Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Hello dear readers, if you are still there. Life is FULL.  

Full of ups and full of downs and every hill in between.  

Some days I fall apart and some days are pure bliss. 

I cannot lie.  I don't want to pretend. 

Every year of my life seems to move faster, relentlessly.

What has the last 6 months brought? How must I find thankfulness at every turn?  I'm still counting, slow but sure.  Months go by as I forget to pick up the pen.  And forget to be thankful, yielding to the demands of the fast paced, wired world that calls my name at every tick of the clock.  

Suddenly I realize I've lost 6 months of my life to grumbling, hurried and hairy-ed interactions.  And for what?

My children grow...
Kelsey will be 17 in just over a month and started a "running start" program through the local high school where she is attending college FULL TIME.  I pay for books, they pay tuition.  Sweet! 
Charissa is 14 now and has finally decided to take ownership of her schooling.  Her favorite study? Astronomy.  She is diving in.
Nicholas will be 13 in 2 months!  THIRTEEN!  OH my!  He is getting tall and his feet are bigger than mine and his hands are huge and soon he will grow into them.  He is 100% boy.
Joseph is 11 and still loves to cuddle.  Although TODAY, at our home school co-op, he would NOT give me a hug because down the hall was one of his friends.  We laughed.  He recognized the change and hugged me in secret.  This was huge for my heart. 

My babies are all gone.  People keep telling me that I need to relish the moments I have them because soon they will leave my home and enter their own.  Yes, this is true. But you see, the "children" are already gone from my arms.  Those are the days to cherish.  They days they fit in your arms, they days they WANT to be in your arms. Those are the  days I cling to in my mind as the now most difficult years are upon me.  The year they pull and yank and run, to find there own way in the world.

James, my beloved of over 19 years, grows...
James found his way back to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Uganda Cancer Institute.  He started his new job in June and has already been to Uganda twice.  He just returned on Friday from his 2nd trip.  He loves his new job and now he has begun serving at a small mission Church while he is there. 

And I grow...or I hope I am.  Striving to find my path; climbing, falling, climbing. Halting. Continueing. Striving. Knowing that the truest, most beautiful path is one that points to God.  I'm looking at new things:
Homeschooling with Gentleness
Grain Brain
Dr. Wilson

And most importantly I'm counting again.  Thankful for every day.  Despite how it turns out. What I do do or no not do.  OR what my children do or do not do.  

I want to find the good in every day.

Today the sun was shining.
I got that secret hug.
My mom made an amazing dinner for us.
I chopped wood.
Made the FIRST fire of the season in the wood stove.
Laughed with the kids.
Chatted with many a friend at co-op.
Saw the cutest baby I've seen in a long time.
Started a good book.

What are you thankful for today?


Monday, May 13, 2013

A Shakespeare Production!

Come one and all!!!!  Especially those nearby, or relatively nearby.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Monastery Visits

On Thursday, April 11th, our family took a "field trip" to Vashon Island.  It wasn't a field trip for school, it's just fun calling it that. But well, we did sight see a bit.  The purpose of the trip was to visit All-Merciful Savior Monastery and visit with Abbot Tryphon. 
Continuing to count...not in order today.
 150. Our whole family taking a day trip to Vashon Island & monastery.
Kelsey Anna, Charissa, Nicholas and Joseph by the Bike in the Tree on Vashon Island.

 We stopped off at cute little country store and explored a little bit.  They had all sorts of neat gardening things and trinkets.
Then we went to find the famous Bike in the Tree.  It was really neat. 

When we arrived at the monastery we pulled into the parking space and right in front of us was another family visiting the monastery.  It was a family of deer!

Look closely and you'll see the mama deer.

The monastery beehives. They were pretty active.
 I love taking pictures of my children. Here are some sweet faces.

148. Reluctant young daughter smiling & at ease after talking with Fr. Tryphon unexpectedly.
149. Peace, peace in my mind & heart! Giving all to God & the Theotokos.

 After a morning full of clouds and rain, we were blessed to have the clouds break up and a very sunny afternoon as we visited with Fr. Tryphon.  There were 3 of us who have chosen Fr. Tryphon as our father confessor and we were there for our Lenten confessions and guidance.
 151. Confessions, forgiveness, new starts.
152. Sweet faces framed in scarves.  

Kelsey Anna waiting.

Nicholas was the one of the protesters of this trip. He did not want to go! But as were hanging out in the courtyard he explained...
147. Nicholas exclaiming, "I love this place. It makes me so happy." 
He talked all day about how he wished he could stay or he couldn't want to come back. 

Nicholas in front of the beautiful Church doors.

Joseph having cuddle time.  He was cold.

 We got to visit our chickens that we took to the monastery a couple years ago.

It was such a lovely visit to the monastery.  We thank God for this opportunity to be together as a family
Thank you, Abbot Tryphon for seeing us and visiting with us.
146. A beautiful visit to the monastery.  

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Lenten Spring

This year Great Lent began 2 days before the official start of spring.  I find it appropriate and beautiful.  

As we make our way down this lenten path, we watch as life renews itself all around us.  The budding trees, the bulbs emerging, grass growing, birds readying for hatching. Life! Full and vibrant.  

At the end of the lenten path we find true life.  We find life that has conquered all that is dark and dead.

I must get ready. Weeding and pruning, scrubbing and cleaning.  Not just the outside world but within my heart. 
Getting ready for life. To really live!

(Since my last blog post I've counted 40+ blessings, so I am not writing them all down here, just an excerpt from my journal.)
Counting....on my way to One Thousand!  Glory to God for all things.
108. Forgiveness: seeking it and receiving it.
109. 4 loads of laundry done.
110. All four beautiful babes at Canon with me & dad. Singing or prostrating, participating.
111. Giggles from girls at bedtime after a tense, angry evening between them.

Red-flowering Currant. The hummingbirds love this.
127. Making dinner with CJ.
128. Planting spinach and sweet peas.
129. 64 degrees
130. Hanging sheets on the line to dry in the sun.

   Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
    For His mercy endures forever. 
 Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
    For His mercy endures forever. 
 Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
    For His mercy endures forever:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pressing Forward

...but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.   Philippians 3:13b-14

 It's been two weeks since my last blog post and normally I'd fall into despair at my inability to keep my goal of blogging frequently and counting daily towards the goal of One ThousandBut today, I feel different.  Today I find encouragement in Paul's words and I stretch and yearn to forget that which is behind (that isn't worth remembering) and press toward the goal instead. 

75. For James' job that gets him up at 5am to feed, shelter and clothe us.
76. A date with a sweet friend at a lovely little place.  Wine & cheese and lovely conversation.
77. Valentine dinner: bacon wrapped shrimp.
78. Homemade Valentines cards from Joseph and Charissa. 
79. A card from Kelsey that she bought and had every one sign, telling us of love and friendship.
80. My love signing to me the song he wrote 19 years ago for his proposal. A song he hasn't sung since that special day.
81. Sun! Crisp and Bright!
82. A day of chopping and wood and hauling it to the shed.
83. Nicholas discovering that it actually feels good to use and grow his muscles when hauling wood.  Discovering manhood!
84. Blue sky & sunshine several days in a row.
85. Charissa discovering the beauty of a clean and organized room. Her room has stayed clean all week!
86.  An alarm clock with a radio --CeeJay
87. Sunshine and green house planning with mom.
88.   Beef--K
89. Putting full trust in God for the unknown future.
90. An evening telling stories & laughing with James and girls. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day One of Love Week

Nineteen years ago today, my sweet beloved got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.  He took me to dinner, arranged to have his moms apartment decorated with candles while we were out and when we returned to the candlelit apartment he sang a song that he wrote.
I said yes.  
And today I love him more than I ever could imagine.
We've grown up.
And still grow today.

 Counting today...
71. For 19 years of growth and true love.
72. Girl time, mom time talking and commiserating, encouraging and caring.  
73. A cart full of stipend paid curriculum and fun.
74. James' sweet note on Facebook, "It appears my phone is having trouble with Facebook - probably a good thing. But here is what I was TRYING to "say" publicly to my better half during the commute: 19 years ago today I sang a proposal. Cheesy though the words may now seem and despite all the normal and yet unexpected wear and tear of everyday life that may tend to make us cynics, those words are no less true today than they were in 1994. "I STILL feel like I've never felt before, and all my life I dreamed that it would be this way." fdj"  I love you, James.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love Week!

I've been looking forward to blogging this post for awhile despite being totally ill prepared for it.  I just knew I wanted to post about this week.  It is special.  I will call it Love Week. I have plans, sort of (because I need to be realistic and make low expectations for myself), to make it an awesome week.  I plan to give of myself daily, with love, extra special.  

The obvious is that on Thursday it is Valentines Day but the not so obvious to you is that tomorrow is the anniversary of my amazing husbands proposal to me ( nineteen years!!! I'm in awe).  So it starts the week, February 11th, the day of proposal, ending with Valentines Day (or close to ending), thus we shall name it Love Week.

(I wish I had pictures to insert here.)

I'm feeling quite blessed as of late.  Maybe it's this awesome counting to one thousand that is helping.  I'm certain it doesn't hurt.  
I know  I am not counting every day like I should be. But when I do take the time to watch and seek God's beauty and blessings, it really does make a difference.

56. Sunny day of 52degrees.
57. Cooking corned beef (1st time ever)  & cabbage for St. Brigid---one day late.
58.  A shower with warm water---CeeJay
59. Pics of wedding & baby years to bring smiles and joy to the dinner table.
60. Sweet kids WANTING to sing Les Mis songs.
61. Sweet girl of 13 hugging me & telling me she loves me, on her own, for no reason.
62. Sweet girl of 13 helping Mrs. Hainly with a tree in her yard.
63.  Lovely girls encouraging mom & dad to date.
64. Clean clothes.
65. Sweet smell of incense.
66. Beautiful blue flowers for the Theotokos.
67. Early morning prayers.
68. Date night, double date with awesome friends, and a movie--Les Miserables in the theater. ( Have I mentioned this movie could change your life?) 
69. Newly built stairs to the cabin---thank you Hickmans.
70. Singing in choir today.

Love Week...I'm so looking forward to Love Week.