Endless Gifts- Beginning July

The cold spray of a water balloon releasing in my hands

Their happy shouts and gallops about the yard

Getting the bushes trimmed while they play, happy

amazing home-made by me pizza  for Summer Camp

Their eyes when I say, “How about some bacon on that?”

her waving goodbye with clutched flowers in her hand

The nap time break every afternoon of summer camp week, with the door shut, and the air purifier on. It is amazing what that does for me!

“Build Your Kingdom…” by Rend Collective

Their teen music

A walk (several walks and a picnic dinner) at the place that is an small echo of our Carolina Greenway with my six younger children, listening to the birds singing, reciting excerpts from “We’re going on a Bear Hunt…” as we go through the small wooded section… and they squeal and tell me to stop. 🙂

Abigaile’s schedule that is guiding us smoothly through camp week

Pictures of the bunny!

Bunny supplies enroute, for our new little family member

The profusion of pansies in the barrel

Writing nights

The goodness of a walk with the wind in my face

My little blond girl chasing butterflies

My big girl carefully seeking birds

The 1.99 any size Mocha frappe at McDonalds. Terrible for my healthy eating plan- but, O! I needed it that day. And it was good. And I am grateful. And the five minutes I drove a little extra down the road with the music loud and the air in my face and the children happy with drinks… and who cares if Norah spills all over her shirt because it is only water for her and her sisters next to her and I change her when we walk in the door. And ice water from McDonalds is a special experience. The straw, the ice, the cup. Its the little things!

Watching the sun highlights shine out in her golden brown hair… just like mine when I was her age. Just like mine. Her hair all streaked with gold.

His full out leap onto the slip and slide. No holds barred…and the exultant delight with those satisfying slides into the spray.

The sun and the wind and the birdsong and the butterflies

Only two more sleeps….one more sleep… they are home!

I stare at their faces. I study their countenance. My heart eases. I can’t get enough of each one. I feel the deep exhale.

All the little movies I take all week long… of our adventures here. And we swap camera movie clips at the end of the day…we get to see the Scouts and they get to see us. Goodness.

and I wield my camera like a light, shining the victory, shining the happy, shining joy. Shining out over the ache, the weary, the hard.

Wrapping grace round me like a shawl, and faith believing for it to soak deep in







Scout Camp Cooking 2016

This past weekend I completed my third Summer Camp Cook Day. I am including our menu below for future reference. The camps are always gracious to provide their weekly menus and we always look them over and then plan accordingly- so they are slightly different each year. But I have decided having a reference point would be very helpful so I am going to log it here.

This Cook Day was unique because Todd had a mid-term exam that day and therefore was not available at all until 7 p.m. that night. I had completely forgotten about this and was refreshed in my mind Friday night. Oh! And then I started the day unexpectedly running errands and ended it with the final cooking of wedged potatoes. 🙂 and the organizing of the medicine bag/kit our son takes everywhere and especially to camp.

I thought that perhaps this post should be titled- “How an INFP cooks for Scout Camp” when not able to accumulate everything entirely before the Cook Day begins… ! Grin. It was a bit haphazard at times.

All of Asher’s food was prepared by me with some help from children, and I must say, I think it turned out super delicious!  It is a good feeling to send them off with such great provisions. Micah also eats from the coolers because much of the food is not compatible with his lactose intolerance. It is a great help to him, also.

Mainly, I want to remember the fun moments. Racing through stores with Nathanael and stopping for an unexpected chat with a fellow Mom at another.  A little reprieve! for sure. There I was, in the self checkout at one store, hustling through- holiday weekend= craziness! and my phone rang. And I had to answer it, because it was the plumber and he was calling to say he was on the way to look at some small leaks so there I was, on the phone and hustling through the checkout with the piercing stare of the people behind me upon me. I whisked through! Those of you who know me well can probably imagine how I was feeling- given how much I dislike taking phone calls/ talking on the phone especially during such a setting! I am pretty proud of myself for managing to coupon, pay, and business call all at the same time! and keep up the pace for the people lined up behind me.

The atmosphere in the kitchen was a little tense at times… but we managed to smooth it out and make it through. Micah walked by as I was cracking dozens of eggs for the Egg Bake I was making. Crack, down, Crack, down and he remarked, “Mom, what is this- desperation egg cracking? I have never seen you crack eggs like this before.” Desperation egg cracking. How I laughed! He was so right. I was a woman on a mission! And I was feeling a little desperate- manning the family/house and the cooking while Todd was taking his exam. Asher chose fun music and then just for me, put on Rend Collective- and O! Love! Such a great moment…

and he slipped on the floor at one point and all I saw as I walked into the room was what looked like an incredibly graceful dance move complete with jump and leap! So light on his feet and how I laughed!!

Asher learned to grill hamburgers on our indoor grill the- George Foreman. How the boys pondered the name of the grill! Ha~! And to make pancakes. He did an excellent job! This was a highlight for him. Apparently he has wanted to learn how to grill hamburgers and cook pancakes for a long time, now. This doesn’t surprise me at all. Grilling suits him perfectly. 🙂

I ran into trouble with the cans of kidney beans for the Chili and Nathanael came to the rescue and calmly helped deal with our electric can opener while I was working with the big pot on the stove and trying to peel back the metal cans and rinse the beans in the colander.

Micah and Abi had little girls out to the swings and entertained upstairs again and again and again.

There were many other details with helps for different things.

Part of the fun on Cook Day is making plenty so that lunch and dinner for the children are just feasting on what is cooling on the table. Pancakes, Chili, Pizza, whatever is there!

Breakfast: Blueberry Muffins, Pancakes, Individual Cereal and Rice Milk, Egg Bake Squares

Lunch: Pigs in a Blanket, Tacos (meat, lettuce, tortillas), Shredded chicken and rolls, Pulled Pork and Rolls, Pizza Slices (Bacon and Ground Beef, Chedder Daiya and Prego) PB and J, Lunch Meat

Dinner: Sausage and Bread, Shredded Chicken, Pasta and Ground Beef, Hamburgers and Bacon Wrapped Hamburgers, Shredded Pork, Chili

Sides: Green Beans, Broccoli, Wedged Potatoes, Applesauce in individual cups. Chopped Romaine, Baby Carrots, Peaches, Cherries, Maple Syrup

Dessert: Oatmeal Cream Pies, S’Mores Bars, Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar, Rice Krispy Treats



Newly 15


Nathanael is my Independence Day baby. No longer a baby. Newly 15. He and I celebrated his first fourth of July, together, in the hospital. 🙂 He still looks just as good in red as he did as a wee small one. 🙂 We celebrated his birthday a weekend early to make sure we got to fully enjoy it before he left for Summer Camp on his actual birthday.  Nathanael is an incredible blessing to me. He is a calming help to have around in a stress filled situation, a wonderful help to me when I am running errands, and my right hand man when Micah is away. I am so blessed to have him in my life.  Most recently, he helped me during my frantic Scout camp cooking endeavor- more on that later. 🙂

He chose a wonderful meal!

We enjoyed Roast, Corn on the Cob, Watermelon, Roasted Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli, Lemonade, and Sprite.

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing and Vanilla Dairy Free Ice Cream.

I always check in with my children as to their comfort level what is posted on here. If they are not comfortable or okay- I do not put it up!

Nathanael’s 15th Birthday Interview

1.)Favorite food- Roast

2.)Favorite Songs- Ceasefire by For King and Country, Berlin by The Piano Guys

3.)Favorite Poem- Oliphaunt by JRR Tolkein

4.)Favorite Day of the Week- Sunday

5.)Favorite Bird- Crow (Yes, really!)

6.)Favorite Bible Verses – Psalm 1:1-2

7.)Favorite Hymn- Be Thou My Vision

8.)Favorite Book- The Lord of the Rings

9.)Favorite Music Group- For King and Country

10.)Favorite Activity- Going to library and running errands in general 🙂 Perhaps this is because I make this a one- on- one time and we often get lemonade or tea and combine talking with navigating different stores. It is very enjoyable!

11.)Favorite Movies- The Empire Strikes Back, Two Towers (LLOTR), and Winter Soldier (Captain America)

12.)Favorite past-time/hobby- Building Legos

13.) Favorite place he’s been- North Carolina

14.)Favorite Lego set- the new Millenium Falcon

15.) Favorite Website- Worldmag.org

And one to grow…

16.) Something he is looking forward to- Scout camp, Family weekend coming up in August

Happy, happy birthday Nathanael!  You are truly a gift from God!

Celebrating Todd


Father’s Day Weekend was a grand celebration. Todd likes to claim the month of June as his. 🙂 His birthday frequently falls on Father’s Day. We had a wonderful gathering the first weekend in June for Micah, and dear friends of ours were there. My sweet friend, the wife, has a birthday that often falls on Mother’s Day (as do two of my children)… and her and her husband’s solidarity with Todd’s experience was revealing to me. It is hard when your birthday falls on another celebrated day! Especially when you are a parent and it is a ‘parent’ day that is the other event. I think it is hard when you are grown-up and it seems ‘easy’ to let it be minimized- but the longer I walk this path I’m on in the Lord, the more convinced I become that special days are important. They are opportunities for honor and for relationship building and for memory making. I was renewed in mind to celebrate Todd for the great Dad that he is and also to celebrate his birthday! And to make sure it felt like both and not just one all smooshed together. 🙂

Grace fell upon me and I realized we would split the weekend and celebrate his birthday on one of the days and Father’s Day on the other. I say grace fell upon me because the whole week prior I was consumed and so very worried about pressing issues in other areas of our life that I could hardly think straight to plan a birthday.

I enjoyed several shopping trips with different children and one, in particular, blessed me, with his special gift and loving heart toward his Dad.

We had a wonderful weekend full of so much great food!, movies, game playing (not by me), and an evening walk …maybe- two?

Chicken Enchiladas, Spanish Rice, a special Salad with crushed garlic and Italian dressing, Watermelon- the birthday feast.

Banana cake with Strawberry icing. This we got to share with my Dad as we enjoyed this on Father’s Day and that was very special! Both being able to visit with my Dad on Father’s Day and also sharing birthday cake with him.

We had Cinnamon Rolls and Scrambled Eggs for our traditional birthday breakfast and our regularly scheduled but always amazing Saturday night Pizza. Todd did make this… this is his specialty.

I love you, Todd!

Season of Fireflies


For many years, I have entertained hopes of the children enjoying the summer joy of firefly catching. For many different summers, it has been hard to get out there. This summer, we are enjoying this fleeting season almost for all its worth. Beginning with Summer solstice…and continuing on as we are able.


And, O!  The things they say.

My little one… could not be convinced to call this blinking creature anything other than…”butterflies”… no matter how many times we told her they were “fireflies” and how astonished she was to hold one in her hand and watch it light! It was almost the first thing out of her mouth the next morning…complete with hand motions for the “blink blink” of the “butterflies”

Melodee, who burst into tears two nights in a row when it was time to come in because she had yet to catch one,

asked the next day, “Tonight,  are we going to catch flutterflies?”  and then

as she was speaking, my little one chimed in…”When the dark is down?”

And she did catch more than one this night.


And I watched them trail across the grass, heedless, eager. The oldest of this bunch is 10 and he proceeds more cautiously, softly, attentively.

He helps and catches some for small, insistent sisters.

I didn’t enjoy this night for all itself, was worth. I wish I would have. But I am grateful for what I did receive and capture and O! I am so grateful for the beautiful ones who stream across our yard and hold light in their hands


and lay it down in the grass in wonder.