups; Abi laid out the triscuit platter and pre-cooked the bacon for the broccoli salad; Jonah and I made Chocolate Chip Pie **Jonah was ill with fever on prep day so we did this on Thanksgiving Day; Joshua and I made Apple Crumble Pie and he peeled eggs for the Deviled eggs; Aymee, Melodee, and Norah rolled the dough balls for the rolls; Aymee and Melodee helped make Dairy Free French Silk pie; Norah helped make Sweet Potato Marshmallow Bake; Todd made the Turkey and smashed the potatoes for me; he steamed the veggies and sliced red onion; I put the salad together; seasoned the mashed potatoes, helped  with, filled, and rolled the pumpkin roll; Made the deviled egg filling and sliced/filled the eggs, made apple pie, sweet potato bake, french silk pie, chocolate chip pie, and made a Martha Stewart pumpkin bar with left-over canned pumpkin- that was not a favorite due to the bittersweet chocolate chips I used. 

I put the girls in fancy hair-dos… and even Abi had her hair twisted into two adorable knots for the evening festivities. Todd and I heard musical pieces from children and watched two Christmas dances (by the little girls). The sunset walk was perfect and Norah was a bright, pink, effervescent streak against the darkening sky. There was Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and the Thanksliving Box. There was the best food of the year.  There was ‘going around the table.’ And prayer for the year that was and is to come. And now… Lord of the Rings extended with my biggest people. 

This whole day is an offering of praise. Thank You, Lord. Let us live for You and You, be with us. We lift up our remembrance stones. Thank You for all the deliverance in our lives. 

I think about the stories that captivate our (my family’s) hearts and inform our minds; and I want to live a more faithful, intentional story every day.

Happy Thanksgiving friends!



Endless Gifts

I have been coughing incessantly for over a week now. And taking more medicinal aids than ever before in an attempt to overcome.  Sleep- so little (in general), is even more minimized with the disruptive coughing and discomfort.  And, still, honey in tea or steaming hot water works the best.

….Endless Gifts, beginning November….

a primary care doctor and a golden drive to get there

Gettysburg with Todd (even though it feels almost buried by this illness- the pictures remind me… we were there.)

Dobbin House by Candlelight

the Gettysburg Starbucks (which has this beautiful, carved wooden map covering a complete wall) and the Christmas Tree Hill shop

conversations with my Mom; sometimes grumpy, sometimes funny, always real

a poem request

my people at the table

little girls with hair twisted into buns, skipping with delight

his first indoor rec soccer game (A)

his hair all rumpled and all the prevailing attempts to persuade against the (inevitable) hair cut- it didn’t work… but it brought a whole lot of joy and laughs (A)

the astonishment of him, washed, groom, dare I say fragrant?, styled… early! in the morning…O! the full  co-ordinated outfit, too.(anonymous for respect, but so noteworthy- placing it here for my heart memories.)

watching his growth in academic writing this year; in all writing this year (M)

flute notes…rising, of an early morn… and he is improvising (J)

the way he changes the whole atmosphere when he is at the helm in the kitchen, working magic on counter and dish (N)

The Republic of Tea- Ginger Peach! Orange Ginger Mint!

a time to rest

my sister, always there to talk sense into me and to share an understanding of my world cause it’s her world, too

the colors are/were more muted this year, and I am left with November- still in flame and suddenly so cold-  and there is all the whisk and tumble, scatter, and whoosh of wind in the dry crackle of leaves and the bare limb branches. The moon slung low in the sky. The early darkness now.

The curtains pulled, the blinds drawn up, and light flooding the house and pushing away the gloom














A Poem for November

A Poem for November


Burnished bronze, gold, and


flame in leaf and



Wind wraps me round,

I shiver


Gone, gone golden October


leaf, luminous, parchment-


mellowed, aging light

spun through

the solemn, stain-glassed


-of November.


moody skies shift and change



blue, gray, streaked white,

spits rain-


there is magic;

the early, gentle



the cusp of all

family, feasting, holiday


joyous reveling.


tables groan and candles glimmer,

mugs steam,

and early,

early comes the darkness

inviting all to hunker in,

light the lamps, start the fire.

Push out cold! It’s warm within!

Come in, come in.


Window lights gleam

amidst the sudden press

of darkness,

wind strips daily

all adornment from

the trees


who abandon all their beauty-

unresisting, unabashed.

Half-undone, half-unspun,


a little while longer-

russet, gold, burnished bronze

golden ground; crimson limb-

sunny yellow, velvet purple, creams, and white;

those stalwart, plucky pansies



Still, there’s color. Still, there’s time.

-all the ground is gold-

– November.

-for Courtney


66books today

Nathanael and I are recently and today at 66books!

Here (him):

2 Kings 9; 1 Timothy 6; Hosea 1; Psalm 119: 73-96
Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.” 2 Kings 9:13

and here (me)

2 King 12; Hosea 3; Hosea 4; Psalm 119:121-144; 2 Timothy 2

I just returned from a funeral and a brief foray spent at my childhood home. Some things become crystal clear:

Psalm 119:

127Therefore I love your commandments
above gold, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right;
I hate every false way. ESV

Read the rest at Sixty-six books in a year

Blessings on your Monday!


Quietly Here

I am still here.

A voice rising from a space of quiet darkness.

-where much has been happening-

Choosing to publish and refresh posts that have been sitting patiently

in my


and purposing to catch my breath

and capture this good life

in the shape of my words

and the frame of my lens.

This year has proven more demanding and challenging that

even I

could have expected or predicted…

with heads down and soul fortified

we are all

pressing on.

And I plan to rouse myself and light


round our table.

Their flame will flicker hope and goodness and beauty.


Love is a table


Hope is a door



is a hand in mine.






I cry

(just like I said, I really do)

this year

this senior year, launch year, goodbye year, hello year, one more year, essay year, test scores year, stretching, reaching, belly aching, hair pulling, memorize your face



even for me, hold it in, swallow it back, stand up straight, knock it out


seeping, weeping, trailing, leaking

(shhh…sometimes sobbing)

Birthing year, hurting year, hard year, grace year, hug you close, push away, watch

you fly.



I cry.

Endless Gifts- October

Slim side-wise grin of the moon, just in my view, and only from that one particular aspect ( I could only see it from exactly where I landed as I crawled into my van) and the way the gold light glimmered

Making dinner with wee rainbows all around me and its eggs and sausage, and dippy eggs and toast, and fruit all mixed with lemon crushed by my hands

and the way the rainbows fill the kitchen, glance off our skin, shine on the walls

Sprouted bread from Aldi toasty warm with spread

Sunday salad with red onion and cukes and greens and good seasons goodness

The way he stocks our pantry

3000 meters on the erg: again, again

Philosophy fragrances against my skin and their little voices, “Mommy, you smell delicious!”

Coconut Ice Cream and Ice Cream Sandwiches

Pumpkin bars and the promise of more as the squat can waits on my counter

Their happiness in October

The Admissions essay (am I thankful for this? I think it is the hardest thing I have ever encountered. Hard.)

Toast. And Hot Cocoa.

a (graduate) diploma in the mail. M. Tax.

The last soccer game under the lights

A food challenge saturated in prayer

October glory days, that sky, those clouds, that light…

the twirl of golden leaves

a needed pause to renew

a drape of fog weaving in and out of Pennsylvania mountains

A song from my high school years…just taking me back… and I take Todd back with me.

reconciliation and kindness

Endless Gifts in Photos

a degree hard-earned; a drive down a beautiful road-with chickens, a red barn, and a road named after me; Merry’s new coat; a red soccer shirt;them walking; my darlings: big and little; french toast and maple syrup; Fall Harvest Festival with Contempic and Lemonades for four littles; Todd and his grandparents; twinnies cuddled up; an Eagle Project Complete; all round Mom and Dad’s table; my butterfly girls; that Maryland sky; Jonah helping Mellie practice piano; Pennsylvania mountains and fog – and all I have to do is point it out to Todd and say: Miss.













Endless Gifts

A quick stop at Courtney’s and then all the world rimmed in gold

An armful of purple mums, an oblong plum I misplaced and then found again

tutoring hours and faithfulness

tea lattes on a rain-splattered Saturday with Nathanael

Friday night soccer game fun: the excitement when they return from the winning game and the memories round the table

Daily school rhythms rolling

Todd’s Stromboli

The week ahead: we take up the full mantle of fall; of the school year- their excitement to be back in all things. Their joy in the familiar rhythms of their childhood/growing up life.

A doctor appointment pressing me deeper to tend to myself

last ACT practice test

Our online classes especially Micah’s AP literature class… if I was on my phone I was post a stream of heart-eyes. 🙂 A hundred loves for this one. Pure delight in its reality being exactly what I hoped.

A gifted heart mug that is warming me inside and out.

College applications and counselor letters and school profile documents that make me cry

Chocolate chip muffins for a first day breakfast

working my way back toward candle rhythms and music rhythms and clean up rhythms…slowly

Sunday dinner round the table & candles & happiness

Waffles and Maple Syrup

Little truffles that please them

His bright eyes and energy peering at me over the tumult

September’s golden honey sunshine






1 Samuel 28; Ezekiel 7; 1 Corinthians 9; Psalm 45

I am at 66 books today! I usually post the first and third Mondays of the month. I have missed linking here a couple of times.

Join me?

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir. NASB