Last Class

Today I taught my last English class of this school year (not counting tutoring, which I’m still doing). We got the big vocabulary test out of the way first, and then the kids could load up on snacks and soft drinks before taking turns reading their stories out loud to the rest of us. It’s always so much fun hearing the different stories the kids think up even though they all have the same guidelines.

After class I did paperwork and ran a couple of errands and then sat down to start figuring out my summer and fall schedules. If I have enough interest in all the potential classes I’m offering, I am going to be a very busy lady. I used to try and keep July open for writing, but it won’t be possible this year. I’ll still try to write, but I’ll have a lot of other things going on too. I no longer look forward to summer, because it’s not really a “break” for me anymore. And it’s also really, really hot.

Gazing on the Lord in Glory

Gazing on the Lord in Glory

C. Thompson

Gazing on the Lord in glory

While our hearts in worship bow,

There we read the wondrous story

Of the cross—its shame and woe.


Every mark of dark dishonor

Heaped upon Thy thorn-crowned brow,

All the depths of Thy heart’s sorrow

Told in answering glory now.


On that cross alone—forsaken—

Where no pitying eye was found;

Now to God’s right hand exalted,

With Thy praise the heavens resound.


Did Thy God e’en then forsake Thee,

Hide His face from Thy deep need?

In Thy face, once marred and smitten,

All His glory now we read.


Gazing on it, we adore Thee,

Blessed, precious, holy Lord;

Thou, the Lamb, alone art worthy,

This be earth’s and heaven’s accord.


Rise our hearts, and bless the Father,

Ceaseless song e’en here begun,

Endless praise and adoration

To the Father and the Son.

Two Full Days

This is a rare “bonus” Sunday installment since I wasn’t able to post for the last two days. Don’t worry, hymn lovers—there will still be a hymn too!

The reason I didn’t post on Friday is that it was just a very busy day. I did my grocery shopping at Aldi and the cashier commented that I was a world-class expert at loading groceries onto the belt in the best possible order for being placed in the cart. He’s right. After shopping for a large family for several decades, I’d question my intelligence if I wasn’t an expert by now! But it’s nice when someone notices . . .

Then I had a tutoring student in the afternoon, and another quick shopping trip, this time to Walmart to pick up a few last items. After that it was all sewing, all the time, except for a brief interlude to make some keto chicken curry for the next day. I was trying to finish a tunic to wear to the faire yesterday, because remember, all my garb needs to be replaced. I have a new tiered, ruffled skirt but didn’t have anything to wear with it. I had bought some darker purple fabric and of course I wanted lace on the sleeves, so everything took longer than it would have otherwise.

I finished everything but the sleeve elastic at about 1:00 in the morning, and then got up a few hours later to do that last little task—and of course I mucked it up. I wore the shirt anyway, but the sleeve elastic was so tight I felt like I had tourniquets on my arms for all the hours I spent at the faire! I won’t wear that thing again until I replace the elastic.

I did a bunch of food prep before leaving for the faire, and as a result I didn’t quite make it there in time for opening. I remembered to take my straw hat, and I really needed it on such a spectacular sunny day. And as I walked to the gate, I realized that my new skirt rustles quite audibly, which I found very pleasing. As I swished around the faire in my rustling skirt, I mentally paraphrased Poe: “And the silken, soft, uncertain rustling of each purple ruffle thrilled me—filled me with fantastic visions never dreamed before!”

I made a beeline for the stage where my friends of Triskelion were already performing, joining a young girl who was the only other audience member. I was given the chance to request a song, so I requested one that I hadn’t heard them sing yet this year. Great way to start the day!

From there I trekked across to the falconry show, which I enjoy every year. Such beautiful birds! Shortly after that, I was hanging around the front gate when Lina arrived and called for my help in the parking lot. She needed me to tighten her corset laces for her. We got back into the faire in time to see the end of the glass-blowing demonstration, only to watch the glass blower have to discard the piece he was working on because it got stuck on the side of the furnace and he couldn’t extricate it without damaging and dropping it. In a case like that, it can’t be salvaged.

I got to hear Triskelion again, and also the Green Man Clan, who I enjoy every year. The “clan” only had three members yesterday, but it’s the interaction between husband and wife that I specially enjoy, so it was great. I skipped the “joust,” because I’ve already seen this year’s play. I finished up my visit by watching the glass blower’s next demonstration, and this time the mug survived despite a fall onto the grass at the very end.

I was sorry to have to leave in midafternoon, but I had to rush home and change and work on more food prep—veggie chopping for the salad I was taking to Dallas. My husband and I left a few minutes after 4:00 to drive to our friends’ house in Dallas. The original plan had been to have four couples with Zambia connections there again, but it ended up just being our hosts and us.

We had a lovely evening of salad and curry and keto chocolate mousse and conversation. Entertainment was provided by their adorable four-month-old Golden Retriever puppy. Once again, we left too late and didn’t arrive home until 12:45. Imagine our surprise to find a lively conversation going on in the living room between Lucy and Jasper and a neighbor of ours! They were still talking when I got out of the shower and went to bed at 2:00 a.m.

I made the executive decision to skip Sunday school this morning . . .

Parting Shot:


The glass blower working on a spiked mug.

All Grown Up

Eighteen years ago today, I checked into the hospital to have a C-section. I had hoped for a VBAC, but my baby was transverse and refused to turn. Jasper was delivered by a husband/wife team of doctors (the wife was my OB/GYN). The kids were so happy to find out they had a baby brother, bringing our total to four girls and three boys.

I had plenty of time to bond with my newborn son, because I had a spinal headache as a result of the anesthesia, and I literally could not sit up for two weeks. So I lay there admiring my beautiful baby and rubbing his little back when he got fussy, because there wasn’t much else I could do.

Jasper has been such a gift to our family. In a family that maybe tends more toward pessimism, Jasper has inherited my own optimism and has improved on it. He sees the bright side of every situation, gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, and assumes the best about everyone. He is kind and generous and thoughtful and loyal. Whenever people hint that maybe I shouldn’t have had so many children, I think, “But then we wouldn’t have Jasper! Or possibly Lucy or Spencer!”

Now that Jasper is eighteen, all my children are legal adults. No more kids here. He’ll be learning to drive this summer—something we make our kids wait till they’re eighteen for. Where has the time gone? It seems so recently that he was telling me stories about his “great-great-grandfather” (imaginary) named “MacGyver.” Now he is looking for a job for the summer. He has one year of high school left, due to delays for his dyslexia, which means I have one more year as his teacher. I’m sure it will zoom past.

Instead of taking him breakfast in bed this morning, I made the breakfast for him and then joined him in the living room to watch a movie with him during breakfast at his request. It was a fun way to start the day. And since family birthdays are school holidays for us, he was able to spend much of the day in the backyard hammering away at his forge.

Meanwhile, Lina was gone most of the day and I actually had time to cut out my sewing project and get started on it. Don’t know if I’ll finish in time, but I think I’ve got a chance. I also made myself another necklace with some special beads that I bought some time ago. I rarely see jewelry in a store that I like as well as the things I make for myself.

This evening was the second monthly get-together for homeschool moms of my generation who no longer have young kids at home. We doubled our attendance over last month—there were four of us! It was so nice to see all three of the others and get caught up on their lives. Maybe next month even more ladies will be able to make it.

We didn’t have a special supper for Jasper today since I had that other commitment and since we had a three-way birthday dinner on Sunday. We will definitely celebrate, though! And instead of a party, he is planning a camping trip with his three best buddies in the neighborhood.

Parting Shot


One of my favorite photos of Jasper, taken ten years ago.

Catching My Breath

I was up a little earlier than normal this morning because I had to be dressed and ready to drive Jasper to the donut shop shortly after 6:30. Flynn and Tiffany were already there waiting for him. I drove home and before too long Flynn’s car drove up to drop Jasper off, and I had my chance to say goodbye to Flynn and Tiffany. They had a very long drive ahead of them, but they arrived safely this evening.

I may have taken a little morning nap before heading out to Tyler to look for some fabric at Jo-Ann’s. I found what I needed, but now I’m thinking I may not have time to sew what I wanted to make before this weekend. The last few weeks have been very busy and I don’t see things slowing down in the near future.

But today, I did have some much-needed downtime. Lina and Jasper went to a movie this afternoon, so I took another nap before getting on with other things. The house seemed so quiet and empty!

The rest of the day was taken up with taking Jasper to youth group, shopping, and going to the gym for my walk. Tomorrow is another birthday!

Parting Shot

My “Brigadoon” roses are so pretty!

My Diabetes Miracle #23: A New First

Last Tuesday, as I believe I reported, I had my book club meeting, followed by an open art session in the same location. The book club starts at 3:00 and the art time is scheduled to go as late as 7:30 p.m.

So, during the art time, we three ladies were busy with our painting, and our hostess asked me if I needed some food, because she knew I’d been there since midafternoon. I assured her that I was fine, and explained that I didn’t necessarily eat every day and in fact was currently fasting.

So the other lady piped up and said, “Oh! Is that how you stay so trim?”

Friends—I had a moment there. Never in my entire life has anyone ever described me as “trim.” Not once. Interestingly enough, you don’t tend to get that kind of comment when you are morbidly obese.

Now, I realize that my artist acquaintance was flattering me. I am not yet “trim,” but I’m the trimmest I’ve been in several decades. I’m still getting used to it. In my head, I usually still think of myself as obese. So I was genuinely staggered to hear someone refer to me as “trim.”

This tiny exchange was such a huge boost for me. Especially with Easter coming up, I knew I’d be sorely tempted to stick my toe over the lines I drew for myself two years ago. But I also knew that no treat in the world tastes as good as hearing someone else call me “trim,” let alone feeling so much better and having so much more energy to live my life. I honestly believe that eventually I will be trim for real, and that I’ll be able to stay there—and that is worth all the effort I’ve been putting forth for over two years now.

Last Day

Today was the last day of having out-of-town family here to enjoy. I still had to spend much of the morning getting ready for my student and panicking when I couldn’t find one of his papers. I was so glad when I finally located it!

Flynn and Tiffany came for one last rice cake and hot cross bun breakfast. Then while I was working with my student, they took Jasper out for lunch. They made it their mission to have some special time alone with each one of Flynn’s siblings.

When they returned, I took Tiffany out for coffee. My first plan was to take her to my favorite bookstore/coffee shop—but it was closed unexpectedly today. So instead I took her to my second-favorite coffee shop, which is in the same town. It too was closed despite saying it was open! In desperation I drove to a third place in that town—a lunch place owned by a family I know slightly. There Tiffany could get a plain cup of coffee—but they had no hot tea so I drank a glass of water while we chatted.

Shortly after we returned to the house, Flynn and Tiffany left to spend some time with Jade and I became very busy in the kitchen. After making a fail batch of fudge the other day, I tried again and this time I succeeded in making very authentic slightly burned grainy fudge just like we used to get in boarding school.

Then I made a couple dozen sausage rolls and heated up a bunch of rice cakes to take to my writers’ group potluck this evening. (Flynn and Tiffany took Lucy out for supper.) We had fewer than normal at our critique group and only seven at our potluck, but it was an enjoyable time and I loved hearing about everyone else’s projects.

I returned home to spend the rest of the evening with the family. I pulled out some old stories Flynn had written in high school and he and Tiffany enjoyed reading them. I’ll get to see them one last time when I take Jasper to rendezvous with them at Flynn’s favorite donut shop in the morning, before they leave town.

A Family Easter

Did you have a wonderful Easter? We did, despite a little mistake on Sunday morning. I got our traditional casserole made (plus a keto version) and had hot cross buns ready for breakfast too. The plan was for my husband and me, along with Flynn and Tiffany, to go to Lina’s church while Mary and Jordan and Jasper would go to Spencer’s church.

So we went to Lina’s church at the normal service time, only to find it deserted. It turns out that their early sunrise service was the only service of the day, and of course we had missed it.

Fortunately, we still had time to join everyone else at Spencer’s church. They had to put out extra seats for us!

At home after church, we waited on lunch until Mercy and Daniel arrived, and turned our meal into our traditional Easter tea complete with china teacups and the Easter bunny teapot. The eggs we’d dyed were on the table:

?

We had to add a card table onto the end of our regular table to fit all thirteen of us, but it sure was great to be together. Several family members played a game during the afternoon and of course I had plenty of cooking to do. Sunday’s dinner was our three-way birthday meal for all the April birthdays (it was also Mary’s actual birthday). So I made chicken curry at Jasper’s request (plus some keto naan that was surprisingly tasty) and Mary’s favorite spinach salad. Lucy made gluten-free tiramisu for dessert, which Mary had requested in lieu of cake.

These are my favorite times—having the entire family in one room and hearing all the talk and laughter. I love it.

After supper there was a gift-giving session that almost seemed like Christmas as there were so many people involved. Then we watched more of Flynn and Tiffany’s Europe pictures.

This morning got off to a very slow start. I needed to go to Walmart to get some groceries, but Mercy and Daniel were parked behind me so I had to wait until they got up. By the time I returned from Walmart, almost everyone was here and enjoying breakfast together.

More game-playing ensued, while I cooked and picked two more chickens to make Flynn’s requested meal, which was groundnut stew (I also made it for the rehearsal dinner before his wedding). The kids went out for coffee one last time before lunch, and then Mary and Jordan left to drive back to Memphis. We only had about 24 hours with everyone here, but we sure enjoyed it!

Instead of cake, Flynn had requested mandazis and even offered to help make them, so once the dough was ready he patiently stood by the stove and fried them. We had eleven at the table for supper and the stew and mandazis were a hit. Several of the remaining family members spent the rest of the evening playing another game. (Mercy and Daniel brought this game and it was very engrossing.)

When the game finally ended, it was time to say goodbye to Mercy and Daniel. Mercy has to be back at work in Dallas tomorrow. We still have one more day with Flynn and Tiffany.

Parting Shot:


All together on Easter Sunday

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

by Charles Wesley

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing and thus to love, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains that He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Together

I do so love having my kids here. We started the day with a communal breakfast, with everyone sitting around the table and talking and laughing. After that people more or less scattered. I had to go pick up a few more groceries. Flynn and Tiffany went out with Mary and Jordan. Later Jordan and Jasper played a computer game while Mary spent time with friends and Flynn and Tiffany went out with Spencer. Lucy went out with friends, and Walter worked on organizing the shed.

Meanwhile, I had plenty to do. I am trying to get through a critiquing marathon but of course I also had plenty to do in the kitchen and I had to make my necklace for tomorrow. I have a new dress and I had bought beads to make a coordinating necklace, but of course I waited till the last day . . .

Lina set up an egg-dyeing station in the dining room and those of us who were home had fun coloring some beautiful eggs. Jordan, Lina, Jasper, Walter and I all did some eggs. We will enjoy them tomorrow.

Eventually, of course, everyone came back for our big Easter dinner (except Lucy, who was at a wedding). We had ham, cauliflower au gratin, green beans, mango fruit salad, and gluten-free biscuits.

After our big meal, we staggered to the living room to watch Flynn and Tiffany’s pictures of their honeymoon in Europe, and then we took a break to have dessert—our traditional Easter treat, which is pavlova. Mary decorated it so beautifully with fresh berries and mangoes. We keto folk could at least have berries and cream.

Since then I’ve done a lot of dishes and assembled the breakfast casseroles for tomorrow morning. I’m so looking forward to Mercy and Daniel’s arrival and having everyone together!