An ending

Today is the last day of sixth grade for Dylan. School would have ended last week but we had some days to make up due to all the snow and ice storms. I can't believe he's finishing the sixth grade. Only two more years and he will be entering high school. It's unbelievable to think that he's that old already.

Today I go back to work after a three day weekend. I wish it were my last day for the year too. Kids just don't know how good they have it.

I caught a glimpse

On Saturday Dylan and I made the cemetary rounds with my parents. We do it every year for Memorial Day. We have several cemetaries that we visit, decorating the graves with flowers and remember those that are buried there. Our first stop was to the graves of my maternal grandparents, their parents and a many other family members that were gone long before I was born. It's an old country cemetary with stones dating back to the Civil War. It sits behind a church that is no longer used. I remember going there as a little girl with my mom and grandmother. We would go early in the morning and stay for a good part of the day, taking lawn chairs and a picnic basket. We sat our chairs in the shade of the giant oak trees that stand just outside the fence surrounding the cemetary. My grandmother would visit with old neighbors and relatives as they came to visit the cemetary. Many of them also brought their chairs and lunch. It didn't seem the least bit odd to me that we would picnic and visit a few dozen feet from the graves of our ancestors. These days, we don't take our chairs and stay for the day, but we do wander all through the cemetary, making note of new graves and chatting with others that are there doing the same.

When we were finished at the cemetary, we did something we haven't done in a very long time. We took a drive through the country. Mom showed us the one room school house where she attended the eighth grade. We saw where her house was and where her grandfather's house was across the road. We drove the route that she walked to school each day. We saw where her best friend lived, the home she cleaned for an elderly widower and the location of the local store and talked about how she walked to all of them. She didn't even have a bicycle to ride. It's no wonder that obesity wasn't a problem back in the 30's and 40's. My mother and her siblings walked more miles in one day than I walk in a whole week.

As we drove up and down these gravel roads, I caught a glimpse of the life that my mother had and the life that I want. Granted mom grew up without indoor plumbing and electricity and I have no desire to go to that extreme, but there was definately something in her life that I want. It's simplicity and I believe that it still exists today on those country roads. We drove past homes where people were sitting on porch swings or in chairs in the yard. They waved at us as we drove past. They had no clue who we were yet they waved. People don't do that where I live. We saw people working in their gardens, fishing in ponds and hanging clothes out on the line to dry. Many of them were doing chores but there was a big difference between them and me. They were smiling and waving and enjoying their lives. They find joy in their everyday lives and enjoy the things that I consider mundane. They also do a wonderful job of keeping their homes looking neat and put together and inviting. My porch has containers of camping gear from two weeks ago sitting on it. It isn't a porch that screams out "come on over sit down and have a glass of sweet tea".

I want what they have. I want to find joy in taking care of my home and family and not look at it as a chore. I want to create a home that makes people want to come over and sit for a while. I want to bring that country road to my home in the city and make my home a wonderful place to live.

Happy Birthday Mr. President

I haven't been keeping up with my thrice weekly posts. I'm just not doing a very good job of simplifying so that I have more time for doing the things I really want to do. I'm not giving up though! (The basement is still a wreck too. Ugh.) As for Simple Things...spending special times with my family is definately at the top of the list. Mother's Day weekend was one of those times.

We live in one of the three states in which Abraham Lincoln grew up. From Feb 12, 2008 to Feb 12, 2009 the nation is celebrating Lincoln's 200th birthday. Last weekend, one of five national events celebrating his bicentennial was held near our home. It was called the Bicentennial Lincoln Encampment. A state park was closed so that approximately 4300 Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, along with leaders and parents, could attend. We drove up on Friday night to set up our camp. Keep in mind that it had been raining all week long so we set up our tents in a mud pit. On Saturday morning we had a wonderful breakfast of pancakes and sausage before starting out for our day long trek. Each person had a passport type booklet which they would carry all day long as they visited various events throughout the State Park and the neighboring National Lincoln Boyhood Memorial. At each event or display, everyone would receive a stamp in their book. Everyone completing all of the required events earned a commemorative medal. Let me tell you, this was not a 'gimme'. Everyone had to really work to make it to all of the events. Our troop walked approximately 10 miles (I think it was more) between 8am and 4:40pm. We only stopped once, letting the boys sit down for about 20 minutes to eat their sack lunches. We were very fortunate in that two dads stayed at our camp for the day and had a delcious dinner ready for us when we finally got back to camp. I've never tasted better grilled chicken. After dinner, it was back to the National Boyhood Memorial for the closing ceremonies. There was music and a performance by Fritz Klein who appears accross the country as Abraham Lincoln.

After the closing ceremony it was back to our campsite for the night. By the time I took my shoes off on Saturday night my feet were throbbing and my whole body hurt. The boys were tired too and didn't argue once when we said it was time to head to the tents for lights out.

Saturday night into Sunday morning was interesting. Bad weather blew in. It rained for hours and then the wind began to blow. We had wind gusts of 50-60 mph. Amazingly we only had one tent that came down in the storm after a pole broke. There were other troops camping all around is and other tents were coming down and anything that hadn't been stored well the night before was flying around through the campground. It was an ugly night. We had planned to get the boys up at 8am to pack up for our return home. Well, the weather had everyone awake by 5:30am so we were on the road by 8am. It was a long weekend, but one that I hope the boys never forget. This was an opportunity that they will never have again.

Now, a few scenes from our weekend.

Here we are starting out on Saturday morning. Eight hours later we weren't moving quite so quickly.

We learned how to make Cloud Biscuts from "Mrs. Lincoln".

The Civil War encampment was a huge hit with the boys.

Listening to the Native American drummers was incredibly relaxing.

The amazing Fritz Klein wowed us with his rendition of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

The sky on Sunday morning wasn't very pretty.


My sweet Abby

For fifteen years you were my girl.

You'll always be my girl.

I'm going to miss you so much.


I just received FREE tickets to tomorrow night's Casting Crowns concert! I get to take Dylan and my niece. They are practically twins since they were born only 10 days apart. I'm so excited! We get to sit in a skybox and everything!

God is good!!!