Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bearing One Another's Burdens

My first idea for the title was "Moved".  But I thought it might cause blog confusion.

But when I think about this week the first word that comes to mind is "Moved".  I have been deeply moved by people I know and by people I didn't know until now and by some who I may never know.

Last Saturday, during Callie's party, we found out that, on Friday night, a family we knew had lost their father to carbon monoxide poisoning due to a gas leak in the house and that the mother was unconscious, had been transferred to an Indianapolis hospital and was not expected to live either. 

I'm not exactly sure how well my parents knew this couple.  They are about the same age probably and I know they attended some joint church social gatherings and I know their grandchildren attended the Bible camp where my parents work.  One of the couples sons and his family attend the same church as one of my sisters.

I had met the couple maybe two or three times and I know their daughter in law just a little bit from the same church camp.

All that to say, we knew them, but I only barely new them.

But how could you hear this news and not be heart broken for them?  Both parents in one night!

All Saturday and Sunday we watched for news of the mother.  I wasn't hearing anything so I started looking on Facebook.  I saw that one of their sons and I had a mutual friend.  This was quite surprising to me so I sent my friend a message.  Turns out, they had gone to college together and had been great friends.  My friend is out of the country and has a house not too far from the hospital.  She asked me to please let them know about the vacant house and tell them that they were welcome to stay there.  She has another friend who went to wash sheets and make sure everything was ready for guests.  At first it seemed the house wouldn't be used, but then a different son who lives on the opposite side of the country (so far that it took them almost three days to get here) arrived with his family of six and needed a place to stay.

I talked to the daughter that I knew already and she told me of people they had never met bringing food, offering shelter, money given for travel expenses, a whole bed and breakfast in their town offered for lodging for family coming from out of town.  I think I saw that a local heating and cooling company made all the repairs needed at no charge.  This is bearing one another's burdens and fulfilling the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).  I'm not sure I've seen it on such a grand, spread out scale before.  Mutual friends of mutual friends helping out people they've never even heard of before.


What has moved me the most though, is seeing how this couple had impacted so many people and the messages those people were leaving on Facebook.  They had both been teachers and the notes people have written have made me wish I had taken the time to get to know them better!  These were two people who loved the Lord and apparently loved people and took the time to care for others.  These were two people who had a fascinating life living abroad, working for the Peace Corps and helping others and she was even a home economics teacher in another country.  But I never took the time to say more than "Hi". 

It's my loss and I've wondered over the last couple of days what else, who else,  I've missed out on because of busyness or pride or indifference. 

I hope it will be the last time!

{Please, if you think of them, pray for their family.  They were very involved parents and grandparents and will be leaving a huge hole}

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Book Lover's Birthday Party

When Callie was little we used to have what we called a Friend Party one year and then the next year would be the Family Party.  Every once in a while, it would be both.  Over the years though, as the number of cousins increased, it sort of evolved into a most years being "just" family.

I don't organize games, I don't pass out favors, I don't rent restaurants or party rooms.  There were games and maybe a balloon to take home in the younger years, but really, all they care about is having fun together.  As long as there is cake (or sugar in some form) and presents and lots of laughter, that's all anyone really cares about.  I've seen some (several) adult men fall asleep at our parties, but no kids have ever fallen asleep or complained because there was no bouncy house in the back yard!

Anyway,  I wanted to decorate and being an October birthday, there is often a fall theme going, but I wanted something different this year.  What does Callie love more than anything?  Reading.  I had seen some really neat things done with old book pages so of course we went to Pinterest to see what we could find.  My criteria was that it be simple and easy.  Callie does not like to do crafts that much and I didn't have time to spend on elaborate decorations.

Here are some of the pins we found.....a book "cake", these votive holders and of course a few other ideas that we didn't use.  Kate likes to be crafty and she came up with making a paper chain with old book pages.  It was really quite cute.  She asked for some pages and disappeared and then came down with one a bit later.  I think she asked, "Is this okay for the party?"  So sweet!  Callie wanted her book cake to be less "childish" than the picture on Pinterest so we just used an old pair of her glasses to go on top.  It all turned out perfect.  It was so Callie!  And so easy and free!!  You could use funny pages or copy pages from favorite books, there are a lot of ways you could go with these ideas.




The best part was actually something I thought of all by myself.  That's rare, I'm usually just copying someone else!  While looking at all the book page ideas I thought it would be great to have everyone write a poem to read to Callie at the party.  Funny or serious, whatever they wanted to come up with. 
It was so great!  The kids and adults wrote things and read them.  Some were funny, some a combination and some more serious and they were all awesome!!  I couldn't even pick a favorite if I had to.  They were all so creative and just perfect for Callie. 

Here's mine......Roses are red, violets are blue.  Your 15 now, boo hoo hoo!  Brilliant isn't it? LOL

And of course there was cake too.  Ice cream cake.  Yummy!


Terrible picture quality here, but I can't have a post about Callie's party without Callie!  I took more videos than of her than photos this time.
This was probably my favorite party yet!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Callie

When Callie turned one, I cried for a week.  That hasn't happened since then......until this year.  She is turning 15 this year.  FIFTEEN!!!! 

How did this happen?!  How can it be that I have a daughter this old?  I get chocked up every time I think about it.  And I've been thinking about it for a month.

I remember the race to the hospital like it was yesterday.  I actually told Cameron to run the red lights if no one was coming.  We barely made it to the delivery room before she was born.   And the nurse at the doctor's office had said, "Well, just come by and we'll check you out."  Ha!! 





Callie came a little early and very fast.  She has surprised us over and over ever since.  Her hilarious personality when she was younger, her deep interest in other cultures and history, the way she loves other little girls instead of looking at them like pests (sister not always included), her long, looong legs, the way she can argue with you until your so confused you don't even know what day it is, the way she still loves to hang out with her parents and give us hugs and kisses, and the way that she marches to the beat of her own drummer, have all been surprises.  {The arguing should have been no surprise.  What goes around comes around!}

Things that really weren't a surprise?  Her curly hair, her love of books, her love of food {she is her father's daughter!}, her love of dressing up being a typical girl, in the good sense. 

And here is where my thoughts just get all jumbled.  All the joy of being a mother, but yet there have been hard days too.  I can't think of one without thinking of the other.

I have to say though, I wouldn't trade being her mother for anything.  For fifteen years now, I've been called "Mommy"  and it all started on October 7, 1999.

Happy birthday Callie!  I love you to the moon and back!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

{In the Library Bag}

I have two new favorite books to tell you about today.  Both of them were so so good!  I stayed up way too late reading, but it was our Fall break from school, so what better to do?

The first one is a memoir of sorts.  The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma is the story of her and her father and their experiences reading together.  It is a wonderful story and I enjoyed every minute of it. Starting some time in grade school I believe, her father read to her every night, right up to the day that she left for college.  It's very interesting what ended up happening in her father's professional life.  He was a public school librarian and his school system decided to throw out most of the books and just have computers.  You can just imagine how he reacted to this.

I first saw The Reading Promise mentioned at Amongst Lovely Things.  I was intrigued so I requested it from the library.  Last week Sarah had Alice on her Read A-loud Revival Podcast (which I've mentioned before are awesome!!).  Apparently their story is going to be made it into a movie!  {I hope they don't ruin it}

The next book I read was a novel.  I was a little leary after the last novel!  When I started The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton I wasn't so sure I was going to be able to get into it.  I'm not sure why, it just took a while.  However, this book ended up being crazy good!  Towards the end there was a twist that I was totally not expecting.  That, for me, is one of the marks of a good book.  I'd love to go on and on about it, but that would ruin it for you.

During our weeks of school I try not to read too many page turners because then I'm tempted to stay up too late and read too much, but I immediately ordered another Kate Morton book from the library.  I couldn't help it. 

The girls and I are reading Peter Pan together.  We are enjoying it very much.  It's been years and years since I've seen the Disney version, or any of the other versions, so when we are finished I think we'll have to get the movies and see how they compare. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Man Makes Plans......

and God laughs.  Isn't that how the saying goes?

The last week has proven this to be true.  Thankfully, we started off the week with a beautiful, peaceful picnic a the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  I love this place.  The outside is just as great as the inside and the weather was perfect!  Just cool enough for a sweater and warm enough to sit in the sun with flip flops on.  We ate our picnic, the girls goofed off with the phone camera, I did a bit of knitting and Cameron tried to get a nap.

The first wave of excitement was when Cameron was offered a full time position with a new company.  This was a huge answer to prayer and will hopefully be a really good move for him.  He was given the start date of October 1 which would mean he had two weeks with no work. 

Never fear, the Honey Do List to the rescue!  I was just a bit excited about some things that could be done.  Also, knowing he would be working a newer, more demanding job during their original days they planned to be here, Cameron's parents decided to go ahead and come up early.  We were also hoping to take the girls to the pumpkin patch and maybe pick some apples.

They left Monday morning, planning to be here sometime Tuesday.  Late Monday morning, the new company calls and says they would like to move Cameron's start date the very next day!!  While this was also an answer to prayer (would have been four weeks to first pay day), it did sort of throw a wrench in our plans.

We had a nice visit with Granny and Poppy, although I know they would have liked more time with Cameron.  He was busy upstairs watching training videos and having all kinds of conference calls and such.  He was excited to be getting started, but I know he wished he could be visiting more too.  And I KNOW he wished he could be working on that Honey Do list! ;) 

He actually did get one project done and Poppy helped finish that up.  The rest shouldn't take too long on a Saturday morning. 

I had a list for myself too and planned to be pretty busy Friday planting bulbs and doing some yard work.  I didn't feel too great when I woke up, but thought nothing of it.  I started a big breakfast of grits, egg souffle and sausage to fill up Granny & Poppy for their drive.  The more I cooked, the worse I felt and Cameron had to finish it up.  I felt pretty crummy and after they left I went back to bed.  I actually slept for four hours!  This after a full nights sleep.  Not in my plans to be in bed half the day!!  I'm praying it's just a fluke and that no one else gets it.  Especially Cameron!  He really doesn't have time to be sick right now. 

So our fall break was filled with job excitement, some running around with Granny and Poppy and..........

A working dishwasher!  Do you hear the angels?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

{In the Garden}

Well it hasn't been a total failure....

I made a quick sauce out of these a few nights ago.  It's super easy.  Roast them in the oven with garlic and olive oil for about 30 minutes, puree and there you go!

A friend of mine gave me the parsley plant and it is doing well.  I've used it a few times in various dishes.
I received a couple of tomatillo plants from the same friend.  I've never grown them or even eaten them to my knowledge, but they are doing well too.  I saw a recipe for roasting them and making a "jam" at A Way to Garden that I think I'll try.


The sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos seemed to take forever to finally bloom, but once they did they looked great!  To the right of the zinnias are some type of teeny little hollyhocks.  They looked really good for a while too, but they are finished now.  Hopefully all their little seeds are falling to fill in that spot for next year since I know the zinnias won't come back.

This area is my attempt at a butterfly garden.  When we moved here there was an ugly propane oil tank here and some over grown bushes.  I saw it every time I walked from the living room to our bedroom and every time we drove up to the house from the East.  It didn't take too long to get ride of all that.  The green plants in the back are called Goose necks.  They are mostly finished blooming, but they have pretty white blooms that are long and curved like a gooses neck and they have filled this spot in quickly.  If you look closely in the middle you can see something "dead" in between the sedum and the goose neck.  That is bee balm that a dear friend gave me this year after it had already bloomed.  Hopefully, next year it will fill in nicely between the sedum and goose neck.  You can also see the same butterfly as you see in the picture below.  I was surprised at how close I was able to get without it flying away!

We've also eaten a few carrots from the garden and more tomatoes.  Kate was very excited about pulling and eating her carrots and Cameron has had a few of his beloved tomato sandwiches so I call that a success.
Now if I can just figure out what to do about the creeping Charlie that is taking over our lawn!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Day Book

{Outside My Window} Breezy, and cool this morning.  Also, I'm watching a groundhog eat the grass as I type!  We've had a visitor here for the past couple of weeks.  The girls think he's adorable.  I have different thoughts.  I think Cameron's with the girls mostly.  For heaven's sake they just gave him/her a name!!

{Listening To}  My family talking about the groundhog and wishing they could play with it.  Crazy people!

{I'm Thankful For}  My crazy family!  A mostly smooth first two weeks of school,  wonderful, cool breezes.  God's love and care.  It's never ending, no matter all my faults (of which there are many!).  Also, realizing that we have 30 more minutes than I thought between ballet classes!  We may be able to come home and feed everyone after all. 

{In the School Room}  The first two weeks have been pretty good.  We use Tapestry of Grace for our Literature and History readings and they always have such a great book list.  So far we've had nothing much in the evenings and no need to rush or feel rushed.  I'll be doing my best to keep that same sense of calm now that our evenings will be pretty full.

I credit this smooth start to two things.  One, lots of prayer and two, Sarah Mackenzie and her e-book and podcasts.  Teaching From a State of Rest.  No, she doesn't mean with your feet propped up or a perfect nights sleep.  She means the kind of mental rest that comes from trusting in God's grace.  These are so, so good.  I really did not want to start this year.  I was wondering if an 8th grade education would be enough for Callie.  I was feeling totally inadequate and uninspired.  I won't say all those feelings are completely gone, but I will say reading Sarah's book and listening to the other educators talks, (and the prayers) helped put my fears and bad attitude into perspective. If you need encouragement and/or a little kick in the pants, I highly recommend getting your hands on this.  She has a great blog and also free podcasts that are awesome too.

{In the Kitchen}  I made bbq sauce last week.  I used this recipe and would definitely use it again.  I might leave out the chili powder though.  Kate liked it but she said it tasted like chili and I think she was right.  I used a combination of molasses and stevia for the sweetener.  I don't remember how much though.

It didn't take a lot of time.  About as much time as it would have taken me to get in the car, drive to the store, figure out which brand was the cheapest, but the one with less junk in it, stand in line and drive home.  Probably less.  It was great to have sauce that I actually knew exactly what was in it!!  And it ended up being way, way less expensive. 

{In My Thoughts}  This post at Life in Grace cracked me up.  It wasn't necessarily suppose to be funny, but it just made me laugh.  It also made me remember how much I used to love football.  I really liked it.  I even subscribed to Sports Illustrated in college.  {Just for the pics of Joe Montana probably}  For some reason, after getting a house and then having children and homeschooling I just really don't care that much any more.  Well, Joe Montana retired for one thing.  I do like Peyton Manning a lot.  I think I'm more of a player fan than a team fan maybe.  Anyway, I think I've forgotten how to have fun, yell at the TV, hold my breath to help them catch the ball.  I wonder if I can remember how.  Cameron would like it if I could.

Deep thoughts, I know.

{I am Reading}  Not much.  School stuff.  I'm waiting on a book from the library that was highly recommended though, so I'll let you know.

{I am Creating}  Nothing yet.  I have the yarn, I just need the right size needles.

{Plans For the Week}  Ballet and......tap!  Callie has been wanting to take tap for a few years now and Kate has been asking this year.  Thanks to a wonderful teacher who is bartering Callie's labor for tap, they will be starting that Thursday.  They both are really excited.  Kate is practically sleeping with her shoes.

A wedding this weekend and a visit with old friends.  I can't wait!!

{One of my favorite things}  Hearing Kate recite "Paul Revere's Ride" for fun.  She makes up a rabbit version, she says it in a "British" accent and does it while she's swinging.  Not the whole thing, it's very long, but we're up to about 1/3 of it.

And this....