A Beautiful Life

my husband hanging a self-built bat house on the side of our deck, for temporary testing and observation

a daughter making raw carrot cupcakes, carrots never tasted so good

another daughter dropping a kiss on my cheek for no reason

teen brothers working in the kitchen, washing and cutting potatoes, dropping them into a large pot for boiling

all 6 of us around the table holding hands, praying Grandpa’s prayer “Thank you God. Amen.”

while at the table, *reading aloud about Enneagram number 1 (The Perfectionist), kids laughing, giving me knowing looks as I describe a One coming unglued over an inappropriately loaded dishwasher.  I am not a Perfectionist, but haphazard dishwasher loading will make me sigh, or quietly curse, or grump.

After supper, I see . . .

a son pushing the lawnmower while another son weedeats

a daughter coming outside, asking “Are you having fun planting your trolls, Mama?  Do you need any help?”  I give her the shovel, she digs while I drop in small celosia — deep red, fuchsia, orange, yellow

air dimming, colors and shapes muting

“Look at the sky, Mama,” a peach brushstroke against fading baby blue

fireflies drift, bats dart, we stand under the bat house, looking up, hoping

“I’ve heard that when bats come home to roost . . .” Sid says, sounding like a wise man uttering prophecy, “a whole bunch of them swoop to the bat house at once, all of them trying to fit inside that small hole.”  We laugh, imagining the sight and sound of bats pummeling the little wood house, like a Looney Tunes cartoon.  We stand there a little longer, looking up, hoping

Later, heading toward bed, I see . . .

my 3 teenagers and 1 almost teen, sitting around the kitchen table, chatting, laughing, the girls painting old turtle shells found in the woods, doing nothing really but enjoying being together, each loving the company of the other



This writing is my turning around, changing the way I see the world, pulling my heart from the pit of dread and despair (just call me Eeyore), and focusing on the Good.

Inspired by Erin’s post Small Step No. 17:  Say What You See at Design for Mankind


* The Road Back to You:  An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery, Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile


9 thoughts on “A Beautiful Life

  1. Dearest Tina et al, Thank you so much for the wonderful beef. I am so grateful to have some good, non store bought meet in the freezer to start off the summer! I really appreciate you so much. Thank you for your Prairie Sings blog and for sharing it with me. I love your family and the insight that each of you has into life and how to live it well. Thank you for your smile, when you watch your children’s lessons and take notes. Thank you for your patience with me. You would have gotten a good laugh when Lincoln put me sound asleep with his beautiful Swan this week. Thank you for allowing me the honor of teaching Lincoln. He is an amazing young man with such insight and talent.. Thank you for trusting me to teach Prairie. Her tone has blossomed and she is becoming quite an accomplished violinist.

    Thank you mostly for sharing your beautiful family with me and enriching my life with yours. You all mean a lot to this crazy Suzuki teacher.

    1. Nan, what a sweet surprise to read your reply this morning from my hospital bed. I had an emergency appendectomy late last night, but am back home and recovering now.

      Lincoln loves telling the story of you falling asleep. In fact, he is at this very moment telling my mom who is visiting and giggling. I think he is charmed and knows that your devotion to teaching and serving until you are physically used up is love.

      So glad you are happy about the meat. You are well loved and appreciated by the Gaskins family as well.


  2. Ooops, sent too early.

    Just adding, thank you for being the positive nurturer of all. You are an amazing woman and your positive nature spreads to everyone you contact. Your children and family are a true testament to your beautiful heart. Thank you for everything, Love to all, Nan

    1. Cindy
      You are sounding quite poetic yourself. Perhaps you should start posting pictures of that pretty grandbaby to FB and writing little poetics under that. She is an inspiring little face.

      Thank you for your love and encouragment. It was particularly appreciated today while stuck in a hospital bed.

  3. (((((Tina))))) I had an open appendectomy when I was 7mos with Hazel, so I know it’s NO FUN! Bless you, friend! I’m glad you are recovering under such great care.

    I am LOVING reading aobut your bat house! I’ve always wanted one… Please take some pics! ❤ Love you!

    1. Oh, dear. Talk about adding insult to injury. Sandi, i can’t imagine being pregnant and dealing with surgery recovery too.

      1. I have been perusing your blog from the most recent post to this one, and it has been just what I needed today. Especially this post, again! HA! I happen to be a 9, btw, but I only know because of our Allen. He is also a 9 with another number that skews things pretty weirdly. I will have to read that book! I also will try writing what I see for a time… Thank you.

  4. Hi Sandy. I am truly honored that you would “peruse” anything I write. I really enjoy the Typology podcast Ian Cron does on the rare times I get to listen to it. Learning the Enneagram is kind of a slow process, but I find it intensely interesting and it works to make one more observant overall, of your own self and interactions with others. So for me, it is kind of like continually unwrapping a mystery and making new little discoveries.

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