Thursday, December 18, 2014

Balance in the runaround

A list of things to do. After piano, we went by David's to get some paintings of his. One is of hot air balloons above rolling hills, another of a river and sky light glory, a third a village with vibrant colors--his impression of another artist.

At his house, we sat and the kids played with the dogs. David talked to me about things, aging mainly, and all of this morphed into a beautiful reflection of life. I wish I had taken notes, or recorded him, because my scattered, fast-forward thinking pulled me in different places at once.

I sat and looked at him and focused on what he was saying:

About seventy-five being an active opposite of eighty; of aches and pains and restrictions and limitations; of time and reflection on life stages and accomplishments; and how at eighty he has less clutter in his time and life (distractions, errands, amusements, things, responsibilities, thoughts) that he can truly slow down and focus. He said a page with just a few words, and more white space, is much easier to understand than a page with a thousand words. How life at eighty has opened up an uncluttered opportunity of white space for him to appreciate its wonderment that occasional boredom affords.

I think of summer and my children with  no TV and no video games or other distractions, and this big woodland adventure that sparks creativity and laughter. His word wonderment hits close to my heart, and I nodded my head at his example now, a continued wonderment in his inability and age.

He gave me the painting of the hot air balloons and told me it was unfinished.

"It is?" I asked, looking at it.

"I forgot to paint people inside the baskets," he said. "I imagined myself riding in them as I painted. I just didn't get around to putting people inside."

His look was wistful, oh wonderment of new horizons.

That painting will go in our school room. I thought of his words on the way home, the balloons and no passengers, eternally empty, soaring above at a dawn or sunset--who knows? And maybe it's best this way, the emptiness--because in my mind, and in my heart, David will always be there.

He told me to find balance in life, and he emphasized his words like an underscore, to clear out the clutter and be present in my place in life so that I don't look back one day and wonder where it went.

Then he looked satisfied, like after a cream pie dessert, and he smiled.

I still have that list of things to do. And really, it hardly seems important.

I prefer sitting here a little longer with thoughts of David (and tender tears), his beautiful visions painted by his hands (those beautiful hands that have always reached out for and held mine), his art adorning my walls.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


There are a lot of nice things about waking up before the kids.

  • I can get the fires going so the kids have warmth to welcome them when they come downstairs.
  • I'm the first person my husband talks to, and I get to start his day off with encouragement and words of love.
  • I get a few hours to scoot around the internet. Today, I hung out on Pinterest for a while, and I also found some really awesome photography sites--one is a mom out west who not only takes amazing pictures, but also homeschools her three boys. I had to send a message her way, albeit one of envy at the abundant natural light her home has. 
  • I get to read and write without interruption.
  • If it's during the school year, I get my thoughts together for the day and all materials organized. (But we are officially on Christmas break, so none of that today!)
  • And I get to see beautiful sunrises coming up through the woods. One day it was bands of steel wool and gold. Today it was purple ombre. 
I love the sunrises here in a different way than I did in big sky. They sneak up on me in the woods, and I see winter life in a way that invites me into its secret, as opposed to big sky that sang a chorus of glory. Each beautiful in its own right.


While it wasn't an official school day, we were there for Christmas craft. I was completely set for vacation mode, but was grateful that I got to spend time with a community that feels more and more like family each year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Melt in your mouth

My friend Julie just gave birth to her first son. I'm heading over to her house with my girls today to drop off some food. In addition to dinner foods, I decided to make a loaf of cinnamon bread, a la Pioneer Woman.

Oh my gosh.

Oh my gosh.

I put the ingredients in the bread machine and set it on dough cycle, using cinnamon chips instead of her swirl method. I put the whole shebang in a bread dish, and the loaf puffed up like an enormous chef's hat. So with the second batch, I split it into two loaf pans.

The chef hat loaf was a bit of a disaster in that it was so large that it didn't cook evenly throughout. So we had to creatively sample that one with some butter.

Oh my gosh.

Here's a link to the wonderful recipe. My changes were that I made it on the dough cycle of the bread machine without heating the milk, but I did melt the butter. I also used one cup of cinnamon chips instead of rolling and slathering, etc. And I used bread flour for the chef's hat loaf.

Yummy yum yum.

We are some happy campers here. I can't wait to give this to Julie.

Monday, December 15, 2014

One thousand gifts and still counting (6322-6357)

the wonder in the wait
that girl--she's eight
cards in the mail
Linda at the dinner table

heat from the stoves
working lights in the bathroom
a friend's healthy baby boy
another's daughter's performance on ice

camera 1
chocolate cake
an invitation from a neighbor
a great time at their party for all of us
people who made us feel welcome and worthy

a short week in school
a piano teacher's womanly wisdom
Nicole for coffee
shopping with Michelle
a book in the mail for Jennifer

and the occasions that prompted me to read it years ago
photography shoots on the horizon
cookie baking with my kids
perspective on priorities

contentment in no
Christmas coming
a Savior who loved me before I loved him
his humility, love and sacrifice
the holy Spirit's work on my heart

rumors of a move
ice skating sessions
a good dog
letting go of want
food in the fridge

meals in the freezer for Julie
an unexpected Monday off