How is everyone? Ready to settle down after the holidays and have a quieter schedule? I know winter does tend to be long and cold and gray, but I do enjoy having less work with not having a garden to care for or a yard to look after. Summer and fall is also a busier time for us with canning and freezing garden bounties. I confess, I do miss those perfect fall days though, for the children to go outside and play. They love spending time outdoors; in fact Jesse has shed many a tear when he couldn’t go out with Daddy to feed the piggies. Whether it’s 90 or 20 degrees, Jesse and Rayni both just thrive on being outside!
Something they do enjoy is watching the birdies flock in at the feeders. With us having moved here in May, we were a bit concerned about being able to attract as many birds as we have in recent years. We have been impressed so far, but it’s as I told Daniel, he’s like a magnet to his little-feathered friends. They just flock in wherever he goes! We were impressed to count 35 goldfinches at the feeders recently one morning, so hats off to Daniel. It looks like the little tweeties won’t have a lack this year! Jesse loves his perch right inside the large picture window in our dining room, where he watches the birds. He is repeating more words, with “blue jay” being one of his latest.
One of Austin’s favorites these days is when the two of us have “school” together. I’ve been amazed how fast and easily a four-year-old catches on to many basic concepts. It’s so rewarding to watch children develop learning skills at a young age! We decided to call our pretend school, “Gems ‘n Jewels Pre K.” We have a little visitors chart hanging on the wall that Julia signed after “visiting” us recently after she came home from school. So if you have a chance, you can always swing by and visit us!
One of the biggest bonuses in living here (besides being right next to Daddy’s workshop) is the large basement we now have. I’ve been amazed so many times how the children spend time down there on the trikes, building towers with their blocks or playing dolls. Once everyone is tired of being trapped indoors, taking the little tribe downstairs gives them a new incentive. Not only that, I’m still excited with having an open basement for hanging in laundry to dry. Yes, that’s right, for me it’s a dream come true! Thanks to my dear hubby who works hard to cut firewood and keeps us toasty warm through all this blustery weather! In no time, we can have a whole bunch of laundry dried and ready for the closets again! I know electric or gas heat doesn’t make as much dirt in the process of things. Neither does it dust up your furniture as much. But to me, there is nothing like the cozy warmth of old-fashioned wood heat! Even the smell of it just gives me the cozy feeling of warmth and security, just like it did when I was a little girl in my father’s care.
Now as another year closes, and a brand new one is about to open, I’m reminded anew that we are constantly making memories for those around us. As I noted, there are many memories tucked away of childhood days. For some, those recollections bring a healthy sense of belonging, for others, an ache of deep, unfulfilled longings. We know that Jesus is there to heal all those painful memories as we bring them to him. He restores hearts just like brand new and gives us new beginnings. I have a question that hangs heavy on my heart: am I living the fullness of who and what God intended for me to be? There are many hearts who will be affected by my manner of life. Can they really see the work of Jesus in my everyday life? We can all put on a smile and even go to church with it, but is that experiencing the fullness of joy in Jesus? I know there have been times I failed those around me. I want to simply turn a new leaf as we plunge into another year, trusting God to continue leading us.
Thanks to all of you for all your love and support throughout 2018, and I wish you a blessed 2019, filled with extraordinary blessings from above!
Now how about joining our family with a New Year’s Eve specialty of sauerkraut and sausage?
SAUERKRAUT AND SAUSAGE
1 pound bulk sausage, browned
1 large can or bag sauerkraut
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 diced onion
1 cup ketchup
Mix all ingredients. Bake at 275 degrees for 4 to 5 hours. Stir occasionally. You may want to add a little water to get desired consistency.