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  • Writer's pictureSusan Lawson


Giving thanks - for God's faithfulness and unwavering love. I can't even say enough about this. We are being showered with the manifestation of his faithfulness and goodness. In every circumstance we deeply sense his presence and find comfort and boldness in the growth that it is bringing to us. I think if you know, you know. I'm not sure words that I write here could ever adequately express what I mean when I say this. But I'll leave it here for those who might.

The only thing missing? Sarah :-(

Stealing these moments whenever I can.

Game nights. I'm thankful for game nights with our adult kids. We've committed to this endeavor and written them all on the calendar for the remainder of the year. Events have been created on our private family Facebook page, and ideas were flying at the end of the evening last Friday. Next up; theme night. Wear a costume. We just have to decide if we want a theme for the costumes :-)

Speaking of family game nights... a Tri-Wizard Tournament is in the works! These are photos from our first annual that took place in 2018 for my Halloween birthday. Yes, I realize it's been a few years so it's technically not considered an annual event until there are more, consecutively. If you're judging, you're not invited LOL

The youngest player of the group! Sweet Jeremiah

Our neighborhood businesses and neighbors were tickled to be part of the fun!

Mandie took her costume very seriously, and for someone who is not really a big HP fan, she rocked her character!

Yes, we made this Sorting Hat cake. It even has layers of color for sorting the houses! And it was delicious.

Tried to create our own version of The Mirror of Erised. It was our first attempt. I think we can do better. :-)

Team mates!!!

The question was posed - can we actually play Quidditch? Well, the brooms might not help us fly but they will be part of the games.

Outside my window - Wow. Just wow. I know I said that February is proving to be a very mild month in regards to the weather, but this is insane. It's February 27th and we have the doors open. It's 8:36 in the morning - it's only going to get warmer and more humid with the rain that we had last night.

The birds love their feeders even though I know the setup is temporary. I hope to have it more spread out when the deck is ready to hang them in their more permanent spot.

I went for a walk this morning, but rather than the 20 minute trip to the park in the next town over, I chose to give our very own path a try. The trail literally connects to our neighborhood and is wooded for a good portion. It continues around the campus of the community college that is just behind our neighborhood. It also serves as a bike trail that connects many other towns. Like many states, ours is pushing hard to have bike and walking trails that connect as many communities as possible. It's a good thing and I am thankful for it.

Anyway, I have always favored the trail I frequent, but in an effort to make it more practical to do daily and free up the travel time back and forth, I decided to give it a shot. I have to admit, I like it. I like that I can access it right from my street and it provides the natural environment and shade that I love so much. It's paved the same - not gravel like our actual subdivision trail - which has the potential to be so much better, but I digress.

There are some other thoughts that stirred in my brain as I walked in front of my neighbors' houses to access the trail; we've lived here over twenty years now, and the efforts we made in the beginning to get to know our neighbors have faded away. It's time to begin making that effort again. This is part of a whole thing that is forming in my mind, one that I will try to make sense of and write about as soon as I can.

Clothing myself in - Not pajamas :-) I had to exchange them for clothes that worked for a walk. Now I'm in stretch denim pants, a lightweight hoodie over a sleeveless t-shirt, and back in my Crocs. Ponytail, of course.

In the kitchen - I did a thing last week that I want to write more extensively about, but I will mention here that it was fun for me and a success in my mind. The real test will be to see if it serves the purpose for which it was meant.

I prepped a variety of meal kits for two of our adult kids. Our son simply cannot wrap his brain around cooking for one, and would rather function on the GOMAD diet - a.k.a. - gallon-of-milk-a-day. No. Just no. It's not like I didn't teach him to cook, he's actually pretty good when he decides he wants to put in the effort. But what he knows how to cook is very limited since it was based on what he wanted to eat - so basically wings and pork chops LOL. Ramen noodles if you count that as actual food.

One of our daughters has discovered that she has gluten intolerance, and this makes it hard to cook for a family with two very young boys. So much of what we have come to consider a normal diet includes gluten. The availability of gluten-free foods has grown significantly, but it can be very costly. At the end of the day, she's just too worn out from chasing two active boys to cook intentionally. So she often cooks for them and not for herself. So she's hungry. I prepped meals kits for her that they can all eat and will enjoy. I think the convenience of having it prepped and ready-to-cook will be the key to her success.

In case you are wondering, does she intend to continue to do that if it is successful? The answer would be no, and yes, sort of. If it works well, I want to invite them into the process. Teach them to do the prep themselves. Working together would be a great way to spend time together and provide the benefit of meals-ready-to-cook without the expensive services that are growing in numbers. If other family members see the success, they might want to get in on the action too. Even better.

This reminds me of a system we did when I was leader of the local homeschool group. You've probably heard of food co-ops, but this was a meal co-op. A number of families would agree to work together, maybe eight to ten families. We would meet and agree on meals that each of us prepared regularly and could make in bulk fairly easily and were freezer-friendly. The budget was up to each family to decide on what they could afford. We chose a day to come together with coolers and our frozen meals, then we would swap meals to take home to our own freezers. Somewhat like a cookie exchange I guess. We all prepared one freezer meal for all the families (taking into consideration the size of each family and how many servings were needed), and ended up with our own meal plus one of each of the other meals. If a large family was participating they would sometimes increase the number of meals they brought to compensate for the larger meals they were given. Nice variety when it works well. The only thing we discovered that ended up being the deal breaker for us was that not everyone is a good cook. If you can find people who cook similarly to the way you do, or can cook well and introduce you to new foods, it would probably be fine. It's a great concept, but needs a solid framework.

Writing - I'm meeting my goals regularly now. The goal tracking sheets are working their magic. Consistency in meeting for Mastermind is also helpful. We've discovered that with a rather small group it's likely that some will not be able to attend in person, so virtual options are helpful. Showing up anyway has been good for me; my own consistency to my commitment is far more important to my success than whether other folks are able to attend at any given time. I imagine that is true for all of us.

Reading - Big Magic. I listened to it on the way to Florida one year, but reading it takes on a whole new level of engagement. The second time through is reminding me why I loved it so much and how much it encouraged me to keep writing even when it doesn't make sense to me or seem to have a purpose.

Watching - Random stuff really. I'm listening more than watching because I am finding other things to do nearby while others watch.

Listening - I'm remembering more often to listen to favorite podcasts when I am in the car or doing other things that allow me to do so. I haven't really found any new podcasts, but that's something for which I might start paying more attention.

Making - Today will be about quilting. We've taken a pretty lengthy break from all things quilting for a couple of reasons. One, the last time John tried to quilt, the machine stopped working properly and had to be taken to the shop for repairs. It took a while to get the part and get on the schedule for it to be returned. But it's here now and ready to go.

Second, Mom has not been feeling well. A terrible case of vertigo has caused a chain reaction of medicine that makes her very sleepy, sleepy makes her immobile, and immobile robs her of energy and motivation to sew or do pretty much anything. We already have a number of quilts waiting to be quilted, so I took a break from cutting and piecing to work on the blog and other writing projects.

John and I are discussing the possibility of swapping places for the quilting machine with an office for me. All my cutting and sewing supplies are set up in the basement - it's the only place in the house that it will work well and be out of reach of little people. Everyone, myself included, has discovered that it is preferable to have me on the main floor when working on my computer. I am able to get so much more work done and be more readily available when I am needed. It just makes sense to have centers for both sewing/quilting and computer work separated by location. I have a plan in mind, and I shared it with John and he likes the idea very much. We might actually pursue it.

Camp - February is proving to be a very mild month in regards to the weather, in fact, the end of February is this week. We will welcome March with open arms. Will we pay the price for the mild weather of February? Maybe, but short of an apocalyptic shift in the climate there will be Spring, and then there will be Summer. The mornings will find me out on the deck or the patio enjoying the sunshine and the visiting birds. I cannot wait!

Camp is firmly on my mind. I am looking forward to our time there so much. We may be making a brief trip there in March or April to receive our RV and get it set up in one of my brother-in-law's lots. The lot is currently unoccupied and is an ideal place to host the RV while we get our lots cleared and take care of the poison ivy.

The week ahead - I need to work on the menu and the calendar a bit. I have been migrating pretty well, and we've added some important things to the plan for the year. Still more to consider and add when ready to commit.

Quilting, hair appointments, dental appointments, changing out what little decor I have to welcome Spring, walks, good meals - it's going to be a good week. Come what may.

Adventures in grand-parenting - Oh, I have some wonderful ideas and plans brewing! We've spent most of our grand-parenting years babysitting when needed. We're happy to help out sometimes, but the real goal has always been, and remains, spending time together and nurturing relationships with them and having a lot of fund along the way as we build those sweet micro-traditions. We want our legacy to be wonderful memories full of knowing they are cherished and loved in every circumstance. We want to use all of life to point them to the Author of Life in very practical ways.

Papa and Adeline

February 2023

Cousins' Camp has been on my radar for a few years now. I'm weighing whether a camp or a Fun & Field Day for the family would be a better fit this year. I have recently found many resources that I didn't find in my previous browsing. I'll share some of the *here, * here, and *here

The Pinterest Board is growing!

How are you finding ways this week to Love God and love people?

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