Monday, December 31, 2012

Final day of 2012; thoughts to ponder

"New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights."  
 ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

"The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year.  It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. 
Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions.  Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective." 
~G.K. Chesterton

"Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor...

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting."

~Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Happy New Year's Eve, 
from our home to yours! 


A Prayer for the New Year;
What shall I ask for the coming year
What shall my watchword be
What should thou do for me, dear Lord
What can I do for thee?

Lord, I would ask for a holy year
Spent in thy perfect will
Help me to walk in thy very steps
Help me to please thee still.

Lord, I would ask for a trustful year
Give me thy faith divine
Taking my full inheritance
Making thy fulness mine!

Lord, I would ask for a year of love
O let me love thee best
Give me the love that faileth not
Beneath the hardest test.

Lord, I would ask for a year of prayer
Teach me to walk with thee
Breathe in my heart the Spirit's prayer
Pray thou thy prayer in me!

Lord, I would ask for the dying world
Stretch forth thy mighty hand
Thy truth proclaim, thy power display
This year in every land.

Lord, I would ask for a year of joy
Thy peace, thy joy divine
Springing undimmed through all the days
Be thy days of shade or shine.
Lord, I ask for a year of hope
Looking for thee to come
And hastening on that year of years
That brings us home to you.

Ten Things I'm Thankful For - mid-autumn rollback

Rolling backwards, as promised... and smiling all the way.
Ten more, always ten in total; Here are another ten random bits of my thankful things, none in particular order or semblance, just things I find motivating for thoughts of gratitude. 

Are you writing yours down, keeping them close to your heart at the very least? With the new year coming, why not start now? 

 - 1 - I'm thankful for trail walking, where peace and serenity fill a soul with humble thoughts, grand steps on beautiful paths, and thoughts of loving family members roll round and round one's head. That's what it's like for me me anyway, while out walking on trails and pathways. How about you? Do take time to get outdoors and delight in the gifts of each season. 

The trail above is on my own property, just steps away from my back door off the kitchen. 

- 2 - I'm thankful for hiking buddies who value spontaneous happen-chances, like the one above when we all walked in with sweaty faces, obvious clothing to indicate our most recent activity together, and the woman graciously welcomed the crowd of we women in anyway. 

Yes folks, this is a very small chocolate factory featuring Belgian chocolate, where the behind the scenes takes place for making and molding the chocolate fancies, and folks can stop by to see a small storefront with items for sale. They say no one rarely knows the treasures in their own local area, and I believe that is so true, mostly because this one is under eight minutes from my home and I would not have known it was even there. 

Take a close look in the first photo above. That is a chocolate wedding cake folks! Yes, indeed, it is! And to the right of it, note the Lucille Ball photo of her one day job at the chocolate factory. We are Lucy fans, so of course that one caught my eye. But then, so did the items in the case below it, and the other assorted molded chocolates behind me. 

 - 3 - I'm thankful for our daughter finally admitting life on an actual horse isn't all that bad after traumatically growing out of the pony she was so attached to. This horse is named "Aussie", and had so much attitude at first, but has grown to love and ride well for our daughter. 

Shockingly, the two have bonded to the point where this horse will almost do anything for our girl. Amazing! 

 - 4 - I'm thankful for fun things in October, like the family at the barn where our daughters' ride when hosting a Halloween horse show. Last year we were away, so we weren't sure what to expect, but this event met with our surprising delights.

Entire families from our barn, as well as many entrants attended, all encouraged to dress up if desired, for the costume event. Our little missy grandbaby was naturally included when she attended with her mommy above. Adorable of course, it was so sweet to see her perform in front of a crowd and take a first place ribbon, all for the fun of it of course. She was the only baby dressed up though, a little stiff competition for all the rest. :) As for her mommy, she was able to participate in her first horse show since baby was born, so great to see her out there, in the saddle again with the others. 

Our older daughter is back into horse showing

At the end of the very, very long day, the final competition loomed ahead. After both daughters placed well all through their event entries, this younger one has become so brave on her designated horse and surprised us greatly by voluntarily entering the competition to jump the highest fences! UGH! My hubby and I were all sweaty palmed, not knowing what to think as each round saw continued entrants disqualified, while those left standing continued to  jump another raised notch on the bars. 

Our younger daughter stunned us all with her bravery, and um, well, this butt shot. Sorry folks, didn't quite expect this huge reach in the climb this day. teehee...

Up, up it went, higher than she has EVER jumped successfully before, and shockingly she was the last person standing at 3ft, 3 inches. My goodness, my heart was in my throat. I almost gasped and begged her to stop (like WHAT are you thinking girl!), while all the other parents either sweated along with us, or kept loving the event enough to assure me all would be well. At day's end, we now know what this horse and rider, both as a team together are capable of. 

Onward to 2013 horse shows then, but maybe I need to turn my back a few times to get all warmed up to these new heights first. 

 - 5 - I'm thankful for creative pumpkin carving efforts, though it's always, always so much easier than it seems before setting the tip of that knife through the outer skin. Isn't it that way for you too? 

We actually had two carving sessions around here, one for the younger two (above), and the other with a few visiting young adults who attempted to carve one pumpkin between the three of them. 


They did a fine job, complete with brother dressing up the final result with sister's boots, and mother's oven mitts. It ended up providing a good laugh.

- 6 - I'm thankful for this great book, though not for the faint of heart! It's a true historically accounts of brave men whose only purpose was to travel to the New World, live amongst the Natives, and learn their ways to enable the spreading of the gospel. 

For us, it's great living a short drive away from their proclaimed homes of origin, now more formal holy grounds, where actual saints roamed, and all these life giving Canadian Martyrs once lived. 

It was wonderful to hear of the Canonization of "Blessed to Sainthood" for Kateri Tekawitha this past fall, as she was such a part of their missions throughout geographical North American areas, and how wonderful to be so near to some of her relics resting here.


Celebrations, pilgrimages, special masses, and plenty of happy feasting occurred at the southern end of Georgian Bay in the city of Midland, Ontario, at the Holy Martyrs Shrine. If you're ever in town, and wish to visit this holy ground, feel free to contact me.  I love to visit, and have brought many of my own guests to visit, during our past four years living here.

For those who wish to know a little bit more, here's a link to the REAL MEN and the story of the Martyrs Shrine, and about the Meet each of the Martyrs; Jean de Brébeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Antoine Daniel, Charles Garnier, Noël Chabanel, Isaac Jogues, René Goupil & Jean de Lalande

- 7 - I'm thankful for remnants I came across in my science club lesson box. Evidence of former projects both taught and learned by children of my own and others, made me smile with warm memories of those days gone by. 

Yes, I used to teach a science club, and a nature club, both of whom were filled to capacity with students, and parents who wanted to stay and absorb the learning fun. 

Both of these photos above feature one daughter's seed collection. The assignment for one of the weeks was to find as many types of food seeds as possible, collect/wash and dry them all, label in an envelope, and bring to the next class. 

The children were to "trade seeds" to increase the variety in their own present collections, and then we got to work to make displays as keepsakes. I have so many visual memories of these days, of eager, smiling children and never a lesson without a teacher's dream of too many volunteer parents in attendance. 

These were all so well worth all the effort it took for me to attempt keeping them interesting and fun. I really have a soft spot for these types of groups, maybe some day I'll repeat it all again.  

- 8 - I'm thankful for yet another visit from a "pileated woodpecker" who thinks his territorial nature includes owning our property trees! See the damage he did in just two days above? Well, during the next wind storm shortly later, the top of the tree broke off. Obviously though, we knew the tree top was dying or he wouldn't have paid any attention to the tree in the first place. Such is the way these birds were made I suppose. He's such a large, and interesting bird too, almost a foot long. 

 - 9 - I'm thankful for continued little grandbaby moments that make us smile, and bring much joy into our lives.  Thoughts too of our older nine grandchildren living on the westcoast are always on our mind. How lovely to have such great technology these days to see, hear, and love them from afar.

You know the saying.... You know you're a redneck when? Well, this little gal's daddy is a bit of a redneck, loving motors and engines himself, not able to wait longer to introduce his baby girl to the seat on our lawn tractor. She loved it, and didn't enjoy having to get off! Great laughs ensued from this fun moment.

She sure offers everyone around here plenty of sunshine, always chirping and singing up a storm. If only we knew what she says! Such a part of our lives now, it will be a bittersweet day when she moves out with her mama over the course of this upcoming year. But, no worries, that's all in God's bigger plan for her, so it's all good. 

- 10 -  I'm thankful for glimpses of a season's ending, like when autumn begins to turn to winter, and evidences of dried up leaves signal the end of leaf raking, mowing and bagging. Soon, the leaves will be gone, and snow will replace our grounds with glorious white and brightness. 

So much happens at the end of a season, and I often find it intriguing how human intuition takes over for preparing for the changes ahead. One just becomes accustomed to what must be done, how it is to be executed, and who must partake. It's a family affair around here, surely whenever, and whoever, is around that is. So.many.leaves!  


As suggested, these blogs may be heading back in time for a fair bit of blog postings ahead. Thankful things are always on my mind, and fresh reminders within photo files tend to take me back a season or five anyway. 

Ten things. It's so easy peasy folks. Muster up your thoughts today, juggle and jangle your memory banks, and jot down your own ten things. 

See you again very soon;

"Give me a firm place to stand, 
and I will move the earth."
~ Archimedes

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ten Things I'm Thankful For ~ Snowy white


Just ten for today. 

Only ten? 

Oh my. Only ten then...

It's officially winter now, but it was still yet autumn for most of this blog post! Winter is here though, it sure is here... 

These are the days of preparing for the slower, more mellow months ahead, something that keeps us mindful each day in our home. A natural tendency to hunker down, keep warm, gather round the hearth with a good book, and enjoy quieter times spent with family, are all well worth looking forward to. For me too, I would add, preserving the family archival memories because for a brief timing, life slows down just a tad to become more project minded and forge forth with new and interesting photography fun.

For this "Ten Things", may I now present a belated autumn post, one that has been resting in my draft folder for some time. There is so much to be thankful for each and every single day! Yes, if one doesn't find the blessings in any given day, how discouraging can that be, and how overwhelming to a poor soul can that escalate into something worse. 

Are you a grateful person? Then, where's your list of thankful things resting?  In your heart, or on paper?

Here then, is my continuously random, often strange to others, list of thankful things I've serendipitously decided to share for today. 

- 1 - I'm thankful for our first winter snow. 

It's a snowing kind of day! Actually, the photo above captured our first snow of the season, about a month ago now, that offered an accumulation of 1.5 feet of the cold, white, fluffy stuff. We were loving it, and then, just like that, it was gone again. But, not for long.

2 - I'm thankful for the trail walking, the ones suitable for public usage which surround us geographically. 

Through my weekly hiking group sojourns, I've been thrilled to discover even more interesting trails every year that aren't far from our home. 

 Often we will revisit these same trails, and take our dogs with us to enjoy nature at its best, hoping we don't encounter any wildlife along the way at odd times during the year, and stay quite clear of designated hunting seasons, when the locals to fill their freezers for upcoming seasons. 

The photos above show two very different scenes, one in autumn, and the other during our first snow this year. In winter, the trails soon become snowmobile highways, some thousands of miles of them that attach one to another, leading to towns and cities along the way.  

- 3 - I'm thankful for our new double bag holder that attaches to our John Deere lawn tractor. It sure become helpful this year for leaf clearing and getting our bags stuffed for the township's compost pickup. 

 shortly before the leaves began to turn colors...

Both last year and this, the leaf pickup has arrived too early in the season, so we're thinking of contacting our local municipal hall and requesting they push this date forward another week or so, mostly due to have still so many leaves on the trees when the pickup occurred. Moving the one pickup date offered to the community forward, would assist all in continued bagging. 

a few of the yearly many...and then some

The solution for us of course, was having to continue unloading the remaining multimillion loads (smiling) through our forest trails to spread them out evenly there away from our home. Sounds ideal for a solution no doubt to most folks, however having piles of rotting leaves allows a perfect environment for mosquito filled homes come springtime. Anything to avoid more bugs is a great idea.

- 4 - I'm thankful for the very last lawn mowing day in autumn until the spring when the lawn tractor gets all washed up and ready for winter storage. Those rows of mowing tire marks are still there! 

To glance from our windows and note the green hues in our grass, compared to the summer's yellowy drought, remains a picturesque view. Another plus? We are able once again to view through our forest now that the leaves are down, into the deepest depths of our property. Imaginations don't seem to soar so mightily now for what might lay back there at dusk.

- 5 - I'm thankful for my new spice drawer. Yes, I ditched the entire idea of replacing the spice jars to the depths of the back of our spice cupboard, mostly due to the fact that even with stacking one on another, there was just too much wasted space in front, and the temptation of increased eventual clutter in front of those nicely labeled jars. I so wanted to find what I needed quickly, at a glance, so I found another solution.

The whole purpose of organizing the spice cupboard anyway, was to encourage manageability of the spices. My solution to the situation was a gained cupboard for other food storage items, and instead I made room and loaded up a drawer with all those lovely labeled spice bottles, now quite literally, at the tip of my fingers.

- 6 - I'm thankful for signs of autumn filling our days, and the warmth of the fireplace for cozy family moments. Our little grandbaby discovered the dancing flames near to her, and once more we've come to realize we really, really don't have a child proof home. 

Everyone continues to be very extremely cautious over her whereabouts, it's just with the approach of winter, the fireplaces are one more thing to watch out for with her more greater mobility activities.

- 7 - I'm thankful for a son who has decided smiling for the camera is a better trade with mom, for fear that I would continue posting his staunch looking poker face photos instead. He said he looks good with a big smile in his photos, maturity is blossoming. 

This is a great photo of him with the delicious looking autumn coloring behind him, and that lovely smile is something else. Keep it up son! Loving it! 

- 8 - I'm thankful for quiet beginnings to our day, for those gentle morning routines in our kitchen where everyone tends to gravitate together. 

I'm thankful for the permanent keeper photos displaying all these home-filled scenes of autumn, in the beauty that exists a step away outside of our doors, as well as the color infused autumn decor our younger daughter felt led to produce one fine early fall day for all to enjoy.

P.S. Did you notice the glass doors above? Yes, once more they match, because one had to have the seal replaced before winter. 

- 9 - I'm thankful for so many great community events local to our home, and yet this year it seemed way too early to participate on the sidelines of the famous Santa parade. 

The premise for this yearly family friendly event is to hopefully host it well before snow comes, and provide less chill for the stamina of crowds waiting patiently along the miles of the parade route. Yes, miles! 

It's such a fun, fun, fun parade, beginning early at 6:30pm. for children of all ages to become filled with awe over the multitudes of lights and sounds, complete with a countdown to the lighting of the town center's Christmas tree, and spectacular skies filled (with better fireworks than any other time of year) at evening's end.  Entire families walk away with smiles on their faces, and cheery hearts.


So many entries were included from the community at large, allowing all ages to participate in this incredibly well attended parade. It's actually thoughtful to begin it so early, before the snows and the beginning of Advent anyway, where one can sift through the dress up box and don a Santa hat, leaving no one else in town to wonder about sanity measures in early November. teehee... We really enjoyed it again this year, and happy a few of us went.

- 10 - I'm thankful for our small community library system and cookies! The friendly ladies know us all by name, place holds on books we haven't even ordered yet, knowing our interests and just in case we'd like to check them out. As well, they are spearheading some incredible biweekly activities for various age groups to sign up and take part in. 


Cookie decorating was the class this night for teens/parents, and what a fun class it was! Our daughter couldn't wait to sign both of us up, and a friend accompanied the two of us. Now, I can see how this will propel us into the wonderful world of cookie decorating at home, something so very useful and creative to do with our drawer filled with cookie cutters. There's so much fun laying ahead, yes indeed folks, we can't wait to begin.


Here you have one more blog post coming forward from the archives of my draft folder. I'm happy to have one more well intended glimpse into our thankful things posted. Yay! 

While reading this post, did your mind flash back a couple months to your own autumn family memories? Well, why not offer a belated post. I hear it's in fashion to be late these days, well, for blog posts like mine today. ...smiling... We are nearing a brand new, glossy and prospective new year, but have heart because this present one is not yet over. 

Blog on! I'm off to my draft folder again, so stay tuned for more to come. 

Warning though; I may end up going backwards with my blogging, just to ensure the next blog hardcover family keepsake book includes all the blogs in the right year.

Blessings friends;

From our home, to yours this winter....