Thursday, November 29, 2012

Last Days of November

It’s been all over the place in the weather so I thought I’d get out there and get some snow pictures before it was all gone…as it actually is today.  The day before the snow came along it was really fantastic outDSC02155.  The sun had been so nice in the evening…kissing the top of the trees in such a beautiful wayDSC02156and then it went all wintery where the sun is shiny but gives little heatDSC02157.  Finally the snow began to fall heavilyDSC02158but I didn’t mind because the usual awful bitter cold didn’t come with it…it was barely freezing in fact so it didn’t stick all that much but it looked delightfulDSC02159…it’s so nice maybe I’ll indulge in a little barbecueDSC02160…or maybe not.  Our once delightfully golden tree is quite barren now but the sun provides a delightful shining Christmas ornament don’t you thinkDSC02161?  I’ve grown really fond of this tree no matter what the season isDSC02162.  The sun through this tree always brings me hope in a way I can’t quite explainDSC02163.  A light snow and hard frost made things look like a scene cut from “A Christmas Story” though I didn’t have a Red Ryder B-B gun handyDSC02164.  My mind was playing Dance of the Sugarplum fairies as I looked at the snow dusted rocks which reminded me of some kind of sugar plums themselvesDSC02165.  The field beyond had it’s winter best onDSC02166though now It’s back to its tired browns and golds.  Can anything beat the promise of a snow kissed evergreenDSC02167?  I’m quite glad for our new fangled fence which can withstand just about anything nature can bring itDSC02168

Time to turn our view to the inside don’t you think?  We’ve decorated the downstairs with a chalkboard having a countdown to Christmas for the kids to enjoyDSC02169.  This tree has some unique ornaments on it like this little wooden duckDSC02170and even some things we picked up in Ghana West AfricaDSC02171.  Other things I just like because I’ve not seen too many like it…like these little turtles for exampleDSC02173.  Note:  yes, those are popcorn strands…my daughter makes a mean bowl of popcorn but many went to the tree this time.  We had an extra white tree so it’s near the dinning room table this yearDSC02175.  I thought I’d showcase some of the other nutcrackers that didn’t get any limelight last timeDSC02176.  Those three look down on the dinning room from on top of the cabinet for our better dishes.  This one is closest to the front doorDSC02177…his partner is on the other side of the hall mirrorDSC02178…yes he’s the rat king from “The Nutcracker”.  Some nutcrackers are not so serious…this one reminds me of my time in the tropics…he stands on top of the living room TVDSC02179.  Now last but not least stands this classic next to one of the all time favorite carvings from Africa that we haveDSC02180.  There’s a slice of Christmas before December even begins.  The reasons for the season are so beautiful…they are priceless and eternal.  God Bless you all.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankfully on to Christmas

Well, Thanksgiving came up on us in a huge hurry.  I love my family and having things to be thankful for…so my title is actually kind of a play on words.  The turkey was wonderful this yearDSC02142.  I still remember when my wife and I first met she couldn’t even cook at all…now she not only knows various international dishes but she prepares our holiday meals.  Being home for the holidays is a blessing that in the early years of my life didn’t happen all that often.  I’ve spent several Christmases abroad…the Philippines and India in particular come to mind.  Truth be told I relish each and every time like that whether at home or abroad.  Lovely set a wonderful table for us tooDSC02143.  My Dad always says:  “It looks good enough to eat!”  Well, this was all that and more…good times!  We traditionally get our Christmas stuff up now so let me share some of our decorations with you.  This is our fireplace and mantleDSC02144and our tree this year is near the stairs DSC02145.  Note the long line of nutcrackers on the wall…it’s quite the endeavor to get them all lined up there let me tell you!  Here’s a nice basket we filled with decorations this yearDSC02146…isn’t that nice?  I really like it!  We have enough nut crackers now that they end up all over the living roomDSC02147.  They all are different and really so much fun to look atDSC02148.  This one may have helped with the cooking but I can’t say for sureDSC02149.  My grandfather on my Mom’s side loved ribbon candy and we still have ornaments to honor his memoryDSC02150.  Note the reflection of the tree in the ornament here…I love how much the kids enjoy the tree and decorate it nowDSC02151.  We have many ornaments that I like but this wreath always catches my eyeDSC02152.  This ornament is to honor both my grandfathers and my Dad all of whom have been great fishermenDSC02153.  A last look at the tree where another ribbon candy ornament hangsDSC02154.  I’m thankful my friends, thankful for you, our troops…too many things to mention here…even the hardships that we’ve weathered by the grace of God.  The holidays may someday be far different for us then they are but the spirit of gratitude I pray will ever remain.  God bless you all.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Have you ever felt that you’re in a bubble that popped but somehow the effect of that is something you’re still waiting for?  I’ve had that sort of insulated feeling for some time and can’t get past the sense that all too soon now the other shoe is going to fall and when it does absolutely everything will change.  Truth is not something will align itself with you rather you must choose to align with it.  We’ve claimed to believe things but what will shine through when the smoke clears?  Will we even be the same people?  I think we’re going to find out what we’re really made of as a nation and as individual people.  As usual I find parallels to everything in life.  The weather has been wildly different from week to week.  We had a big cool down with snow one momentDSC02135things went from warm to cold and from brown to whiteDSC02136.  It was the blink of an eye and all seemed to no longer be fall at all anymore…winter seemed to have arrived out of the blueDSC02137.  I thought I’d have to get used to winter and then once again the bubble burst that had seemed so solid and warmer days came backDSC02138…could this be the same world?  The snow that was looking like it would stick around was on the way outDSC02139.  Now once again the sides have shifted and now winter is on the ropes againDSC02140.  Just when I thought I had it all figured out the shift came again.  This is really striking to me.  The natural mind falls short and secular consideration minus spirituality fails.  Take stock in that which has value…value that is not fleeting.  We’ve thought we would remain unaffected and it’s easy to believe that but I know that I know change is coming on swift wings and what has seemed solid today could melt like the snow tomorrowDSC02141.  Something think faith is not reliable but I believe it’s the most reliable thing in the world.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


It’s been a very tough week for our household.  I’ve spend about three weeks on a partial fast.  This was to help me find peace with the election whichever way it would go and now in retrospect I’m so very glad I did that.  I think we often get the impression that prayer is about getting what you want but I don’t believe that at all.  I think it’s fine to make requests to God but then faith gets involved where we trust God to answer as He sees fit.  I broke my fast to land right in the middle of the worst flu I’ve experienced in a very long time.  This swept through our house like the black plague of old leaving me now still weakened and not at all completely recovered.  What’s my point in all this?  Well, bottom line is in spite of it all I feel peace.  This must be the peace that passes all understanding…certainly mine because I don’t understand at all.  Right now we’ve got a winter storm watch and looking at the sky I can really believe itDSC02134.  It’s windy and icy cold and I just don’t feel well enough to take more pictures so I hope this will suffice for now.  Let not your hearts be troubled.  Blessings to you all.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Leaf It to Me

It was supposed to be really warm today but that didn’t materialize at all…it’s only 46 and hazy outside…smells like burning leaves in fact.  This led me to do what I’ve been putting off for a few days now.  It was time to deal with the leavesDSC02123.  We honestly don’t have all that many to deal with in reality.  Before raking I thought I’d do a camera run and see what there was to see.  I was surprised to find a remaining puff ballDSC02124.  While there are remnants of earlier seasons the reality is the majority of things are pointing more and more to winter.  I remember when this tree was all golden and beautiful…no longerDSC02125.  The gold has fallen and turned mostly to a severely rusted brown nowDSC02126.  Out of all the leaves I saw only one or two retained their brilliant yellowDSC02127.  I actually am impressed with this tarnished transition because it’s happened so quicklyDSC02128.  Now I’m working on resigning myself to the next inevitable season where there are no leavesDSC02129and very little color.  The remaining stragglers won’t last through the bitter winds of winterDSC02130.  If you don’t think brown is that exciting for a colorDSC02131then you don’t know the long months of white here.  This may be the last week to enjoy any color I canDSC02132.  How long until the other leaf (shoe) dropsDSC02133?  Not much longer I think.  Until later don’t forget those struggling since super storm Sandy and the elections…I know it gets old but if you refuse to vote and refuse to pray you really don’t have a right to complain right?