Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Day with The Mister

We strolled together on the first day of school. Thankful for some time together.

I also thought about that day when a walk in the garden with the man I love is the rule, not the exception.

Though we know it unwise to spend much energy in the times yet to come, it stands before us and demands our attention. In weaker moments we can't help but take it in.

We've entered The Evens: 10th and 8th. Traditionally The Evens have felt well rounded and winsome. This year they leave odd numbered thoughts tumbling in our heads... one year left before she joins him in High School... three years left 'til he's flown from our nest.

The problem is,  the math doesn't make sense. On paper, parenting looks long and drawn out. Could it be our counting was wrong?

So we walk. And though this trouble with numbers weighs heavy on our mind, we don't spend much on that conversation. We talk of sermons we've heard, or books we've read. We laugh about funny moments at work and at home. We enjoy coffee and each other, and we talk about them... the greatest gifts we've ever been given. When they become the focus of our conversation, we might commiserate on how they leave their socks on the floor, "borrow" things that never find their way back, drink from six different cups a day. We laugh at how loud the music has become.

In that space the silence will sail. We're pondering things we haven't the courage to speak. We'll miss those socks and sweet faces. We'll miss having them to talk to and play with.

How will we cope? Is the question we think. The answer?

We'll lean on each other, and pray even more.

We'll walk in the garden together.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Ladybug and Me

This summer we have had so much rain. And this week, without rhyme or reason, the temperatures dropped as if fall has chosen to come early. My garden is waterlogged, and there are hardwood trees in the neighborhood whose leaves decided to go ahead with the turning and falling. No shades of red, just green to yellow, then on the ground. Overnight.

My neighbor gifted me with a bouquet and they make my kitchen happy.  The hearty Hydrangea carries on, holding her own to the bitter end.

This morning I woke up and found a visitor had made a little home in my bouquet.

Even the ladybugs are confused. Normally they come in the cool of the fall, and again in the warmth of early spring. Poor little Ladybird, she doesn't know that next week will feel like August again.

We started school this week, with a light schedule.  I guess you could say this week we've been in for a penny. Next week, in for a pound. Full tilt. No more summer lounging and late nights. I'm grateful. The summer went by so quickly, but we had a lot of fun. I'm ready for quiet times in the house when I can keep order and the kids can study. I guess I'm like the ladybug: ready for cooler weather and being at home.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

More Birds

Life here in the Little Yellow House on the Hill is going swimmingly. We are trying to sop up every last bit of summer. It's gone so fast we're apprehensive to blink.

This week I am trying to get a few projects wrapped up in my office, including organizing a years worth of pictures into a file so I can get them into a book when digital photo books go on sale (an excellent tip I learned at the Becoming Conference). I hadn't realized how much 'stuff' I have photographed. I've got a mess of flowers and trees and things that won't move. They are all in various stages of blurry-ness, but each month I'm learning more.

Today I did get side tracked while playing with Picmonkey. Last month in Arizona I sat in my parents backyard and took pictures of a dove at sunset. While I loved the silhouette the lighting cast, I decided it might be the perfect picture to play and learn to use the editing tools.

This is what I started with:

This is with generous use of filters and tweaking, and one of my favorite scripture verses.

I've got to pull myself away from the computer now. I do have a couple embroidery orders that need sewing, and I've got a large crocheted lace shawl spread out (on a sheet) on the floor, ready for blocking.

But maybe a quick cup of tea first... after all, I only have four more days of summer left!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Grateful Things

This summer has moved swiftly. It's been so fun. Soon (as in this week) we will wrap up our summer-time agenda and head in to the responsibilities for the new school year. Thankfully, I got to sneak in one last get-away with girlfriends this weekend to attend the Becoming Conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We stayed about a mile away from the conference center in a comfortable old cottage tucked into the side of a mountain. 

The weekend was filled with everything I needed: friends and sugar... with a few workshops in between.  I am grateful for the things I learned and experienced, both practical and personal, but I'll highlight the top five:

1. New and old friends are good for the soul. Especially when those friends are laid back and easy... grace-filled women make the best of friends. My prayer is that I will always strive to be one.

2. Feedly is a great reader for those of us who are still bitter reeling from Google Reader being yanked from the net. I know I'm probably slow on the draw. You may have already moved on to bigger and better things, but I was still trying to figure out how to keep up with the few blogs I still read. Now I've no need to fear.

3. When registering and paying for a conference Photo Walk workshop, be prepared to ask MANY questions. The rain found us sitting underneath a bridge for the first hour, and the photographer in charge had planned the whole walk around our need/questions while taking pictures. The second hour found sunshine, and hair curling humidity, and maybe a less than stellar attitude about wanting information I didn't know to ask for...  Next time I'll be prepared with a list of questions just in case we end up trapped under a bridge during a rain storm with students of varying experience.

4. I know I've been living under an internet rock for a year (so this might be old news to you) but check out PicMonkey. This is a photo editing website that you can use to edit photos. Although it is completely free (with limited access), it is well worth the yearly fee to access all the other tools. I'm already thinking I'll be making our Christmas card with it this year.*

5.  I don't know why an old farmhouse with the original sink and windows makes me swoon, but it does.  There is something lovely about simple things and it makes me want to throw out all this modern stuff and raise chickens in the country. Of course, I'd have to take my camera, and computer, and sewing machine, and .... well, never-mind. But old houses with modern conveniences and lots of room for people and memories are the best kind of houses for me.
* Picmonkey collage. Go and try it! 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Blogiversary and Blueberries

Eight years ago on a hot day in July, I picked blueberries for the first time in my life.

Then I came home and started a blog.

For nearly seven years I wrote (almost) daily about the day to day life in the Little Yellow House on the Hill, and the people that live inside. You can go see that very first post by clicking--> Big Blogging Blueberry Day. I can't even believe how small The Girl is in the picture on that page. That was taken half her lifetime ago! The posts in the last year have been few and far between, but I can't quite give it up yet.

In some ways this post is the same.... Last week a new and dear friend gifted me with a bag of fresh picked blueberries. She lives on a beautiful farm at the edge of a lake, and grows fig and apple trees, a garden full of veg, and the largest blueberry bush I have ever seen.

I love being out on the farm where the kids and chickens run wild; the butterflies flit about from one flower to the other. It's quiet and peaceful. But what I love most of all is that this sweet friend is generous, more than happy to share.

My favorite recipe for blueberries is Blueberry Crumb Cake. The only thing I changed was I used Greek yogurt in place of the Sour Cream. And I put mine in a small cake pan, my round pan always causes overflow.

I'm celebrating eight years of southern living, blogging, and blueberry season. Let's eat cake.