gratitude sunday

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gratitude — the state of being grateful : thankfulness

On this Gratitude Sunday, I am grateful for:

  • Beautiful sunsets
  • Visits with my brother and niece — they don’t get to come off the “Cape” often, but when they do we make the most of our time together :-)
  • The annual “reset” that New Year brings each January — I am not one for resolutions, but I do value the taking stock, reflection, and planning for coming year
  • Our amazing chickens — yesterday was the first day since they starting laying a few weeks ago that all six gave us an egg (or as we joke “paid their rent” :-) )!
  • The traditional burning ceremony our church holds each first Sunday of January — it’s always one of the best attended services and it feels great to collectively let go of the personal emotional baggage from the previous year :-)
  • Trying out a new recipe and it’s a successful! I made this cake for our family gathering on Monday and it was a delicious hit, yum.
  • Being given the contact details of a local farmer who sells organic chicken feed at a super price — we’ll save a lot of $$ buying from him in future (and he’s super nice to boot!)
  • This break from my studies and the grind of daily classes — I am starting to feel my batteries recharging and beginning to look forward to the next semester. :-)
  • But in the meantime, it’s been nice to return to fiction reading. With so much to keep up with reading assignment-wise during the fall, I was left with no time (or desire) for leisure reading.
  • New Year’s eating traditions: I love this part of the festivities. I made the traditional PA Dutch pork and sauerkraut for James (and I confess it smelled so good, for a second or two, I questioned my vegetarian status!) and I had sauerkraut with collard greens,  beans, and soba noodles — a total hodgepodge of ethnic NY’s good luck foods but delicious nevertheless. :-)
  • The year that has passed — last year at this time, I had zero idea of what my life would like now, having just been made redundant a few weeks earlier. Sure, life is always uncertain, but I am excited by the direction my work has shifted in 2015 and can’t wait to learn more in the coming year!

welcome january and 2016!

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january

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february

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march

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april

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may

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june

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july

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august

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september

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october

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november

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december

*

2015 was a challenging year in many ways, but one that also brought us many blessings for which we are very grateful. In my absence these past few months, I started a new two-year degree program in graphic design — something I had dreamt about for some time but suddenly, finally became possible. I found most days during my first semester back at school exhilarating but also exhausting and a proper work-life balance always just out of reach. I am hoping that, with the major transition behind me, the spring semester, which starts in a few weeks, will be easier to manage. Although I must add that my hard work paid off with a 3.92 grade point average! :-)

There were many other highlights of the past year. We were lucky to spend time at the beach and make a  couple trips to New York, where I took in wonderful concerts by Iris DeMent and Lyle Lovett. We also went to a reading by David Seders in October, which was a fun night out! Our garden gave us so much this past year, and I found it incredibly satisfying to put up so many pints of preserves. The summer was also full of our favorite festivals — the local folk festival, the peach festival, the chili pepper festival, the fiddle festival — all were great fun! We enjoyed a baseball night out with my dad for father’s day and visits with my brother and niece. I wake up in the morning surrounded by the love of a husband, two dogs, and a cat. All of our chicks from the spring are fully grown and providing an abundance of fresh eggs. The days guide us from season to season, each seeming richer than the previous. The sun rises and sets, and we are blessed.

hometown fun

IMG_3507 IMG_3521 IMG_3541 IMG_3553 My hometown celebrated its bicentennial last week, and as part of the festivities, steam train rides were offered. We were fortunate to have tickets this past weekend, when the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful. The hour-long ride took us through familiar countryside, yet from a different perspective along the rails rather than the commonly used paved roads. Not to mention the slower pace allowed riders to take in much more of the landscape and the country air, too. :-) It was a wonderful experience, and we’re already looking forward to  the next ride in the fall,  to coincide with the autumn foliage. :-)

 

weekly roundup

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It’s been a gorgeous summer week here, full of all the good things this season offers — sunshine, cool breezy evenings, blooms everywhere, and meals made with homegrown produce: the best! But I am so behind in many little things, since jam making and weeding have become priorities. Then again, being outdoors as the sun’s rays warm your shoulders is such a pleasure when one dares to think back just a few months ago and all the snow and ice — the ice! — of winter. No, we must savor these days in each and every way, as they are fleeting. And if you have no garden of your own, check out a local pick-your-own farm. A morning full of picking is great fun and also humbling because those berry buckets take a long time to fill. :-) Have a lovely weekend!!

july, welcome!

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June was a full and, at times, a challenging month for us, with many lessons and reminders of how little of life we have control of, except for our reactions to it, of course. And during these days when patience and resolve may be tested, expressing gratitude for all of the abundant gifts we have, including the amazing good fortune to live in such gorgeous surroundings, becomes a priority and way in which I center myself. So as we welcome July with open arms, here is a list of June moments that helped to buoy us over some bumpy waves.

  • Chocolate ice cream cones for Sunday dinner
  • Watching our six chicks grow and their personalities begin to emerge and develop, so fun!
  • Picnics in the garden
  • Leni’s first summer with us — she continues to be the happiest dog and the most determined spreader of joy I’ve ever met. Recently, she was given upstairs privileges and surprised no one with her special leapfrogging technique with which she launches herself up the entire flight with only three touches — boundless joy, I tell you! <3

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  • The start of berry season! I mean, really, can you ever get enough fresh berries, and the pies, tarts, and jam that follow :-)
  • The BBC Radio 4 WWI serial Home Front — LOVE it!
  • A good closet sort out (and as a bonus, I made some extra $$ sending a big bag off to Twice)
  • Baby birds everywhere! In addition to the chicks, we’ve delighted in watching the downy and red-bellied woodpeckers bring their youngsters to our feeders, as well as the house wren family that has holed up in one of the bird houses for the season. The Northern mockingbirds, bird birds, red-winged black birds, robins, and catbirds are all busy with their latest offspring, too — it’s been a very successful breeding season for sure :-)

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  • Rainy days, which equal baking days when my husband is home :-)
  • Weddings, weddings, weddings!
  • Summer breezes that keep my office mobiles a’spinning
  • The light, all that extra daylight that makes me often lose track of time, especially when I’m in the middle of doing something I love. May you keep shining down on us, and as the great Walt says, let the shadows fall behind us

Happy July!

the ladies

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The ladies — Tammy and Loretta (Ameraucanas), Emmylou and Dolly (Buff Orpingtons), and Mother Maybelle and June Carter (Delawares) all celebrated their two-week birthdays with the emerging of these sweet little tail feathers and a series of other accomplishments: June Carter is the lead flier and now likes to perch on top of their water bottle; Tammy, who was the most reserved and shiest at first, is now the largest, which seems to give her a new sense of confidence, especially with Mother Maybelle (who remains the top maternal figure); and Emmylou and Dolly have become more comfortable with being held. They will remain in my office for at least a couple more weeks, which I don’t mind because they’re a lovely distraction. Plus, we need to finish up their outdoor home and chicken tractor first! Always so many projects to finish around here. :-)

 

{this moment}

As inspired by SouleMama (who has since retired this feature, yet I’ve decided to carry it on): {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

 

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