Thursday, August 31, 2017

Counting August Gifts

This may have been one of my favorite Augusts.

Is it because I woke up each morning thanking God for another day with Ed?

Is it the contrast between the agony of July when I waited every day for Ed to start getting sick from chemo and radiation?


Was August good because Ed was able to do normal August activities such as attending Allegany Boys Camp open house? Ed has been on the camp board for several years and he has missed participating this summer. But he felt strong enough to take his normal role at open house of giving campsite tours and scrubbing the huge bean pot. 


We loved getting to see the campers who spent a week at our house this spring.


Boys of all ages try their hand at woodsmenship skills.


Was August good because of time spent together as a family? 

We spent a weekend at my parent's mountain farm. I loved sitting on the porch swing with my book, watching twilight fall over the farm with no human sound besides my own family. 


But the book didn't last long because I soon had companions.



Breakfast always tastes better outdoors.


And so does supper.


Is August good because Ed is slowly regaining his strength from the weeks of inactivity after surgery? Every week I see an improvement. 

We have greatly missed family bike rides. A friend lent Ed his electric bike so we tried a bike ride with my parents. Ed was able to pull this load of tag-along bike and bike trailer. 


Last year this little one was a screamer on bike rides, but this year she loved it and couldn't quit giggling. Ed was able to go six miles before deciding he better quit lest he be too stiff to walk the next day.

A few days later we tried another favorite family activity - canoeing. With the abundant rainfall, we were able to float the creek near my parent's home which holds many fond memories to Ed and me. No photos since we didn't want to risk the camera or phone, but just imagine a perfect summer evening, gorgeous Pennsylvania woods, rippling water, an obliging bald eagle, and delighted children.

The fact that Ed can work all day and still have energy left in the evening shows how far he has come. In July Ed would come home from work at 3:00 and collapse into bed for an hour before having energy to join us for supper. Now he works full days, skips the nap, and jumps into our evening plans. Ed has been doing some muscle-strengthening exercises and it seems to be helping. No longer do his legs get shaky by mid-afternoon.




Is it the joy of watching children use creativity? Usually we start school in July, then take off a few weeks in August for canning season. This year, the children are going with Ed to work a few days each week so my goal is only a few school days each week.



It means that we have no real schedule or routine (bad) but also don't have opportunity to get bored because our days vary so much.


One day I heard pounding in the basement and discovered that they had built their own painting easels. My children are not particularly artistic, but that doesn't keep them from having fun trying. (I'll not mention some of the other not-fun parts of our school days. Like attitudes about flash cards.)


Like most of the rest of the nation, we enjoyed the solar eclipse. We were not in the path of totality so we'd watch our sun then rush inside to watch the live feeds from NASA.


Did I enjoy August more because I did very little gardening and canning? 

I didn't plant much garden. I didn't buy fruit to can or freeze. I put a few green beans in jars, but mostly we just ate them fresh.  I'm loving the fresh meals with peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes, but most of my jars are still empty on the shelves. I still kept busy with sewing some new dresses and painting a bathroom, but those projects lacked the pressure of  bushels of tomatoes rotting or fruit flies in a box of peaches.

I love filling jars with fresh produce. I'm always my own enemy in August when I find three new relish and salsa recipes to try. But this year was a year to do less. And it was good.

This week my tomatoes ripened enough that I did a batch of tomato soup and salsa. And enjoyed every minute.  Until I got to washing up the dishes. Today I did a few dozen ears of sweet corn. I have several bushels of apples that I'm hoping will wait until next week to be made into applesauce. I'm getting the reminder of what August usually feels like - both the pleasure of the accomplishment and the weariness of preserving the harvest.


My girlies made sure I enjoyed the pleasures of summer by picking me flowers every single day. I gave the three-year-old a pair of child's scissors on a lanyard around her neck and they would carefully choose several blossoms to place on the kitchen table. Those few ragged stems were cherished more than a professional bouquet.


Did I enjoy August more because of the delightful weather? 

There were only a few days that we ran our air conditioning. Every few days we had a rain shower. I never remember grass so green in August. Instead of watching corn curl, we mowed grass. The red raspberries, which the last two years just dried on the stalks, are plump and juicy. We are picking bags of them  for the freezer.


Except for the many berries that don't go further than the mouths of these two.

Any guesses on who is inseparable at our house? Our other girls are five years apart so it is fun to watch these two interact. 

Why did I enjoy August? 

Maybe all of these things. Maybe because of your prayers. Maybe because of the many reminders of the blessing of God. 

There are still so many unknowns for our future. We live under the shadow of a terminal illness. (Though our minister reminded us last week that every human is terminally ill. None of us will make it out alive unless by rapture.) 

But there are many things we do know. I'm finally able to concentrate on Bible study again and have been drinking in the truths in Romans. These verses are ones I have read and reread this week. I'm highlighting a few favorite words.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:1-5

I love how the Amplified Bible states verse 5. "Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us." James 5:1 (Amp)

Faith, peace, hope, love...gifts from God this August.

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20 comments :

  1. This is beautiful. I really enjoyed reading this post. I hope September is as good for your family as was August.

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  2. I'm glad to hear that you and your family had a wonderful August. Thank you for sharing. You are all in my prayers.

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  3. What a wonderful testimony and praise of God's glory!!! Thanks so much for sharing! Prayers continue! The hymn "Standing on the Promises" comes to mind! God is so good when we put our trust in Him.

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  4. Gina I am so pleased you have had a good August. I continue to pray for Ed and am thrilled that he is regaining his energy. Big hugs to you from across the ocean.

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  5. God is so good to us. Keep on trusting in Him.

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  6. Gina, I love watching your family blossom & grow! The imagination, creativity, & wonder of children is definitely a gift from God! Thanks for sharing your pictures & thoughts. God bless you all. (P.S.: I too get the "bug" every time autumn comes around ... my favorite season! Although I don't can food or garden (we live in a 55+ mobile home park), I always wanted to live on a small farm or just have a backyard garden.)

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  7. Oh, just to let you know, I share all your updates on Ed's progress with my husband Glenn. After we read them, we pray thankful prayers for both of you. God is so gracious with His healing gifts to His faithful children. Prayers are being sent for continued healing & strength for Ed, & for you also, Gina! We feel like you're family to us.

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  8. Praise the Lord !! This is such a cheerful post! I've thought of you often while I've been canning..wondering how you're doing. Ed looks really good, and the rest of you look so happy! What a testament to the powers of prayer!!

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  9. Such a beautiful post. I loved every word! Prayers for as wonderful a September.

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  10. Well that was a very lovely post to read! Thank you.

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  11. Hi Gina,

    Thanks so much for sharing this! Such nice pictures of your family. This week the Lord has brought many verses about joy peace, hope and rejoicing to my attention. We really are blessed to have such a caring God!

    ...ask, and ye shall receive, that your JOY may be full.

    ...PEACE I leave with you, my PEACE I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

    ...but I will see you again, and your heart shall REJOICE, and your JOY no man taketh from you.

    ...Now the God of HOPE fill you with all JOY and PEACE in believing, that ye may abound in HOPE, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

    God bless!

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  12. Blessings to you all, and I thank God that you have had such a wonderful August, keeping you all in prayer. Sue

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  13. Thank you for sharing this lovely post, was so pleased August has been such a blessing to you all I hope it continues into September. I still continue to pray for Ed and for you and all of your family.

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  14. That was a lovely post! Thank you for sharing your life in words and pictures. I'm so happy that you had such a wonderful August. You and your family will continue to be in my prayers.

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  15. Wonderful post Gina. Great pics. I know God is with you (with all of us)and your beautiful family. Prayers continue.
    MaryO1230
    San Pedro, CA

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  16. "Better a handful with quietness than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind."
    Ecclesiastes 4:6 NJKV

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  17. Your two little girls must be the cutest pair there is! And how clever to make up one's own easels for art! Easels make things much more 'official', don't they? Thanks for your posts - such good reading, always.

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  18. Greetings from me out The Netherlands. Sharing this citat with you: "“God's guidance is almost always step-by-step; He does not show us our life's plan all at once. Sometimes our anxiousness to know the will of God comes from a desire to peer over God's shoulder to see what His plan is. What we need to do is learn to trust Him to guide us.”

    Thank you so much for sharing the small pieces of your life. Thinking about this: if God controls the circumstances of the sparrow, how much more does He control the circumstances that affect us?

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  19. I love your pictures and your words. All so true. God is good. Praying for you and your family.

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  20. I've been away on a long blogging break but have continued to keep your family in prayer. What a pleasure to log-in and find y'all have had such a pleasant August and hear that Ed's health is improving. PRAISE THE LORD!

    Blessings,
    Mrs.B

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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