york swirls

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas to All!!

 The Christmas season began the day after Thanksgiving when we went to pick out our Christmas tree.
 We ended up with one of the biggest ones we've had for a while.  It measures 6 feet across at the base and 7 1/2 feet tall.
 We strung popcorn as we watched/listened to The Statler Brothers Christmas DVD.  The Statler Brothers DVD has become a tradition of ours for many years.
 Decorating the tree
 Nanna was the nut chopper this year for our annual Christmas baking.
 Laura was a big help this year with the coffee cake and the lemon bites.
 Leah wore her apron and chef's hat she got at the Lodge Cast Iron store a few years ago.  She arranged the lemon bites on the tray as Laura rolled them in powdered sugar.
 Murphy kept offering to be the taste-tester.
 Laura & Leah working intently on the lemon bites.  They were very good this year!
 Kara put the lemon bites on a cooling rack.  
 We celebrated Christmas with our kids and grandkids on the Saturday before Christmas.  This photo was taken after dinner when everyone was sitting around visiting or working on projects.
 Laura received a robot kit.  Nathan helped her make her own robot out of a pop can.  He's really cute as he wobbles all over the place.  Not Nathan...the robot.
Ryan and Grady took a bath after supper and put on their matching jammies from Gammy & Pop.  Ryan is 21 months old and Grady is 13 months old now.  They are best buddies.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Leaving a Legacy

Thoughts from my heart....We attended the funeral of a dear lady today, the mother of my brother-in-law.  She died very unexpectedly at the age of 64.  She will be greatly missed by her family.  I found it so sweet that she had their Christmas presents already purchased and wrapped for them.  I'll bet all those gifts will be treasured forever.

Her pastor preached the funeral message from her very own Bible.  He went through it and read her notes she had written in the margins and notes she had taken from sermons as he was preparing the message.  He read us part of her prayer list, calling out names of many of the people that were there at the funeral.  He told us she had notes she had taken from a sermon on prayer given by a missionary.  He said she had shared those notes with him quite some time ago and inspired him to preach a series of messages on prayer.  He used those same notes to preach the sermon today.

As I sat there and listened to all the things he read to us from her Bible, I cried.  I was so convicted.  Will my family be able to glean all those things from my Bible when I'm gone?  Will they see my love for God and others through my Bible?  Will they be able to trace the struggles I've gone through from the notes in my Bible?  Will they see that I've been praying for them?

The Bible I use every day is 33 years old.  I saved up the money for it and purchased it when I was in the 8th grade.  I was so proud of that Bible.  It represented many hours of hard work.  I had my name engraved on the front, but the gold ink has worn away over the years.  It's just as well since my name has changed.  My mom has repaired the binding for me twice.  I'm hoping she can do it one more time.  It's getting pretty bad though.  You can tell where I read the most because the pages are yellowed more on the edges.

The sermon today brought to my mind and heart the godly legacy that De left for her children and grandchildren.  It makes me think of the song that goes something like this....

But as those who've gone before us,
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives.
May all who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
May all who come behind us find us faithful.
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone,
And our children sift through all we've left behind,
May the clues that they discover
And the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them
To the road we each must find...

Lord, let me not get so caught up in the busyness of cooking, laundry, and cleaning that I fail to leave behind a legacy of godliness and faithfulness for my children and my children's children.  Amen

Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday, Grady!

Grady turned one the day before his mommy turned 24.  We celebrated his birthday the following Saturday with his grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We had the party outside in our shelter house.  Nathan & Gary had just finished the wiring that week, so we had lights, ceiling fans, and outlets for the crockpots.  We have a woodburning stove out there and two l.p. heaters.  It was the perfect place to host about 25 people for a little boy's birthday party.
 Autumn went with a tractor theme since Grady loves tractors so much.  She made the cake herself.
 Erin made a banner to decorate one of the walls.
 Grady was anxious to see his cake.
He had a great time at his party and showed off plenty to the delight of the onlookers.  He's not one bit spoiled!

Has it really been 24 years?

Happy 24th birthday, Autumn!!!
 Autumn's birthday was November 7th.  When she got home from work, we had homemade pizza, homemade breadsticks, and cheesecake, per her request.  
 Nathan even posed for the camera.
The happy little family.

We are thankful that Autumn & Nathan live close so we can share these special occasions.  We enjoy seeing Grady often and keeping him while Autumn works two afternoons each week.  We are joyously anticipating the arrival of Grady's baby sister or brother next spring.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fabulous Field Trip

I posted at the beginning of last school year about our new unit study called Pathways of Exploration.  We are really enjoying it.  Right now, we are studying Daniel Boone.  The lesson we are on right now is about trees (i.e. roots, crown, annual rings, etc.) in the science section.  I called my mom & dad and asked them if they had any trees that needed cut down at their house in Spencer, Indiana, so I could show the girls what annual rings are.  Of course, there is always work to do and trees to be cleaned up in their few acres of timber.  We planned a field trip for today to learn about trees.  We were up at dawn and headed down there because it is a 2 1/2-hour drive.  We wanted to make the most of our day.
 My dad is 72 years old.  He has been in the woods all of his life.  He grew up with a chainsaw and splitting maul in his hand.  What better person to teach us about trees?!  Dad cut a piece off of this stump to get a fresh cut so he could show the girls the annual rings.  Before he started cutting, he said he guessed the tree (a beech) to be 90-110 years old.  

As Dad was cutting, the sound of the chainsaw stirred something inside of me.  Do you know how certain sounds or certain smells trigger something that's been buried inside of you for years?  Things you think you've forgotten.  That's what that sound did to me this morning. I grew up in the woods as my mom helped my dad every day.  I was an only child until I was 5 years old, so I just went with Mom & Dad to the woods every day and entertained myself.  They were just telling my girls the stories last week of how I would lay my blanket on the ground a few feet away from my dad running the chainsaw and fall asleep and how I started the crawler and started moving when I was just three years old.  The sound of that saw and watching my dad cut a tree brought all the memories rushing back and made my eyes fill with tears.  All of those days and years of cutting and hauling firewood with my dad when it was 10 below zero or 100 degrees in the shade formed my character to be the hardworking, slave-driving mother I am today.  Just ask my girls!  :) 
 So Dad got down on the ground and counted the annual rings with the girls, explaining how the ones closer together were the years when there wasn't very much rain and the tree didn't grow very much.  Guess how old that tree was?!  110 years old!!!  Hmm!  I guess Dad knew what he was talking about.
 Then we went on a nature hike through their woods, picking up leaves, nuts, sticks, fungi, berries, and bark.  No poison ivy though!  Haha!!  As we went, Grandpa was quizzing the girls on what kind of trees or leaves we came across.  Nanna is holding a giant Tulip Poplar leaf, our state tree.
 Isn't this a pretty fungus?  I never thought of fungus as pretty.  This was growing up from a root that was under the ground.
 Nanna found a tree with a big hole in its trunk.  
 After we got back to the house, I fixed lunch while Grandma did her fun projects with the girls.  They made pictures and collages with some of the treasures they picked up on the trail.

 She also read them a book about "What if I were a tree?"  It was a cute story and very thought provoking.  Would you be happy to see the robin building her nest in you?  Would you be sad when you caught the little child's kite?

 Then we went to McCormick's Creek State Park, just about 15 minutes from Mom & Dad's house.  We enjoyed looking around the nature center again and posing for a few pictures.

 Then the girls and Grandpa hiked from the nature center to the creek where Erin took some beautiful pictures.

 We also made a quick stop at the falls before leaving the park.

 Leah glued buttons on her leaf to make a happy little man.
 The above picture is as you turn off the road into the driveway leading up to Mom & Dad's house.  The carpet of leaves is so thick that you have no idea there is a gravel driveway underneath.  It's a very beautiful and peaceful setting.
 I started a fire in the fireplace when we got back.  Then after supper we roasted some marshmallows for dessert.
Erin has the art of roasting marshmallows perfected.  Mmmm!!!  So good!!!

We had a great time today and learned a lot.  Not all of the girls knew that a sassafras tree has 3 completely different shapes of leaves on one tree.  They learned that fact on our morning hike.  Then when we went to the nature center in the afternoon, that was one of the questions on one of the games there.  They answered every question correctly about Indiana trees.  Job well done!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Aftermath of the Fire

We spent two more days picking up corn in the field that was burnt.  We were just rolling good on our schoolwork one afternoon when Gary called and said, "I think we'd (I like the "we" part.) better pick up more corn this afternoon."  So we dropped everything, and found our shoes and jackets.  We rounded up some buckets and piled in the van.  Autumn had just come over with Grady, so she went along to help.
 Grady LOVES to be on the ground, playing in the dirt.  He was an angel baby all afternoon as he played with corn and stalks.  He doesn't walk yet, but he crawled all over 'investigating'.
 We filled the buckets and dumped them in the trailer...again and again and again and again.
 Grady even had a bucket.
 Ryan divided his time between riding with Aunt Meggy in the tractor and picking up corn.  He spent his time shelling the kernels off the cob and putting them in the bucket one at a time.
 Then he decided it was easier to ride in the load.
This is the end result of picking up corn for about 3 hours straight, two days in a row.  (Oh, my aching back!!)  The girls are feeding it to the cows right now, a few buckets each day.  They don't seem to mind the blackened shucks and smokey smell.  It will help the hay to last longer this winter, so I guess it's not a total waste.