For a few days, I have been delving into the past searching for clues and trying to grasp the whys of the migrations of families that covered such a distance of this country and how it was that some individuals just seemingly left without leaving a trace. Some things may remain a mystery until the next life.
A year ago in some ways seems a lifetime ago with the only thing that was the same then and now is that for many it was and is a time to reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ and what impact his life had and still has on humanity. I am thankful for that time of focusing and consideration.
1. That we didn’t lose power when the strong winds and heavy rainfall happened earlier this week (Many people were not so fortunate when power lines werestruck by trees falling due to the saturated soil and high winds.)
2. Being able to have one clear sky this week that allowed us to see Jupiter and Saturn appearing fairly close together
3. The spiderwebs that take on a beautiful lacy appearance when covered with frost (This is also a reminder of how sometimes we just need to bloom where we are planted, or in this case where our tiny spider feet take us to weave a web, and just try.)
Fragmented spider web attached to pickup door and side mirror
4. Joining with family to make a collaborated Spotify Christmasplaylist
5. A simple to fix, but sufficient for us, Christmas Eve meal with leftovers for the next day (There are times when simple and easy makes more sense given the circumstances.)
6. Phone calls with family on Christmas Day and the days following
7. Being introduced to the works of an author and knowing instantly I would be reading more of his works
8. Receiving a product that we didn’t even know existed and we are excited to have which enables us to sanitize many things like masks and phones
It was impossible to see with the fog hanging low almost to the ground and obscuring most of the familiar scenery, but she knew the horizon was still there.
She never doubted for a minute that the thick forest of firs were there supporting one another with their thick branches extending outward and upward to their neighboring conifers and to an occasional deciduous tree now barren of almost all of its foliage.
Being unable to focus with her eyes on the now unseeable caused her to reflect on her memories tucked away inside her mind and heart bringing clarity, even joy for what had been instead of despair for what could have been.
With a ballpoint pen in hand she began to write the stories that came tumbling out onto the faintly lined pages of the yet unused journal given to her for just such a moment.
Journeying along a writing pathway helped her forge through the past and reminded her of what deep down she somehow always knew but was afraid to admit or embrace.
It didn’t matter that the scene outside her window had not changed for now, because the landscape of her heart was ready to be discovered, and not just by her.
Whatever you are up to this week, I hope you take a minute or two to consider things for which you are thankful. I promise you that giving thanks, even it is for one thing will help make other things more bearable. I am linking up to Ten Things of Thankful hosted by Dyanne of Backsies Is What There Is Not.
18" tall imitation Christmas tree
1. The 14 deer which came to visit all at the same time for a short visit Thursday afternoon
2. Changes in weather forecasts, for the better, which maybe will make it possible to see the marvelous display by Jupiter and Saturn in the sky on December 21
3. Finding things like a kitchen tool we forgot we had and is much easier to use than the smaller one we have been using and also finding a TENS replacement patch in a size that is no longer available in the stores or online AND finding both items in the same week in our home after having searched the cupboard for the latter item extensively months earlier and had given up
4. Tackling projects little by little
5. Realizing that learning to be patient has as much to do with being patient with myself as it does with being patient with others and with situations
When I discovered these singers (Hound + Fox) this week, I listened to as many of their pieces as possible. Listening to them singing "Grownup Christmas List" seems so apropos this year.
7. Leftovers meals that allow me a break
8. The willingness of good people to keep trying to make the world a better place even when facing great adversity
Possibly more than any other movie or video I have watched, this series depicting the life of Jesus Christ seems more realistic to me. I am thankful that it began to be available to viewers in the year 2020.
Her thin wispy hair blew ever so slightly in the breeze as she slowly bent over to pick up a penny from the sidewalk in front of her home.
The widower next door noticed her dropping the coin into the pocket of her housecoat and hollered loud enough to be heard by Liz and anyone else on the block, It must be your lucky day!
She smiled somewhat pensively as she carefully made her way up the four steps into her craftsman bungalow she and Jack built when they were young, when spare change was hard to come by.
As she pushed the swinging door leading into the kitchen, she reached into her pocket with her other hand to retrieve the tarnished penny whose color was almost the same as the blue-tinted 2-quart canning jar tucked in the corner by the bread box.
After dropping the coin into the almost full jar, she mused at how proud Jack would have been that she had continued their tradition after all these years, but then she remembered his parting words followed by a whispered pleading word, Promise?
Just then her train of thought was interrupted an unexpected knock on her front door.
What where is she? She hasn't posted her ten things yet! Why not? I think someone is talking about me. Yes, I am late, but I am able to get on board now with my post to the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop hosted by Dyanne of Backsies Is What There Is Not. With these questions at the beginning, I am dedicating my ten to the letter "W."
The windows we gaze out of the most are now devoid of any signs of the grit and smoke from the fires that inundated our area in the fall. It is amazing how one can be oblivious to some things until one day you think to yourself that has to be taken care of NOW.
I am thankful for the vast amount of greenery on our property from which I was able to make a wreath for our front door.
Not a perfect wreath, but you get the idea
Water in the form of rain or the condensed variety appearing as snow in the mountains is welcome this time of year. Cities in the valley appreciate having a good snowpack guaranteeing their summer water supply.
Some Christmas goodies do not call for walnuts, but many do. We tend to add a few to oatmeal fairly frequently, but in December I use more walnuts than at any other time of the year because of the extra baking I do.
Do washcloths ever really die? Around here, the old ones go in the rag drawer and get used for a variety of purposes. Perhaps I save a tree or two by using old washcloths instead of using paper towels for some grimy chores. Rags can be washed and reused.
6. Weatherproof coats
I am thankful for just the right coat to protect myself from the elements.
There is something quite mesmerizing about watching the whitecaps, whether small or large, as they approach the shore line. Although we haven't been to the beach for quite a while, some have gone there and shared their photos and videos on Facebook. This week there were some impressively large whitecaps to be seen.
8. Wintergreen flavor
As a child my family traveled for about 14 hours from one state to another on vacation once or twice a year to visit my grandparents. Mom usually carried a few rolls of mints in her purse. From time to time as kids were becoming restless from traveling, Mom pulled out the rolls and offered us a mint. My choice was always the wintergreen flavored ones rather than the peppermint flavored ones which always seemed too strong of a flavor to me.
Seeing large woodpiles gives me the satisfaction that the family living in the house nearby is going to be warm enough during the winter weather. I grew up in a home that depended on heat produced from a wood stove and for a considerable time as an adult have depended on wood as a source of heat. I remember the wonderful feeling of putting that last piece of wood into the woodshed, knowing we had enough wood reserved for the winter.
10. Wise men
I am thankful for the wise men spoken about in the scriptures and their desire to seek out the Christ child. I am also thankful for the wise men of today who know to whom to look for answers to the problems that beset them.
Wise men pictured by the left of the stable
11. Wonderful husband
Vic has once again has been there when I really needed his help. We take turns being the helper.
Food and eating has been on my mind, which is to be expected since after all it is December and with December and traditional Christmas meals and treats, it is hard not to think about food even if you will not be able to be with loved ones this year. For this moment in time I've decided to distance myself from the association this week's prompt for the Six Sentence Stories has to food. Click the link to read other Six Sentence Stories - Menu. Denise of Girlie on the Edge's Blog provides the prompts each and every week, and for that I am grateful.
So many choices.. .wouldn’t it be easier if there were just two?
Well, perhaps, but look at all you wouldn’t know.
It is just that I get so lost in the menu selections and with the updates, I don’t know whether to look at the top, to the side or down at the bottom.About the time I figure out where everythingis, all of a sudden nothing looks the same. Whose idea was it to bring him on board anyway?
Oh, oh, bite your tongue because the big chief is headed our way, and it looks like he is fit to be tied.
This year has not been an easy one as I think we can all agree, and trying to stay positive in the midst of it all has tested the majority, if not all, if we are honest with ourselves. Throughout this year, I have participated in the weekly Ten Things of Thankful blog hop which has helped me to reconsider the things for which to be thankful. Sometimes they are everyday things, other times they are very significant events, and frequently they are things I never want to forget like special relationships. I am thankful for the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop now hosted by Dyanne of Backsies Is What There Is Not. I am also thankful for all those who have previously hosted and those who co-host.
1. Being able to get my oven very clean and not have the smoke alarms go off while using the self-cleaning oven option
This time around I used natural cleansers (baking soda, water, and white vinegar), to remove as much as I could before using the self cleaning oven setting. Basically there wasn’t a whole lot left for the oven to do, but it did what I was hoping it would. I cleaned the oven racks with steel wool soap pads after soaking the racks overnight with water. The oven hasn’t looked this good since it was new! I am thankful for Vic helping me, of his own accord, get some of those hard to reach places. (My right shoulder only cooperates to a certain point when reaching deep into the oven.) I am also especially thankful that our oven is a wall oven making it ever so much easier to clean at this point in time.
2. New pillows for our bed and the magical way they reached their puffy state of being after we removed them from the plastic wrap in which they were encased which said casing made them look nothing at all like a pillow (We gave them a few hard slaps and they began to expand. After a couple of hours they were ready for use.)
3. The beginning of a new day when all is still and the body refreshedfrom a good night’s rest before the to-do list unfolds to view
4. Thebeauty of the white Christmas cactus blossom like the single very bright star that appeared in the sky at the time of the Savior’s birth (For the time being this seems to be the only blossom that will be appearing on this plant this month.)
White Christmas cactus blossom
5. A plate of Christmas cookies left on our doorstep
6. This buck and his harem which are willing to share their hillside properties of their cervidae ancestors with those of us who have built homes here
Buck grazing on a hillside
7. The many who have made sacrifices, often at the risk of their own health, so that the rest of us have been able to get through this year of the pandemic
8. The one day a week which is set aside as a day of rest from doing as many as possible* of the tasks they do during the rest of the week and instead more fully worshiping God in thoughts and in deeds, and receiving inspiration as to how they can more fully live their lives in harmony with the teachings in the scriptures every day, not just on Sundays
(*There are many whose employment requires that they work on Sundays.)
9. Contrasts that help us recognize good from evil, joy from despair, etc. that enable us to make better choices in our lives in the future
10. The many who have written lyrics and composed music that remind us of the birth of the Savior and the many who share this music during this Christmas season
It is time for another short story, short because it is only six sentences long. Denise of Girlie On The Edges Blog provides a link for this blog hop every week. Go take a look at Six Sentence Stories - Beam to see what others have written. There is always a guaranteed variety of stories using the given weekly prompt word.
The two-by-four-inch board set on edge making the top board of a four-foot-high fence may have seemed an unlikely place to walk, especially sinceon one side of the fence was a large sow. The trick was to learn which way to jump if one began to teeter.
Trying to walk right down the center whether it be in life or walking on a balance beam requires keeping focused and staying centered. While those traits are necessary ones, especially since life doesn’t always serve only the safest of circumstances, for those situations one does have a certain degree of control it can be immensely strengthened by one’s spiritual and temporal preparation for those times of uncertainty.
Sometimes speed is of the essence and there is no time for hesitating as to which direction to take because one has already made the decision as to what to do when a “what if" situation arises. Once as I was driving along a curvy road I came upon a scrub jay in the middle of the road who flew up to get out of the way, but instead of staying its course and flying out of my lane, it met its demise because it changed its course and flew into the front of my car!
1. Finishing a goal that seemed almost insurmountable when I started it earlier this fall
2. Finishing an audible book, but already missing hearing about all the humorous things that happened when the author was living on a ranch
3. Participating with our children in creating a collaborated Spotify playlist that we could each listen to on Thanksgiving Day when we were not going to be able to be together because of COVID-19 restrictions (A big thank you to one of our daughters for coming up with the idea)
4. Being able to read so many #givethanks posts by others on Facebook this week
5. Receiving a surprise delivery of a bouquet of flowers the day before Thanksgiving to brighten and cheer us
Mixed bouquet of flowers in a vase that belonged to my grandmother
6. Being able to visit with our children via Zoom on Thanksgiving Day
7. Having a spare pair of glasses to use when the lens fell out of my glasses on Thanksgiving Day
8. Having Thanksgiving Day dinner leftovers to enjoy, including eatingpie for breakfast the next morning
Do you ever eat pie for breakfast?
9. Receiving a text that “maybe” someone left something on our doorstep (Thankfully a note with the items did identify the giver.)
This was the end product of one of the items. The pomegranate was the largest one I had ever seen and produced almost three cups of arils. I like to use them as topping on green salads.
Freezer bag full of pomegranate arils
Do you like pomegranates? What is your favorite way to use them?
10. Vic and our family who make me feel loved, who make me laugh and who make this life so much better than it would be without them
Sometimes on holidays a home is filled with lots of family and friends gathering to share a meal, talk, and play games and it may be hard to find a quiet spot to land, or an oasis of calm, at least while everyone is still there. Celebrating together is a much looked forward event, but this year, with COVID-19 concerns, for many people the celebrating with others is highly limited in some areas in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. In other words, unless one's home consists of a house full of kids, the oasis of calm will just continue as is while COVID-19 rages on outside the safety of ones home.
Resting her mind from the cares of the world which were weighing her down seemed so impossible, yet she knew it was necessary and so she trudged further up the trail trying to ignore the pain in her calves and thighs and the weight of the pack on her back.
She had taken the necessary precautions and let Dave know where she was headed that morning, saying only that she needed some R & R or she wouldn’t be any good for anyone.
He looked long and hard at her, trying to read between the lines the emotions he felt emanating from her body, but decided not to say anything and just nodded before she turned and headed out the door, leaving only the scent of her sunscreen.
To reach their personal oasis required more energy than she had remembered when they both had hiked the trail that first time before diverting off the path to a secluded small pool at the base of a cascading waterfall.
She remembered how they had sat on a log beside the pool, and he had listened to her and didn’t say a word; he just listened until she laid bare her troubled heart.
As she stopped to drink from her thermos, she heard quick steps around the bend of the trail behind her and Dave’s voice saying, “Wait,you can’t go there without me.”
1. The windstorm didn’t disturb the wet leaves I had raked into piles a day earlier.
Wet maple leaves raked into piles along the driveway
2. Our phone that is connected to a fiber optic line was not working for at least three days this week. Since I have a cell phone too, we were not completely without phone service.
3. The same day our phone began working again (I am giving Vic the credit here.), Vic also got a good report regarding some recent lab work (A HUGE thankful!)
4. Getting a new Audible book that is totally enjoyable and makes me laugh
Do you have a favorite book that makes you laugh and lifts your spirits?
5. A Christmas cactus in bloom and other cacti setting buds
Hot pink Christmas cactus starting to bloom
6. Knowledge about all things wax (Six Sentence Stories, another blog hop, had wax as the prompt word this week.)
7. Preparation for Big Sur, new operating system for the Mac
I take things slowly to make sure having the new system isn’t going to throw a kink in existing apps, especially my Reunion app. This week I downloaded the latest version of Reunion to avoidany problems when I do download Big Sur.
8. A warm loaf of bread received from a neighbor
9. Being able to share old photos of family reunions on a private Facebook virtual family reunionand watching the page grow as more descendants of the originators of the first reunion early on in the last century join the page and are able to identify some of the people in the photos
10. A rather dusty visitor came to see me while I was sweeping a particularly dusty area in the barn
A rather dusty woolly bear caterpillar
It is a great message leading into the season of Thanksgiving.
She tried to hold on as tightly as possible, but her memories seemed to wax and wane as the more recent ones slipped away more quickly.
“That’smy Mama,” she said excitedly as shelooked at an old sepia toned photo of a bride wearing a beautiful bridal wreath of Geraldton wax flowers atop long flowing hair. No one pointed out that the woman in the photo was her great grandmother taken before she immigrated from Australia, nor that the pretty flowers are now a highly invasive weed in that area.
“They used to do that, you know,” she said, when she saw a photo of another woman, who really was her Mama. “I saw her do it; she put beeswax right there,” she said as she pointed to a smallpox scar on the face of the woman.
Some of her memories sealed tightly in her mind, while others shrank around the edges with time, like the paraffin wax on an old jar of jelly.