Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye, 2017

Another year is over and the start of a new one awaits. I have nothing profound to say.  I have ideas and hopes for the coming new year, but in the end, I can only live the life I'm given.

"Life is short, I wanna live it well
One life, one story to tell
Life is short, I wanna live it well
And you're the one I'm living for."
~ Jon Foreman, Switchfoot

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


The week leading up to Christmas was full of so much planning and prepping, I'm not sure how I survived. The girls were up early every morning, usually by 5:30. Some mornings, I got up even earlier because my sleep was so poor and my mind racing to remember all the things I needed to keep track of. I think I will need to sleep for a week before I start to feel truly relaxed.
We opened gifts with our kids very early, and ate our Christmas breakfast of cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, sausage and oranges by 7am. Then after showering, I worked on cookie dough that I had refrigerated overnight and then timed the ham to go in after lunch. By 2pm, Shane's brother's family arrived and we sat down to our dinner around 4:30 pm. After they left in the evening, I started the dishwasher, put two girls to bed and then went to bed myself.
Early the next morning, we got up, packed up the car and the cat and drove down to my parents' home. We saw two ships in the St. Lawrence River, both Christmas red of course.
In New York, the interstate posted signs warning of lake effect snow with whiteout conditions expected and within ten minutes we were in the middle of a crazy snow squall. We kept on driving and in about 15 minutes, the snow clouds cleared and we were back under blue skies. We passed two stuck cars on our side of the highway with police on the scene very quickly. We were very thankful to pass through unscathed.
It is very cold here in Pennsylvania, so walking around on my parents' property is not as comfortable right now. But the fresh air clears out the mind and gives time to reflect on the coming new year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Portland, Day 4

Please forgive the delay in posting the rest of our Portland trip, fall was a busy time for us.

The morning I spent in the Portland Japanese Garden was glorious. So much green and bamboo, water and trees, moss and stone walls, and of course, the ferns; everywhere there was beauty to contemplate. I know you had to slog through many photos to read this, but I did try to select my very favorite features of the garden to share here. Just imagine if I made you sit through all of them.
I saw gardeners tending tiny weeds in the moss and I marveled at this careful attention to even the most tedious work. And the visitors ranged in all different ages and demographics, some you might have suspected were there under duress, seemed to truly be soaking in the serenity that the garden emitted.
Since I was there in early September, reddening Japanese Maple leafs were sparse, so everywhere I stepped, I looked carefully for one fallen to the ground that I could snag as a souvenir.  It took me two trips around the circuit, but I managed to find a very tiny red leaf to press in my guide brochure. In front of the gift shop was a large seating area covered with a Japanese mat with signs encouraging visitors to sit 'gently' on the natural fibers. With many visitors coming and going, it was tricky to get clear photos of some of the areas, but waiting for a momentary lull in the foot traffic was relaxing too.
Having never paid too much attention to the world of cultivating miniature trees, I was astounded at the various displays of aged trees. Complete in every way, yet very small.
I leave you with my run-through of all the wind chimes set up outside one of the gift shops.