It is the Winter Solstice, Christmas is just around the corner, and two weeks ago we had five and a half inches of snow on the ground. The snow stayed for a few days and then the sunshine and mild weather, typical of our Decembers here, returned. I enjoyed the snow, mostly from the warmth and comfort of indoors, but I was very grateful when the freezing temperatures receded. And just a few days ago I rejoiced at seeing the first of our yellow daffodils as a young bud. By this morning it was blooming!
Unfortunately this little guy is rather shy and I had a rather difficult time persuading him to look at the camera.
Though the sun has shone in a blue sky for most of the days these past two weeks, my head has felt like it's been under a dark Eeyore cloud. Nothing seems to go right: our flock of chickens recently got attacked by a hawk and we lost two birds, work for my Dad and older sister has been difficult and stressful, one of my favorite holidays is practically upon us and I am in no way cheerful. What went wrong? Yesterday I did not even want to get out of bed and I felt almost angry at nothing for half the day! (an emotion I'm not accustomed to.)
I dragged myself through the afternoon, helping with housework and trying to muster some good feelings from my moody soul, and then settled down for teatime with my Mom. With hot cups of tea in our hands, she reminded me that, "Who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?" (Mathew 6:27) I needed to remember that worrying will not help me or anyone, in fact it does harm. No situation will be made better by stress. I forget too often that the Lord has everything in control and He will take care of me. All I need to do is trust Him.
Suddenly I felt lighter and happier, and the things around me were not nearly so bleak. Elizabeth, joyfully filled with relief, came home and announced that the biggest order of mounts that she had ever filled (and most difficult) was finished! Our reinforced, chicken-hawk-proof chicken coop is nearly complete, my Aunt Cindy will be arriving on Wednesday, and the day after is Thanksgiving!
Whereas yesterday just pulling myself out of bed was a burden, today I arose feeling happy and thankful. It's as if Thanksgiving has started today.
Sweet serendipity is following delicious smells downstairs and finding a warm, tasty soup waiting for you. For lunch today, my Mom put together a soup without a recipe; just a hodgepodge of leftovers from the night before: bits of chicken, broccoli, mushrooms with a fancy French name I can't recall, cheddar cheese, etc. It was warm and nourishing, and filled me up inside in the most pleasant way. It was a soup that can never be duplicated in quite the same way. It will be new each time it is made.
I am still working on cultivating an enjoyment for cooking. I love to eat, but I would rather just make a piece of toast for myself than a satisfying soup. But sometimes toast isn't enough. Sometimes I need a bowl of hot soup, or a roast chicken with mashed potatoes. Alongside Pride and Prejudice, I am also reading My Life in France by Julia Child, seeking the inspiration to really be a part of the culinary world. So far it's not really working, although it is a fun book to read. I would just rather read a book or knit a sweater than prepare a meal. I guess we can't be good at everything.
How can one write a novel about the hottest August week on California records, when all you can think about is Christmas?
As Elizabeth so well put it, we have the Christmas bug. I can't wait for Thanksgiving, I think it is my favorite holiday of all, but then I think of Christmas and how special and wonderful it is. At our house the two holidays have been sort of mixed together into one thankful holiday season! The pilgrims are coming out to join the fall decorations, as Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and, my personal favorite, Steve Tyrell croon Christmas carols in the background.
One of the things I love about my home is that when I look at this basket of clementines, and say, "I just want to stick cloves in these oranges," my Mom hands me the jar of cloves and says, "Go to town!"
Red is not really my color, never has been. I am a blue, purple, and pink kind of girl with the occasional green of a certain shade, but I don't wear much red. Last time we were at the craft store, shopping for costume ingredients, my eye was caught by a festive and beautiful ball of red holiday yarn. I decided to knit myself a red Christmas scarf with it.
Ever since I've been thinking about the color red: red scarves, red sweaters, red Christmas decorations, and as it is fall I see red leaves on trees every day. I think I shall have to incorporate more red into my lifestyle.
I have spent the past hour or so redecorating my blog. I am not very savvy in the blog designing department, plus we have a poor internet connection, so at times it was very frustrating and exhausting. But I am rather pleased with the outcome, and I am even beginning to think that the time spent here was worth it. I will be even happier after I have stepped away for a few hours. Now I think I shall go read Pride and Prejudice, and I may just need to make myself another cup of tea.
A couple of our young chickens fancy themselves acrobats.
I do not know what made these birds want to walk on the fence railing around our pool, but it was hilarious!
These pictures were taken by Rachel several days ago, "For your blog," she said to me. Since then we have had rain, cold, and the first fire of the season. The smells are wonderfully cozy, and the crackling sounds are music to my ears. One of the worst things about all this coziness is trying to drag myself upstairs late at night, away from the fire and into the cold upstairs to get ready for bed. At least the cold combined with the warmth and comfort of my bed makes it easy to fall asleep at night. Sometimes I wish I could hibernate.
Today the sun is shining and the members of the Pricklepants Society will soon be heading off to Starbucks for warm lunch and cozy book/life discussions. I think I feel like a hot pumpkin-spice latte today.
Sometimes, amidst the changing of seasons and lives, I feel too busy and restless to really enjoy life. My latest life project has been trying to find a small part-time job in our little town and I've been a little impatient about it. I feel like there's something in life that I'm missing out on, that destiny is passing me by. When that happens I find it hard to be my usual cheerful self and I don't like the feelings that take the place of wholesome happiness.
So late last night, while writing in my journal, I made a list of things to do to keep myself happy, and not let my inner moody "Hulk" take over.
1. Read Books More
I am generally a happier person as a bookworm (obviously).
2. Write About Good Things
Keeping up with my journal has not been top on my list of priorities lately, and when I do write it seems like it's always to complain. So I must write more and write joyfully.
3. Think About Good Things
The sad or angry feelings that come upon me come mainly from inside. It doesn't matter how beautiful the day is if I keep thinking of negative things.
4. Spend Time Outside
As long as the weather is fair I must spend time outdoors everyday, even if I just take a ten-minute walk through the garden. Fresh air and sunshine are as good for the spirit as the body.
That is the basic list to practice. There are other to be kept up with, housework (which I do enjoy to a point), knitting, playing music, but I don't want my list of requirements to become too long. That would just be counterproductive.
My amateur (or lazy) photography never seems to do things justice. You can't really see what I saw when I took this picture. I think one of the most beautiful things in the world is sunlight shining through leaves on a tree.
Three days ago, I turned eighteen and officially entered my life as an adult.
Interestingly, at this time of transition for myself, the Harold B. Pricklepants Society is reading one of my very favorite books of all time. It's simply the story of a girl growing up. When I read it I feel like I'm reading Julie Trelling's journal. I love stories about fellow writers.
Now I've grown up, or have I? I feel that I still have such a long way to go.
Like Julie, I am walking up a road slowly, wondering what is at the end.
This is definitely not a good year for squash and zucchini. My plants are pitiful! And I haven't seen very much squash in our local grocery store either. My radishes haven't turned out as I expected either. They're too small. However...
...my tomatoes are doing quite well. I've already had several good tomatoes from my single plant, and it's still producing fruit, even though it's September. It makes me a lot more grateful for the heat.
Grow, tomatoes, grow!
My pea trellis has not disappointed me in the least. It's very happy and prosperous this year.
I love going out and picking the little pods off the vine. It's so satisfying, and they taste great!
And last but not least, our apple trees are truly producing for the first time since they were planted.