August 01, 2014

Good Things

School starts here in 12 days and we are trying to squeeze every last ounce of joy out of this season. Reading, baking, friends, family, traveling, games and the occasional nap too. It has been a wonderful summer. I will miss my girl when she goes back but I also know I will find the joy in my quiet days and finding some time to take care of me again. That seems to always be the challenge of summer for me, living in the moment and making the most of summer while trying to find time to clean, cook, exercise and maybe even a moment to relax or be creative.

So many good things have happened around here lately. Our Maddie girl turned 21. For any of you out there struggling with a teenager, let me just hold Maddie up as a shining beacon of hope. That girl gave us a run for our money during the teen years. She made several bad choices, choose bad friends, didn't care a thing about doing well in school, had an attitude that ruined many days, almost didn't graduate and was very clear in telling us that we could not make her care about anything. Heartbreak. My biggest worry, besides the obvious teen girl worries, was that I wouldn't like her when she grew up. Well. Let me tell you. I do like her! So much! She is a wonder! She turned it around half way through her Senior year, went to Community College for a year and a half, transferred to a 4 year school and is in her Junior year of getting a degree in psychology with the hope of eventually going into research or occupational therapy. She goes to school full time, is an excellent student, works two jobs and lives on her own. She is respectful, hard working, thoughtful, beautiful, smart, sassy and loving. I'm so proud of her!

This summer has been a hard one for my Sweet Man. He is working long, hard hours and then muddling through the never ending porch project on the weekends. His brother came to help him put on the metal roof a couple of weeks ago and we are loving the look, sound and lack of leaks.

Last week we managed to slip away for a little Michigan vacation. No laptops. Bad cell coverage. It was perfect. We are head over heels in love with Saugatuck but plan to explore more of the state. Seriously, Michigan is amazing! How did I live three hours away for 10 years before I realized it? The peace of this spot. The waves lapping, the cool breeze, laying on a quilt under our sun shelter, a book in my hands, falling asleep on the beach. I'm looking forward to getting back there soon with just my guy.

The weather this summer has been the most beautiful I can ever recall. The temps are well below normal and we've gotten so much rain that I have scarcely needed to water which is great since I seem to be too wrapped up in other things to pay much attention to the yard chores. My veg garden is a bit of a mess, my bean obelisk is falling over, my cilantro is not thriving, I am not impressed with my tomato production and I can barely keep up with all of the dead heading which is my fave part. I have several plants that need to be moved but it will have to wait until I am no longer consumed with all things porch. However, my crape myrtle tree, which I was afraid didn't survive the polar vortex, came back as a lush blooming shrub after I cut it to the ground. We've actually gotten more blooms out of it this summer than the two before. I'm just thrilled to have such a beautiful southern specimen in my midwest garden. It brings me back to my roots every time I look at it.

After 6 weeks of waiting, we finally got the wicker chairs we ordered for our front porch. Sadly when they finally arrived after 8 hours of waiting for the freight truck, they were no where near the bone white color advertised and had to be shipped back. After 2 more days of waiting for the freight truck to pick them up, they are gone and have been replaced by these vintage style porch chairs I found at Pottery Barn which I love even more. And bonus, they were on clearance!

Already so many good things, but then on the way home from Michigan my doctor called me with good test results taking away worry I've had hanging over me for 6 months. Pure relief. Then a few days later I realized that the fourth anniversary of the day my Mom was killed, had passed me by and I didn't.even.realize! Not until my brother brought it up. It may never have occurred to me! The joy that gave me! I don't ever want to remember that day. I want to be able to remember the good without having to remember the bad. I'm so filled with joy that it passed me right by. Then this past Tuesday Em had a chest x-ray which showed no abnormalities and that her pneumonia is completely gone.

This summer has given us a lot of challenges, but the blessings far outweigh them!


  1. Jen, it is always good to see a post from you. It sounds like you've had a good summer! But, thanks for keeping it real -- I also start the summer with a wish to relax & be, but then life takes over and I'm busy, busy, busy.

    Also, you should be so proud of your girls -- they are turning into wonderful people.

  2. it sounds like your summer has been full of joy. i'm so glad. :) excited to hear about your crepe myrtles (ours are at the mercy of adventurous children these days!) and i must add that my cilantro (and rosemary) are not doing well either. i'm a teensy-bit-jealous-but-mostly-excited-for-you as you enjoy rainy days under that metal roof--what fun!

  3. (((Jen))) I am so happy your summer has been such a special and beautiful one.... what a sweet family you have and I know your heart is overflowing with pride and love! Such precious daughters! I am VERY happy you had good news about your test results too..... we all love you so much! Big hugs.... thank you for such lovely sharings (not a word but it is now) from your lovely heart.

  4. Sounds like you have been blessed with a wonderful Summer indeed. How great it is to see the whole porch project coming to an end. It is going to look fabulous!

  5. Your blog is like reading a letter from a much loved friend!
    Congrats on all the great health news!
    Your porch looks and sounds wonderful and that wicker chair is cute!
    I like all your positives with regards to your girls too....mine also make me proud...we need little glimpses of the people they are going to become during teenage years!

  6. I totally agree Jen. I love the slowness of our summer schedule but I am always ready for the order that the school year brings. I ready for the change of seasons as well. Fall just can't get here soon enough for me. Happy August!

  7. Our daughter gave us a run for our money too, in her teen years. We lived through it and has turned into such a wonderful young women....although she tells me she is really afraid to have daughters because of how she was as a teen. I told her, it was because of her thatI developed a close relationship with the Lord!

  8. loved this post filled with blessings!
    couldn't agree more with you about Michigan ♥ we spent an amazing year there & never have I met more lovely, friendly and helpful people. to this day, we still talk about that year.

  9. I love reading every new post you have...I look forward to them. I feel like I am sitting and talking with a friend as I read your posts.
    We start school in less than two weeks here and I have a feeling of sadness sitting over me. I love having my kids at home and the slowness that summer vacation brings. I feel I get to really know my kids again over the 10 weeks I have them home with me.
    Enjoy your last few weeks of summer with your beautiful family.

  10. A wonderful and busy summer you have had! I will be sad to see the kids go back to school but am also excited to have some days back to myself. Glad Em is all healed. Maddy looks way too sweet to have done all those things you mentioned, are you sure it's the same girl? ;)) Loving your porch. One of these days I may paint my front door turquoise. Your home comes to mind when I say that. I hope you enjoy those last dog days of summer.


  11. Your summer sounds like it has been a very lovely one! Happy to hear of your good test results from your doctor, and good results from Emma's chest x-ray. I love your Pottery Barn chairs! Enjoy the rest of the summer with your family.

  12. So glad I found you and so appreciated hearing you count your blessings while acknowledging the pain. The pain and brokenness causes us to be more sensitive to the needs of others and more appreciative of the blessings of today.

  13. Jen, it's been too long since I visited. Loved your talk of teen daughters as I often worry 'bout my dramatic girl. I feel much better now. Might even try your tea recipe (above)! Happy fall!?

  14. Silly question... What game is your daughter playing?


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