Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How Beautiful Are the Feet...

...of my sons.

I melt when I see feet pictures in general; but when it's my own children's feet, I'm absolutely a puddle on the floor.
~ Josiah
(When Jeff saw this, he said, "His feet look like yours." Uh oh, I hope not. The bottoms of my feet are atrocious, with thick calluses all over the place. One thing I do not do to my feet is pamper them. For one thing, how is a country girl supposed to go around barefoot the whole summer long if she doesn't have any calluses? What else is there to protect feet from gravel, hot pavement, rocks in the garden, and the occasional thistle in the yard? :) Maybe Jeff wasn't talking about calluses but was instead referring to Josiah's long toes which are like mine!)
~ David
~ Tobin
Pictures by Lisa...but I probably didn't need to say that, did I? Since it's completely obvious and all... :)

Monday, April 28, 2008


I love trivia. It's just so very interesting! Trivial, yes; but entertaining nevertheless. So here is some trivia that got forwarded to me by a friend. (And no, I didn't research each fact to make sure it's true, so if you know that one of these is false, feel free to let me know.) :)

In the 1400's a law was set forth in England that a man was not allowed to beat his wife with a stick thicker than his thumb. Hence we have "the rule of thumb."


Many years ago in Scotland , a new game was invented. It was ruled "Gentlemen Only...Ladies Forbidden"...and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.


Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the U.S. Treasury.


Men can read smaller print than women can;
women can hear better.


Coca-Cola was originally green.


It is impossible to lick your elbow.


The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work:



The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28%


The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%


The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $ 16,400


The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour:



Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.


The first novel ever written on a typewriter:

Tom Sawyer.


The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.


Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:

Spades - King David

Hearts - Charlemagne

Clubs - Alexander, the Great

Diamonds - Julius Caesar


111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321


If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.


Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.


Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?

Their birthplace


Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name requested?



If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter "A"?

One thousand


What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common?

All were invented by women.


What is the only food that doesn't spoil?



Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year?

Father's Day


In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase......... "goodnight, sleep tight."


It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer; and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.


In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts... So in old England , when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them "Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down." It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's."


Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired by this practice.


At least 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow!

Did you? ;)

For My Middle Child

Dearest David,

Today you are sick. It's nothing very serious--just a simple intestinal illness, it seems--but it's been enough to send you to the couch to lie down and sleep most of the day (and to send me to the laundry room with vomit-covered sheets and clothes!). :)

I'm not worried about you (really, I'm not), but the thought does cross my mind every time one of you boys is sick: what if this is something serious? What if something happens to this child of mine? What if you die?

I can say without hesitation that I simply cannot imagine life without you--not just for me, but for our whole family, too. I find it impossible to fathom how Josiah would get along without you. You look up to him so much and follow in his footsteps in so many ways...but you are a huge influence on him as well. What would he do without you? Without you, the gap between Josiah and Tobin would seem so large; you are truly a bridge between them.

How would we survive in the evenings without you? What would Daddy do without his little cuddle bug to snuggle with when he comes home from work? What would Grandpa and Grandma do without your smiling face to welcome them and your little arms to hug them?

How could Tobin grow up without you to hold his hand?

And how could I ever survive without my little ball of sunshine to light my days?

I've heard that middle children sometimes feel "lost" in their families, not possessing the uniqueness of being either oldest or youngest. I don't know if you'll ever feel this way, and I pray that you don't. But if you do, I hope you remember how loved and adored you are.

You are absolutely indispensable to our family. Of course, each member of our family is essential! But you, my little David dear, hold an unspeakably special place in our family as a whole--and in the hearts of each of us individually.

I thank God every day that He chose me to be your mother. I am not worthy of this gift--but I am grateful.

With all my love,

~ pictures by Lisa, of course :)

Brothers...by Lisa

I recently received the last set of pictures from Lisa; and as soon as the CD came, I dropped everything and headed to the computer to look at them. Wow, was I ever thrilled!!! No big surprise there, of course...but I can hardly express what a treasure the pictures she took are to me.

Lisa was hard on herself and complained that none of the pictures of all 3 boys together turned out well. I disagree with her because, to me, they're still gorgeous. :)

I love how she focused on Josiah in the picture above...and on David in the picture below.

The brother relationship is such an interesting one to me, and I marvel sometimes as I see how these boys unfold in their interactions with each other. Yesterday and today for example, I've been so impressed by how tender Josiah has been toward his little brothers. David has been sick; and this morning when I was upstairs in the hallway, I noticed that Josiah had gone over to where David was lying on the little couch in the living room and was tenderly stroking his forehead and speaking softly and lovingly to him. I paused for a moment just to watch them and was reminded of what a tender heart Josiah has. Almost invariably, he softens around hurt things and shows such compassion for them. What a gift!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hair Loss

This is what Tobin looked like yesterday. "Tobin bear, with the wild, wild hair..." is what I would chant to him while I changed his diaper.
Would you like another look at that fauxhawk from a different angle? (I didn't even know that word existed until Jeff started calling Tobin that!)
And now...today. Would you like to know what Grandma and Grandpa are crowding so eagerly into our small bathroom to see?
A haircut. Tobin's second haircut. Jeff had been lamenting about how bad Tobin's hair was looking recently, and it's true: it had been getting awfully patchy. Between the normal hair loss that infants often experience...and the hair loss from the friction of rubbing his head on his sheets...and the hair loss that must have resulted from him grabbing a big handful of hair and holding on with all his might (I found him like that today--left thumb in mouth, right hand holding his hair)...well, all of that contributed to the pathetic look he was sporting these days. But still... I wasn't eager for this little boy to grow up so fast.

When Jeff started cutting Tobin's hair, he said to me, "You're not going to cry, are you?" Well, yes, as a matter of fact, my eyes do feel a little moist. I'll just go upstairs and take a moment to compose myself! Of course, I didn't say that, because I couldn't speak at all at that point; but that's what I did.
Tobin with his new high-and-tight look.
He's still my adorable Tobin bear, but wow, he sure looks different to me. And when I rub his head, it feels so different, too. But I still think he's a handsome little guy!!!

It's hard though when my little one just took a step out of his babyhood, and my heartstrings got twanged in the process...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It Didn't Take Much...

...last night, to remind me why I entered college as an English major. (It also didn't take much to remind me why, by the end of my first year, I had abandoned that major. One class, English Literature to 1660, made me realize that being a music major would actually be a really good thing!)

Last night, I opened my copy of Vocabulary, Spelling, Poetry II, one of the books I learned from during 8th-grade English; and I was transported back in time, completely swept away to another world--a world of spelling lists...and vocabulary definitions...and in the back of the book, poetry. Ahhhhhh! Bliss!!!

I love words. I love them! The power they possess, the beauty they display, the look of them, the rhythm of them, their pattern when I type them on the keyboard, the feeling of finding exactly the right words to convey a thought or feeling, the experience of reading someone else's words and having that "aha!" moment of connection when I realize that they have expressed precisely what is in my head. What could be better?

Maybe the fact that I love words so much is the reason for the length of my blog posts. I visit some sites--Anna's or Lisa's--and find perfect gems there: a beautiful picture (or two or more) and a fitting caption that succinctly describes or adds to the picture. It's glorious. But I can't seem to do that! And so I ramble on...and on...and on.

My dad, who prints out all my blog posts because my mother likes the feel of "real" pages in her hands :), occasionally reminds me of how many pages I'm up to now. It's a lot, but I can't imagine cutting any of them out!

Anyway...speaking of rambling...what was my point (oops, got carried away by wordiness again!)? Oh yeah, my love of English. Besides the really exciting stuff like vocabulary and spelling lists, do you know what else I loved in school? Diagramming sentences. It's true: I took great pleasure in sentence diagrams. It's all so nice and neat. You know exactly where the predicate goes, and the adjectives hang down, and it all makes such perfect sense. What fun! :)

You know what I found out my freshman year of college though? We didn't diagram sentences. Shocking, I know. And we didn't write spelling lists 10 times or have crossword puzzles that quizzed our vocabulary knowledge either. No, instead we had to read stuff like Beowulf...and analyze it...and write deep papers about it. It was too much for me. Suddenly, spending countless hours in a practice room with just me and a piano...and memorizing numerous pieces of music so well that the worst case of nerves couldn't shake the music from my head...and performing publicly every few weeks of the school year suddenly seemed much, much easier. :)

Oh, this is ridiculous. I've got to go to bed. But before I do, one last jewel of a poem that was in the back of my 8th-grade English book (and which I had to memorize but, sadly, do not currently have memorized...perhaps the only poem from my childhood which I still have memorized in its entirety is The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear!). I remember so clearly how, as we studied it, my heart leapt in response to these words and the emotion behind them. It still moves me to this day.

Crossing the Bar
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Capturing Today

On this day in our family's history, these were our boys.

This is what they looked like. This is what they did. This is who they were at the unique stages of life that they are experiencing.

How to capture this? With a picture? A few words? It's hardly enough; but really, it's all I can do.

Every once in a while, I take some time to read back through the archives of this blog. I randomly pick a month and open it up, then revel in forgotten details of everyday life and delight in the faces I see smiling back at me from the pictures. And then I think, "I'm so glad I took the time on that particular day to record something about our life." A year from now, I won't remember what happened today...unless I snag a piece of it and jot it down. I certainly don't remember, as I sit here tonight, what I was doing a year ago. (Actually, I just checked, and I didn't post anything a year ago, so I have no memory of it. See...that proves my point!) :)

Here's to capturing a bit of today for the future tomorrows which will, all too swiftly, become yesterdays.

~ Josiah had fun setting up these markers this morning after coloring a picture...he told me today that his favorite part of homeschool isn't math anymore; it's coloring :)...Josiah hasn't been feeling well the past two days and has mostly complained of a headache; he's had a low-grade fever, and today when I was taking his temperature (under his arm since he doesn't like it in his mouth), I teased him with "Here comes the tickle stick!" as I put the thermometer in his armpit...he laughed and laughed...laughter is good medicine

~ this was David during his nap this afternoon...recently he has started saying, "Mommy, do you know what? I love you, NO MATTER WHAT!"...he shakes his head emphatically during the last three words to really prove his point...tonight he said that when he's 14 years old, he'll be a big boy; and when I asked him what he'll do when he's 14, he said that he'll play with his rubber duck that Grandma and Grandpa brought him from their Florida trip :)



~ Tobin LOVES to hold onto fabric now...when I'm nursing him, he'll grab my shirt and hold it tightly...when I'm changing his diaper, he'll have the cloth I lay over his body (to prevent "geysers"!) in his little hand...and now, when he's wearing a bib, he'll grasp it and act like he'll never let go

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


That's all I can say about this picture, another gem from Lisa. What a sweetheart he is!!! (And she is, for taking these pictures...) :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Next Year in Jerusalem...

...this year in West Virginia!

I don't think I ever imagined I would spend Passover in West Virginia...on a Navy base (um, it's a land-locked state, folks--pretty tough for the ships to dock there!)...participating in a Seder led by my husband. Actually, participating in a Seder led by Jeff? That is something I could have predicted. But the other stuff never crossed my mind!

However, Saturday evening, we indeed found ourselves in a beautiful area of our western neighboring state for Passover; and we had a fantastic weekend! Our hosts, Kenny and Sheryl, were INCREDIBLE! Jeff had gotten to know Kenny, a chaplain in the Navy, through the barbershop (where else?--Kenny is very regular with haircuts!). So Kenny arranged for us to spend the weekend on their base and for Jeff to lead the Seder and preach the next morning. Their hospitality was overwhelming. They provided:

~ a gorgeously-decorated cabin for us to stay in
~ a ton of snacks in our cabin, more than we could even consume during our stay there (including some Klondike bars...a huge favorite of mine, but something which I had not indulged in for quite a while...oh my goodness, they were yummy!)
~ a delicious dinner Saturday evening in a restaurant on base
~ ALL the preparation for the events Saturday night and Sunday morning (we didn't have to do a thing but show up!)
~ TLC for our boys (arranged childcare and informal caretaking)
~ an interesting tour of the base by Kenny while Sheryl took care of David while he got out some of his energy on a playground
~ an outstanding example of parenting as we saw the fruit of their labor in their youngest son (the only one still at home)...I could not believe how friendly and mature he is!
~ inspiring fellowship with other followers of God
~ and a big stack of books to bring home with us (on marriage, faith, etc.) that I can hardly wait to read!

Back when Jeff and Kenny were originally planning this, I was not at all sure that I would want to go with the three boys. Spending a night away from home (and familiar beds for the boys)? No thanks. Having to care for all 3 boys by myself while Jeff taught/preached? I don't think I'm up to that. (Which, by the way, didn't even happen, since there were plenty of helpers with childcare!) But after I emerged from my postpartum fog, I realized that I did want to attempt it; and I actually started getting excited about it. I am SO GLAD I got to go. I would not have wanted to miss it for anything.

For one thing, I LOVE watching and listening to Jeff as he teaches and preaches and interacts with people. He is so gifted in this way, and I'm often amazed by him.

For another thing, it's way too easy for my mind to get in a rut of only focusing on the Christians immediately surrounding me--and usually, worshipping God in much the same way I do. I seem to need constant reminders that, yes, in Sugar Grove, people are gathering to worship God together with as much devotion (or more) as my peace-loving Mennonite church is doing. I need to remember that in San Diego and Pennsylvania and British Columbia and Israel and Australia--and an infinite number of other places around the globe--God's name is being lifted up and His followers are striving to know Him and serve Him more fully. Lord, help my mind to get out of this narrow box...and to likewise release You from the parameters I seem to set up continually--not that they could contain You anyway! You are so much bigger--than me...than my congregation...than this country...than anything I could ever imagine!
~ Jeff and Josiah celebrating Passover (aren't they handsome?)...Josiah had the option of going with some other children to play during the Seder, but he chose to stay with us...as the youngest child present (except Tobin), he had the privilege of looking for the afikomen...he did a great job and listened attentively the whole time
~ Kenny and Josiah, in their Jewish garb...actually, Kenny borrowed this from Jeff just for this picture :)
~ Kenny and Sheryl...I'm actually jealous of Jeff that he's had the opportunity to get to know them so much better than I, through Kenny's frequent trips to the barbershop...Kenny and Sheryl are the kind of people with whom you'd just like to spend gobs more time!
~ Kenny and Jeff
~ Tobin, asleep in our cabin late Saturday night...this portable bed in which he's sleeping is the bed that David used for the first 5 months of his life (during the last few months of our time in Israel, then our trip to England, then our time in California, then our driving trip across the country until we finally arrived in Virginia and David got to sleep in a real crib!)...this little bed has certainly come in handy many times!...Tobin did great, by the way...he fell asleep on his own in this bed, just like he does here at home; and he slept through the night with no problems...the only hard thing with him was that he didn't get his regular naps on Saturday and Sunday, and I could tell he was so tired and a little fussy because of that...but that's to be expected with such a departure from normal routine and environment!
~ on Sunday morning, after the service, there was a potluck that we enjoyed with the church there; and Kenny kindly offered to hold Tobin while I got my food...I used to never say yes to offers like this, but I'm realizing that it's a really good thing when people offer and I accept :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Away for the Weekend

We're off! Soon we'll head back to West Virginia for Jeff to lead a Seder dinner tonight and to preach tomorrow morning on a military base in Sugar Grove. This will be the first night that Tobin has been away from home, so I'm curious to see how he'll do! The weather here is glorious, and it's the perfect time of year to get away for a night and enjoy the beautiful countryside.

But before we go, I'll post one picture. This is of some surprise guests yesterday who happened to be passing through our town and stopped by (they did call yesterday morning to let us know, so it wasn't a total surprise!). The woman sitting next to my mother in the picture is Carolyn, my mom's cousin, and her husband Roger is holding Tobin. These folks are great! They live in Pennsylvania, and we've only seen them once since we've moved back to the East Coast...but obviously, it didn't take our boys long to warm up to them! We always enjoy our visits with Roger and Carolyn, and we're so glad they decided to come by!!!
Happy Passover, everyone!!! :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Three on Thursday

David, our joyful little David, is three years old today. It's unbelievable how he has grown from this little baby...
...to this big boy. I'm so proud of him. He brings such joy to our family!
Because we had a small group meeting tonight, we actually had our family birthday celebration for David last evening. Here he is looking at his gift from Josiah: a dot-to-dot book. This was the first time that Josiah had "given" a gift to David (or anyone else, really); but after this past Christmas when I saw how obsessed Josiah was with getting, I came to the realization that I could help him learn the art of giving by having him be involved with choosing gifts for people for various occasions. Rather than him not even knowing what we were giving David until the gifts were opened (like last year), this time Josiah shared the excitement of thinking about what to give him, going to the store, choosing it, wrapping it, and being eager for David to open it. I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but I do think it really helped Josiah to have a good attitude...and to see how much fun it can be to give.
~ David with a Punchinello movie, "You Are Mine"
~ when I asked David what kind of birthday cake he wanted, he said, "PEACH PIE!"...so I tried a new recipe for peach pie (since I had not made a peach pie for years) and was thrilled with it...David ate maybe two bites of it, and that's all...I have no idea why he asked for peach pie, and then didn't eat it! :)...he was excited about blowing out the candle though, and managed to do it by himself after a few tries (and after he pulled the pie closer to himself)...fortunately at our small group meeting tonight, Robin had made a chocolate cake and had put 3 candles on it for David's birthday, so he got some "real" birthday cake tonight!...actually, having pie for a birthday is not unheard of in our family, because for the past 2 years, I've asked for a grape pie for my birthday...maybe that's why David did it
~ Josiah was so eager to help David with his dot-to-dot book last night...for the most part, he was an EXCELLENT little teacher for David...it was sweet to see them working together :)

Another highlight of our day today was going to visit our friends, the Myers, and having lunch with them which was really fun. Because I KNOW David will want to know this info in 30 years, I'll just mention that today was the first day that he went anywhere in underwear. That's right, folks, we made it through a trip to the library and then to the Myers' home with no accidents. He went to the bathroom twice at the Myers' and kept his underwear dry...wahoo!!!!!!

At small group tonight, I was talking with my friend Amy, and she said that the journaling she does for her boys isn't really for them: it's for their future wives. :) So, along the same line as that, I'm sure David's future wife will love knowing all the details of his potty training! :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Signs of Spring

Today was a spectacular spring day, and I took advantage of the warmth and sunshine to walk around outside and take some pictures.
~ daffodil in the front flowerbed
~ vibrant tulips
~ it's so interesting to peek inside these softly-colored tulips and see such dark, contrasting "insides"
~ hyacinth near a fringe tree
~ this was my favorite picture: October Glory maples sprouting little leaves...but more interestingly, the seed pods are developed (the upside-down V-shaped things)...they look like little helicopters to me, and I remember my brother David and I flying maple helicopters often when we were young
~ look what else I found outside today!...one more sign of spring: someone enjoying an afternoon nap on our new swing...isn't it great that Jeff can enjoy the birthday gift he got for me? :)

And speaking of birthdays, someone really special is having one tomorrow...

Back-Home Bonding

My parents returned Monday night from their Florida trip, and were greeted enthusiastically by two little boys running headlong down the hill as soon as Grandpa and Grandma were spotted! Shortly, we all gathered in our living room for a little catch-up time.

~ "Here, Dad, could you hold Tobin?"
~ "Can I sit on your lap, Grandma?"
~ "Is there room for me, too?" :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday Treasures

I'm going to see if I can keep up the alliterative titles all week. :)

More pics from Lisa...

~ I love this picture of the two boys!...I could use the word "love" for all of these pictures though...hmm, how to express my feelings?
~ I can't figure out whether I like this picture of David in color or black & white better...red IS his favorite color, so it was appropriate that he was wearing red on the day of the photo shoot; and red is vibrant, just like David...but the B&W pic has a special feel to it as well...I can't decide!

~ ah...Tobin...my sweetheart...one of the joys of my life these days is simply holding him
~ I love this one of Josiah...oops, did I already use that word? ;)...it's interesting to me how the floor reflected his image...I didn't realize our hardwood floors are that shiny; but from this perspective, they capture his reflection, and I think that's so neat
~ David looking out the window...is he wishing, like I was, that it wasn't raining so we could have gone outside for pictures?...oh, well, these indoor pics delighted me to no end!!!

Other treasures of this day:
~ reading Love You Forever by Robert Munsch to Josiah and David...then "happy crying" (Josiah's expression) together afterwards...oh, wait, I was the only one crying...well, Josiah's eyes were a little teary; he's a sensitive one, and I love that about him...David wasn't crying at all, but he was doing a great job of snuggling...we had a three-person pile-up cuddling time on our couch, and it was wonderful
~ holding Tobin as he fell asleep this afternoon...Tobin is a Babywise baby, so at this stage of life, I put him in bed while he's still awake (but sleepy); and he almost always falls asleep with very minimal fuss...but for some reason this afternoon, he wasn't settling down so I went in and picked him up and held him to see if he had a burp...he never did burp, but gradually stopped his wails as I talked to him...it was interesting to see how he stopped crying so he could hear my voice...he would cry, I would say something, and he would stop...then he would cry a little more, I would say something else, and he would stop again...until finally, he was quiet...and after a few more minutes, he was sound asleep on my shoulder...so still, so sweet, so peaceful, so vulnerable...such a treasure

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Musings

First, some random pictures for a random post:
~ mushrooms/toadstools (what's the difference?) at the Virginia Safari Park...I have never seen such interesting mushrooms/toadstools! (mushstools? toadrooms?)...isn't God's creative genius simply mind-boggling?
~ a big, old (and I mean that literally) tortoise at the Safari Park
~ Josiah sleeping on the way home from the Park...the funny thing to me about this picture is that when we saw that Josiah was falling asleep but didn't really have good support for his head (except for his seatbelt strap), Jeff said, "Do you want my jacket to use as a pillow?"...to which Josiah said, "I have my jacket; I'll use that"...so he wadded it up and put it on the OPPOSITE side of his head from where it would have done any good at cushioning!...the downside of having Josiah in a booster seat instead of a regular carseat is that there are no sides to lean against to fall asleep
~ David was so tired and, despite the exciting Clifford book in his lap, couldn't keep himself from drifting off...when I noticed that his eyes were shut, I tried to remove his sunglasses; but he woke up and insisted that they remain on his face...he soon fell asleep again, sunglasses and all!


I have a confession to make. I love country music--some country music, that is. I'm definitely not into the I-lost-my-love-so-let-me-go-look-in-a-bar type of country music, know what I mean? However, despite my deep love for country music, I rarely listen to it because on a country radio station, you just never know what songs will be coming on; and I want to do everything I can to protect my little boys' ears from the I-lost-my-love...(you know the rest) kind of songs.

Recently though, I happened to have the radio on at two different times when I was sitting in the minivan with Tobin waiting for Jeff, Josiah, and David to come back to the car from an errand. (Yes, Jeff, this is what I do while you guys are in the bank: I listen to country music. My guilty secret is out.) :) And I heard two songs that I had never heard before, but both of them brought tears to my eyes...happy tears, of course...although, if you've read much of this blog, you know that's not TOO difficult to do! But they were the kinds of heart-warming, make-you-appreciate-the-simple-things-of-life songs that are, in my opinion, the very best of country music.

So what were they? One was "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins. And the other was "Love Is a Beautiful Thing" by Phil Vassar. Ah, good stuff! :)


Speaking of the simple things of life--the country life--spring is here! Have you noticed? I threw open the windows on a warm day last week to enjoy the fresh air, but it wasn't too long until Josiah said, "WHAT is that smell?"

"Well, my dear boy, it's...cow poop." A beautiful warm, spring day is a perfect opportunity for the farmers to spread manure!

"It smells like Hershey Kisses with throw-up," replied my son. "Can you shut the windows?"

On a more pleasant note, here are some other signs of spring: daffodils bursting forth in the front flowerbed, hyacinths splashing their bright colors around the base of my fringe trees, green grass (it's amazing how suddenly the grass greened up...from brown to vibrant green in less than a week, I'd say...it's gorgeous!), tiny leaves beginning to unfold on our maples and lilacs, tulips getting ready to explode and paint the flowerbed by the woodshed in all sorts of colors, forsythia putting out a few sunshiny yellow blooms (although our forsythia is way late compared to most of the rest in this area). It's a wonderful time of year!

Which reminds me...time to do a few special spring jobs. I need to wash some sweaters and put them away until fall, and I also need to take our Christmas candles out of the windows because open windows with breezes blowing through and Christmas candles that can fall onto the floor just don't go together. Why, you might wonder, do we still have our Christmas candles up? Long ago, on a choir trip through part of Pennsylvania, we traveled through an area where it was very common for people to keep candles in their windows all year long. I thought it was the most beautiful thing to see all these homes with white candles in them when it wasn't even the Christmas season. So now that we live here, I'm able to participate a little in that tradition by keeping ours up until it's warm enough to open windows on a regular basis. Today is a bit on the chilly side--only in the 50s--but soon it will be time to take down the candles and open wide the windows! But, if Josiah has his way, only on days when no farmers have spread manure...

I guess this must be the day for confession because I have another one to make. The smell of manure doesn't bother me in the least because it simply reminds me of home. When you grow up in the country, you just get used to it...I guess. Anyway, when we lived far, far away, in the metropolis of southern California, I used to get great satisfaction out of going to Home Depot and wandering in the aisles of the garden section until I found the bags of steer manure that they sold there for using as fertilizer. When no one was around, I would stop and get close to the bags and take deep breaths of that good country air. It swept me away...home to the pastures of Virginia...home to my grandparents' farm in Pennsylvania...home to the country where I couldn't wait to be! :)


Yesterday the five of us ate lunch at Shoney's after our church service; and as we were ordering, we all kept saying, "I want the buffet"..."I'll just have the buffet"..."buffet for me"...etc. David, not wanting to be left out, said, "I want the buffet." Then, perhaps thinking that the "buffet" was a type of food like spaghetti or pancakes, he asked, "Is the buffet hot???" Oh, funny boy, it helps to know what you're ordering before you clamor loudly that you want it! :)

Later during our meal, I said, "David, don't pick your nose," as he was engaging in that very activity at our table. He said, "I pick my nose in bed at night." So I began to talk about how it's not polite to do that in public but if you need to, it's OK to go into a bathroom or your bedroom to do it, etc. Then he asked, "Can I put my boogers in my mouth at night?" :)