All love shared…

This week I have attended two funerals. I didn’t really know either of the people who died, but I know the Minister of Music at the church where the funerals were held, and my name was included on an email he sent asking for volunteers to sing in the choir, so I went.

Funerals are hard. It is both a difficulty and a relief to be in a place where everyone around you is thinking about death. We sing and say our beliefs about what death is. I think you have to say a thing from time to time in order to really believe it, and in a mysterious way, it is as much an encouragement to me to HEAR the family of Christ speaking the truth of resurrection and joy in the face of death as it ever was to experience being upheld and loved in prayer during Lucy’s life.

But that doesn’t make it easy to be there. I may have spent as much time crying as singing during the choral bits, which makes me of dubious worth as a volunteer chorister. I am the vocal equivalent of Corrie as a violinist: you get about as many squeaks as you do actual notes.

Here is my real reason for going: I have recently finished a book by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross called On Children and Death. In the book she say  this: “…if you need love, give it and it will return a hundredfold.” And in another place: “If, from time to time, we look at the blessings in our lives, at the warmth and care and love so many people respond with when there is a tragedy, at the fact that we can walk and talk, eat and breathe, then maybe we would reevaluate our bad moods and become aware that all negative thoughts bring with them more negativity, but all love shared returns a thousand-fold.”

That is it! I cannot do anything big – I struggle with my life just like you struggle with yours and many days I feel lost, but I am trusting that trying to do something small in love will be worthwhile. So many things I can’t do, but I can sing and be present in a place of loss for someone else, just as you have been present for me, my friend.

James says that with God no deed done in love is ever wasted. Even if does not come out or work as we intended, He does not allow it to be lost.

Both funerals I have sat in the choirloft beside the same very kind person. Here is an example of love returning a hundredfold: she has not minded that I cried and squeaked and sang in the wrong places, but she put her arm around me and cried a bit with me and told me she was glad I was there.

That is the Lord. Showing me His love through her a hundredfold in response to the tiny act of showing up. I am grateful. – Katie




See the engorged plant above? It is a special pumpkin vine given to me (as a mere seedling) by the generous nursery-owner who attends our church. I bear this plant ridiculous fondness. It’s monstrous growth rate nearly brings tears of joy to my eyes. Some time ago I watched the movie “Jumanji” again, and at the part where the giant trailing vine suddenly grows up all over the walls of the house I though triumphantly, “Just like my PUMPKIN!”.

Unfortunately Lily loves it just as much as I do and has chewed most of the larval pumpkins to bits, along with some significant length of vine. I did forgive her. I keep watering it hopefully, thinking if it doesn’t manage any pumpkins over the summer possibly it will eke out at least one in the fall. And if not I still have that glorious vine.

In one corner the vine reached up and overtook the cherry tomato plant beside it, which surrendered without struggle. And in an unusual floral explosion a volunteer Morning Glory vine with big heart-shaped leaves struggled up out of the ground beneath both of them to fight for the same space. So this is three plants in one spot. Can you tell the difference? Hint: the pumpkin vine has white-splotched leaves.

A pumpkin blossom, yet unchewed by dog. If you look closely…

…you can see the gentle black bee exiting the food source! Symbiosis! It thrills the backyard gardener’s heart. – Katie


We were invited to a party, hosted by excellent folk, and I had a moment of silent laughter seeing my squabbly, squirrely offspring suddenly choose to sit peacefully next to each other. On purpose. Ghandi would have been proud.

(It could possibly have been the presence of the longsuffering gentlewoman who sat next to them, but I am putting on the mother-blinders and choosing to think they got along on purpose for once. Quit laughing. Leave me to my fantasies…) – Katie

Another gift

Do you remember the bumper sticker I told you about with the picture of Tinker Bell and the caption: “They were fools to let me free!” This is Corrie’s They-were-fools-to-let-me-free face.

And look! Kind church friends gave us a swingset!

This has seen near hourly use since they brought it over and wrestled it into the backyard. Every single one of our children was excited about it regardless of age.

Ah, joys of summer! What could be finer than a hose and a swingset in the backyard! – Katie


A kind, green-thumbed family from church gave us a huge bag of peaches. Sweet summer marvel!

The peaches have white flesh and dark pink skins. The pit fills the center top to bottom because they have a doughnut-like shape – all the sweet meat is in a ring around the sides Nearly too beautiful to eat… but between Sunday morning when they handed us the bag and Monday lunch when I took this picture of the last four we were plunged into a marathon of juice-on-chins and sticky hands.

To the list of things that money can’t buy (love, home-grown tomatoes, etc.), we are adding these peaches. – Katie

Do you mind?

We got a new kennel for Lily. Her growth rate lately has squeezed her right out of the old one. It has nice open wirework, but I put a rug on top to make it feel more snug as she transitioned from the smaller space. She spends the night inside the kennel, which is nice because it wakes you up to hear the animals moving around the house at night. (Not to mention what might get chewed as you obliviously sleep.)

The cats assumed this had been done for their benefit. A new throne? Well, thanks! Don’t mind if I do…

It’s closer to the overhead fan and possibly achieves maximum air circulation comfort for those all-important all-afternoon naps. Also, it removes one from the reach of Helen, who delights in suddenly squeezing cats in the middle of the all-important all-afternoon nap. Nothing like having your bladder clutched unexpectedly while sleeping.

And the only time the cats DON’T like this new spot. When the annoying DOG is inside it. Do you mind? I’m trying to sleep here… – Katie

New Hat

A friend made a hat for Helen, in a charming shade of yellow.

She picked it up to try it on, all supercool and mellow.

The binky hides her happy grin: my wardrobe is complete!

For birthday bash or summer smash, she couldn’t look more sweet. – Katie