Thursday, November 29


It was an interesting day yesterday. It started with one of my customers coming in at 10:30 and spending a nice fat sum, and mentioning that she was out shopping because her power was out. It had gone out around 10. After a while she moves on with her day and I move on with mine.

At 4 p.m. Emma calls the shop to see if I have power there. The house has lost it. I said yes and didn't think much more about it. The kids said they were fine.

At 5 I locked the shop door, and started clearing the register when some ladies knocked on the door and asked to come in. They looked around and left after 10 minutes or so. I re-locked the door and the phone rang. Another customer from thewestern shore wanting 7 pair of pajamas sent out. That took a while to sort through. At about 10 of 6 I finally got out the back door. As I turned the corner to my street I was surprised to see that although every other street had power, ours was still out.
It was very dark.

I went in the front door and Jedd was sitting in candle light with another cache of coins that he'd unearthed set before him and Adventures in Odyssey playing on an old fashioned battery powered tape player.

The boy was beaming with joy! He loves it when the lights go out. Emma was in a bit of despair. She had a rough draft of a descriptive essay due online early the next morning. Obviously there was no way to work on the computer.

I was hungry as a bear (and grumpy), and asked them to get in the car...we were going out to dinner. Emma was faster than a speeding bullet, Jedd was moaning "please...don't make us go out to where there's power! It might be back on when we get home and we'll have missed the time without it!" Two very different children's views. (Annie was on a mission to get toe shoes with chalice, on the western shore.)

As I was herding the boy out the door, Thom pulled up. We gently shoved him in the car and set off.

Jedd's happiness when we arrived back home lit up the house. The power was still out. We built a fire in the living room and put on the gas fire in teh kitchen and put candles and lanterns all around. I admit it is lovely, but I miss coffee at the snap of my fingers and t.v. as background noise. I miss liight strong enough to read by and my laptop...

At around 7:10 the power "popped" back on.

At around 7:30 the phone rang. It was the Howards asking if we had power. Theirs had been out since just before ours came on. We asked them to come over and it turned into an improptu party. It was so much fun!:)

It all goes back to the post 2 previous. We're all so busy we don't have time to just hang out with friends in the middle of the week. God arranged it, and I enjoyed it IMMENSELY! Thanks Howards, for sharing your time with us:)

Now here are some shots from the store. Especially for Marianna.....

Wish you could come hang out with me here Marianna:)....... have a great day everyone who has stopped by!

Wednesday, November 28

Christmas Cash

Whenever Thom and I are at a checkout line in a store we have two very different methods of paying for things. He just hands over bills and pockets the change. I often finger through the coin compartment of my wallet and hand over, say, $18.47 in exact change or find the change amount so that the cashier gives me back bills in change.

Each and every night Thom dumps his change out of his pockets and starts fresh ; changeless each morning...

For the past two days Jedd has been rolling Thom's change for him. He has been a kid on a mission. When he ran out of the first round of wrappers we did a special run to the bank for more. But they were the old fashioned flat ones, and he couldn't get them to fold at the end. He was used to the type you buy at Walmart with pre-rolled edges; so Thom picked him up after work, took him to buy more specialty ones (at which time Jedd also finagled him into extras like Captain Crunch and other kid Walmart necessities) and the rolling continued into the night.
When all was said and done, the boy ended up with over $300.00! I think I'm changing my ways at the check out lane from now on...that's some nice Christmas cash!

Monday, November 26

sickness and solitude

I've just been visiting Northwinds Blog,

and would like to touch on some of her subjects as they've been on my mind lately as well. (plus it's an absolutely lovely blog to visit and to help one appreciate the beauty of a college girl's literary mind.)

1. Enjoying rude health. I was saying to my husband several weeks ago that it's been ages since I've been down for a few days with a minor illness that would allow me to lay around and read. A small sickness which would make it inconsiderate for me to go out in public and infect friends and neighbors.

2. People (read Americans) do "busy" themselves. Why? Are we afraid that others will find us less important? That we won't be "needed"? That we won't be popular? Loveable?

As a nation, we make sure everyday has an after school activity. We are teaching kids how to be workaholics. My husband grew up in a family like that. None of his family just "sits". They're all incredibly busy all the time. It tires me listening to their days. Even their vacations are exhausting! Thom says God put us together so I could teach him how to sit and relax (He kindly never points out that I could be learning from him how to do more).
When our kids were little Kate Howard and I used to spend a lot of time a Great Marsh Park. Often we'd see school buses unload kids and herd them in groups, or we'd watch them with the ymca summer camp program walking the hot tarmac, and sagging in the summer sun, and we'd say to each other, "when do those poor children get to sit under a tree and read a book!?"
There's so much that must be done daily. Shouldn't we learn to enjoy solitude and peace when we can so that we can be content and calm? I can hear the edge in my voice when I have too much on my plate and it isn't pretty. Filling each moment is just plain unhealthy in my book...
But slip over to Northwinds Blog, she puts it all so much nicer....

Christmas Conundrum

Today is the first of 5 Mondays before Christmas where I'll be adding an extra day to the work schedule and be open for Christmas shopping. Today is also the day I feel burdened by the fact that I've been way too lenient with Jedd's schooling, or unschooling as it may be, and feel as though it's time to step it up several notches before Christmas vacation. For the first time in weeks I'm not angry at the dog for waking me up at 6 a.m. to let him out. I've got blueberry-cream cheese muffins in the oven and have put the table extensions from Thanksgiving away. (Let it be understood that the muffins are from a package, I simply added milk, and shoved them in the oven. I'd not want anyone to have a twinge of mother guilt for putting cold cereal in front of their child this morning. That is what happens most mornings here.)
Now I'll have some necessary mommy-time before the kids rise-up for the day and I can tumble Jedd out of his chair-bed by 8a.m. I've been known to let him sleep till 9:30 or 10:00 just so I can have some quiet time. Some people don't believe it, but once that boy is awake it is non-stop chatter the entire day. And it is good chatter. He is very inquisitive and so learning constantly from his questioning, but frankly sometimes it makes my ears hurt and I just need silence. All the more so as I age. I really don't want to become one of those grouchy, old, bitter ladies who snap at all children and tell them to be seen and not heard, but am I the only one who thinks there is a grain of true wisdom in that saying?
Back to the origin of this train of thought. I'm going to tighten up his work schedule. I've been preaching all year that " what is a grade level, but some arbitrary decision of some higher ups? That all kids learn at their own pace and by homeschooling I can tailor that to the kids' needs." Today I woke thinking, " the school year is almost half over and the boy is going to fall behind if I don't make him do some serious work!" (Annie, if you're reading this, this does NOT apply to you! You are fine!)
Does anyone else homeschooling panic about now every year? I remember doing this in the past with the kids. But it's been 3 years since I've taught them at home. It's mainly the math and English... We have been extremely lax in that. I suppose it's because we were talking to some homeschoolers yesterday and one of the boys was saying he was reviewing all his work to really understand it so he wasn't doing grade level work. He seemed rather embarrassed by it (at least that was the impression I got from his words. He is actually a very well spoken, intelligent kid.) Jedd is at grade level now, and I don't want him to be embarrassed next year if he's not doing work labeled "7th grade". And I know him, he would be! The conundrum of teaching them at home, huh?!
Lord, please give me a peaceful heart and your daily dose of wisdom to press on with the job ahead with a sense of calm and diligence....

Monday, November 19

Inherent Tidiness

I struggle mightily with a dustcloth and cleaning products as you may have noticed in previous posts. So the scene I saw when I passed Jedd's room this weekend struck me as being very humorous.

I should back up over 11 years to minutes after the boy's birth. I looked at him for the first time and thought he looked just like a miniature version of my brother Chris. Both of my brothers are oddly tidy men and have been since boyhood. They shared a bedroom growing up and I have no recollection of that room ever being a mess. My room on the other hand, which I never shared, was always a wreck! I mean appalling. I'd be sent to clean it and would go up with every intention of doing so, but as soon as I saw a book anywhere, under the bed, in the closet, that I hadn't seen in a while, I was lost into it for hours. Nothing got done. Clothes were piled everywhere. I'd wake at night and know intellectually that that was not a giant grizzly bear sitting at my desk at one in the morning, but I'd bear it (no pun intended) for about 5 minutes, then count to ten and run down the hall to my mom's room where I'd fly through the air from her doorway to her bed, so the bed goblins couldn't get my feet and send her jolting awake by the bounce I made when I landed on her bed. She was usually a good sport about it I must say. I only stopped this ritual at the age of 12 1/2 when she re-married.

So back to this past weekend. Thom took the kids away for a retreat at a resort in Northeast Md for a night. I was blissfully alone in my house for the first time in about 20 years. I did nothing. I thought about calling girlfriends and organizing a night out, but then realized that I wanted to sit in peace in my house...and enjoy the solitude. It was really....good.

I watched a netflix movie which was very sweet and I highly recommend called, " Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont". It's about an elderly lonely woman (Joan Plowright) is befriended by a young writer (Rupert Friend) in London. I was sobbing at the end so have tissues at hand if you decide to watch it. I thought about watching it over again right away I enjoyed it so much; but then I thought "no, I can go read in bed as late as I'd like without guilt of keeping my hard-working, early-rising husband awake with the light." So that is what I did.

But when I went upstairs to read in bed I passed Jedd's bedroom. And this is what I saw....

He "made" his chair, as if it were a real bed, before he went away. His entire room was clean.
He has a very nice loft bed which sqeaks any time he moves. He slept in it for about a month and then took to sleeping in this chair and ottoman instead for the past 5 months or so. But usually he makes it a chair by day. Now, apparently he's decided to let the world know that it is now a bed. If anyone wants a relatively new loft bed and mattress I have one available.

I have never made the kids make their beds, ever. They know how to do it and if they want to they can. I do it when I change the sheets. Sometimes I get on a kick, especially if I have new sheets or pillows and make it every day for a few weeks. Otherwise one of us shakes out the blankets and spreads them into the air so they land nicely over the bed and we climb in. I love a freshly made bed, it's just not high on my daily priority list.
It's interesting to me mainly how Jedd is a tidy little creature, (mainly in his own room it doesn't seem to spill over into public areas) just like my brothers. Thom isn't. It isn't natural to my daughters, though they both seem more organized in their chaos than I was or am.
My sister shares in my cleaning disability. We both try very hard to keep our homes clean and they are relatively so. Don't be afraid to come eat here. We vaccuum and wash floors and toilets and counters. It just doesn't come natural to us. But the homes we grew up in were always clean. My mother has the gift of keeping a clean house and I don't ever remember seeing her do it. I can't remember seeing her clean a toilet or a floor once in my whole life but it was always done. Our home was aways beautifully decorated and clean enough for a magazine to show up and do a photo-op at any time. I don't remember dust bunnies in any room but my own. I'm going to have to ponder this more... I'm intrigued by how this was accomplished....

Thursday, November 15

tragic tales of postal offerings

AAAH.... my very own, dear laptop has been returned to me. I've been without it for 11 days. It's been difficult posting and even visiting neighbor posts on the ancient laptop (which while only being about 5 years old, truly looks like something from the 1970's to my modern eyes.) Then the cord on that laptop broke and I was computerless. This is a bad state to be in . All my finances for the store get registered into my laptop daily. Now I have receipts piled up and stuffed into pockets waiting to be entered onto my spreadsheet. Oh, please let me find them all....

It is getting wonderfully, yet creepily dark outside. I could see the brightness of the red patio umbrella outside when I came down to let Eli out this morning. Now, as I sit here at the table with coffee and Emma, we notice how black it's gotten. It's gotten much windier and the rain is pouring down. This is technically my day off, so I should be able to stay here and nest. But I went antiquing yesterday after work to find some new display pieces and they're being delivered to the store this morning. A wonderful old oak chest and hutch top and a painted green corner cupboard. I'm usually more of a pine person than oak, but this piece was rather special and a very good price so I snatched it up.

I'll put photos up as soon as it's situated and filled....

And the most important thing I must do today is go to the post office. Denise, if you read this, here is my confession...

I have not mailed that package out to you yet!!!! I am worthless when it comes follow through on posting things. I've had the package sitting here, taunting me for about 5 weeks. I pass the post office EVERY DAY! You are probably going to the post box every day waiting.....

I'm not a bad friend, really. I'm a LAZY friend.

Hayley, if you're reading this...I've not mailed out the check for your rowing team....(Idon't think) I wrote it out and stuck it in the envelope, put it on the side of the register at work and then couldn't find a stamp. As far as I know, it's been thrown away, because I can't find it anywhere. Unless Janna found a stamp and stuck it on and mailed it. In which case, never mind. But I don't think that's the case so, I'll give it to your mom in church.

Now my mother expects me to mail some things back to her in Vermont that she forgot to take home last week. ( Imagine groaning sounds here....). I can do a lot of things, but when it comes to mailing anything at all...I'm a total failure....

Oh...and the 2 week sweet-fast thing....I failed....after about 7 hours....

Well, you're probably all dismayed at my confessions of slothfullness, but quite frankly I feel un-burdened now:)

Monday, November 12

slingin hash

Have you ever dreamed of jettisoning your life as you know it and running away to the west, north, Canada, desert, -you pick and insert here- and working as a waitress in a diner in the middle of absolutely no place? Ala "Alice" in Mel's Diner of the infamous television show of the 70's or 80's. I have no clear memory of the timespan of that program.

It's nothing to do with my life now. I am very content. I've had this little fantasy for years. Actually if we're honest we all have it in some form. Some people dream of being movie stars or singers or artists when they're sitting in a cubicle making cold calls for life insurance.

And my family is allowed to accompany me on this fantasy new life . I never liked waitressing in big fancy restaurants. I have always preferred working in little small town places. ( keep in mind here, I said "working", I have no aversion to eating in fancy restaurants)

Whenever we eat out at a little greasy spoon I think quietly to myself, "hmmm, I wouldn't mind working here."

I picture a long counter fronted with spinning stools and on it are glass topped stands filled with donuts. There is always a small bank of green milkshake makers on the work counter behind it. Coffee makers are constantly brewing fresh java and bags of chips are clipped to a stand for easy grabbing to throw on a plate. The special of the day is a tuna melt and the soup du jour is chicken noodle. The deep fryer is working overtime with extra crispy sweet potato fries and in a nod toward modernism buffalo burgers are served. The windows have cafe curtains hung at the half window and the name of the establishment is printed in white in an arch across the top half of the window. I prefer mostly booth seating with a few tables thrown in. There is definately a ficus plant or two. But they're plastic.

And somehere is a jukebox in which music hasn't been changed since 1981.

There's a warmth to people in these places that I find missing in the finer establishments. A comraderie among blue-collar workers that white-collar workers eschew (in my opinion) in favor of a "higher decorum".

So, yep...that's my fantasy.....

What about you? Any secret fantasies about what you'd do for a living if you didn't do what you are now?

Friday, November 9

knitted garments

I love knee socks! I love chilly days with long cozy skirts and cuddly knee socks. Yeah, tights are okay, but knee socks...better. And to top it off a tight-necked sweater turtleneck with a sweater vest over that. I'm snug right now and very pleased with the nippy weather which allows me to dress so. I heard tell there could be a flurry or two. Jedd and I did the happy dance around the living room at the prospect...

Monday, November 5

will it be a sweet success?

What gives me the right to eat with unabashed glee one moment at the Chinese Buffet, and then beat myself up and complain for hours on end to anyone who'll listen? My philosophy has been, for the last few years, oh just enjoy the weight I'm at now because in two years I'm gonna wish I was still at it.. That's a bad philosophy.

So, I'm putting it out here publicly right now...

For the next two weeks I am giving up sweets. Let's start small and realistically. I'm not out to lose 50 pounds or go on a strict diet. That doesn't work for me. I'm going to start by simply fasting something. Hey, can I make this prayerful or does it not count since my first thought was for my own health and not to fast on God's behalf? I'm gonna risk it, since I couldn't do it without His help anyway...

Okay...on my mark...get set...go! Sweetfast is now underway......

On an important note: Annie and Anna got home late last night. I'll have proper info on their trip when Miss wakes up but ...what I've gotten thus far in my sleepy stupor last night was that:
a. Annie wants to possibly find a school to attend out there...she loves Colorado.
b. they have a wonderful art walk on 1st Friday nights...
c. my daughter is finding her own way in this world and I'm finding a way to inch a little bit out to give her necessary space in her exploration.
d. while "c" is exciting, it's painful at the same time. I'm truly excited to watch her find her way. I'm a bit jealous at the open canvas before her. That one is very hard to confess....This must be where the hindsight is 20-20 comes strongly into play. I remember those years as sometimes being tormented chaos. I didn't have Christ as my rock and and usually chose the wrong path out of rebellion. And both my girls possess a confidence in themselves because of their position with God that I craved back then.
I'm realizing as I write that there is a huge blindspot in my thoughts. MY future is a blank canvas too. In twenty years I'll probably look back at this stage in my life and be envious of those entering it, because once more I'll then have the benefit of "hindsight" won't I? Writing can be so very cathartic...
Father, please renew my energy to live for you. Let me see the picture you're painting on my blank canvas and when others look at it may they see YOU.

Friday, November 2

Meet Mrs. Kotiash

Jeannie Peipon is no Jeanne Kotiash, married woman. If you link to Marianna's blog you can read her ongoing serial on the exciting weekend the family had last weekend. The pictures look amazing. It's like stepping back in time to these little villages. It is humbling to see the work which goes into heating one's house and feeding one's animals. And Marianna's gift with words makes you feel the whole experience as though you were there (if she doesn't write a book on her Ukrainian experiences she is doing a huge disservice to the world!)

~I wish Jeanne and Kolya all the love and happiness possible. I hope we get to meet Kolya stateside someday soon.

By the way this was Jeanne and Kolya's civil ceremony. Their church wedding, which will take place before God, is January 12. That is the wedding that they consider the recognized ceremony, when they will start sharing their life together as man and wife under one roof. I'm thinking God will honor that mightily!

Here's the link:

Lord, please bless this couple and their families. The Peipons have been such an inspiration to many of us for their sacrifices on Your behalf. Help me to be willing to hear Your direction for me and my family...

Thursday, November 1

Colorado Glory

Happy 1st day of November! Leaves are floating by my window and rays of sun are filtering through the trees. I get to stay home with Jedd today as Janna is opening the store. It's a fine day to rake leaves and plant my bag of 100 tulip bulbs.
~I plan on trying to put the house back in to some semblance of order after the past few days of activity. There are piles of blankets in the living room and a blow-up bed to be returned to it's lenders from our overnight guests. Emma had a few friends over for halloween last night and there are candy wrappers and faux spider webbing all over the front porch and yard from them and trick-or-treaters. Every year I add another big bag of candy to the offerings and we still run out early. We get literally hundreds of trick-or-treaters here. It gets very expensive.
~Annie and Anna got off safely yesterday and I got the call last night that they had touched down on Colorado soil. I was a bit jealous watching them go through the gate. It has been a long time since I climbed aboard a plane and had an adventure. I was actually given a pass as the mother of a minor, to go through the gate with them. I got into line showed my i.d. etc., but when it came turn for me to put my purse through the x-ray machine, they wanted me to take of my leopard combat boots...well, that was a little too much effort to go another 15 feet. Their gate was directly in front of the security check, so I felt no guilt about saying, "see ya!" and turning around. Of course there were big hugs which held up the line for another 45 seconds or so...but the boot removal would have held it up longer so I'm guilt- free over that:)
~Lord, thanks so very much for the safe travel for our girls. Please give them wisdom and guidance in these coming days and please surround them with a hedge of protection. Most importantly Father, if you can use them to your Glory, please do so!