by Robert Louis Stevenson
Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.
Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.
Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.
When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.
Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Saturday, December 29, 2012
"Joy is the simplest form of gratitude."
~ Karl Barth~
A cold Saturday morning, one where White Winged Doves sit on frozen bird baths waiting for feed to be scattered to the ground by all the birds that visit the feeders. A cold house until the fire roars in the stove, burning bright and warm for us. A perfect morning to make breakfast on the stove, keeping warm while the food cooks. Hot cocoa with whipped cream out of a can, to the delight of a 5 year old ! Small hands holding a new camera just for her. She is following my love for capturing a moment in time, to savor over and over through time. Memories being made, treasured for all time. Simple gifts of togetherness and joy is the gratitude.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Gentle music plays, a wee girl sleeps after story time on Grammies soft sofa, surrounded by flannel quilt and feather pillows. Cooper reflections of flame dance on the floor by the stove, while birds outside the window entertain me. I attempted to read for a while, starting my annual winter reading of "The Long Winter", but the birds kept my eyes turned on them rather than the pages of my book. An old edition, lovingly given to me by my eldest, she knows of my love of this story and how it transports me back in time every winter. She knew an old edition would suit this yearly event perfectly, and it does. I wonder about the previous hands that held this volume of strength and fortitude. I wonder if they could relate to the seemingly unending cold of that winter so long ago. My coffee has grown cold, I forgot about it. Caught up in the perfect moment of this day.
A stack of Kim Lewis books lay on the table, nest to a sleeping child, loved now for a second generation of children in our family. We love the sheep and border collie stories best. We can relate to them. The illustrations, glorious in their ability to transform paper and pencil into life. Stories perfect for this winter day. "Warm as Wool", another favorite story book, the last book in the stack for this afternoon, lulled the dear one into dream land.
Little hands joyfully bring me handfuls of sticks and small kindling along with prickly pine cones to help start the morning fire in the stove. My loving husband, so gentle, yet so strong, brings in armloads of wood. A cozy fire will chase away the dampness of this morning. No sunshine today, just winter gray, very much the color of the Shetland wool I am spinning. We light a candle in the window, golden glow against the drab of this winter morning. Mei-Ling asks if I made the candle and thus begins a conversation about the wax made by bees and how I melt it for making candles. We sit before the fire together, watching the smoke from the chimney, through the window, curling upwards and then dashing down to the low branches in the tree when the wind pushes it down. It feels like a perfect moment in time. I decide today that this little visitor needs some warm wool socks for when she visits. The bare floors are cold in winter. Another project for the needles. Breakfast needs to be made. Piping hot bowls of oatmeal will soon fill our bowls and golden honey will sit on top, the honey spoon just meant to be licked by a small girl with a big smile. Outside, at chore time, droplets of rain, hung tight to the clothes line and to the tiny branches of the fruit trees. Seed pods, ready to fall to the wet earth in the winter wind. The cycle of life, perfection. I have never doubted the brilliance of The Creator, or the love He shows us in each wonder of Nature. It is seen at every turn. I am thankful for all this beauty that is in my world. I love this life of mine, so full of moments that fill my heart to overflowing.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
A child's voice in play. The sound of imagination is precious beyond words. A tea party with princesses, an owl and some gnomes. I could sit and listen for hours. The scent of pine from the Christmas tree lingers in the room, mixing in with the smell of wood smoke and hot cocoa. Out the window, just inches from me, birds feed at the feeders. Windows sparkling clean to enhance my view and window screens removed for the winter so I can take pictures of the birds at the feeder. Wool socks keep my feet toasty warm. Its good to make your own socks, you can make them just the way you like them. Despite the early hour, its been a full and wonderful day. Pancakes in the shape of houses and trees, eggs scrambled that little hands gathered from the nest yesterday. The joy of having a grandchild, so precious, wake up in the room next to ours. Christmas break, time to stay with Grammie and Grandpa for a couple days so we can play and laugh and learn together that the greatest gift in life is indeed love. This afternoon we will bake bread together, learning and laughing at the same time. I am thankful for a simple life, filled with simple joys and the time to enjoy these moments.
As I read so much about gun control, health care etc and hear so many using religion for a reason to be armed, or judgemental. I think about the Jesus I read of, the Jesus that spoke all these words and I just do not understand how His philosophy on non violence can be so disregarded, or his compassion for those that are just not the kind of person we would invite home for dinner. I have never once read where Jesus said, "arm yourselves". I have never once read, where Jesus suggests we give only to the deserving or only to those that follow our guidelines. He just said, "give to the poor", I bet he included the unlovable in there, the abusers, the people so wounded emotionally that they just fail to fit our accepted molds for a good citizen.
Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." Matthew 5.11
Jesus said, "You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: 'You must not kill; and anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court.' But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court." Mt. 5.21-22
Jesus said, "You have learnt how it was said: 'Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.' But I say to you, Offer the wicked man no resistance. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him." Mt. 5.38-41
Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those whose persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Mt. 5.43-46
Jesus said, "You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved. If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another." Mt. 10.22-23
Jesus said, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell." Mt. 10.28
Jesus said, "If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it." Mt. 16.24-25
Jesus said, "I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Mt. 18.3
Jesus said, "See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven." Mt. 18.10
Jesus said, "anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve." Mt. 20.26-28
Jesus said, "I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me . . . I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me." And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life." Mt 25.42-43,45-46
Jesus said, "You must love your neighbor as yourself." Mt. 22.40
Jesus said, "It is from within, from men's hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean." Mk. 7.21-23
Jesus said, "you know the commandments: you must not kill..." Mark10.18
Jesus said, "when you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your failings too." Mk. 11.25
Jesus said, "if anyone has two tunics, he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same."Luke 3.11
Jesus said, "No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay." Lk 3.14
Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly." Lk. 6.27-28
Jesus said, "Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judge yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned." Lk 6.27
Jesus said, "why do you call me, "Lord, Lord" and not do what I say?" Lk. 6.46
Jesus said, "What is written in the law? What do you read there? He replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." "You have answered right," said Jesus "do this and life is yours." Lk 10.26-28
Jesus (on the cross) said, "Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing." Lk 23.34
Jesus said, "If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." John. 8.7
Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples." Jn. 13.34-35
Jesus said, "Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them will be one who loves me;" Jn. 14.21
Jesus said, "This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you." Jn. 14.22
Jesus said, "What I command you is to love one another." Jn. 14.27
Jesus said, "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well. But it will be on my account that they will do all this, because they do not know the one who sent me." Jn. 15.20-21
Jesus said, "I have told you all this so that you may find peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world." Jn. 16.33
Jesus said, "I have made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and so that I may be in them." Jn. 17.26
Jesus said, "mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind." Jn. 18.36
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Christmas morning we woke to thunder and lightening, but by late afternoon the north wind began to howl and the temperatures dropped. By late afternoon when Emery and I went for a little Christmas hike, it was in the low 20's F with a wind chill of 10 F ( -12 C ) We received a sprinkling of snow but just north of us they had a few inches. There has been snow around Christmas day several times for this area but Christmas day, that is more rare. The only record I saw for Christmas day snow was in 1841, when it was written that some soldiers were tracking a bear in 6 inches of snow in the area that is now Dallas. The children were all thrilled to see so much snow when they went to see their grandmother and aunts and uncles in the city.
I settled for what little dusting we had. Doing chores this morning reminded me of my childhood, cold that gets right down to the bone. It was 19 this morning with a bitter north wind that made me very grateful for my down jacket and warm hat and mittens. Its laundry day, and that will remind me of what hardy stock I come from. That is cold work.
Christmas was such a blessing, loved ones around me, children's joy radiating from every inch of there little bodies. Ohs and ahhs as gifts were opened. Life is good and I cannot wait to get busy knitting with my new knitting needles that Emery gave me as one of my gifts and we are all looking forward to my new knit tally gadget so I will not be saying..."don't talk to me I am counting" quite as often.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
May your Christmas be blessed by the gifts of the heart, love, peace and joy. May your day be filled with laughter and the things money cannot buy, but are priceless and irreplaceable. May each of us today, commit to live our lives reflecting the message of peace that came so long ago on this day.
Merry Christmas !
Monday, December 24, 2012
Its never too early to learn to bake. My own daughters were by my side in the kitchen from the time they were 2 and the same now with my grand-daughter Mei-Ling. Although my own daughters enjoyed helping me in the kitchen, for Mei-Ling its more than fun, its a passion. She LOVES to bake and cook. Learning today how to carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the beaten yolk mixture and carefully roll the Bûche de Noël. While she was mixing the egg whites into the yolks so gently, she said, "Grammie, this is going to be like eating a cloud" and when we finished rolling the cake up into the towel, she said, with all the seriousness and passion of Julia Child, "This is going to be delectable !" What fun for me to have such a delightful helper in the kitchen. Before we started cooking and I explained what a Bûche de Noël is, she wanted to go to the wood pile and pick out a log to use for an example. She is one serious baker.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
The sky streaked with clouds, some appearing like streaks of smeared paint, others, like the scales of a fish, which always reminds me of my grandmother telling me about Mackerel sky at sunset, foretelling of a change in weather. Her sea fearing family members always keenly aware of what the skies were telling them on the Bay of Fundy where she was raised. I love clouds, the way they move and change shape in the upper winds. The way they remind me of pieces of wool stuck to fencing. Walking in winter around our place is like a story book with the pages being turned with each step. Grass, pale gold bending in the wind, leafless branches shaking in the cold. Mistletoe, in bloom, hung in the trees as if they were put there for decoration. So much to see, so much to soak in, so much to admire and marvel at.