Weeping Cherries

faith, family, food and frugality

“Gratefulness” or “Why I Will Probably Never Write A Novel” June 27, 2013

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When I was a child, I used to write a lot of fiction: how the world became colorful; about the lady who lived in the old Victorian home on Weeping Cherry street; about the neighbors my brother and I spied on; and the missionary in Cambodia. I wrote poems and songs and day dreamed 100 stories for every one I put to paper.

I always imagined writing a great piece of fiction someday. I think a lot of people dream that- writing the great American novel. So, I often wondered why the dream died to some extent. Why all my current writing was of the non-fiction variety? They were simple stories about funny things the kids have done; writings about my home, the people in it and the garden we grow or the food that we share.

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I would sit and try to think of something imaginary to write about because I had such an enormous imagination when I was little. Do you outgrow an imagination? Do you become cynical with age or do you stop dreaming?

Tonight, for Father’s Day (yes, it took me a while to get this post up) my husband and I munched on popcorn and watched a movie called “The Magic of Belle Isle”. In the movie the main character, an author, stops writing after the death of his wife until a little 9 year old girl wants him to teach her how to imagine a story. She and her family inspire him to dream all new dreams again and he begins to write. Watching, I wondered again to myself, “why don’t I write a story?” Always followed by the question, “but what would I write about?”.

This time, I realized something.

 I write little bits about my life and the craziness and wonderfulness that goes with it instead of spending my nights writing out of a dream world because my reality far surpasses my imagination. How many people can say that? I am amazingly blessed just thinking about it.

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I found a journal some months back that contained my dreams and prayers and thoughts dating to when I was just 17 years old. As I read over those prayers, it overwhelmed me to realize that I am currently living them (well, all except the big old farmhouse or Victorian restoration home). From little things like my garden and bookshelves full of books, to big things like my husband and a house full of children. Things that God didn’t need to bless me with to bring glory to Himself or even satisfaction in my life and yet He did.

Which makes me smile… and makes me want to write about them and tell everyone… and makes me want to pinch myself some days to see if it is real… and makes me want to document it for all time for those days when things are really hard and I forget.   

It is the reason I can sit in front of a blank word processing screen thinking about making up some story and then before I can begin, tales of the day begin filling the pages instead because real life is so much better than any dream or hope or plan that I could have for myself.

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That said, I still dream. I dream about my children’s lives. I don’t write these down because I have learned that what God has in store for them will meet or exceed every dream I may have for them. I wouldn’t want my children to read the dreams that I have for them some day and be limited by them or somehow think that Mama’s plan is God’s plan. However, there is one dream for my children that fills most of the pages of my journals. It is one that I want them to know that their Mama always prayed for them and their lives. If I could dream one thing for my children and look back on it one day when I am old and gray (if God should choose to give me breath until that day)- it would be that my children would be called by Him and saved and walking in faith.

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print by: Ron DiCianni

I dream of the day that I can look back at my young, 30 year old self’s journal and see the pages covered with that prayer and swinging on my front porch swing (maybe even on the porch of an old farmhouse or Victorian restoration) become overwhelmed by the reality that my children have been blessed with everything I have dreamed for them. I understand the scripture, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4) It would be my greatest joy.

May my children realize that in this culture of virtual reality and even in the wonderful world of books, the best story is the real one God is working out in their lives each day.

~Jen

 

Homespun Holiday January 12, 2012

What a wonderful, blessed Christmas we had!  Here are some of the highlights:

I scored this beautiful tree on black friday- next best thing to a real one, most people couldn’t tell it was fake!

The REAL garland to give the home a piney smell.  Also scored on black friday!

Ara and James loved the tree this year.  The ornaments were never in the same place and we had quite a few bite the dust, unfortunately.

Our first fire in the fireplace 🙂

Ara and I strung cranberries to make garland and then juiced the rest.

This year we did quite a bit of holiday baking!

Peppermint Bark chilling in the fridge

Baking Maple Granola for gifts…

Along with 6 dozen cookies: 3 dozen chocolate chip and 3 dozen toffee crunch

Packaged and ready to go and one left for Paul and I to munch on…

We took the kids to see the Christmas train display

Made gifts for our family…

…started to knit the kids stockings… and then decided to let that go this year, maybe next.

What a sweet Christmas it was!  Quiet, no places to rush off to, celebrating with family and friends the birth of our Lord.

So grateful for the blessing of God’s Son sent to earth and the blessings He continues to send everyday.

I hope you and your family had a very blessed Christmas as well!

 

Our Home (Part One) January 11, 2012

Filed under: Home — Jen @ 12:13 am
Tags: , ,

ImageI praise God every day for the gift of this home.  Sometimes, I need to pinch myself to realize I’m not dreaming.

So, these aren’t the best quality pictures, as all I am working with is my phone camera right now, but they will give you a sense of this wonderful blessing we now call home.  Welcome!  Come on in.  The kitchen is where all the fun happens so we’ll start there.ImageMy cute son is a bonus :).  Next, you have the living room all decked out for Christmas…ImageNext, my kid’s favorite room, the playroom…  I feel so blessed to have this space to keep the toys out of their rooms!  I might have gone a little bit crazy with the pictures on this one but I love that they have this space!ImageThis side of the playroom is mostly Ara’s domain until the little girls are older.  Her dress up, new dollhouse from Mimi and Granddad and kitchen set that Papa made her.ImageThis side has the book nook which now hosts a green wooden toy chest for storage and seating, James’ shelves, and the millions of baby dolls/stuffed animals in the cradle.ImageJames’ domain:  Trucks and trains galore!  A boy has to have some space of his own with all these girls around!ImageThere is also a half bath downstairs that I will take pics of later and the upstairs which will be “Our Home” Part Two… TO BE CONTINUED…

 

My Ugly Heart December 6, 2011

  • (DISCLAIMER:  I have no idea how those bullets down the side got there or how to remove them.  SORRY!)
  • photo found at rachelgoode.blogspot.com

  • The Christmas season has a way of revealing to me what a sinner I am.  Fitting, since the holiday is a celebration of my Savior’s birth, but humbling none the less.
  • Every year around this time I get bit by the bug.  A bug so rampant, I’m thinking it needs to be added to the strains of illnesses included in the flu season records.  As a helpful guide, I am including a list of symptoms.  You may have the Christmas bug if:
  • 1. As you are shopping through Target, every toy you pass you imagine being opened Christmas morning by your child with a huge smile on their face, accompanied by the exclamation, “I love it!  You are the best Mother in the whole world!”
  • 2. The words “Honey, we bought each other a house (or insert needed appliance, car repair, or plumbing job here) for Christmas, let’s not exchange gifts this year” make your heart drop with sadness no matter how right they are.
  • 3. Your store daydreams change from #1 symptom to imagining your child unwrapping the boring things like underwear that they really need but don’t want with a disappointed look on their face, accompanied by the proclamation, “This is the WORST Christmas ever!”  (you only think that’s an exaggeration- I have a very dramatic little 5 year old.)
  • 4.  You start wondering how kids during the great depression didn’t break their parent’s hearts after opening their one and only gift- an orange which was a rare treat to them.
  • 5.  You realize now, more than ever, you are much more materialistic then you ever imagined…
  • Treatment for the Christmas bug includes a hefty dosage of reality:
  • 1. Your child doesn’t need every toy in the store, in fact they are undoubtedly better off without it and so are you.  Not to mention, as the years pass, their enthusiasm for gifts drastically reduces and last year we were horrified to hear the dreaded phrase, “what else did you get me?” escape our child’s lips more than once.  “Where did we go wrong?”, we asked ourselves.  After all, we had been careful not to make Christmas about the presents…or so we thought.  We didn’t “do” Santa, we limit our gift giving to a few special items per child, we read “The Three Gifts of Christmas”  leading up to the holiday, we even tried no gifts on Christmas day one year opening them on Christmas Eve instead so all of Christmas day could be focused on Christ’s birth.  How did we end up with such greediness coming from our children? Perhaps the first dose of medicine I needed to swallow was the reality that my children get the Christmas bug too.  Whats worse?  They caught it from me.  MODEL CONTENTMENT!
  • 2.The house, furnace. dishwasher, new axles for the car, toilet repair, you name it was a BLESSING!  And despite the little pang in your heart that tells you otherwise, it is enough.  Gather friends and family in that gift of a home.  Warm bodies from that furnace mean warm hearts snuggled in their beds on Christmas Eve.  Dishes covered in food being loaded in the dishwasher make me grateful when I think back on six years without one and thankful that food was on those dishes around the table where my family joins together to eat.  Whatever you may have inserted in that blank, whether a car repair which enables you to travel and see loved ones or even the fixed toilet that saves your ears from the constant sound of it running-  GIVE THANKS!

  • 3. When needs are met, whether through Christmas or any other time of the year, teach your children to praise God!  “Kids you know you needed new underwear, don’t tell me you didn’t notice the holes in yours and no- holiness isn’t a good thing when it comes to underwear.  Praise God!  He provided you with new underwear this Christmas!”  CHOOSE JOY!

  • 4. Oranges DO make great stocking-stuffers.  Throw in a ziplock baggie of cloves and let your kids decorate them to make pomanders for your Christmas table centerpiece.  BE CREATIVE!

  • 5. Pray that the Holy Spirit would change your heart about Christmas.  Pray that He would take your greed, selfishness, and desire to please anyone but our Savior.  Pray that He would transform your family through the power of His love and that we would all be awestruck by the wonder of His glory!  PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!

Ara and James at the Christmas Tree

My dear friends, that truly is “All I Want For Christmas”…  for God to take my ugly heart and give me one washed clean by His blood.  Hallelujah, HE DID!  And that is the reason for the season!
 

Blog Meme? ::right now:: May 30, 2011

Filed under: Family,Home,Seasons — Jen @ 4:56 pm
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DISCLAIMER- I might be stealing, if I am, I am ever so sorry.  In my blog surfing, several times I have come across what I believe is a blog meme called “::right now::”  It is a simple structured blog post to give readers a peek into your day using action words to describe “right now”.  Because I am not sure what blog it originated with, I am most likely not giving adequate “hosting credit” to it and so I apologize for the lack of online etiquette.  I believe it is a Monday Meme and today I found it on SouleMama.

::right now::

My Nature Girl

right now I am…

::wondering if taking a family hike today was such a good idea at 27 weeks pregnant with twins.  (going into the trail downhill, was much easier than coming out uphill and my balance was, lets just say, not so good)

::marveling at how much older my little girl seems everyday and the paradox that is her selective gift of being aware of details.  (how is the same girl who spies a camouflaged snail under a log on the side of a hiking trail not able to find her bright magenta flowered play boots daily when they are in the same place every time?)

::feeling large 🙂

::smelling the lingering smell of turkey bacon coming from the kitchen which reminds me of Grandma H’s house.

::thanking my parents for a very generous babies gift in the form of a new dryer that won’t take three cycles to dry clothes (going to be a life saver with three little ones in cloth diapers!)

::enjoying having spent the weekend with family and friends and having my sister home for summer break.

::looking forward to celebrating 6 years of marriage with my love this week!

::wishing you a blessed Memorial day with loved ones!

 

And The Twins Make Four :) April 25, 2011

Filed under: Family,Home — Jen @ 7:31 am
Tags: , ,

I admit, I haven’t kept up too well since the littlest McKinney made his appearance in January 2010 and we moved to a rental home with no internet.  And yet, faithful readers, you still visit my page and I love you for it.  So, now that new adventures have popped up in our crazy lives, I thought I would take the opportunity to update you with our latest happenings which come in the form of an ultrasound we had a little over a week ago revealing that I am, indeed, carrying little girl twins!  Add closing on our very first home this week and you get a snapshot into the craziness that is my household right now.  Later this week, I will post pictures of the first home adventure but for now, I am off to pack and keep laundry going!  Thanks to all my subscribers for sticking with me through the dry spell, life needed to happen, it did and will continue to but hopefully now, I’m back for a while!  Have a wonderful week!

 

Visit Show and Tell Friday May 15, 2009

Filed under: Family,Giveaways,Home — Jen @ 9:24 am
Tags: , ,

AH! Sorry, I’m slackin’ again with the posts.  I do have a reason- you can read it here.  As for the giveaway the winner was: Miss Jocelyn!  I will need your contact info ASAP to get the giveaway DVD on its way to you.  So, be looking for an email.

Jen