Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Years

There was a bit of a celebration....we stayed up until midnight and we toasted in the new year with my favorite champagne.

New Years Eve at Our House

New years eve at our house is nothing fancy and there is no party. Most years we never make it to midnight or even try to stay up that late. It is for us a passing of one day into another. Tonight, while walking towards the house after chores were done, I saw thin wisps of smoke rising from the chimney, pale against the last orange rays of the sunset. I could see the light from the kitchen shining through the back door and it looked like heaven to me. The perfect new years eve. Lamps lit, the tea kettle hissing on the stove and supper ready to eat. Life is good and even though the year changes on the calender tomorrow, it will be another day in which we try to live better just as we did today.

The Joy of Grandchildren and my simple life

This morning I had the blessing of being able to baby sit Mei-Ling for a little while. What fun I had taking her outside to play and watch her feed dried leaves to the goats. She chased after the cats, studied leaves, hid in the junipers, and marched over the bridge so many times I lost count.
She gave me lots of kisses, put her arms out for me to pick her up and snuggled into my shoulder when the chickens scared her. I was filled.
I kept thinking about how much this kind of joy is what makes my life simple. We are not loaded down with family issues but instead filled with love for one another. I suspect that even if we lived totally off grid, and yet had family issues, life would never be simple. It is this peaceful life of harmony within the family that makes life uncomplicated. Hanging clothes, heating with wood, cooking from scratch, having goats and chickens are just the extras in a simple life, they are not the things that give peace. What does give us peace and the desire to live apart from the rat race comes from the heart, from a spiritual place. You can do all the homestead-ie things in the world and have a very complicated, stress filled life. Its only when we have an inner peace that we can lay aside the need to show off by owning bigger and better things. Its only when we have inner peace that we can abandon the need to shop and fill our houses with more stuff than we will ever need. Inner peace is more about relationships than just about any thing else. Relationships with family and most importantly with God.
Today, watching Mei-Ling play, it all was so clear, that the good life, the simple life, is about being so filled with the love of family and a deep spiritual peace that we just don't need a bunch of stuff or bigger and better possessions to fill some void.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fun in the park

Melanie and I took Mei-Ling to the park today and what fun we all had. Watching her play was a reminder of the miracle of modern medicine. Today brought back so many memories of when we took our girls to the park at that age and watched them discover so many new things and blossom into self reliant little people. This is what life is all about .
"The family is eternal. Love must be nurtured.
It must be spoken.
We must put away our pride, our haughtiness,
our shyness, our misunderstandings,
and with humility say,
"I love you. Is there something I can do to help you?"
You can never be completely happy
under any other circumstances."
~Marjorie Pay Hinckley~
"The art of rearing children peacefully and pleasantly
is the art ofbecoming a child again, of growing up with them."
~Emma Ray McKay~

The Down Side of Blogging

There are always a few of them around, you know the snippy ones in Blogland that look for something nasty to say, a snide remark, always one of two things, anonymous or no public profile. Always taking the role of a bully. It is as if they are lying in wait to find something to pick at. Had one today....brings out the very worst in you. For a moment you react to them in like manner, then you sit back and think about what compels a person to have such behaviors and then you start to feel nothing but pity for them. I am very frank with my readers about my imperfections and the many steps I am taking on this journey called life. There are many forks in the road and I check a few new roads out now and again for which I am not embarrassed, but grateful for the lessons learned with each step.
I can't figure out why these folks read blogs that they take issue with. The mystery of life.
All I can say is that for me, LIFE IS GOOD ! My prayers are that peace be the strongest desire in all our hearts, my own included of course.

a few days ago there was a black vulture sitting in our tree....


Heading out to do chores this morning I was struck by the beauty of the sunrise. The way the sky changed colors in a matter of minutes and how beautiful the land looks bathed in the purest of gold from the early sun. Three squirrels chased each other in a nearby tree, a single crow caw-ing from the cotton wood tree, and the cats at my feet waiting to be fed. Just a perfect chilly December morning.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mei-Lings Christmas

Wee miss Mei-Ling is a child that everyone spoils just a little bit. We feel so blessed to have her with us and we all feel such sympathy for what she has been through. It appears that no one that knows her wants her to be anything less than dressed like a princess.
Here is what she got for Christmas in the line of clothing ! You should see the toys that have arrived at her house.

More Photos

With the holidays and having my friend Debbie here, there hasn't been a lot of time for me to write. Here are some more pictures from our drive yesterday. I don't think we were ever more than 20 miles from our house at any given moment.
We took a drive to show Debbie the area where we would love to purchase some land. Its quiet, pretty and off the beaten path. The cows came over to check me out as I was snapping photos of them. They gave me a good stare down but in the end they all decided to turn around and leave.
Many trees are loaded with mistletoe full of berries this time of the year.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Drive....

Just a bit of a country road drive in our is sunny and beautiful today, crisp winter air.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Stormy Morning

I was out doing chores as the storms approached. I finished just as the rain arrived.
Here are a few shots of the storms coming in. It was 83 F yesterday and now a cold front has come in. Strange weather.

A Little More About Christmas Being Over

It doesn't seem like I explained myself well in the last post about how I am feeling about the spiritual side of this Christmas which made me think more about it.
And I decided its a bit like if you have a birthday party for someone you really love and yet you are so busy with the details of the party that you don't get to spend as much time as you would like with the guest of honor. Maybe just maybe what I experienced an aspect of the "Martha" side of this great story found in Luke 10: 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself ? Tell her to help me!"
41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
It might have something to do with being so behind in my Christmas preparations since I was not able to do a thing for over two weeks at the beginning of December, but whatever, I felt that I didn't get much time to contemplate the great spiritual significance of the season. We didn't get all materialistic or go overboard with gifts, it wasn't that, but it was as if I didn't get to focus as much time with the guest of honor as I would have liked. Its not that I don't feel close to the Lord, its not that at all and my relationship with God is just fine, its only that I now feel in looking back over the past couple of weeks, that I spent more time on the festivities than on the depth of what we are celebrating. I realize now that what I am missing was more of a holy experience for the season and less of a busy experience. No doubt being sick played a part in that as I had a lot of stuff to cram into a few days, and there has not been a single quiet moment in a week for me...oh maybe that is it, maybe its not just about Christmas, maybe its about not even having time for my quiet rambles around our land and talking to the Creator for hours at a time, maybe, just maybe its a cumulative thing.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas is over....

Christmas is over and I woke up wondering what it was all about. It seems like any old ordinary day today, except that I will be heading to the stores this afternoon for the sales to buy next years wrapping paper etc. All the decorating, all the shopping, all the busy-ness and in one day its over. If I had my way, I would just take down all the decorations and get the house back to normal. I loved watching the babies open presents and see the smiles on every one's faces when they got things they wanted. The holiday goodies make me long for going back to my healthy eating. Hard to pass up the cookies but sugar never makes me feel as good as say carrot juice.
Christ somehow gets lost behind wrapping paper and bows. The manger scene never seems to take front stage as much as greenery and bows. Jingle bells raise our mood more than does the song, O Holy Night. I think this morning I just feel like I got it wrong. Missed the point. Answered some big question wrong or something like that. Adults often comment that Christmas isn't as much fun as when they were kids. You know, no toys to play with on Christmas day, no belief in Santa. But now I am wondering if we just miss the whole point as adults and then feel a longing for what Christmas is all about. I think that is part of it for me. I wanted to listen to music this morning that would draw me closer to Christ, lead me to a place where I felt a deeper call to be more loving, more compassionate, more dedicated to living a life for others and not just out for this or that thing, or more stuff or trying to puff myself up so I look better on the man made scale of success.
The way I feel is hard to define in a few sentences, mostly because I am not sure just how I feel, but there is an emptiness from the holiday as deep as the discarded boxes that the presents came in.
I needed to have connected to the holiness of the day and I didn't. Yes, I know its not really the birthday of Jesus, but a date is not what I celebrate anyway, its an event. And frankly I got so caught up in the red and green, the holly and the ivy, the evergreen and the red candles that I didn't spend time contemplating how a baby born in a stable, changed the world. Sure, I can do this kind of thinking today, but that doesn't erase the fact that I spent a good part of a month, missing the point ! I am not beating myself up over it, but simply facing a fact of where my thoughts have been.
I might have said the right little phases of the season and sent Christmas cards that focused on the real reason for the season, but I personally missed the depth that could have been experienced.
Good old Dr Phil is fond of saying, "You can't change what you don't acknowledge" which is a truth.
I am acknowledging, that I missed something this Christmas.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Evening

Family came and went throughout the day. Our evening meal was a simple one of Lasagna, vegetables, stuffed mushrooms and garlic bread. Dessert of peppermint cake with chocolate butter cream frosting (homemade of course). It has been a wonderful day and I feel so blessed to be surrounded by friends and family at this time plus I got some really great gifts which I will post about later. Melanie and Casi were at his families tonight but they were here all morning.
Here are some pictures of our meal tonight. We even used paper plates, purchased last year at the day after Christmas sales !

Christmas morning

We had a wonderful Christmas morning with more fun to come !

Much To Catch Up....

In mid January, we saw the passing of my father and after nearly two years of caring for him, it was so hard to see him leave u...