Thursday, July 07, 2016

Retirement Joy

What fun we are having being retired !  We thought time would slow down when we retired, but not so, it seems we don't have enough days in the week to accomplish all that we want to do.   Emery and I love spending every moment together and it seems we just laugh half of each day because we are having such fun. 
The Spring time was busy for us, gardens to get into shape after the winter, and we each had projects we were involved in.  For me, it was knitting socks for our late summer hiking and camping adventure, and for Emery, it has been keeping up with the gardens and having plenty of time to read the books on his list.   
At the end of April my dad, now 94 flew out to see us and will be leaving the middle of August.  How sad it will be to see him go.   He is doing well, but at this stage of his life, he is beginning to see some changes in what he can and cannot do.  Before he came out here, he did the difficult thing of selling his car and no longer driving.  Its been so hard on him.  He is an independent man. 
The Grandblessings are getting big, Mei-Ling is now 9 and has been doing great.  Soon Elizabeth will be 9 also.  Yen is now 6 and Victoria is soon to follow him.   Axel, he is two now and such a joy.  We are so blessed to have our children and grandchildren close and what joy it is to see them all often.   A close knit family is a source of great happiness.
Its now, hot summer here.  Heat indexes of over 100 for what seems like weeks on end.  The upcoming trip to the mountains will be a welcomed change of temperatures.
Soap was made last month and yesterday I trimmed the bars and have them stored away.  The lavender scent, filling the cabinet.   Daily we check the fig tree for just the right moment to pick and then dry the figs, and also keeping an eye on the Elderberry bushes.  We are out of elderberry syrup from last years harvest and I must say I am more than anxious to be restocked.   Elderberry syrup kept us free of colds and flu all winter, but when we ran out in April, I caught a nasty case of walking pneumonia.  No fun at all.
As you can see, we have been busy and I don't see any slowing down any time soon.  
Life is good and happiness and contentment fill each second of every day.   

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The Good Life

It's not icy today, but its certainly chilly outside as I bring in the laundry.  I was wishing I had my fingerless gloves on, but still I linger taking each piece down.  The sun is sinking in the western sky, bathing everything in a glorious golden glow.  The tree tops, the roof tops, and over all of the field across the road.  The birds are making their last visit of the day to the feeders and catching that gold from the sunshine on their wings as they dart about.  The sheets smell of cool, clean air as I fold them into the laundry basket.   How sweet we will sleep tonight on them.   I stand at the screen door for a minute, soaking in all the sights and sounds.   The chickens clucking near by and Miss Kitty tickling my leg with her fluffy tail.  Emery is finishing up his work on the house for the day. Old houses always seem to need something done to them and that is good in a way, as it keeps my retired man busy.   How blessed I feel as I walk through the back door and into the kitchen.  Freshly made bread filling the house with a wonderful smell.  The wood stove glowing with warmth, casting a copper reflection on the floor of the living room.  All is well, and for this and so much more, I thank God above. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December Morning

Oh how quickly December is passing.  There are still more gifts to be made, time enough though to do them and baking to be done and still a bit more decorating.  I seem to decorate our bedroom last, every year.  I suppose thinking, that if it doesn't get done, not too many folks will know.   There are still flowers blooming in the garden.  We have never had Angel Trumpets in bloom this late in the year but we certainly are enjoying them.   The mistletoe in the tree tops are full of berries this year.  We will cut a few and hang them for kissing in the doorway.   How I love the dark mornings, I really do.  I light the candles and enjoy a hearty
breakfast, watching the sky lighten and the sun rise as we talk of the days plans.  We linger with that second cup of tea, enjoying the moment far too much to rush from the table.   The simple life is not a rushed life, even if the "to do" list is long.  There are no trips to the mall, or mad dashes to stores.  Our Christmas lists are filled with old fashioned planning.  Come to think of it, its been years since I have been shopping at a mall, I suspect the term, decade would suit just fine.   I never did buy into this massive Christmas shopping idea anyway.  A few well chosen gifts, that don't cost an arm and a leg is how we do it.  Never could imagine going into debt for gift giving and I sure would hate to think that someone went into debt getting me something.  Expensive gift giving for some folks is little more than a "look at me" type of thing. I said, some folks, not all.  In the olden days, it was a simple gift that meant the most.  But through time, we seem to have bought into the marketing schemes, hook, line and sinker and forgotten about being moderate when it comes to gift giving.   I look back on old family photos and wonder how things have changed so much.
Christmas, @ 1944 for a large family

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Saint Nicholas Day

Despite the fact that we no longer have children at home, we still put out wooden shoes on St Nicholas eve, hoping to find treats in them in the morning, provided we were good all year long !   We decided to each use one of Emery's wooden shoes, after all they are pretty big !   I must admit to looking through old photos and finding one of all the children's wooden shoes lined up waiting to be filled and feeling a bit sad that those days are gone, as if they didn't last long enough for us.  Time passes by so quickly.    How grateful I am for the grandblessings to daily remind us of the joy and preciousness of childhood.
We have so many friends that have gotten older and no longer enjoy the holidays, no longer decorate or care to remember the delight in picking out that special gift or seeing packages under the tree, even if they are just for one and you had to buy them yourself.  We all deserve to have fun and experience delight and the simple joy of looking at a decorated tree.  I still love finding a stocking filled with goodies on Christmas morning, even if I did purchase half of what is in there LOL.   Just because we have aged, and felt loss or pain, there is still plenty of reasons in life to have fun and keep awake those feelings we had as children during the Christmas season.  Treat yourself with love and never loose that sense of joy and delight that comes from making your holiday bright.  

Friday, December 04, 2015

This World We Live In

The news is so horrible these days.  Fear can grip you and squeeze you to the core, when you hear about all these shootings, so totally random.   You can find yourself wondering if you should go here or there.  No place seems beyond the reach of hatred.   When I start to think about all this, I tend to step back a bit further into our quiet life and be an ostrich for a while, completely happy to have my head in the sand for a bit.  To reaffirm in my mind that I was born a couple centuries too late.   To yearn for a quieter time, to mourn for the olden days when we had not even heard of the terms we use so often today on the news and social media.   This morning I had breakfast by candle light, as if to chase away the modern world.  I had my oatmeal in a pewter porringer, old and worn as if I could mingle the oatmeal with history.   We all need a respite from the insanity that rages around us.   I am reminded of the verse I love so well, Psalm 91:4   He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
We all need a time of being under His wings.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Child In Me

Christmas time is my favorite time of the year.  It wakens that inner child in me.  There is excitement as we head out to get the tree and decorate it.  On the first day the tree is decorated, we light the candles that sit on the branches in their sparkling silver holders.   The house is filled with the scent of pine and spices from the garlands of apples tossed in cinnamon and from the oranges, poked with cloves.    
The chill in the air invigorates me and has me going at top speed as I work on all the presents for Christmas.  We never have bought into the materialistic side of Christmas, but have always kept it simple.  Never spending large amounts for a gift or supplies to make a gift.  This year I have opted to make almost every gift we give.  I like the idea that the entire time I work on the gift, I can think and pray for the person I am making it for.  Perhaps that "Little House on The Prairie" episode where everyone was so busy making gifts for Christmas had a big impact on me.  Maybe, I am just old fashioned.  
The holidays should not be about spending more than we can afford, or even for feeding into all the "wants" of our children and grandchildren.  Its about so much more and that seems to be getting lost in the black Fridays, the cyber Mondays etc.   Keeping it simple, keeps us far less stressed.

Monday, November 30, 2015

For the Love of Red

It is no secret that my favorite color is red !   Today my sweet husband came home with red carnations for me, because I have a cold.  I set the coffee table with my red dishes and enjoyed some Irish soda bread and chamomile tea while enjoying the beauty of the flowers.  Red berries outside by the front porch. Red shawl and barn bonnet just waiting for the first snow.

The Beauty of Life

This morning as I sat in the chair by the window, knitting, with candle flame flickering and wood stove popping and snapping, I thought about this quote, by Tasha Tudor,

“Life isn't long enough to do all you could accomplish. And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is. Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!”                                How true those words are.  There are hard things in the world around us and yet, we wake each morning to see the clouds float above us in story book shapes, and hear birds sing to us in songs that gladden our hearts.  For me, I had a wonderful weekend with all my family beside me, hearing childhood laughter, the sound of happy running feet down our long hallways and squeals of delight.  There was laughter around our table and thoughts on all that we are thankful for.  There were pies to be eaten and mounds of mashed potatoes that looked like small volcano's on each plate, spilling gravy as lava.   There was no distinction as far as love goes, between in-law and not in-law.  The love is the same.   My heart nearly burst having so many hugs around my neck and hearing, "I love you Grammine" from each grandchild.  My children are such blessings and my husband, well, to be honest, there are not adequate words to express the love we share.    Today the house is quiet, but the joy is all still there for me.  The deep contentment, the profound satisfaction in knowing my life is so full.   Many years ago, we made investments in time, energy, and lots of prayer to raise a family that would bless us and the world around them.  It had nothing to do with money, or how many toys they had, or what brand name clothes they had or in our case, did not have.  It had to do with the things money cannot buy, love, patience, joy, imagination, gratitude, sympathy where needed and appreciation for the natural world.  It is a privilege to be alive and experience so much joy and peace.  It is a joy to be alive in a world so full of beauty that can be seen easily, is looked for.   Life is good.