Thursday, October 22, 2009

Friends and Family

Sally and me... remind me not to wear
my tent shaped coat
the next time I take a picture!

I am so happy to be home. The trees in our yard are at peak color, our neighbor has begun using her wood burning stove so the aroma of woodsmoke meets us as we walk in our front yard, and the air is gently cool... after freezing our giblets in New England. It snowed all day on our final day there but more about that later.

Staying at the home of my daughter and son-in-law is as good as the best Bed & Breakfast. The food is incredible, their Master Bedroom is beautifully decorated and peaceful, there is an entire library of great books, Bleak House was playing on the DVD each evening... and let's not even begin to start talking about the grandchildren. :)

Scenes from a walk on the first weekend

There is so much to chat about that it will take a few days. Perhaps the best day was on Sunday when I finally got to meet Sally and Clay in person (not to mention Joel took the train over from Boston). I'd already adopted Sarah as another daughter since she flew in on Thursday. She is truly one of the most remarkable young women I have ever met.

I was disappointed waking up on Sunday morning to fairly heavy rainfall. Little did any of us know that the rain would turn into snow! That meant we would not be able to travel to Old Sturbridge Village... sigh. I love that place. However, that turned out to be a good thing as we spent an entire afternoon and evening chatting and eating and eating and chatting (did I mention Stephanie cooked a lot last week?). Of course there was coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.

After knowing someone online for awhile, there is always a nervousness about meeting them in person. Would they like me in person? I believe the actual meeting of the two families was far above what we had hoped. My husband and I talked a lot about how much fun we had on Sunday. We so enjoyed Sally and Clay and after meeting two of their kids... we know whatever they write about certainly works. :)

One of the most amazing memories Stephanie, Sally, and I will take away with us must be the drive through the small New England town where our kids live as multiple large, fluffy flakes of snow were falling gently on the colorful trees and vintage New England homes.

It truly was as if we were caught in a moment a couple hundred years ago when two seasons came together in the quaint town (overlooking the automobile, of course). If it were not for the rusts, golds, yellows, and deep crimson leaves... I would have expected to view Christmas tree lights through the windows as the falling snow was more often found on Christmas Eve rather than October.

Elisabeth sat in the back seat with me since I had already visited the town before and wanted Sally to have a perfect view of it all. It also gave me a nice excuse to hold Miss E.'s hand as she was a little under the weather. That evening ride was full of Narnia magic. Along with the food and beauty and fellowship of the rest of the day... what remarkable memories were made.

Perhaps the funniest part of our entire week and a half was when we were on this drive and Stephanie decided to stop by her friend's house... the one who so loves Sally's books... without calling ahead. The look on her face when the four of us walked in her lovely home was priceless.

After church the first Sunday.

I mentioned Bleak House earlier, that turned out to be quite unexpected as Stephanie had taken it from the library for the two of us to watch and it was her father who became hooked on it! (We must bring home the rest of the series from our own library.)

I watched the first night and really liked it but found myself each evening after that reading (fast) three John Piper books and another by an author whose name escapes me right now... becoming spiritually fed by good teaching while I had access to their library. :)

I'll write more about the rest of the trip later. Stephanie and I were talking before her Dad and I left Monday morning that it had been worth all the effort and money spent (by she and her hubby) and the long days of travel by us. They paid completely for all of our travel expenses as well as the two nights at the Bed & Breakfast in Western Ohio.

We pray for them that they be blessed as they have blessed us. We live on a very small income so being able to go out to tea and coffee or stopping at the Cracker Barrel on the way home was so appreciated. :)

The trip was amazing but it is good to be back, once again typing away while a chicken is baking in the oven (for dinner immediately and soup tomorrow). Matthew was asking why we had to go home and I told him Uncle Christopher needed his mommy... he understood completely.

There is still time to leave comments about favorite books and media, I will not be able to even start assembling all of it into one post until this weekend (at earliest).


Heather L. said...

Your post made me so happy! What a wonderful trip you had. I'm just so glad you have all those good memories and special times.

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous trip it must have been...the photos evidence that and to have such a fun time with your daughter and family too!! Such generous kids they are and that too is such a blessing!! Glad you got to go and are now home safe again. (Anytime you are safe on the road is a gift!!)

Looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

Mrs.Rabe said...


What a precious time you had.

I love how you have an appreciation for simple things, and you express your gratefulness for them.

Can't wait to hear more!

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds so very lovely! Beautiful pictures. Glad you had such a great time.
Can't wait to read more.

Welcome home!

~ Kelly Lynn in Texas

carla said...

New England is so beautiful in the fall. The trip sounds wonderful.

If I were to envy any of it, it would be the drinking tea and coffee and chatting...however, a house stocked with books sounds great..going to church with family is precious...seeing the big snowflakes...but the best is being family. All of those things would've been nice by themselves, but with family they become a gift.

Please tell your husband that I read the book "Bleak House" after watching a few episodes on TV a couple of years ago. It was the first Dickens book I ever finished and it was great. As much as I liked the video, the book was actually better, especially towards the end.

Sharon said...

Brenda!So glad you are back!!Welcome home!!What a lovely trip that must have been and those pictures are just fantastic!!!I missed you while you were gone.Love ya~Sharon

Kimberly said...

How fun! Wish I could have joined in with the rest of the family. :) What a delightful time. You look DARLING in the picture-both of you. I wish I could give you each a hug and brew a pot of tea for us all to enjoy.
Which Bleak House was it? We have the old A&E one, but the newer version looks so good. I love Dickens, don't you?

Sarah said...

I am honored to now have dual familyship. I'm going to have to visit your house soon to make it official. :) I loved every bit of my time with you. There really are kindred spirits in the world after all.

scrappy quilter said...

I'm so happy for you that you have a wonderful trip visiting family. Nice to see you back.

The pictures are wonderful especially the first one!! Hugs..

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed your visit here in NE! Those fluffy flakes found their way to our house as well on Sunday. We are left wondering what type of winter it will be! I was thinking of you and the Clarksons, especially on Saturday when Sally spoke at the ISI conference. I'd love to hear a little bit about that if you get time. I'm sure it feels good to be back home! Blessings.

Irina said...


Sounds like you had such a grand time! It was so nice meeting you also at the ISI conference - it's funny how you and Stephanie sort of "ran into me and my stroller" during the second general session. It was a wonderful and inspiring conference wasn't it?

Looking forward to more pictures and stories from your fun trip.


Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

This post has made my heart (which is so heavy and weary right now) absolutely soar!!!!

Tearfully thankful that you and your family were so richly blessed.
Thank you LORD for loving us so.

Tracey McBride said...

Brenda, what lovely, lovely photos of what sounds to have been a lovely visit. Thank you so much sharing it with us.
P.S. Thanks also for the tip on "Bleak House"!

Anonymous said...

Your visit sounds simply enchanting! How I would have loved to be there. Hearing you speak so highly of Sally and her books makes me want to rush out and buy them. I am so happy for you that God blessed you with a wonderfully refreshing trip. Rest up and share the joy with those of us chewing our nails waiting to hear more. I love to read of your travels and all things you share. My heart wanes to move to New England-simply for all the snow and beautiful scenery.

Jeanie in KY

Sally Clarkson said...

Sweet, Wonderful Brenda,
Seems like a long ago memory when we met. How fun for me to have the sweet memories of our families laughing, discussing, eating and eating and eating---what excellent food. I knew from long ago that I would love you as much in person as in blogs. Your heart and faithfulness and perseverance and bringing beauty to your life and so many others in the midst of it--are such a great model for me. I can't wait to put our story online--after I get to the announcement I was supposed to get to 2 weeks ago about the mom's conferences. Just got home last night in a snow storm and catching up--but with sweet memories in my heart. Good resting to you this week.

Anonymous said...

WOW...I just realized WHO Tracy McBride is...I have had her book beside my bedside to read in over and over for a long time now!! A great book to have, by the way!! In the paring down stages of life, it has remained with me.


matty said...

Welcome home, traveller! What a wonderful trip you had! You look radiant in the picture (as does Sally!). Glad you got to go and very excited about the baby news as well!

Can't wait to hear more about your time in one of my favorite places!

Rest and take care of yourself!


Rain said...

Welcome home! I'm so glad you had such a lovely trip. What a precious family you have. And how blessed you are to have the Clarksons for a second family.

Becky K. said...

I thought of you when I saw Sally on the news a few days ago. I think it was Fox News that had her on.

I am so glad your meeting went well. I have enjoyed her DVDs and books.

You were surprised at the snow...imagine our cousins up from Florida for a few days. They were in the mountains at a cabin and got four inches of the white fluffy stuff. The newest in-law cousin had never seen snow before. So they were quite happy.

I am so happy for you and your lovely visit with family and friends.

Becky K.

Storybook Woods said...

You got to meet Sally, ooh I am soo thrilled for you. I have admired Sally for years and she has helped me is sooo many ways. Clarice