New Website and 2019 Wrap-Up

We have exciting news! This will be my last post here. From now on, all my blog posts, recipes, reviews, homeschooling information, etc., can be found on our soon-to-be launched family website, http://www.theharlowhearth.com. We are looking forward to connecting with you there!

My friend shared blessings/highlights of each month for 2019, and I decided it would be a fun exercise for me to try. Between these highlighted moments are thousands of ordinary, sacred, beautiful, difficult ones unshared. This reflection reminded me of the gift that is my blessed and broken life!

January

Our rental townhouse went on the market!

Seeing the Sadie Rose Foundation wedding gown to burial gown program really come to fruition.

February

Elsie had her first visit with the pediatric allergist where we learned she has a dust mite allergy.

I attended a heavy, but incredibly helpful suicide prevention training with a group of fellow ministers.

March

Planting trees with our wonderful friends at Caritas Christmas Tree Farm.

We welcomed Baby Ella into the world!

A trip to see my dad.

April

Closing for our townhouse.

I ran my first half marathon.

We said good-bye for now to our treasured Aunt Ethel.

May

Seeing the Rosedale Bible College Salt and Light Team with a friend who I’d toured with on that same team many moons ago.

The Sadie Rose Foundation’s Bereaved Mothers Tea.

June

Eli’s 5th grade graduation.

Sadie’s 12th birthday.

A special Beery Family gathering to connect with relatives from far and near.

Hosting a sweet little respite placement through foster care for ten days.

July

A staycation with special friends.

My sister-in-law’s breast cancer diagnosis.

The decision to homeschool.

Annual Family Camping.

August

Friends.

Elsie’s summer-long participation in her dance studios “Summer Praise” tour, sharing in worship in a different church every Sunday all summer long.

We met Baby Arthur of Camel Lot, a new addition to a farm near us.

Eli’s baptism.

September

My sister-in-law and another dear friend’s breast cancer surgeries.

Hampton Roads Writer’s Conference.

Presenting a workshop for a Shenandoah District COB sponsored grief training.

October

Finding our homeschool rhythm.

We said good-bye for now to our beautiful special cousin, Anna.

Elsie had a full panel of bloodwork to see why she was chronically fatigued. Pesky mono was still present.

Daddy continues to struggle with his health, go through testing, searching for answers.

November

Another sweet little respite placement.

Chili cook-off at church where I won first place. Now I need to perfect another recipe for next year!

December

Reconnecting with a friend I hadn’t seen in twenty years.

We hired a new director for the Sadie Rose Foundation! Welcome Vonda!

All things Christmas.

Planning for the launch of The Harlow Hearth, our forthcoming family website!

What a great, difficult, beautiful year! So grateful for God’s grace and presence, and for our people who love us so well! Cheers for a blessed and healthy 2020! See you soon at The Harlow Hearth!

They Know Their Sister

They know their sister by tear-stained photographs

By a worn-out guestbook from her funeral service

They know her by playing in a cemetery

Around a cold hard tombstone

They know their sister by our “Sadie Rose” friends

By support meetings and remembrance ceremonies

They know their sister by the faraway look in mommy’s eyes

By the silences, the tears, the whispers of her name

They know her by the scent of a flower

By a butterfly’s soft-winged flight

They know their sister by the cloud’s silver lining

And by the stars that light the night

How I wish they could play with her, hold her hand, kiss her goodnight

But they are content knowing her in this way

Always looking for reminders of her presence

And, as only children can, they accept that this is how they know her

And they love her, just as they know her

First Day of School

Barefoot o’re the dusty pathway

Through the pasture, was the rule

Skipped the girl with brunette pigtails

As she hurried off to school

Ah, the summer filled with daydreams

Hailed her with its final call

Breezes yielded July’s sweetness

To ripened hints of early fall

Deep inhale, she sniffed the pencils

As the sharpener ground the wood

Buried nose into her textbooks

Smelling knowledge to be learned

Classroom chatter all around her

Catching up on summer fun

Couldn’t rival her excitement

Of a new school year begun

Bother math, it still confounds her

Language arts, she wanted more

Reading, writing, singing, playing

Timeless knowledge didn’t bore

Oh those sacred childhood memories

Held forever in her heart

Well from deep within her being

As her own, their school now start

The Stuff Summers are Made of

We were not home for a full day after a week-long visit in Chicago, when Eli arranged for a few cousins to come for the night. My first “sigh” was instantly replaced with musings of how we could make it a memorable summer night.

I think we accomplished that.

We built a fire in the pit and set up the tent for playing in.

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Elsie played ride-a-horsey and ring around the rosey with Cooper.

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We made s’mores and played kick the can and dodge ball. Our Anatolian shepherd/chocolate lab, Sampson, even joined in.

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We chased lightening bugs and ate insane amounts of air-popped popcorn covered in our favorite Wildtree popcorn seasonings. We watched Duck Dynasty and read stories.

We went to bed at midnight and slept in until 8 o’ clock this morning. We made fruit and yogurt smoothies for breakfast and the kids are already back outside enjoying an unusually cool summer morning. We picked fresh tomatoes for lunch later.

Forget the cares and worries that try to creep in, we are enjoying all things summer and making memories to last a lifetime.

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