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