Friday, January 15, 2021

Been Waiting to Post

(in case you didn't see - start here

Oh my goodness how beautiful is this? 

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Walking on this campus made me want to be a college student again. 

It's take your breath away, amazing campus. 

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Just look at all that ivy... 

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We had the whole college to ourselves this summer on campus. 

We had done many online tours and been to hours and hours of online 'live' information sessions leading our hearts toward this beautiful place. 

But walking on campus was so different.

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When we arrived that day Anna was down to 9 colleges she was ready to apply to. 

But I saw her heart change on this campus. 

And although she didn't say anything about an applying decision until much later (post back here on this) her smile gave it away. 

Scott and I just held our breath, praying the whole time, realizing that we were falling in love with this place. 

I could feel the Holy Spirit in my heart. It was powerful. I felt deep peace about my daughter growing up - about her next stage - about her living away from me. 

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Yes this is it! 

We are still on cloud nine! 


Thursday, January 14, 2021

When Her Phone Rang

Preface: I can't believe that I'm typing this. Wasn't Anna only in first grade when I started this blog? 

This happened on Monday, December 14, 2020. 

We are still over the moon about it. 

Truly one of the happiest days of my life. 

I will never forget driving to my school the next morning and feeling to elated that my cheeks hurt from smiling. 

Be truly glad; There is wonderful joy ahead 1Peter 1:6

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Anna had applied early decision to a college was her top choice, and we knew we'd hear soon so we were all nervous leading up to this night. 

On Monday evening after dinner Anna and Abigail decided to practice for a concert (post back here). 

Joy to the World in front of the Christmas tree - a duet. 

I decided to grab my phone and record because whenever my girls play viola together it makes me so happy and I just have capture it. 

So there I was, standing in the living room. Anna's music stand was behind me. (they were using Abigial's stand to practice).

In the middle of my recording / in the middle of the song I heard Anna's phone ring. So I immediately stopped recording. 

Here is that recording:

As soon as I stopped recording and said, "Anna! Your phone is ringing." 

She grabbed it right away but missed the call. 

Somehow, without thinking about it too much, returned the call, not knowing who it might be. 

As soon as I figured it out I started recording for the second time that night. 

And this is what I heard. 


Beautiful, honest, lovely, darling, simple, profound moment recorded. I am so grateful for that video. 

and 

I have no words. None that can compare that the emotions in the room. I can't think of anything else to say. It is just felt. 

And I don't know any college that personally calls applicants accepted to tell them - what an amazing personal touch. 

And the rest of the night unfolded like this. 







I am beyond proud of Anna for her accomplishments. This college is a very prestigious, highly selective college - they only accept 23% of applicants. There are many notable alumni including: 
  • Clarence Thomas – Supreme Court Justice
  • Dr. Fauci - National Institute for Infectious Diseases 
  • Joseph Murray - surgeon who performed the first successful kidney transplant
  • Edward P. Jones – Novelist who received a Pulitzer Prize 
  • Ann Dowd – Actor
  • Mark Kennedy Shriver - Maryland House of Delegates 
  • Neil Hopkins – Actor
  • Jon Favreau – Obama's former speechwriter
  • Chris Matthews – Political commentator
  • Bill Simmons – ESPN sports writer, sports analyst, author, and podcaster.
  • And on and on the list goes... 

As a family we have fallen in love with this extraordinarily beautiful college. And we can't wait to see what God will do through those four years. 

So much more to come in future posts... 

And this video Anna quickly put together so we could tell family and friends:



Epilogue: 
I was praying that when Anna found out that she got in (oh we were praying for that too) that we would all be there. 

I could never have imagined that it would be with her viola in her hands. 

That she would be surrounded by all of us. 

That she would be in the middle of playing Christmas carols. (Joy to the World - that song will always have special meaning to me now) 

That she would be in our living room lit with the sparkling Christmas tree. 

I know that not all of that is important. But it sure made it that much more special and I am grateful to God for knowing her mama's heart and how much it would mean to me. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

It's Not About Perfection, It's About Heart ~ new goals

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This (above) photo was from this blog post back in 2013 and in that post I wrote "This is all I ever wanted for my birthday. Oh to be a mother." 

In some ways it feels like it's slipping away. And that is a horrible feeling. My head knows that is not the case. I am not "done" but my heart wants to hold Abigail on my hip and dress Anna in ankle socks. 

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I just turned 48. I'm not a 'birthday person'. It's not that I don't like growing older, that number 48 or the way things age doesn't bother me one tiny bit. I truly could care less. I just don't love all of the 'fan fair' that goes along with a birthday. Sometimes I feel bad for those that love me and want to celebrate January 5th. My parents, my husband, my daughters. So I let them shower me with love. And I do enjoy the extra love. 

Every milestone feels like the right time to reevaluate my goals. It just happens that my birthday is so close to New Years that it sounds like "New Years Resolutions" - but it's not. 

There are other mile markers throughout the year: 

  • spring and lent, 
  • when school is out for summer, 
  • at summer's close when a school year is just about to start, 
  • just before Advent, 
Those all seem to be great times to look at my priorities. I heard once someone say, "How do you keep your priorities straight all the time?" "Well, I don't. I have to reprioritize over and over again." 

And so that is what my birthday/New Years, spring, summer, fall, advent are for me: time to stop and look at what I'm spending my time on. 

I like to ask myself questions:

  • are the activities I spend most of my time on fruitful or can something be trimmed down?
  • am I being efficient at teaching, planning and all things related to work?
  • at the tasks that are part of everyday (laundry, meal prep, food planning, cleaning, ironing, etc) done in the least amount of time to save time for other things in my heart? 
  • am I taking care of my daughter's hearts? 
  • am I pouring into their lives? 
  • am I spending too much time exercising or is it a healthy amount? 
  • am I getting enough sleep? (for sure not!!! ever!!!) 
  • What do I hope my legacy will be? 
  • on and on
I find that some extra long quiet time with my notebook, pen, and Bible are just what I need to find the answers to those questions and other things God has put on my heart. 

And then I change things around, make new plans - it gives me just what I need to motivate myself to make changes. 

Above all I want to be the kind of woman that God has created me to be. 

And I'm living it out in home, family, work, in every way 

It's not about perfection, it's about heart. I know by now that perfection is something that robs us of a joy filled moment. If it's about my heart, then it lets others in. 

Truly, I want to see myself moving toward more of the person I want to be... 

and each day I want to take baby steps forward in the areas of those goals. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

January Decorating

January decorating is minimal in my home. Really mimimal. I really should show you our family room and living room - so empty and wonderful after Christmas is all put away. But the kitchen is the heart of our home and I was so happy to get it all blue and vintage again. Not that I don't have a lot of Christmas vintage going on in there at Christmastime but everything in my kitchen looks better in January. The walls in this room are a blue/grey color and the vintage dishes on the walls just pop. I decided to put up some favorite window curtains I sewed from an old tablecloth. Love them! I sewed up a sink skirt with small gingham and hearts (perfect for leaving up in February). I added my floral pained plant stand and some special kitchen books. And the mug rack... how I love it in January. I don't have all of my pictures {baking center I still need to take pictures of} {and I realized that I must take a few photos of my favorite mug} but here is a peek into January. Cool, calm, bright, happy, welcoming, vintage, ahhhh. 











Monday, January 11, 2021

Weekending

 Things I loved about the weekend

  • I loved Friday night with my sauce and my dough made Thursday night with his creativity of what we now call "pizza bread" eaten in our family room around the fireplace - so cozy, so yummy and being inspired as we watched our last Christmas movie of the season: The Nativity Story
  • I loved digging in on Saturday and deep cleaning our house
  • I loved our brisk walk in the woods - I love the cold when I'm walking - I love this nature park with miles of woods, ponds, trails that is so close to our house
  • I loved sewing a new sink skirt and redecorating our kitchen for January
  • I loved an outside (35... burr!), masks & more than 6 feet apart visit with my parents for my birthday - that was certainly a first, opening presents outside in CT when your birthday is in January - but we are determined to keep others safe since we are exposed to Covid in our everyday lives at school
  • I loved sitting and talking in our family room Saturday night as I opened family presents - aren't presents from your children the very best in the world? Oh my goodness how they light up when they find just the right thing for you that they can afford themselves - I love their faces and their joy
  • I loved my quiet morning early on  Sunday when everyone was still sleeping
  • I loved all the cooking Scott and I did together to prep for Sunday dinner and all of the food for the week - being in the kitchen with him is so fun! 
  • I'm going to love (just after I type this) my cozy flannel sheets - not so much my 5am alarm, ha! 
(thanks Scott for snapping this on your phone - this is 48 by the way... just a few days after my birthday... in fact this hike was exactly what I asked to do... I love a hike in the New England woods in the winter) 

Have a lovely week ~

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

A Christmas Concert

Right before we were off from school for Christmas, they played in a Christmas virtual (live) concert. They decided to record their pieces ahead of time. 

It made it wonderful to relax and just watch the concert. We all loved it. 

Here is a quick snapshot of our family room that day - such a fun set up! 




Here are the recordings. Just click to watch! 





Monday, January 4, 2021

Christmas By Candlelight

 We found something so wonderful to do...

... and it was totally safe... outside & masks

and we loved it / needed it / had so much fun. 

We've been many times in the summer (here was a visit not too long ago) (and here is back in 2015)but never for Christmastime. 

I did a lot of reading and checking into the safety. They only allowed a certain amount in the village - it's allll outside - and masks were required - so it was a happy yes for our family!

Old Sturbridge Village is an outdoor history museum - it's a New England town from the 1830's. 

At Christmas they have lanterns lighting the walks (it was very, very, dark) and so lovely (and freezing)

The one building they did let us go inside was the church (one family at a time) to see a nativity. 


There as a full moon that night and it made the village even more magical. 



There were demonstrations along the way and they even have 'grab and go' crafts to kids. 



Actual houses from 1790-1830... I love learning about life then. 


The lake was all lit up with Christmas trees reflecting in the water. Oh my goodness, so very beautiful. 


This is the old covered bridge turned into the 'wishing bride' for Christmas. 


Here is the bridge from our visit in August.




Oh goodness, I don't have too many pictures because my fingers were stinging from the cold but if you check out my 'stories' on instagram I have a bit more there.