Creekside Cottage Friends

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Garden In Spring

Ah, spring is really here!

The daffodils are in bloom, tulips beginning to bloom, I saw some of my peonies beginning to poke their heads up from the ground!

Spring flowering trees are in bloom, though not our Cleveland Pear yet.  The Forsythia is blooming all over Lancaster County.  It's beautiful.

It was such a lovely day yesterday, and today is looking to be even nicer.  I stopped at our local orchard for apples, and ended up with some flowers and some tomatoes and herbs, as well as apples!

 French Lavender

 Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

The kids and I weeded the strawberry beds yesterday.  The soil in these raised beds is so lovely.  Tim had put some wood ash on them in the winter and I worked that in with my hands yesterday.
 This bed has very few strawberry plants in it.  I am going to purchase a few more for this bed.  Last year we had an amazing crop of strawberries.

 I don't know how many of you are able to buy locally grown strawberries verses the grocery store variety.  If you are or if you can go pick your own, you'll be amazed at the difference in the taste!

 Poorly focused photo, but I was happy to see this fruit tree in bloom.

 This is a bridal veil spirea.  It will be glorious for a few weeks in June!

 This is a photo of the lilac we cut back to the ground a few years ago.  It has quite a few flowers buds on it this year and I am very happy about that!

After two long, cold, snowy winters, we are needed to do some maintenance on both the lamppost and the picket fence.

 This lamppost was white when we bought it and we painted it black.  It is a mess this year and will be getting fresh paint.  I'd like to do the light fixtures as well, and they have become dull and faded.

You can see the fence in this video of Kyle driving the mower.  It needs paint, obviously, but there are also a few spots where the wood needs to be replaced.

Glad I am married to a handy man.

So we'll be enjoying our mid 70's nearly 80 degree temperatures today, and working outside while we can.

What are you doing today?

Friday, April 17, 2015

What A Day

Well, we had quite an unexpected day yesterday.

We started out by having breakfast with Tim's brother Dan and our sister in law Sharon.  They leave soon for Senegal, West Africa, so we were taking time together while we can.  This was the expected part of the day.

While we were at breakfast I got a call from my mom that they were headed to the ER.  She was having some potential symptoms of something and they wanted to get it checked out.  I told her we'd be there as soon as we could.

That was an unexpected part of the day!  We arrived and since my dad was back with her, I was the only one able to go back, so Tim got comfortable in the waiting room area.

Mom was having a test run, so I chatted with my Dad.  I got a text with photo from Tim.

 While reading the local paper, he saw their write up about Sight and Sounds'  Premier show for 2016 Samson.  The photo the newspaper used is the scene Lindsay rode in - in fact she is the focal point of the photo - and of course, Jericho, that awesome Arabian she is riding.

Here is just the photo.

I told her this will be an awesome photo to hang on her wall and show her children one day.  You know at some point your kids are amazed that you had a life before they came along.  I told her she'll be able to say, "This is what I did before I became a Mommy."  How cool is that?

My Mom was absolutely fine, by the way.  It was good that she went in, as it could have been a very serious thing.  We are thankful it wasn't.  The photo of Lindsay was a great distraction for them while we were waiting for the test results, too.

I am glad that we can trust our days to the Maker and Sustainer of all things.

We have today, this moment, let's rejoice and be glad in it!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sight and Sound Theatres' New Show

They call it a 'Roll Out.'  It's a big event where they showcase their newest show.  Lindsay was going to be riding a horse in a performance scene and we knew we wanted to be there.

The show for 2016 was revealed to be.....


We got to see a few scenes, hear two songs, see some behind the scenes work on the show.

Normally, they want you to turn your phones off but last night we got to take photos!  They are smart!  Free publicity for their next premier show!

After the show we were able to go up on stage and take photos on the Samson statue.  You could 'be' Samson!  A few of us did so.

Here are a few shots of Lindsay in hair, make-up and costume.

Doesn't she look like a fierce Philistine warrior?  She and another animal handler rode through their scene on horseback dropping a net on Samson, trying to capture him!  They were on and off the stage so quickly!  I didn't get a shot of her!

I can say from what we saw last night, that this show is going to be AMAZING!  Start saving your pennies right now, so that you can come and see this show!  By attending the Roll Out last night we each got a free ticket for Samson!  Woo Hoo!

Tickets go on sale in May.  This show will premier in March of 2016!  Here is a link to the media page for Samson.  There are videos here to get a sneak peek at this show!

Until then they have a few weeks left of Moses and then they begin my favorite show (so far) - JOSEPH!  I can't wait to see it again!
Here's the link to the media page for Joseph.

We've enjoyed having our kids work at a place that has the goal of bringing the Good News of the Gospel to life!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


I grew up in a place that generated a lot of fear - Southern California.  Now that may seem like a crazy statement, after all, it's the land where everything is perfect right?  Perfect weather, perfect looking people, perfect everything.  But that is the surface.  Underneath is where the fear lies.  So many people living in close proximity to each other, strangers really, because you don't know your neighbors very well, and some of the ones you know just might have the police after them.  (True story of police helicopters circling a house three doors down.) There was Charles Manson and his followers and the Hillside Strangler, gang activity, riots and looting.

Fear didn't keep me housebound, though it was always an undercurrent.  We kids still rode our bikes to the playground at our elementary school two blocks away, without adults, and I walked to my friends' house two blocks down, two over and across the tracks by myself, though I didn't like doing that.  I'd have much rather had a ride.   I'd never let my kids do that today. 

 Fear can be insidious, keeping you a prisoner while you think you are free.  It followed me into my adulthood, never obvious, but always under the surface.

As I grew in my understanding of God, I began to understand that He has a lot to say about fear.  Jesus tells us "Do not fear," in Matthew 10:31.  The Word tells us "Fear not for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God." (Isaiah 41:10)  "Do not fear for I am with you," (Genesis 26:24).  

The scriptures also tell us to have courage "Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous?  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go." (Joshua 1:9)

I began to recognize that I needed to walk by faith, and trust what God was telling me, rather than walk by fear.  When I had trouble going to sleep at night, when Tim was working an overnight shift, God showed me this verse.  Psalm 4:8 - "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."
I took hold of this, figuring that if David could do this - both lie down in peace and sleep - though Saul and his army were chasing after him for three years, then I could do the same.  

The last few years have been full of fearsome things, beheadings, terrors, things that didn't seem a part of our 'world', but now they are.  This can bring on a whole new level of fear.

The girls and I have just finished a series of books called The River of Time series.  There are five books - Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent, Bourne and Tributary (two novellas), and Deluge.  In this series, two sisters time travel to medieval Tuscany and find themselves in many battles.  They must deal with needing to be protected at all times, and the fear of the Plague which they know will be coming.  These sisters, Gabriella and Evangelia are struck by how used to death, the people of the 14th century are, and how they embrace life.  One of the men in the story talks about how, today they are alive and that they should fully enjoy it and rejoice in it.

That really struck me.  Today we are here, we are alive, and so we ought to rejoice in it and enjoy it to the fullest.  To not live in the fear of what may come (Matthew 6:34).

God has given us today, to rejoice in, not to fear.  He promises to be with us where ever we may go, so I should and will walk in joy and not in fear.  Today, no matter what comes my way, He will never leave me nor forsake me.

I can leave it all in His hands, and accept from Him what He chooses to bring my way.  

No fear, only peace.  No fear, only joy.  No fear, only hope.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Purging My Closet

This has not been done for a while, and though I am no clothes horse, my space is full.

Part of the issue is that my mind can't quite wrap itself around the fact that I can't wear most of these clothes.  They are too big.  It's that whole mind catching up to new reality thing.

But as I got dressed today in a t-shirt that now is quite roomy, I decided it is time.  I know that I'll probably keep a few things, but the majority of it, well, its time to go.

I'm looking forward to a more tidy space, too.

What are you doing today?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

It's A Funny Thing About Weight Loss

Somehow, even though I have now lost 43 pounds, in my mind I still look the same.  I guess the mind has to catch up with the body.  I told Tim the other day that I felt thin, but when I look in the mirror I still see so much weight that needs to be lost.  

I took a couple of selfies last evening.  I noticed something looked odd.  My glasses seem too big now.  What do you think?

I'm in need of an eye exam anyway, so I am thinking I need some new frames.  

This is how they looked on me when I got them in 2012.

Looking between the photos is kind of freakin' me out!  Tim says it's partly the perspective of the angle of the camera.  That is very likely.

It's weird to get a glance, a real look at my weight loss. There is a lot to adjust to mentally.

One more fun thing, then I'll stop yakking.  I had some clothes in my closet that I had kept even though I couldn't fit into them.  I recently pulled a few skirts out and decided to try them on.  They fit comfortably.  One I haven't worn for 6 years!  

I'm wearing it on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Finishing Our School Year

We started our school year in August.  We now have about 20 days left (I could tell you exactly, but I'm too lazy to go look at the log.)  We have finished our history and our science, already.  

I am grateful for the year we've had.  It's been busy and has had it's challenges, but we have not had too many interruptions to our schedule.  

For history we studied what was happening in the world during the years of Abraham Lincoln's life.  It was a fascinating time period.  Queen Victoria is on the throne, many of her children are marrying into other royal families in Europe.  The lines of history were being drawn toward world war.  But than didn't come for nearly 50 more years.

Sarah and Kyle studied Geology and Weather this year.  We've used these books, and they have also kept science journals with notes from what we've studied.

They all have been working on memorizing Hebrews 11.  We are going to verse 16 for this year.  I love hearing them recite this litany of people who walked by faith.  If you read this chapter you will see just how long these individual verses are.  I'm proud of them.

Here is a short video of Kyle reciting.  The video cut off as I have to make space on my phone but it gives you the idea of his memory work.


Rachel has studied an economics book this year and really enjoyed it.  I've been reading through it too, and I have learned so much.

Sarah and Rachel have continued their musical studies as well, with Sarah learning piano (Joseph gives her lessons!) and Rachel studying cello.  They both are doing very well and enjoying it!  Kyle has started learning the recorder with Lindsay.  She bought him one for Christmas.  He doesn't always enjoy it but he says he wants to learn to play the bag pipes, so this is a good place to begin!

I added Kamryn to our school mix this year.  She enjoys doing her preschool workbooks and activities.  She loves puzzles, and hands on activities.

We've been home educating for so many years now, that it is truly a part of our life.  We don't try to duplicate a classroom here at home, but follow more of a discipleship type learning.  We work together on some materials (history, science) and then they work independently on other things like math, reading, and writing.  Of course, I am only a question away if they are in need of help.  I read aloud to them or Tim does, often just because it's a book we want to read, other times it ties in with something we are learning. We are definitely hooked on books around our house!

We are learning about Schubert this year too, listening on Spotify to a lot of his music.  

I like to use this time near the end of the school year to add in some art.  Sarah loves art and sketches and draws all year long.  Kyle and Rachel will do some if I have them do it.  It's not a natural love of theirs.  Kamryn on the other hand loves to do watercolor painting!  

I know I don't talk about the home education aspect of our life here at the cottage but it's a big part.  Our days are fluid and you may find a kid doing math at 9:00am or at 3:00pm, it just depends on what is happening that day.  It also allows the kids to be involved with Tim who is home until 2:00pm.  Sometimes we don't do school work until after he goes to work.  That is okay and a real blessing that they get to do projects with Tim and often get to help others as well.  

Its real life, and we like this aspect of home education especially.