heart & mind

Rich is away today for a meeting by the shore of Connecticut. Jacob and Ethan are at work, Grace is home with me and cheerful, David, Caleb, Seth, and Sarah will be home from school soon.

I did a lot of crying yesterday but look! I’m still here. I’ve felt like crying a few times today (even now) but so far…..have been able to restrain myself. I feel quiet and calm and deep down sad. This is an improvement over yesterday’s “my heart hurts so bad make it stop sobbing”.

There is a chicken bubbling in broth on the stove with celery, onion, and seasonings. When it’s done I will let it cool, take the meat off, and add it back to the broth with noodles for dinner. Or maybe I’ll make biscuits. This is an improvement over yesterday’s dinner of “nothing”.

Seth has a band concert tonight. Have I told you he plays the trumpet? He’s 10? A new player? Not very good? And it’s loud?

I went for one walk today so far and did some reading. Mainly I’ve been parked here in my favorite spot on the couch most of the day with my camera nearby to snap photos of birds visiting the porch feeders.

baltimore oriole, hopping off the railing to the grape jelly below

They were fussing at each other (oriole and female rose-breasted grosbeak)

“and what is wrong with YOU”, I asked the cardinal

I saw six lady-slippers by the trail.

ground-ivy by the side of the road (“It is used as a salad green in many countries.”)

I think this is called “Celandine” and I read that it is poisonous to chickens. It’s growing and blooming on the side of the road.

In all their affliction He was afflicted. And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and carried them all the days of of old. Isaiah 63:9

My mom wrote this verse in my journal for me when we visited last.

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“He started carefully down the trail, knowing that at any moment something unexpected might happen……knowing that nothing was exactly what it seemed to be.” Anpao (newbery book) page 183

back at home with Grace, Bible, journal, markers

Then, my friend Bridgette sent me a link to an article about Charles Spurgeon and I read it with interest and copied down some quotes.

After this I continued reading Beartown and rested for a while.

Caleb just got home from school, Grace is reading and I’m going to go for my second walk and try to get the rest of my steps done (10,000 per day).

Thank you for stopping by, friends, you are loved.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

it doesn’t take much for a heart to glow

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Good morning friends!  After a raining evening we awoke to a glorious sunshine.  Rich took this photo of me at Seth’s little league game the other night.  ‘Tis the season.  Tonight we have three things going on; David at a track meet (really want to go), Seth at little league (want to go, slightly) and Caleb at a band concert (music trumps sports, IMO).  Therefore, the band concert is where I will be.

I was so tired yesterday that I went to bed at EIGHT THIRTY and slept all night.  I got up a couple times to get a drink but never fully woke up.  Then this morning, when Caleb dared to come right in the room to ask for lunch money, Rich got up to help him and let me sleep for another hour.  It feels so good to sleep again after months of restless nights.

As I sit here, I still feel like I could go back to bed and sleep.

However, I have dirty laundry washing, a load in the dryer, a big basket of clean n’ dry to fold, a cake in the oven (dinette), the dishwasher going, and am going out to lunch soon.  No time for sleeping.

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It’s also the time of year when I’m constantly going for the camera to take bird photos so bear with me.  Maybe you like birds, too?

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This one was from yesterday evening when it was raining (again).  I thought the drops of rain on its feathers was pretty.  It sat nice and still so I could get close.  I was out on the porch for a while as it rained, it suited my tired mood.

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A Heron visited the pond, which is how I got out on the porch in the first place, as Caleb came inside to announce “There is a big bird by the pond, Mom.”

He wasn’t happy about it though because he does not want the fish eaten by a heron.  He wants to catch them himself.

In fact, when I see worms outside I think of Caleb.  Yesterday I rolled over a log and found a nice big one and put it in my pocket.  Thank goodness Rich saw me do it because hours later he had to remind me to get it back out again.  (I had changed out of my skirt and into jeans).  The worm was still in the pocket, as moist as could be which I am sure was a survival tactic as pockets can be rather dry places for a worm.  I said, “Caleb I have something for you,” and you should have seen his face when out came a worm from the pocket.  We put it in a small box with dirt in it for when he goes out to fish again.

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I kept telling him to smile and he just kept twisting his ears.

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Somehow a log ended up in the pond and all day it floats slowly around.  Sometimes I see it on one side, at times it’s in the middle, or the other side, but it always has a turtle or two on it.  I want so much to add a whole fleet of logs and see if each one will gain a passenger or two.  Maybe I’ll even add sails.  How charming would that be?  Turtle boats.

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Irridescent feathers in the EVENING TIME

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Different lighting (same spot) MORNING TIME…..  are you the same bird?  I can’t tell.

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Sweet little bird and do you wonder how I got the yellow background?  My forsythia bush was in the distance and blurred out as the camera focused on the bird.

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showing off a fine suit of clothing (made entirely of feathers!)

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David went outside in the evening to shut in the chickens for the night and caught a spring peeper.  I was thrilled.

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Spring is made more beautiful because of their sweet singing.  Look at those toes.

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I haven’t stopped reading the Newbery books.  I’m currently on this one and I love it.  I’m a forever fan of Nancy Farmer now.  What a bright and original mind she has.  This is the second Newbery book I’ve read by her.

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I made this huge pasta salad yesterday.

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But the rabbit got a dandelion salad.  (possibly more healthy)

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We babysat our neice!  She’s so so so cute and looks so much like Isaac (her dad, my baby brother).

After Isaac and Cassandra came back we ate pasta salad and hamburgers and played a game of PIG which I won (as always), humbly noted.

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Last but not least.

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The beautiful Marsh Marigold (New England wildflower).

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Thank you for the comments left on my blog posts!   I do wonder sometimes if you guys see my replies, as I try to reply to most comments, can someone pretty please let me know if they are seen?  Should I bother?  Thank you. xo

Happy Wednesday, friends!
You are soooooo loved.

“Make someone happy, you can you know,
It doesn’t take much for a heart to glow.”

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but my heart.”

PS, the cake baked to a nice golden brown and smells so good.  I wish I could give you a piece!

 

 

 

 

 

 

the second walk

Praise to the Lord,
Who oʼer all things so wondrously reigneth
Shieldeth thee under his wings,
Yea so gently sustaineth
Hast thou not seen, How thy desires have been
Granted in what he ordaineth

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Sarah wanted to go on another walk the next day so I agreed.

I also want to mention that on both days I had expressed longing to her that I wanted to find a feather.  I wished to find one.  I was looking.

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We admired an algae filled little stream in the woods, filled with the reflection of trees and sky.

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And saw frog eggs left clinging along an underwater (the clearest of water) branch that had fallen from the trees above.

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exploring

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We started to head home and to be different we left the trail to go through the woods and across the stream to home.

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Scattered among dry leaves we found a whole entire pile of yellow feathers!!

Not a brown feather, not a gray feather, not just one single feather, but many many bright YELLOW ones.

My first thought was “goodness, poor bird!” and my second thought was, “Well, I found feathers!” and my third thought was “Thank you, God, for the little things……for answering these tiny almost meaningless wishes we have, just to make us smile.”

If You care enough to answer in the little things, You must care enough to answer in the big things.

For Your good and glory.

Sarah said, “Check the bird application on your phone and see what kind of bird it was!”

And since you don’t necessarily need the bird to make a search (just the feathers), we stood there next to the pile and looked it up.

We decided it was a Northern Flicker, as they have yellow tails and wings, which obviously proved indigestible and were left behind.  We gathered them up.

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See the itty bitty red feather between my thumb and pointer finger?  Red as my nails!

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We took them home and let them soak in a bowl of warm soapy water.

Hours later, after Seth’s first little league scrimmage, and after I put the children to bed, I stood in the kitchen and carefully took each feather out of the water and arranged them to dry on paper towels.

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feather art!

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After they dried they fluffed right out again like proper feathers.  I’m saving some for my flying pig (stay tuned), sending a couple to Joanna, and putting a couple in my journal.  Some of them belong to Sarah.

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Something else made me smile this week.

I had given away a book here through the blog to Dawn R and mailed it out to her.  After she received it she asked for my address (I had ordered and sent the book through amazon) and so I gave it to her.  I was expecting a thank you card but she sent a package with a sweet little bird, a book, a note, and a lotion (my FAVORITE KIND!!).  It made my day.  Well, at the same time I was ransacking the house trying to find my Birth Certificate and to my absolute astonishment in the midst of my papers I FOUND AN OLD CARD FROM THE SAME BLOG FRIEND FROM 8 YEARS AGO!!!!  ( I save ev.er.y.thing.) So, thank you dear Dawn R, you’ve really been an encouragment to me!!!

“We have shared together the blessings of God.”  Philippians 1:7

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Last but certainly not ever least, 2019’s very first spring violet.

For Thia.

You are loved.

 

 

moss walk

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I was getting stir crazy so tied my boots on and went outside to visit a friendly cat and walk around.  I gathered four eggs and picked up some garbage off the lawn (tis the season).

Then, the schoolbus came and let off Seth and Sarah and suddenly I had a willing little friend to walk with me.  We thought we would go to the end of the road and back but she said “Can we go in the woods?” and naturally I said, “Of course!”

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We couldn’t help but admire all the moss, I wonder if it was because it was the only green in the forest and it just naturally drew our eyes.  We liked how it lifted off the rocks just like a rug.  Sarah put it carefully back.

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We even reclined on moss.

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We saw the first frog eggs of the spring, always worth bending down for a look-see.  Sarah would NOT touch them.

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But I don’t mind the feel of frog eggs, I quite like it.  The water was like ice, though, and my motherly heart just knew they would need a few warm days in order to hatch.

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She was determined to take me to Murkwood, one of Grace’s old haunts that she found and named and showed to her little sister.

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Going on this walk made Sarah’s imagination kick into high gear and soon I was being called BrightHeart instead of mom.  Her name was FlameStar which I never could get right.  She seemed more like a TwinkleToes to me.

Mostly she said, “Come on, BrightHeart” but one time when I was in front of her she said, “Slow down BrightHeart, you don’t want to get too far ahead of your leader.”  And then I knew she really was imagining things.

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I thought I found a hedgehog but then I realized it was just moss again.

(I started imagining things, too)

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I carried this pretty twig the whole walk and guess what?  Sarah, I mean FlameStar, changed my name!!  To TwigHeart.  I wasn’t sure what to think of that.  I guess I have a heart of wood.

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This made my heart happy.  I saw in the distance a flow of sticky pine pitch down the side of a tree so we went over to take a look and discovered a tick STUCK fast to the pitch.  As I look at this photo I can also see a tiny black caterpillar stuck there, too.  The tick was still alive, too, but stuck.  I was intrigued but Sarah looked off into the distance and waited in disgust for me to be done.

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Skunk cabbage, I broke a piece off to have Sarah smell it and she hated it.

She’s particular about what she wants to experience.

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However, she loved the water… she loved the rocks …she loved the trees …she loved the moss.  She was happy.  Just please don’t show her ticks or make her smell skunky things.

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There are many different kinds of moss.  If you touch them, some are soft and some are rough, some are wet and some are dry.  Some look like tiny ferns and some look like underwater grasses.    Some is short like carpet, some is fluffy and makes you wish you were tiny enough to snuggle within it.  Some is bright green, it hurts your eyes, and some like the moss growing on this boulder, is the deepest darkest forest green.

 

you come too

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“I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too…………”  Robert Frost

 

Before I went on my long walk I stopped at the chicken coop to open the doors and check for eggs.  I found three in the barrel, along with a chicken.  I took all three eggs and put them in my pocket but one of them must have had a thin shell because it promptly broke as I did so.  I’m not disgusted by much, but a warm gooey egg popping in my pocket is one of them.  I threw the shell out in disdain, along with an egg covered tissue.  I bent down and rubbed my hand off in the snow and went on my walk with a soggy pocket leaving egg residue on my jeans with each step.

I was glad I had decided to put on boots as I walked through hard snow, slushy snow, mud, running water, puddles, and regular ol’ dry forest ground, too.  My feet stayed dry.  It was 50 degrees and I wore a sweatshirt and a jacket and was nice and warm.

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I thought this was fun, doesn’t it look like a mushroom?

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Soon my eyes were opeed and I was seeing alive things, mainly birds…….

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Birds have such elegant lines.

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This one was flying SO SO FAST!!!

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Like a rocket going across the sky.

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I sat down on the hill and looked at my phone, lost in my own little world and resting in the fresh air and quiet.  Then, I looked up to see a brown animal walking straight toward me out of the woods.

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We looked right into each other’s eyes and gazed.  Then, as I picked up my camera, he turned around to run away.  Thankfully he stopped to look back a couple of times.

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He lifted his upper lip and showed me his smile.

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Then he ran off like a little bear.

Never in all my days!!!

I figured out it was a fisher, the second largest member of the weasel family in our area, the first being a river otter.  I read online that fishers are useful in eating porcupines, however they are also known to eat housecats.  This one better not eat any of my housecats!  Or chickens!

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Well, nothing could top that but I kept trudging along nice and slow.  I stood here in the woods for a while listening to a woodpecker, the thing about them being they sound so close but you peer and peer and can’t see them.  Finally I stopped being stealthy and moved in confidence and sure enough it flew and I saw it but then of course I coudn’t take a photo. But I did see another small and sweet bird busy buzzing up and down tree bark looking for insects to eat.

See if you can spy it.

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Doesn’t it look soft?

And such a small sharp beak, too.

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A charming trail.

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It’s amazing to me that the moss stays so brilliantly emerald throughout the winter months.

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It was eating.  But how did the food get there?  Did he put it there?  Did it fall in from the trees above?  Was it a bug?

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And then I came out of the woods and saw what I had been searching for all along.

A bluebird!

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And another!

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And another.

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A spot of blue, and then………. a spot of red.

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I ended my walk the same way I began it, in the chicken coop.  There were two more eggs, for a total of five this morning.

PS, Mom this post was for you.

amazing

It had been a long while since I had gone to the woods by myself so I practically ran.

I spent so much time over the holidays inside malls, inside the house, inside the car, doing, doing, doing.  It was time to just “be”.

I took all of these photos on Friday.

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First stop was the chicken coop where I found some eggs.  Walter begged and begged to go on the walk with me but I said “no” right away because I knew (from what Grace had told me) that all he would do is feel lost and scared and meow a lot.  Therefore,  I put the eggs and the cat in the house.

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I’m so thankful to live close to running water.  In fact, I was outside again yesterday in the cold sun, laying back on the frozen ground with my eyes shut, listening to the sound of it.

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The tree I hugged.

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self-portrait

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funny icicles hanging down from a fallen pine tree

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Looks like snow or styrafoam, but it’s really some kind of fungus.

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more pretty pretty fungus on a fallen tree

The sunshine was really lovely to see on this walk, after several gloomy days.

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I am an admirer of ice.

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In fact, I ate a bite of it.  It tasted good, like pine, but later on when I gave some to Sarah she spit it out and said it “tasted like the stench of the forest.”

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As I made my way around to the stream again (the same stream from near our house, only deeper in the woods)  I found that it had flooded the day before, well beyond its banks.  Then, it froze overnight and the next morning when the water started to recede, it left its coat of ice spreading across the ground.

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I stood up on a bank to take this photo, looking down across the ice.  I closed my eyes and could hear it falling and cracking.  It almost sounded like someone else walking throught it in the distance, but I was alone.

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I got as close as I could to the water and sat on a frozen moss covered boulder for a while.

(A good thinking spot.)

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I didn’t see any birds but the closer I got to the field the more I could hear them.

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The trees had sheets of ice hanging off their lower branches.  Sometimes a wind would blow gently through and shake the ice enough to make a sound like soothing wind chimes.

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It was all such a delight and my face was pleasantly cold.  It felt good to BREATHE.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say over and over again.  Everytime I go outside for a walk I get surprised (and smile a lot) over something in God’s big beautiful world.  Which is why I always take my camera along.

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My heart, mind, and soul go back home refreshed.

“If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.”

~Mary Oliver

 

 

 

smart bird

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In the early part of winter I had cut a big armful of winterberry branches from the side of the stream and put them out by the birdfeeders.  Actually, I had originally put them in the house for a natural Christmas decoration but the cats wouldn’t leave them alone so I ended up putting them outside.  They looked pretty out there and I’ve enjoyed seeing them each time I looked out the window; delightful bright red berries.

Look what came to visit yesterday!  I was on the couch minding my own business when out of the corner of my eye I saw it fly to the tree by the bird feeder.  I said, “What in the world?”  I’ve never had a Robin come to the feeders as they don’t eat seed, much less a Robin in the dead of winter on the most coldest of days.  I thought maybe it was a curious, sociable Robin and was trying to see what all the other neighborhood birds were doing on my porch.

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But it really came to eat the berries.

Smart bird.

..the dark sacred night..

dsc_0188I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world  

Good morning, it’s -5 outside, ice coating everything, sunshine lighting up the trees so they look all-over silver.  The most beautiful world outside, do the little wild animals in the woods enjoy it, too?

My heart is overflowing with joy.

I stayed up last night taking photos of the moon.  This morning I woke up to the children being so charming; Sarah already outside with her hair yellow and glowing down her back, Caleb and Seth laughing and fooling around together downstairs, David trying to make a fire using foil and batteries (“it only made smoke”).  Sports Center blaring on the TV, cats eager to be fed, and a movie playing on the small TV in the addition with no one around to watch it.

Good morning texts on the phone from my beloved sister and brother.  Today is Weston’s birthday, I can’t believe my little nephew is eleven today.

I couldn’t wait to look at my moon photos.

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Dear Joanna watched it with me, way way faraway in Pennslyvania.  My family all fell asleep.

The magical moon.

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It was so cold that I went out the front door, said hello, took a few photos, and then went back inside to warm up for another 10 minutes or so.

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I didn’t bother with a tripod.  I just tried my best to get the settings on my camera correct and then *didn’t fiddle around* simply because it was too cold and I had no mittens on my hands.

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It really does look as if it’s hanging in the sky.

 

I have needs and hopes and wishes and wants and complaints.  But last night when I was standing under an inky black sky, under a beautiful moon, in my slippers on top of a cold hard snow and my nose was freezing and my hands were freezing, and I was wearing a coat and a robe and a hoodie, I thought to myself………..

God is 1,000,000,000 bigger than any of my petty problems.

Vast, immeasurable, mighty, and……. and amazingly…….He loves & cares for you and me!

 

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done, and the plans You have for us–none can compare to You–if I would proclaim and declare of them, they are more than could be numbered.  Psalm 40:5

snowflakes (a sense of awe)

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snowflake on a spiderweb

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In the fading late afternoon, a light snow is falling.   Caleb is giving Sarah a helping hand down to the pond because she’s teetering on ice skates.

She’s going to skate back and forth along the edge while he watches to make sure she’s safe.

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snowflakes on dry leaves

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On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on Your wondrous works,
I will meditate.  Psalm 145:5

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snowflakes on ice

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snowflakes on Ethan’s truck

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and on a pine tree branch

Oh the loveliness of snowflakes!!  So silent, so gentle.

The moments that I feel the most imbued with a sense of awe are always the moments when I am outdoors. I can’t help but feel a certain sense of wonder – I become almost filled with it.  ~ Kathi Appelt
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recommended podcast episode that goes along with this post:  3 Ways to Feel Less Busy 

(the first way is to “give yourself a shot of awe”)