28 January 2017

Steady as She Goes

Our world has lost another hero this week. This man was not one you have likely heard of. He wasn't famous. He wasn't flashy. He was just a quiet man who went his quiet way through life. Steady and ordinary. He would have been the first to say he was no one special.

The two things I will always remember about Henry are his sweet corn and his dogs. I loved the one and feared the other. Every summer, he gave our family of seven enough sweet corn to put some in the freezer. It was an all day process, blanching the corn and shaving it off the ears into the freezer containers. I am still searching for sweet corn that tastes like his. It was the best. Henry's wife, Audrey, was my piano teacher, so every week for several years I went to his farm. I liked the lessons well enough, but I sure didn't like the dogs. Henry trained his dogs to guard his house, and they did a good job.

Henry was born on a farm in Illinois in 1923. After he survived the Great Depression and graduated from High School, he joined the United States Navy and was trained as a mechanic. Day in and day out, he and his mates kept their ships in good operating condition.

Photo Credit: US Army, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

On June 6, 1944, Henry was pulled out of the engine room by a superior officer and directed to use a long pole to keep the bodies of his dead comrades out of the path of the landing craft. This was his job for the rest of the day. Seventy-two years later he told me the story. We were visiting with him and Audrey in their room at the Care Center.

He answered some of our questions, and then he sat caught in his thoughts. Several minutes later, he rejoined the conversation as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. All his life he carried that memory with him, yet he was one of the kindest, steadiest men I have known. It is true that he was a hero for his actions on June 6, 1944; but Henry was a hero to me because of the life he lived after that day.

16 January 2016

Double Chocolate Muffins

Our new favorite breakfast muffin recipe can be found at this link. Don't tell Mom, but it's almost like eating chocolate cake. We like to make them with dark cocoa powder because double chocolate is not enough. The good news is - this recipe makes about 16 muffins; enough for afternoon snacks.

05 November 2015

Orange Candles

This time of year I am anticipating the long, dark winter so I'm searching out warmth in all its forms. Shorter days bring out the need for comfort.

The straight-haired girl made orange candles. We melted down two tapers that were past their prime and poured the wax into clove studded orange hemispheres. They have burned for quite a while now, giving off light and warmth and a wonderful holiday aroma.

11 February 2015

Love Letters

Every year the Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators hosts a convention for the entire state. The location rotates between Duluth, the Twin Cities, and Rochester. Rochester is six and a half hours away from where we live, and we don't always go on those years. When the convention was in Rochester several years back, I went to an alternative convention put on by the Duluth homeschool group. Although I missed the ginormous room full of used books at MACHE, the CORE convention was excellent.

Tracey Finck was one of the presenters that day, and what she had to say really lit a fire in my brain. I go back and read my notes every once in a while when I am discouraged, and I always come away feeling better about our school journey. She's the author of the little paperback book Love Letters to a Child. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to use the medium of journaling to enrich the relationship they share with their children.

09 February 2015

The Woman Inside My Head

Day after day, we're bombarded by images of the outside of others' lives. We see perfectly styled photos of other homes, perfectly airbrushed images of other women. We read stories about people who save the world by age 27 and then juggle two careers, a family of seven, and find time to sew their own wardrobe on the side. And then we turn around to look at our mess. And most of the time, it's not even hot. (Why doesn't it occur to me to just. turn. off. the computer?!? Why?)

When I get overwhelmed by all that perfect input, I revert to the perfectionist in me that says, "Well, then. If I can't do every single aspect of my life as perfectly as they are, then I might as well not even try." And then, because the sane part of me realizes that's not good to completely disengage from life, I start paying just enough attention to my life so no one notices the lack. Or so I tell myself.

Just enough that my kids and my husband don't completely feel ignored, but not enough to actually say I am investing in their lives. Just enough to maintain connections with my friends, but not enough to say I am living in true community. And please, let's not even talk about the house and the menu.

Quite honestly, there are times when giving up seems like a good plan. I stop swimming upstream toward the life I want - not the perfect life I see on my Pinterest boards - the life I am thoughtfully working toward (most of the time). The life where I'm living, not just marking time.

If I want that life, then giving up is not really an option. Eventually, I get my head out of the fog long enough to realize that comparing myself to anyone else is an exercise in futility. I don't live anyone else's life. And when I lose sight of the reason I am swimming upstream, I need to hunker down, get some rest, and start thinking about why I'm doing any of this in the first place.

“Love always perseveres.”  - The Bible

06 February 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook

February 6, 2015
Outside my window...it is snowing. Again. This time, it's light and fluffy and rather pretty. 

I am thankful... for a quiet hour or two to gather some thoughts and visit this spot again. I've been gone for quite a while.  

In the kitchen...we are trying to eat more healthily. Some days we make more progress than others. Today was not so great (pretty sure Hardees' Frisco Burger doesn't qualify as particularly healthy), but thankfully tomorrow is a fresh start.

I am wearing...flannel. Flannel is perfect for winter.

I am creating...several messes. Hopefully they will resolve themselves into something beautifully productive before too long!

I am wondering...why it is so impossibly difficult to be consistent. Energy levels, moods, actions, all of it. Grrr. It's an exercise in futility sometimes. I can go with the flow most days, but sometimes it just gets to me.

I am reading...Beneath the Sands of Egypt by David Ryan. I just finished it. It was a bit rambling in parts, but overall a good read for someone interested in fairly recent happenings in Egyptology. I am going to start Any Approaching Enemy by David Worrall. Rather eclectic, but there it is.

I am hoping...to walk regularly on the treadmill and generally get my rear in gear. I need to quit hibernating. Spring will come to our neck of the woods. Eventually. I hope.

I am looking forward to...spring! This could have something to do with the inconsistency mentioned above, now that I am thinking about it.

I am learning...that some things can't be rushed. They must be learned slowly as they are experienced. Sometimes in layers. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are our lives.

Around the house...we have created a video of our borrowed pipsqueak lip-syncing "Let It Go." She's pretty cute, that littlest pipsqueak. And she has mad drama skills.

I am pondering...how little time I have before the pipsqueaks are launched. Time flies so quickly! I want to make the most of what time is left before they only visit this house. I am glad to see the young women they are becoming. I am also glad that I have enjoyed every stage so far, even this one. But time goes by a lot quicker than it seems to everyday during that last hour before supper.

A favorite quote for today..."Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Ps. 90:12

One of my favorite things...is Eighties Alternative Radio. Oh yes. Love it!! (Don't tell the resident Dad. He's not a fan of anything but terrestrial radio.)

A few plans for the rest of the week: "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!"

No photo this time. My camera is elsewhere and I am a complete technological slacker at this point in my life.

I am taking part in The Simple Woman's Daybook.

31 January 2015

January Quote of the Month

"Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message."
~Malcolm Muggeridge


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