Flip Side

This makes all the frivolity on my blog stand out in sharp relief; please forgive that frivolity as you understand my need to break from idle fluff to post this.

I graduated from the small, Christian high school that my youngest sister still attends, where everybody hears news of everyone else, even years later. A boy a grade below me married one of my high school friends, and they just learned last week that he has Stage 3 cancer that has spread to his lungs, liver, and lymph nodes. They have 2 small children. He's 26 years old.

I'm sure they're swimming in a sea of conflicting emotion right now. They need comfort and courage and strength and hope. Please pray that God will give them all four in heaping measure, and that it be His good pleasure to heal his body while He upholds his heart.

So It Is

A stuffed desk. A need to toss old papers.
Just found: forgotten notes from John.

Here's a startlingly beautiful passage from the book of Ezra.

And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.


Making Conversation

For those of you who've not met the Nixie in person, I wish to have a recorder with sound. Last week, Aunt April, trying to nail down Annika's sound and manner of speech, grasped around and came up with both "commandante" and "Cookie Monster." Annika's voice is low and raspy, the huskiness only made more endearing by her attendant expressions. So, with that skeleton description, imagine, if you will, Mildred still somewhat sleepy while Annika slurped Crispy Oats in the kitchen. While waiting for her hot cereal to finish cooling, Mildred came in the living room to curl in my lap, all the while making little murmurs of grumpiness, when, suddenly, these surly sounds were drowned out by a husky and cheerful bellow coming from the unseen Annika.


(That's Lord, not Word, even though in the beginning was the Word.)

Both Millie and I grinned, and our day began as days always should begin but not always do-- with rejoicing.

Not to leave Mildred's voice out...

Millie loves to ask about the components of food-- what's healthy or unhealthy in each particular substance-- due in no small part to my own commentary on the same, probably. Because she's older, she's also more aware of the dangers that exist in the common things (the choking hazards of peanuts and pennies, broken bones from "flying" off the side of the open stairway, grave illness from swallowing a tube of toothpaste, etc., also probably due in no small part to my commentary). I tell you this as a backdrop for the following comment.

Yesterday, in the middle of a long and tedious laundromat visit, while munching on a thin mint, Mille looked at me seriously and asked, "Sometimes children die from eating too much candy, right, Mama?" I really didn't know what to answer, because I suppose some pitiable children do die from the effects of daily junk food overdosing, but I didn't want her to think that every time I handed her a thin mint, she was biting into the equivalent of Draino. What am I doing to this girl?!? (Millie also calls scrunchies "scrubbies" and walkers "squawkers" and good things "goog things" and I've not yet had the heart to correct her. I deserve a harsh sentence...)

And Susannah?

"Mama! Ieeeiiiiiiieee! Thbbbtttt!"

In between services on balmy Sundays, the Monkey always surfaces.


Martha's best "cheeeeese."

One more reason to love going to the Post Office-- free lollipops every time!

Growing up, every last stitch of clothing I owned either came from hand-me-down bags or was purchased at the "2 bucks a bag" church rummage sales. My mom would clothe us from these sales and pick up clothing to resell at this consignment shop in order to make a bit of extra money. Guess who's doing the same thing now....just guess. (Although nearly every last stitch of clothing I own still comes from rummage sales, my girls are dressed much finer than I ever was, thanks to rich people tossing new clothes into rummage sales, gorgeous hand-me-downs from older cousins, and--you guessed it!--very generous grandmas with great taste!)

Anyway, all this to say I took this picture because I think it's funny that I'm becoming my mom...

Millie: Self Portrait of Boots

Millie, in her words, chopped my head off. And now that I see how ridiculous I look in this midget's jacket I got at the last rummage bag sale, it's going into the Fabulous Finds pile.

We walked to the store near the laundromat to buy candy, and I needed to take a picture of sleeping Wren near truthful shirt. Remember when she was two months old, I used to brag about how she only woke up two times a night? I haven't bragged for the last seven months because there's been no reason to brag. I pull her into bed about 4-5 times a night, but recently she's been teething and sometimes wakes up on the hour. Look how peaceful she looks here, though.

Outside the laundromat yesterday. We had to wash two weeks worth, so I was thankful the weather was so gorges. (WHY do I do that?)

"Who wants to go buy some candy?" I ask.


I just introduced them to the delicious wonder of cream of wheat cereal with Mopsy's real maple syrup.

The girls brushing after breakfast today.

Susannah joins the fun.

It looks staged, but Millie said she was tired and sat down on the stool to finish. S'truth.

The newest furniture to join our household full of free furniture-- a cabinet for storing records given by Becky. John put it upstairs on the landing, and it now houses the girls' records inside and my old (now theirs) turntable atop. Cool, huh?

Millie really can't get enough of those scratched circles.


But Still We Stammer On

View from our lawn last month: Photo by my sister Becky

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen and amen.

In our hodge-podge home, surrounded by the abundance God gives through John's paycheck and the giving hands of others, for these necessities, and, still more often, the unnecessary, I am thankful-- for all that fills our bellies, covers our backs, and shelters our heads; for spices and seasonings, meat and grains, fruits and vegetables, and for sweets; for what trundles us through puddles and over snowy roads; for the sky aflame which silenced me last night; for sunlight slanting in through the window to glorify dust motes and warm my feet; for family close and far; for my Heart and for the children lent to us; for the capacities to delight in and endure life and memories; for our just but merciful, loving God; for these and all else unsaid,
I give thanks.

I hope your Thanksgivings were blessed in whichever place you gave thanks. God is so good. (Follow November's archives for the overload of snapshots in its entirety.)

The night before Thanksgiving, we had a slumber party in the living room. When we first moved here, John and I planned to have one once a week with the girls, to sustain in part the wonderful, one bedroom days when anyone could roll off one's bedroom floor mattress onto another's. This, for shame, is the first we've had. But it was fun!

Thanksgiving morning, Annie came downstairs as an Indian. She proceeded to gnaw on apple peels.

We spent Thanksgiving at my family's little house in Nanticoke. All my brothers and sisters and the tuzzins were there (except Pete and Sarah and the boys because Pete was on call). This created a house crammed with people and noise and food, and it was thoroughly wonderful.One nice thing (for us girls, at least) about having Thanksgiving at Mopsy's this year is that she does most of the work. We brought desserts and sides, while she rose up early to put the turkey in and made 13 pounds of mashed potatoes. (Debbie made four, and I made three. She wins. Pumpkin, pecan, wild raspberry, apple, peaches and cream, sweet squash, and tart cherry. Oh, yum.)

I made deep dish apple.

Sweet squash pie (badly malformed and crust overbrowned)

And the sour cherry, which I finished at my mom's, in a rush, licking fingers. (Photo surprise by Becky.)

Annie arriving (photo by Beck)

Hannah and her hat.

My brother Luke and Bird and Mystery Hand.

My brothers Andy and Joel playing chess, with my brother-in-law Eli standing guard.

Mopsy and Jacy playing checkers.

Joel, John, and Luke playing No Thanks, with Carcassonne on deck.

John and Joel playing Zertz.

What's funny is that John packed up several games to bring from our closet, and almost all of them came home unplayed, despite the nearly nonstop game playing throughout the day.

Mopsy and the tuzzins feeding the horses.

Cassie, Luke, and Dad walking home from the barn.

John's brainchild, his Friday night "Art Date" with the girls, involved lots of paint last week. That, and two butternut squashes in lieu of rotten pumpkins.


In this picture, you can see that Millie's artistic focus has moved elsewhere. (Remind you of anything?)

John's sister April, her husband Dave, and their girls were in town this last week, and we squeezed lots of visiting time out of them. It's so good to see them when we're able, and we look forward to seeing them again at Christmas. (So soon!) Anyway, we spent a day in Nanticoke while John was at work, which means more horse pictures.

Here's the first. Brace yourselves.


Anna and Alex.

Greedy girl. (Zephyr, not Anna.)



This is the only picture of Alex on the pony. She vowed to never ride one again without a saddle because they're soooo slippery. (This is the same fearless girl who loves amusement park rides.)

Walking back to the barn.

April, Bird, and Anna. Such pretty girls, all three.

Alex and Bird.

Susannah's hair is more of a strawberry blonde, but she still fits with Uncle Dave pretty well.