On the twelfth day of Christmas, I finally made a post.
*edited to say, that thanks to our Vee, I finally learned when the REAL 12th day of Christmas is!
I hope you all are having a BEAUTIFUL December. I hope you are healthy and doing well! The lake has its Christmas tree up and it makes me so happy that Papa Goose has his own tree - he has to share of course - but you know what I mean. And Daisy Cottage has her Christmas tree up too and it is all decorated and bright and shining. The annual Christmas parade was the first Thursday night of the month and it started out with gorgeous fireworks and I brought my chocolate chip oatmeal nut cookies to celebrate. I decked the dining room WALLS with a canvas print of one of my images of Summer Lynn feeding the ducks. I love it up there! I've been busy painting while Marley has been busy sleeping. ;-) Have listed a few cards in my Etsy shop too. And the Great White Pelicans are back - our literal snowbirds have arrived, once again, all the way from Wisconsin. I find that SO fascinating that they find our little lake every single year! They will be with us through Easter. Oh and I stood on our airport's tower catwalk to photograph the runways for a client. I just didn't look down. Or breathe.
Well, I haven't finished Christmas shopping. I haven't wrapped anything. I haven't mailed any cards. I haven't ....
Ahhh never mind. I would rather focus on what I HAVE done.
And being in the moment of the moments. It's all we have, right kids?
It has been so incredibly beautiful here and I love every bit of it. We had our neighborhood home tour yesterday, and while Daisy Cottage wasn't on the tour, my next door neighbor's home was AND if you happened to walk by and I happened to be on the porch, and we happened to "connect" with a glance or a smile or a kind word, I invited you in. It was so wonderful to do that! I met Barbara and Amy - adorable ladies, and many other sweet and fun souls AND our own dear and beautiful Gail of Georgia came to see me, along with her precious mother, Nellie, and sweet sweet sister, Linda. They come each year for the home tour and we try to see each other while I volunteer, but the last few years I wasn't home for the tour. Yesterday, however, I was and I am so thankful that we could spend time together again! I love each of you girls.... you always are a delight and a treasure and you always make my heart soar. I also was so happy and surprised to see a dear friend of mine, Jane, walk through my gate with her beautiful friend, Anita. Sigh. It was truly a heartwarming, soul-lifting, precious precious day. Love was in the air.... and I am so grateful.
Grateful for blue skies. Grateful for old and young doggies. Grateful for color. Grateful for winged spirits. Grateful for new ducklings. Grateful for Papa Goose. Grateful for flowers. Grateful for food. Grateful for friends. Grateful for all things family and home. Grateful for brand new blooms and the hope that we see when we look up.
I made sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving which was held in my sister and brother-in-law's beautiful back garden, and, as always, it was magical! Her table settings are always so very special - you feel like a much loved and wanted guest family member. There were little handmade fabric pumpkins for everyone to take home, along with an inspirational bookmark. The food was over-the-top delicious and the company even better. There were the usual family shenanigans as she always has a little game to play and some of us do not follow the rules.
I had Summer Lynn the day after Thanksgiving and her very first request was to go feed Papa Goose so of course we did. He ate quickly and returned to the water as he is on new family watch with five little ducklings under his care. The pekin ducks LOVE this little girl so much and I am pretty sure the feeling is mutual. She fed them until all of the corn was gone and then she pulled her red wagon all the way home reminding me that she would do so, "all by myself." There may or may not have been a toasted turkey sandwich on white bread with a little mayo, salt & pepper stop along the way though. Oh the joys of having family living within a few blocks of each other! I love it and am SO incredibly thankful for that.
And in these lingering days of leftover Thanksgiving sweetness, I am thankful for you too. But then again, I always am. 'Tis always the season for loving you.
I had the family over on Sunday and made lasagna in my new yellow covered dish that I got for Mother's Day. If I do say so myself - which to be fair they all kindly said the same - it came out wonderful! And I credit the pan, dish, whatever it should be called! The lasagna stayed together, if you know what I mean, and the flavors seemed to marry better. So happy with it and now I need to make something else in it. Do you have any suggestions? Pretty please? Summer Lynn, who now calls herself "Summie" was my assistant. Can you believe I have been cooking in Daisy Cottage's kitchen for almost 10 years now? And to have her here with me, helping me when she visits is so precious to me! Happy moments for sure. I made a simple salad to go with the lasagna - spinach, red onion, roasted walnuts, blue cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette for the dressing. Delicious! Along with the garlic bread, it was a good meal and a good time. I know you know what I mean..... when everybody is together and all is nice. Sigh. I don't take those moments for granted either. Never have. Never will.
I have painted a few more paintings for the dollhouse and of course the house needed one of a swan! ;-) This little painting thing is really really fun! I have never allowed myself to try it other than painting furniture since early elementary school days when an art teacher told me that I was "doing it wrong" and crushed my little inner artist spirit. I painted one that is a little bit bigger for Shawn who loves the water so much ...
He loved it. :-)
So it has been some domestic AND artistic days of late and I love the combination. Now to keep on keepin' on............
I had a ladies' group over last night and we all had a great time. I love it when everything is fresh and clean - including the dollhouse - to welcome guests! Now if only that would last! ;-) I treated Daisy Cottage to a new little rooster rug by the kitchen sink and a few new pillows for the sofa and chair. I also treated her to a vintage globe that I brought home from the Fancy Flea in Madison. It lights up and I love that at night! So now it is the weekend-to-be and I plan on being outside as much as I can. How about you? Do you have any weekend plans? Whatever they are, I hope they include something wonderful for you.
Hello my beautiful ones. I have missed you, thought about you, and kept you in my heart. I hope your days have been merry and bright and filled with love and light in every way. Thank you so much for your sweet notes; emails; cards; and gifts..... I treasured each one.
And I treasure you.
Some years I am really ready to take down the Christmas tree and have Daisy Cottage "back in order" but I must admit, not this year. And I really loved our Christmas tree. It was so fragrant, so full, and so alive in its symbolism. To have my little family home and together was truly beautiful. The children's handmade ornaments from long ago seemed even more special - if that is possible. I savored each evening, when the house became dark and only the twinkle lights from the tree illuminated our living room - making it extra cozy for snuggling and chick-flick watching. Loved that. I loved the aroma from the kitchen as cookies were baking and soups and stews were simmering on the stove. I loved how many of the days were gray and the sun didn't shine quite so Florida bright. I loved how Maggie and Bentley took refuge under blankets as soon as the temperature dipped to 70. I loved how Marley seemed so extra happy and full of puppy-like love for his "boy" who was home, safe and sound this Christmas. I loved the wide eyes of Summer Lynn as she took everything in as only she can and how she fell fast asleep in loving arms amongst the chaos from doing so.
I made sure to visit the lake during the holiday hustle and bustle because, quite frankly and as you know, it grounds me. Papa Goose grounds me. My homeless who is not really homeless friend, Frank, grounds me. The ducks and the geese and the squirrels ground me. Everything and everyone there remind me time and time again, about the circle of life. And though I may want to cling to seasons, I have to let go.
And I and we must continue to fly.
Even when we feel we may not be ready but deep down inside we know this is how it is meant to be. We feel misty over endings but hopeful over beginnings. And we are so VERY blessed. Whatever our journey, whatever is meant for us, we are here and we have each other.
And that is what I will now embrace.
So Hello 2014. I think I know I will love you too.
Hi Dear Ones..... I hope you and yours are doing well and all is sweet in your world. I hope your daily joys are many! Mine are and I am so grateful for them. Let's see.... I made a huge pot of spaghetti for my family and they loved it. I passed by a man carrying the American flag as he ran around the lake and it made me cry with gratitude and pride. I took Bentley to the vet for his annual checkup and he is a whopping 10 pounds, very healthy, and as you can see in the quick phone capture above, the best kisser... ever.
I've taken advantage of the sprinkles from the sky that we have been having and have gotten caught up on laundry. There is something about the smell of fresh laundry .... Marley loves to stare at the rain through the porch screen though I know he would rather be outside, digging in the dirt. I am collecting heart leaves. There have been many on my walks... it is amazing to see. And speaking of amazing, our Papa Goose is amazing as always. He is such a daily dose of joy for me that is just as important for my heart and well being as my vitamins. How I adore that goose.
Though the time has not yet changed, I sense it coming. The lamps need to come on a little bit earlier and for that I am grateful. I am one of the ones who does not prefer daylight savings time. I prefer darkness to settle in like a comfy blanket when supper is on the table.
I had the honor of taking pictures of Baby Adylin - the daughter of one of Shannon's sweet friends and oh my! Adylin and her dreamy blue eyes was precious! She was captivated by the curiosities around her and it was fun to try to capture that with my camera. I love working on the pictures once home..... I turn on my Pandora and I create and it feels heavenly.
Let's see.... other daily doses of joy? Well I love seeing the moon in the morning sky. I love Miss Maggie-Pie. I love the twinkling evening lights that dance around our lake as God tucks it and all of His creatures in for the night.
It always has been the little things for me. The little every day things in life that seem to ground yet at the same time lift the spirit. I love seeing our puppies all comfy and cozy as they drift in and out of dreamland. I love grocery store flowers, red wine on the porch, messy recipe boxes, warm pasta, and neighbors' blooms. I love vintage sheets thrown over rusty outdoor tables. I love my Mom's sugary chocolate cake. And while definitely not a little thing, I adore the sky. I could take pictures of this ever changing God brushed canvas all day long.
And I do. ;-)
Thank you for celebrating Shawn's homecoming with us. You are so very appreciated. May you wrap yourself in all that lifts your sweet hearts to the moon and back and beyond. Precious souls you are.
Sometimes the best days are those filled with a little of this and that, don't you think?
Days of sun, clouds, rainbows, flowers and birds.... babies - human and furred, food and daily rituals of little celebrations that make you feel like all is in order and everything is how it should be.... at least for this moment in time anyway.