hellomarylou

Inklings from within


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September So Far

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It’s a funny feeling being back here, writing again, on this long forsaken internet island. It feels strange, but good as well. Like coming home.
I think to un-clog the pipes I need to do a quick rundown of the events of the year so far.
Here goes.
January: In January we bade farewell to my eldest sister and her family as they moved to Thailand for 3 years, maybe longer. It was painfully bittersweet…..we are thrilled for the opportunities God is leading them into but simultaneously feel the distance of all that earth between us. David and I adopted their Golden Retriever, Keiko, when they moved and she has been a JOY. In January we also said our final earthly goodbyes to my aunt Mary who passed away after battling cancer. She was an amazing example of generosity and love to so many people, and she is greatly missed by all of us.

February/March: We finally moved into a rental house next door to my mom’s after waiting for months for it to open up. The weeks flew by with painting and unpacking and organizing but wow…it was so nice to be out in the country at last after living in a small, congested town for the past 6 years. We love it here so much, and not just because I can raid Mom’s kitchen whenever I run out of something. We love the setting we’re in with its beautiful farmland views, and the back roads and the deer in the fields….I could keep going. In February Keiko had to have surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from the base of her tail. Poor dog, I’m not sure who hated the e-collar more, her or me.

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April: In April, my sister, cousin, and myself spent a few days in Maryland at our uncle’s place. We were helping him sort through some of aunt Mary’s peripheral belongings. It was a bittersweet time with our dear uncle who is clinging valiantly to the goodness of God.
David and I spent a weekend on the eastern shore in April. We visited Assateague Island and saw the wild ponies, (should I have been more amazed by them? I felt strangely underwhelmed) we spent a few hours in Berlin, Maryland, an adorable small town where the movie Runaway Bride was filmed, and walked the boardwalk in Ocean City. But by far our favorite times were spent around the campfire in front of the little cabin we rented in Frontier Town, a western themed campground. Frontier Town would be a blast for kids but we enjoyed it too….even though we mostly were just there for the campsite.

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May: Ah, May was a blur. I remember someone saying, “Hey, Keiko looks fat,” and two weeks later she had five puppies. That was a happy, but unplanned surprise. Two days after she had her puppies 4 of my nieces and nephews came to stay with us for a few weeks. (Their family was in the process of adopting a baby who was born prematurely and their momma had to spend lots of time at the hospital) The kiddos roamed freely between my ours and my mom’s house, playing football with David, holding puppies, planning elaborate tea parties, and just in general living on the love of a grandma and aunts and uncles who live too far away. Also, they are hard workers, and helped complete more than one project around here!

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June: June was strawberries and good food and campfires and growing puppies and lazy days on a blanket on the lawn and one adorably cheeky niece we’re lucky enough to have live close by.

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July: Hmm……..I can’t remember, was it June or July when we had thunderstorms almost every day for a week or two? Poor Keiko, she is terrified of storms and tries desperately to hide out inside the house at the slightest sound of thunder. In July the puppies all found new homes….it was hard, yet good to say goodbye. July also included a family reunion and an impromptu-one-hard-days-work-of-filming-and-editing (on an iphone, ha!) birthday movie for a niece in Thailand. It was a lot of work for a few minutes of silliness but we made some good memories.

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August: Along came August and David and I spent the first long weekend in Niagra. The falls are beautiful and worth the trip to see but the rest of the the town itself doesn’t have a lot to offer. We drove north to Niagra on the Lake and I was ecstatic to find this beautiful little town sitting on the shores of Lake Ontario. David was making friends with all the other husbands who moved from one street bench to the next as their wives popped in and out of one little shop after another. I mostly window shopped but it was fun. It’s interesting how EVERY shop has scarves, and scarves, and more scarves. Will this trend ever end? One can only hope. Lake Ontario itself is the most beautiful deep blue…gorgeous. In August I helped mom and my sisters put lots of corn in the freezer. We borrowed an Amish neighbor’s outdoor cooker and fell in love with it. It’s something I definitely want to invest in for next year.

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September{so far}: David was gone half of last week on a business trip and while he was gone I got Keiko fixed. No more babies for her. I don’t know how people can raise puppies and get rid of them, over and over. The single most stressful part of it is finding people to take/buy/adopt them. I was fortunate enough to personally know all the people that took puppies in July but I do not want to bet on that again. So yes….barring some miracle, Keiko’s child bearing days are over.
For some, those days are just beginning. On Sunday we celebrated the new life coming to my brother and his wife at their baby shower. November is not far away any more you two!

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So that catches me up! Here’s to not letting time go by so swiftly any more…if only.

Happy fall y’all!


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The Girl from Positano

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There is a girl who lives way up on the hill in the little sea-side town of Positano, Italy, who dreams great dreams of traveling. There are so many places she wants to see and experience- South America, Africa, India, the list could go on and on. But if you were to climb all the way up to the top of the list of all the places she wants to see, there in first place, you would see “The United States of America.” Not Australia or its outback, not the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, not the sweeping, ancient views of China’s great wall, but the United States of America.
How could she ever choose her sight-seeing priorities in the USA? There are the city-scapes of New York City and Chicago she wants to see; she wants to feel small next to the Rockies, hike in the Smokies, feel the Californian sunshine, and have her breath taken away by the Grand Canyon. Maybe she’ll enjoy a hot dog and a beer at Fenway Park, maybe go to a Bon Jovi concert. She wants to soak up the beauty of autumn in New England and kayak in Glacier National Park. There’s Philadelphia and Miami, and Disney World, and San Antonio and Portland. She wants to see it all, but there is a place she’s determined to see most of all.
She leans against the railing on her sun drenched balcony, fixes her gaze on the horizon and then closes her eyes and pictures her dream destination.

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Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She can almost feel the warm, country air beckoning her, inviting her to dig her toes into the rich soil. She’d roll down the windows of her rental car and let the pungent breezes blow through her hair as she leisurely makes her away back and forth across the county. Maybe she’ll stop at a farm stand and get some home-grown produce. Maybe a whoopie pie. Or a homemade root beer. “It’ll be bliss,” she thinks to herself, “pure bliss.” She’ll marvel at the amazing color green of the young tobacco fields she’s passing by, a color she’s never quite seen before. And the corn, everywhere she looks, there’ll be acres of it, all in straight lines and reaching ever more rapidly towards the sun. She breathes deeply, the smell here, something she’s never quite experienced either, but she knows it must just be what country air smells like, and she’s determined to like it. And at night as she falls asleep the rhythmic clip-clop of the Amish buggies rolling by will be the sweetest lullaby she’s ever heard.
“Maria.” She is awakened suddenly from her reverie there on the balcony by the touch of her sister’s hand on her elbow. “Maria, it’s time to go, we’re already late.” She sighs, pulls her scarf around her shoulders against the evening chill, and follows her sister. Lancaster County has been there for many years, most likely it will continue to exist for a while longer. She can wait.