Monday, April 24, 2017

Mondays are for Grace


"Humility is simply acknowledging the truth of [our] position as creature 
and yielding to God his place."

-- Andrew Murray


Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Parties of April

 



















 













 It's been a month for celebrations! We began with a baby shower for my youngest sister, Emily, who is expecting a little girl next month! With seven people to create the party we had the house filled to overflowing with flowers, paintings, and delectable food!

The shower was arranged to be a proper sit-down tea party with the food set out in three groupings to go along with the three flavors of herbal tea that were served. It makes for a fun evening and it gives me a chance to justify keeping a cupboard full of china and a closet full of linens!

Prom was next! This was Rachel's first. We have an exchange student from Spain staying with us this month and it was a new experience for her as well. I think I had just as much fun as the girls being involved in all the preparations, taking them to get the photos done, and then sitting in the corner of the restaurant enjoying dinner with my mom while the kids had their own fun.

And Easter followed a few hours after prom! It was a beautiful spring day with lots of lovely people around the dinner table(s). I just love all the pastel colors that surround us at this time of year! It's fun to have them spread across the table too.

The last of the Easter candy is still (miraculously) sitting in the bottom of the teacups on the table and we are all breathing a sigh of relief to have a quiet week. Laura, on the other hand, is counting down the days until her very own birthday celebration next week!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April in the Garden


Suddenly we are truly into spring. The grass is thick and green and the mowing has already started. Dandelions abound -- it used to be they were mostly in our yard and never in our neighbor's but strangely the trend is reversing.

Beauty is everywhere. Six weeks ago one blossom would have been welcomed with joy and the attention of a rare treasure. Today I pass a thousand trees covered in 10,000 of those precious blossoms and the beauty washes over me like a waterfall impossible to contain.

The kids are dirtier and bandaids running scarce. It was 66F last week and I caught them playing with the garden hose, happily soaking wet, while I walked up the street in a sweater over my long-sleeve shirt.

The days begin cool -- socks are a must, and long pants and maybe a sweater. But the layers shed as the sun climbs and evening may call for a fan by the bed.

I must start giving attention to all the flower beds. Winter provided the perfect time for voles to perform their clandestine acts of treachery. My beds are riddled with tunnels. There are bare patches where there should be longstanding perennials springing to life. I feel the burden of these unwanted pests and wonder if I'm fighting a losing battle.

If I really wanted to get rid of the voles I'd have to give up the flower beds. But I must have flowers. I must have beauty. It's the beauty that pushes me to do the gardening work that does not agree with my constitution or fit very well with my schedule.

The happiest thing in the garden right now is my lilac. Michael invested (that's the right word) in it last year as a gift for me. It's all in perfect bloom right now. It's two weeks early. I know this because lilacs always bloom for Laura's birthday the last week of April. It seems fitting to connect lilacs with the birth of my little girl since it is the lilacs of my girlhood that whisper in my memories.

Today when I pulled into the garage we noticed a pair of purple finches on the window ledge above. They were so sweet and love-buggish. Every time I see a robin in the tree out front I almost pray it will build a nest there. I'm desperate for a bird's nest. What I should be hoping for is an owl or a red-tailed hawk to take up residence and naturally take care of my vole problem.

The vegetable garden is still a tangle of dead vines and stalks from last year. I see all the gardens around the house and want them tidied in a day but in reality it will take at least a month. Pacing is the name of the game. I think I'll add more flowers to the vegetable garden this year. I have good luck with herbs and pole beans but little else. Why keep trying so hard when I could plant more flowers?

I'm waiting to see if the "Cherry Brandy" rudbeckia (red black-eyed susans) I started from seed so painstakingly last year will grow and flower. I've been pining for this variety for four years since I first saw it at Abbotsford (the home of Sir Walter Scott). If I can just one plant to successfully grow then I can go from there.

Tonight we ate our first dinner of the year out on the patio. It feels so good to be outside again for a meal. I stared at the lilac bush while we ate and talked. And I thought maybe I should get out the hummingbird feeder tomorrow and fill it up. You never know when those tiny things might show up again. I sat far too long but it meant a long conversation with two of the kids that wouldn't have happened if we were inside. And now as the dark descends I still hear the birds chirping and singing. The smell of spring is wafting in the windows and it feels like winter is far, far away.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Mondays are for Grace


"Rest time is not waste time.
It is economy to gather fresh strength....
It is wisdom to take occasional furlough.
In the long run,
we shall do more by sometimes doing less."

-- Charles Spurgeon

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mondays are for Grace


"If you foolishly ignore beauty, 

you will soon find yourself without it. 

Your life will be impoverished. 

But if you invest in beauty, 

it will remain with you all the days of your life."

-- Frank Lloyd Wright

Monday, April 3, 2017

Mondays are for Grace


"When we lose one blessing,
another is often most unexpectedly given in its place."

-- C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book Review: Chicken Scratch by Kelly Chripczuk




Chicken Scratch: Stories of Love, Risk & Poultry by Kelly Chripczuk is a delightful and humorous short memoir of a woman who decides to buy herself a flock of chickens for her thirty-ninth birthday. In the pages that follow the momentous purchase Chripczuk writes of the practical realities of taking on chickens, of a rooster gone rogue, of rescuing chickens from the neighbor's yard, and how chicken care intersected with daily family life.

In the introduction Chripczuk shares how it was her blossoming discovery and love of the Psalms that opened her eyes to see that God is present in the mundane and ordinary moments of life. Raising chickens came at a crossroad in her own life and provided the perfect opportunity for Chripczuk to pick up her waiting pen and record the remarkable in the seemingly unremarkable.

This is a great book for someone like me who loves to photograph chickens and "thinks" they might be fun to raise. After visiting my friend in Michigan last fall, and now reading this book, it appears that chickens are a lot of work! I suppose most things worthwhile in life are like that! And you know what, I think that if you aren't learning life lessons raising chickens then God will use whatever other activity you are doing to bring the lessons to your door! This book is a great way to vicariously "live the chicken dream" and it would also be a fun and sympathetic read for those who are actually in the "chicken business."

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