Spinning Wheel

Today, I found this gem.

img_5443.jpg

The chore spinner.

Obviously, Jake was too small to contribute at the time.

Or maybe he was just the 4th child,
the baby of the family,
whose only job was to be cute.

Seeing this piece of history made me smile at how things have changed.

All that free labor has now become management.
They are teaching their own kids to set, clear, load and sweep.

Thank goodness I still have PB.
He’s making real progress.
I cook and he cleans up.
No spinning required.

Arbor Day

Last year, I declared Arbor Day to be the official holiday of the Biddick siblings. My two brothers, my sister, their spouses and PB and I gathered around the table for a meal and to catch up.

arbor

We don’t get together for major holidays anymore. There are 29 grandchildren between the four of us, so the inevitable branching out has taken place, as it should. Yet, long stretches of time can go by without us seeing each other. We needed our own holiday. Arbor Day was perfect.

img_7924

Our grandfather was a tree man. Grandpa was chosen as “Woodsman of the Year” in 1982, at the age of 87. He loved trees and owned timber land in Mississippi and Wisconsin, where he operated a logging and timber sawing business for many years. He planted hundreds of trees in his lifetime.

This year, Arbor Day also happened to fall on what would have been our mother’s birthday. I think she would’ve been pleased to know we reminisced and laughed together over memories on her birthday.

I used the “farm dishes” for this year’s 2nd annual gathering. When my siblings saw the table settings, there was a collective “ahhhh”. These were our “Sunday only” dishes — usually piled with roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas and homemade dinner rolls.

img_7927

It’s good to spend a day with people you love.
I hope you had a happy Arbor Day.
Mine was pretty great.

Introducing Isla

We interrupt this Lenten devotional series to bring breaking news.

Isla Dinah Jean arrived!
Saturday, April 6th, 2019
6 lbs. 14 oz.

img_7747

Meeting your sister for the first time can be breath-taking.

img_7751

Welcome to the world, little one.
We’re so glad you’re here.

img_7766

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

The (Perfectly) Imperfect Christmas

DSC_0015

The grands got matching jammies for Christmas.
So, naturally, we wanted a photo of them sitting together on the couch.
But Emma looked away and Abel was a blur.

DSC_0020

So we tried it again but Ruby looked at Emma and Eli was losing control of Abel.

DSC_0019

So we called Opa over to make funny faces.
Emma looked at her cousins and Anna’s hand got in the pic.

Sometimes Christmas is like that. You try to make it all perfect and then you realize perfect isn’t much fun. Life is better with a little blur and a hand in the corner and whatever happens when you get nine kids under six years old in one house for 48 hours. It’s perfectly imperfect. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Ella wanted to put on the nativity costumes, so we set about staging the scene. Except Ruby was taking a much needed nap and Abel was dead set against putting on a sheep hat. So we didn’t force anything and went with the big five and two littles.

DSC_0058.jpg

Evie made for a very proud mama Mary. Eli stuck out his tongue — it’s possible Joseph did the same at some point that holy night. Ella was a slightly sneaky looking angel. Charlie wore his angel costume backwards, but it didn’t matter at all. Hudson was a shepherd with his eyes on baby Jesus. Emma sat where we told her to sit and posed for the camera. And Ember had her one big chance to take the leading role, not easy with eight older cousins. She played the part magnificently — smiling and cooing and blessing us all.

Perfectly imperfect.

I also contributed to this year’s theme.

 The Overlien Family Calendar for 2019.

IMG_7091-2

I’m just off by a year.

IMG_7086

Reprints are on the way.

“Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it!
It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person
to perfect some very imperfect people.”
Hebrews 10:14, The Message

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
1 Cor. 9:15 

The Seed House

corn

I grew up on a farm that raised seed corn. Across the road from our house there was a large building where the dried corn was sorted, bagged and stored. We called it “The Seed House”. On late fall evenings, my dad would go over there and bag corn. He would set a bag on the scale, open the shoot and let those golden kernels pour in, then sew the bag shut. Over and over and over.

trelay

Sometimes I went to the Seed House with my dad. I would watch him for a while, sitting on the ever growing stack of seed corn bags. Eventually, I would wander away to pretend that the warehouse was my castle, or my theater, or my business office. No matter where I went in my imagination, it always smelled of fresh corn and aged wood and good country air.

I don’t live on a farm in the country anymore.
I don’t plant seeds in fertile fields or harvest a corn crop.
I don’t bag kernels or stack bags or fill a warehouse.

But I have a Seed House.

img_6680

Years ago, I wistfully mentioned to PB that someday I’d like to have a tiny cabin in the woods. Nothing fancy — just a place to sit with my thoughts, put those thoughts into words and put those words onto paper.

PB doesn’t forget things like that.
He’s the kind of guy who loves to take a dream and make it come true.
He’s been making my dreams come true for years,
but he really outdid himself this time.

img_64961

IMG_6495

I hope the seed of an idea will germinate in my little cabin in the woods.

Like a good farmer, I will give that precious seed a safe place to land, cultivate it, make sure it has time to grow and hopefully, bring forth fruit.

img_66831.jpg

“For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer.” 2 Corinthians 9:10

My Three Moms

I used to dread Mother’s Day.

While most girls my age were making cards and picking flowers to give to their moms, I was visiting a cemetery. I only had a mom for thirteen years and then, she was gone. For the next ten years, Mother’s Day only reminded me of what I had lost.

IMG_5666

Becoming a mother at age 23 provided welcome relief when May rolled around. I could focus on the wonder and joy of having a sweet baby girl who called me “momma”. By the time my nest was full of boys and girls, time had brought some healing. I didn’t dread Mother’s Day anymore.

Watching my own girls enter the world of motherhood has been a dream come true. All four of my daughters are grace-filled, loving mothers. They are my new role models, my kindred spirits, my best friends. Mother’s Day is now a celebration of life.

Today, I salute three other women who stepped into the dual roles of sister and mother years ago on my behalf. Fortunately I wasn’t left to navigate grief, dating and growing up all alone. Although they were dealing with their own feelings of loss, I was grounded by the love and care of my sister and two sisters-in-law.

I spent hours at Peggy’s house. She always had a project going that interested me and served as a good distraction. Sewing, making jam, planting a garden. I could walk across the road and find an inviting household that comforted me and lightened my loneliness.

Robin eased the pressure I suddenly felt of cooking meals and doing household chores. She brought over Mom’s sweet rolls and Mom’s apple slices and Mom’s Christmas cookies. She took me on a girl’s weekend to shop and talk about boys. Her influence kept me on the right track.

Barbie helped me find joy. She had a way of injecting fun into the mundane and taught me how to belch. She also gave me a Living Bible with verses marked that she knew I would need. Her prayers lifted me up.

My sisters filled the gap.
I so am grateful for this trio of sisters/moms/friends.

Happy Mother’s Day!

mother

Two Beautiful Ladies

IMG_5583-1

Two beautiful ladies met today.

They are the bookends on either end of the family line.

Ninety years separate them.

Love fills in the space between matriarch and babe.

Great-Grandma peered in and marveled.

Ember wiggled and hiccuped.

Delightful.

It doesn’t matter that Ember is GiGi’s 21st great-grandchild.

It doesn’t matter that Ember slept through their first meeting.

They are two beautiful ladies.