Fathers and Others

It’s been an eventful weekend for me.

I spent the last three days caring for my brother as he recovers from surgery — or at least that was the plan. He ended up spending a bit longer in the hospital than expected, so my care-giving was redefined. While he was under the watchful eye of doctors and nurses, I cared for his home.

Cleaning House

My brother lives out in the country, about 40 miles away from us. So after I packed my bag, I did what any loving sister would do: I took a trip to Trader Joe’s! I bought some of our favorite snacks and some ingredients to prepare a few healthy meals for him. But when his hospital visit was extended, I decided to stay and enjoy this time alone as a bit of respite for myself.

Yesterday I cleaned his house from top to bottom, and even rearranged his living room to make better use of his space. (With his permission, of course.) In between vacuuming and dusting, I took frequent breaks to sit outside on the patio, swinging on the swing and listening to the birds. It was so peaceful!

In reality, my mind and body both benefitted from the cleaning. And the house looks pretty good too.

Stepping Into the Gap

We lost our father while we were both in our 20’s. It was a horrible blow, especially to Mom. But we clung together for support, and leaned on each other for strength over the years. My brother has been by our mother’s side for over 33 years, stepping in and taking care of what needed to be done. This was especially important when I moved to Virginia.

In so many ways, he took on my dad’s role. He helped with household repairs, financial decisions, and simple day-to-day tasks. And he never complained. Not once. And decades later, he packed up all their belongings and moved Mom closer to us so we could continue to support one another as her health declined.

While my brother is not a father himself, he became father-like in his role. I can never thank him enough. And if our mom had her memory back again, even for one brief moment, I know she would thank him too.

God blessed me with an earthly father, and I miss him so much today. But He also blessed me with a caring big brother to watch over our family when Dad was called home to heaven. Today I am grateful for both.

Happy Father’s Day!

Welcome Summer!

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. And like previous years, the weather in Northern Virginia has gone from chilly and rainy to hot and humid overnight. Pop-up afternoon thunderstorms are common and everyone is complaining about ants overtaking their homes. They are everywhere!

We kicked off the weekend by hosting a birthday party for our daughter and 25 of her closest friends. We’ll be eating potato salad, corn on the cob and watermelon for days! She has an amazing group of friends from her church, and they all had a great time eating, laughing and playing card games until midnight.

Garden Update

Today’s walk around the garden was fruitful, to say the least! The pea vines and pepper plants are covered with blossoms, and we already have tomatoes and squash on the vines. I picked two cucumbers and a bunch of radishes this afternoon. We’ll be harvesting beans and lettuce soon too.

But keeping your garden healthy is a season-long battle. We are already seeing signs of blight on our tomato and cucumber leaves. And it appears that have some hungry slugs munching on the radishes. Hopefully we caught both issues early on. We’ve learned that you always have to stay one step ahead of these gardening challenges or you may lose your precious produce!

You’ll notice that I labeled one photo “Mystery Tomato”. We are not exactly certain what variety it might be because it was a volunteer that came up towards the end of winter in a potted houseplant! We transplanted it into its own pot indoors, and it was the first tomato to go into the ground in the spring.

This week we said farewell to our beautiful peonies and we are picking the last of the spinach as it is beginning to bolt. But we have lilies ready to bloom, and my favorite Mexican Sunflowers are growing rapidly. Thankfully, there is always something ready to replace the plants that are dying off. It’s the horticultural circle of life.

We love having our vegetable and flower gardens. Nothing beats that freshness, when you walk outside and pick your own food, and then serve it the same day. That is farm-to-table at its finest!

 

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

Remember . . . Freedom is Never Free

On this Memorial Day weekend, I am feeling so very blessed for my home and family, and am humbled by the sacrifices that many brave men and women made to preserve my cherished freedoms. May we always remember the price they paid, and never take those freedoms for granted.