April 14, 2014

The Crocus

Saturday was such a beautiful day here in our corner, and I discovered something extra special in my garden along the south-west side of our house where the snow has begun to melt.  The fields are still covered in layers of snow and ice, and the driveway is lined with dirty, melting, mushy piles of snow, but tucked up close to the house is a glorious wave of color, a little oasis in the midst of the muddy, slushy mess, a sign that winter is over...my crocuses. 
The crocuses have become one of my favorite flowers...such tender little flowers with iron wills, pushing their delicate noses through the snow into the harsh cold temperatures of the New England spring; unaffected, they open their little faces to the sun and smile at the world around them.  I love this quote from the book I am currently reading, Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim,
"Things came up there and grew and flowered exactly as my gardening books said they should do; and in front of me, in the gay orchard, things that nobody ever troubled about or cultivated or noticed throve joyously beneath the trees, -- daffodils thrusting their spears through the grass, crocuses peeping out inquiringly, snowdrops uncovering their small cold faces when the first shivering spring days came."

The Crocus

by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)

 Beneath the sunny autumn sky
With gold leaves dropping round,
We sought, my little friend and I,
The consecrated ground,
Where, calm beneath the holy cross,
O'ershadowed by sweet skies,
Sleeps tranquilly that youthful form,
Those blue unclouded eyes.
Around the soft, green swelling mound
We scooped the earth away,
And buried deep the crocus-bulbs
Against a coming day.
"These roots are dry, and brown, and sere;
Why plant them here?" he said,
"To leave them, all the winter long,
So desolate and dead."
"Dear child, within each sere dead form
There sleeps a living flower,
And angel-like it shall arise
In spring's returning hour."
Ah, deeper down -- cold, dark, and chill --
We buried our heart's flower,
But angel-like shall he arise
In spring's immortal hour.
In blue and yellow from its grave
Springs up the crocus fair,
And God shall raise those bright blue eyes,
Those sunny waves of hair.
Not for a fading summer's morn,
Not for a fleeting hour,
But for an endless age of bliss,
Shall rise our heart's dear flower.

April 11, 2014

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment ...

{this moment}

I could not limit "this moment" to only one photo.  I had to share a couple more in order to show the true excitment of the moment; one photo simply would not have been enough.  

The excitment of being able to fill your weakened lungs with enough oxygen to blow out eight candles, in fact, being able to blow all of  your birthday candles out on your own for the very first time...a priceless moment!

Photos were all taken by my daughter.

April 9, 2014

Little #6

Hubby and I have been blessed with ten wonderful children, seven of whom are adopted.  One of our children suffers from severe, undiagnosed, interstitial lung disease.  She requires oxygen and a feeding tube, is steroid dependent, and may someday require a lung transplant.   In spite of her medical issues, she is a loving child that has taught us immeasurably about God’s love and tender mercies.
As a parent, I tell my children every day I love them, but to hear my child say, unsolicited, “I love you, Mommy” is a reward that far surpasses almost anything else.
One night our precious little one became very sick and was life-flighted to a major medical center two hours away.  All night, she fought for her life with doctors hovering over her, not daring to leave her side.  Hooked up to tubes and devices that would help her breathe more easily,  she lay in my arms, unable to respond to the words I whispered in her ear of how much I loved her.  I couldn’t count the times I prayed that night, asking God to spare our precious daughter's life.
After 24 hours, our little one's breathing eased slightly, and her body relaxed enough to allow her to sleep.  I momentarily closed my eyes, knowing we were over the worst of it, and thanked God for His healing mercies.  I then felt a tender hand touch my cheek; I opened my eyes to see my daughter's big brown eyes looking up at me and heard her quietly whisper, “I love you, Mommy, so very much.”

Although I have chosen not to disclose my children's names, for some reason, I feel compelled to share Little #6's name with you on this special day.  Little Rosa-mae is turning eight years old.  She has filled our lives with so much joy, and it has been the greatest calling to be this little Angel's mother. Not a person can meet her without smiling. Her tender, gentle ways are a blessing to all, and her insight and peace regarding life and death is beyond the years of even the wisest of adults. In spite of her own struggles, she remains compassionate and caring and is always looking for some way to cheer another. Just the other night she followed me into the laundry room and said, "Mama, I feel so sorry for my baby sister (Little #9)."  I asked her what made her feel that way, and she replied, "...because she has an allergy to peanuts and I don't have to worry about that.  Poor little girl.  It must be so hard not to be able to eat everything that the rest of us can."  Little Rosie, who depends on a feeding tube in order to get enough calories to sustain her tiny little body was concerned that her baby sister couldn't enjoy all the foods that the rest of us could.  I wish sometimes that I could see others through the eyes of Rosa-mae and feel the same compassion she has for those around her.

Each and every birthday is a miracle, and celebrating her first was such a milestone.  It is hard to believe seven years have passed since that first year of life celebration.  We continue to hope and pray that she is blessed with many, many more.  
Happy Birthday, sweet Rosa-mae!

April 7, 2014

Weekend Puttering

photo taken by my daughter
photo taken by my daughter

photo taken by my daughter

Although the weekend began in a rather dismal way, waking to yet more snow...yes, more snow (only a few inches, but, nevertheless, snow), the sky soon cleared, and Sunday turned out to be bright and sunny. We still have a ways to go, but spring may be starting to find its way to our corner of New England.  The temperatures are climbing, and the air feels a bit more seasonable; the mountains of snow are slowly melting, and tiny spots of ground are peeking through here and there. There has been the occasional sighting of a robin, and twittering birds can now be heard in the early morning hours.  Hopefully this spring-like pattern is here to stay.

With melting snow, water, and mud everywhere, we are forced to spend much of our time indoors. The Littles go out for a bit, but return rather quickly with soaked pants, coats and mittens, resulting in the never ending washing and drying of wet, muddy clothing. So in spite of spring-like weather, our weekend was spent puttering around inside.  A few open windows and a pretty bouquet of fresh daisies helped bring a breath of spring into the house.

Little #4 celebrated his eleventh birthday over the weekend, so he and his brother locked themselves in their bedroom with new Legos; we only saw them when it was time for a meal or when Hubby asked for a bit of help with farm chores on Saturday.  A quick browse through the clearance isle resulted in some crafting supplies and a new game which helped entertain most of the others. 

I did a bit of this and that.  I organized my closet, a job that I wanted to do since reading Clutterfree with Kids.  The author suggests the challenge of downsizing to 33 items of clothing, not including pajamas and workout clothes. I didn't minimize to quite that small of a number, but I did free my closet and drawers of many unused items.  He also mentioned sticking to a few colors, and I found that I already have naturally done that.  I lean towards greys, blues, browns and plum with a splash of color coming from scarves.   Having cleaned my closet has now motivated me to sew a few items for myself.  I have a few pieces of linen that I want to sew into spring tunics and dresses and maybe a few tops. I'm looking forward to getting started, but I had to first finish up a few gifts for Little #6 who will be celebrating a birthday this week.  I have had such fun with her gifts and can't wait to share the finished items with you.

Track and field starts for two of my Littles today, so that that will add an element of excitement and spring-like activity. It does mean less time for puttering and sewing projects for mysef, but I'm okay with that. I am ready for this transition into the next season.

April 4, 2014

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment ...

{this moment}

"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."

photo by my daughter

April 2, 2014

Thrifted Treasure

It has been quite a while, months I think, since I shared a "thrifted treasure" post.  In an effort to simplify our home, I have worked hard at staying away from thrift stores, only going in when I am looking for something we need.  It hasn't been easy. I have so much fun poking around the dusty old shops in search of treasure, but, I must say, it's also refreshing to rid the house of unwanted/unnecessary items and enjoy the free space that is left after decluttering.  My youngest boys, however, were in need of a few articles of clothing, so I stopped in a local thrift store the other day while the older girls were at their piano lessons.  I did not find what I was looking for in the way of clothing, but I did stumble upon a box of dishes for $8. Although I hadn't gone in looking for dishes, I had to stop and inspect the contents of that particular box...dinner plates, dessert plates, cups, saucers, and bowls, twelve of each, all in a simple white pattern very similar to the few ironstone pieces that I have collected. Our dish supply was getting a bit low, and we needed more plates and bowls for quite some time. Whenever we have soup for dinner, we are always scrambling to find enough bowls for everyone.  This was "necessary" treasure...$8 for an entire set of dishes in just the right color and pattern, and now we would have enough bowls for soup night.  It was rather fun washing my newly found treasure, wiping down my kitchen shelves, and replacing the old mismatched dishes with the lovely "new" set.

March 31, 2014

Return to the Red Room

 "The red-room was a square chamber, very seldom slept in...yet it was one of the largest and stateliest chambers in the mansion...This room was chill, because it seldom had a fire; it was silent, because remote from the nursery and kitchen; solemn, because it was known to be so seldom entered...Mrs. Reed herself, at far intervals, visited it to review the contents of a certain secret drawer in the wardrobe, where were stored divers parchments, her jewel-casket, and a miniature of her deceased husband; and in those last words lies the secret of the red-room--the spell which kept it so lonely in spite of its grandeur...All looked colder and darker in that visionary hollow than in reality..."  Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, (my favorite novel)

So we are returning to my red room, and, as you can see, I have not painted it yet.  I loved reading all of your comments in response to my post about wanting to change the color, but one comment, in particular, stood out to me and made me pause and ponder whether or not I really wanted to delete the red.  Annie from Knitsofacto wrote...

"I rather like your red piano room ... there is so much pale painted wood or whatever in there that it balances the red, which in turn adds to the richness of all those books and your lovely piano. This is possibly going to sound daft and presumptive, but maybe wait until all the snow has gone and your eyes adjust from living in a sea of white before you make any decisions?"

Annie has a lovely blog in which her artistic beauty shines through in her photography and yarn dyeing. She also posts a lovely Color Collaborative post each month, and I especially like the one she did for March. Her experience with color made her comment even more thought-provoking. I asked Hubby to hold off on buying the paint, and I decided to take Annie's advice and wait a bit before making the change. I spring cleaned the room by washing the windows, vacuuming the cobwebs, wiping down the walls and trim, dusting the bookshelves and sorting through the books, donating the ones we no longer wanted to keep.  I removed the storage boxes from the top of the shelves and decluttered the top of the piano, replacing the dusty, old, dried hydrangeas with a few fresh twigs from the yard.  I hung a pair of sheer curtains that I already had in one window to see if I liked them in the room before purchasing new ones. I was afraid they might make the room feel heavier, but they do just the opposite.  The curtains seem to tone down the red and give the room a much lighter, airier feeling, and they diffuse the light perfectly, giving the room a softer more soothing effect. (By the way, did you notice the open window?  Saturday was a pleasantly warm, almost spring-like day. Now if we could just get rid of some snow.)  I think I would prefer the curtains to be a bit less "fluffy", and am leaning towards cotton gauze, maybe in tab top, like these.  What do you think?

I would LOVE your input!  Should I paint?  Should I leave the red?  Curtains?  No curtains? Should I slip-cover the chair?  If so, what color would you choose? I would love to know what YOU would do.  Did cleaning and decluttering the room make a difference or does it really need a color make-over?  

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