We do not have a big yard, but we try to make it as productive as possible. Here are some pictures of what has been going on in our yard recently.
Our resident robin, in an homage to my husband's awesome skills with the weed eater, erected this huge nest, complete with an artistically arranged cascade of vegetation. It's very nice, but she was remiss in that she neglected to apply for a building permit.
In an effort to decrease our electrical bills, we wanted to put up a clothesline again, but we were stumped as to where we were going to fit it in our yard. A trip to a nearby Amish community gave us the perfect idea - a pulley line. The new clothesline runs from our shed to the third floor attic window. It needs some tightening, but here is the inaugural laundry load (complete with touch-ups from the memory manager program).
The plum trees are working diligently too. These should be ready in a few more weeks.
Not to be left out, the vegetables are not slacking, either. The chard is growing and we already have some baby Amish paste tomatoes coming along.
Lots and lots and lots of green. Isn't summer great?
In a conversation today, the topic of busy-ness came up (if I spell busy-ness the way I think it should be spelled- business, I doesn't look right, so bear with me). Full schedules have been the norm around here for quite awhile, but sometimes overscheduling gets the better of me and I find myself cutting corners in order to get things done. There have even been times, where instead of meaningful conversation, schedule recitation takes place. You know those talks, right? I'll see your getting the kids to the orthodontist and raise you a three hour band practice. It is sad when instead of connecting with others, instead we feel compelled to throw our schedule at them to prove that we simply do not have the time. It is worse when we use busy-ness as a crutch to excuse ourselves from reaching out to others.
I feel even sadder that I am tromping all over my own toes. (To anyone who would like to point out that tromping is not a real word, I am very sorry)
When I was first married, I thought I was extremely busy if I had a full load of laundry to do AND cook supper. Now, laundry and supper fall somewhere in a very long to-do list peppered with practices and meetings. I have more to do, yes, but am I really busier? I came to the conclusion today, that busy-ness has more to do with a state of mind than it does with chores. The feeling of being overwhelmed as a newlywed was no less real than the feeling of being overwhelmed almost 15 years later. The key is in not letting my schedule define me, or chose for me what I will make a priority.
I still haven't learned all of the cool functions on the Creative Memories Memory Manager software, but I like what I've learned so far.
I took this picture of Runner two years ago, and it is one of my favorites - even if it is really dark and had the stupid date stamp on it. This is one of her best toothy grins.
Here it is before:
And here it is after: I was able to lighten it up and get rid of the date. In addition to editing pictures, the program also allows you to organize your digital photos. (My computer just heaved a HUGE sigh of relief). I look forward to posting more "improved" pictures in the coming days thanks to Creative Memories.
This is going to be a very stream of consciousness post. My thoughts are refusing to fall into formation this morning.
The book of Exodus seems very long. Genesis went by quickly and Job, though puzzling in parts, was a very interesting read. Exodus, however, I'm having a bit of trouble getting into. Yes, I know the Hebrews wandered in the desert for 40 years, so it probably seemed kind of long for them too.
3:00a.m. is not a good time to wake up. Especially when you are startled awake (stupid dog) and then freaked out (again, by the dog) and then lay awake for 2 hours. Runner decided that it would be a wonderful idea to bound around the bed (think Tigger hopped up on caffeine) and then run to the window. Midnite and Runner then stood, ears erect and tails wagging, at the window staring at something. I looked and looked, and saw nothing. The dogs then curled up and went back to bed, leaving me wide awake for 2 hours.
6:30 a.m. is not a good time to wake up either when it is dark, dreary and overcast.
Why, if it is calling for an inch of rain, do the umbrellas go MIA?
Also, I wanted to make sun tea today. No sun, no tea.
Wow, that disintegrated quickly. No sleep does not creativity make. Grammar bad too. Must find caffeine.
cultivation - the process of fostering the growth of something
Last evening, I was paid a completely undeserved compliment on my parenting. I tried to accept it graciously, all the while giving the credit where it belonged - God. I won't lie and say that I didn't appreciate it, compliments are wonderful and encouragement is always needed. Most of the time, though, parenting in our household is done while flying by the seat of our pants. I won't speak for my husband, but I make mistakes more frequently than I can correct them and each age and stage brings opportunities to make new and even larger mistakes.
This weekend, though, as I watched my children, the word "cultivation" popped into my head. When I think of cultivating, I think of growing produce with the intention of bringing out desired traits and then passing those traits on to future generations. Sometimes, even the smallest action on the part of a child can signal that those "desired traits" are taking hold. My son spent hours working on whittling walking sticks this weekend, carefully carving and scraping until he was satisfied. I noticed him frowning at one of the sticks and asked him about it. He answered that one of the sticks he made was "no good". Thinking he was being too hard on himself, I tried to reassure him. Exasperated, he explained that the walking stick had a curve in it and was not strong enough to bear weight. If someone used it, it might snap and that person might be hurt. He then went on to start a new, stronger stick. I was so proud of the fact that he thought ahead and had the integrity to hold his own work to a high standard.
It makes me wonder if God feels the same way about us.
I guess it is still late spring, but I'm now the proud owner of a summer cold. All the fun of a regular old fall or winter cold, but without the added benefit of being able to curl up under a warm blanket and sleep it away. Fortunately for me, yesterday was rainy and dreary and I was able to spend some quality time with a hot cup of tea and a warm blanket. Not to mention the two or three two or three hour naps I took. Nothing like waking up just in time to go to bed, right?
Today seems a bit better, I just don't dare travel too far without my tissues yet. I have too much to do today to be sick.
Reading is my favorite thing to do, no matter what the season. But, because I always looked forward to the summer reading lists handed out this time of year during my school years, here is my 2009 summer reading list:
That Certain Spark by Cathy Marie Hake
This one won't be released until later this summer, but I cannot wait for it to become available. Set in the same community as Forevermore, Fancy Pants and Whirlwind, these books tell such sweet, wholesome, romantic stories and the leading ladies are delightfully quirky and real!
A Measure of Mercy by Lauraine Snelling
I became hooked on this series when I picked up the first in the Daughters of Blessing series while on vacation in Williamsburg, VA. Set in North Dakota, in a primarily Norwegian immigrant community at the turn of the century, these books paint beautiful word pictures of a simpler time, even if the characters lives are not always so simple.
Fields of Grace by Kim Vogel Sawyer
This one just looks too good to pass up. I've read three or four other books by this author, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Waiting for Summer's Return has got to be one of the most touching historical romance books that I have read - reminiscent of Love Comes Softly.
And, even though I am planning on reading a lot of fluffy, historical fiction - dessert reading, if you will. I'm going to eat - no - read something more nutritious, too.
Me, Myself & Lies by Jennifer Rothschild
The tagline of this book is "Cleaning out your thought closet". Basically this is a six week Bible study (which I found on http://www.livingproofministries.blogspot.com/ ). The focus in this book is to target the negative things that women say to themselves about themselves. I know I need to work on that.
Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs I was so impressed by Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible, I'm going to read this one too. Also, I accidentally ordered it in a lot on eBay along with some used copies of Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible (to be used in the Bible study this summer). Since I was going to read it anyway, it worked out well.
I'd love to hear about other folks' reading lists, or even just about a book that you enjoyed recently. Sorry the formatting is so funky on this post, I've tried to tweak it and it refuses to cooperate.