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Elsa turned two last week. It’s a bit sobering to see pictures from a mere 365 days ago and notice how quickly she went from being a baby to a little toddler. I’m not yet ready to call her a little girl. Her current interests revolve around water bottles, babies, pools, and cows. Kyle taught her how to pick me flowers and whenever we go outside to play she finds one of those white clover flowers and gives it to me. She continues to be mostly full of laughs and smiles, and whenever she hears music, El will immediately begin to dance. She is so, so loved.

On my mind quite a bit lately has been the type of home I want for Elsa and the influence of these early years on her entire life. In June, I read The Unselfishness of God by Hannah Whitall Smith, and the way she spoke of her parents is the way I pray our El will one day speak of me and Kyle. In the book, before Hannah Smith tells of her coming to faith in Christ, she says:

"It is of the processes leading to this discovery by my own soul that I want to tell. But in order to do this I must begin with the earliest influences of my life, for I am convinced that my knowledge of my Heavenly Father began first of all in my knowledge of my earthy father and mother, who were, I feel sure, the most delightful father and mother any child ever had. Having known them and their goodness, it was only reasonable for me to believe that my Heavenly Father, who had made them, must be at least as good as the earthly father and mother He had made; and no story of my soul would be complete without beginning with them." 

A chief concern of my life is for Elsa to love the Lord her God with all her heart, her mind, her strength and her soul. And so I must ask myself: “Does she see a mother who does the same?” Susan Schaeffer Macaulay speaks of her mother in her book For the Family’s Sake (The Value of Home in Everyone’s Life). “My mother often sang songs of gladness about the goodness of Jesus as she worked around the kitchen. I could see He made her glad.” Is Elsa seeing a mother Jesus makes glad? I want His joy naturally displayed to our children every day inside of our home. And the day we see He really does make our children glad will be nothing short of divine. 

Happy Birthday our dear girl! You have made our lives far richer.

Masters of Their Craft // The Masons: Restaurateurs

The latest interview for Masters of Their Craft was with Taylor and Leeann Mason of Ma(i)son. I find how they build their entire restaurant around their philosophy of food fascinating. They sure have thought through every aspect of what they do—whether it is the food they serve, the manner of preparing it, or the way they show hospitality. Read the article, see all the lovely photos Char captured, and be inspired by this couple who founded one of the most beloved restaurants in Lancaster, PA.

There is no greater need today than the freedom to lay down the heavy burden of getting ahead.

do you know the wonderful new freedom this simplicity brings?…We do not have to be liked. We do not have to succeed. We can enjoy obscurity as easily as fame.

RIchard Foster, Freedom of Simplicity

Ah, Mr. Foster, your words do have a way of stirring the soul.

If you live in south Central PA, join us for the closet sale at the studio on Tuesday, September 9th. Lots of fall items—jackets, boots, scarves, sweaters, pants and an assortment of household items as well. It’s a fun night. Please stop by! For more info, click here.

The fair

Elsa’s smile on this picture makes me so happy.

We need to lift high the biblical doctrine of creation today, particularly our own creatureliness. We are not the captains of our souls nor the masters of our fates. We are part of the created order and hence totally dependent. Our posture is not one of arrogant acquisition, but of simple trust. What we have or ever will have comes from his gracious hand.
Richard Foster in Freedom of Simplicity.
Peach Fest 2014

If you live in south central PA and are free this Saturday, we’d love to have you join us for our annual Peach Fest. The night before, I always have trouble sleeping—it’s like the night before Christmas for me or a vacation. I look forward to seeing who comes and what we sell, and I also have details to remember for the next day racing through my mind that I don’t want to forget. This is the first year I feel a bit nervous. I’m not sure how I will be able to keep up with all the flurry of activity. I still don’t have my full energy back, so I’m hoping the day goes smoothly and for a little lunch break. Most years we don’t get to break for lunch, and we don’t get to eat the peach crisp since it always sells out. 

My next couple of days will look like this…

Friday—peel peaches from 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m., make peach crisp from 1:30 p.m.-the evening

Saturday—arrive at the orchard at 7 a.m. for set up and work until the crowd disperses around 3 p.m.

It’s a lot of work, but these are some of my favorite days of the year. We love being able to open up the orchard to a crowd of people and allow them to enjoy some time in the country. And we couldn’t do this without some amazing friends and family who volunteer to help us! Hope to see you Saturday!

The older I grow the more clearly I perceive the dignity and winning beauty of simplicity in thought, conduct, and speech: a desire to simplify all that is complicated and to treat everything with the greatest naturalness and clarity.
Pope John XXIII
beach 2014

Last month we spent some time in Ocean City, NJ. It was one of my favorite family vacations there, and I’ve taken quite a few! Maybe because of watching the cousins enjoying playing together even more now that they are older or maybe just seeing our family grow and still take time to vacation together, it just makes me happy. Plus any time Kyle has a few days off to spend with us is a treat! We took bike rides, runs, long walks, ate ice cream, and spent a lot of time in the pool water (Elsa was not a fan of sand or ocean water!).

Big Sister

This has been what much of our summer has looked like. Resting on the sofa for me with El either looking out the window, laying on me, or emptying every single toy out of her bins and onto the floor. Being pregnant is no joke. First trimesters are just plain hard for me. Lots of peculiar cravings and queasiness and more fatigue than I’ve realized possible. But now that the 1st trimester is finished, I’m hoping for lots of energy to match Elsa’s! Last night, Kyle asked me why a dripping, wet sock of his was on the top of our bureau. At first I was puzzled, but then I told him I know of only one person in our house who has an affinity for sticking items in the toilet. We both just had to laugh. I can only imagine the shenanigans that will result when El has a little brother or sister join her.