A Visit With Friends

A few weeks ago we visited our friends, the Layhers, and enjoyed an afternoon of running trains and catching up.  We’ve known these dear friends for many years.  You can read about our friendship with them here and see early pictures of the kids.  We see them several times a year and always enjoy our time together.  

Corene writes many beautiful poems and often includes them in her cards to us.  In fact, about five years ago she and Howard published a small booklet of her poetry along with photographs that Howard had taken.  It’s a beautiful collection of words and pictures.  Last year sometime she included the following poem in a card to us. 

“What is this world coming to?”
     I sometimes heard my mother say.
I wonder what she would think 
     if she were here today.
Would she accept an elbow bump
     as a greeting from a friend?
Would she accept a virtual hug
     as a nifty modern trend?
When I myself start wondering
     what this world is coming to,
I remember blessings that include,
     a treasured friend like you. 

Corene is 83 years young and Howard 80.  They are fascinating people who have so many stories to tell.  Just this last visit we heard the story of their meeting which was so precious.  We are thankful for them, their friendship, and the many memories we have with them. 

January 2019

December 2018

December 2017

January Thoughts & Goals

The kids have been back in school a week now and we’ve all settled into a new year fairly smoothly! 

We’re grateful the kids are attending school; most in our area continue to be online so we acknowledge this miracle and gift for our family. 

Kenny has embraced his new lifestyle of working from home and has handled it with such grace and flexibility.  He has made small changes to his workplace in the basement – more light, more heat – and still prefers to work in that space.  Occasionally on really cold days I find him at the card table in front of the fireplace.  His flexibility working from home is such a gift to our family and it appears he’ll be home for some time.  

I welcomed the new year like I always do – taking time to reflect and journal on the previous year and looking ahead to the next one.  I’ve found this process is necessary for me.  It provides closure which I find deeply satisfying.  After all the Christmas decorations are put away and the house is cleaned up, I feel the need to do the same for my soul.  One of my favorite authors, Sally Clarkson, calls it “decluttering your soul”.  This year I used a resource from Chip & Joanna Gaines at Magnolia: A Look Back + Look Forward.  After working through that, I chose a new devotional from the bookshelf to read through this year.  I’m usually working through meatier bible studies or books of the bible too, but I enjoy having a short devotional to read each day in addition.

And, I’ve decided that I’m going to resume making a few goals each month this year.  That worked so well for me in 2019 and I actually accomplished quite a bit.  2020 was a different ball game from the beginning with not feeling well for so long and then moving right into the corona virus.  For us, 2020 was a year of survival and maintaining; not for cleaning out closets and checking things off a list.  So, I’m hopeful that having a few things to focus on each month will be helpful in getting things done around the house.  

This month, I’m working on:
*Planning the year with Kenny.  We’re looking at all the different categories of our family and home and making plans in each – things that need done, things we’d like to do, etc. 
*Christmas cards.  Updating our card list and addresses for this coming December, thinking about what kind of card or letter I’d like to send, and adding our 2020 card to our Christmas album.  
*Christmas gifts.  While gift giving is fresh in my mind, I’m making notes of ideas for next year. 
*Salvation Army drop. I’m constantly collecting things to remove from our home.  It seems like there’s a constant bag or box in our office of things we no longer need.  In early December James cleaned out his room and brought to the office several piles of toys and items he no longer wants.  That’s all been sitting there since December in addition to the pile we had before and have now added to!  Too much stuff!  One big chore for this month is to take pictures and record it all for tax purposes then box it up and deliver to Salvation Army.  If I’m feeling ambitious, I’d love to purge my clothes closet and also take in what I’m no longer wearing.  
*Meal idea list.  This has been on my list for ages.  Years ago I created a list of our favorite meals and it was so helpful when meal planning.  Fast forward many years and our tastes have changed, we have kids now, and many of the recipes on the list I no longer make.  I’d like to update this list to fit our current needs and tastes to make meal planning easier.  

Do you have any goals for January?  Goals for 2021?  

Time to Slow Down

My new favorite thing: Oranges and cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove

Our time at home since Christmas has been lovely and slow.  Kenny took two weeks off of work which was so nice, and the kids have had about two and a half weeks off from school.  We have enjoyed mornings of sleeping in, working on puzzles, and flying Kenny’s new drone.  We’ve watched lots of movies, taken walks around our neighborhood, and enjoyed mugs of hot chocolate and tea.  We’ve had time to sit, to read, to reflect, to play, to embroider and cross-stitch, to wrestle and rough-house.  These kinds of days are so refreshing and have refueled us to start a new year and new school semester strong.  These kinds of days are a gift and we acknowledge that these good gifts come from our Heavenly Father. 

Look for Anna & James waving and the drone flips!