Weeping Cherries

faith, family, food and frugality

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


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.


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.


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.


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.

mama love

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.



Tales From the HomeKeeper February 16, 2009

Filed under: Tales From the Home Keeper — Jen @ 2:45 pm
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Potty Training and Other Exciting Adventures


This week is the first week in over a year that Aralyn has expressed any interest whatsoever in potty training.  She’s pooped once and peed once. (Sorry if that is TMI) But seriously, do any experienced potty training Mommy’s out there have any tips for potty training a child who is only interested in going if she sees a friend going?  At home if we go to take a potty break she screams like she’s being tortured.  Other times she asks to go and says what a big kid she is and asks to wear the underwear.  The underwear doesn’t motivate her though because when I say she has to go potty in the potty to get to wear underwear she asks for a diaper instead.  I am not too worried about it as I know all children eventually are interested and potty train at some point.  I really don’t want to push it on her and I’m really not a fan of bribing methods but diapers are expensive and at almost three years old, I would like to at least get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Other exciting adventures this week include a bunch of medical tests which cost a lot and revealed very little.  Nothing too serious, I just need to keep an eye on certain hormone levels.  Ara absolutely LOVED the doctors that drew my blood.  She got stickers from them and got to play with the stethoscope at the OB- which was probably the highlight of her week.

We also went to spend some time with a widow that our church helps out on Saturday which involved lots of  extremely interesting conversations.  She has been having some mental issues that cause her to stray way off topic to crazy subjects of conversation at times.  It broke my heart to see a woman who has an amazing recollection of scripture and can rattle off just about any bible verse you would want all of a sudden start talking about how she has good karma and would be reincarnated.  You can keep this widow in your prayers.  My husband helped outside with a team of men to tear down a shed that the city issued a citation for.  It was so fun for Ara and I to go out every now and then and see their demolition progress.  They all put in a  lot of hard work while she and I had the privilege of just loving on the widow and her daughter inside in the warmth.

Happy Birthday to my Dad whose birthday was this past Wednesday!  I love you ever so much Dad!


Dad and Me on my Wedding Day

That’s about all for us this past week other than my much needed computer break.


Tales from the Home Keeper February 5, 2009


Ara playing in the most recent snow we received.

Last Saturday was my birthday and we spent it at my parent’s house doing all sorts of fun things including shopping for sewing patterns and material for some new dresses and skirts for Ara and I.  It was a blast but I had to share a story with you of something Ara said that still gives me the giggles when I think about it.  For clarity, Ara calls my Mom Mimi. Mimi and Ara are reading a book about horses and the conversation goes something like this:

Mimi: Ara look at these brown horses.  I like the Thoroughbreds.

Ara: I like cornbread. 🙂


Cornbread is a favorite in our house, can you tell? 🙂  Here is a gluten free recipe that we like:

Jen’s Gluten Free Cornbread

1 c. Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

1 c. Yellow Cornmeal

1/3 c. Sugar

1/3 c. Brown Sugar

1 tsp. Salt

3 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 Egg

1 c. Milk

1/3 c. Melted Butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Butter the sides of a round pie dish.  In a large bowl, soak cornmeal in the milk for 10-15 minutes.  Then add gf flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Stir in egg and butter until well combined.  Pour batter in pie dish.  Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes.  Enjoy!  Wonderful served with honey butter.


Tales from the HomeKeeper December 18, 2008


Now, I realize that as her Mama I have the tendency to think that my child is a genius no matter what comes out of her mouth; however, my two year old said something that made me smile so big yesterday that I had to share.

Ara: Mama, are you eating soup like me?

(Ara is eating chicken soup- I am eating mushroom with rice noodles)

Me: I Am eating soup, but I’m eating a different soup.

Ara: Does yours have chicken in it like mine does?

Me: Nope mine has mushrooms.

Ara thinks.

“Well, if you were expectin’ chicken- I bet you’re disappointed.”

Now I didn’t realize that my daughter understood expectations or disappointment so I ask her, “How did you know that?”

Ara: “Like, remember when you expect me to be a good girl and I am mean and you are disappointed?”

🙂 You know what that means? When she is in trouble, she listens to what I am saying AND understands it! 🙂 Happy Mama!

She continues saying many other things, many don’t make sense at all but every once in a while my child says something that blows my socks off and I realize, she’s listening! This makes everything worthwhile!

Now if only I could get what I tell her about potty training to click 😉


Tales from the HomeKeeper December 11, 2008

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go!


Today we went to my Grandma’s house (so Ara’s Grandma Great) to make a special surprise for Daddy who has been working lots of overtime this week.  She made and decorated these cookies all by herself!



And for your laughing pleasures today, a conversation I had with Aralyn last Saturday:

Me: Ara, today we are going to go with Grandma and Grandpa to cut down a Christmas tree.

Ara: Well, OKAY! but I better go get my scissors!


Tales From the Home Keeper November 20, 2008

Filed under: Home — Jen @ 10:24 am
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Ara around 3-4 months old.

“I’m So Frustrated” and a Lesson in Patience

Recently, Aralyn got new bunk beds from her Mimi. (Pictures below) One night, I told her that Mimi was going to bring them over tomorrow and she fell asleep very excited with visions of bunk beds dancing in her head. The next morning I find her pacing her room exclaiming, “I’m so frustrated! I’m so frustrated!”. I ask her why she is frustrated and she says, “Its tomorrow and my bunk beds aren’t here!” We talk about how sometimes we have to be patient and that good things are worth waiting for but as I talk to her I feel very guilty.

You see, the night before I was trying to get some soothing music to play during dinner and our cd player wouldn’t work. It is really old and works about 3 out of 10 times you try to use it. After about that many attempts I remember making an exasperated sigh and Ara asking me what was the matter. I said, “I’m so frustrated! This cd player NEVER works! All I want is some calming music to play!” Now, I could have turned on the classical station or played the cd through Paul’s DVD system (though it confuses me and would probably take just as long to figure out) but I wanted the music I had picked out and when I wanted it. My words quickly popped into my head as I heard them coming out of my two year old.

It made me think about if I model patience for her. I would say when it comes to discipline and her occasional “moods” I do but there are many times I model impatience.

For example, on grocery day I have my shoes on, purse in hand and Ara dressed with shoes on ready to hit the road the second Paul gets home from work. This wouldn’t be a bad thing except that I know full well that Paul likes to unwind a bit after work before going out again. I, however; have been cooped up in the house all day ready to spring the coop. I am impatient listing in my head reasons why we need to go right then (some which are valid but most which don’t really matter) quietly stewing because I wish we could just be on our way. I don’t set a very good example in situations like these of what it means to be patient.

Thursdays are grocery days for us which means today is grocery day and I am hoping by typing this I will remind myself to have a patient heart when it comes to that time of day. Help keep me accountable and ask me how I did on Fridays if you think about it. 🙂

And now the bunk bed pictures:




Side note: My husband jokingly informed me that my title: Tales from the Home Keeper is not the least bit clever when I told him that I was trying for a play on words off :Tales from the Crypt Keeper. He said it is just Tales from the Crypt not Tales from the Crypt Keeper and so it isn’t funny.

So, I apologize for my lack of humorous title but I like it, so it will remain Tales from the Home Keeper and will fill a new slot on Thursdays where I blog about what God is teaching me through my daughter. This will replace What’s Cookin’ Wednesdays for a while since my hubby has been scheduled lots of double shifts on Wednesdays and Ara and I eat a bit lighter those days as a result.


Tales From the Home Keeper November 12, 2008

photo: My Sweet Aralyn Elizabeth at her Uncle Jon’s Wedding

Having a Servant’s Heart

Recently, we’ve been really stressing to Aralyn how we can call on Jesus when we need help. Sometimes she struggles to obey and we talk about how it IS hard to obey when it is something we don’t want to do but we can ask God to help us have an obedient heart. So, she has been talking a lot about God helping her and other people.

This Saturday I woke Ara up and the following conversation occurred:

“Aralyn, it’s time to rise and shine and give God the glory!”

Aralyn rustles around in her covers and stretches tall…

“Ara, today we have a very special way to give God glory. We are going to help our church do some community outreach.”

Ara gives me a confused look.

“We are going to go help a lady who is widowed do some yard work.”

That seemed to strike a chord and she replied,

“Mama, can’t God help her?”

“Well, yes, honey, God is going to help her and us helping with the yard work is just one way He is going to do so.”

I’m glad she is understanding that she should go to God for help but I could tell from her tone that we need to reinforce what it means to have a servant’s heart ;).

So many times I find myself asking the same question. Maybe not as bluntly as my two year old daughter but the same question all the same.

Yes, she just had a new baby Lord, but I hardly have food enough to feed my family let alone bring their family a meal. (Can’t YOU help her God?)

Yes, our friends are struggling with a death in the family but I wouldn’t know what to say to comfort them, and besides by the time a card would reach them it really wouldn’t help that much would it? (Can’t YOU help them God?)

No, our neighbors don’t know You Lord but the man has a horrible temper and I am afraid to even speak with them. (Can’t YOU reach them God?)

I would like to think that I jump on every opportunity to serve others and give glory to my Lord, but I have to admit that I fall short way too often. Perhaps I need to re-look at what it truly means to have a servant’s heart as well. Perhaps we all do.