It is slowly occurring to everyone how much of an adjustment we have to life without Grandpa in our home. Grandpa has been away from our home before: a week to visit other family or a weekend church activity. But we always expected his return. One night this week we came to the dinner table and realized our seating arrangement could change. Family meals have always been an important part of our day and with Grandpa's seat empty, we felt a need to squeeze in tighter. We did. Everyone has a new place to sit now. Closer. With no empty spaces.
What happened at the table is happening through out the day. We are drawing together, diminishing the gap, and desiring to connect to one another. Ben, Nathaniel and I spent Monday at Missouri Botanical Gardens doing just that. Walking. Talking. Taking time together in the sunshine. Our conversation jumped from the adjustments we are making as a family to the benefits of Tall Fescue over Zoysia grass. It felt good.
I've spent the last couple nights scouring Etsy for a little boy's romper and piped collar white shirt for Nathaniel for Easter. A couple decades ago I had the luxury of homemade special occasion outfits for my babies and toddlers. Rich's mom and I would sew them.
We lived with Rich's parents for seven years; my first born was three months old when we moved in and I had three more children before we moved out. I spent a lot of time with Grandma - hours every day tending large vegetable and flower gardens, preparing meals, taking walks in the subdivision across the street, sitting side by side at our sewing machines in the guest bedroom.
When Rich crawled in bed and asked what I was doing last night, I said, "Wishing your mom was still here so we could make Nathaniel an Easter outfit together."
"We have a box downstairs of the outfits you two made," he said, "I'll get them out for you tomorrow."
Grandpa visiting Nathaniel at the hospital in August, 2013
It seems we've always had to cope with our children being away from home on Christmas.
Rich spotted it first. An empty bird's nest nestled in the branches. We paused. Admired. Took a photo. Considered the tree. But moved on, leaving the nest for whoever claimed the tree.
But the image stuck with me all month. It was Advent to me.
"A little empty bed waiting for a baby," was the comment I posted on the photo when I uploaded it to Facebook. I regretted leaving the nest. I wished I had brought it home to symbolize the coming of Jesus, the one who fills empty places in managers and hearts.
We are starting our fifth year caring for my husband’s father in our home. It has been a very rewarding experience that has enriched our lives tremendously. The last four years haven’t been conflict free though, and I’ve learned a lot through the process of sharing my home with an in-law. Perhaps these three lessons will encourage other families in a similar living arrangement.
1. Maintain a Proper Perspective of the Responsibility
I have a box of Christmas things marked "OPEN BEFORE THANKSGIVING." It contains the items we need to celebrate Advent: our wreath and candles, booklets of Advent readings from previous years, our Christmas music CD's, homemade nativity scenes, and three of our favorite family read-alouds for the Advent season.
Jotham's Journey - A story of young Jewish boy, the son of a shepherd, who gets seperated from his family. In the process of searching for them, he finds the Savior!
Submitted by kim on Wed, 10/10/2012 - 13:31 in Homemaking
It's soup weather! I've been pulling together menu plans for October and am so excited for soups. The boys and I just ate the leftovers of Friday night's White Chicken Chili - one of my favorites.
Here's my start to the menu for this month. It's a work in progress, so check back again!
Meals marked with an * are my own recipes. I hope to add them soon.
Notice I put the desserts on top! With all the beautiful fall pumpkin flavored baked goods and special dishes on Pinterest, who can resist making a few?
I wish I were more Christ-like. Especially when when all the men are hungry.
Can you image? Just five loaves of bread, two fish, one prayer, and all the men are satisfied? I want to go to that cooking school!
Unfortunately, it doesn't happen like that here.
My guys help me a ton around the house and will fix meals when I ask for help. But the bottom line is that everyone is happier when I make the plan, do the shopping, and get the meals on the table. My Christ-likeness is going to have to come through serving cheerfully.
Submitted by kim on Thu, 06/21/2012 - 16:34 in Homemaking
I'm visiting my brother and his family this week.
A framed print in the guest bathroom welcomes me every visit.
I've always loved the saying and decided this week to create something I could print and frame once I get home.
Maybe it will fit in your home too. Feel free to print the PDF.