Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lamplight

Most of you who read my blog know that we often use only kerosene lamps at night for our light. Not because we have to but out of choice.
Tonight after Melanie and Casi left and Emery went to bed, the house was silent. Time seemed to stand still, or perhaps take steps backwards as I lit the lamp in the dinning room, took out a book to read and mused a bit about trying to read with some glasses I have that are over 100 years old. I have reached the age where reading glasses are a must and these old spectacles finally fit my eyesight.
I started to read but found myself having a silent conversation with God instead. Telling Him how grateful I am for my life and all the love that surrounds me. Simple life that it is, it suits me and brings me great peace of heart.
There are no dramas unfolding day to day in my life, just ordinary happenings. Simple things. I like it that way. Busy days filled with cooking, cleaning and caring for my loved ones. Evenings filled with phone calls from loved ones, hand holding and laughter with my beloved, and yes he really is my beloved, I am not just using that term lightly. He is truly my gentle-man.
Conversations about the days happenings or about our plans. Good things. Dear things. Cherished moments. Written on our hearts. Prayer together at our bedside. Sleep so sound and restful. Lamplight makes it all seem so right.

Here are a couple poems I love dearly.

Lamps

I love old lamps.... their yellow glow across the kitchen clean...

It seemed to stand for us, somehow, the best that home could mean.

I love old lamps that shed their light like golden aureoles Across the prairie night to homesick neighbor souls.

No road was ever half so long If I could look and see above the lonely rutted trail The lamp set out for me.

And though the aching years divide Old things serene and sweet, Above the dark their beauty shines,

A Lamp unto my feet

-Edna Jaques

Homes
I like a kitchen big enough
To hold a rocking chair,
With windows looking to the sun,
And flowers blooming there.
I like big cupboards by the wall,
That hold a lot of things,
The cups hung up on little hooks,
A yellow bird that sings.
I like to do my mending there,
Where I can watch the road,
And see the teams come plodding home,
And smell their fragrant load,
Of heavy sheaves at stacking time,
Or hear the wagons creak,
And groan beneath their golden weight,
If it is threshing week.
I like to have the supper on,
And let it simmer slow,
With rich brown gravy bubbling up,
Around the meat, you know.
With apple pie set out to cool
And flaky new baked bread,
With golden syrup in a bowl
And jelly warm and red.
I like to have the lamps ashine,
With yellow glowing light,
And have the kitchen warm and clean
When they come in at night.
To make a home so snug and dear,
That when they work or play,
They hold a picture in their hearts
Of home, at close of day.

Beside Still Waters
- Edna Jaques

Quiet Breakfast


The saying, "Feast or Famine" rings true in our house right now. We had such a feast with all our family here for the wedding and now, it is famine. All the guest rooms lay empty. Only one place at the breakfast table this morning. (Emery was off early and fixed his own breakfast and let me sleep).
The windows are open this morning. Cool nights have come and I can bear 90 degree days with no air conditioning when the nights are in the 60's. It feels like the worst of summer is over and the start of fall is not far off by comparison to what we have endured.

I am listening to Smoky Mountain Hymns this morning. Makes the house seem more homestead like. Atmosphere is after all something that sets the stage for many aspects of life. A simmer pot with pumpkin pie spice oil scents the house with that fall home cooking aroma. With the windows open I can hear the crows calling on another from tree to tree. The sound of the neighbors goat crying for some reason or another, the steady hum of the window fan seems to break any moments of true silence. No matter, its a thousand times better than the noise of the air conditioning. I love the sounds of nature.

I vowed to take one week and do NOTHING after the wedding, and that's proving to be a more difficult task than I ever imagined. So I have had to redefine "nothing". "Nothing" can not include, cooking, cleaning a bit, sewing, spinning or knitting. And of course laundry has to be done. Maybe I just don't know how to sit still for very long. "Nothing" seems to be sounding more and more like normal daily living !

To prove I am taking some time off, this afternoon, a favorite book will occupy some of my time, peppered with phone calls from all my loved ones. I may work on cutting out some aprons for the apron exchange I am on and finish up a long over due tea towel for a friend. I made one for the exchange, mailed it off to her and it has landed in some unknown destination, lost in nowheres land. Its become a "do-over" project. I had to put it aside at wedding time.
I signed up for a heirloom quilting class for one Saturday a month for 4 months and am so looking forward to beginning that. It starts in October so will have to be a bit patient.
While I was having my breakfast, it came to me how quickly life returns to normal after big events like Melanie and Casi's wedding. Life truly does march on.
I just feel so incredibly blessed...yup, blessed indeed.

new sock yarn
breakfast for one

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fabrics of the Day




It feels a bit lonely here today with everyone gone. I took my dad to the airport this morning and we shared a tearful good-bye. To sooth my sadness I stopped off at a huge JoAnn fabric store and used the gift card my friend gave me for my birthday. No matter how beautiful the fabric was, I was still missing my family !
Isn't that much like all the things we do to chase away some sort of problem ? People eat when they are depressed, or lonely or shop, yet after the meal is done, or the snacking, the feelings are still there.
I am excited about my new fabrics though. Cute pink and white gingham for an apron, white cotton to make a copy of my great grandmothers apron and I found the perfect lace that is a lot like what is on my Nana's old apron.
I found some great pimento color print quilt fabric and a yard of some wonderful Chinese brocade to make a baby blanket in the future.
I also purchased some kona cotton for a new Amish quilt that I want to make as shown in the picture next to the fabric.
It feels almost wrong that I have nothing pressing to do at the moment. Maybe it makes me feel a bit restless. I wandered around the property, embracing the cooler weather and seeing the green shoots that are popping up from the recent rains. I feel a bit reflective, thinking about how blessed I am with my family. Children all happy and making such good lives for themselves. Confident, strong character and accomplished young people. Each one knows how to call on the Lord. I know in no time at all there will be another generation in my family, perhaps already one on the way ! The prayers I have prayed for so many years have been answered.
The pictures....
Apron fabrics
Quilt fabrics
Little "plain" dresses hanging up for the future
Fabric for a baby blanket.....will it be used within year I wonder ?

Still More Photos from the Wedding



Melissa, the matron of honor and two of the 5 bridesmaids
Throwing the bouquet (it was a set up, she threw it to her friend Joy)
Melanie at the reception

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yes, More wedding pictures !



Here are a few more pictures....not sure when you will get tired of seeing them !
First picture is of Steven and Pricilla at the rehearsal dinner and then one of my dad, sisters and Pricilla sitting together at the wedding.
Steven was doing the sound system for his sister so he was rather hidden at the time.
Later at the reception Steven was busy helping so it was hard to corner him for a photo, but here he and Pricilla are sitting with the family.
Pricilla was so helpful in setting up for the wedding reception, I certainly hope we can call her our daughter in law soon !
Tonight is my dads last night with us, he leaves tomorrow and its going to be lonely with out him. Maybe at some point he will consent to coming to live with us. It would be such a blessing for us if he would.
My sisters and Melissa all had delays in taking off from Dallas yesterday. We had heavy rains and they did back east too. Delaying their flights. All of them made it home safely but they are all tired.

The house feels so empty.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Just a Few More Pictures from the Wedding




The house is pretty quiet tonight as my sisters, Melissa and my friend Debbie all are on their way home. My dad is here for a couple more days.
As I go through all the pictures of the wedding, I feel such quiet joy, knowing my sweet daughters are both so happily married now.
We were blessed with rain yesterday and today, which almost felt symbolic to me, as if we were being blessed 10 fold. The high today was 81 degrees. It felt so refreshing.

Tomorrow I will post more about the wedding and some of the details.
For now, here are some additional pictures.
Cutting the wedding cake
Sharing the cake
Their wedding rings, from Thailand with their last name written in Thai on them. A tradition in Casi's family for a few generations.

I feel so blessed by the joy our family has shared this past week. Being together, sharing a wedding, being able to laugh and talk into the wee hours.
Having the wedding come off perfectly. It was such a fun time, although I will admit I am totally worn out.
I stayed in the kitchen the whole time of the reception, popping out now and again to check on food and see what was taking place. By the time the cake was cut and the toast was given, I was through with kitchen duty.
Friends stayed and helped us clean up and we were home by 11 p.m. I put my feet up and just crashed. I vowed not to leave the house on Sunday and I stuck to that. Stayed in my pajama's the entire day.

I did go to a garage sale on Friday, at a co-workers home and found several fun things I will share with you tomorrow. They were teasing me about taking time to garage sale shop the day before the wedding.

Thank you all for the well wishes, the kind words and the compliments on the flowers and sewing.
Melanie did make a beautiful bride, even if I do say so myself !

Sunday, August 27, 2006

And more pictures




Just a few quick words about the wedding. It was beautiful and everything went so well. Just as the ceremony started, a gentle breeze came up, making it pleasant.
There were lots of tears of joy shed as the two of them exchanged vows and looked so lovingly at one another.
There were over 100 people present and the Justice of the Peace had the most beautiful things to share with Melanie and Casi about love and marriage.
It was especially special for Melissa to be standing up there, hearing the vows as it was the same Justice of the Peace that she and James had a year and one half ago, so she got to hear the exact exchange as she heard on her special day.
The Justice of the Peace included Bible texts and prayers for them.
It was just beyond words.


Exchanging vows
The Bridesmaids
another shot of exchanging vows

More wedding photos


Melissa, and Casi's brother David, with the flower girls behind them


Emery just gave his little girl away

Melanie with the flower girls, they kept calling Melanie " The Princess"

The Big Day in Pictures



here is the first installment of wedding pictures

Emery and Melanie
Bridesmaid bouquet
The Flower girls

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Today is THE Day



Just 8 more hours and it will be wedding time. Last night we had the rehearsal and decorated for the reception. Casimirs mom prepared a wonderful meal that was enjoyed by all. His dad brought some great egg rolls and rice too.
Everyone was home by 11 p.m.
Here are some pictures from last night

Emery, Me, Melissa and Melanie
Melanie and Casimir
The rehearsal (held inside instead of outside since it was still so hot)

Friday, August 25, 2006

One Day Left

There are a lot of things running through my mind today. Last minute errands, lists and more lists and so much more.
I hardly have time to think about the magnitude of tomorrow for Melanie and Casimir. A huge step for them. One that is profoundly good. But still a huge step. I wish that instead of all the preparations I could sit and just talk to them about the blessings of being married and the joy that unfolds daily.
I wish for some quiet time when I could write Melanie a letter, telling her how proud I am of her and how beautiful she is inside and out. How glad I am that she picked out a young man that is a blessing to the family.
Having everyone sit around the table each night this week, laughing, talking about memories and all the good times in life, has made me feel so content, so full. Parenting is hard work. You have to be consistent. You can't take a day off from building children's character. You have to provide them with work, with a sense of accomplishment that gives them a feeling of worth. But this week, having my children all together, seeing them as adults, all that work, all that time, all those years of homeschooling, cooking good meals for them, raising goats, taking them to church, reading book after book together and praying for them, I have seen the fruits of our labor. I feel blessed beyond words.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Its a Real Countdown Now





Today is Thursday, tomorrow is Friday and the next day is the wedding ! I am remaining calm and collected despite the fact I have not been able to reach the woman who rents the place we are having the reception. I have left messages etc but no response and I will need a key to get in there on Saturday !!!! Say a prayer if you think of it, that she calls me back or I manage to reach her.
Last night I laid in bed trying to imagine what I would do with 120 people if there was no reception hall.
The weather for the wedding is supposed to be HOT. Over 100 again.
Tomorrow, I will buy the flowers and make the bouquets etc. It seems strange saying day after tomorrow is the wedding. Its finally here.
Last night we all went out for Pizza at Cici's, everyone except Melanie and Casimir, they had a errand to run in Ft Worth. My sisters and Dad were mightily impressed by the selection of pizza's, great salad bar, dessert pizza's and pasta all for under $5 and all you can eat. I think my dad liked the dessert pizza's and the cinnamon rolls best . To top that all off on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month, there is live blue grass music. A group of friends who believe in keeping alive the good old Texas music. Its really good playing and they often sing religious songs. They consented to let me take a picture of them playing.
Its wonderful having all my family around me. We talked about the good old days and remembered lots of funny stories. I wished my mom was still with us, she would have enjoyed having everyone around her.

Old time Fiddle music at Cici's
Everyone enjoying their pizza
My dad

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tonights Sunset

The sunset tonight was rather pretty and looking at it gave me a longing for some quiet peaceful moments. Time when I can stay at home without having to run errands. Time when I could sit on the porch in the rocker, just watching birds flying from tree to tree while the sky darkens into navy blue.
I know by next week the house will be quiet and then I will be complaining about how much I miss everyone. We are a funny lot, we humans.
It always amazes me when people are always on the run, never spending an entire week home, as though plagued by some bug of discontentment. Maybe it's that no one really wants quiet, the time when we can look deeply into our lives and the how and why of it all.
Shopping, lessons, etc all keep us so busy we have no time to think about the serious matters in life.
No time to pray, to sing, to contemplate, to dream, to plan or to count our blessings in their fullness.

Dry Summer



This summer has been one to remember. In all the years we have lived on this land we have never seen cracks in our soil. There is now a large, deep crack that runs along the back of the out buildings. Our trees are loosing leaves, and plants have all withered.
Today on the sign outside of my husbands shop read 114 for the temperature.
I am so looking forward to fall time with cooler temperatures, crisp air, the smell of the woodstove smoke and watching the way it curls up into the sky.
Planting a fall garden and having my fingers in the rich brown soil. Sweaters, wool socks and laced up boots.
Soups and pans of steaming hot Indian pudding topped with fresh whipped cream.
Cool nights, quilts pulled up around my neck as I sleep. Long flannel nightgowns.
And of course some rain.

Tomorrow morning a trip to the airport to pick up my dad and my sister Sandy.

Cracks in the soil
Dried Grape leaves on the vine
A dried up lily

Wedding Preparations and Print Diapers


I admit, its a strange subject line...I worked on hemming all the bridesmaids sash type parts for their wedding outfits and laying them out on the quilting frame looked quite pretty.
Its a wonderful feeling having so much done and feeling on top of the preparations. Now, Friday, the day before the wedding I may feel differently. I suspect its going to be a very busy day. Last minute shopping, doing the flowers and the rehearsal, along with decorating the hall that night.
Now, for the diapers. I am a fan, no, that's not the right word, advocate might work better, for cloth diapers. The disposable diapers are just not good in my thinking, lots of trash, hold bacteria in the land fills, keeps babies bottoms too hot, that plastic seals in the heat, and my personal list of dislikes for them goes on and on. Well, I was at Targets yesterday and found these adorable print cloth diapers. Yes, I HAD to buy some, what if they all sold out, or what if they decide to not carry them ? So with hopes of being a Granny soon, I bought them, washed them and had extreme pleasure in hanging them on the line. To me there is nothing so pleasant as a clothes line filled with diapers.
I keep thinking, that by next year at this time, Emery and I could be grandparents.
What a joy it has been this week watching all my children just beam when they speak about the loves in their lives.
Tomorrow my dad and sister Sandy arrive in town. I am so anxious. Its going to be great having everyone together.
Last night Steven popped over for a couple hours and we all sat at the table, lingering, talking about the old days. The children laughing about their adventures with the pony and their buggy and many other stories.
I can see now, that Emery and I are in the place that my parents were in when my sisters and I would all sit around their dinning room table and talk about our childhood memories. You just want to sit back, smile and savor the moment. All the hard work, and the joy of parenting come together . The feeling of being blessed just fills you beyond words. It felt a bit like heaven.
Thanks children, for being so wonderful and bringing Dad and I so much joy.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sipping Limonchello


With this hot weather, limonchello really hits the spot.
Sipped slowly of course, as its a bit strong and certainly served with lots of ice. Melissa was not quite sure about it at first but loved the lemon scent so gave it a try. Sure enough, she enjoyed it very much.
It ended up that I made a gallon of it. So shared a by giving a bottle to a dear friend of mine.
Its good stuff, even if I do say so myself
Its just one more of those homestead arts, making your own brew ! Next it will be trying my hand at making mead.

Anyone have experience making Mead ?


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Log Cabins, Wedding Favors and Sewing



It certainly has been a busy weekend. Here it is technically Monday morning and I am just now getting some time to write on my blog for more than a few lines.
Saturday I took the ladies out to see Steven's house and land. He has made amazing headway in redoing the place over. Its looking so nice. His furniture has arrived and waiting for when the floors are all done in the house.
On the way to Stevens place, we stopped off to see some of the new cabins being made at Ulrich Barn Builders where Emery and Casi work.
I am in love with this one cabin we looked at. It would be a dream cabin for me on a piece of quite land way out in no-wheres land. Its finished out so pretty. If you need a cabin built or a small barn, be sure to check out Ulrich's barns on the web at
http://www.ulrichbarns.com/ . The workmanship is 100% quality. Yes,I am unashamedly giving them a plug !
Today I made three purses for us ladies and did some more wedding sewing. Will take pictures tomorrow. Too tired tonight to take any.
Melissa, Debbie and Jan filled the favor bags with mints while I sewed. Its great having so much help here now. Its just like what I wrote about Women Grinding Wheat Together. Accomplishing things together is so much more than just sipping coffee together.
Imagine its just 5 days till the wedding now. I am going to do the flowers myself and that should be fun, a very creative experience I am sure. Supposedly we are having a "cold front" come through this week, taking the temperatures out of the triple digits, placing them in the high 90's instead. At this point I am grateful for any relief from the high heat.
On the weather last night they said, no place in the whole United States is as dry as it is right here in North Texas right now. Our ground moisture is extremely low. It feels it.
Corn fields are just dried yellow stalks, standing tall and brittle. Reminders of the weather this year.
Time for me to head to bed. More in the morning....

looking at the cabin from near the front doorway

looking down the stairs of the cabin

Steven taking a minute from working to tell us about what he plans to do around the fireplace of his home.
He wants to put in a log wall around the stone. Mom really likes that idea !

We All Head to Spiral Diner in Fort Worth




A fun Sunday lunch time for all of us today, a visit to my favorite eatery, Spiral Diner. Vegan BBQ sandwiches, McNut Burgers, and vegan burritos were the choices today. Oh yes, Emery had his old favorite, all you can eat pancakes, blueberry and plain topped with Agave nectar.
Guitar music in the background, good too. The man playing has lots of talent.
Just one more fun day with my family all around me. One more thing, a few of us split some German Chocolate cake. That was really good.
Now naps seem to be in order but instead I need to be putting some zippers in wedding outfits and hemming some fabric used for sashes on the bridesmaids dresses.

Less than ONE WEEK now !

1st picture, left to right... my friend Debbie, my sister Jan, Melissa, Emery, Melanie and Casi

Melissa and Emery
Melanie and Casi

Friday, August 18, 2006

Birthday Again !





What a fun and full day we all had today. Melissa and Melanie prepared a wonderful birthday for me, baking a delicious birthday cake together. Then Melissa decorated the dinning room so pretty and made a great Italian meal for all of us. I spent the afternoon fabric shopping and after the quilt shop, we spent an hour or so sipping a frappachino while playing a rather lively game of dominos at Starbucks.
We all laughed so much over the silliest things which made for a well enjoyed party .
My girls washed and dried dishes and had everything put away in no time. They even enlisted the help of Casi to dry. It was a treat to sit and visit with Emery, my sister and Debbie. Steven and Pricilla sat and talked with us too.
I was treated to more presents. From Melissa, two fantastic books from Victoria (from the now defunct magazine publisher by that same name) and 4 CD's .
From Steven, a Starbucks gift card. From Melanie and Casi, a Buddha statue, a movie I love and a Paris cafe CD. Emery gave me some beautiful yarn too.
I am well satisfied, despite no Volvo being delivered to the door : )
With all the gifts I received and I loved them all, the greatest gift was to have Emery and my children all around me, along with my sister Jan and best friend Debbie. We settled in the living room, a bit calmer and slowing down by the light of the kerosene lamp. Soft music playing. It felt so perfect, so unrushed and so relaxed. Simple fun
No money in the world could give me what I had tonight. That warm embracing feeling of having love surround you and fill every nick and cranny of the house. Everyone has gone to bed now, lights dim. Only the hum of the ceiling fans disturb the other silent hour.
My eyes tired and heavy. Sleep just around the corner. There will be especially sweet dreams tonight
.

Sisters

Needless to say, we are going to be busy around here for the next week, but I had to share a few pictures with you.
Melanie and Melissa were slightly happy to see one another as you can see in this picture.
Its great having the house full again. Lots of laughter and fun times.
Melissa and Melanie at DFW airport