My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his humble servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed, the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear Him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
I cannot drive past a sunflower field without stopping. Mother Teresa said it best. “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
Like any horse owner, I think I have the most handsome horse- maybe it’s because he truly is handsome- maybe it’s because he’s the best company – and maybe it’s because I can look into his eyes and see his gentle horse soul ….. these are my top ten favorite iPhone photos of him. Enjoy!
My most favorite Christmas tradition is the Christmas Tree. This year we put up our 27th Christmas Tree of our own (meaning not including our separate childhood trees). We make an afternoon out of going out and walking through the tree farm and finding the perfect tree, cutting it down, lugging it to the truck and bringing it home. This could be our last Christmas with both of our children (although one is 24!) here at home for this tradition. When we put the ornaments on the tree – with each ornament we are taking a walk down memory lane through our lives. We tell the stories that they bring to mind, we laugh and we cry. There are ornaments on this tree from each of our vacations, each of the places we’ve lived, our firsts (Christmas together, babies), ornaments that were gifts from family or friends, ornaments that I made when we hardly had any, ornaments that others made for us, ornaments with photos on them, of pets we’ve lost….literally the Christmas tree is holds the ornament journal of our life together. That is why the Christmas tree is my favorite Christmas tradition – once a year we all talk about the story of our life, think about those people who have come and gone in our lives, tell stories in itty bitty detail, pass those stories on and solidify them in our hearts.
I love color. I would say that my favorite color is yellow and I think it’s because it’s bright and cheerful. A sunflower field makes me think of a bunch of smiling faces looking at me. Today I stopped by the field a few times as the sun changed its angle so I could take photographs in different lighting. On my first stop, the farmer, who planted the field, and his wife were there cutting sunflowers to sell. I thanked him for planting the gorgeous field. I thanked him the last time he planted it too. I think he thinks I’m funny – to him it’s a means to make a living – to the rest of us it’s a field of sunshine. Each time I stopped by today I met someone new. Most people can’t drive by the field without stopping to soak up the beauty, take some photos and/or to buy some sunflowers. I met a sweet couple photographing the field, taking a leisurely walk and searching for the perfect sunflower to take home. Later, I met a family with two little girls, one of whom had me convinced that the field smelled like honey. It was fun watching them in awe of the gorgeous field at sunset. I think the world needs more sunflower fields. I will do my part by sharing the photos and I will keep stopping by until the last sunflower blooms.
Every year I plant my own little patch of sunflowers – many different varieties. Sometimes the chipmunks eat my seeds before they sprout and sometimes the weather isn’t conducive to growing huge sunflowers- sometimes I’m lucky and sometimes I’m not. I always hope that the farmer down the road plants fields of sunflowers and every few years he does. Boo! for crop rotation and boring feed corn! Yay! For sunflower fields that go on forever! This year I got lucky!
When I was in graduate school I was lucky enough (though I don’t think I thought so at the time) to live with my grandparents for a year or so. Although there was a perfectly functioning washer and dryer in the basement, my grandmother used a wringer washer. If you don’t know what that is – google it! Then she would hang her clothes out to dry. If I were home, of course I would help her. At the time I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t just make her life easier by throwing the clothes in the washer and dryer. I would have to say that laundry is one of my LEAST favorite household chores, EXCEPT in the summer when I can hang the clothes out to dry. I do have a perfectly functioning dryer as did she, but…..when I take the time to hang the clothes out on the line, it becomes a meditation of sorts; almost like the relaxation that gardening brings when I pull weeds and daydream. When I hang the clothes out to dry, the sun warms me. When the clothes are dried by the sun and the breeze they smell and feel so wonderful. When I climb into bed on crisp sheets that have been hung out to dry and the summer breeze is blowing in the window, I don’t think there is another feeling quite like it. When I hang the clothes out to dry, laundry becomes less of a chore and more of an act of love that I am doing for my family and myself. When I hang the clothes out to dry, my grandmother is with me each time, even though she has been gone for over 20 years. She was doing laundry the “green” way before that idea was ever even discussed! Thank you Grandma, for teaching me the art of loving through chores and taking me back to a simpler time.