Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Toddler v. Sleep

Mini is one of those kids who doesn't want to miss ANYTHING! She tries to keep herself awake to take it all in, but she is also one of those kids who NEEDS sleep, especially that crucial midday nap. She has been trying to phase them out for some time, but the poor thing is zombi-fied if she doesn't nap and bedtime routine has been wrecked on days she does nap. It's almost as though her body so desperately needs the sleep, so if she naps, she goes into some state of uber napping that zonks her out and recharges. 

This has bee our lives that revolve around the naps of a toddler who doesn't want to sleep, but is in dire need of doing so. Since daddy is the one who is in charge of many of her routines, mainly at her request, because she is such a daddy's girl, I encouraged him to get any of the No-Cry books by Elizabeth Pantley, which he found one at a local used bookstore. It is helping him understand sleep a little more and offering some guidance with concrete facts. No matter what I tell him, sometimes he has to read it, or experience it, for humself before it is true. He is a little burned out, but I remind him that this will pass, but I surely don't blame him with the steady innundation of toddlerdom constantly at the ready.

I have been fighting off a cold for days now and yesterday it got worse, when I thought it was getting better (today is the best so far, go figure, strange virus). Regardless of how I felt, I stepped up to help with naptime, because Papa has been so ragged and I can't handle the girl crying. Call me a push over, but I cannot tolerate my kids crying if there is anything I can possibly do to comfort them. Papa is not as sympathic to this plight and I appreciate his resolve, just maybe moreso in the other aspects of parenting. 

I told Mini a couple of times we'd be going in to rest soon, when snack was all done, and read a book. We got all ready and I crawled into the tiny toddler bed with her and a book. Papa put on the nuns she always listens to for nap and I read aloud. When the book was finished, I climbed back out and sat next to her on the bed. Since she is a fidget of a kid, it dawned on me that, if I can keep her busy while she winds down, she may fall asleep without realizing, but also without too much fussing. Jay had been tasked with finding a prayer rope, but to no avail. A lightbulb went off and I remembered where I might have one, which I found promptly and brought it n to her. It is a bracelet-sized one, with red beads and black nylon knots. Anyway, I gave it to her and told her she can hold it, rub it in her hands/fingers, wear it, pull on it, etc. while she says, Lord have mercy. She seemed a bit giddy and had called to me once, so I reminded her of what she should do, then that was it. That was the last I heard out of her, she fell asleep!!! She slept for 2 hours!

Lord have mercy, we were all so grateful, because her lack of sleep and sleep routine has been wearing everyone down so terribly much. The overtired crying, fussing, anger tantrums that would get her into trouble. She went to bed last night with a similar routine, but Papa read to her, and it was not nearly as quick, however, she did sleep. Peaceful, restful, and necessary sleep! Everybody needs it, not everybody gets it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Few Thoughts

It was a very silly girlish fancy I entertained about life and love when I married. So young and without hindrance, I walked easily into his arms, more truly into his eyes and that smile. I will never forget when he winked at me during the service, I think he thought me beautiful, and also to be wildly insane to be marrying him, but also believed himself to be the fortunate one. He would tell you he is, to this very day, that he is the one who got the prize. That is how I know I married for all the right reasons, through all things in every day, he still thinks I deserve the best of everything, no matter cost or attainability, and he would go to great lengths to be sure I have it, if he is able. As I recently told a store clerk, "I think I am a hard person to buy gifts for because I am a well-kept woman; my husband makes sure I want for nothing."

After nearly 13 years of knowing one another, 11+ being married, it never ceases to amaze me how much we still learn about one another, both on small and grand scales. It can be simple things, but it all adds up, making the picture of life, love, and time together that much more vibrant and rich. For instance, I may be imagining this and he is welcome to correct me if I am wrong, though he is rather gentle in that area, as well. I do believe that he married me because I challenge him, but not in a usual sense of the term. I challenge his intellect, his thoughts, his basic fiber of being. I challenge him to come out of himself, to show the world what I get to see, because it is worth sharing. I challenge his heart to love fuller and more completely, without thought for himself. I challenge him and require many of his senses in order to engage in this adventure.

It is not my intent to paint myself the victor here, but to illustrate my newest understanding and, personally, I honestly know that I would not be where I am without his ardent love and affection, no matter how subdued or disguised.  All of what I said above can be said of him for me, as well. He challenges me in all those very same ways, though likely to a greater degree as necessary, since I am a fickle, stubborn, and oblivious mess of a girl. His lifes lesson of patience is to simply be married to me, though we are matched quite well. If he is a rock, I am water flowing over it. If he is a tree, I am the wind and the rain blowing through his branches, the birds lit upon his branches.

We have been through ever so much together in these seemingly short years, I do hope to enjoy more lessons and adventures on this crazy journey, in whatever form they come, because I know that he will be at my side, no matter what, through it all. Yep, that's my man; he thinks he hit the jackpot and I doubt I will ever convince him that I think the real winner is me. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Winter Wonderland and Beyond

We have had a veritable winter wonderland in these parts for more than a week. It is so unusual in these parts, the city isn't even prepared and nothing gets ploughed, since it rarely snows IN TOWN and STAYS! It has been lots of fun for the kids, though the roads have been a mess. We have 4wd, so it has been a lot more manageable for us, than some. I hadn't yet driven Leia, the truck/SUV, in snowy or icy weather, so was hesitant to just hop in and go for it until Jay said it was very much like driving our subaru's in the same kind of weather. I am grateful for all the experience driving in Colorado, sometimes in more extreme circumstances than this, though there are many more hills much closer to together, which makes driving more interesting. I do tend to say, 'If it's going to be this cold, it may as well snow!' So I am glad it did and I am even grateful for the lack of ploughing and simple throwing of gravel, since it makes it more natural and prettier as it subsides.

Let see, we are getting along well enough. We had a visit from Jay's parents, which was nice, since we hadn't seen them since our move out here. The girls had a blast and it was Mini Mae's first meeting of her paternal grandparents. By last week's end, they were on their way to the next stop on their adventure in the RV and we were settling in to St. Nicholas, aka-most hectic day of the year besides Holy Saturday. Thankfully, when Sissy woke up in the middle of the night on St. Nicholas Eve with a fever, we already had most everything taken care of. Liturgy was cancelled due to weather and illness, so was not so sad to have made the choice to stay at home. The fever was gone by morning, but the poor kid didn't eat or do almost anything for 2.5 days! All is well now, for the time being, though I seem to be fighting off something that resembles laryngitis, but it is somewhat elusive in its manifestation.

What else...oh, Sissy is taking piano lessons and is quite good. It appears to challenge her whole brain and she needs that sort of engagement. Mini is rather into singing and has a fantastic ear for music, too. We got her a drum for St. Nicholas day, so she would have something that is OK to hit, since being 2 can be frustrating sometimes. The girls also have a penny whistle, harmonic, pear-shaped maraca, and kazoo, so every day we have some music 'jam' time, where everyone just digs in. 

We are all looking forward to Nativity, of course, for various reasons. Papa and the girls are anticipating large amounts of meat, I am sure, while I look forward to the ambiance of church with all the kids and families so joyfully participating in the feast. We put up some lights in the front window and a lighted blue and white angel, plus icicle lights on the porch; it surely gives a cheerful feel and glow. Our kitties are too young to appreciate why we might want to have a tree in the house, so we have a small fake tree my mom gave us a number of years ago set up. 

I think that is all for now. Glory to God for all things!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Will Think of You

When you are gone
The birds will come
With memories of today
Lit upon their wings
And I will think of you

Many days will pass
But I will remember you
When the birds come
Bearing the gift of sweet reverie
And I will think of you

There will be a time
When the call will be undeniable
I will hear the voice of Eternity
I will heed its call
And I will think of you

When I am gone
Birds will visit where I lie
Perhaps find someone to remind
Of the days we have had
And they will think of me

Monday, November 18, 2013

Heart of Hearts

Break open your heart
Let in all love and light
Adorn the walls therein
Covering all with prayer
Seek peace and simplicity
Open wide the windows
Welcome the change and flow
Unlatch your heart's door
Gentle kindness awaits
Eager anticipation wins
While contentedly we watch
He brings unity, peace, and love
In Grace

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thought on Veteran's Day

Ah, Veteran's day. A day to remember veterans, their service, their sacrifice, and whatever else that arises. On the flip side, those of us connected to service members who have served to the extent that they have been compromised, broken, or even lost to us, it is bittersweet. It is a great thing to honor them, but for many, it is a reminder of what has come to pass, which taints memories. The plans that had been made, dreams that were imagined, become but dust and a wisp of a thought.

When I think of my veteran, I appreciate his sacrifice, without a doubt. When I think of other veterans, I appreciate the same, but I am closer to the families that laid out their entire existence to be apart, the present they sacrifice (and continue to do), plus the future that may not come to pass, and how their worlds will more than likely be shifted upon the return of their soldiers.

When someone thanks my husband for his service, I am grateful they think of him and his willingness to stand and fight. I would be remiss if I did not also mention that it also feels so empty, since not all will truly know the reality of seeing someone off to war and having someone else return in their body. In my world, every day is veteran's day, because I have no choice but to live with what war does to people and has done to my husband and our family. This is a centuries old predicament that permeates all people in all places and so I feel for all generations and families, near and far.

This veteran's day, I implore you to consider that, although a veteran's countenance may appear average, the inner workings are almost always churning and they must live with what they have left, which sometimes is precious little compared to what might have been. Compassion is something they cannot live without and their families deserve a big hug, even if only in prayer and spirit. Remember the veteran, remember the families, remember the lessons, and continue with love and understanding.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


The weather has finally begun to reflect the season which is now upon us. The gray hues in the sky provide a stark contrast for the bright leaves still clinging to the trees. It is my most favorite, as it slows me to the pace I find the most peace. Productive, without overactivity, and contemplative, with enough time for proper thought. I ought not be anywhere as changing of the seasons, but they have always had a way of shifting my energy and focus into one so decidedly theirs.

I love the stillness that comes with the cooling and darkening of the year. It never fails to amaze me how the trees and creatures flow so knowingly along with each passing day as the days change. When the cold sets in is when we see the staunch and sturdy beauty this Creation truly has in store. It is almost as though we are privileged enough to have a peek into the foundation of strength and eternity which lies beneath all that we see. To perceive with sight is a gift, indeed, but to sense the thread that binds the present with eternity is most certainly a blessing, without question.

Glory to God for all things! Blessed Autumn to all!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Biking, How Do I Love Thee?

I have a great bike, her name is Samantha. Yes, I named my bike. She is a Trek 1.5 road bike and my first true love that makes me want to ride and ride. I got this bike about 6 years ago, I think, so she's got all the bells and whistles. I believe the following year the models did not have the same high-end bits and whatnot.

Since adding my odometer, I have ridden about 460 miles, minus this past year, when I did not ride her once *sad face*. Now that we are in town, I fully expect to add a ton more miles, since that will be my main mode of transport, aside from walking. Today was the first day in over a year since hopping on that bike and riding to town. I had forgotten all the reasons I own that bike. I feel free, effortless, and content. No other bike has been so comfortable and fit me like a glove--ever.

We, as a family, are moving toward being as car-free as possible for a number of reasons, so we will all be on foot and bike in the coming weeks, months, and hopefully, years! All our bikes still fit us well, and we even got a tow behind kid trailer for Miss Mini Mae to ride in on all of our adventures!

I know some of this seems silly, but precious little in this world fits me and offers so much. I am neither petite or regular, so everything is either too big or too small, except this bike... All for now, I just enjoy my bike on so many levels and wanted to share.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lord, Have Mercy

Dave is gone, not from our thoughts, but from our lives. How can they be so very different? Our hearts contain him, our words and daily interactions reflect him, but he isn't here to weigh in on the obvious.

I sit here listening to his Counting Crows CD, August and Everything After; I borrowed it, what seems like, so many lifetimes ago as a kid, but Andrea gave it to me after his passing recently. The thread that is drawn from each moment that glides through years becomes ingrained like a piece of ourselves we don't see until it slips away. Gone. A whisper in the wind.

Everything and nothing is lost. Dave's person is gone, but he is with each of us in all that we do. Where did the time go, why was it so fleeting? God alone knows the answer and I am still learning Truth.

O have come to understand, through this bit of life that hangs so close to my own, that whatever we do effects those around us, regardless of how minute it may seem. The ripple is in effect, from the embrace of a simple hug, to the glance carrying contempt. Things may seem to progress into a non-sequential rhythm of life, but all is connected, there is no escape from it.

Be aware, be awake, to the ways that touch or harm one another, no matter where on this globe we stand, we effect the others' lives. I will never believe differently. May Dave rest in peace, being kept in God's mercy, love, and compassion. I weep for the earthly loss, but trust in His omnipotence.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Spiced Pumpkin Custard

I just made something similar to this recipe, but the one below is how I would modify what I made. YUM!

2 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin, pureed
1 can coconut milk (full fat)
6 large eggs
Combine all in food processor, empty into a bowl.
2 T Pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp salt
4 tsp vanilla
1 cup pure maple syrup

Whisk all together and measure equally into 2 pie plates. Zest fresh orange peel onto the tops. I put a dish in the oven with water to keep humidity up. 350 degrees, 40-50 mins.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Darkness Lingers

It is the quiet of the night that keeps me
Awake longer than I should be
I sit and think
Or simply linger
Inviting darkness and silence
Sing of lovely things
Settling passions deep within
Stark reverence and compunction
Bring solemn and sober thoughts
In a restless and thrashing
Being of undisciplined habit
The calm and the storm
Washing all things ashore
The beauty of the night


Well, we have gotten the majority of our worldly belongings from the farm to our new house in town after two trips with a trailer. We then welcomed four houseguests from AZ for 9 days, and today is the first 'normal' day in awhile. That being said, we still have unpacking, sorting, and donations to be done, but all in all, we are getting there.

I am grateful to be in town for many reasons, though we will miss aspects of our country life. We can walk and bicycle nearly everywhere, including church, because as it always is after a move, funds are exhausted, and this makes more things possible. Plus, we have fun being pedestrian and riding about. I hope that when our finances recover, we will continue this trend, which is my plan!

We had a lovely time with our houseguests, one of whom is my Goddaughter. The kids got along as though they are siblings and we grown people chatted and laughed a lot. We were one seat short in our SUV, so we had to be creative for church with some shuttling, but we walked plenty and chatted along the way, including to the grower's market! We hope to be seeing much more of them in the near future.

We have been making it to church, glory to God! We have been to many services since we have made this move and I have noticed a difference in the girls' attitudes. There is always a fluctuation with changes, but it is nice to see that the regularity and predictability of the services, as well as, prayers, seem to be settling them well.

Time will tell how all goes, but we are looking forward to being close to our town and church communities as we enter into the cooler, darker days ahead.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Great Day!

Today we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific and a 3.5 hour whale watching cruise! What fun that we were able to do this. The aquarium was just right and the girls enjoyed touching moon jellyfish, stingrays, and bamboo sharks. We also saw many other types of fishes, jellyfishes, and sharks. I learned that jellyfish haven't got a brain, like the scarecrow, and mainly have 4 stomachs (one for each tentacle), take 3 years to mature into what we see as jellyfish, and seem to operate instinctually as they swim together.

After our morning being at the aquarium, we grabbed our bags of lunch and snack and headed to the gathering area for our whale boat. There were enough people to share the adventure, but not too many to feel crowded. Everyone had an amazing time out at sea; we saw 2 blue whales, a few pods of dolphins, 2 sea lions, a sunfish, and a sea turtle! I learned that dolphins will stay together for their whole lives if they can. The sky was clear, the ocean beautiful, and the creatures abounding!

Monday, September 2, 2013


I am convinced Jay is really Poseidon ;o)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Beach Day!

Went to the beach today and met up with the West Fam. It was a beautiful, sunny day here in HB! We had a blast and time just slipped away as it usually does when we are hanging out, especially at the beach. One of the highlights is that there were a couple of dolphins playing and jumping right in front of where we were gathered this afternoon. Another was how Nina and Anna played so nicely together; they really seemed to get along great!

After the beach we went up to In-N-Out for some dinner and it was slammed! Great that we can get food we can all eat at one place without a hassle and for fairly inexpensive. They've got protein style where the actually wrap your burger in lettuce and all of it is whole foods!! Radness!

Side note-we have taken to calling Jay Poseidon!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Prayer in my Heart

My heart first learned to pray as a small child, with the winds and sounds of the earth, coupled with the fullness of the Orthodox faith to found solid grounding. In the whispers in the air, a comfort and calm of quiet devotion and eminence would consume my senses. There, I have known peace and reverence.

As I have grown, the earth still speaks God's plenty and His church flows with beauty and prayer. It is in Slavonic, I began to rediscover the language of my heart, that God's presence is where we find faith, prayer, and love, not simply in words alone. I am overjoyed to breathlessness and humility, when I hear Milost Mira in such a way as to speak more to my heart than to my ears.

In the darkest of times, I have only to return to the familiarity of this simplicity, though I oftentimes forget and I walk in sadness and cold, until reclaim the constant provisions so easily overlooked. Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth-Peace, Goodwill toward men.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


It is as though I have everything and nothing to write about. Life is swiftly moving these days, between our newest addition, Nina Mae, an adoptive daughter, coming into our lives, integration therein, firmer scheduling and the height of the season in farming upon us, not to mention Jay's 40th birthday party I am planning! You can imagine all the sorts of madness and mayhem we are intermingled in right now.

So, this little girl, you may ask. Well, she is 22 months and full of GO! She may sleep a lot, but draws on all of our energy while she is awake. I forgot how much energy they use up and end up sleeping! Now that Kat is nearly 10, I marvel if she is in bed before 9, whereas Minnie Mae, as I call her (since she is the mini sis), wakes, eats, plays, sleeps, eats, plays, sleeps again, and then we do it again! Her total awake hours are so many fewer than Sissy Kat's, but far more intense, to be sure! What a bunch of fun and sweetness, but OH! these tired parents! ;)

Kat is enjoying her life as Sissy, but she is still getting used to not being the loudest voice and need in the house. From realizing that she may not have needed us that much before, but we were nearly always available, to understanding that toddlers have no idea of what waiting actually is and how that effects her is something altogether interesting to watch. She is a trooper, they both are!

The routine is helping us all, but we have yet to shift into gear where we go to bed at a reasonable time and get up earlier! Minnie is in bed between 7:30/8, on average, sometimes asleep by then and with it staying light so late, the chickens won't go to bed until around 9 and Kat has to put them to bed, because she is their mother and it means so very much to her, so we oblige. By the time she is ready for bed, it can be as late as 9:30 or later, depending on animal mayhem or stories being told, etc. and now the heat that has descended makes falling asleep more of a challenge for her. Jay and I stay up later to see one another for more than one minute in a row, without interruption, but before we know it, we are up way later than we hoped and morning comes all too soon!!

I am alone with my thought far less often, which is not a terrible thing, but sometimes it is nice to know what I think about any one particular thing, however that is not always a good idea, I am sure. Better that I am preoccupied by other things that fill my thoughts than to have them creep in and sabotage reality, I suspect. That being said, it is nice to have time to write down the happenings of life as it is these days, however few and far between they might be.

Struggle and triumph, a life full of intertwining of all things great and small; this is our now.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

From The Presses

In a zealous fit, the work of putting the 'old man' away, to be kept in darkness, comes without much effort. Keeping him bound and behind bars, with his insolence and deceit, self-love and putrid ways, is the work of momentary struggles that span a lifetime. Each day it is asked to take up this Cross, each moment and in every interaction. How often do we pass the opportunity by that offers us the reality that is Christ? In every thought and action, do we crucify ourselves alongside Christ, or do we ask of Him to let us off the Cross, to prove to us He is God incarnate all for our selfishness? What is more, it appears that the closer we draw to Him, the stronger the temptation to wish this cup to pass from us.

Such grayness is woven into our beings, as we look with clouded eyes to discern the correct path we ought to take. There is little black from white, as we sit as judge and jury as to whether a person is worthy of our mercy and kindness, the very same that is shown us from Him in our hour of need and darkest times. The only Light that shines through all storms, our Beacon and harbor, refuge and solace, Whose Creation is renewed when we reject the old man's ways.

It would seem simple, but whoever has fought any fight, knows that there are times when we would all like to just have it overwith, no matter the cost.

This was written at the onset of Holy Week, nearly a month ago, and it was so heavy within me then. I reread it now to revisit what did not get shared because I thought it not to be complete, but I notice it is enough to share and a worthy reminder to myself that every day is a choice as to whether we are crucified with Christ or we betray Him for the price of earthly wealth.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Unfinished Ramblings

I cannot feel the cold against my skin
While fire consumes my every sense
The quiet is gone from my head
Only chaos and chattering prevail
Complacency fills the insatiable void
As darkness settles on the horizon
The night brings sleepless dreams
Day ushers endlessness and longing
O, fickle and hardened heart
Haunt me no more
Rid yourself of me
Who is tormented and weak-willed
Deceit and illusion has crept in
Walling itself in my fibers
Tugging at every thought
I am so easily beaten about
By the storms of this life
Malleable and troubled
But happily so fallen and distraught

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reflection On Lent's Journey

Ever so lacking, yet still trudging onward. This Great Lent has challenged all I know up to this point. Words come from my lips that I ought to heed and still I tarry. We have been weathered in all ways we have struggled up to now, though the mercy is swift.

Nothing quite compares to Great Lent in the Orthodox faith. It is as though my life goes before my eyes yearly. I see how it could be, how it is, and how it might have been. Every twist and turn I am reminded of how my choices effect those around me, my struggle to keep on track with what I ought to be doing, and the byways I take in between. It appears my running theme in life is gratefulness, struggle with loved ones having illness, and becoming the fulness of myself in this entanglement that is life. Oh, that I could be all that I should, but my pitfalls regularly captivate my focus and so little time is truly devoted where it should.

I need to remember what a priest once told me, that I need to remember that caring for my husband and daughter is the work of God, in caring for the sick and being a good mom. I often find that I seek to help others and go outside of myself to fix and work with that which I need to conform in myself, but find that all I need is right here at home, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. My work may not always appear the way I want it to, but my lessons will come the way I will best understand them, no matter how I approach them.

Each year, just before the coming of the Resurrection, I am borne into the faith on forgiveness sunday, as though the preparatory weeks have been my gestation, and I grow bit by bit through this fleshy life, replete with ebbs and flows, trials and triumphs, crests and falls. What a blessing to live ones entire existence in a number of weeks, but also it is like a life crash course.

Life is about our love for one another, our ability to reach out, and the way we are able to realize that each of us is in need of great compassion and understanding. I am still learning, but I truly hope to bring much of this to fruition before God calls me from this life and into Eternity. Please, if I have ever treated anyone with less than Godly love and compassion, forgive me, my humanity is broken and bound to my Pride and numerous shortcomings.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Friendly Flowers

The first flowers of springtime have been blessing us with a cheerful, steady, delicate presence for a few weeks now. The daffodils and all their cousins have been popping out in turn, to shine their bright faces at all who have eyes to see. Such fragrant and lovely flowers have been a little light of beauty in these trudging days of Great Lent. A friend has mentioned that they have been called Lent Lilies, which makes me happy, because they are the flower of my birth month, which my birthday is always in Lent, but also because I really love lilies. Calla lilies, both purple (blue, in flower world, because none are classified purple, only shades of blue) and white, were the main flowers in our wedding and I adore star gazer easter lilies.

We were given some tulip bulbs in autumn and I planted them just outside of the window that is off of our little home sanctuary and they pushed through weeks ago, with their green shoots and sturdy leaves. Luna, the giant baby puppy dog, decided to taste the leaves when they first came up, but we put up a little fence to deter her curiosity and it seems to be helping. Though a few leaves are nipped, the stalked that emerged are so well developed and strong, you would never know anything had happen, but or the chew marks. I have watched the solid blooms form deliberately as they drink in the sun, awaiting just the right moment to fully show their color and shine the glory of their splendor on all creatures. I planted them in groups of five and each group had only one bloom that tested its blossom, before calling all the other flowers to ample foliage in the grey-blue sunlit days.

The pansies are their own set of merry show and delight, with large, happy faces, rich with velvety petals and blooms whose weight draws every passerby closer to their countenance. Though the bouquet is more subdued, they make up in color and vibrance anything they appear to lack in aroma. Always a pleasure to see which face will be shining back as they unravel their petals in swift arrangement and array of color.

I must say it is these simple joys that keep my heart settled as we come out of the cool weather and move toward Pascha. Soon enough we will find ourselves in so many blooms we will be unable to count the magnitude, so for now, it is quite sufficient to have wild and familiar blooms of first-spring blossoms.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Flickering and Fleeting Life

In the brightest of days, the flame of compunction is washed out by the presence of such light and can be lost to the flood of immensity. Alas, when the Sun wanes to give way to the evening of time, we see the flame grow brighter and begin to see that which it illumines. What was once shone in greatness dims into a flickering reverie with but a glimmer and thought of yesterday. The increase of evening brings a quiet calm that offers respite and reproach that calls the spirit home again. Coolness settles upon the hearth of the soul and a stark reflection peers back from the faded glass that rests above it. The constant, glowing, and triumphant flame that has been left unattended, draws the bearer ever near with a longing and devout heart, a weeping soul, and a stout resolve.

In the darkness of the night, our light is our beacon of hope, truth, and the Way we ought to go. Though each of ours may show a different path, they are all kindled from the great, Eternal and Ever-Living Light, in Whom is no change, nor shadow of variation (James 1:17). It is in this darkness that we stand before the Cross, varied flames alit in procession, we draw closer to the tree that bears all Creation as it moans in distress calling out to the Father of Lights. In suffering, there will be gain, but a relief and calming of the pains of suffering is most ardently sought after. Still before the approach of the magnificent and triumphant Dawn, though we cannot feel its warmth and splendor until we have made this journey through the night, we walk with hearts uplifted and eyes downcast, yearning for knowledge, not of Good and Evil, but that of Peace.

It is the fruit of a tree which tempts our fateful Ancestors into unwittingly choosing separation from God, and, likewise, a tree bearing no fruit and has given its own life to hang upon it His only-begotten Son, which reunites us. The fulfillment of all, sprung from the humility of One, generations in the making, though timeless to the Maker. A breath, even a wisp, is this fleeting life we flail about to grasp onto, and then it is gone from us, as our flame is either put out, or rejoined once again in Communion with our great Father of Light, Who illumines our path; the Son, Whose humanity adjoins Heaven and Earth; and the Holy Spirit, Whose omnipresence comforts all who flee to Him for refuge.

May our efforts as we struggle, through prayer, confession, humility, and alms-giving teach us to better tend the flame that we are entrusted. May we strive to keep the flame tended in others, who have grown weakened by the fight, with our prayer, love, and kindness. May our pitfalls be numbered, only to be outdone by our turning in humility to the giver of Life, with a longing to be set free of our self-made bonds and reunified with all Creation. May Peace find us more agreeable and able to accept the Truth of its great Mystery. May this great and Holy lent be fruitful, remembering that all in the orchard, vineyard, and gardens, needs attendance, regardless of ability and strength. Though the laborers be diverse, it is the endurance and steadfastness of the heart which will carry each of us to the harvest and we will reap what we have sown, or lack thereof, for ourselves, as well as others.

Peace be with you always and at this midpoint of the glorious fast wherein we will learn more of our character and secure a bit more of ourselves to our faith, while loosing the bonds we have woven for ourselves in this life.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Moment and A Place

Long have I felt like I stand at the edge where dark becomes light and the water meets the sand, or mountains meets the sky. Though the distinction seems there from one into the next, I wonder whether we can discern them truly. We merely see the surface of what we are shown and rarely glimpse the depth and breadth of what surely lies within, and it leads us to ponder at this magnitude. As electricity has both intensity and consistency, so too does the experience of such a place, though not really a place, more a state. Ebb and flow, with perfect peacefulness and calm in the ineffable and diverse simplicity.

This is where I often stand as I wait to take in the next breath of it all.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Prayers by the Lake

Your birds awaken me in the morning, and the murmur of the lake lulls me to sleep in the evening. But it is not the birds that awaken me, nor the lake that lulls me to sleep, but You, O Lord, Master of the voice.

You lend Your voice to the birds and the midnight murmur to the lake. You have lent a voice to every throat, and have put a story into every creature. I am surrounded by Your heralds, as a student by many teachers, and I listen to them tirelessly from dawn until dusk.

O Lord, Master of the voice, speak more clearly through Your heralds!

The sun speaks to me about the radiance of Your countenance, and the stars about the harmony of Your being. The sun speaks in one language, and the stars speak in a different language, but all the languages flow out of the same vocal cords. The vocal cords belong to You, and You uttered the first sound that began to tremble in the deafness and formlessness of nothingness, and it broke into countless sounds and heralds, as a thundercloud breaks into rain drops.

O Lord, Master of the voice, speak more clearly through Your heralds!

One exclamation escaped the breast of the Bride of God when She saw Your Son--a voice filled with a love that could not be contained in silence. And that exclamation echoed in the heart of Her Son, and this echo--this response to the love of His Mother--the Holy Spirit has spread with His powerful arms throughout the entire universe. Therefore, all the universe is filled with Your heralds, O my Song and my love.

O Lord, Master of the voice, speak more clearly through Your heralds!

For this reason You also spoke in parables, O Son of God, and You would explain things and events as stories about the Most High God. You cured the sick with words and raised the dead with words, for You recognized the mystery of love. And the mystery of love is a mystery of words. Through all creatures, as through piercing and blaring trumpets, words pour forth--and through words, the love of Heaven.

O Lord, Master of the voice, teach me Your love through all Your heralds.

~St. Nikolai Velimirovic, Prayer 27

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Just a Little Post

Well, to start, we had a lovely service of forgiveness at church on sunday evening, which was accompanied by Jay having a seizing fit. Not quite a seizure, but he was seizing up and could not control the right side of his body, so was twitching and could not hold his own weight. This isn't the first time, as this is a regular reaction for his body to food he shouldn't eat, though it hasn't happened so severely in quite some time, months even. I helped him in at the end of the vespers and he made it through. Fr. Andreas gave him some Holy Water, which helped calm the nerves, but he stopped twitching completely after Fr. said a short prayer of anointing.

Next day, he was weak and tired, though in delightful spirits. He rested according to his need and today has been nearly back to himself. It occurred to me that, while this is not something new for us to experience, it was wholly new for our new church family to see. Everyone was so kind and helpful, doing all they could to understand and put him at his ease. Glory to God for all things!

In other news, a week from tomorrow will be my 35th birthday. My birthday always falls during Lent, no matter how early or late it falls. This year, with Pascha so late, we will (gratefully) get through clean week before Annunciation (n.s.) and then my birthday. What a week that will be! Kat and Jay are conspiring about what they will make me and I am excited to see what they figure out.

Hmm, a little mish-mash, but that is it for now. For those of you on this Lenten journey, may it be prosperous and fruitful. Peace be unto you!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Springtime Promises

Sitting in my favorite spot
Positioned to soak in sun
Whose rays are bright and bold
With deliciously varied hues of blue
From horizon to the topmost point
Creatures stir and chatter
While butterflies dance
In anticipation of springtime
As the creek effortlessly flows by
Tall trees sway silently
Amidst the birds jubilance
Clanging chimes rejoice
Swung to life and music
By dandling breezes
Time stands still
With quiet determination
Sleepily, the earth breaths
In rugged simplicity
Drawing all things together
God's perfection magnified

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Foggy Mist

I adore the fog and mist. I love driving down on a sunday morning for church, where it is a quiet sunrise as we leave, in the valley pocket of our home, climbing to the top of the road we drive. The shadows begin to fade and give way to the beauty of the day as the creatures stir. We go along the dirty, red road and find our way to the highway, watching the clouds to see where they have settled, or whether they will depart. The blue of sky and soft, misty clouds swirl, like they did this morning.

The thick and moving mist is filled with heavy sleep which clings to its body. Some places it is so thick, you cannot see but ten feet in front of you. Wrapped in this foggy mist, there is little else to notice and such is life, at times. The quietude and timeless state of the moment overcomes most any other thought or sensation. As we journey on, we nearly burst into clear air and are submerged into the depths beneath the clouds and the day that is given to the greater valley below.

Such beauty.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sunshine and Rest

A bit of respite today, as we took a walk after breakfast. The weather is so comely, we have been out to enjoy since after the walk. The dishes are waiting for me, the vacuuming and putting away of laundry, too, but I could not help but take advantage of such a momentous afternoon!

The birds have all been bustling about and squirrels run to and fro, while preparing for spring to be in full bloom. It reminds me that it is not when something is in full swing, but the journey to prepare for it, which creates occasion to properly welcome such beauties and richness of life. We venture forward, though we are slowing giving farewell to Spring's cousin, the Winter, as we walk to meet the flowers, rain, and evenness of delightful weather and precursor to Summer.

Sitting in the sunshine out here in the grass imagining the projects to come, I dream of what a little grooming will bring and how we will attract as many lovely things as possible with our planting, but also must protect it from creatures. The trickle and burble of the creek, coupled with breezes, sunshine, girly giggles, and bird calls, I have seen a new peace and perfection in that rugged beauty that is life.

I wrote this on friday, we have since had SNOW again! :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My Friends the Birds

In Colorado, my bird was the red-winged blackbird, who still hold a special place in my heart. They keep a particular piece of my life that is steeped in fathoms of contemplation, personal and family struggles mixed with change, and a profound seriousness. These birds came when I needed to remember the beauty and playfulness in life, but also to keep me steady in the moment or day at hand. A glimpse of childlike spirit coupled with the ebb and flow of life's great mystery of change and sameness all at once.

They are still here, though they have not found themselves necessary in the same capacity and so have become somewhat dormant. It appears that the bald eagle has made itself known as the newest bird in my journey through this life, so I looked up any symbolism relating to them. I am of the opinion that God is always finding ways for us to hear Him, through ways we will best listen, and for me, they are the trees and birds, in much of His rugged Creation. As it I would see, the bald eagle is seen by the Native Americans as a communicator between the Creator and Created, carrying prayers to and fro. What a comfort! The first appeared on a day when I needed some small affirmation, anything really, to give ease to some things coming up that had yet to be revealed, but on the horizon just the same. When they come, the idea is that your prayers are being heard and communicated, but also that everything will be okay.

I have now seen a number of them at any given time where my heart is yearning and feeling heavy and torn, or simply distanced from the very spirituality I have come to breathe in and out, but feels lacking. Today I was telling someone of these things after church and it was a nice discussion before heading off to where I am currently: coffee all by myself! As I walked along the street passing memory after haunting memory of people and places, I approached the intersection (which I am sure can be take both literally and figuratively) where a great many birds were chattering. Amidst the clamor of all their voices, I could hear the red-winged blackbird saying hello. I could not yet see with my eyes, but trusted in my heart that they were there. I saw them as I came upon them and my heart was glad. Nothing flies like and eagle, or sings like a red-winged blackbird.

Glory to God for all things!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Great Many Things

I have been giving a lot of thought to a great deal of things lately, but certain things especially have caught my mind in a way that have their own particular importance. Firstly, I have been thinking an awful lot about this move. It has occurred to me recently that we have finally surfaced in our journey westward and found some semblance of normalcy. One might imagine it not taking 6 months to have something like this come about, but when we factor in the reinventing our home after leaving a great deal behind and finding a way to incorporate trips to town to balance life on the farm, it is more than many may consider in a move.

So, we are here. I mean, we are really here now. We have rhythm, which we have yet to hone, but that will come in time. We are finding our niches here in the mountains and home, with each person's talent and penchant being all the more useful because we are supplementing one another, but also because each person is unique at any given time in life. For example, Kat is extremely interested in the creatures and I am sure she will master the art of creature keeping before too many months have passed, then she will move on to other farm adventures that strike her fancy. Jay is immensely helpful in all things out of doors and that require manual labor, though I may be apt to help from time to time. I do many indoor chores making sure that we have dishes to eat the food I make, but Kat has also tasted the sweetness of preparing food for the family with the satisfaction and accomplishment she feels when she has completed the task.

It is for certain that when necessity makes itself known, there is a way to either overcome it, or work around it; if it is necessary enough, you will find a way, but if it is not, it may simply fall by the wayside and you may wonder why you ever thought you needed it. There is something that awakens the generations of ancestors past when we have a hand in each piece of our livelihood. We are eating the goods we canned, many of which were hand-picked by us last summer, though all were hand prepared and sustaining us now. We are also trying ourselves at making a number of other homemade items, like kraut. It is good for the body to have naturally cultured kraut in so many ways, it leaves me wondering how I ever could have lived without it!

Goodness, I am nearly off on a tangent, as I am prone to wandering amongst! Ok, so all of that is most important, but I want to touch on the part where I mentioned giving things up way, way up in the first paragraph. Even at the very last minute, though we had already given as much as we thought was necessary, with the prospect of having plenty to supplement upon our arrival, we were faced with having to rid ourselves of even that. We were intending to have a much larger trailer than we ended up fitting behind the car, because the rental company said we should be fine with the larger of the two; this was not the case. Half-loaded, we realized we would have to get the smaller trailer and it also meant we had to decrease our belongings by HALF! Yes, we did. Many items went to dear friends and neighbors, as they helped load us up, but plenty went to donation as well. When push came to shove, I looked at the boxes and items sitting about, as Jay went to return one trailer for another, and all I could think about was that the only things we needed were to be able to eat, clothes to wear, Kat's things (she had done SO well in getting rid of a great deal), and our church books, icons, etc. This is what showed up with us, while nearly everything else stayed behind to be dealt with by friends.

This brings me to the next subject of my thoughts: friends. Such an invaluable source of comfort in time of need, an ear when we are either struggling or triumphant, someone to share all things with, no matter what. God gives us each person in our lives for many reasons, many times to learn the truth about life and love, but our friends are especially significant, we also choose one another. They are ourselves without knowing; a mirror of love, life, reflection, joy, peace, heartache, pain, perfection, simplicity, and yearning. We find each other on this path in life where we seek solace and understanding, through smiles and tears. They are someone who sees and hears what we hope another can glean from our own hearts and listens intently as we wind our way through these roads where life can take us. Without friends, this life would be bleak and our relationships would be so lacking and unfulfilling, but it is not true. When we pursue peace, love, happiness, and truth, and our hearts long for respite in this world, we often find a true friend where we least expect it.

It is this time in my life when I am capable of seeing the indescribable beauty and mercy in those whom God has seen fit to outfit us in this life. The love, generosity, thoughtfulness, and challenge our friends have offered is so great, I am at risk of being overwhelmed by these amazing people. Tears of joy and gratefulness have often threatened to burst through my daily countenance and makes themselves known, and on occasion they have, but we have more than enough to occupy us, it is rare I can truly take in all the wonders that are our friends. I have often thought that it is better we make our family our friends and friends our family, so that where the two meet it is indistinguishable. There is no tie that binds more strongly than that of love and understanding, which sets its feet in with one and takes ahold with the other. Therein lies the mercy and love of God, in our relationships that are given, created, and oftentimes challenged, we grow together to learn of greatness and wonder at perfection.

Thank you to all who have offered patience, love, and understanding through many transitions in life, where they are always prevalent. We have an abundance for which to be truly and utterly grateful in a world of confusion and despair, we have all of you. Growth in love and peace is my greatest desire for all of you, to be so incredibly blessed as we are.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hot Water!

I stood there in our south facing room saying an akathist and morning prayers, while Kat tended the chickens and Jay laid back down to fight off his headache. The sun shone in beyond the parting of the curtains, so I decided to let a little more light in because it was cheerful. It had been a struggle of a morning to get going, especially without hot water, so we ate simply and went on with the day. As I stood there in prayer, I noticed the warmth of the sun, something that has been long since lost in the cold of snow and ice.

Afterward, I found some hidden source of determination that I would clean the house when we had hot water, so I had to do SOMETHING! I messed with a couple of things, like the pump in the creek and thawed a drain pipe, but eventually thought I had broken something, when even the cold water in the sink stopped! So I went in to get Jay, even if he was not up to par. Together we turned things on, watching and waiting. After some trial and error, we uncovered the pipe to the toilet plumbing and found it had been insulating to keep the ice inside, instead of letting it drain fully. Jay unwrapped it and I gave him some water from the kettle to pour over it in hopes of some defrosting.

We let it go for a few, as Jay went on to look for some piping to reroute things, if it was frozen under the house. I was heating more water to dump into the sink for dish washing and Kat went upstairs. Next thing I knew, I heard the toilet flushing, because Kat had pushed down the handle. I asked her how she did it, then had her go back up and do it again. It flushed!!! Small steps, huge triumphs! Kat and I ran outside to go tell Jay and we were SO happy and our hopes went sky high. I wondered whether it had any connection to the flushing because when the toilet stopped flushing, the hot water in the bathtub did too.

Jay went around the back to check on the water situation again and I heard him calling something back. I asked him to say it again and I heard 'hot water'! That's right, we had HOT WATER!!!

That is our miracle today! Next time you turn on your hot water, try to appreciate it just a little more than usual, because some places in the world still haven't got it, or running water, but it has not been all of human history that we have been so blessed with this luxury. First, running water and second, hot water!

Glory to God for all things!

PS-Jay is feeling better, but I need to be off to feed him :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Frozen Pipes and Singing

I am a night owl, that is for sure. Since I am up, I thought I would blog a bit.

We are in at my folks' because it is the coldest winter in the area for over 20 years! Our pipes all froze and, in an attempt to keep the tub flowing, the drain pipe froze...ah well, such is life working out the kinks!

Funny, I miss our daily walks the most, but what I really miss about them, even just after a couple days, I love getting my blood moving...and singing. Yes, I walk and sing in the forest. I love and miss it. You are probably wondering what I sing. I usually go with something like Somewhere over the Rainbow, You'll Never Walk Alone, liturgical excerpts, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, etc.

I was just up thinking about that. The trees are good listeners and sometimes I hear a bird calling back in the distance and I stop to listen to the beauty of their song and try to locate from whence it came.

Calm, quiet, cold, breathtaking can a person not sing?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Quiet Beauty

We had our walk this morning and Kat did some sledding on Penguin Hill. While she was busy sliding and hollering, having a blast, I walked just a bit further up the road to keep the blood moving. There is an area where the road crosses a shallow bit of creek and it was too beautiful not to take note. I walked back to Jay to grab the iPad to capture what I could of it. Here is what I saw:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blessings, Prayers, and Peace

Sunday was the feast of Theophany (n.s.) and it was a rough go to get into town for church. Had it not been Theophany, we might have foregone the push to town on the ice packed slush of a road, but how often does it fall on a sunday, the day of Resurrection, and this year we have a body of water to go for the Great Blessing of waters! Of course, we were running late getting out the door, since Jay was driving the farm truck and have to always be uber prepared for leaving the house for town, careful not to forget anything if we can help it.

We arrived in decent time, though not early enough for the Gospel reading and homily, but it was enough to make it there in time for A Mercy of Peace; it is my favorite in the whole of the liturgy and I hope that one day we can sing a few other arrangements and compositions, but we made it and that is what matters. It is a beautiful miracle to participate in the life of the Church and her services.

That being said, a liturgy is a liturgy, it may seem, but feasts be shifting and the tides turning with the depths of timelessness set in our time-filled humanity. Each is a new day to chose for oneself the path wherein we step, with each rising of the sun, a fresh day greets us with fervor and constancy to awaken the world from her slumber. This day was no different in her splendor, though from where we stood, a challenge was in our path. Those being weather and our will to leave the mountainside on such a cold day, when a pot of tea and breakfast was more welcome than a long, arduous journey down to town, though worth it in more ways than are completely tangible.

We got off, running late as I stated, arrived, participated, stayed on for a bit during the trapeza/coffee hour, then I got to take my sister out for a birthday coffee! Hurray! She got a fancy something full of sugar, caffeine, and cream. After some time to sit and chat to catch up, we were off to the park where people refer to it as 'the fairy ponds'. Foggy and chill it was, as we trekked from the parked car to the place where everyone had just begun the Great Blessing of the Waters. As I looked across the crowd to the opposite side, I saw Jay standing there with his pants rolled to his knees and hair pulled back and for a few moments, I noticed that he had the same countenance as on the day he was baptised, right as he and Fr. Boris walked three times around the center of the church and baptismal font. That was truly beautiful and simple.

After the main prayers, the time to bless the water thrice with the Holy Cross came and to sing the Troparion of the feast: When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan the worship of the Trinity was made manifest! For the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, calling Thee his Beloved Son. And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of his Word. O Christ our God, who hast revealed Thyself and hast enlightened the world, glory to Thee. It was at this point Fr. Andreas arced the cross from hand to creek with Jay and Brenden going in after it. This happened every time and on the third time, Basil, my youngest nephew, was asking to get it, so Brenden grabbed him from my sis and he helped Basil grab it. That water is amazingly glacier cold and fresh, hence it being January, but still quite pleasant.

We went to venerate the cross and be sprinkled with the newly blessed water on this lovely feast. Afterward, we had a group photo with as many of the church family who were able to attend. As everyone gathered themselves to head home, or wherever they may be going, I walked back down to the shore after handing my glasses over to Jay. I got down and scoped some up to splash on my face and have a drink. It refreshed my body, mind, and spirit. Many prayers have been answered, simply in finding some peace within, when things are so chaotic and swirling without. Glory to God for all things!

Next year I think there will be many more people wanting to go in after the cross, many of whom are under the age of 10!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

For Now

Well, enough of the niceties, I have about had it. Along with everything else changing, so has our church life. Don't get me wrong, our church family and community are amazing, and we do live next door to one of them. The problem is having been able to attend every service, regardless of length or date, any possible time. Not to say that we are not exactly where we ought to be, but it surely makes things complicated when church is 32 miles away, 1 hour drive on a good day. I mean, really? When we have become so accustomed to being at nearly all services, year in and year out, it is a bit of a shock to feel like, "It is only 32 miles," completely knowing that it was half that in CO. That being said, it was only 22 minutes from house to church.

I know, I am a grumbler, I am just trying to come to terms with not being able to go all the time. I think that the real struggle is in feeling like I am awful, or unfit, at minimum, to be of example to Kat, therefore I have relied ever so much on the community of the church and whatnot, in order to make up for all my glaring shortcomings. Looks like I am going to have to step up and that is what is next in order. I just love church and being there with my little family and, these days, my parents, sister, nephews, etc. It is rather a blow, but what a thing to figure out. I have no want of trying to decide when it is best for us to go, though I realize that God is 'everywhere present and fills all things' and we cannot ever be further than our hearts in prayer and love, with appreciation.

I find myself daydreaming about how it would be living in a little village, or just outside, in Russia or Greece or Romania, anywhere besides here, I suppose, that there is an Orthodox Church on every corner, just as there is a Protestant one here. Of course, having a good priest is not a given with having any old church, so I will be comforted in the fact that our parish and her priest is kind and understanding. *sigh* I think I need to see what we do have, rather than lament that which is not, but also to forge a new habit and firmness of faith.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Here We Are

Oh! The snow has been amazingly crazy! It is the worst this area has seen for some time and the temps are not getting above freezing in our little cabin, though the wood stove keeps pumping, with a little love. We got a sled after payday, which is a must-have in the mountains where it snows and sticks around. We also got Kat some real snow boots, because the one's we had just gotten here are all-weather BUT deep snow! We invested in some good hiking, climbing, messing around boots right before the snow came and, though they offer a good cover and her feet are in good care, can you imagine being a 9 year old girl being all suited up, with only nearly perfect shoes, having your mom repeatedly holler at you to come out of the heavy snow and onto the path? Now, thank God, we have proper boots AND we got them on sale! She is happier, drier, and less nagged...

We have been walking as daily as we can muster, which is nearly each day after breakfast, rain, snow, shine, or blizzard. We are becoming rather acquainted with our new 'backyard', of sorts, and enjoying all that there is to offer. The other day, tuesday, I think, we went walking all suited up for the weather, but it was the first day of real, bright sun, after all that grey and whiteness. We went wandering down a familiar path that had been snowed over and unplowed, until people began driving it again. We found a patch of sun that happens to illumine a hillside. Kat decided to slide down head first, on her belly, calling it 'penguin sledding'. Next day, we went promptly out with the sled we had left behind day before, to sled and sled. We found ourselves running the main road at our turn off to the clearing, which was loads of fun, then we went to what we will now refer to as 'Penguin Hill'. What fun we had on our sledding day yesterday, it was exactly what we all needed. The dogs all think that we are being whisked away by something unnatural, because they would chase after barking with serious intent, only to realize that the sled was not an invader or person of harmful consequence.

Wet, cold, and sparkly, that is our home right now. Beautiful and amazing, as we begin to learn more about its joy and peace. We are so grateful for the opportunity to be where we are. We have noted Jay's health more stable than ever these past 4+ years, with few-to-zero migraines, a massive change from even just before we left the city. Kat is growing like a weed, maturing into a young lady, but I am not sure how we got there. She has been into making food for us and is rather good at it. She has a dear heart and kindness within her that is a joy to encounter. Jay says that he is sure it is all my influence, but I know she has some gems due to his input, I am sure of it! They like a lot of the same things and I expect that will be a portion of her continued shaping in the future. I have often reminded him that a girl's papa is so magnanimously important, though it may not always appear that way, that she will measure men that she considers having in her life by what she finds admirable and acceptable in her own papa. Such lessons in life!

Now that the hectic season of holiday craziness is coming to a close, we are finally seeing a bit of respite on the horizon. There have been so many adjustments, both to settling in as a family and having some routine and also just getting to know our surroundings and schedules at church, etc. All is well, but we are only just recently beginning to find a true bit of consistency in what we are doing. Piece by piece, we will find more stability and more will be natural parts of our lives, but only time will tell.

I think that is all for now, so I will sign off. Peace and love to all!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Magnificent Mountains

Mountains are so quietly kept. Their secrets lie dormant in the silence of their bold and staunch settlement. So many have tread and come to know her pieces of beauty, though ever changing, in her long-suffering and steadfast calm. She happily gives all that she can from Creations magnificence she has been given. So quietly bearing all until she can no longer keep herself from calling out. When she speaks, there is none who does not hear, and so many can feel her pain, knowing her distress. Though ragged and reformed, she continues on in quiet peacefulness and firm solitude.