March 10, 2010

  • ReAl LiFe TheSe DaYs

    Well, I’m back.

    And quite frankly, it’s a little scary to be back – over two months later. I wasn’t intending to drop off the planet like I seemed to, but a month of children-and-mommy-and-daddy sickness, and the next month of sister-in-law-brain-tumor-sickness takes quite a toll on any blogging desires. Not to mention that when I had a little bit of time at home it was spent in basic housekeeping to try to keep things sane, not on the computer.

    And to be even more frank, life has felt pretty rough lately. No, I’m not the one with the brain tumor. I’m just the sister-in-law, and yes, I do have so much to be grateful for. And I am. Or at least, try to be.

    //snow pictures were all taken in December. I’m THAT far on behind in blogging!//

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    // Zoe didn’t know what to think with snow so deep she couldn’t walk!//

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    //LOVE this pictures. Childhood wonder. She had hardly ever seen snow *flurries* before, much less a 16” snow storm. Beautiful did not even begin to describe the winter wonderland.//

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    But when I thought of writing again, it was scary because it’s more comfortable to write AFTER a struggle is over, not in the middle of it. When you write afterward, you can talk about all that you learned through it and how God was faithful and you see things so clearly and yada yada yada. And that’s good. But when you’re in the MIDDLE of something difficult, it’s hard to see clearly. Some days, it even feels like I’m hanging on for dear life to a little bit of hope. Right now I’m in the middle.

    // three of four sisters. claudia, ervina, clarita. yes, we all have unusual names.//

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    // my two youngest sisters. they are characters, they are. how i miss them.//

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    Now, lest this make you all nervous and you start clawing for the back buttom or the scroll arrows to take you to happier things, just relax.  I’m feeling the need to be real, as well as to say that there are many things about life right now that can’t be told, that I am a needy person in need of a Big God these days. Some days just honestly aren’t “PollyAnna happy days”. If we’re honest, I think every one of us would admit that. I’ve seen God work powerfully in the past few months of my life, and He has rekindled such a hunger for Himself within me. My hunger draws me back to Him, the only One who can fill my God-shaped vacuum, even on days when everything about the future looks uncertain and unknown. I’m needing God big-time these days.

    Today, I was at home. I have had one other day at home in the past month+. With two children two and under, it becomes exhausting to go somewhere. every. day. Even if it’s somewhere you want to go. The last day at home was two weeks ago, and I hardly stepped outside my house, it was that good to be home. all. day. I didn’t get in the car, except to vacuum it. Today I ventured out a bit farther, walking down the dusty dirt road, pushing my two baby girls in a stroller. Good exercise for this girl who has not been keeping in shape! The day was lovely – clear blue sky, and I heard birds singing as I walked.

    Everything about the day spoke HOPE.

    // Tea Room with my little girls, mother, and sisters//

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    // love this picture! little girl learning to be a lady. little chubby fingers tightly gripping the handle.//

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    I don’t know if I have a favorite month, or season, but I am so excited about Spring coming. Perhaps because Spring is one of the only times of year in the South where you can be outside without being eaten alive by mosquitoes and have a hundred gnats swarming about your eyes and the eyes of your poor infants, making you feel like you must be in a remote region of Africa. Because Spring is when you can be outside, in the middle of the day, without sweat pouring off your body because of the 100% humidity. No, I’m not dissing the South. There are some aspects of the South that I do enjoy, but the 100 degree days of summer, which last from June – October a lot of years, aren’t part of them. That’s when I stay tucked in an air-conditioned house. Or, if I venture outside, it’s to a friend’s pool where the water feels blissfully refreshing.

    So, today spoke REST. And HOPE.

    //snow. in Pennsylvania. 16 inches of the white beauty. it makes me come alive! some of my best childhood memories are snow memories, which is probably why I’m so emotionally attached. :) //

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    And I remember my Happy List from about a week ago. I don’t want to be a superficial happy, but there are days when it’s good for me to remember the good things in my life. And be truly grateful, even for little things.

    So here’s my list from last week, along with a few more things.

    My Happy List:

    1. Coffee and biscotti to start my day. I’m addicted to biscotti right now, ever since my friend, Bek, sent me biscotti for my birthday over three months ago.

    2. A delicious, cozy bed when I’m tired (can you tell I’m often tired?? When life gets hectic, some people eat. I sleep).

    3. Three bouquets of daffodils on my dining room table, found in the woods earlier this week – or last week, can’t remember. The past month all fuzzes together. I asked Ben if he saw my flowers, and yes, he did. But last year, you were mad about daffodils in February, he said. Well, this year I’d still much rather be in snow than picking spring flowers, but if I have them, I’ll enjoy them.

    4. The peace and rest when BOTH GIRLS sleep at the SAME TIME in the afternoon, even it it’s only a 15-minute overlap.

    5. A husband who gets up early and goes grocery shopping for me before leaving for work, just because he knows I’m exhausted. AND who brings home fresh donuts for Zoe and me. “That’s SO NICE of daddy to get donuts for us!” said Zoe. :) ) Yes, sweet girl, indeed it was.

    6. The blessing I feel inside when I know I blessed someone else – whether in words, in cleaning a house, in doing someone’s laundry, in making a meal…

    7. A clean house. Organization is really a big deal to me these days, and feeling clutter-free is very soothing. I’m liking neat and clean looks, with surprising details.

    // my grandmother with olivia. she is 76, and hardly has a grey hair on her head. i’m going to follow in her footsteps. ;) ) //

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    8. Freshly baked, 100% whole wheat bread, with flour freshly ground, and the bread turning out like a dream. I think I pray over my bread every time I make it because I know how bad it can turn out – and I’ve been making bread for years! Grapenuts and biscotti – Mocha Chocolate Chip and Gingerbread with White Chocolate Glaze – in the making.

    9. Tear-out at the Wayne Street property – the little bungalow cottage (that’s what I like to call it) we bought. I’m going to be sad if we don’t live there, because it’s going to be a really. cool. house.

    // Wayne Street house. Little old shack now, true fixer-upper indeed, but just wait until it gets a new paint job and white picket fence, baby! by the way, any ideas on paint colors for a tin roof and wood-siding house??//

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    10. Laurie, my sister in law, is being able to swallow more frequently, and her health is returning! (check for recent updates).

    11. The knowledge that all of life is in God’s hand, even the unknowns in the many things that are coming to us…

    //my mother and her second grandbaby//

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    12. Picking up a clawfoot tub for the Wayne Street house. Are we crazy? Maybe. I know some people think we are. Definitely not the most practical route to go. But oh! The way an old clawfoot tub will look in that hundred-year old house! So rad! So we I chose rad over practical. I hope I don’t regret it. Husband is kind to let me make a somewhat silly decision. :)

    13. Selling the investment property we owned an hour away. After a year and a half of having that on our hands, legal problems inititally, we are SO THANKFUL to have that sold, and to a happy little newly-wedded couple!

    14. Having my parts of my family here for part of a week! Family is so REFRESHING. Nine people in a little house would have felt full to some people, but to us? Hey, we were together, and we were loving it. :) And happiness that my other two sisters will be coming this weekend.

    // 2009 Family Picture. Several hours and several changed-heads later, it’s good to go. Man, editing is just not my favorite thing to do. I’d much rather just take pictures!//

    Family Edited
    // my dad grew up in a family of one girl and seven boys. he then proceeded to have four girls before two sons. it must have been a huge adjustment for him to enter the world of women, but he is the world’s best daddy! and don’t i have the most lovely sisters ever? //

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    15. My biscotti-eating, coffee-drinking two-year old. Precious does not even begin to describe her. Oh yes indeed, I do have my days of great exasperation. These are the touching-everything, want-to-know-everything days. SO inquisitive it hurts my brain sometimes. But so precious. Last night she was telling me goodnight… “I love you, mommy. I pray for you.” Dear little heart, you just melt my heart.

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    Yesterday we were having a discussion about angels, and she told me that angels talk to her. I thought we were really in for a deep talk, and I hunkered down. “Really??? So what do they tell you?” “They tell me to ‘tay in my bed.” (she has a problem sometimes with wanting to come out of her bed after bedtime) “Soo, do you listen to them?” I asked. “Ummm, no, not really!” Zoe told me, very matter-of-factly. So much for a deep heart-to-heart!

    // helping. or wanting to help. someday it’ll actually be helping. but at least for now, it keeps me company.//

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    //serious and poised. but only on occasion. can’t you just see the glimmer in her eye?!//

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    // laughing. so good to be able to laugh somtimes. even if your sister captures your throat in a photo meanwhile. //

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    16. My active, VERY active, 9 month old. Olivia is just so dear. Fiesty little petite girl. She is still doing the belly-crawl, but gets from one end of the house to the other. So curious about everything, and everything goes into her mouth.

    //all babies should have a cheek-pinching grandma. :) //

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    Including a 1/3″ upholstry nail.

    She was so fussy one day after her nap, and I could not figure out why. She’s normally a very cheerful little pixie. Hungry? No. Tired? No. Teething? Maybe. I checked her mouth with my finger, thinking maybe a stray tooth popped in overnight. Wait… a MOLAR?? I yanked the poor child’s mouth wide open, Olivia wailing all the while, only to see a BLACK molar. WHAT IN THE WORLD??? It didn’t take me long to realize it was a nail head, with the nail sunk all the way down into her gum. Well, mothers are amazing, and we can even pull nails from our children’s mouth with our very own fingernails, out of sheer panic, and out it came. I’m sure my mouth hung open for a full half-hour afterward, inbetween hugging my dear little sore-gummed child and thanking God she didn’t try to swallow it and it didn’t get lodging in her throat! NO WONDER she was fussing! And to think I was almost getting exasperated with the poor baby. There are REASONS for fussiness! Lesson 101, should have been learned long ago!

    // nine months old. more beautiful all the time.//

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    //showing off those deep dimples//

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    17. Craigslist deals that make my heart sing. How I love to find bargains, and things that are beautiful to me. It’s a scavenger hunt for me, and I love it! My favorites are two 8×10 jute rugs, and a Pottery Barn beaded chandelier. Ooo-la-la. Bring it on!

    18. A new baby formula recipe that I got through my Aunt Celesta, that she got through her doctor when her babies were little. I wasn’t able to nurse anymore, and formula just kind of grossed me out – it stinks in the bottle, it stinks in the box, it stinks when it comes out in the poo, it makes babies constipated… So, this is a recipe LOADED with vitamins and probiotics and all kinds of good stuff. I’m not even a health freak, but this makes me happy. :)

    So… That’s been life on our little dirt road the past two months, in a nutshell. Sometimes dirty, sometimes hard, sometimes scary. But there is always Hope. Not just in the future, because the future is unknown, and uncertain for all of us. But hope in a God that is bigger than what we’re up again, in a God that is gentle, and caring, even when life is ugly.


    I love that word!


Comments (28)

  • …and it’s beautiful. Really, this post made my day. I think I’m going to go shed a little tear of happiness now, and pack my bags, and count down the hours. See you soon. :)

  • i’ve missed you!

    and prayed for you. for your family. such a hard time you all are in the middle of.

    the whole ‘writing in the middle of struggle’ thing…makes perfect sense.

    i love your happy list. sometimes its so good to sit down and think about the things that are so easy to take for granted. and it’s inspiring for me to read another’s happy list…yours was most delightful!!

    i think if you lived closer i would invite myself over for some coffee and biscotti…and a chat. i’d love to chat with you and hear your beautiful heart.

    a big hug to you on this Wednesday~

  • oh, and I HAVE to say yay!! for Craigslist! love that brilliant little site! ;D

  • So good to hear from you again and wow, your life sounds really busy.

    Just this past week I was reminded to “REMEMBER” the things God has done and brought me/us through and so I sat down and wrote a bunch of stuff down and It really did wonders for my heart.  Your list blessed my day.  Hang in there…. and HOPE is one of my favorite words too.

  • Happy you had a chance to update us, love all your pictures. I hope you get to live in the little bungalow too, it is just darling! Please post pictures as you fix it up. Wow, your life sounds exhausting, hope you can get some good rest and the Lord gives you grace to just take a moment at a time. That He really makes His presence known to you in real ways that touch your heart at it’s core! Blessings to you and your family as you walk thru these times. And by the way, I’d take some of those daffodills right now, I’m singing for joy just to see mine popping up thru that wet dirt, knowing that they’re gonna get their little heads chilled without a doubt.

  • Loved your post, Clarita! *And* the fact that you were able/found time to do it!! I like “happy” or “grateful” lists ’cause they help me focus on good things . . . and I like reading yours because it gives me a little peek into your world. Your pictures are beautiful and I could pinch a few of those cheeks myself. =)

    Ever since being at your house, I have had “make biscotti” on my mental to do list. Maybe tomorrow I’ll make it . . . or maybe start with making sure I have all needed ingredients first and add them to my grocery list . . . I’ve made it at Christmas the past several years, but *now* seems like a better time to have it around because there aren’t 101 other sweets to compete for attention! Oh, and I think I was going to get your recipes and tips on that delicious breakfast casserole too. Sometime in the next year when you have a moment, could you enlighten me on those details? It was soooo good.

    Hmmm, what else to say. I think I shall call you again when your family is cleared out. =) Have fun!

  • welcome back!!! i have missed you. your post made my night and i read the whole entire thing- even though i should be in bed…
    thank you for being real. it`s what this world needs. it`s so easy to connect with people who are real. i`m sorry life isn`t “high” right now. i loved your thankful list though. made me smile so many times!

  • I’m glad to see you posted again. May God be always close to you through these hard days…

  • been missing reading and seeing your style, but can’t even imagine how your life has been….only 2 days at home?!?! i think i’d croak! praying God continues to give you grace and hope! and could you possibly move that cute little cottage to maine by summer??? we’re looking for a place, and i can imagine it will look adorable!

  • Gorgeous pics hun & God bless you & your family ! .

  • what a delightfully ‘real’ post…. I LOVED reading it, and am always so happy to get a peek into your life!You are a wonderful wife and mother! God bless your day with joy and love and a real sense of His peace! love you – looking forward to April…. :)

  • Just happened by…and found myself staying a while…appreciating your words and loving your photos.

    I am so sorry for the difficulty, the hard, that you are in the middle of.
    However different my own h.a.r.d., and it is, I can relate to the struggle in the middle.
    It’s messy in the middle all right.
    And the deceiver wants me to believe that the middle will last forever.
    It’s become a bit of a wrestling match; about Who God Is… what redemption and healing mean… and trusting Him for a
    “thru it” when I can’t see any. I have thoughts in my head and even a post sitting private, kinda waiting for a neat and tidy something to wrap up the mess.  An amazing finale and a great, “learned-alot-moving-on chapter!”

    On a way different note…I love old houses and I think your Wayne St. cottage is perfect! I bet it is full of character…and I can totally see your picket fence…I hope that it all comes together for you!

    Saying a prayer…

  • @foreveranoatneygirl - thanks, Rachel! It feels really good to be back too! I’ve missed you on here too – I know you’ve still been blogging, but I hadn’t even had time to catch up on my friends’ blogs! So, hopefully that will change now. :)

    @Izzysgal - Thanks for your kind words of blessing! I take those to heart!

    @FOREVERLANE - Hey, my family is cleared out! Phone lines are free. :)

    @baileyandme - Thanks! I missed all my online friends too, these past two months! I need to head over to YOUR blog now and catch up there! Can’t wait! :)

    @tigergal01 - I know! I told my husband that this is the house I want to move with me whenever we go. :) Not like that’s possible or anything, but still…

    @im_so_blessed - Celesta! We are SO looking forward to staying with you! Can’t wait either!!

    @down_onthefarm - you blessed me. Thank you for your words of truth and blessing right now. My heart believes them and is encouraged! Blessings to you too…

  • Wow! I had a two week stint of not being at home and I thought I was going crazy. I cannot even imagine how grouchy I would be after two months! “Some days just aren’t Pollyanna days.” True that.

  • @smilesbymiles - I must’ve not written it correctly – it’s been 5-6 weeks of not being home, not two months. Sorry! But it’s been long enough. :)

  • Loved a post from you again. Made me happy. So good to catch up again and see some adorable pictures of those cute little girls of yours. I’d so love to have a play date with our kids this summer. Get to see them playing together again and catching up with you would be super fun too:) Love you. Hang in there. You’re going to make it!!!

  • @lifeisadance - 

    Technicalities! I probably read it wrong. Believe me, after 5-6 weeks I’m not sure I could tell the difference b/w 2 or 3 months. :) BTW, how did you do the little mochas and biscottis thing instead of comments and eprops? I didn’t notice it until just now but it’s so cute. Can you choose anything you like?

  • So, so good to see an update from you…and thanks for the comment you left me as well!    Your pictures are just so full of life…gorgeous gals…all of you!!

    O dear, my heart goes out to you during this valley time.  Just this week I pulled out some of my SMBI notes that Krystal had given me….(I have been missing her)!  Here are some of her thoughts that I don’t ever want to forget:

    When we are descending or find ourselves in the valley of sorrow/sadness/difficulty, we have two options.  One will result in fear/hardness/death, and the other results in trust/softness/aliveness. 

    Denial, Aloneness, Bitterness, Revenge, Depression, Selfishness = Hardness/Fear

    Honesty, “Acknowledgment”; of our feelings, thoughts & responses, “Encounter”; God in the losses, sadness, tough times, Admit to anger, but feel the care of God and others, Repentance (owning our sin and wrong choices) = Trust/softness/ALIVENESS!

    Anyway, this was so meaningful again for me, and thought I’d just pass it on as encouragement to you as you travel through this valley.  God will meet you at the “Altar of Mourning” and bring you back up to higher plains again! 

    “The greatest skill in life is to learn how to worship” -Krystal Yoder  ……  Clarita, I think that (worship) is in esence what you are doing by making a list of happy thoughts, even during this tough time….worship God for His goodnesses! 

    I’m praying for you!  Hugs…..

  • @smilesbymiles - i’m not sure how i did the biscotti/mocha thing! i did it so long ago… i think it’s in settings somewhere???

    @clearlyhis - Carmen – thanks!!! And I want to process some of those words you gave me. Good stuff – things I need to hear right now! Thank you! Hugs back to you!

  • I was delighted to read your posts again. I did miss them, but i understood you have a lot going. So glad your sis in law is doing better, i have been following her blog. So sad that a young life has to go thru something like that. We just never will understand God’s ways but will trust he knows best. I sure would love a good biscotti. and that baby formula sounds great. My 3 kids all were on baby formula and i never liked it either. we talked to your parents in feb. at the weekend to remember conf in hershey. Praying you will feel refreshed.

  • You have a beautiful family. Welcome back. :)

  • yep, most days aren’t very Pollyannaish. :) thanks for being real.

    lovely, wonderful pics. your little girls are adorable~

  • Clarita, i so enjoyed these pictures and all that you wrote! thank you for posting. im sure you feel ‘stretched’ these days, and i will pray for you that the days get brighter and smoother! im sure you can feel God’s grace and that’s what’s getting you thru!! im so thankful for Him and the grace He offers!!!-cant imagine living w/o Him! God bless you!

  • thanks for YOUR sweet comment in return.. and for subbing. look forward to knowing you better. :)

  • I would love to have the recipe for the biscotti’s…your post made me so hungry for them!!

  • Good to see a post from you again! Love that word HOPE. It is the promise of things to come. Hope you had a fun weekend with your sisters! :)

  • 2 Only wish that would be me. 3. Ben’s comment–SO funny. 4. How I know the feeling! 8. When we come visit, will you serve me biscotti? I’ve never had any and it sounds so fabulous. 9. Please put a rush on that and rent it to us…Totally adorable, and, yes, vote of confidence for the clawfoot tub (Have you heard about the request?) The nail story is AWFUL! I can’t imagine how you must’ve felt! So many pretty pictures, too!

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