Saturday, July 22, 2017

Blueberry Pickers {for the Third Time}

When I look back over the measly 65 posts that I've written for the blog this year (well, it will be 66 when I publish this) ;-), I begin to berate myself for failing so completely to capture 2017 in blog form.  So many high points of the year, so many significant happenings, never made it to the blog; and although I still tell myself that I'll go back and catch up on what I missed, I know realistically that I won't be able to get nearly everything written down that I had intended to record.  It feels pretty pathetic right now.

Another odd thing is what did manage to find its way into blog posts: little snippets of daily life, rather than exciting and special events, for example.  Take June--I didn't make the time to write up a post about Josiah's 15th birthday, but I did do a post about freezing peas.  Really??  Was that more important than my firstborn turning 15??

So yeah, it feels pathetic.

But I'm going to do it again.

Tonight I wish I had the stamina to stay up to do a lovely, long post about the birthday Shav just had.  But no, instead I'm going to do a quick post about our trip to the blueberry farm, and then call it a night.  Maybe I'll get to Shav's birthday tomorrow.  ;-)

At any rate, this was the third year we made the trek to the blueberry farm to harvest delicious, healthy blueberries there.  The first year, I was heavily pregnant with Benjamin.
 The second year, I was glad to have him on the outside!
And this year, he didn't even get to go along!  He wasn't sad though: he got to stay at my dad's house and PLAY WITH TRACTORS, an activity that he LOVES doing.  :)  And I got to pick without wondering where my inquisitive toddler was and how many blueberries he had managed to stuff in his mouth and whether he was breaking branches or otherwise getting into trouble.  :)

Benjamin wasn't the only Fisher boy that stayed behind.  Tobin was invited to go along with our wonderful friend Cindy to ride horses (and that deserves a blog post of its own!), so I left him and Benjamin at my dad's; and then when Cindy came to pick him up, Tobin was able to go riding.  I missed his helping hands in the blueberry patch, but I was thrilled that he got to ride.  :)

As it turned out, our crew seemed small this year!
My apologies for the poor picture quality.  It's from my cell phone, which I passed off to some random person standing in line to pay for the berries, so that we could get a group picture right before we left.  Next year, I should take my good camera to get a better shot!

My apologies again if this picture led you to believe that I might be pregnant.  I am not.  I could say that it looks that way because of the way the fabric of the shirt hangs.  Maybe it's time to get rid of that shirt.  ;-)

Maybe it's time to get rid of that weight.  ;-)

As in other years, the bushes were loaded with fruit which made picking a pleasure--especially because the bushes have grown noticeably during the past two years, so I didn't have to lean over nearly as much but could pick while standing upright more than in the past years.  I was quite happy about that development!  :)
 I was really grateful to have the help of four of my kids; it makes the job go so much faster than it would otherwise!

In the group picture above, you might wonder what the tall things are that Josiah and Shav are holding: it's actually bamboo!  Shav remembered from past years that they have a patch of bamboo at the blueberry farm and that it was a troublesome enough plant that the owners were glad to get rid of it (or some of it).  We inquired today to see if they might still be of the mindset to pass some along to others, and indeed they were.  I offered to pay, but they brushed that aside; and in the end, Shav came home with a LONG bamboo staff--two, in fact.  Moriah has claimed the other one, but it's so long that she can hardly handle it.  Maybe she'll grow into it.  ;-)

We kept some of the berries to eat fresh, but tonight I got the rest ready for the freezer--30 pints!  It's such a rewarding feeling in the middle of hot summer to know that we're getting ready for cold winter, for evenings when we'll eat supper long after it's dark, and I'll make pancakes, and the kids will be excited, and I'll pull some blueberries out of the freezer to use for the blueberry sauce...and when I do, we'll catch a taste, a whiff, a sensation, a memory of the heat of July and a beautiful drive through the countryside, all the way to the blueberry farm.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Being Pursued

I can't speak for every married woman, of course; but I'll say that for me, one of the delights of the early stages of my relationship with Jeff was the fact that he pursued me.  It wasn't that I was trying to play hard-to-get - truly! - but as it turned out, he did have to work to get me.  After all, it wasn't my intention for him to propose - twice, in two different countries - before I was finally ready to say yes the third time he popped the question!  ;-)  I could hardly be responsible for his impulsivity, right?  ;-)

As exciting as that initial phase of relationship-building was, with all its highs and lows, I wouldn't trade this deep, faithful, mature, life-giving, 20-year-old marriage for anything.  Jeff pursued me, he won my heart, and I am his forever.

But it was still fun this morning to feel a little bit pursued again.  ;-)

You see, the kids had swimming lessons, but not all at the same time, so because of the staggered nature of the morning's schedule, I had a little gap of free time.  Jeff called this morning, and David answered, and I heard him telling his dad "this is when Tobin and Shav have their lessons" and "this is when Josiah and I have our lessons" and "this is when Moriah's lesson is" and "this is when Mom would be free" and so forth.  Not in those words exactly, but that was the gist of it.  ;-)

Based on that information, Jeff blocked off some time in his work schedule; and then during my available time, he invited me to go with him to Mr. J's to get coffee and a bagel.  Of course, we did have to bring two of our younglings along, but I'm pretty fond of them, so I didn't mind too much.  ;-)  As it turned out, Jeff ended up with a strawberry smoothie which he kindly shared with Benjamin, and Moriah chose that, too.  I, however, enjoyed my vanilla iced coffee and berry bagel with strawberry cream cheese immensely.  :)

You might think, "What's the big deal?  So you went out to the bagel shop!  That's not earth-shaking."  And that's true, of course.  But here's what brought an unexpected spark of joy to my heart.

He wanted to spend time with me.


He worked to make it happen, not only having the thought that it would be nice to sneak away for an impromptu date, but also calling home to find out the correct time, blocking it off in his schedule, and arranging for this to happen--not to mention, paying for it and not minding our two tag-alongs.  I'm pretty sure that, for many times to come when I pass this bagel shop, I'll remember the time Jeff surprised me with a date there.

I'm pretty sure Moriah will remember it, too.

How thankful I am that, 21 and a half years after we first met, Jeff is still pursuing me!

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Way He Plays

It used to be that, when I saw Benjamin lying down on the floor to play like this, I thought, "Aww, he must be tired."

But then, the evidence forced me to change my hypothesis.  

You see, Benjamin does this very often.  Multiple times a day.  So either he's a one-year-old sufferer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or there's another reason for his actions.  ;-)

I'm going with the latter option.  ;-)

Now when I see him do this, I still think, "Awww!"  But I don't add the, "He must be tired."  Instead, I think, "I guess he just likes looking at the truck from ground level!"  :)

And I also think, "He is absolutely adorable, and I love him more every single day."

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bottling Up Time

Having Josiah gone all last week at Speech Camp was a vivid reminder for me of how quickly time is passing--as if I needed another reminder about that!  I keep thinking, "Three more years.  We've got three more years together as a family before Josiah goes off to college and our little family circle stretches wide and gets gaps in it.  Lord, help me treasure these next three years so that when that transition comes, I won't have regrets about the way I spent this time!"

I find myself looking from Josiah to Benjamin, remembering when my firstborn was toddling around on unsteady legs, and picturing my lastborn becoming a big strong teenager capable of going out into the world on his own.  It all goes so fast.

And so, to slow it down a little, I pulled out my camera today (just the poor-quality one on my cell phone, but at least it takes pictures that can record a memory) and froze some moments in time.  Moments like...

...after a family reunion this afternoon, we dropped by and visited my mother.  She especially perked up at the sight of Moriah...
...and hugged her and hugged her.
My mother was fairly alert today--more so than she is sometimes--and she even tried to tell me something (although she sadly had to stop after just a few words).  Seeing her beautiful smile did my heart good.
After that, we came home, and some of us got to have much-needed naps.  
 Benjamin was still wearing his name tag from the reunion...
 ...and was holding a truck, of course.  :)
This evening, we gathered with some friends from our church to eat together and pray, and the kids got to enjoy some time to play outside in the beautiful evening air.
 Watching Benjamin (and the others) climb in and out and up and down on this "ark" made me wonder what Noah and his family did with their Ark after the Flood.  Did Noah's grandchildren use it as a huge playhouse?  Wouldn't that have been fun to explore?!  :)

One of Benjamin's favorite things to do is play in our minivan.  
 It must make him feel powerful.  ;-)
It won't be too long until Benjamin's biggest brother is driving this thing, for real!
This evening at home, I was watching Benjamin walk around in the yard and remembering how it wasn't so long ago that he scooted, rather than walked--and how it wasn't long ago that he did NOT like being on the grass!  Things have changed.  ;-)

In years to come, I want to remember these moments.  I want to see what it was like to watch Benjamin slightly stagger and stumble as he walked across the yard in his toddlerish way.  I want to recall how Josiah and David played catch in the cool of the evening as the sky darkened.  I want to be reminded of the sweetness of this season of life and parenting.

But what's more, I want to know then that as I experience this now, I am aware of how precious it is...

...and I give thanks for it.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Give Me a Sec while I Sit Here and FEEL

It's been a big day for Josiah.  And so, because of that, it's been a big day for my heart.

It started with Josiah having the opportunity to preach a sermon--his second ever, the first having been on Mother's Day of this year--this morning for our church.  His sermon was called "What Makes a Church Successful" from Acts 2:37-47, and David grabbed a photo of him while Josiah was preparing before the service began.
I loved Josiah's first sermon (which was on prayer), but I noticed today how much more comfortable and confident he seemed to be so maybe I loved this one even more.  He reminded me so much of his dad (who happened to give the talk for communion today), and I am extraordinarily proud of him (well, of them both).  ;-)

And then Josiah and I hopped in the car and headed north, all the way to Patrick Henry College where Josiah will be spending the next week at a Speech Camp.
 We had never been to this college before, although we have heard so many good things about it; and my admiration of it was only increased by our time there today.  It is beautiful and rigorous and impressive in so many more ways than I want to take the time to write about tonight.
 But the main thing today is that for the next week, this will be Josiah's home.
 He's been away from home before, of course, but only for things like choir tours or speech and debate competitions--and always with people he knows.
 But he knows no one here--or didn't until we got there this bright, sunny afternoon.
 I expect by now he already feels like he knows some people.  ;-)
 He's not exactly shy.  Not anymore.  :)
 We got to go on a campus tour which was very interesting...
...and got to see their residence halls named for the famous homes of presidents and other leaders in American history...
 ...and we got to see Lake Bob.  ;-)
And then after a very informative meeting, it was time for me to say goodbye to my treasured firstborn and head home.  Not without taking a selfie though.
 I'm not very good at taking them... when another student walked by and asked if he could take a picture for us, I was glad to see yes.  ;-)
And then right after this, I fought back the tears as I hugged this amazing son goodbye and got in the car, leaving him behind.

That felt strange.

He's still only 15 (just turned 15, really), and he's still approaching his 10th grade year (not 12th), but boy did it ever feel like he was getting ready to go off to college!!!

That felt REALLY strange.

When we were considering having Josiah participate in this, Jeff suggested that, if Josiah agreed, we would give this week at Speech Camp to him as his birthday gift, can tell that Josiah said yes.  :)  I'm so happy for him that he gets to do this and so excited to hear about all the things he learns and does during this week.  But I'm mostly looking forward to just seeing him again with my own two eyes and hugging him again.

Tonight, I feel so many deep emotions; it's too hard to put them into more eloquent words.  So now, I'm just going to stop writing...

...and simply let myself feel what's in my heart.