December 31, 2014

Dog Mountain & Resolutions

Dog Mountain
Elevation 2949', 7.4 mile loop, rated difficult
Open all seasons, but known for wildflowers and views of the Gorge

Sir Bradley thinks I can survive the hike if we leave very early in the morning and plan plenty of breaks. If I can make it up, coming down is no problem - the legs and knees are strong. 

Perhaps it's time to see if sheer willpower and thoughtful planning can overcome a weak heart.  In regards to Dog Mountain, it's literal.  But as I ponder goals and resolutions for the new year, figuratively, it probably fits just about everything.

It may be time to dream the possible!

December 26, 2014

Moving On

At the risk of sounding completely ungrateful, I am happy to say there were moments of sweetness this Christmas season.  But soon I will sit down to work on next year's planner and think through 1000 ways to make this frenzied, crazy season more simple and meaningful...with backup plans in case things start heading the wrong way!!

The final hit to an already rocky season was when something came out of the oven Christmas morning that was supposed to resemble whole wheat cherry scones.  Not only were they unevenly baked AND uglier than anything, but one bite and we all knew there must have been a serious soda vs. baking powder mixup.

I swallowed my pride for the 800,000th time and brought my offering out to the coop.

But even the girls turned their backs and took off.  You should have heard the howls from the house.

December 17, 2014

Lights and Boughs

The neighbor has tens of thousands of lights on his house and in his front yard - no exaggeration.  He loves it, and we always smile.

But our place?  Well, the simple bough on the front deck is just right this year.

December 15, 2014

A Pig

It was a new tree farm, owned by an old friend.  It was there I met a new friend.  Not particularly cuddly or soft, but certainly curious, friendly, and chatty!

December 9, 2014


Two Thanksgiving dinners, multiple gatherings, a wedding, a memorial service, a Christmas party, a Festival of Trees...

And the angels surpassed them all.

It happened again during the Christmas concert - the lights were low and shining all around us, and the singers around the concert hall began "Silent Night".  The pure voices sung back and forth antiphonally, randomly and yet so perfectly timed as if their voices were echoing off all of the hills around Bethlehem and into the heavens.

It was a breathtaking moment of utter beauty and awe.

December 2, 2014

Wedding Bells

It was a Christmas wedding, a grand celebration amongst friends and family. The night was cold and the car was prepared.

But behind those balloons?  The minions felt their presence should be known.

December 1, 2014

An Imperfect Advent

The pressure of Christmas.  It is almost superseded by the pressure of Advent.  Now a New York Times best-selling author has introduced us mothers to a whole new set of expectations - a pre-Advent celebration, complete with lights, cards, meaningful ornaments, treats, and beautiful children. Nothing short of inspired!  At the same time, we're encourage not to make Christmas, but to let Christmas hold us.  I'm still trying to figure that one out. How does Christmas happen without time and energy to carry on our traditions, even the simplest of them?

Mental plans for a simple and deeply meaningful Advent season began months ago for me.  Still thinking that homemade is always more meaningful, I bypassed the free printables.  I planned and sketched and drew and painted and cut for days and nights on end, finishing up with 24 individual Advent cards to read each day until Christmas.  None turned out perfectly, and only a few attained the folk art(ish) idea in my head.  But I reminded myself they are full of character with a wonderful message. Perfection is a myth! My time will be felt as love! 

All is good, right? Unfortunately, the entire project is currently sitting at the print shop, which unexpectedly remained closed the entire Thanksgiving weekend!!! There will be no official start to Advent today for the families I was hoping share with.  At least not the way I had in mind.

So I ponder the subtle lessons:

*Perhaps those printables aren't such a bad idea.

*Perhaps it's time to write the next best seller.  Rethinking Christmas: A Humble Guide For Perfectionists Who Can't Do It All.

*Perhaps this is exactly what the real Christmas thing is all about...that we can't achieve perfection? That we fall short?  That when we come to the end of ourselves there is Hope in the Christ Child?