Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Christmas Miracle

We've had snow for most of two weeks.
Maybe longer.
I honestly don't remember when our first snow fell.
The temperatures have been in the low 20 degrees Fahrenheit most days.
A few times it has been in the single digits and below zero.
We will probably have a white Christmas.
A large foot print marred the snow by our brick sidewalk.
A few days ago when I heard our daughter exclaim,
"Oh oh oh no ~ Mom look!", 
 imagine my surprise to see nestled into the deepest gouge of the foot print...this:
It was 9 degrees and had been "cold and snowy" for days.
Where did it come from?
It was "cold and snowy" for miles around.
We scooped it up and brought it inside.
Sadly, in spite of our efforts, it didn't live.
But we have kept it in a cup.
It is a reminder to me.
In unexpected ways and unimaginable places, the most unusual things can happen.
even Christmas miracles!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Final Goodbye

 Today dawns, dreary and bleak. 
Fresh snow has fallen overnight.
The sky is heavy as though there may be more snow to come.
In a few hours, our little historical town will say a final goodbye
to our mayor.
Our town has never said goodbye to a currently serving mayor.
Today is a first.
The procession will pause in front of his house before continuing to City Hall and then the cemetery.

He has been our neighbor for many years.
How do you say goodbye?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Swinging From The Rafters...or is it "RINGING" from the rafters?

 While everyone has been all like...
decked out in their tutus...
dancing to the strains of...
"The Sugar Plum Fairy"...
 and twirling and swaying to...
 "raindrops on roses"
 I've been ever so preoccupied with...
swinging from the rafters...
and rappelling off two story stair railings...
or things that FEEL like I'm doing that...
as I rush from house to house decorating for a plethora of
seasonal Christmas customers.
On a quick pass through of our foyer yesterday,
I couldn't help myself,
I stopped and twirled
and pirouetted
and I wanted to sing liltingly to the top of my lungs...
about "whiskers on kittens"
and "dust bunnies under french provincial chairs"
sort of...
as I climbed on the furniture
to capture in some small way
the essence of these beautiful rainbows
that were scattered across the room
as the sun beamed through the beveled window.
In a few moments they were gone.
And SO was I...
little red tutu and all...
well not quite.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Can't Count That High

When I look out the upstairs windows,
 I see a perspective that is different from the first floor.
  It was early morning and the clouds were glowing.
At initial glance,
the clouds were densely scattered and foreboding. 
 However, after further observation, it was obvious that the sun was brilliantly shining behind them.
Obviously, time has not allowed me to post for several days,
 and especially during the Thanksgiving season,
 I have reflected on more blessings than I can count.
Unfortunately as I have reflected on blessings,
I have been reminded of so many failures.
When I begin to feel that twisting pain in my heart,
 over my failures and faults and shortcomings,
 and my ears burn as I remember all the things I do wrong
and I sigh and utter a whispered, "I'm so sorry,"
to the things I've said that I wish I would have left unsaid,
 I'm reminded there is a glowing LIGHT of blessing behind all the foreboding,
 all the faults,
and words spoken in haste,
and frustration.
I just need to change my perspective and look for the LIGHT
 and embrace it.
I seek the LIGHT with all my heart.
Yes, truly I have more blessings than I can count,
 but there are two that I will share here.
 I am so thankful for you. 
You read my blog,
 leave me comments,
 send me emails
 or texts
 or facebook messages
 or phone calls
 or personal words. 
 That means more than I can express,
 after sharing a tiny part of what goes on
 here on our "Romantic Porch".
  I am truly thankful for you!
  Ah yes, I met him on Thanksgiving Day
many years ago now. 
 Four years later he was my husband
 and I've never looked back! 
 I am blessed beyond measure by him,
to be with him.
I won't try to count any other blessings...
I simply can't count that high.
I know that people have moved on past November and the daily thankfulness and have turned their attention to all things Christmas, but if you want to share a thankful thought with me,
I would love to hear it!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How To Decorate A Foyer For Christmas

 Remember the time you started looking at old photos from several Christmas seasons past, and you were surprised to see this one of the bathroom
 And you thought about all the keepsakes that were loaded in this tree in the dining room
 And you sighed when you saw the soft white and gold that lit the stairway that year
 And you wondered how old this glass ornament is
 And you thought about how much you love your husband and how this year he told you all the places he enjoyed seeing a Christmas tree in the house
 And you smiled when you saw the photo of this little ivory tree that was used so much it fell apart
 And you decided right then and there that someday you wanted a bunch of white Christmas trees to decorate in "sherberty" colors to make the house look like a Dr. Seuss Christmas house
 And you thought that the gold on the mantel could have been toned down just a touch with some white or silver
 And you reminisced about the second Christmas you were married and a new friend was depressed and wasn't going to decorate for Christmas or clean her house
 And you told her that her children needed to have some Christmas cheer
 So you cleaned and decorated her house for Christmas because Jesus loves her and so did you
 And you wonder what ever happened to her and her children
 And you thought about how fast time is passing
 And you chuckled when you remembered your daughter saying she had decided that the lamb was God's favorite animal because the Bible sure talked about lambs a lot
 And you wondered how you should decorate your own foyer this year
 Because if you don't hurry up, you won't have time after decorating for other people
 And you thought about the year that you used a lot of lavender  Christmas decor around the house and how you were definitely tired of that look because it seemed so "last Tuesday" or something
 And you really loved the white and gold and silver that you used that one year and you wondered if you would like to use it again
 And you remembered that these poor little trees were used so much that they fell apart too
But you remembered that you had used fabric that you had on hand from other projects and it was really budget friendly to achieve this look in the foyer 

 And you almost, yep almost, laughed out loud when you remembered that last year you put this tree in the window seat?
Yeah, did you remember all that as your memories flashed before your eyes?
 And the look in the foyer was understated and quickly put together...and it showed.
But you knew that whatever you decided to do with the Christmas decor,
Christmas would come and go
and all you really needed to
decorate the foyer for Christmas
for those who live here
and those who come and go through your door.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's No Problem Gentlemen, Just Use The Ladies Restroom!

"For your convenience...
a Baby Changing Station
is available in the adjacent
women's restroom.
Would you go change your baby over there, please?
Do you think the ladies would mind if he came in to change the baby right quickly?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

It's The Little Things Sometimes

I'm thankful for many things.
Most nights when I reach over and turn out the light,
I thank God
for a bed to lie on
and a roof over my head.
I could be under a bridge somewhere.
I am so blessed.

What is one thing for which you are thankful?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My View

I was surprised to see that the photo was captured without 17 semis and their headlights coming to meet me on the opposite lanes of the interstate.
How did that happen?
I will never know.
I just held the camera and clicked.
 I wanted to remember this sunset.
Even if it did include semis coming to meet me.
But it didn't.
I'm so blessed!
There is beauty absolutely everywhere.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Have You Ever Seen A Horse Wearing Glasses?

 She keeps dolls and accessories in this box.
She said her horse was old.
The glasses were the "tale tale" sign.

Oh well.
Have a good neigh!
I mean deigh,
or rather day!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November's First Snow

We had just a smidgin' of snow fall last night.
Our little spot of town looks so different from the upstairs windows as opposed to the downstairs windows, you know.
I thought the yellow leaves on the elm tree looked pretty against the white background. 
I wasn't so sure I wanted the thermometer to tell me it was
 27 degrees F, though!
Winter has arrived.
 after all,
 we need to get "all geared up" for the
sleigh rides
snowball fights
snowman building
ice sculpture making
and mostly
dashing through the snow...
from the car to the house!

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Salute

Thank you to all the men and women who have served and sacrificed.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Good Bye, Dr. Johnson, I Had Hoped To Say Thank You

Have you had those days where
the kids can't find matching socks
and they forget library books
and their calluses from playing on the school playground get infected
and the car quits working for the fazillionth time since February
and the dish water splashes from the sink and down the front of your clothes
and you still have dirty dishes
and you have a really hard time concentrating
and you are rushing here and there
and trying to help everyone
and the things you say aren't the things they want to hear
and you are sorry
and the dryer breaks
and you use your brother's car to run to the laundry mat
and you rush to the laundry mat to dry the freshly washed clothes
and three loads of dry and folded and clean clothes dump on the floor of the car as you drive home
and a customer drops by before your ready
and you wonder when you will get the work done
and the dog digs two new holes in the freshly mowed lawn
and it's cold
and your feet are tired
well, actually you are tired
and it gets dark at 5:30 p.m.
and you've been awake since 4:00 a.m.
and the work isn't done
and supper is late
and you burn the rolls

and inside you feel like acting all frustrated and grouchy
but instead you sigh and  try to smile
 a crooked smile,
yes, have you had those days?
And you realize that if  this is as bad as it gets, then it's all pretty good?
And you realize you are blessed
 beyond blessed.
Because your family is safe
and healthy
and together.

AND you want to cry for a family that you don't even know,
a family that is no longer safely together.
You grieve for the way his wife and four children have been left behind.
You grieve for your son, who shared a birthday with his amazing teacher.
AND you realize how deeply this death has affected your son and his fellow engineering students.

And as you grieve and you pray,
 you realize that frustrations are just that...

inconveniences that...
 are nothing in comparison to...
a missing husband,
an absent dad, 
a silenced friend
or an empty university podium.

Dr. Johnson's life, lived to short, has moved from the past to the future...
I am thankful for the powerful influence Dr. Johnson has had on our son. 
Just a few weeks of Dr. Johnson's teaching, one partial semester, has made all the difference for him as he pursued his degree.
Early in October, our son was telling us what a wonderful mentor/ teacher he had been though the semester was just off to a good start.
We thought when we met him we could
Thank You!
today we pray,
 as family, friends, colleagues and students say a final good-bye,
for now.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

When All Else Fails, Don't Quit...Never Never

Several years ago I had a chance to tour a beautiful old home on our street that is being restored.  It has taken them all this time and they are still unfinished.
I relate to that!
Some of our projects are unfinished also.
I think about how beautiful their home will be when they are done.
A job like this is not for the faint of heart.
You've probably read or heard this poem before.
I've posted it to my blog in years past.
It is sad to me that the author is unknown.
Don’t Quit
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
- Author unknown
Have a wonderful day dear friends.  Life is full of baby steps and sometimes you take two or three forward and then fall right down.  But get right back up. 
ALWAYS get up.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Giant Pumpkins

Our local paper told about a giant pumpkin grower who lives near  us.
  I wanted to go see his giant pumpkins.
  If I remember correctly one of them was weighed in as the second largest in the state.
By the time we got to see them, it was late at night and they had already been carved into jack-o-lanterns.
These are NOT your average pumpkins.
The paper stated as they were growing he put canopies over them to protect them, so they would have filtered light and he set mouse traps around the perimeter of them to keep rodents away.  At one point in the height of the growing season, they were gaining a pound an hour!
This is astonishing to me.
A couple of days later we went back and got pictures in the sunlight.
It was so dark when were were there before that I did not realize one of the big carved ones was white.
Have you ever seen such large pumpkins?
This just goes to show that more than corn grows in Indiana!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Gift That Wraps Me In Comfort and Solace

 One of my friends and her husband downsized their household last November.  She taught piano for many years, and was an accomplished pianist.  When asked if I would like to have any of her things, after thoughtful consideration, I asked for a hymnal.  Though I have stacks of music, and even gospel song books, I did not own a hymnal. 
 I'm surprised that not owning a hymnal was my reality. 
 Among other music, I was raised singing and playing hymn tunes, so not having a hymnal left somewhat of a void in my musical "library".
My mother sang from the church pew and never played an instrument, but she was the driving force in making sure we were a singing family.  She encouraged us to practice each day when we were learning to play instruments.  How she endured all ten of us learning to play and sing, I will never know.

One of my profound memories is mother at the end of the day, saying, "Let's sing a little bit." She would hand out hymnals, my sister would play the piano and we would sing.  I suppose we, her family, were her instrument. 

I've often wondered, knowing how hard she worked, how she had the patience to have us gather 'round and sing after a long day.

This past year, I have related to her, when I sit down to the piano and begin to play through my, new to me, hymnal. 
 I sense my weariness ebbing away and my questioning and fearful heart being drawn to think and live in a sphere and realm that is above my circumstances and emotions. 
 I wish I could ask her if we were merely singing, like I thought.
What was she seeing, feeling, hearing in those moments?

However, I'm certain, I would know her answer. 
 Ah no, we weren't just singing,
we were overcoming...
overcoming whatever was hindering us.

The hymn, "Take My Life and Let It Be", is a beautiful rendering of consecration to be more than we are, in our frail humanity.  This particular series of lyrics has been set to at least seven melodies.  The melody that is my favorite with these words, 
was composed by H.A. Cesar Malan.
 Once I begin to play the melody and harmony,
 I find it hard to stop. 
The tune pulls me on and on, like a babbling brook splashing across stones as it flows toward the river. 
 Every line, the melody and harmony, is beautiful, 
 beautiful when played together, 
 beautiful when played separately, 
 and beautiful when the additional notes of improvisation are added.
I feel the notes pulled from my fingertips.

I'm delighted to have this hymnal. It's a gift that wraps me in comfort and solace.  As I have played through it, many of the songs I know, and many I don't, but it hasn't mattered. 
 I've played on. 
 And that exercise of playing and knowing
 and playing and NOT knowing,
has strengthened my careful consideration of life.
Is there a hymn or song that strikes a chord with you?
Take My Life and Let It Be
Lyrics by Frances Ridley Havergal

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee,
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose,
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.