He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9

PLEASE......

Next time I decide to have a yard sale, would somebody be so kind as to shake me or kick me or knock me to my senses?

WHY do I continue to think this is better than dropping stuff off at A Great Find or Goodwill? Aren't there a million other ways to get a little cash? Selling hair, selling blood, taking untested drugs....anything's got to be less painful than this.

I was on a roll, blissfully taking periodic bagfulls of treasures to Goodwill. But then we made this little decision to go visit my sister in Ireland. Thus the scrimping and saving and aching of feet. I must really love De a lot.

Always remember: FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS HAVE YARDSALES!
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Corn Maze

:: Our school took a field trip to Exploration Acres ::
It was loads of fun!





There's just something about jumping in a big straw mound. My kids look forward to that more than about anything at pumpkin patches!

This was the "old lady" go-cart race. Karissa is laughing at me as we speak. (I'm the one in the orange- in the lead! :)


Caiden has his own methods of dealing with the corn maze. It was more like a farmer's amble and explore version. So we separated ourselves from the high-strung girls group (Bless Julie's heart she got stuck with all the girls alone!) and we set out at our own lazy-day pace.
The ducky races were so cool! Even Mr. Fry and Mr. Coleman got in on it, but my camera must have been on the wrong setting and the pictures didn't turn out.

This was a very happy place - run by the family who has owned this farm for generations.
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Purity

Hello, Friends and Lurkers

Chilly autumn greetings to you. I come seeking your wisdom!

I'm working on a purity project for young ladies, and I have a question for you:

If you could give a bit of advice to some girls (and their mothers) about emotional and physical purity, what would you tell them?

(Guys - I would consider your input extremely valuable in this discussion - if any of you have the guts!)

I have disabled the anonymous comments blocker in case any of you would prefer to share anonymously.

Sarah here later, checking in....I am loving all of the input and wisdom that is coming from your hearts. I would love to hear more of the same. I'm also waiting for someone to talk about emotional purity: giving out too many pieces of our hearts, etc. And....anyone brave enough to talk about why you personally are sorry you didn't (or are glad you did) make good choices? Anyone want to talk to the ones who have already given too much? This is great stuff...keep it coming!
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In Grandma & Grandpa's Gardens



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Autumn Sunset

Wonder, just outside our front door....

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Watching the Harvest















We let Caiden get ready for church at the doorway so he could watch.

































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Simple Pleasures :: Abundant Blessings

:: Autumn's chill
:: Cuddling and giggling in bed with my kids on a Saturday morning

:: Coming home from teaching Saturday lessons to a quiet house full of sleeping kids!

:: Warm, creamy Alfredo
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Nah nuh Nah nuh Boo, Boo......


I get to go hear Sarah Palin!!

(Couldn't think of anything appropriate that rhymed with boo boo.)
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Bitter

I hope all you FCA moms out there are having a nice time sleeping in in your warm, cozy beds. All you who have normal children who will actually sleep in when given a glorious day off school! Mine got up at 7:15 prompt - wide eyed and bushy tailed and ready to take on the world.

I'm feeling a bit bitter here.

And what in the world was I thinking when I promised to make them pancakes? I'm hearing chants of bweakfast! bweakfast! bweakfast!
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PDF file experiment & Impatient Creativity

I just downloaded a PDF add-on and am trying it out. Bear with me.

file://im%20bored%20list.pdf/

Ok. It's official. I'm a doofus. Any help out there from the non-doofus readership? Can I link to a pdf file saved on my computer?

By the way, speaking of doofusness....I'm really overwhelmed with Photoshop. I'm not saying I can't figure it out (not giving up...), I'm saying that I'm ticked that it has to take so honkin' LONG to figure it out! (Grrrrr, and other grouchy words.)

Maybe it would help if I spent more than 10 minutes and read a tutorial or something....ya think?

I admit, I just wish I could open * click * and create! Not so with photoshop, eh?
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Home

1803 Josephine Street

First, I'd like to say that this is a happy post. Not one of regret or sadness. Even the tears are happy. There's something about a homestead....a place to point back to as family roots. That's what 1803 is. Roots. I'd love to do a post sometime about my memories of the "80-acre Kansas farm" my dad grew up on. Some of you have heard him refer to it in his testimonies.
It has been fun to hear you all share you memories of this home. So many people have told me stories about dating in our living room, making cookies for their boyfriends (One even scheming of laxative-laced cookies when things didn't work out so well!!).
We went home for a very quick homecoming trip this past weekend. I guess driving down Josephine street just reminded me of the old house. For those of you who don't know, this is the house at GBS that I and my siblings grew up in. My folks lived there nearly 30 years. The house is no longer there, but it gave us many happy memories and some great roots. By the way - Mom and Dad bought a house in Colerain and are tooting around there like they've lived there forever. Dad hauls wood in his little tractor and tinkers in his shop. Mom has gardens upon gardens - a koi pond and lots of lovely outdoor spots. They're as happy as if they had good sense, as Dad would say.

I almost regretted starting this post. My mind has been shuffling through boxes and boxes of mental photographs. Thousands of them. Now where in the world do you begin telling about a lifetime? Do you start in the piano room, where we toiled away at combined hundreds and hundreds of hours on pianos, violins and trumpets? With that old 7-foot Chickering sitting at the foot of the long flight of stairs with the stained glass windows at the first landing. Do you start in the basement, with the old fashioned boilers and coal bin? Or the low-ceilinged third floor train room - where we would spend happy quiet evenings watching dad build a miniature world - with the smell of hot tracks and alcohol on Q-tips as he cleaned the engines.

If I had to choose the most memory-rich room, I think it would be an impossible task. The living room (as all the rooms were) was tall and grand with 20-year old velvet wallpaper. The fireplace had authentic Rookwood tiles with pictures of elegantly dressed ladies in fabulous dresses. I think the chandelier in this room was Bavarian. This was the Christmas tree room. What fun it was when we traded in our squatty leaning Christmas tree for a humongous tree that did the room justice. Christmas after Christmas, I would stand on the old radiator by the huge windows and decorate the back of the tree with gold instruments. Then we'd sit on the couch in the dark with the lights on. (You guys remember that year we had the lights hooked up to the little music thingy? I think De almost lost her mind as the lights blinked hysterically to the tune of Jingle Bells. I kinda liked it, though.)

Speaking of evenings on that couch.....Only the walls could tell the stories of the countless couples that did their courting on that couch. I'm sure I won't tell! 'nuff said.

Hmmm...lets move to the kitchen. Mom used to make themed meals and decorate. I remember stirfry and rice with cups of hot tea...the chopstix and lantern light. We'd sit there for hours and hours...talking about school and boys and lessons and life. Mom and dad would sit and listen. And listen. As we went on and on. I believe that little round clawfoot table is where we found our voices. The ability to speak and be heard and understood and know that what we say is valuable - no matter how crazy. Oh, The meals we cooked in this little kitchen...the weddings we catered! The concert on the lawn receptions. The food prepared for special guys (and gals!) I even remember spending part of a night on the kitchen floor with some little kitten I thought I loved. (It was the rare pet that made it through the back door to the kitchen - and woe be it to any animal that ventured past that point!)

You could go up the back servant stairs from the kitchen. I realize now what a rare privilege it was that this house had enough bedrooms for each of us kids to have our own. Mom gave us the freedom to decorate and paint and create to our hearts' content. I was pink. De was blue. Oh...the pinks I came up with! But my humongous bedroom overlooking the street was something else. As a young teenager I'd light up that blue-gas fireplace and sit there like I was something elegant and ageless - dreaming dreams of life and love. I remember in College as I began to change my hobbies - and the piles of books started appearing all over the room. I'd stack them along the radiator where the white sheers hung. The walls had huge pink cabbage roses and the antique furniture was dark green. The light would shine in the many windows in these rosy patches that made life feel happy. It was in this beautiful room that David eventually proposed (And I DO mean EVENTUALLY!) I'd better move on...

I remember jumping in piles of leaves in the yard, playing in the huge sandbox, searching the house and the grounds for the underground railroad tunnel we thought we'd find. But one of my absolute most precious memories is sitting on the warm radiator in the Dining room - looking out the bay window that framed the elegant Cincinnati skyline. I'd sit there and watch the fresh snow - falling down in the lamplight from the park. The sparkling blanket - before anyone had stepped on it. I'd sit there on the steam radiator and toast myself in the dark room and watch.

I knew that it was insane to begin this memoir. There's not a good place to stop. I know it's all obnoxiously sentimental. What can I say? Those of you who also have memories there will understand - the rest of you may just go on being bugged by my sappiness.
I am very, very grateful for the happy memories. And now we're making loads of new wonderful memories in the new home place. I want to show you pictures of it sometime.
My kids have not experienced living in one house all their lives. Kayla is only 6 and she's already lived in 4 houses in 4 different states! But it doesn't matter what house you're in - it's the togetherness that matters.

Earlier:
(Wow. It's too much to write now. Every window, every door, every room - every inch of this grand place has a story to tell. Rich and beautiful memories. Maybe later - after these tears go away.)

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Simple Pleasures :: Abundant Blessings

Life is full of simple pleasures that are abundant blessings. I am reading (listening) to a book that has reminded me again to fully be in the moment that is now. I may just share some of those simple pleasures and abundant blessings with you from time to time.

:: The sound of an autumn rain through the open windows

:: The comfort of Eric Satie as I wash dishes

:: A pause, then an on purpose kiss from David as soon as he arrives home from studying

:: Watching my two year old boy play imaginary football with himself in the living room with every ounce of happy energy in his little body

:: Finding a pile of cool Renaissance costumes at goodwill for our Reformation Day celebration with David's students

I fear that in this sharing I will get myself going and not know where to stop. I've always believed in drinking life in - Carpe Diem was my high school class motto and has been a sort of personal theme for me. And by that phrase I am not referring to a hedonistic and godless search for pleasure. I am referring to a mind and heart that is set to view each simple pleasure and daily beauty as a gift from the Hand of a God of Spectacular Extravagance.

Care to join me?
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Chicago Trip - Hotel, Train, Downtown

David and I have a love for big cities and we were anxious to make a city trip together. Most of you know he goes to school at Trinity in Deerfield - just north of Chicago. Because the commuter apartments he usually rents are being remodeled, David has to stay in a hotel every week. Thank goodness for priceline! He waits until later in the evening to put in his bid and gets a very awesome price - just about the same he was paying for on campus housing! He never knows which hotel he'll get, of course, but that's part of the fun.So... we figured two can stay as cheap as one! Mom Fry kept the kids and I hopped in the car with David when he headed up to Deefield for school.



The suite reminded us of our honeymoon suite.
They served a fantastic continental breakfast in the atrium. (We're not talking stale donuts. We're talking fresh mangoes, gourmet granola, a personal pot of coffee. I just love 3-star living at a 1-star price.

A little Starbucks, a little reading, a little alone time. Ahhhh.....

(Some of you girlfriends would have cracked up laughing at me trying to get a picture of my alone time. I subtly propped the camera up and pushed the timer -- attempting to be discreet enough that the fine oriental executive gentleman working on his laptop across the atrium would not think I was totally bonkers! Then again, if you had been there I wouldn't have had to go through such shenanigans to get a picture, now would I? But then it wouldn't have been alone time. It would have been girlfriend time....... This random rambling has convinced me to finish these Chicago posts tomorrow!)

David, my brilliant hero, left the morning paper on the top of his car as he buzzed off to class. Hours later, he was gathering the scattered pages from the hotel grounds. I just love it when he's absent minded. (Both times)


Heading into the train station to get Metra tickets for traveling into the City.
Train Station


We can't wait to take our kids on this smooth double decker train. There are so many things to watch!

Union Station - An experience all its own. I want to go into detail but I'll refrain.
We love stepping out of a train station or subway onto the streets of a city. What some view as smoggy congestion is, to us, beautiful. There is so much to see and experience and enjoy. Diverse culture, architecture galore, invigorating commerce, patches of serendipity, pictures of history. It's thrilling. Chicago is obviously on our list of favorite cities: San Francisco, NYC, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Miami, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Boston (Sarah only), San Antonio (David only)...Those are our favorites. (Detroit is a very interesting experience - but a very, very sad city!)
So put on your downtown shoes and walk the streets with us....Crane your neck to look straight up a skyscraper. Drink in some culture. Walk past the nooks and crannies that make a city's downtown unique......
Chicago - My Kind of Town!
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Chicago - Architecture




There's so much more I want to say about cities....we have learned some wonderful tips about traveling around and making the most of our time using public transportation. David is a skyscrapers nerd. He knows all kinds of useless stats and trivia about them. And we're both crazy about a tree-lined boulevard of townhouses and unique doorfronts.

These pictures are coming slowly as I grab a moment here and there .....

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