Thursday, September 17, 2009

I just realised that I hadn't put these pictures up on the blog. They are from the day we hiked up to Graveyard fields to pick blueberries. We went up there when we were kids each year and it brought back such vivid sweet memories of those times. The berries were quite "picked through" but we still were able to find a couple of buckets worth. Annabelle got a little tired after an hour or two so Mom took her on home and Dad and I hiked down to the falls with the boys.

The water was cold, to put it mildly, but the boys couldn't resist getting in for a little swim.

I stayed close to Adam because he gets excited and starts laughing so hard that he can't swim very well.
The boys wanted me to swim so I jumped in with them a few times. They were impressed.
Dad thought I was crazy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I have always loved folky-mountainy-roots type music. When I began playing the guitar a few years ago, I was especially drawn towards old time music. The chords are easy, my voice sounds best in that genre, but more than that, I honestly can feel it in my blood when I sing and play those old mountain songs or hymns.

That is because it really is in my blood. Both sets of my grandparents and their grandparents grew up in these mountains and sang many of those songs that have been passed down through the generations. I was reminded of that yesterday when Dad and I took my kids and Lanie and Lucie to The Ball family reunion. Granny had called me to ask if I would please bring my guitar and sing and, of course, I heartily agreed. I sang..... and that was fine and all, but what followed was one of the most precious hours of my life. My great Aunt Vinnie stood up and sang this long mountain ballad for us. The sweet lady is 86 years old and although she had to ask me more than twice who I was, she sang about 8 or 9 verses of a song that her Moma had sang to her her as a child. The best part was watching my Granny (her sister) standing behind her beaming and mouthing every words right along with her. I played and we all sang I'll Fly Away next which everyone joined in on. The next thing we knew, one of Dad's cousin had gone in and brought out some hymnals for us all. Aunt Carolyn led us in singing some know the ones that you haven't sang in years but they come right back to you as soon as you hear the first line. I can't even put it into words how beautiful it was to be way up in those mountains singing with my Granny, her sister, and and brothers, and some of their kids.

I asked Aunt Vinnie to please sing her song again so I could record it. Have you ever seen the movie Songcatcher? which is a beautiful story of a professor of musicology lady who finds a treasure trove of ancient Scots-Irish ballads, songs that have been handed down every generation, preserved intact by the seclusion of the mountains. If you haven't, go rent it tonight.

This is all my Daddy's mom's side of the family. My brother, Jonathan, spent the summer working with Pawpaw and they got into a bunch of genealogy research together on that side of the family. Pawpaw gave Jonathan a lot of our great grandfather's writings, musings, and other stuff. His name was Clyde Roscoe Bartlett and he was an amazing man. Pawpaw and Jonathan went down to the cemetery to try to piece some of the family history dates together.

On our ride home, Daddy and I talked about how much the day had meant to us. We are planning a time for us to go back out there with the sole purpose of having that generation sit down tell us some of their stories and memories. The Ball family is a lively group of people who have seen hard times and have some wild stories to tell. My boys would love to hear of their adventures. I want them to hear about their adventures. My hope is to possibly record and then write the stories out along with Dad, Jonathan, and Lorie so they are not lost forever and can be passed down to my grandchildren in time.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


The boys have become official Cub scouts as of last Tuesday. Seth took them to the first meeting and all three of them were beaming when they got home that night. Wrestling, pledges, well-disciplined and organised, push-ups for misbehavior, and camping trips was some of what I have gathered from our conversations this week. They are all quite excited.

I took them to get their uniforms Tuesday and they haven't wanted to take them off yet without serious coaxing on my end. I was a little worried about Caleb not wanting to tuck his shirt in, but it has not been an issue, which is pretty astonishing. We got the patches on the shirts and have been working on the pledges and assignments diligently. This week we are supposed to learn about a state other than NC and make a little project to present tot he pack. The boys chose Georgia and Hawaii.....I will try to post a picture when we are done. Her is their promise:

Cub Scout Promise

I, (name), promise to do my best

To do my duty to God and my country,

To help other people, and

To obey the Law of the Pack.

We are also starting back to Wednesday afternoon Kids camp at church. I am looking forward to a little break on those evenings because a friend and I are going to alternate watching our little ones on the playground while the other runs errands.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I read this to the boys last night int he 2nd chapter of Little Town on the Prairie. It brought me to tears. Such truth!

Mary had always been good. Sometimes she had been so good that Laura could hardly bear it. But now she seemed different. Once Laura asked her about it.
"You used to try all the time to be good.", Laura said. "And you always were good. It made me so mad sometimes, I wanted to slap you. But now you are good without even trying."
Mary stopped still. "Oh Laura, how awful!" Do you ever want to slap me now?"
"No, never," Laura answered honestly.
"You honestly don't? You aren't just being gentle to me because I am blind?"
"No! Really and Honestly, no, Mary. I hardly think about your being blind. I-I'm just glad you're my sister. I wish I could be like you. But I guess I never can be," Laura sighed. "I don't know how you can be so good."
"I am not really," Mary told her. "I do try, but if you could see how rebellious and mean I feel sometimes, if you could see what I really am, inside, you wouldn't want to be like me."
"I can see what you are like inside," Laura contradicted. "it shows all of the time. You are always perfectly patient and never the least bit mean."
"I know why you wanted to slap me," Mary said. "It was because I was showing off. I wasn't really wanting to be good. I was showing off to myself, what a good little girl I was, and being vain and proud, and I deserved to be slapped for it."
Laura was shocked. Then suddenly she felt that she had known that, all the time. But, nevertheless, it was not true of Mary. She said,"Oh no, you're not like that, not really. You ARE good."
"We are desperately wicked and inclined to evil as the sparks fly upwards," said Mary, using the Bible words. "But that doesn't matter."
"WHAT!" cried Laura.
"I mean I don't believe we ought to think so much about ourselves, about whether we are bad or good," Mary explained.
"But my goodness! How can anyone be good without thinking about it?" Laura demanded.
"I don't know, I guess we couldn't" Mary admitted. "I don't know how to say what I mean very well. But-it isn't so much thinking as-as just knowing. Just being sure of the goodness of God."
Laura stood still, and so did Mary, because she dared not step without Laura's arm guiding her. There Mary stood in the midst of the green and flowery miles of grass rippling in the wind, under the great blue sky and white clouds sailing, and she could not see. Everyone knows that God is good. But it seemed to Laura that Mary must be sure of it in some special way.
"You are sure, aren't you?" Laura said.
"Yes, I am sure of it now all of the time," Mary answered. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside still waters. I think that it the lovliest Psalm of all. Why are we stopping here? I don't smell the violets."

"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest."
— C.S. Lewis

"A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight."
Robertson Davies

Monday, September 7, 2009

We went up to Graveyard fields yesterday to hike and pick blueberries and my Aunt Teresa came along with us. Being with her reminded me of how I haven't blogged in about a month. She lives on the coast of NC and says when she misses her mountains or feels homesick, she reads the blog for comfort. And that was the first and foremost reason that I started to blog.....for my out-of-town friends and family.

and to keep a journal/scrapbook.
and because I have a lot to say at times.
and because I like to read other blogs so much.

So there you have it. I am back on board and will spend less time on facebook and more time blogging in the months to come.

Here is the latest on the kiddos:


8 years old, snaggle-toothed with all 4 top front teeth in different growing stages, loves riding bikes, ripsticks, scooters, or anything with wheels, passionate about legos and playmobiles, as outgoing and friendly as ever, has a love-hate relationship with baths, pickiest eater EVER (lives on air mostly), better in math than reading, despises handwriting, LOVES a good story at the end of the day and would listen to me read for hours on end, still pretty darn emotional, dotes on Annabelle endlessly (so much that I have to stop him from spoiling her)

It seems to be the story of Adams life for me to say ditto to a lot of what I wrote for Caleb, but you know, it is alright. I think it builds character in a way (the earlier we learn that it is not all about me, the better) So ditto on the Legos, wheels, and playmobiles. He will be 7 years old in a few weeks and has requested all Legos as gifts. Adam continues to be the easy-kid and merely goes with our flow around here. He is doing pretty well in school---same as Caleb as far as likes and dislikes though his handwriting is so very much better than his older brothers. I have found that telling him that I really don't care how neat it is, as long as it is done, works wonders and produces less tears and YES, just as neat work.

Then there is Annabelle. My oh my, she is almost 3 and proving that the terrible 2's can come on later in children and may last into the third year (this is what my Mom has warned me about). She loves all things girly from lip gloss to dolls to high heels, but it usually just as dirty as the boys. We have an ongoing battle each day with clothes. (FYI: it is not as easy as it may seem if you have never raised a finicky girl) She has a love/hate relationship with shoes and prefers to be barefooted when going out yet spends hours trying on and changing shoes in her room. Her best friend is still her cousin Lucie and they scream with delight when they see one another which is pretty much every day. She is a psycho irrational little thing when tired or hungry but sweet as pie when rested and fed. Let me see, what else..... she dislikes water and being wet.

And she is as smart as a whip.