almost two months

How do I say it? What do I even say? If I don’t say anything for awhile, then I don’t have to acknowledge it, which I think will make me feel better. I’m not sure.

On the late afternoon of Monday, December 7th, my Dad called three times in a row. It was strange, but neither my dad nor my mom left messages. I had been sick for a couple of weeks and had now completely lost my voice, so I texted him that I had no voice. I’d been texting earlier with my mom, and she knew this.

My dad texted back.

“Mom has gone with the Lord. I am sorry for you, for me, and especially for Samuel.”

(Samuel is my brother who has been living in a home with kids with special needs for the last several years.)


It has been hard. I know that we don’t grieve without hope, but we do deeply grieve. The Christian’s life on earth is only a preface for the true life that’s eternal in paradise. It wasn’t that my mom got cut off from a ‘good life’, nor was she taken unfairly compared to others who maybe should have gone before. She didn’t miss out on the grandchildren growing up. She didn’t get taken too soon. My mom is in glory forever doing what she was made to do – worship. The sole purpose for which we are called and created is to bring God the most glory. She has already reached the eternal rest where she adores Him with a pure heart and a pure mind – sinless.


I immediately called my dad when I read the first sentence of his text. At first hearing the news, I could only say, “No, no, no. It can’t be. It can’t be.” She had texted me just an hour or so before. My dad called after the paramedics had worked on her for a half an hour. She had a massive heart attack. Resting on the sofa with my dad next to her, she said that she thought she felt lightheaded. He took her blood pressure, and she wrote it down. It was the same as it had been in the previous weeks, so they weren’t alarmed. Then she said, “I’m dizzy.”

She was gone.

I can’t ever remember sobbing so painfully. “Be merciful to us. Make the path straight for dad. Provide the comfort to our souls as only you can. Your Almighty power alone can care for Samuel. Please, Father. You are good.” Prayer after prayer of supplication were my only thoughts.

Nathan looked for tickets for us the rest of the night, and although COVID made for a cumbersome trip, we were able to go to Spain. Alexander, Eva, and I arrived in time to see my mom at the funeral home. Oh how very grateful I am for this opportunity! Nothing ached more than the thought of not making it in time. I just wanted to see my mom.

As the weeks passed, I’ve had the strongest feeling that I am changed. Especially when driving to church or Nathan’s parent’s house, “Will they know I’m different? Could they tell?” As a good friend who has walked the journey of grief confirmed when I shared this with her, “Yes. Fundamentally changed.”

It hasn’t been so long yet, that I still think I could call her sometimes. “Today is not a busy day. I should call…” Or, after I take a picture of the kids, I quickly say, “I’m going to send it to yaya…” Then it stings again, first in my chest then in my eyes.

I am very thankful for His goodness. The Lord has been my comfort through the day, everyday. I perceive it and am overwhelmed by His mercies. Some days, I sense that I’m beginning to understand what has happened. I think I get it, and I’m going to be okay. The next day, it feels as if my dad has just told me. My brain is in a fog, and I am sorely sad. But God is my refuge in time of trouble. He is very near.

She is with her Savior. She is with her Lord.

 
"Praise the Lord!
 Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his hosts!
  Praise him, sun and moon,
    praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
    and you waters above the heavens!
 Let them praise the name of the Lord!
    For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
    he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
 Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
    stormy wind fulfilling his word!
 Mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
    creeping things and flying birds!
 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
    princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together,
    old men and children!
 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
    praise for all his saints,
    for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!"      - Psalm 148 
 with love, Damaris


an inheritance left to me

While I was in my dad’s car traveling to my mom’s burial Friday, December 11th, with a heart full of intense sadness and joy and through many tears, I recalled her loving care to me. I wrote these few words, overwhelmed by the thought of my mother’s legacy in my life. Later, I read them to those gathered at the cemetery.


The Bible teaches of the inheritance parents leave their children. This inheritance is not an earthly one:

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
    but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.”
-Proverbs 13:22

“We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,”
-Psalm 78:4,6

“One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.”
-Psalm 154:4

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” -Deuteronomy 6:5-7


Although the most precious inheritance isn’t earthy, my mom taught me to ride a bike, to obey, to pray little prayers, to clean, to sew, and to cook. She instructed me to take care of myself, and she taught me to drive. She also trained me how to take care of my husband and of my first baby. She showed me how to keep up with the laundry when there were so many little ones and how to tidy up the house before bed, so it’s ready for the next day. She taught me that a mother is always there.

But the greatest inheritance that she left me, is that she took me to the feet of the cross. Since then, she trained me to grow in the understanding the Word, to memorize Scripture, to serve, she showed me the ministry of hospitality and trained me in the ministry of mercy.

This is the inheritance of eternal value that my mom has left me, and this same inheritance I seek to leave to my children, and I pray that my children will leave to their children for the glory of God.

I give thanks to the Lord for the life of my mother.

 with love, Damaris


family currents: fall edition

our big red barn at dusk

It’s been a little while since I gathered a few pictures and filled you in on what we’ve been enjoying lately. So, let’s catch up!

Since Michigan summers are not unbearably hot, we extend hospitality weekly throughout the warmer months. It works well because we can easily host larger groups outside. Since the kids are now older, Nathan had the great idea to find a used volleyball net. It would be such a fun game to share with friends. After much searching, he came across a local ad for a volleyball net in great shape and picked it up. We’re so grateful. It’s been fun to help the older children learn and play numerous games with family and friends!


A few months ago, Nathan saw a never-been-used ice cream maker still in its box on craigslist. We picked it up and realized the ice cream maker is brand new from the 60’s. Our family used to have a small Cuisinart maker years ago, but it didn’t provide enough ice cream for all of us. This is a 5 quart electric ice cream maker, which yields a generous amount for us all and friends. We have been loving the varieties of vanilla and the simplicity of a handful of ingredients. Although we’ve been eating loads of ice cream, the old machine is still going strong. “A lot of ice cream making,” corroborates Eva, who was our ice cream maker.


For my birthday, William surprised me with a garden arch. He created it quietly in the barn and even made a “MOM” sign with copper strand. He was so careful to not talk about it or show anyone for weeks. Definitely surprised, and I love it so much! It’s right in the view from the north kitchen windows, and my heart is full of gratitude for the tender ways children seek to show devotion.


We’ve had the best bonfires this year! Our family and friends gathered around in the evening cooking all sorts of Sunday night simple suppers over the fire. We enjoyed grilled cheeses, hot dogs, fruit pies, and of course, roasted marshmallows. This recipe was a recommendation from my good friend Rachel, and it was a huge hit! The fire was so inviting that the boys made plans to sleep outdoors on cots several nights. Even during the cold fall season, the boys stayed warm by feeding the fire throughout the night, wearing wool caps and socks, coats, and thick sleeping bags. On Saturday morning, they would come in with a frosted nose ready for hot coffee (yes, they do) and pancakes. I’m glad we’re back to everyone sleeping in the house : )


Lastly, we are so thankful for a cozy place to live. It took us all a couple of Saturdays, but we painted the upstairs hallways and all the downstairs (except the piano room). I really like it. I love the calming white and also feel that it suits the age of the house. It was a controversial topic here for a little bit – ha! What do you think?

copen blue by sherwin williams
pearly white by sherwin williams

I hope you enjoyed our little fall family update. Stay in touch!

 with love, Damaris


Life Lately

Pumpkins, acorn squashes, buttercup squashes, and butternut are adorning the inside and the outside of our house. Slowly they make their way into the oven, meanwhile, we still have a fall harvest farm stand. We have small decorative pumpkins for sale too!


Doesn’t fall inspire you to get in the kitchen? Butternut cream soup, snickerdoodle bread, maple pumpkin pie (here’s the recipe), beef stew, homemade chai lattes, fresh apple cake…Ahhhh. Our tummies are warm and full. Baking season is in full swing in our farmhouse kitchen, and no one’s complaining. I’ve been putting some muffins and sweet loaves in the freezer for when the baby comes. A little prep will come in handy : )


The crisp air is uplifting, and since the evenings are shorter, we’ve done a couple day outings with Nathan. Even the flower colors are stunning! We hope to get out a few more times before the northern frigid temps settle in.


The older five children are in fall sports. It’s really low-key, but it’s so fun to get out there and kick the ball on cool Saturday mornings! They play a game of soccer followed by flag-football.


Just throwing in a delicious baby eating doughnuts, because he’s irresistible : ) Nothing speaks fall cozy like waking up on the weekend to enormous doughnuts Nathan’s picked up fresh from the bakery!

with love. Damaris


Third Trimester: Researching Water Birth

The third trimester comes with lots of decisions! It’s not the nursery colors, travel systems, or baby monitor model that I’ve been attempting to decide on this time around. Although I have picked up a few small precious items for this baby which I’ll be sharing with you soon, a couple of things needed to be decided within the next couple of weeks. I’m referring to questions like: Epidural or unmedicated labor? Should we go to a birthing center this time or deliver at the hospital? What should we name the baby?

Today, I wanted to share with you what we’re thinking and how I have been preparing. By this point you know that we’re planning on having a water birth. This choice surprises me a little too (I’m not a water person), but my midwife does lots of water births which gave me confidence. Why we picked a water birth?

  • Pushing stage is easier and shorter.

  • The water also reduces the feeling of pressure.

  • Provides privacy which means more calm and quiet.

  • Encourages a gentler arrival and transition for baby.

  • Warm water is soothing, comforting, relaxing.

  • In the later stages of labor, the water has been shown to increase the woman’s energy.

  • The effect of buoyancy lessens a mother’s body weight, allowing free movement and new positioning.

  • Buoyancy promotes more efficient uterine contractions and improved blood circulation resulting in better oxygenation of the uterine muscles, less pain for the mother, and more oxygen for the baby.

  • Immersion in water often helps lower high blood pressure caused by anxiety.

  • The water seems to reduce stress-related hormones, allowing the mother’s body to produce endorphins which serve as pain-inhibitors.

Sources American Pregnancy Association, mamanatural.com, bellybelly.com.

How have I been preparing?

As you can see, we’re slowly addressing all the big third trimester decisions. But the baby’s name…well, that might just be a delivery day surprise!

with love, Damaris


Family Currents: August Abundance

August has been lambing season! We had marked the week on the calendar as to when the two ewes were due, but the exact day would be a surprise. On the last evening of our trip to Washington DC, we got a little text from a friend who was coming to count the barnyard animals once a day. We were in the outdoor hotel pool, and everybody was out of the water so fast to see pictures of the new addition. By the next week, the second ewe had her lamb, and now one cannot tell the lambs apart. We were surprised at how fast they are and how soft they are. Pure white little beauties!

Our mature pig Holly is due to have her litter in early September! Did you know a female pig’s gestation is 3 months + 3 weeks + 3 days?


Nathan found a swarm of bees in the work shop this week and rehomed them into a hive box. We’ll give it a couple more days to call it a success! Hopefully they like their new home. Then we’ll move the box to join the other hive. This will make a third hive. All of the mid-summer honey has been bottled! Feel free to email us, contact us through this post, Facebook, or Instagram if you’d like to enjoy some raw, unfiltered honey.


We love to go blueberry picking! This U-pick farm has a high bush variety which makes it very easy to reach and fill your bucket without bending low to search for the little fruit. It was a later in August than peak season, so we were left with smaller berries and fewer clusters. We ate our fill while picking and still gathered 8 pounds of blueberries! We enjoyed them all weekend and froze 6 quart bags with the rest.


Samuel’s birthday was mid-August, and it was so much fun to celebrate this sweet baby boy! We cannot handle all his sillies! You can read about his special day here. Since chocolate is his favorite food in the entire world, Eva baked this delicious cake. He was so tickled to open presents with trains, tools, and tractors!


A couple of weeks ago, our family went on a road trip to Washington DC where we attended the Bible Family Conference, visited nearby Arlington Cemetery and Mount Vernon, and of course enjoyed the national monuments, the Smithsonian, and the Museum of the Bible. Wrote about all the trip adventures here. We can’t wait to go back and learn some more! It was a great place for families – and large families too : )


The first Saturday in August always gets marked on the calendar early in the year. Our family doesn’t want to miss the Highland Games! It is such a summer highlight for us! The St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit puts on a full day of Celtic dance competitions, scone and shortbread shops, kilts, swords and traditional jewelry booths, Border Collie dog races, Shetland Sheepdogs and long-haired cattle for petting, caber toss, tug-o’war, hammer throwing, and other traditional Scottish games. We came home with a dozen lavender-lemon shortbreads that were Mmmmmm.


Farm fresh produce are available every day at the farm stand. We pick heirloom tomatoes by the bushel. The dark purple eggplants, sweet corn, okra, bell peppers and jalapenos are glossy and gorgeous. The spaghetti, buttercup, and butternut squashes are perfect, huge, and at the stand. All restocked daily. We also have real maple syrup and raw, unfiltered honey for sale at the farm stand. Come stop by the farm!

with love. Damaris


For the Love of Books: July

For a little while now I’ve been trying to maintain a reading regimen. I try to study through two or three books each month. There have been a few reasons why I’ve found this to be a valuable effort – first, it helps me grow my ability to cook healthy and nourishing meals, to be better steward, and most importantly to grow in godliness and Christlikeness. I think it will be fun to use a bit of space on the blog each month to review some of the books I’m reading. Of course, while I don’t necessarily endorse all things written or said by the authors, I have been encouraged by these book. They all come recommended to me. I hope you will share with me your recommendations, too!

Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God

by Courtney Reissig

The small, often unseen work is necessary work. It is work that God sees as integral to his work in this world. This book gives a vision for a distinctively Christian work ethic. I particularly enjoyed learning about how attitudes towards the home and family have changed and morphed throughout history. You’ll find encouragement in that ultimately our purpose is to glorify God and that actually those day to day efforts of work can reflect Him even when they are routine and ordinary.

“Our work isn’t giving us any points with God, but it is telling the world about the God we worship. It’s telling what we value most. It’s telling what we hope in even when it is hard.”

“You also image him when you care for the details of your home. As God cares for the seemingly mundane details of creation, so you care for the seemingly mundane details of a home that needs to be kept in order.”

Upgrade: 10 Secrets to the Best Education for Your Child

by Kevin Swanson

This book makes a clear call to focus on Biblical education – that of the character. The importance of a healthy parent-child relationships and having a biblical foundation, regardless of whether or not a child is homeschooled is so inspiring! The author focuses on the 10 factors of a successful education which are Biblical principles found mostly in the book of Proverbs.

“Education is the preparation of a child intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and physically for life and for eternity.”

“A successful education is achieved when a child is prepared to make maximal use of his God-given talents and abilities in the accomplishment of the child’s calling.”

with love. Damaris


Family Currents: What we've been up to

Happy August, dear friends! The sun is hot and the tall straight grasses have been cut down. Haying time came in July, and now the hay bales are stacked and stored in the big red barn.


We’re certainly enjoying going through the summer bucket list! We recently went to the Henry Ford Museum and to the lake. Packing a lunch and calling it an adventure day is by far our favorite summertime activity.


Isabel had a birthday in July. She’s now 8 years old, and she’s so happy about it! Isabel has always been the most easy-going, low-maintenance, even-keeled child. She only requested cupcakes, and we made these filled with vanilla pudding. Filled with jam or any pudding is always absolutely delicious.


The two younger ewes are a mixed breed and shed most of their winter coat, but not all of it. After some time of high temperature, we realized we’d need to shear them. Nathan bought a pair of shears online and had his first successful sheep shearing experience. One of these ewes follows him like a dog when he’s in the pasture. Really, all the sheep (even the ram) are gentle and skittish.

By the way, the two older ewes are due to lamb in just a couple of weeks, and I’m giddy with excitement!


We’ve been at the pool everyday (all morning) for swim lessons. I couldn’t get all the children to swim in the same timeslot, so we bring books, a basketball, snacks, and I plop myself by the poolside until lunchtime. A couple of times we’ve taken a walk though the neighborhood, but it’s easier to just play and read while we wait.


Nathan and the boys did a mid-summer honey harvest this past week. We have about 7-8 gallons of raw, unfiltered honey. Couldn’t be more fresh! It tastes so different than the late summer/early fall honey! The color is very golden and the flavor is light and mild. Our honey bees can be spotted at anytime of the day feasting in the herb garden (hyssop, thyme, oregano flowers), the white clover in the pasture, and the vining plants in the garden (cucumber and squash flowers).


We opened the farm stand again this year! Farm fresh produce are available everyday. Eggplants, cabbages, red cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, and jalapenos are looking good! The tomatoes are not quite there yet. We also have real maple syrup and raw, unfiltered honey. Come stop by the farm!

with love. Damaris


For the Love of Books: June

For a little while now I’ve been trying to maintain a reading regimen. I try to study through two or three books each month. There have been a few reasons why I’ve found this to be a valuable effort – first, it helps me grow my ability to cook healthy and nourishing meals, to be better steward, and most importantly to grow in godliness and Christlikeness. I think it will be fun to use a bit of space on the blog each month to review some of the books I’m reading. Of course, while I don’t necessarily endorse all things written or said by the authors, I have been encouraged by these books and they all come recommended to me. I hope you will share with me your recommendations, too! I hope you will share with me your recommendations, too!

The Family (Home Making)

by J R Miller

This book is a hidden treasure that I’ve owned for a long time but had never read. Each chapter covers the family life and rolls of family members such as the wedded life, the husband’s part, the wife’s part, the children’s part, brothers and sisters. I’ll share a couple of quotes so you can get a taste of the rich language the author uses:

“No other work that God gives any of us to do is so important, so sacred, so far-reaching in its influence, so delicate and easily marred as our home-making. This is the work of all our life that is most divine. The carpenter works in wood, the mason works in stone, the smith works in iron, the artist works on canvas, but the home-maker works on immortal lives. The wood or the stone or the iron or the canvas may be marred, and it will not matter greatly in fifty years; but let a tender human soul be marred in its early training, and ages hence the effects will still be seen.”

“The parent’s life flows into the child’s life. We impress ourselves upon our children less by what we teach them than by what we are.”

The Most Important Place on Earth: What a Christian Home Looks Like and How to Build One

by Robert Wolgemuth

Covering all aspects of a home, this book is full of encouraging and practical ideas on how to have a Christian home that is warm, loving and points others to Christ. The author gives so many great ideas he warns in the introduction you must pick a few at a time to implement and then come back for more. You won’t be able to read it and not be inspired to build a strong Christian home. Especially if one didn’t grow up in a Christian home, this book will give hope and a vast number of ideas. Here are a couple quotes:

“As creative as store-bought toys can be, homemade laughter is more fun than anything else.”

“No screaming or yelling. No bullying or foolish threats, just simple, thorough explanation of the rules and your expectation that children follow them.”

“Doing discipline leads to the sheer pleasure of having discipline.”

with love. Damaris


Happy Independence Day!

I trust your celebrations are loud, fun-filled with a dose of relaxing. Maybe the lake? A bbq? We’re all loading in the van as I write this to join in the local 4th of July Parade festivities.

I read this recently and thought it was an interesting fact to share:

“John Adams attended the Second Continental Congress, which began meeting in Philadelphia on July 1, 1776. The next day, the delegates voted in favor of America’s independence.

On July 3, Adams wrote to his beloved wife, Abigail: ‘The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.” He added: “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.’

He was off by two days.

On July 4, the delegates in Philadelphia adopted Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. History would celebrate their decision as the birthday of the new nation, even though they only formalized what they actually decided two days earlier.

John Adams did not understand the future significance of this day in 1776. But he knew how to face an uncertain future with certain faith: ‘I must submit all my Hopes and Fears, to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the Faith may be, I firmly believe.'”

Let’s join him.

Excerpt from Denisonforum.org. You can find the post here.

with love, Damaris