Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My script of joy, immortal diet,
y bottle of salvation.
My gown of glory, hopes true gauge,
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

~Sir Walter Raleigh

A hiker, walking for pleasure, likes to choose between several alluring trails.
The pilgrim desires only the road that leads home.

~Frank W. Boreham

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Happy, happy birthday, Baby...


My baby is a grandmother called Mimsie.

While The Dad and I were talking of this day's event he asked isn't she __ years old?  Well, he put her nearly 15 years back.  But that's how it is with your children and the passage of time.  We olden but they youth-en, or at the very least remain fixed in our minds always as children.

This child, more than her siblings reminds me of The Mercy that follows us all of our days.

Numerous times, from her earliest days, her life could have been, should have been, in the human sense, snuffed out.  Yet, the goodness and mercy of our Sovereign Lord had other plans for her.  Marriage to a good man (and we all know they are hard to find!), the blessing of children who in turn are blessings, the children of others to teach and mentor,and so much more was fixed in Eternity Past for her. Not to mention the crowning glory of grand parenthood.

Even a dream trip to Italy was to be her portion.

By nature, she has been and is a peace maker.  That was a monumental blessing in the family days.  She was always the one child with whom the siblings got along. There were times in her life at home when there may have been cause for concern, but she was never the cause of trouble.

So this day, happy birthday, Dear Daughter.  Your life has been a blessing to family and friends alike. The world is a better place because you are in it.

We are most grateful you have been in our lives, grateful for your wit and wisdom and that is why I'm  delighted to fix pork chops and applesauce for your dinner this evening.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Painting over, but the chickens stay.

"Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations..."

This, then has been the blessing of the house these last years of sojourn.  Stenciled with care, by the creative hands of the dear daughter-in-law,  they have been the overarching  prayer and praise. Painted on the arch, these words greeted and comforted each time entering the front door. They were/are the perfect statement of my thoughts and concept of what a home is: refuge.The big picture, the broader, greater reality is that no matter the  physical geography, our dwelling place and abiding is in Him.

Now we ready our home to become a marketable house. Painting over, while a sad thing, must be done.  Thankfully that does not alter the facts concerning our one true Refuge.  Praise Him.

But there is another matter.  The names.

If memory serves, writing the names of the Grands on a wall began three houses back - fifteen years or so.

At that time, as the pattern was stenciled, there were only nine names.  To make all  come out right names were added.  I remember that Fitzwilliam Darcy, Lizzy Bennett, Anne Shirley and Christopher Robin were among he extra chosen.  After all, the room in question was the Grands guest quarters when they visited.

But this time, with the Grands, the Lads and the Greats, there was no need to add.  Faced with this painting task, there was a heart sadness.  Then I remembered that while these are the dear names, the darlings that go with those names remain. (Get a grip, old girl)  

I confess.  I painted slowly.  Each name and the one it belonged to was thought about, remembered in a special way and then prayed for carefully as the paint was applied.  It still was not an easy task. It became a very personal meditation, a sacrifice of praise, if you will.  Sweet memories woven with hopes for the future.  Sanctified.  Blessed.

Then there is the matter of the chickens outside.  Conclusion:  outside is where chickens belong and the chicken mural, again so beautifully painted by the afore mentioned daughter-in-law will remain.  It would take a hard-hearted  person to paint over these. I leave them to the new owner as our statement "we have been here".  I do hope they continue to bring smiles.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Different Sort of Valentine

"A simple melody of tender character - a kind of narrative poem." 

So reads one of the dictionary's definition of Romance.  This then is my attempt at such.  This is not about chocolates, roses and pink champagne, tho there is that aspect in what I shall try to put before you.

It is about love, love of that abiding, deep and lasting sort, the happily-ever-after kind. It is the love that alters not when it alteration finds.

It is about The Lads, the title my heart has given them.  These four (and there are yet to be others in future) have been added to our clan first and foremost by the Hidden Hand why guides all hearts and their affairs.

The manner in which each of these young men was added to us is the stuff of the best fairy tales but tempered with enough reality to be fine and true.

All of these lads are of a quiet, reserved, steady sort of nature, (but not without great wit and good humor).  It is no doubt that we as a family, with our boisterous ways quite overwhelmed them in the beginning.  Certainly they were added to balance, to perfection, the lives of our girls which they chose as well as the rest of us.

To their credit, they each have worked to, not only adjust, but to actually become part of the whole.  They have made an effort to connect with one another as outsiders coming into the mix. 

There are many reasons why these four make my heart glad.  They are each involved very much in the real world in order to support their growing families.  Yet each of them in their quiet ways romance their wives throughout each year, not just February 14th. They live out their love on a daily basis.

They cherish their wives, they delight in their children, as well as in each others. They are devoted to their mothers-in-law in a most uncommon way. Because those MILs are my own kith and kin, this matters.

Best of all, they are each continually growing in their love for the One Who Is Love. That reflected love is perhaps why they do what they do so well.

Perhaps their parents and maybe even their wives could point out flaw in them.  I, for one, would be hard pressed to acknowledge any.

So a very Happy Valentines Day to our Lads, their wives and Littles.
And to you Dear Reader as well.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sprigs, Twigs and Sprouts

This is where it began.  At least this was my contributions to the family tree.  

Those were the days.  They were often days when I wondered if ever I would sleep through the night.  They were days of strewn toys, skinned knees, peanut-butter kisses, dandelion bouquets (mommy orchids, I called them) and joy.

We grew up together, these four and I, the daddy often away from the home. 
I played along with them, delighting in them.  It never occurred to me to do otherwise.
I was young and ignorant so followed what I knew from my own mamma's example.  As it turned out, that was the best example possible, Praise God.

Then these four grew and did their part to increase the tribe, yea verily. 
These four, now eight begat nine.  

Grand children! 

Never in my wildest imaginings could I have conjured up the incomparable delight of that new generation. Such fruit, such reward!  Such treasures and delights!

Watching my children parent, lovingly, patiently, wisely was something of wonder.  The resulting twigs that grew enriched our lives unspeakably and continue to do so.  Who could imagine such beauties, such antics and wit, such laughter and song?

And now.  Now those darlings are grown.  They too are beginning to marry and to add to our well-root tree.

Great-Grands!  Joy bringing, heart bursting, hug giving wonder surpassing all else.

And this year, once again, still more will be added.  Sisters Three are in happy production for the delight of us all.  When Spring is blooming, there should be, Lord willing, an new total of three.  This will make the grand Grand total seven.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined all this.  To have lived long enough to see this coming generation, to have my wits about me - mostly - to actively enjoy and take a small part in their lives - in truth, words fail.

Here now is our most recent sprig with two sprouts yet to come.

Wee Joseph Michael is the lad of the moment. The newest, most precious addition.

This old woman can't help but rejoice and sing along with the Psalmist:

O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God,
do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation, 
Your power to all those to come.
~Psalm 71.17-20

I find myself like Mary who
"...treasured  up all these things, pondering them in her heart."