Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Amish Proverbs for the day

"Trickles tend to become streams, and streams become torrents"
(think of this in terms of what we acquire in the form of "stuff")

"He who has no money is poor; he who has nothing but money is even poorer"

"Do unto others as if you were the other."

"If you sense your faith is unraveling, go back to where you dropped the thread of obedience."

"Put the swing where the children want it. The grass will grow back."

"Good deeds have echos."

"We can stop forgiving others when Christ stops forgiving us."

"God puts the church in the world. Satan seeks to put the world in the church."

"The higher a man gets in divine grace, the lower he will be in his own esteem."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Perfect Supper for a cold winters night

Home made bread, lentil soup and apple pie made in a 13x9 " pan.
Warmed our insides as the snow fell softly outside. Perfect meal for a cold winter night.
Here is the recipe I use for LENTIL SOUP and my apple pie is pretty simple, use the PERFECT PIE CRUST recipe and then fill it with good apples, sprinkled with a mixture of flour, about 1/4 cup.
I use about 3/4 cup sugar, a dash of salt and about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg. Put a few pats of butter over the apple mixture and top with a crust brushed with some milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 450 for 50-60 minutes.
Its so simple a filling to make that you really don't need a recipe for the filling, just "guess-timate"
We will all sleep soundly with full tummies, provided the coyotes do not make a loud appearance again tonight !

A Perfect Winter Day

The beauty of the day, felt all around

More Snow On The Way

Bird feeders filled, chores done, broccoli picked, fire blazing in the wood stove, and lentil soup filling the house with that good sort of winter day aroma that makes you anxious for supper time when the fresh bread will be out of the oven and apple pie cooling on the hutch.
The sky is changing by the moment, a giant gray quilt so neatly quilted into tiny puffs all across the vast expanse of the sky. It is a fine winter day, one perfectly suited to reading or knitting and perhaps some spinning of some new brown merino that has been calling me from the basket it sits in.
I love this time of year when its such joy to cozy up by the fire and dream or think or just listen to the birds at the feeders. Its time for me to get out my old edition of The Long Winter and read it, just as I do every winter and count my blessings for food in the kitchen cabinets and think a bit about the "stuff" that folks so long ago were made of. Grit, determination and deep faith, that saw so many of them through the most difficult situations. I like that my husband is of that pioneering stock and I can see in him, that same kind of grit that makes him who he is.
Life is good.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A drive up the coast of New England - First snow of 2009 Holiday Season

feeling a little homesick this morning and this video sure didn't help, but oh how I love my New England and always will.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What Happened to Little Christmas ?

Before Halloween is over, the stores are filling up with Christmas decorations, leaving only a very small mention of Thanksgiving to be seen. People decorate for Christmas right after the Thanksgiving day meal has been cleared from the table and then by the day after Christmas they are sick of the decorations, sick of the Christmas music and down comes the tree and the manger scene on December 26 th. When Emery and I first got married and for most of our early years, we never decorated for Christmas until around the 8th of December, in keeping with how it was in my parents home. Now, we have caved in to the mass marketing and get the decoration up right after the turkey has been eaten. However, in the midst of this rush to get Christmas out of the box, something has been lost. We called it "Little Christmas" growing up, and others refer to it as Epiphany, celebrated on the 6th of January. My mother would always share with us the story of the Magi and how it is by their bringing of gifts to the baby Jesus that we now share gift giving on Christmas day.
So here many people are in this modern time, sick to death of Christmas decorations by the time Christmas rolls around, anxious to pack them away and have the house back to "normal" and forgetting all about this "Little Christmas" where the wise men came to see the baby Jesus.
One more spiritual aspect of Christmas thrown out the door or lost in the commericalism and the Santa aspect of the holiday. I guess its easy to want to be done with a holiday that has become so much about shopping and spending money, the day its over, but we have lost something in the glitter of fancy packages and decorated trees, to coin a phrase, we have lost some of "the reason for the season" ! My vote is to keep Christmas alive until Epiphany, Christmas is a season and not just a day.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Fun way to break the ice

Here is a Christmas laugh for you. Here is Emery being silly this morning, breaking the ice out in front of our house. Poor Harry is looking at him as if to say, "what is this crazy human doing ?"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yippy, I made the million mark

Thanks to someone from Manchester NH for being the millionth hit to my blog !!!

One Million Hits

What a wonderful Christmas present for me, it looks like I will be hitting a million hits to my blog tonight ! As soon as the holidays are over, I am planning a big give-away to celebrate this milestone for me.
Thank you everyone !

North Texas Christmas Eve Blizzard

our first white christmas in all our years of living in North Texas. I am thrilled

Its a blizzard


The temperature has gone down to 26 and the north wind is blowing hard, gusts of 45 mph and sustained winds of nearly 20 mph. Snow is blowing and I am loving it. The wind chill is 15 so the wood stove is working hard right now.

Christmas Fun

Cookie baking at Grammies house on Christmas eve, these will be Gingerbears and there is more about our Gingerbear tradition HERE

Christmas Eve

As if a gift from a tender Father, knowing how His child loves the snow, I woke to big fat flakes falling from the sky. Child like excitement, filled every cell of my body. Blustery north winds that howl and roar. The kind of howling at the door that reminds me of Christmas on Little House on The Prairie. Naked tree limbs bending in submission and dry leaves lifting of the ground and flying through the sky like feather weight silk hankies. Yesterday was 72 degrees out, summer like. People walking down our road in shorts and tee shirts, hardly Christmas time weather, but today...ahhh such a change and a welcome one for me. How I love the cold and snow.
I stood in the barn with the goats, all of us looking out at the north wind driven snow fall. Not a one of us, anxious to move into the milk barn for feeding time. I just stood there, hooded sweater pulled tight, my old barn jacket hanging open, I think most of the buttons are gone anyway. Its sturdy, and a bit like an old friend. Fingerless gloves on my hands, ready for the work of haying and feeding, free to do things like unhook latches on gates and light the lantern for a bit of warmth, not light. I watched the birds and the squirrels from this wonderful vantage point. Marvelled at the beauty of how snow looks falling against the backdrop of mountain cedars and junipers. Harry, who usually is by my side whenever I am outside, stood looking at me from the back porch, his bed warm and cozy in the corner waiting for him.
I love this life of mine, and how it allows me moments like this. Time to think, time to look, time to pray and plan out my day.
Today the house will be busy, baking, cleaning, preparing for company. It is Christmas eve and some presents will be opened. Laughter will ring through the house and memories of Christmases past will be shared. Young adults, just a step forward from their fondest childhood moments, will almost wish they were little once again, to feel that thrill of waiting for Santa.
My own memories of Christmas' past will be shared, and I will think for just a moment, that they sound like stories from the olden days compared to life now, and be surprised to acknowledge that being a grandmother makes my own childhood a long ago history. I don't mind a bit.
Emery will share his stories, and they are truly like Little House on The Prairie stories. His childhood spent with out electricity or running water, hard work that comes with farm life.
There were no stocking hung at his house, or presents piled high under a beautiful tree.
I will reflect today as I go about my work, and watch the snow fall, that this is the time we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. Celebrate hope and love.
My wish for each and every one of you, is peace in your hearts, no matter what is going on in the world or in your life. A deep abiding peace that cannot be stolen by any moment in life.
And that your life be filled with love, not only love from others, but more importantly, love that you give.
Many blessings to all ~

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Wonder of A Snow Globe

Winter ramble

The trees lay bare after the last windy day, except for one stubborn oak that continues to hold tight to the bright red leaves of fall. Perhaps this tree is a bit like some folks that hold on too tight to things that need to be let go of. The lessons of nature so often hold tree for man.
Rain and storms are due to arrive today and you can feel it in the air, it is heavy with dampness. The birds are busy gathering seed just as if they too know the rain is on the way and that eating while the going is good is a wise thing for them.
The clouds are full of subtle colors, shades of gray, morning pink and baby blue. Surely this sky would inspire all the most famous impressionists. Mustang grape leaves, twisted and caught in the gnarled branches, looking like bits of velvet turned inside out. Pine cones tossed on the ground with what seems to be careless regard by the towering trees, but of course there is some marvelous plan in the way they are cast off.
Asparagus plants faded to the color of hay, but adorned with tiny balls of red, hanging like Christmas decorations from their fine feathery branches. The perfect decor for winter days.
Cats follow me in puppy like fashion as I roam around. Aya, our oldest cat, seems to have taken on a Big Cat personality complex, standing guard on the fence posts. Harry, heading out to check the live trap for the big cat, looking at me with a puzzled look, "why are you taking so long" he looks to ask.
He barked most of the night, his warning bark which led me to pull the covers up around my neck and feel a bit like we lived in Laura Ingalls big woods. I knew something was out there that I did not want to run into.
Today there will be more cookie baking and wrapping those last few gifts. Christmas is almost here and how it came upon us so fast I have no idea. " Time flies" is the only explanation I have.
I have once again vowed to make next Christmas all about home made gifts....we will see if that comes true. The words, "best laid plans" run through my head as I wrote those words.
Imagine, next year we will have three little ones playing under the tree. I have come to love the element of getting older that brings with it, grandchildren to sit on my lap, and shower me with kisses and tiny little hugs. Seeing bits of my own children in these sweet faces of the newest generation. Memories pop up for me in giggles and in the sleeping faces of these angels on earth.
Love is so powerful and transforms ordinary moments into extraordinary holiness. Life is good and before us, each day offers the opportunity to love more deeply and that is what its all about.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Baby News !

Melanie got the date for her c-section today....Yen will be born on January 7th ! We are so proud of her for doing so well and being able to carry him that long. Her last A1C was 6.8 or something along those lines and that was with being sick for part of that time.
I should have all my knitting for the baby done by that time and maybe even have his quilt finished.

Melanie, taken almost three weeks ago

Another Peppermint Stick House

Here is the house that Melanie made, I love it !

Tis The Season Of Busy-ness

Tis the Season of busy-ness, or at least that is how it feels to me right now. Baking to be done, last minute shopping for that one more person on the list. Notes to be written, cleaning to be done. Visiting with friends and family and of course there is knitting to be done for the wee grandblessing on the way.
In the morning, when my world seems to be draped in a peaceful hush, that can only be compared to that holy silence one feels in an empty chapel where you feel so free to speak openly and honest to God, I walk around with my camera, my heart overflowing with gratitude for a Creator that took such care in all His work, that is when all the busy-ness of the season melts into nothingness. It is in that moment that my breath feels as though it is in rhythm with the very movement of the air. It is in that moment when my entire being feels deeply that I am a child of God, connected to Him, and filled with a peace that is never a gift of the worlds to give. It is this time of the day I love the most.

A New Year

It is a silent sort of morning, sitting next to the wood stove in my rocker, watching the birds outside my windo...