Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Somehow I landed on to see what fun ideas were there.

There was an advent wall calendar that had dog cookies tucked into each day. So cute!

Then there were these advent woodland scenes on sweet satchels.

I love the woods.

I love everything about the woods.


(Today, I looked out my kitchen window through the bare branches of backyard trees to spy three enormous hawks circling. I watched them for a few minutes, in synchronization, dipping, soaring, circling. And one sailing over the pines, his wing span so large. Mesmerizing ... there was a scent of some essential oil I got once, something with healing, uplifting properties, and no wonder pine was listed in the mix. These last six years in this wonderland have been a healing salve to soul wounds.)

Further down in this etsy shop, I found the owner also had woodland stickers to affix on craft bags.

"Erin," I said. "Look at these."

This child's love language is gifts.

"Wouldn't this be the cutest! We could fill the bags with teas and poetry for (a lovely, unsuspecting soul)!" I said.

She loved the thought, "You mean you're going to do this? You're not just talking about it?"

I put the item in my shopping cart.

"I think it would be so fun!" I pondered. Then, "Erin, look!"

Over my shoulder, she read the warning: 1 left; this item is in four other baskets.

"Get my purse!" I had to fill out new information. Remember, this is the year our credit card was compromised twice. Boo.

I filled it out. She stood eagerly behind me, eyes like saucers splashed with merriment.

I purchased the item!

We high fived. It reminded me of the ebay days when I would bid on little board books at the auction's last seconds.

"Somewhere there's a person who's excited about getting those stickers and you just snatched it from them!" she laughed. Imitation of a scene elsewhere in the world ... "Oh, I can't wait to make these advent bags, aren't they the cutest! Hey! Where'd they go?!"

She's got a bit of mischief in her. Perhaps I do too.

I'm sure the owner can print more.

Countdown. To a gift purchase. To wrap up a hard year. To Christmas.

Monday, November 13, 2017

And still counting (11,135-11,173)

safe travels there and back

a beautiful wedding
a fun lodge stay
New England in autumn
large coffee
gluten free restaurants

a special lunch with newlyweds
a good sleep in our own beds
the happiest hound homecoming!
kitties returned too
November skies

laundry to do
wood stacked by the wood stoves
sheets washed and folded
a hot shower at home
sweater weather

and a sweater to wear
home, sweet home
a month of menus
the grandmother that reminded me of Strega Nona in CT
a spa day for a dog

the love of Jesus
that man of mine
our life together
the winding down of big stuff on the calendar
Denise's yes to Thanksgiving! Jumping! Joy!

shoes on big sale
new jeans to wear
and a rust colored sweater at a sweet price
phone calls with my sister
pumpkin pie in the oven

epsom salt baths
two fires burning
texts with Lisa
November everything

leaves like flames
windows wrapped and wintered
a date on the calendar with Rebecca!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


We took a trip through New England this weekend. Linda's sisters told me they had encouraged my dad and Linda to take a train ride in the fall--my memory is vague they had gone. Our goal was a wedding. The drive was nice--good weather and a great app on hand (Find Me Gluten Free) made it even better.

We found a fun place in Connecticut where nearly everything was gluten free and all was made from scratch. The kids shared a pizza with brown rice and flax based crust. It was a little different from what they were used to, but it was good. The Caesar salad I got was probably the best I ever tasted, but everything in Connecticut was just that good. It was possibly the most visually delightful feast I had ever witnessed. The cozy neighborhoods called community to me, and I imagined all the children's friendships and trick-or-treating and summer fun that took place along their streets. Shane had to remind me, repeatedly, how much it snows up north. But in the fall? I couldn't get enough of it. My eyes felt like sponges soaking up all the beauty. My family is used to me gushing over beauty, but this was unlike anything I'd ever seen--and we live in the woods!

We continued on and reached our lodging--in lodge fashion. We stayed at a Great Wolf Lodge, and it was so enjoyable. We didn't even get to do all the fun things they offered--but the kids did enjoy the water attractions, and I, as the unofficial, official designated ride parent, braved the tornado plunger ride and all the fun, thrill-filled raft slides. I'm just thankful it wasn't rollercoasters! The hotel also had a great restaurant that had designated fryers to avoid cross contamination. Lanie ate there safely.

Shane and I got dressed up to attend his son's wedding. It was held at a lovely farm, and the drive along was stunning. I love the rock property boarders everywhere. What work. But so cool! And the trees! This all called to my heart.

"Next week there will be forty inches of snow," Shane commented.

Autumn in our yard happens mid-October, and quite often by early November, the trees are bare and the leaves heaped forlornly upon the lawn. But here--the trees held their gorgeous glory so long that I felt like we arrived at autumn's prime.

"It's so beautiful," I spoke, over and over and over.

We had special front row seats to witness the union. The ceremony took place outside, gorgeous gray overcast skies magnified the rich rusts and golds of the woods all around. Stunning. And the couple? Heart melting.

Inside the venue was beautiful, elegant, with lovely low lighting. A patio called with a roaring fire in the fireplace. Everything--perfect.

Our next day threatened a bit of rain all afternoon, so we lunched with the newlyweds in time that seemed not long enough, and headed home. This old, cold house, a sweet welcome. A chocolate from the freezer, and a glass of wine with my man after the kids went (easily!) up to bed. And today, laundry, coffee, schooling, etc. The wonderful loveliness of here and home.

Life is a feast.

A very out of order selection.

The lighting and colors spoke of intimate gathering

Pizza in CT


Father and son

there were walls like this EVERYWHERE


quick selfie--and granny glasses

the happiest couple!

because I had to get out in the woods, wind-whipped, and my man goofing off behind us


this cluster of pines, I had to walk among the trees

Everywhere, ponds and gathering places, rocks and trails--wonderland

Only had my cell phone on me. Wishing I'd had my camera to get these images. Stunning.

oh, love!