The Wednesday Five | Vol. 4


A Quote

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago,
And people who will see a world,
That I shall never know.
But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door.
-Poem from The Fellowship Of The Ring
Maybe you are tired of Lord Of The Rings quotes, but this is the end of a really lovely poem in the Fellowship.  Part 2, Chapter 3, a few pages into the chapter titled "The Ring Goes South".  If you have a copy handy, you should go read the whole poem.  I'm not very good at poetry, but I really liked this one.


A Book

I was working on a new post for Rooted last week, and I raided my shelves for some inspiration.  Loving My Actual Christmas by Alexandra Kuykendall was the first book I grabbed.  I'm thinking it might be time for a re-read.  I remember how calming this book was for me the first time I read it, leading up to the holiday season.  If I remember right, it has lots of practical tips, but also great encouragement for reflecting on why we celebrate in the first place.


A Bit Of Nature



A photo from the nature hike with my sister last week!  The cousins loved crashing through the woods together.


A Recommendation

While I don't actually think I would do well as a business person, I have a little bit of a fascination regarding how businesses start, grow, or fail, and how that's so often tied in with cultural elements and trends.  Maybe my interest stems from the fact that I like to shop?  Anyway, I came across this channel on Youtube, and his videos are so interesting to me.  I especially like the "Bigger Than You Know" series, and the "Rise And Fall" series.  If you are interested in how and why brands appear on and disappear from the shelves, you might like this channel too.


A Moment Of Happiness

When I took Clarice on a day out with me the other week, I let her pick out a toy.  She picked out this play-cleaning set, with a broom, dustpan, pretend spray bottles, rags, etc.  Ever since she got this set, whenever I start to clean up the house or sweep the floor, she runs to grab her cleaning "supplies" and helps me.  It's so cute to see my little four year old diligently "sweeping" the floor or "wiping" the table.

The other day I was baking, and she ran for her broom, and then all I saw were two blue eyes peering up over the other side of the counter, and a tiny hand with a mini broom carefully sweeping away that flour I had spilled.  I walked into the pantry during nap time, and noticed that she had hung her little broom and dustpan on the spare hook right next to my broom and dustpan.  It melted my heart and brought a grin to my face.  I love this age.

The Memory Thief In My Pocket



I hate this picture.

Okay, hate is a strong word.  I don't hate it.  It's a picture of me and my son while we were fishing last week, so I can't hate that.

What I don't like about it though is that ugly square of a phone sticking out of my back pocket.

Just to clarify, I was NOT poking around on my phone during our fishing day.  The phone is in my pocket because I was using it as my camera.  Photos are a big part of remembering events for me, and  I never feel bad for keeping a camera on me to capture the moments before they slip away (within reason - it is possible to take TOO many pictures).  But looking at this picture yesterday, a thought came to me, and it was this: if there is one thing I won't remember and don't desire to keep memories of in my life, it's the times I am on my phone.  And maybe that should affect my priorities a little bit.



Social media has its place.  I don't think any modern tool like that is all good or bad, so this is not a post about deleting all your social media accounts so you can spend more time making memories.  I'm hoping this might just be a little reminder to you and me to keep some balance.  Because there are some things which are not worth giving up.

It's not worth it to miss real-life interaction in favor of virtual interaction.  Even if the virtual interaction sometimes feels more interesting.

It's not worth it to make your kid call you ten times while you need "just a minute" more to read about some obscure acquaintances' life on Facebook.  Because you probably won't remember or care about that acquaintance in ten years, and it's never "just a minute".

It's not worth it to spend so much time staging perfect photos to grow your Instagram following if it means you are missing real moments with your kids.  Instagram following numbers are sand castles, and your kids should have mostly memories of you without your phone in your face (or theirs).

It's not worth it to get a blog post up every day if you have to stress about cramming writing into a weekend that is going to be full of real-life friendships or put down your sick baby who just wants her mama.

In case it wasn't obvious, that last one was me this weekend.  I'm losing steam on this writing challenge this month, and I think maybe that's appropriate.  Because I'm writing about memory-keeping, which goes hand-in-hand with memory-making.

I had a wonderful Saturday watching my son play his last game of soccer for the year, and driving three hours while we listened to stories to see friends that have stayed some of my dearest friends for the last twenty-two years.  Waking up later than I wanted to the next morning because I was such a good kind of tired, but still making it to church on time, and snuggling my youngest down for her nap before putting together a dessert for a game night with friends who are newer, but still becoming dear too.

And then yesterday, snuggling a sick baby instead of writing up the post I had originally planned for this morning.  I am happy to have this space to record my memories, because I know they would be lost to me if I didn't write them down.  But I won't fondly remember the actual recording of them, and I certainly won't look back nostalgically on time spent poking around on my phone, even if it's for the purpose of recording my memories.

The thing that makes memory-keeping precious is not the keeping part, but the memory itself.  And I think that's just a good thing to keep in mind in our modern age.  Memories aren't worth sacrificing, and it's a noble effort to guard against lesser things that might steal or tarnish memories that could have been made.






A Delightful Eight Years



(Note: I was supposed to post this on Saturday, but oy, it's been a long time since I had such  jam-packed weekend!  My oldest actually turned eight back in February, but I am taking my month of memory-keeping to catch up on birthday letters to my kids.  So here is Wyatt's.)

Wyatt Boy,

I can't believe you are eight years old.  I remember when I first held you in my arms.  I couldn't stop the tears because it was surreal to me that you were here.  I didn't ever want you to grow up then, and I still kind of don't.  But now here we are, eight years later, and what a delightful eight years if has been!

Your eighth year was so fun for me as your mom.  Your reading skills exploded, and I find you with your nose in a book constantly.  I can't tell you how thrilled I am by this.  I love that you want to learn and read!  You are a wealth of information about your favorite topics - animals, and especially birds.  You have really opened up that interest for our whole family, and we've gone on various birding expeditions in the last year because of your inspiration.  It's a joy to me to watch you learn something new or see some animal or bird "in the wild".  Your face lights up, and you talk about it for days afterward. 



Speaking of talking, I love when we get some one on one time together and I can hear all about what fills that smart brain of yours.  Your theories and thought processes are so interesting to me, but you are always willing to learn when I tell you a new bit of information.  I am so honored for the opportunity to be your mom and teach you anything - I get the feeling that I'll learn alot from you my whole life!  I am there for it, my sweet boy.

As of right now, you want to be a scientist when you grow up and discover new species in the Amazon.  Of course, the specifics of what kind of scientist and where you want to go change frequently, but I have no doubt you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.  I have never met a little boy before you who was so good at gathering information and remembering it, or who had such a determined interest in something, and I love that about you.

The last year with you was also when I really got to see what a great big brother you are.   You are older now and able to do more on your own, but you take time to slow down to help and explain to your little siblings.  I think you were made to be the oldest in a big family.  Your sense of humor has been developing a lot this year too, and you crack your siblings up frequently!

You have started reading the Bible by yourself, and you persevere even when it's a struggle for you.  You make connections between different information you encounter and how it lines up with what you know to be true from God's word, and I love to see you practicing that skill so young.  Your love for the Lord and for His truth is something that delights me most of all.  I pray for you every day, that you would continue to grow in your love and knowledge of Him.

It is a privilege to be your mom, to watch you grow in knowledge, and to watch your faith grow too.  So often I am afraid I am not up to the task, but one thing you are wonderful at is giving me grace and hug.  You are a blessing to me, my delightful eight-year-old boy!  I don't really want you to grow any more, but if the last eight years are any indication...I think the next eight years are gong to be even more of a delight.  I can't wait to watch you grow up, and I'm glad I get to be the one who is your mama.

I love you always, Wyatt!

-Mama

 (This picture was taken close to his birthday, and I just realized how much more grown up he looks just over the last eight months!)

Sometimes I Just Feel Chatty



Well, I guess this is the week for chatty posts.  I might be losing steam on my Write 31 Days project, but I'm more inclined to think this has just been a busy week and I'm feeling more like chatting on here than anything else.  Here are a few things that have been going on with me.

I've been running all over creation this week, because for the first time in my life, I am volunteering politically(!).  I have mentioned before about how I wash laundry for a nearby pregnancy resource center, and I was excited to be involved in that way.  The pro-life cause has been close to my heart for as long as I can remember (I have a post coming up about that), and I'm always looking for ways to help wherever I can.

Well, I also happen to live in a state where abortion is legal until birth, and this just horrifies me.  So when I heard there was an effort afoot to stop late-term abortion in my state, I was on board.  I signed up as a volunteer petition circulator, and I've been running all over the place trying to meet up with people in my circles and gather signatures to get a measure on our 2020 ballot!  I'm also gathering up my courage to try petitioning in front of the library, but for now I'm just trying to get everyone that I personally know who is interested in signing it.  This is historically a hard state in which to pass pro-life legislation, but I'm hopeful we can at least get this on the ballot and let the people decide.  But anyway, that has been taking up alot of my time this week.

We've also been running to catch up on schoolwork, between Columbus Day on Monday and different petition meetings (though I'm totally going to take the opportunity for a little civics discussion with my kids while we are getting signatures).  Aside from a tricky week though, this fall has been going pretty well as far as school goes.  We are getting way more accomplished per week than we did last year!  I am hoping to get around to either sharing out curriculum or a typical homeschool day-in-the-life next week, so stay tuned.

Hunting season is upon us, so Derek is going to be in and out during the day for a couple weeks here. I am taking the opportunity this weekend to see some friends I don't usually get to see, so the kids and I are going to visit one of my dearest friends from childhood!  You might remember me writing about visiting their ranch before.  It's really neat for the kids to see what kind of work a real ranch entails, and learn more about where food really comes from...and then it's lovely for me to catch up with my dear friends!  I am so blessed that so many of my childhood friendships have lasted, and these ladies are such a gift to me.

Also, on my personal Instagram (that I'm totally open to anyone who is reading this following, so if you want to follow me there, don't be shy) I did a little chatty video/story about how I'm trying to make a better effort at writing down memories of my kids.  Maybe I'll turn this into a longer post next week as well, but if you watched that story, this is the memory-keeper I mentioned.  I think it's going to work pretty well if I can just manage to be consistent with it.

I guess that's it guys!  The kids are watching a Christmas movie that we rented from the library (we are starting early this year), and I'm off to make some fudge to hopefully bring with me on our visit to my friends' ranch tomorrow (I'll probably use this recipe, minus the food coloring - its so easy!).

Also, the sweater you can see the corner of in the picture at the top of this post is from Walmart.  PSA, because they have some great sweaters this year!  Also, this is my nail polish, and it's a really pretty shade for fall.

How has your week been, Friend?


This Or That For Fall

(Photo credit to my 8 year old, Wyatt.  I took them all out for yearly fall pictures, and asked him to take one for me.  Then all my kids wanted to take one of me, which was interesting, ha!)

It's dark outside.  The kids are still sleeping, and Derek brewed coffee before he left.  Harvey is sleeping on the floor at my feet.  I've already done my Bible time with the Lord, so don't think my priorities are too out of whack, but I made myself get out of bed early this morning because we have a busy day today and I wanted to have time to write a post! 

Those who have been blogging since the good old days, for which I am eternally pining, will remember that when you didn't have anything to say, you shared a survey.  Then everyone got all "professional" and "serious" about their blogs and dropped the casual get-to-know-you type posts.  But I still enjoy surveys, and I enjoy reading the answers to surveys, and I enjoy getting to know the people who are writing my favorite blogs, so by golly, we are doing the survey!  

(Don't ask me what I'm doing here, probably trying to explain to the five year old how to not get his hand in front of the lens - but honestly, he did a pretty good job otherwise!)

This is a fall "this or that", and if this sort of thing isn't nostalgic enough I'll try to incorporate some memories into it so it fits with my 31 Day Of Memory Keeping.  Feel free to snag and share it yourself if you want!  I grabbed it from here.

This or that?
1. Pumpkin spice latte or peppermint mocha?
Oh, I have to say peppermint mocha.  Pumpkin Spice Lattes are good and all, but peppermint mochas just taste like Christmas way more than PSLs taste like fall.  In my opinion.
2. Pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie?
Oh my gosh, why am I being made to choose between these?  We love pumpkin bread around here, but I guess since we have pumpkin bread or muffins so often, pumpkin pie feels more special.  
3. Thanksgiving dinner or Thanksgiving leftovers?
If we are just evaluating the enjoyment of the food, I would say that leftovers make the ordinary days right after Thanksgiving still feel special.  But if we are talking about overall experience, how can Thanksgiving dinner not win?  You get to spend a whole day with people you love best, playing games, visiting, watching football, and just enjoying each other's company.
4. Candy corn or Tootsie Rolls?
Oh, candy corn, hands down.  I think you already know why.
5. Haunted house or pumpkin patch?
I'm not into scary stuff, so pumpkin patch it is.  But can "corn maze" be an option?  Because I really like corn mazes.  We haven't been able to do one since Wyatt was a baby, just because they are so expensive.  I'm waiting until the kids are old enough for the cost to be worth it, but they are so fun!
6. Corn maze or hayride?
Oh, there's the corn maze.  *headsmack*  I guess I already answered this one!  Corn maze in general, but honestly right now with five little kids, we'd probably take the hay ride.
7. Caramel apple or candy apple?
Would you believe that I don't think I've ever had a candy apple?  So I'm not sure I could really say, but knowing me, caramel would win.

8. Boots or scarves?
Okay, this allows me to bring up something that has been irking me.  Guys, are scarves still...in?  I just have not noticed as many scarves when I am out shopping lately.  And you know how they are constantly changing which scarf styles are fashionable, mainly so they can keep selling you more scarves?  I can't for the life of me figure out what style of scarf is popular right now.  I'm not even sure I've seen people wearing scarves much anymore.  WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THE SCARVES??
Generally speaking, I do like scarves.  But because of my current confusion, I'm going with boots.  I've never had trouble keeping up on shoe styles.
9. Holiday movies or holiday music?
Why must I choose?  If we are talking about holidays other than Christmas, I'd pick Hallmark movie specials, all the way.  I love that they make movies for every holiday you could think of, ha!  When it comes to Christmas, I would choose music.  I love my Christmas movies, but because the Christmas season gets so busy, music keeps things festive on the go.
10. Tire swings or jumping in leaves?
I've never truly experienced jumping in leaves, because no one actually rakes leaves in the mountains.  We just let them lie on the ground and enjoy the spicy aroma as they disintegrate.  I have experienced a tire swing though - my grandpa used to have one in this massive tree in his yard.  My siblings and I spent hours out there, taking turns on the swing.  Just remembering that now makes me want to hang one up by our house somewhere.
What do you guys think?  Tell me if you disagree with any of my choices, or feel free to grab this survey and fill it out yourself if you want!  


The Wednesday Five | Vol. 3


A Quote
"'Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,' said Gimli. 
'Maybe,' said Elrond, 'but let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall.'
'Yet sworn word may strengthen quaking heart,' said Gimli. 
'Or break it,' said Elrond."                                                                         
-Fellowship Of The Ring

You can probably guess which book I'm reading right now!  This exchange stood out to me this time, and I found it interesting.  I tend to side with Gimli, I think, but curious if you all have any thoughts.  I'm mulling it over.


A Book

Alot of the books from Anne Bogel's summer reading guide were duds for me this time around, but I am listening to one of them, Searching For Sylvia Lee by Jean Kwok, on audio now.  I'm halfway through and really enjoying it, especially in audio format!  This is a mystery/thriller book, and a good portion of the story involves Chinese immigrants in the Netherlands.  The way those two cultures come together here is really unexpected and interesting.  I'm not completely vouching for it yet since I haven't finished, but so far it's also been fairly clean.


A Bit Of Nature


Pretty fall view.  My little white church where I grew up is down in that valley.


An Recommendation

This recommendation is a little different - I'm going to recommend you check out the makeup section at TJ Maxx.  I have two lip glosses and a lipstick that I bought from there that are name brand (Anastasia Beverly Hills and Flesh), but they cost less than half the normal price.  Just thought of that because I particularly like the Flesh lipglosses, and I never would have bought them otherwise!  So if you have a TJ Maxx near you, check it out!

A Moment Of Happiness

The kids had been outside for a while, and I didn't hear much except for occasional squeals of delight.  I was getting a little suspicious, and I went over the window to see what was making them so happy, expecting to see some mischief.

What I saw was my four big children gathered around our red wagon, positioned at the top of the hill of our driveway.  Two of the kids started pulling the wagon down the hill while one sat inside, gripping the sides.  The looks of joy on their faces, and the sun backlighting their hair...it was one of those golden moments I don't ever want to forget.

Nutrolls And Gatorade And Hunting



One of the ways I bonded with my dad growing up was through him teaching me how to hunt.

Hunting is something that has been tradition in my family for generations, and it started with necessity.  Hunting is an inexpensive way to put meat in our freezer.  My grandpa started hunting when he was a teenager for that very reason, and he and his brother taught their children how to hunt, and they taught theirs, and I guess that's where it became a tradition.  We still hunt today for mainly of the same reasons - to fill the freezer being high up on the list.

Another reason we value hunting so much, contradictory as it may seem to those who don't understand it, is because of a love for God's creation.  We love getting out in nature, seeing the sunrise, hearing which birds wake up first, finding tracks of animals we aren't even trying to find.  We do it because it's a great way to get out there, and we do it for the sake of conservation.  Many people don't realize how many animals would starve and die over the winter if their populations are too high at the start of it.  It's why there is a Division Of Wildlife - to study these things, and help keep ecosystems in proper balance.

It always irks me to see how hunters are sometimes portrayed by authors or producers who don't have a clue.  I've put books down because of a portrayal of hunters as careless idiots with guns who just want to kill something.  The ignorance is stunning to me.  The hunters I know, who I've grown up with, are some of the most careful and most respectful people you will meet with regards to firearms and nature.

When I was twelve my dad took me hunting for the first time.  I had a cow elk tag, and he woke me up early and we made the trek out into the woods.  Snow crunched under my feet, and my lungs burned with the cold morning air at the exertion.  I hung on to the straps on my dad's backpack so he could help haul me up the hill.

Every now and then he would spot a track, sometimes elk, but I remember specifically seeing mountain lion and bear tracks too.  He would whisper and point them out to me, and I'd whisper how cool it was and grin.



I got an elk on that first day of my first hunt.  It was a very exciting moment, and a particularly large elk, so it was great to contribute to the family's food like that.  But my favorite part was grinning at my dad after a successful hunt and seeing he was grinning back at me, and resting together on the snow as we split a Nutroll candy bar and drank a jug of Gatorade.

You just don't even know how good a Nutroll and Gatorade can taste until you've worked so hard for them.  I went hunting with my dad all through my growing up years, and a Nutroll and Gatorade was always our victory meal.

My dad taught Derek how to hunt, and now Derek provides for our family too through hunting, and he's planning to take our kids when they are big enough.  So the tradition continues.

I haven't been hunting since I've had kids.  It was too hard to go since we'd have to find a babysitter.  But as I watch the leaves turn and the frost returning this year, I'm feeling that itch to get out there again (not to mention the meat would help a lot in feeding five hungry kids).

Today, I don't buy Nutrolls or Gatorade.  I just can't imagine snacking on them in my living room or car.  They will forever be reserved for me as the fuel I'll pull out of my backpack, as I'm sitting on a rock in the brisk fall air after a hard morning of hunting.  That's how they taste best.




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