When my kiddo went to kindergarten, I missed him sooooo much that I had to have something to do. His school had a very wonderful nurse who needed help with the Free Store.
The Free Store was a place where people could drop off clothes donations. It was set up as a place where the kids at school were provided clothing, if they needed it and for local families if they needed items for foster children or really fast placements.
When I started volunteering there, the place was a mess. Eventually, I got it all sorted and cleaned out and up. Although it wasn’t a real store, it resembled one.
On certain days, volunteers brought kids who needed clothing over and they got to shop. You guys, they were so excited! Everything we had was used, but they didn’t care. Another volunteer and I had the clothes all sized and on hangers, so they could go right to their sizes.
One time the principal at one of the school buildings told me that some of those kids were SO happy that they got to go shopping! Kind of like we do when we go to the mall or a new clothing store.
Then, I found out that some of the kids had-never-been to a store with clothes in it. Not even to Walmart. My heart cracked into a million pieces.
So, what did I do?
I made them their own store, in their school building.
I took real round clothing racks in, size tags, shelves, hangers, and more. I set it up as a beach shop. I made a huge mural on the wall with brown paper, fish cut outs, and nets. With chalk, they could draw on it.
On the door, I made a sign, like they’d see at a real shop. Our “store” wasn’t for all kids, it was for kids who needed a little help or didn’t have any clothes or had never been shopping.
It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been apart of in my life.
Back at our other building, I had a list of kids ages, and when clothes were donated, I’d go through them and make clothes piles for the kids. That was really fun to pick out in-style clothes for them.
One day, someone donated a pair of little red tennis shoes. The old fashioned kind. Soooooo cute. I kept one to remind me why I volunteered to help those kids and I gave the other one to my friend.
I’d forgotten all about the school stuff until the other day. While I was looking for vintage potholders from eBay to put in my new booth, I saw the cutest thing!!!
How cool is that?! I had to have it!
Love when something suddenly brings back memories that warm the heart.
I’m standing in my dining room, looking out the window. It’s night and the way the kitchen light is angled, I can see things on the counter, even with my back to the kitchen. The cookie jar, bananas, apples, and chicken art are visible from here.
This afternoon, the front porch rails, bannisters, and I became friends. Some green muck tends to grow on them, creating layers of crusty looking junk. It may be caused by summer’s humidity, I suppose. Well, after walking by them for about the billionth time, I went inside and got a sponge.
An hour later, I had done some good work. My friend tells me that her gramma had a saying about work, that hard work is good work.
It sure is.
My other bit of good, hard work came from me moving a big, wooden bookcase from the garage to the dining room. It took up residence in the garage after we unloaded it from the moving truck four years ago. For whatever reason, it stayed there.
But, suddenly, in April, I wanted it in here! My momma passed away out of the blue on the last Sunday in March. I wanted it in here so I could see it every day and fill it with all the things she’s given me and my collectibles through the years.
That was seven months ago and never got moved inside…
My momma was a “get things done-er.” My dad worked a lot of hours supporting a family of six, so if she wanted/needed things done, She did it. If she didn’t know how, she learned.
Like my dad, my husband works a lot of hours supporting our family of three. I could’ve waited until he got home, but I thought I could do it myself.
I didn’t quite know how to get the bookcase in the house, so I just started. With a little ingenuity and some luck, that beautiful treasure holder is now in my dining room.
I spent the evening unpacking glassware, vases, Depression glass, leaves and acorns my boy gave me when he was five, and gifts from my momma.
They’ve been packed up in tubs for four years, too.
that my son and I got to visit her in August (she lives 11 hours away)
that she sent us a Halloween card 2 days ago
for Etsy!!!!! Etsy allows me to choose sweet gifts from some cool shops that I can send to Esther, just because- the last gift was soap in the shape of a bird
the tiny bit of rain we got that turned the leaves orange and red
getting to see our friends do their clogging dance at a festival tomorrow- they are SO good, it’s kind of like tap dancing but louder
hearing my husband’s fishing tales- he just got home from a trip to Florida
that even though my bowling scores were lower this week, I’m a little more comfortable bowling in front of teams now and I had fun
my dad is letting me use my momma’s bowling ball- last week when I used it, I cried, this week I didn’t cry!
My great aunt Esther and her daughter Patty lived together from 1979 to 2021 in a small lake town in Iowa, near Minnesota. They did lots of crafts and ceramics. Every holiday, they decorated their house with the things they made and bought.
Patty unexpectedly passed away on March 26, 2021. In May 2021, my son and I went up to see Esther for her birthday.
I hadn’t been to her house in many years. When I asked if she had an attic, she let me go up and look.
Up in the attic were all these boxes. Esther told me that if I wanted any, to take them because they were going to goodwill.
That made me wonder what was in them, so I started opening the lids! Holiday decorations! Some bought, some handmade.
We had our bikes in the back of my truck, so I jammed as many boxes as I could into the back seat. Always wishing I could’ve gotten more… but, we barely had room for our suitcases, ha ha.
Because winters are very harsh up there (like 20 degrees below zero), they gave away the rest of the stuff, Esther sold her house, and moved into a cozy assisted living home.
Now, when I open up those boxes to decorate for each holiday, I can smell her storybook house, sold over a year ago.
If we hadn’t been there for her 102nd birthday, we wouldn’t have any of her things.
Thank you for reading. I hope you are seeing miracles wherever you are. I’d love to hear about them if you are! Feel free to comment, if you’d like.
Two days ago, we were at Falling Springs, south of Winona, Missouri. I photographed the log cabin there, while thinking about what it must have been like so many years ago.
The road in now is curvy, hilly, and rocky. Can you imagine going there in a covered wagon or on horseback or on foot?
Building a house and a mill without a lumberyard or electric tools must have been some hard work. And then, getting the equipment there to run the mill? My goodness, I bet that took some doing!
One thing I love about the log cabin is the doorways.
Another cool thing I really love, is the windows.
This huge window is on the back wall. The spring and mill are out that window and to the left.
What a tremendous view from those windows it must have been. The cabin sits right near the water, with trees all around. It’s gorgeous going there now, so back then I bet it was really something to see.
Inside the mill~
Why are those photos a miracle to me? Because someone was able to get all of equipment up and running like 100 years ago, way back in the woods.
I’m a sappy mess when I leave my parent’s house. I’ve always been. I’ve cried nearly every time I’ve left their house for, well, most of my life. Wayyyyyy before my momma passed.
For years, they’d stand in the doorway or on the porch, waving and watching as I pulled away and I cried for miles.
This afternoon, my son and I will start making our way south and east. It’s 8 hours up here to my dad’s. We’re going to split the trip and stay overnight half way. Then, home tomorrow for bowling.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my home, too. I don’t mind going home, even. It’s just the leaving here that starts the waterworks.
If you’ve lost one parent, you may understand this need to want to see and be with the other one. It’s such a gift to be here. I thought I’d have my momma 20 more years. As they say, ‘time is not promised.’
For my miracles and gratitude today, I’m going to share my momma’s flowers. She LOVED flowers. All kinds- wildflowers, roses, irises, morning glories, and more.
Miracles and Gratitude Day 8:
I’m grateful for these past few days. There’s miracles all around.
Feel free to share your gratitude and miracles if you’d like. What I’m beginning to see is, the more days I do this, the more miracles show up.
Rarely do I sleep in. Today, I slept until 8:45 a.m.
We arrived at the hotel a bit ago. Tomorrow morning, we’ll finish the other half of the 8 hour drive to my dad’s.
improved bowling score!!!
I’ve been practicing my bowling stance and steps in my driveway. Last night at team league, I got a 90, 88, and 91!
You should’ve seen me jumping up and down when I saw that 90! So excited! A couple weeks ago, I got a 49! Big gains!
I’ve been having a lot of headaches lately. I think part of it is tied to my really old pillow. I splurged on a handmade wool pillow with the wool from Iowa. It came this morning. I hope it helps.
Oh my gosh, you guys. Last night at bowling, I had the coolest miracle happen to me! Someone asked ME if I wanted to be a substitute for a women’s league team. M-E. I get the lowest score every week and I GOT ASKED!! Confidence boost or what?!
What about your gratitudes and miracles? Have anything you’d like to share?
I’m posting late. Just got to the hotel a bit ago.