Friday, May 8, 2015

Time to say goodbye....


We bought our vacation home when our 4th child, Jack, was 10 months old. The rest of the crew were 3, 5, and 8. We spent Jack's first summer as a toddler chasing him up the hill on the side of the house (a great workout for the glutes, by the way!) and Maeve learned to swim in our "backyard". Killian and Joe discovered a shared love of fishing -- one they still agree on to this day. And, Kyle and I envisioned our young family growing up with leisurely weekend trips during the fall and winter for burning leaves and ice skating, interspersed with longer trips in the Spring and Summer for swimming, fishing, boating, and bonfires. We even hit fast-forward in our dreams and wondered what it would be like to play with our grandbabies "up at the lake".

Since then, we have have 4 more babies of our own (one is heaven-side) and watched so many of these dreams come true. We were blessed with caring neighbors and lazy days. Kyle and I agreed that the time spent away from "screens" together as a family was so very good for all of us, despite the struggle to pack up the car or deal with a teen's complaints about "being bored" (they always ended up having fun when they got there!).

When our family needed healing after we lost Fiona, a friend encouraged us to take time away at the lake. She was so right. It was exactly the right amount of bonding, fresh air, sunlight, and peace we had been yearning for. 

But, families grow larger and older. Your 5 and 8 year olds become responsible working young adults -- because that's what you raised them to be! -- and they can no longer sneak away for a weekend, much less an entire summer. The majority of our family members are promised to school, work, sports, and volunteer work. And that's a GOOD thing! But it means that paying to keep a vacation home which gets extremely little use is not the best use of our resources right now. 

"A time to every purpose under heaven." 

God is so good to let us know that the things which exist within time are only good for a while. And then it is time to move on. I won't lie, tears are streaming down my face as I write this, but sadness is also temporary. I was reminded by a very good friend today, "It is sad the idea of it being gone, but the sadness is really the sadness of life changing. Because even if you kept it, things wouldn't go back to the way they were.". 

Because, yes, we are selling the lake house. And we are sad. But we also know that the last 12 years were precious times. The were times of joy and adventure. Times of serenity and relaxation. Times of learning new things and perfecting old tricks. Times of our family's deep love for each other. 

"A time to keep."

(In your kindness, if you would click the picture above and check out our listing, we would very much appreciate it. Maybe you know someone who would love our lake house the way we do?)

WWRW: The Sackett Saga Goes On...and on...

Linking up a couple of days late with the darling of the airwaves, Jessica.

Kyle continues to grace us with his knowledge of all things Louis L'Amour and Old Testament...

"2015 - The Year of the Sacketts continues...

What's that sound I am hearing? Why it sounds like the blogosphere hankering for another installment of my book reviews of Louis L'Amour's epic saga of the American frontier family: The Sacketts.

As you will recall, we left off last month with some adventures of Yance and Kin Ring Sackett in The Warriors Path. Now the stories pick up again with their younger brother Jubal in L'Amour's novel Jubal Sackett.  A loner from a young age, more at home in the woods and wilderness than in the company of others, Jubal seems to have inherited the wandering spirit of his father and and an ingrained desire to see what lies beyond the mountains. In the Bible, Jubal, son of Lamech and brother to Tubal-Cain, is said to be the father of all who play the harp and lute but that has nothing to do with our story.

Jubal Sackett sets out from the family home in the Appalachians of North Carolina to cross the Great Plains and eventually reaches the Rockies. Jubal is an expert tracker and woodsman, and well known to many of the local Indian tribes, one of which enlists his help to go in search of their Sun or Princess.  The story follows the adventure of Jubal as he sets off to find this princess, meeting challenges, friends and enemies along the way. The Sackett families tend to run long on boys, raised to be self-reliant with strong morals and fierce loyalty to the family. Jubal is no exception. He is a steadfast friend, thoughtful pondered, and natural leader. The Sacketts do not fear the wilderness nor the Indians, but rather recognize that one must know and understand one's surroundings in order to survive. This novel also introduces a strong female leader in the character Itchakomi Ishaia, the Natchez Sun that Jubal comes to respect and eventually love. Like the rest of the Sackett line of books, Jubal Sackett is an enjoyable read of historical fiction and in paperback form will always fit perfectly snug in the back pocket of your Wranglers. 

This fourth novel is the last novel of the early Sacketts, when we return next month we will continue with the fifth novel, Ride the River, which takes place about 200 years later in the hills of Tennessee."

Friday, April 17, 2015

7 Quick Takes: What I've Been Watching

Joining in the taking of quick fun with our lovely host, Kelly...

I was going to title this one "Why You Should Watch What I'm Watching", but then I would have to convince you to watch these shows. 
And what if you hate the shows and that leads you to question my taste? 
Or, (even worse!), what if you love all of my suggestions and I have to come up with 7 more shows? 

Stop the insanity.

I don't know your life.

You do you. 

Here are 7 shows I've been enjoying (no pressure!)....

1) Drunk History. Holy wow. Kyle and I are only 2 episodes in, and we've pulled
muscles from laughing so hard. The basic premise is that the host (creator?) gets historians drunk and has them narrate a portion of history. He then gets pretty well-known actors to lip sync the narration and act out the story. It's insanely funny and really quite a creative idea. You can find it on Amazon Prime.

2) Friday Night Lights. When this show first debuted in 2006, I was taking a break from all TV, so I missed out on it. But, thanks to Netflix, I have discovered why people loved it so much. If anyone else was also living under a rock in 2006, let me sum it up for you by saying: Texas high school football, relationship drama, Connie Britton hair.

3) White Collar. Another Netflix recommendation that is perfect for when you want to watch something clever, yet not too heavy. The show revolves around an FBI agent who catches his archnemesis and then has him released into his custody to help solving white collar crimes. (Bonus: Kelly Kapowski is in it!)
Image result for white collar

4) The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Ok, Netflix was having a really great day when it decided to start producing its own shows. Kimmy Schmidt is written and produced by the hilarious Tina Fey. Kimmy was kidnapped at 15 by the leader of a cult and kept in an underground bunker with 3 other women for 15 years. Then, they are rescued and this is where the show begins. Sounds scary and depressing, right? NOT AT ALL. It's written as a comedy, and, man, does it deliver. As the kids say: this show is on fleek! Image result for unbreakable kimmy schmidt

5) The Middle. I try to catch this one "live" every week on Wednesday nights on ABC. I started watching because I love Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond), but I continued because it's funny, true-to-life, and has a truly talented cast. Image result for the middle

6) The Goldbergs. I'll be honest: this one is not gonna be for everyone. Kyle and I like to watch it (Wednesdays on ABC) because it's based on the true life family stories of the show's creator who grew up in the 80s. It's a little piece of nostalgia with a side of funny. Image result for the goldbergs

7) Mountain Men. I blame Kyle for this one. He got me hooked on this (both Amazon and Netflix have it) reality series. It focuses on 4 or 5 separate men who have chosen to live in various mountainous areas around the U.S. Im pretty sure we watch it to cheer for the 1 guy we sorta like, and to laugh at the rest of those idiots. Because, really? They are not the brightest bunch.
Image result for mountain men tv
Eustace is NOT the guy we cheer for...ever.
So, what about you? What are YOU watching? 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WWRW: Another Guest Review Installation from The Year of the Sacketts

Linking up with the classy and sophisticated Jessica for this month's WWRW.

Kyle has graciously offered to guest blog once again! And I am happy to share with all of you his wit and intelligence:

2015 - the Year of the Sacketts continues...

If you remember from our last Post, this year we set the goal to read all of Louis L'Amour's novels about the fictional American frontier family, the Sacketts. Well, so far the year is off to an excellent start as we are nearing the end of the first quarter and I have completed 31.25% of my goal. This puts me 6% ahead of schedule! I am not sure if this What We Are Reading Wednesday blog offers any prizes but if they do I feel quite certain that I am a shoe in for whatever prize is offered. 

So, in our first blog on this topic we were introduced to the Sackett family by way of Barnabas Sackett in the novel Sackett's Land. In To The Far Blue Mountains, we continue to read about his adventures in settling the frontier in a very wild new land.  Barnabas, his wife Abigail, and their group of comrades settles in the area of Shooting Creek, NC. Barnabas and his mates quickly earn the respect of the local Indian tribes for their fighting skills as well as their trade. Barnabas fled England to the New World looking for a land where he could raise a family and where his children could be free to blaze their own trails, away from the rigid class system of England. Barnabas and Abigail have four sons (Kin Ring, Yance, Jubal, and Brian) and one daughter (Noelle) and in this way the mighty Sackett clan is born.

Following the death of Barnabas, the tale continues with his sons Kin Ring and Yance in The Warriors Path. In a tale similar to the kidnapping of the daughter of Daniel Boone, a pair of young women are kidnapped and the girls parents send a plea to the Sacketts to come to the rescue. The younger girl is the sister to Yance's wife, and in a recurring theme throughout the series when one Sackett is in trouble the rest will come running. Kin Ring and Yance set out to New England to pick up the trail, and quickly learn the kidnapper are not Indians but rather slave traders. With the skills of men raised in the woods, the Sacketts quickly hunt down the kidnappers but the adventure continues as Kin Ring tracks the villains to colonial Jamaica. The action is non-stop as the Sacketts work to bring the villains to justice. The books are works of historical fiction, so again they seek to bring in real life occurrences and characters such as Samuel Maverick to lend credence to the tale. The writing is highly stylized and entertaining. I recommend these books to left- and right-handed readers alike as I think all readers will find something to love. 

And, check back again for reviews of the next few books in the series.

Friday, March 6, 2015

7 Quick Takes: Too! Much! Fun!

Joining Kelly this week...

I have been having way too much fun lately.

WAY too much fun.

But, it can't be all bad because I've found lots of good things to share with you!

1) Gratiae Cosmetics.  Don't pull "a Mary Kate" and get suckered into a package "deal" at a mall kiosk, but do order some of these products on Amazon. My favorites are the exfoliating salt scrub, the body butter, and the facial peel.

2) Trader Joe's dark chocolate peanut butter cups. 

Nuff said.

3) Will turned 3 this past weekend and three of his gifts were a themed set. 
We gave him this book:

Along with this costume:

And this costume:

So far, it's been a hit with all family members.

4) Kyle also had a birthday on last Friday. We got him a new waffle iron. 

I promise there wasn't a selfish motivation behind that purchase. ;)

5) We have some of the greatest friends. For Kyle's birthday, we took him to a Fish Fry at a local Irish Pub. And quite a few of our friends and their families joined us. We had the best 3 hours eating, drinking, and laughing hysterically. It was a great way to celebrate Kyle's birthday AND beat the winter doldrums.

6) We have the greatest kids, too. Some seasons it's easier to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Lately, Kyle and I have both been graced with that kind of season. We have spent more than a few evenings marveling over the beautiful qualities that are unique to each of our 7 kids. And, it's clear that these qualities are God-given gifts, not anything that we can credit to awesome parenting.
We have seen older kids cement their relationships with each other, with the promise of lifelong friendships. We have seen them model grace and generosity for their younger siblings -- some days, they are doing a better job of that than we are. We have seen younger kids show a genuine concern for and tenderness towards family members who were feeling upset or ill.
God has been so good to us in allowing us to be their parents. 

7) In the near future, Kyle and I have the rare opportunity to sneak away alone for a couple of days, and we couldn't do it without the help and cooperation of my parents and siblings. They are so good to see the value in a couple spending a little time renewing their relationship and being generous enough to take on the care and crazy schedule of so many kids. I hope that, one day, Kyle and I can be generous enough to return the favor, as well as pay it forward to our own kids.

Well, we have one month left of Lent, and I hope you're all being more penitential than I! ;)