Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Goodbye, MJ

Last night, at 8p.m., the dear lady who was my husband's first wife, MJ, passed quietly away from a completely avoidable case of breast cancer. Two years ago, she went to her doctor because of a lump she had found. He told her it was nothing to worry about. That diagnosis, which wasn't overruled until she had become very sickwith Stage 4 cancer, killed her. She had been really going downhill over the passed few weeks and last night, surrounded by her husband, C, and her three sons from the first marriage, she slipped away. My oldest step-son, S, bent over her, staring into her eyes, smiling, so that during her last moments of life, the last image she would see on this earth was the love of a son.

MJ, golden-haired, strong, devoted mother, will now watch over her beloved children from beyond the veil. Our prayers are for the three sons and her sweet husband. Prayers, too, are for my husband who once shared love with her and had children together.

MJ leaves a huge hole in life.

God bless her.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fleeting Summer Days

Why is it that as soon as July 4th is over (and in Utah after Pioneer Day on the 24th), the stores are filled with Back to School items? Can't they wait until at least August to put all that stuff out? It reminds me that on August 20th, a few short weeks away, my soon-to-be 7th Grader will have his first day of school, and on the 23rd, my 9th Grader will start.

Has the Summer been going as quickly for you as it has been for us? It seems like we just got out of school and now I'm mailing in registration fees for Middle School, planning school clothes purchases and marking school holidays on the calendar.

I have to remind myself to really enjoy each day, to not just race through it with chores and the marking off of To Do lists, because these sweet times with my children will not come again. Time goes by so very quickly, one season rolling into another, over and over again. What if we spend all our days accomplishing and doing and marking off and never stopping to enjoy what we've been given?

Do we take time everyday to sit out in the sun and feel warmth on our faces, not just complain about the heat as we rush from home to car? When was the last time you sat and watched backyard birds? That is some very inexpensive and fun entertainment. Why not take a plate of food, sit out and have an impromptu picnic for breakfast or lunch? Try to spend some time with your hands in the earth, pulling weeds, cultivating or even planting flowers in a pot. I believe our souls long for connection with the earth. There is such peace in that. When was the last time you spent time looking at a Summer moon? Where is the wonder we felt as a child of looking at its big, beautiful, round face? Watching the stars in the night sky while the weather allows us to be out of doors is a must. If you live in a place where the sky is truly dark then the sky show is magnificent!

All these beautiful, wondrous things and more were given to us, dear friends. They are our presents. Let's stop and look at them and feel them in our hearts and souls. This shows our appreciation to our great Creator, to the Father of our souls.

Drink deeply from the day.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Path We Trod Together

Cobbled Streets in Wilmington, NC

This picture appeals to me for more reasons than the quaint cobbestones. It is also a picture of my and my daughter's feet together on the path. What meaning that has for me, for we trod the path of life together. My feet have been down this street before. For my daughter, it was new. I led her through where I once as a young lady spent my days. She followed my lead.

This picture was taken one full year ago and these past 13 months have required much guidance, patience and example for me to help my daughter find her way and to keep her feet on the path the Lord has set. This has been a tender, fragile, significant experience. I am proud of her achievements, changes and choices. At the same time, I realize that throughout her life there will be a number of tender, fragile, significant times where her choices will need to be good ones. I am grateful that I am able, with so many more life experiences behind me, to be here to help and guide her. I am grateful for the pathway the Lord has set and that if we keep to that path, though life will be fraught with challenges, the outcomes of these experiences will be good ones, ultimately. Sometimes I wish that I could spare my children the bumps and bruises, the gut-wrenching trials that are a part of Life. But I know that these are the types of situations that brought me strength and brought me close to the Savior.

Look at her feet, they have grown since the picture was taken. See her sweet and funny converse shoes, of which she is so fond. She is still somewhat a child. It is my privilege to stand next to her, to look up the road of Life with her. Someday I will stand and watch as she moves on up the road on her own. By then I pray she will have learned enough, that her faith will have strengthened enough, where she can keep her footing during whatever lays ahead of her.

My sweet girl.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Happy July Day!

The gardens at Mount Vernon

"Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is
jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief
that all's right with the world."
- Ada Louise Huxtable

Happy July day! I hope that all is well with you and yours. Summer is rolling along here. The days have finally grown hot, but they don't bother me. Of course, I am indoors during the worst of it and go outside for work in the cooler evenings. I putter in the garden with the cats by my side. They spend their days under the cool of our neighbor's bushes, but as soon as they hear me moving around on the back porch, they jump the fence and are with me in no time.

The veggies are growing quite well. I am watering them less this year and they are doing much better. I am embarrassed to say that I watered way too much in the past - ah, the learning curve of beginning gardening. Unfortunately, some of my plants could not survive the humidity. This year, my pumpkins are all doing great. I have my first ripe tomato and the peppers are ripening their first fruit. The corn is getting tall. I am only concerned about my cucumbers. I am keeping an eye on them. Green apples hang from the tree and there are even a few peaches on the small peach tree this year.

The children are spending a lot of time at the pool with their friends. They leave the house for their water fun bundled up with towels and sunscreen. I use the time alone to calm my brain from a house full of kids and laughter.

We are hoping to go camping in August, someplace fairly nearby and scenic. It will be really nice to get away from phones, to have a break from daily chores and just be together.

How are your Summer days going? What are your plans?


Usually, I post my week's menus on Mondays. However, I am confronting this week all out of ideas about what to have.

For one thing, I cooked a huge pork roast yesterday and am looking for ideas about how to use all the leftover pork. I got it for only 99cents a pound (wow!), but now what do I do???

Here are my favorite cooking sites, if you are also looking for ideas.

Mennonite Girls Can Cook

One Perfect Bite


I'm An Organizing Junkie! (for menu ideas)

Have a great one!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Time Spent In The Garden

When the sun rises, I go to work.
When the sun goes down I take my rest,
I dig the well from which I drink,
I farm the soil which yields my food,
I share creation, Kings can do no more.
- Chinese Proverb, 2500 B.C.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blessings of the Season/Summer

Hello, Friends and Visitors,

I am returning to the blogging world again after being quite ill with a Summer flu which kept me down for about one and half weeks. I am healthy now, but find myself going through a blue period.

So, today, I thought I will count some blessings which help keep me focused on happy, positive things.

The Blessings of Summer

~Waking up to bright, sunny mornings which energize me towards a new day
~Sitting outside in the morning sunshine, putting on my make-up
~Watching my sweet bird friends at the feeders
~Viewing my first hummingbird of the season (today!)
~Watching the progress of my veggie garden, green plants becoming more abundant and healthy every day
~Hanging the morning wash on the railings of my deck to dry in the warm air and then folding it when it is dry with the fresh smell of summer scents in everything.
~Fresh Summer salads
~Living at a slower pace
~Having the children at home with me. Even when we are enjoying separate tasks, just knowing that they are nearby
~Cleaning house with the windows and doors open to freshen the air inside
~Watching the flight of a butterfly
~Watching in wonder the rapid flight of a hummingbird and seeing it pause for a moment on a small tree branch. How can something so small, so very delicate be packed with such energy and speed?
~Having my apple tree prayers...where I take my devotions out under our tree and listen for the Lord's voice as I listen to the breeze play with the tree leaves
~Eating supper al fresco
~Puttering in the garden with the cats by my side (as soon as they hear me out there, they come to be with me)
~Having the love of an animal (a blessings in every season)
~Sitting in my backyard swing
~Lots of sunshine
~Quiet evenings, and the promise of a bright new day tomorrow
Oh, and, yes, SUNSHINE!

How about you? What are some seasonal blessings for which you are thankful?

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

animated usa flag and sparklers

"Oh, beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved, And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness, And ev’ry gain divine.
~Katherine Lee Bates (1859-1929)

Happy 4th of July!

Since the holiday falls on the Sabbath, most festivities this year were held yesterday on the 3rd, or will be held tomorrow on the 5th. I was still too sick to do everything my husband took the children to do yesterday, but I did finally make it to the fireworks in the evening.
Tomorrow is the legal holiday, so Mark is off of work and we will be spending family time at the neighborhood pool and perhaps have a cook-out.

You will not believe it, but today it was in the 70's, an incredible Spring-like day. It is actually chilly tonight. Such strange weather. This is the first 4th of July I have ever experienced in Utah where the temperatures weren't scorching, and I have been here 12 years.

Well, I'm keeping this post short, as I am still recuperating. To all of my U.S. blog friends, Happy 4th and 5th!