Happy, happy birthday! We are all still basking in the glow of such a wonderful birthday party over the weekend. We celebrated, just us,  (yesterday by the time this posts) today with breakfast, signs, and special dinner. Three things I love about Asher: I love his sense of humor, his ability and talent with computers even to understanding how they build together also he is the much appreciated tech support for me and siblings, often!, finally, I love his determination. I love you, Buddy!

Asher is fourteen! Fourteen things about Asher with one to grow!

1.Favorite Scripture: Psalm 119:

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
    and a light to my path.

2. Favorite Color: Dark Green

3.Favorite Hymn: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

4.Favorite Place he’s been: Ama’s house  🙂

5.Favorite book(s): Light of the Last by Chuck Black, Inheritance (Eragon series)

6.)Favorite food: fruit salad

7.)Favorite dessert: Chocolate chocolate chocolate cake (his exact words)

8.)Favorite song: “Feel It” by Toby Mac

9.) Favorite album: This Is Not A Test

10.) Favorite poem: The Duke of Plaza-Toro

11.)Favorite subject: Sonlight reading in History and Literature (this surprised me and made me glad, glad, glad) followed closely by Math

12.)Favorite time of day: Morning

13.)Favorite movie: Captain America- Winter Soldier

14.)Favorite extra-curricular activity: Soccer!

15.)Favorite season of the year: this was a hard choice- finally, summer

A birthday verse for you, Asher, and one I scrawled quickly on one of your posters:

Psalm 119: 9-12

How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord;
    teach me your statutes!

Sweet Birthday Celebration Fulfilled

Note: I always try to be careful of other peoples’ privacy with online photos. This is why there are not photos posted here of all the people gathered. I have permission to post my nephew in this space. Glad, glad, glad!

On Saturday, we were able to gather as a family and celebrate with a party that was a year ‘in the wait’ and it was just like our Lord to have it overflowing in goodness above and beyond what we could ask and imagine. Not only was everyone able to make it(except for my brother Ryan, who was hunting, yet even he made a facetime appearance! 🙂 ), but the special gift chosen for Asher from my parents arrived that very day (unexpectedly!)and he was able to have the two most awesome computer people in our family if I do say so myself(aka Grandad and Uncle Colin) on site to help with install and set-up.

Last year, Asher turned 13. He turns 14 tomorrow! We began a tradition of hosting an extended family birthday party for the thirteen year old, complete with fun caution tape and signs created by my sister when our oldest turned 13. 2015 was Asher’s debut into the teen years. We had to cancel the party. He chose to reschedule it for the next year because it was so important to him that family be able to make it and there was so much illness and scheduling conflicts we couldn’t make it happen.  It was a disappointing time.  Asher was determined, though, and convinced. He didn’t want to have it if we couldn’t make it successfully happen. He looked to the future with trust and determination. And so, several months ago, we set the date and sent the email invites and planned for the best.

Well, Saturday, that reschedule hope and dream came true. Every one of his 16 cousins was there. And… he got to celebrate with Jacob, beloved kid brother cousin, who turned 13 in August and had to wait for his caution tape, too. So, they were both wrapped. The older boys’ bedroom door is once again bedecked in caution tape. I had removed it last year in preparation for this momentous occasion and it has waited one long year to once again exhibit its yellow and black glory.

So, we had a glorious double 13 party full of all our favorite people.  And it was the chocolatiest chocolaty of teen parties, too. Asher requested Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Chocolate Chips. Jacob requested Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie. I pour a chocolate ganache on top of this, also. I loved their chocolate, chocolate choices: o! so delicious! The cake was lit with 28 candles and they blew them out together in one perfect, fell swoop.

I think every one of us enjoyed some special time with various members. It was a blessing for me to watch my littles interact and play with all their other little cousins. There are eight, soon to be nine little cousins age 6 and under. We so so appreciate all our family who traveled in to celebrate and many traveled back the same night and some came right after traveling back from holiday visiting with other family.

We celebrated with big crock pots of Chili over Rice. There was soda of all sorts including Root Beer especially for Jacob. Grateful for the veggie platter supplied by my Mom. There were chips and crackers of all sorts, too. Decor, paper products, and Fritos from my sister.

And cake. And chocolate.

And the heart-swelling gladness of my son’s happy face and this dream of a party coming true beyond what he could have asked or imagined.

Thank You, Lord. Thank you, everyone. 

Thanksgiving 2016

headerOur day is still going strong with a rousing game of Lego Champion and children gathered in the family room with Dad while little ones have been tucked in and are sleeping sweetly (finally) after their full and adventuresome day (no nap). And O! how the roars of laughter are making me grin. (update: Joshua is the victor!and the thrill!!)

I am at the computer with a steaming mug next to me (being a complete caffeine rebel as I finish my coffee from earlier this evening- it is a small mug, a tea cup, really. 🙂 )

I have felt tucked deep in, today. Tucked deep and unable to reach out with words. I am grateful for the way the day has rolled and every sweet moment we were able to celebrate from the walk at “our greenway” to the devotions, movies, and music. I am thankful for the memories being crafted round a game table right now and for the serendipitous ideas to put framed words on our dessert table and photo books on the coffee table. (Thinking of you, so much, Elizabeth with those photo books and all you do in and through yours and the testimony of what they mean to your children.) Celebrating with photo books is a strong act of faith for me as there is so much in me that struggles there and has for many years.

I am thankful for the phone call from my brother and the texts and emails from my family. My words are tucked in deep. How I love you and thank God for you!

I am thankful for the encouraging words from a dear son who reads these words here and tells me how much he enjoys it and encourages me to keep on.

Grateful for all the beauty in the midst. This year I learned that I really can create Thanksgiving with only one cook day and a partial clean day. The house wasn’t (isn’t) to the standard I truly prefer and I think this was the source of some of my inward and outward! turmoil. I was very sorrowful and concerned over this change in our routine as for many years we always cooked two full days and cleaned for one. There was no way that could happen this  year. I was sad and worried! I struggled a lot with attitude and temper and fatigue this holiday. I know it is stress related, and I am sorry for that. There were also some rocky teen encounters and some challenging three year old encounters. 🙂 I try to remember that sweetness and relationships are more important and if I can’t reach my desire and standard without having a melt down, I need to let it go. I do. I think this is the source of some of my sorrow and also not knowing how to truly relax in this season (of life and time of year). I feel at odds and unsettled when it is perfectly acceptable to rest and refresh. It is also hard to feel that freshness when a need arises any minute from one of any of my children that requires something of me. Thinking on this…just a little.I have had to let a lot go within this year with balancing a very busy school year and it is hard for me. I am “okay” in the moment, but then when push comes to shove and I am in the thick of it, I struggle with the things I had to let go of. I need to remember the lessons from my pregnancy years. I am remembering…

I am overwhelmingly, astoundingly grateful, thankful, beyond words- yes, speechless with thanks for our good health, the health of the children thus far this year. The life we have been able to live this year so far(full throttle for everyone) and so healthy. When I remember last year, even last year’s Thanksgiving post, I am mute with praise. I know it is the Hepa filter/UV light and I am so thankful.

I have been plagued by unsettled feelings of seasons changing and children growing up. I know I need to keep my focus straight before me where there are precious ones to tend and invest in. I know I need to hold everything with a loose hand before the Lord and it is all good because He is in it. Help me to delight in each one, Lord! Help me to walk with You and follow You!

Every year we refine a little bit… and this year we have added to our routine by creating a breakfast tradition and adding warm cider as a component to our dinner.

Todd brought home the biggest turkey we have ever had Monday night. 26.5 pounds. It had to be squished hard into our roaster and then smoked the house out with a bit of overflowing juice. Almost nixed our walk, but he fixed it and we made it! The deviled eggs took on a luxurious new take as I, with great haste and much generosity, over did the mayo and spicy mustard. They were the very last item I made on Wednesday. I had been cooking all day. I had had one very insistent little helper all day and I had made many recipes with different children (challenging for introvert me). On the last recipe with my wee girl on the chair next to me. Could hardly see what I was doing and just winged it. Thankfully,  everyone liked them. But they certainly are ….different. We didn’t make steamed veggies this year like we usually do. Todd and I casually decided we wouldn’t have pumpkin roll and then learned that this was a very important part of Thanksgiving and that I had told the two children assigned to this recipe(last year) that this year they would get to make it all by themselves. So, we added that back onto the menu. They almost did the entire thing all on their own. Impressive!  I tried to make chocolate pie with the twins again. I was so flustered, I added ingredients in wrong and it was not at all the fun experience it was supposed to be.I also forgot to put that pie out on the dessert table, so as of now, I have no idea how it turned out!  I saved the day for the twins by having them shape the rolls with me. Norah helped with the sweet potato bake this year (along with many other things. Grin. She is a maker and a doer and I think, an extrovert!)

Thanksgiving 2016


Blueberry Cobbler Cake, Fried Eggs


Warm Cider, Orange Ginger Mint tea (for me! Perfect after dinner tea! thank you dear Courtney!),Water, Coffee


Roasted Turkey,Mashed Potatoes,Sweet Potato Bake,Sweet Potato Casserole  (healthified for me),Italian Salad,Cranberry Relish,Holiday Rolls,Deviled Eggs,Broccoli Salad


Open faced apple pie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Bars, Pumpkin Roll, Jewish Apple Cake, Chocolate Cream Pie

Micah playing for me

Abi playing for me

Blessed Thanksgiving and Advent dear friends!


Thanksgiving Bake/Cook Day!

It’s Thanksgiving Bake and Cook Day at our house today!

We cook with an extravagance of eggs in great joy. What once was lost, has been restored, and it never gets old. We celebrate our Thanksgiving with deep and abiding glee! I believe this is our seventh Thanksgiving with eggs. This is the tipping year. The year that tips us over onto the other side. Where, we will now begin to have eggs freely longer than we were without. Significance!

The Spirit has been bringing a beloved family hymn right to the forefront in these present days. And we are “raising Ebeneezers”, truly we rejoice in the work of the Lord! There are many versions of this treasured hymn. This is merely one of them and not quite the whole way we sing it- but Chris Rice! Love.

Chris Rice singing Come Thou Fount (watch out for ads!)

I shared the following thoughts and verses with a small group of sweet girls during a November knitting time. I want to memorialize them here, too. We have been reflecting on these verses and quotes for a few weeks. It is good to let them sink, deep in.

Psalm 50:23 ESV

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!

Psalm 69:30 ESV

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.


You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and the pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in ink. G.K. Chesterton

The unthankful heart…discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! Henry Ward Beecher

This day has not been without its jarring disillusionment and stresses. Tensions are high with the stress of this school year and a littlest one who lives outside the box. I love that but I also cannot deny it has its challenges- especially this year, this Thanksgiving cook day. And I just feel honest in scribing it here. I keep the good. I find mending, forgiveness, grace, and healing in the hard and I just can’t quite shake the tinge of sadness I feel. Help me embrace the day and every season Lord. You are in this place and journeying with You is never stagnant- and You care for me, too.

Blessed Thanksgiving friends! Truly we rejoice in all the Lord has done and we huddle under the wings of His great mercy.

Joying with you,


The Things They Say: Little One

Every day, in and out, my little girl is tucked into her bed.

She is tucked in for nap. She is tucked in for bed.

And she says, “Cozy me up” when she wants to be tucked in

under her blankets and head sweetly situated on pillow. “You have to cozy me up…” And we do. 🙂

And, newly, thoroughly potty trained…upon fearing an accident or

speaking of one… she says, “I leaked! I leaked!”

“I’m sorry I leaked Mommy.”

to remember for always

The Things They Say.

Endless Gifts – November

His joy in basketball

a first, free trial dance class and no sickness!


They took this one! I found it on my phone.

November Super-Moon, huge rising

Her unfolding understanding and deep questions, rocking on the chair, sharing God’s love

“Come Thou Fount…” for so many babies,tucked under my chin on the rocking chair… and how one small one would just burst into song… and the only place she knew it from-was there, tucked long. And it is precious. Precious favorite. Sing it more, sing it long, sing it often.

Happy circumstance with piano for oldest son whose season of studies is rapidly approaching its end. I cup every minute of his beautiful music. It is dessert to me, it is hot coffee on a cold day, it is perfect quiet centering the soul, it is the ripple of water over the rock, it is beauty. It is fleeting. So thankful for a different teacher’s  skilled hand to craft this skill for the next year and a half, Lord willing.

November Morning Time, Thanksliving Box, heritage

all the flame of lingering color


Geraniums in November


Candles, and “going around the table” again

Cozy under warm blankets in the chill and three wee girlies tucked in bed with me…like so many little ones over the many years. Mostly, it is just the littlest, but today, all three tucked for just the smallest moment of cozy before we are up and away into the day.


Tableside Courtney. Soul richness. Tea! Talks. Flaming sunset. My girl, her joy in being there. Knitting fireside, and sweetest, best apple slices. A hound dog’s face, and poetry shared.


Golden Leaves

Time with Kelly, a book study, and friendship

stealth knitting…. (not by me)

Her blond hair, her brown, hers with the wild swing in it

The warm smells of roasted chicken filling the house, and candles flickering in darkness, and home-made mashed potatoes on the stove, and evening clean-up whisking everything into a cozy (somewhat) order


Lighting candles in the darkness

Let me never forget read aloud like this: one girl tucked in the crook of my arm, one perched above my head, one cuddled by my side….

A long row of cups for hot cocoa


A line of Cups


Steaming Cocoa

the last box of diapers and no more nightwear: bittersweet to me

November skies


Blue Skies November

Endless Gifts

The Things They Say: Wee girls of mine

Driving in the deepest dark of night… its only 6:30 p.m. Nestled round the night sky come too soon. Every light, a beacon so bright… car lights, street lights, star light… the moon- bright.

Little girls, eyes wide, seeking stars… seeking that glowing November Super-Moon

( watch out, loud audio at that link)

Dropping one big brother off and turning down to go get the other…

A little voice, catching glimpse of one large and glowing moon perfectly illuminated outside her car window:

“Is that the eye of God?” she asks, in quiet wondering. I startle deep, as I so often do with this one, the one who finds rainbows on the bottom of swimming pools and lit up in a sunlit patch of carpet.

I share some verses with my small girls about the eye of the Lord. I talk about the moon’s reflecting light. I think on different thoughts. They chatter.

“I love God!” says another. “He lit up the clouds all gold with His moon.” The light is spreading gold and deep in waves across the clouds encasing that glory moon.

It does look like one wild eye with some very bushy brows. It does look like one gold beacon of glory lighting the way home.

We talk about the Creator and they recite one after the other, thing after thing created.

Delighted. I in them and they in Him.

I cup the precious grains of sand, rough and beautiful, whisking through my fingers.

The Things They Say