Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Day Is Done

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me,
That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain
~ Longfellow

Today's Gift~ A Discovery

Today John Paul and Ben came walking with me. While they were dueling it out with their air soft guns, I went exploring and made an exciting discovery.......

Here's what the discovery was...A new trail, going up into the National Forest. It was breathtaking, and I was thrilled to find another place to walk:


Today I thought I would take my walk during sunset, but didn't want to wait that long (so I thought). We reached the top of the hill (John Paul and Ben came, too), and the sun was shining through the pine trees. I thought it was so beautiful that I would get a quick shot, thinking sunset was another hour away. How shocked I was when after taking the first two pictures in two seconds, by the third second, the third picture, the sun was gone for the day.
It struck me how much life is like that sunset. We think we have all the time in the world to do what we will. Take that walk, write that letter, read that book, call my grandmother, play a game with my child, pray more fervently,...and then it's gone. The time is gone. Another day over. The time to live is NOW! I love how the Lord speaks to us in nature...if we only open our eyes!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Today's Gift~ A Walk In The Snow

A special Thanks to John Paul for being so generous with his camera. Also, to enlarge the pictures, just click on the image!

The destination:

My Companion:

A lonely old tree:

Have to climb under the fence! But it is not as bad as it looks...

A forlorn little flower, just waiting for Spring:

Getting closer to the top....feeling pretty winded by now! Our house is in the bottom left corner of the picture :

In this picture you can see the old home that used to be an inn. Napoleon's relatives often visited there. Another name on the guest register was none other than Santa Anna:

Lucky enjoys the view from the top:

The pine forest

The Homecoming!

Another Full Circle!

Maybe it's my age, but a lot of things seem to be coming full circle lately! When I was growing up, the "birthday fairy" always came to us. The balloons would be hanging, and the table held a special spot for the birthday girl(we had all girls in our family). There was usually a special box of our own cereal, a little memorable gift, and a stuffed animal(when we were younger). When I was thirteen, I received a beautiful Fontanini Creche which we still put out every year (now in my own home).
When my own children came along, I kept the tradition going. The birthday fairy did a great job the first ten years or so. Then difficult pregnancies came, or I forgot to buy the cereal, or we ran out of balloons....You know how it goes...So my children took over the job. They are the birthday fairies for their birthday sibling! Sam just had a birthday, and here's what his brothers and sisters did:

A confetti bag that opens when you pull the string

The set-up when Emily, Oliver, and Mary Margaret were done and off to

Tommy was a night-owl that night, and added some of his treasures to the
table before going to bed.

Why I Love Doing Dishes

Some Friends At Our Window

What I see out my kitchen window

I love doing the dishes! Can you guess why? Today we saw Song Sparrows, Cardinals, Goldfinces, Mourning Doves, House Finches, and Black-capped Chickadees! One house we lived in for a long time had no window at the sink. I will never take looking ou the window for granted!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Full Circle

When I was a young girl (about 10 or 11), I had an incredibly long bus ride. It was about an hour and a half ride in the morning and in the afternoon. Now we only lived about 9 or 10 miles from the school, but we had to meander through all the back woods roads. In those days I guess they figured it was a lot cheaper to hire fewer bus drivers and let the kids suffer a little.(Maybe that's what is wrong these days...that's a topic for another post!)
Actually, the long bus rides (at least in elementary school) are some of my happier school days memories. I had a wonderful friend to share the rides with, and we just laughed and had the best time every day. One of our amusements(we must have had a very tolerant bus driver) was to use our lunch boxes as drums and sing along with the beat. One of the best songs in our large repertoire was "My Favorite Things," from The Sound Of Music. We sang and played it, taking turns being the singer and drummer.
Flash forward almost thirty years(yikes!!!!). Today on the way to our once-a-week home school co-op, we were in our little "school bus"- actually our fifteen passenger van. Emily was playing music in the back. She piped up, "Mom, Here's a song you like..." "I can't hear it," I said "What is it?" Boy was I surprised when Emily turned it up and it was "My Favorite Things."
I first thought of my time on the bus, and then I remembered another hilarious episode with the same song. My older sister and I were driving with my mother to the pool in our old 60's Comet. A real classic of a car, but I was mortified to drive around in it. We inherited it from my grandfather. Kids would think it's really "cool" these days! The three of us were singing "My Favorite Things" when we pulled into the pool parking lot.
We got to the part of the song where it says, "Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudel..." I don't know why, (because Mom, you really do have a nice voice), but my mother was suddenly singing in this nasally, weird pitch. She wasn't trying to be funny, though, and my sister and I jut stopped singing and looked at each other. We just died laughing. I mean we laughed so hard, we were on the floor of the car. And I think we were both teenagers, or near teens at the time. It is a good memory.Thanks for singing with us in the car, Mom!


The little boy clung desperately to his mother's legs . He was five years old and could not bear to be separated from her. But she had to leave.It was time.She was going to the hospital to have a baby. The mother left her little boy crying in her friend's driveway, her friend trying to distract him. She couldn't.
Eleven years passed. Only eleven years- but a lifetime away from that sad day in the driveway. The boy grew to be near a man, though plaintively ambivalent of manhood in his actions. One day he was more excited than usual to go off to school. He got into the car and buckled. Alone. His father had prayed with him. His mother wanted to cling to HIS leg, but instead she kissed him goodbye, and said ," I love you. Drive Carefully." That was it. And he left. Down the road he went.
Somewhere in those eleven years the boy had let go of his mother's legs. Was it finger by finger? Or was it one big letting go? I may never know. It had to happen. It was right to happen. Our oldest child has his license. Sometimes if I think hard enough, I can still see the little hands wanting to hold on, yet needing so much to let go.

Thank you for this beautiful picture, John Paul! (the view out of our dining room shortly after sunset)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thinking about Happiness Today

He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home. ~Johann von Goethe

Find a quiet moment to sit down and feel peace. Drink a cup of tea, slowly, and think of the peace present in your home!

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved - loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. ~Victor Hugo

And we are all loved by the greatest of loves. Today spend some time thinking about God's love for you. Just for today, love the yourself and others.

Think of all the beauty that's still left in and around you and be happy!~ Anne Frank
What a dear soul. Imagine the conditions Anne Frank was living in when she wrote this. Pause for a moment,right where you are, and find something beautiful. If you can get outside, look straight up at the sky and marvel!

The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. ~Allan K. Chalmers
Just what Charlotte Mason said to do!

Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have. ~Rabbi H. Schachtel

Consider starting a gratitude journal if you don't have one already.

Happiness is finding two olives in your Martini when you're hungry. ~Johnny Carson

Isn't this the essence of happiness? Finding joy in the little surprises sprinkled in our days.

Wishing you gratitude and joy today!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fun with Books

More on Gratitude

Some more thoughts on gratitude:

Let never day nor night unhallow'd pass, but still remember what the Lord has done.

Gratitude is not only the memory but the homage of the heart- rendered to God for his goodness. ~N.P. Willis

O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.~ Shakespeare

A grateful thougt toward heaven is of itself a prayer. ~Lessing

Sunday, January 17, 2010

~On Gratitude~

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melody Beattie

Thou that has given so much to me,Give one thing more–a grateful heart;Not thankful when it pleaseth me, As if thy blessings had spare days;But such a heart, whose pulse may be Thy praise. ~George Herbert

Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more. ~Brother David Steindl-Rast

Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty. ~ Doris Day

...I like this topic- but let the above be digested and I'll post some more tomorrow! Pleasant thoughts should be ruminated, not scarfed!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

We went to one of our favorite thrift stores today and found some treasures to make us smile! (The best part is that the priciest item was 1.00!!) Here are some of the neat things we found:
1.Word Thief- a never-opened word game that won several awards
2. The Renaissance art game
3. Assorted brightly-colored velour cloths to use for dress-ups. They are very large and were only .25 a piece!!!
4. A new lego for Sam (birthday coming soon!) for .75
5. Oliver found a Beanie baby for .25
6.A game called "Egyptians", also brand new, for 1.00
7. A Richard Scary storybook and a Berenstain Bears book we didn't have- both for .10

Going to the thrift shop really is like openeing a treasure chest; you never know what you will come across!