Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Our Own Canvas

I asked for a rolling pin rack. Brad crafted this one.
 It is the time of year when I am suddenly seriously discontent with the house. That unfinished basement is daily being remodeled in my mind. I walk by the pantry and see a million things that belong in the dumpster. Why do we keep all those empty jars. It is high time to move on. We never fill them anymore. Out they go. If you want them let me know in a comment.
 Last year's brainstorm event produced a clean, revamped kitchen. I am still thanking God for this. Still liking it. So I'm taking courage. Dreams are free. And when I shared this dream with the logger man, he saw what I envisioned. Amazing results come of getting the man involved. So I'm thanking him, too.
 Over Christmas the guys here built the shelf curtain rod holder over the dining room windows. The rods are simply iron wood poles. I plan to varnish these. I don't want a mish-mash of knick-knacks on them. Just something clean and simple up there. Right now it's trees and birds. But we're still dreaming. I think I spent 35 dollars on the lumber and varnish. The labor was a gift. God made the rods.

I looked up slip covers for this couch. I could spend anywhere from 100 to 2000 dollars. I'm dreaming of finding yardage at the local thrift store and sewing them myself.
    All this to remind me that dreaming is a good first step to accomplishment. Maybe next year I'll post pictures of a finished master bedroom and bath in the basement.
    We're also dreaming of a new work area complete with shelving, cabinets and counter-space for scrapbooking, letter writing, school, gift wrapping, and sewing.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Morning Quiet Time

    Sitting by the fire for quiet time this Sunday morning is nice. Being sick is not nice, but the fresh flowers, a lit candle and sunshine pouring in the windows are nice. There are some compensations for being sick on Sunday. Waking up later than usual to the sounds of Lance cleaning and tidying the living room. He and Amy did all the Sunday morning routine with out me and when I came up there were fresh flowers and lit candles in the dining and living rooms. Ah! I love my grown up children. They know exactly what hits the spot on a flu-y Sunday morning.
   Elv went to Wal-mart on his way home from work last night and bought out the juice department for me, sparkling grape juices and plenty of other cooling, hydrating liquids. And tissues. Wow, Klenex is going to notice a leap in sales for the first quarter of 2015, or I miss my guess.  He fetched and carried and kept the home fires burning late and early. Brad had swept and fired up two steamers yesterday for us, too.
    I have been reading in Galatians this week. Here is a gem for us: Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Galatians 3:5

Thursday, January 22, 2015

 Boys in our lives. So much more than the game is here. They sat here for hours that day plodding through this game. Never mind whether they enjoyed it...they started it, so they finished it. That was the impression I got from walking by and eavesdropping. But a lot can be learned about a stranger cousin by playing a board game, you know, especially by playing Catan's Rails and Trails game.
The great arm wrestling. Brad pretends to look all bored and Benny is about to nail 'im good.  Arther's smile is priceless.
Thanks for sharing them with us for a couple of days. We enjoyed it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Home, A Hearth and a Stack of Books

 Brrr, it is constantly very cold outside. All day the temps hang around zero. At night they dip even lower.  You have it heard it all, over and over, about stoked stoves and drawn up chairs and the drafts in this old stone house. So I won't repeat myself.
    But yesterday I had a costumer confess that the only reason they left their fire and the stack of books there was because they were out of milk and lettuce. She was longing to return as soon as possible.  I got a glimpse though of that comfortable hearth....the stack of books. That got to me.  I WANT a stack of books.
     You are all going to help me with this one. Please. I am out of ideas. I need book titles.

    And names of good authors. I'll read biographies or novels, happily. Have hearth, need books. In the comments, please, quickly. I'll go to the library first thing, and interlibrary order them if that is what it takes. That's another subject and don't get me started. Libraries with no books fit for human consumption. Rows and rows of them. Am I picky?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tailgate Supper Post That Never Hit the Press From Last Summer

I found a lost posting from way back in July or August. We went out to the woods and had supper with the loggers.  I think Clark's ended up feeling left out and I don't blame them looking back on this.


Havilah looks like Lisl did at this age here.  

We hauled firewood out there, don't know why, going to a logging site.  And all our food and chairs.  Memories.

That's the Jeep full of our food and paraphernalia.  Good old Jeep is quite a heap these days. I'd sell it cheap but Elv would weep.  There's a Graber ditty for you.

Let's go logging with Grandpa. Jube was properly impressed.

Lance was coming with his big machine with a load to unload and Havilah was VERY worried about that. You can see her panic. Jube thinks she is just silly. You can see that, too.

So there you have it, Clark's. We're gonna do this next summer with your family. Cutting that half hour off of travel time is looking really attractive.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Ten Questions For The New Year

Ten Questions for the New Year

1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
      I hope to trust better during those times when I am fearful. I am afraid of what people think. I am afraid that we will make the wrong decision. I hope to remember this year that God is bigger than our decisions. That He will take our mistakes as well as our victories and use them for good.

2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?

     I am asking God to heal the hurts and hearts from the huge changes at Grace Bible Church last year. God asks, "Is anything too hard for Me?" 

3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
   For me to be more at peace inside and thus in my relationships at home.

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?

    Is there any other decent answer than to pray better or more? Work a list and kneel by my bed more consistently for that work. That's what I'll do.

5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?

    For me it is just staying busy with all my things: housework, blogging, reading, working, and creating so that I don't have time to research and write on my writing project. It's silly of me.

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

    I am just a little stymied by this one. Honest communication? Offering grace and kindness at every opportunity, instead of my own opinion? Which two things should not be new for me...are they?

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

    First people I thought of were those folks in Chiang Mai who will be/are attending the new IGO church plant.

8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?

    By God's grace, I hope to offer grace and peace more consistently even when I am inclined to whip situations into shape in my own mind.

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

    I already confessed this one. Kneel by my bed longer and more consistently.

10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

     The prayer and peace-in-my-heart parts of my life. Those things will most likely help me be a sweet old lady later. We are today, in part at least, who we are going to be when we are old. God Help Us!

Dru posted a link to these questions on FB. I don't honestly know who put them up but they were there for our use so I'm sharing them here for you to consider, as well.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Stonehouse Christmas 2014

      We had a "white Christmas" of plenty of snow and cold.
     All the stateside children came home for a week. (If you can call married or bachelor children, adults.) And  the grandchildren. 16 of us, all in this little old house. Such cooking, and eating, and playing of games, running and yelling, discussions and argument (redundant?), baby care and naps, scoldings and interruptions, laughter and two-year-old hamming it up, you ever did see!
     We read books to the littles every day. At some point one of the adults bought "crans" (Crayola) and the printer went to work printing pages of pictures for them to color. I found the colors in a desk drawer this morning, left behind for next time, I guess.
     We finally found a minute to open the look alike gifts with the children. Such a party that was.

    So Christmas and New Year’s Day are over. Thud!  Why does it have to feel so bad to have them all leave? I wouldn’t want them all here all the time. My brain isn’t big enough for that at all. We had happy times. Except that Elv was sick the whole time. The children are getting big enough to expect certain things of Marmee and Grandpa and our house. I guess I like tradition, too. So we had pie and smoked turkey. And hot chocolate for whenever. And read stories to children by the hour. And took pictures of them doing everything. And the guys played a LOT of chess and the new Catan game a couple of times. We sledded once, and had a couple of evenings at Lance’s. Someone dug out the VHS player from the depths and the children watched Milo and Otis one evening. Gwen hated it and couldn’t walk away all the same. Poor kid. That’s me all over again.
            Brad, Gabe and Clark took an afternoon to build shelf/rod hangers for the dining room. They’re beautiful.  I need to varnish them and collect three wall words: Grace, Mercy, and Peace to sit on the shelves, one each. And we sewed the curtains and hung them. It’s very cottage-y looking. Is that a word? -excerpt from a letter to my sisters and Susan. 

 I especially enjoyed getting all those Christmas letters in our mail box this year. Email is quick and easy but snail mail is like chocolate compared to cold cereal or something like that. It takes a little time and thought and effort and even a stamp to send one communication to one person. So I make it even more special. Get a fresh cup of coffee, find a place to curl up by the fire and open and read the day's quota of letters. I'm going to send out a few more than I already have this year. It's like planting seeds for next December, isn't it?

 Roses. These are plain old Wal-mart roses. Amy's words, "Nobody buys me roses, so I'll get them for me, myself."  It was a lovely thing to do, because they landed on our table and have been giving us joy over the New Year. Next year I'm going to get two bunches and have them all over the house from the 20th of December through New Year's Day. Don't let me forget this, girls.
 Francis brought mixed nuts in the shell for our enjoyment. So far we've been just looking at them but the cracker tools are right there too, and one of these times we're going to not walk by, but sit down and crack them open and visit while we crunch. We should have done that while everyone was here. I guess you can't do everything, but we sure tried.


 Elv said this morning, "I'm ready to get back to normal life again." Amy mentioned that in her blog post, as well.  Oh alright, if you all insist. But I liked it so much. I hope to do it all again, next Christmas. Two things that I promise we won't forget next year:  to sing together one evening and to go sledding or skating, at least once.

I posted this on family FB this AM: Friday morning the 2nd of January. The last of our Nebraska family left for home this morning. The stonehouse is very quiet. Only the hum of the fan behind the stove and my music low. Tentative sunlight coming through the old windows makes squares of light on the wall behind the stove. The stove creaks encouragingly but barely holds back the persistent chill creeping in. -10 degrees outside. Elv hopes to return to "normal" life. Amy is off to work. Brad is sleeping in, evidently. I am going to keep busy so that I don't die of the terrible missing of our children and grandchildren who have just left. Which is just silly because they'll all be back in less than three weeks. Oh well, I love our small family, our small house, and our life here in the north woods. Now I'm gonna go get a cup of freshly brewed coffee and pour some of that half and half in there that Jenny ordered and never opened. Thanks Jenny. Oh, and yes I will find "tracks" all the rest of the week of our wonderful Christmas and New Years time with all of the family. This is messed up; but I love/hate the poignancy of memories.


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