Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year in Review

2010, now just a memory.  It was a year of change, challenge and adventure.  I began the year by retiring after working since I was thirteen.  I had a vision and I had a plan for it, but it was quite an adjustment.  I still wake up at 4:30 in the mornings.  I do miss work, but I have new goals to achieve, a new direction to follow.

I fulfilled a dream--take a BIG road trip, visit all my brothers and sisters, scattered over the west, and revisit places from my past--my growing up years.  I spent a month on the road, and loved every minute of it.  My biggest concern--getting lost--was alleviated by Garmin.  She kept me on track.  I saw wondrous things--snow covered mountains in July, lava flow ribbons that looked like they were laid down just yesterday, Mount St. Helen, still desolate thirty years later.  I walked in the steps of the pioneers along the Oregon Trail, and along the beach after a summer storm. I took a step back in time and visited the ranch where I grew up, the little county school I attended, and my high school and college. I relived those memories of growing up in the west.

I added to my family--my grandson who just celebrated his nineteenth birthday now lives with me.  My daughter became engaged to the boy who used to live across the street.  So my family's circle will enlarge again.

I am now able to pursue my art endeavors,  I can dream, create, and express as I am led. However, I still have to wash dishes, and clean the bathroom--this keeps me humble.

So 2010 was a great year, but in the words of Rainer Rilke, that famous Bohemian poet--
               And now let us welcome the New Year,
               Full of things that have never been.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Week Between

The year seems in limbo this week between Christmas and New Year's Day.  The work and excitement of Christmas is history, and what the new year holds is just beyond the horizon.  It is a time of reflection--on what has transpired this year, and what our expectations are for the coming year.  It is a also a time to think about our blessings and our trials and to be thankful for both. 

It is easy to be thankful for those good things that transpired, but just as important to give thanks for the problems, for these have built our inner strength, forced us to look beyond ourselves.  When we meet those who are experiencing what we have experienced, we are able to give comfort and wisdom, and possibly make a difference in their lives.

It is also a time to set goals for the future--things that will enrich our body, soul and spirit.  So in this week of retrospection, I want to evaluate the past and plan for the future.

Friday, December 17, 2010

School Christmas Programs

This week my grandson had his school Christmas program--he is the cute boy in the red and white stripped shirt standing on the end.  He was so excited!  It reminded me of Christmas programs when I was growing up.  I attended a one-room country school in the mountains of northwestern Wyoming.  There were grades 1 thru 12, and maybe 12 students total.

     Christmas at Wapiti
The highlight of the school year was the Christmas play. Right after Halloween, we would start working on it. Sometimes it was a traditional story, like Dickens’s Christmas Carol, or maybe a modern story, like Home for Christmas, or the Gift of the Magi. On the last evening of school before Christmas holiday, folks from all over the valley came to see the program. The classroom was crowded with ranchers, and their families, cowhands all slicked up and fine young ladies who that very morning had been cooks and cabin maids. A canvas curtain as wide as the classroom separated the audience from the stage. Advertisements from Cody Drug and Shoshone Feed and Seed covered the audience side. On the other side children scurried to get into their costumes and take their places. As the screen rolled up everyone watched as the children presented their play, weaving the story of the importance and meaning of Christmas. After the final curtain and a rousing round of applause, there was community singing, lead by the school teacher playing a slightly out of tune old upright piano. The evening always ended with singing Silent Night. Even though it was just a bunch of mountain folks, the sound was like a heavenly choir. Many a ranch hand had tears in their eyes as the last note ended. But then it was time for cookies and punch in the library, visiting, catching up on the latest gossip. Finally, everyone, tired and happy piled into their cars and trucks and headed home over the crisp snowy roads.  The memory of that night filed away with the nostalgia of growing up.

Friday, December 3, 2010


This picture was taken near where I grew up. 
     Winter's were special times as a kid.  There was all that snow to play in--make snowmen, and snow angels, build igloos, go sledding and have snow ball fights.  And then when we came in from playing, Mom had hot cocoa and cookies waiting. 
     With the snow came the expectation that Christmas was just around the corner.  We looked forward to see the special tree that Daddy brought home from the surrounding forest.  Each of us secretly made presents for our folks, and even occasionally each other.  At school we practiced for the Christmas pageant that was presented every year for the entire community.  We always had a play and a nativity scene.  The older kids vied for the part of Mary and Joseph. 
     Winter was special in the eyes of a child--a time of fun and wonder..

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Splendor of Autumn

Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile  (William Bryant)

How beautifully the leaves grow old.  How full of light and color are their last days.  (John Burroughs)

As we think of this season, our spirits are touched by it beauty, that riotous burst of red, orange, yellow and green.  We rejoice that the doldrums of summer are over, but the hardships of winter are still in the future. For some it also holds a hint of sadness, that another year  has just about slipped away.  We wonder what we have to show for it.  I try to remember that yesterday is a memory and tomorrow is a dream.  I found this quote in one of my readings--The art of life is to live in the present moment, and to make that moment as perfect as we can by the realization that we are the instruments and expression of God Himself.  The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to make today all that it should be.  (Emmet Fox)  I wish to live the best today that I can.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Blahs

Dog  Bird days of Summer--It is hot and muggy here. I justed returned from a wonderful month long vacation.  I saw high snow covered mountains, walked in the steps of the pioneers, and was cooled by the breeze coming in from the ocean.  Now predictably, I feel that let down that comes from such a "mountain top" experience. But on the way home from the store--amid the heavy afternoon traffic, the 105 summer heat and dew point of 68, and admittably feeling a bit sorry for myself, I caught sight of this bird wading in a neighborhood mini-lake.  I was reminded of the beauty all around us, and the importance of looking for the good.  Perception is everything.  I want to look for the good, try to change the bad, and let the results be to God's glory.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What a Difference a Week Makes

Last Sunday about this time, I was sitting in the Clear Creek Wilderness, with a sweater on, admiring the beautiful oaks and pines. After a day of hiking and riding, or just relaxing reading a book, we were getting ready to start a fire, and roast marshmallows.

This Sunday, I am hunkered down in my house, all the doors and windows shut, trying to keep out the 110 degree temperature.  It is so hot that you can't walk barefoot outside.  All the plants are stressing and the dog is sitting under the cooler vent.

This is the beginning of the summer in Phoenix.  Only two and a half months and it will be nice again.  So I am looking on the bright side.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yesterday's Flower

This afternoon, as I was doing my dishes, I noticed on the far end of the window sill, my African Violet was blooming.  Many times, I have bought one 
but without fail, after a few months they died.  This time I also bought a special pot, actually a pot within a pot, water goes in the outer pot, the plant in the other, and you just check the water when you think about it. I purchased this plant while I was displaced from my home when it flooded last October.  As long as it lived, it was a symbol to me that I would be o.k.  I packed it around with me until finally I was back home.

It reminds me of my Grandma.  She always had African violet plants, sitting on little white doilies and they were always blooming.  I remember the violets, and purples, and even white blossoms.

My Grandma had moved around quite a bit.  Originally from Latvia, she lived in Baltimore, Philadelphia, then Montana, and finally Utah. She was an old-fashioned lady in every way.  So this old fashioned flower is a tribute to her.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Southwest Winter

It's a chilly morning. It rained throughout the night and the desert dust has been washed from the garden.  All the fruit is sparkling with raindrops.   The sky still is overcast, but the sun is trying to break through.  I must remember these days, for in the not too distant future everything will be shimmering not with rain, but with the intense heat of summer.  The days will be long and hot, and this morning will be a pleasant memory.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Not What One Expects

Today, on the way home from the store, all four lanes of traffic had come to a stop.  At the front of the line on my left a  pick up hauling a large trailer had stopped.  Its driver, a large burly construction worker waved at me to stop.  My first thought, there had been an accident or some one was hurt, but no--a little brown dog, maybe part terrier and Chihuahua visably upset was running down the middle of the lane.  As I stopped, and oncoming traffic stopped the man shooed the dog across the traffic lanes and onto the sidewalk.  When the pup was safely on its way the driver climbed back into his truck and the normal hustle of busy traffic resumed.

Kindness  is shown when you least expect it, and from unlikely sources.  I think that we often judge people by looks and not actions.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Turn the Page

Monday I began a new journey.  I retired from work.  This is a new beginning, a new adventure and with it comes many questions, and a sence of expectance.  This new page is uncharted, and as of yet, I don't know the direction that it will take, and how I will write on the new blank pages.

I want them to be filled with wonder.  I want them to be fun.  I want them to be productive.  I want them to be memorable, not only for me, but for those around me.

I have goals, and a plan, but it is flexible, allowing me to experience the unexpected.  Wish me well, as I begin to write this next chapter of my life.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What lies Ahead. . . .

I do have some goals for the new year: Finish an art project a month, work on my studio so it is organized for easy access to my supplies, finish a sewing project a month, be a consistent blogger, work on my book, study my Bible more.  I will work toward these goals, knowing that life may well, have other plans for me.

What lies ahead?  It is a mystery that will be revealed one day at a time. But I face this future with anticipation and peace.

Psa: 31:14-15  
But I am trusting you, O LORD, saying, "You are my God!"
My future is in your hands.

Ecc. 7:14  When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.