29 January 2009

fun stuff for a winter's day...

over at michelle's place i found a fun meme, but before i lay it out there, i want you go to immediately to the 2009 bloggies website & vote for bleeding espresso under best european weblog. hurry...voting closes monday 2 february! (please, please, pretty please!! all of us from the coal region will be so grateful...local gal done good!~~ pardon, but my roots are showing ;-)

now, back to my current life in the south with a meme courtesy of michelle's bleeding espresso...

1. What are 5 things you were doing ten years ago?
*living in virginia & enjoying D.'s post-graduate school employment!!
*but getting ready for a springtime move back to south carolina (right, Mrs. T.??!?)
*working on my book
*dreading emails from my editor
*homeschooling 3 of my children who were in 5th, 4th & 1st grade...Little Man wasn't even doing kindergarten yet!!

2. What are 5 things on your to do list for today?
*grade boyworld's gi-normous school pile
*hit the books for my own writing assignment
*finish this blog post
*& my last cup of coffee!
*make this for dinner

3. What are your 5 favorite snacks?
*dark chocolate
(pretty much in that order!)

4. What would you do if you were a billionaire? (i changed this from million to billion to reflect inflation!)

*travel on my current budget but randomly & anonymously help others out along the way
*buy this place, consult with JP on the rest!
*help melissa's effort much, much more!
*set up funds for several other causes that are very dear to my heart
*continue living my current life much as it is because i like it very much!

5. Where are 5 places you have lived?

*the "zoo" in central PA (teo & shep, if you are reading this, you *know* what i mean!!)
*charleston SC...sigh.
*in the mountains of virginia
*very close to luckyblueeyedgirl (aka Mrs. T.) in SC
*roma, italy with frequent vacations in coastal NC

(just kidding about that last one...maybe.)

i love reading these things on blogs, so if you do this one, please drop me a line! & remember to vote for michelle!!

28 January 2009

the things you accomplish...

...when your internet is down!!

let me tell you, my home management efficiency (& D.'s & the boys') went through the roof over the last week thanks to our internet service provider.

all the lawn care that has been neglected since the end of last summer~~ done! (our neighbors might just think new folks moved in!)

all, & i mean *all* the closets in the home~~ cleaned out!

my gi-normous stack of books~~ shrunk!

right after the snow event last week, our ability to get on the 'net everyday was impossibly slow or non-existent. at first i was peeved. then (after lengthy discussions with our provider's customer service) i turned off the computer & took a look around.

i think i just may have needed that break...very much.

lots of gratitude for...
125. the "schedule post" feature on blogger

126. warmer temperatures & a bit of sun

127. team boyworld helping around the house

& here's a bit of a treat for y'all...128. my favorite sunrise in january '09...

25 January 2009

he said...she said: techie addition...

last night D. had his laptop in bed (we were watching an old TV program online) when he lovingly looked over at me & said, "honey, you look good by computer light."

what a 21st century way to sweep a gal off her feet!

& of course, i responded with a "honey, you know i'm gonna blog that!"

21 January 2009

winter wonderland

i had forgotten...but somewhere hidden in the recesses...of my northern childhood memories...lay dreams of this evening...a landscape of hush...only the wingsweep of bird...& the crunch of snowpack under our feet...awestruck wonder of a world painted white...with marvelous chill to the bone...warmed by steaming mug & cozy nighttime retreat under layers of warm quilt...surrounded by drying winter-wear as snow spirals softly toward the still earth...waking in the fourth watch of the night to landscape of celestial moonlight lingering on snowfall...sweet season's offerings of pure delight.

20 January 2009

freeze frame

ok, so first it was this...cool!~~ no, not like the hip people mean it...it really was cool like "it's-15F-but-it-feels-like-5F" cool.
fastforward 4 days & remember that we southern-dwellers panic with a few flurries~~ this is today...this was mid-morning...& this is now, a mere one hour later...Little Man is on top of it (forecasted 3-6 inches, **inches* not flakes, people!)...my steel magnolia is enjoying her new winter-wear...& i am hoping phil does not get lost in the white-out!...more photos later~~ for now i am resuming my place by the fire under blankie with deep, eternal gratitude for...
123. electricity &
124. heat!

18 January 2009

ordinary time

he is in the bedroom...watching an old TV show, now viewable online
i am at my desk letting my mind have its way with words
the children are all out in the world~~ school, work, friends
the dogs are in a sunbeam...soaking life's wisdomthe house is quiet...just~ clock ticks, fire crackles & an occasional soft crescendo of music from his program
the kitchen is tidy between breakfast & lunch, dinner already a done deal, & merely a remnant of chores (grading some school work) is all that remainsthe tide is coming in
the birds~ right now, a bluejay~ frequent the feeder
when did time last stand still like this?all the could-should-would's have quieted in my oft-too-busy mind
sweet weekend moment of ordinary time

16 January 2009

thoughts from the hearth...

this morning we had the pleasure of 19F at sunrise (don't tell me what this is in celsius because negative numbers as temperatures scare me!).(that is our birdbath with frozen water!)
you should have seen the speed at which hound patrol performed their duties on that frosty grass! me...i felt sorry for my poor birds flitting around the empty feeder which is thankfully right outside the back door, & so i too had the joy of that arctic air. & just like hound patrol, i moved quickly to give our visitors a treat under threat of freezing in place...in a flash i was back by the fire with coffee in hand! for those of you who are laughing at 19F & would consider this a heatwave, please remember that this is oh-so-not-normal for the southern coast of NC. y'all have my deepest sympathies if this cold is remotely normal for you!
one thing i very much like about winter is the semi-hibernation mode it induces in me. i am perfectly content in layers of flannel & wool, wrapped in my blankie, staring into the flames in our hearth, watching the birds eat breakfast...i would not want this semi-hiberation to be everyday, all the time...but it is for a season & i am enjoying it as it comes.
it is a time of clearing mental cobwebs...& yes, reflecting on resolutions (it's still january & i'm running with it!). over these past 2 weeks i've had some big nudges beyond the typical "clean your closets organization" (yes, jen, i'm stuck on that thought too!) & "check your eating/exercising habits" resolutions.
last week, less than a month after we were there, costa rica experienced an earthquake with the epicenter at one of the places we visited & the mudslides at near another. yesterday, there was a plane crash on the airline we are most likely to fly on a route very likely for us (thank God, all were safe!).
those things make you think. a lot.
what if?
there, but for the grace of God, go i. (D. reminds me of this often.)
a number of years ago i read the rule of st. benedict & one thought that stuck in a deep place was his rule (chapter IV) "to keep death daily before one's eyes."this thought seemed hard to bear as i was firmly entrenched in the world of newborns & small children, but it was like a dog with a bone in my soul. my mind would not let go...this idea would not be silenced because it speaks volumes about how to live.
it is hard to do...we want to forget about death, but it puts things in perspective.
i waste a lot of time.
what if i die this morning, this evening, tonight?
how have i lived this day, this week, last year?
in the face of death, is what i normally do important? will i regret it, am i ashamed of it?
for me, it starts with love...do i love God with all that i am? do i love my neighbor as myself?with death right before my eyes, what does this love look like?
first morning time in quiet solitude, just God & me...with me~~ listening.
niches of solitude during the day...listening.
people before things, always. a soft answer when needed, but again, mostly listening.
& most especially, loving my "enemies."
in my mind "enemy" is a harsh word. i think of war & the threat of death when i hear this word. i do not live in a war zone nor do i know of one who has verbalized a wish for my death. my "enemies" are more like those who have said unkind words about me, who have excluded me. do i love them? do i pray for their blessings?
death is the great equalizer.
we all pass over. none of us knows to what.
the thought of that togetherness in this of humanity abates my anger at my "enemies"...it opens a way for my empathy for them &, most importantly, my forgiveness & love for them. my job is not to worry about my "enemy's" reaction to me or to ruminate over wrongs done to me, but it is simply to love them. geesh, how many times a day to i inadvertently - or sadly, intentionally - wrong another? of course, i want forgiveness...just like everyone else.
if i die today, this week, this month, this year...i want to leave love as my legacy.
& so my new year's resolution comes down to something like this...asking myself a million times throughout each day of '09 "is this what love looks like?"
i also think i will re-read st. benedict's rule.
(for the record...yes, i would get on a plane today & yes, i would return to costa rica!)
& finally, something D. & i have embraced for years...in '09 i will continue to celebrate life daily!!

11 January 2009

i keep forgetting...

...to post a link to snap366. i completed the leap year in photos - one photo taken everyday*, sometimes posted on a later day due to sketchy computer access & streaks of laziness!! what fun i had & how much i learned!! the biggest lesson was appreciating how to really see things. the most mundane objects & circumstances presented such fabulous moments of beauty when i least expected it.

(*one disclaimer...it was actually more like snap363, because i had a few jetlag moments when i missed entire days with my faithful camera ;-)

what's on tap for 2009 at snap366?...for the month of january i am posting photos from my archives of italia!! after then, who knows...

any suggestions?

08 January 2009

word on the bay has it...

...that my good buddy *finally* has a blog!! get thee to liza's lil' piece of the blogosphere & give her a hearty welcome!

here's to your new adventure...

06 January 2009

but, seriously...

now that we are home & settled (?...not quite sure about the "settled" part, but i do have a list to accomplish "settled"!!), it is time to ease into the reality of a fresh, new year~~ a clean slate of calendar days...

my last post, the end of year meme, was lighthearted & fun to do, but the end of a year always leads me to something deeper & more reflective...lessons learned & gratitude savored. where have i been, where am i going, am i counting it all joy??

2008 taught me some important lessons...

*i've learned to trust deeply in prayer everyday
*i need much more time in solitude than ever before
*when someone asks for prayer, there is a deep joy in holding that person's intention in prayer
*i used to say "yes" when someone asked for prayers...& then i would forget the request until i saw that person again or give the request cursory time (feeling bad when the memory resurfaced)
*now my "yes" is a solid committment & in this, my cup overfloweth every single day...love really does grow out of this effort
*things usually unfold in baby steps, often after long periods of God's answer being "wait"
*but occasionally there is a big sign!!
*i have always trusted God with the "big"things, but i have had trouble believing He cares about my small stuff
*my conscious efforts to let Him handle the small things this year has yielded BIG, magnificent results!! (& He very much cares about the small stuff!!)
*serendipity is usually better than the best laid plans~ especially in travel
*distance can be hard but we are still close...in spite of oceans & continents in between
*we are more alike than we are different
*everyone holds something deep inside that is painful
*love is always the answer
my deepest gratitude for...
118. answers to long-prayed prayers, especially a recent biggie that has been in the "wait" mode since the mid-90's (& for God's patience with me when i was not so very patient with His "wait")

119. ann's original post for 1000 gifts & her daily blog post reminders to live continuously in a state of gratitude

120. for the gifts of frequent travel in '08 that included...time with friends old & new, new insights into old ideas, new pathways of possibility, a firming up of my committment to simplicity in my life, an understanding of how to let go of what doesn't matter & how to keep what does matter, & keen insight into God's timing & plans for me!!

121. for the gift of beginning Advent & the new Liturgical year in such a profoundly spiritual manner & place...a dream long held, fulfilled.

122. & for the gift of beginning 2009 with family & dear friends!!
a resolution or two for '09...

to continue the 1000 gifts on the blog & to keep gratitude as my first waking thought

to give '09 some careful consideration in the quiet days ahead (this week boyworld still on partial school break) & see what needs my mindfulness...

until the next time...felice anno nuovo a tutti!!!