open your eyes wide; let in the light

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“According to the attention restoration theory, spending time in nature relieves the stress and metal fatigue caused by the ‘directed attention’ that work and city life require.”

from NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine (January 2016)

It was a rather sluggish sort of day, blah and tiresome.

But then I read the National Geographic article and thought, I need, I really really need to get outside.  I put on my warm layers and went for a walk.

When I returned home, I was delighted and surprised to see a rare flock of blue birds by our pond.

“Should I bother getting the camera?” I wondered.

I quickly made up my mind, walked up to the house and grabbed the camera, half expecting the birds to have flown away, but praying that God would give me the opportunity to take a few nice bird photos.  He gets all the glory……..for His gift to me, and now to you, in seeing and admiring the pretty little birds he made and provides for.

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Bird photos are tricky but the nice thing about them is they take some concentration and determination, both of which are good for pulling oneself out of ones thoughts and cares of the day, and into what is seen through the lens.  Getting manual mode just right, the lighting, seeing the shadows and sunshine fluttering and falling, watching for a bird to land in just the right spot.

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You give to them,
they gather it up;
You open Your hand,
they are satisfied with good.
Psalm 104:28

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See the birds of the sky, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them.  

Are you not of much more value than they?  Matthew 6:26

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It wasn’t all bluebirds, either.  I saw robins, juncos, a titmouse, finch, blue jay, and goldfinches.  They were eating the seeds off of the dried autumn grasses and bushes.

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“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!”  Matthew 6

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In my deepest troubles, I frequently would wrench myself from the persons around me and retire to some secluded part of our noble forests.  John James Audubon

*****

you are loved.

 

take no thought for the morrow

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Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…….

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  Matthew 6:26

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Thank you for the egg.

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Thank you for stopping to say hello.

*****

Samantha was covered in glittering dusty dirt!  Have you ever seen a cat roll around in dry dirt puddles?  It’s very cute.  I watched her walk in the sunshine after a nice roll-around, she was twinkling and sparkling proudly….nothing like a good dust bath.

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Today is a very important day.  Today I figured out how to shoot sun stars!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I really like listening to podcasts while I’m walking.  (I walk daily) And one of the ones I listen to is about hobby landscape photography.  The hosts were chatting about sunstars the other day and I was like, “wow, that’s a thing!” and looked up more information online.  It seemed rather straight forward and although the effect is much better during *the golden hours*, I was way too impatient to wait until then.

I put the f-stop to 18 and partially blocked the sun behind a tree and held my breathe.

CLICK.

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It worked!

I know all you professional photographers out there are laughing but this was such fun.

Eventually, I was seeing stars myself!  Rather blinded by the sun, you see.

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This one was ridiculous.  I decided to look for other things to “shoot”.  Like this old rose:

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And this squirrel:

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running away from me like I was something out of his nightmares.  SO insulting.

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It has an acorn in his mouth.  I do so like to crunch acorns under my feet as I walk, so satisfying.

I carried two home in my pocket, along with a pinecone.  I’m giving them to Joanna when I see her on SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Life is just way too exciting.

 

Take no thought for the morrow, for the time to come. Be not anxious for the future, how you shall live next year, or when you are old, or what you shall leave behind you. As we must not boast of tomorrow, so we must not care for to-morrow, or the events of it. God has given us life, and has given us the body. And what can he not do for us, who did that?  Matthew Henry

seventeen now

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People who know Grace know what makes her special.

(Everyone is special in their own unique way.  Everyone.)

And Grace is special because of what is in her heart, her mind, her soul.

Her heart is full of love.  Ever since she was a little girl, she wanted a hand to hold and someone to listen.  She wanted to encourage, give attention, give hugs.

Her mind is bright.  It wants to lead.  It thinks of things that no one else does, because God gave her a gift, just as He gives each one of us a gift to use for this world we live in.  There is no one like Grace, there is no mind like her mind.  She has desire to busily learn and grow.  So many interests, hobbies, jobs.  Once she sets her mind on something, look out.

Her soul belongs to God.  She loves the holy Scriptures, the hymns, the worship.  Her spirit always rejoices, and produces the good fruit of love, joy, goodness and peace.

As her mom, that is what I see.

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At first I thought, I’m not going to wax eloquent with this post, I’m just going to let the pictures speak their thousand words.

But who am I kidding?  I have words!  Must.get.them.out.

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It just so happened that when she was born, and after the nurses made sure her airway was clear, they gave Grace to her Dad first……and I love that.  (She certainly is a Daddy’s girl.)   My husband placed our first little daughter into my arms.  And she was an absolute DOLL.  A teeny tiny doll baby………..

That was 17 years ago, today.

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Happy Birthday, Grace!

I rarely see this girl of mine these days because she’s a busy busy senior in High School, and very very involved in Drama and Music.  When I got home yesterday afternoon, the bus from school had already gone by, and so I chatted with Dave in the kitchen and then made my way through the living room to get to my bedroom…..and there was Grace on the couch, reading a book.  Oh I was so excited, I admit I shrieked with glee, I grabbed her and we went outside to do her birthday photo shoot (I like to take good photos of my children on or around their birthdays).  Photos that I didn’t think I would have time to take because I rarely see her in the daylight hours.  Squeeeeeeeeeee!

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“One can never consent to creep
when one feels an impulse to soar.”
HELEN KELLER

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Grace and I have a great relationship….although at times it is better for her to go to her Dad with things, as well.  (He and I make an excellent parenting team and often give each other high fives).

She adores her two big brothers, and her younger siblings, as well.  In my mind, I can see the relationships she has with each one.

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

That’s what mothers do.

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Grace is applying to colleges and in a few weeks I’m taking her to visit one.  There is part of me that is already preparing for when she leaves and I’m not going to lie…..it’s going to be hard for our family to see her go.  But go she must, because she’s meant to soar.

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(Grace’s cat kept photobombing)

Yesterday while the kids were at school, my mom and I were texting and trying to decide what kind of cake Grace would want me to make for her…..Mom said “vanilla with strawberries” and I guessed “chocolate with vanilla frosting.”  Hours later I was able to ask Grace.

She said she wanted a cheesecake, and even specified the temperature of it:  partially frozen.

partially frozen cheesecake!!!!  Never would have guessed that one.

I haven’t MADE a cheesecake in probably 20 years so this is going to be a fun day.

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(one of my favorite photos, which came about because I said, “KITTYYYYYY!” a bit too frantically, trying to get the cat to look at the camera).  ha ha ha ha!  They have the same expression on their faces!

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While writing, this song popped into my head:

Forever and ever, you’ll stay in my heart
And I will love you
Forever and ever, we never will part
Oh, how I love you
Together, forever, that’s how it must be
To live without you
Would only mean heartbreak for me.

~Aretha Franklin, “I say a Little Prayer”

I think I’ll play later and make Grace dance in the kitchen with me.  ❤

Happy Birthday, sweet 17.

 

happy birthday.

I was focused on the church picnic we were hosting.  Rich had hired someone to come and do a pig roast.  We had a lot to do to prepare and my parents came, too.  In all the preparations and busyness, Sarah’s birthday became of a far lesser importance.  So much so that I procrastinated in purchasing her gifts.  For the first time in all these years, Rich and I shopped for a birthday the actual day of the birthday.  But Sarah understood, she didn’t mind at all.

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She even wrote me a helpful list.

We drove through the rain to buy our little girl some presents.  I found myself sitting and thinking about how much she has changed this year.  From someone who was quite shy and very attached to mama, to someone who goes to school everyday cheerfully and confidently.  From someone who couldn’t read or write, to someone who is giving me helpful lists.

She is my youngest child.  One of the little things I miss the most is carrying someone on my hip.  Sarah is much to heavy & big to pick up and hold any longer than a minute.

Sometimes I let her sleep with me when Rich is away.  The last time she asked I said, “I just don’t want to be kicked all night long, so no.”  But she started to get tears in her eyes and I saw how much it meant to her so I quickly said, “Okay, you can.”

As soon as she opened her eyes the next morning she sleepily said, “Did I kick you, mama?”  My heart swelled.  “All night long I tried to stay away.”

(Please don’t stay away.  Come close.  Kick me all you want.)

I taught her to eat violets.

Her grandma taught her how to water a garden.

She makes cookies with me.

She no longer cries when I get too far away.

She can sing and write, and color, and make friends and do things by herself.

How I love my little girl.

*****

Now We Are Six

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.

A.A.Milne

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May 30, 2016

 

“I don’t remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child.”  Anne Lamott

more snowflake photography

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I went outside yesterday morning and saw that the snowflakes were just right for a few more photography attempts.

In other news, the boys have a wrestling meet tonight.  Ethan, as usual, is doing things the exciting way.  He cannot find his singlet here at home so he’s hoping it’s at school in the locker room.  He won’t know for sure until he gets there!  Fun times!

I took all the ornaments off the tree today while the rabbit was playing under it.

The rabbit chewed through 1) a strand of lights  2) Rapunzel the (brand new) Barbie’s nose.  It’s completely off, rather looking like it was shaved with a razor.

I finished reading Unbroken.  It was excellent.