Five celebrations in a row

The Christmas season has been lovely at our house.

On the 22nd of December, we celebrated an early Christmas with grandson Ben and his mom and dad. They drove over from the western part of the state and spent two nights with us and our small family before returning home to celebrate with Ben’s dad’s large extended family. Even though Ben was feeling under the weather with a respiratory virus, we all had a wonderful time together.

Christmas 2018


He likes his Christmas hats!


On Christmas Day, my 90-year-old father and my sister joined my husband and me again for Christmas dinner.

Yesterday, the 28th of December was my birthday, and my sweet husband (who can no longer see to dial a telephone or order online) had our daughter order me a beautiful bouquet of flowers from him.  They certainly brightened up a day that was filled with pelting rain, flash flood warnings, and actual flood warnings.  We were fine, but the underground springs in the woods opened up again, and we have a small, shallow creek running down the middle of our one-lane road.


Tomorrow is our 41st wedding anniversary which we will celebrate quietly here at home. My dad and sister are bringing lunch to us which will be lovely.  It actually is my birthday lunch, but we’ll combine celebrations.

And, of course, next Monday and Tuesday are New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  Here’s hoping the new year brings us all good health, good times, and good fellowship!


Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Things with engines and motors

Locomotives in black and white


Gainesville Midland b&w


Old train

You can join Cee’s challenge here.


Song Lyric Sunday Theme: Girls- “Brown Eyed Girl”

“And you, my brown-eyed girl
You, my brown-eyed girl


Another 1960s song.  And yes, that means I’m old, but I was once someone’s brown eyed girl myself.  Written by singer/songwriter Van Morrison, “Brown Eyed Girl” was released in 1967.  It is considered to be Morrison’s signature song although he never received any royalties for writing or recording it and doesn’t consider it to be one of his favorites.

Even so, “Brown Eyed Girl” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, was ranked as the 183rd greatest song of all time as well as the 12th best song of 1967 by Acclaimed Music, and is one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.  It also is ranked No. 110 on the Rolling Stone magazine list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Hey, where did we go
Days when the rains came ?
Down in the hollow
Playing a new game
Laughing and a-running, hey, hey
Skipping and a-jumping
In the misty morning fog with
Our, our hearts a-thumping
And you, my brown-eyed girl
You, my brown-eyed girl

Whatever happened
To Tuesday and so slow
Going down to the old mine with a
Transistor radio
Standing in the sunlight laughing
Hide behind a rainbow’s wall
Slipping and a-sliding
All along the waterfall
With you, my brown-eyed girl
You, my brown-eyed girl

Do you remember when we used to sing
Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah
Just like that
Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah
La dee dah

So hard to find my way
Now that I’m all on my own
I saw you just the other day
My, how you have grown!
Cast my memory back there, Lord
Sometime I’m overcome thinking about
Making love in the green grass
Behind the stadium
With you, my brown-eyed girl
You, my brown-eyed girl

Do you remember when we used to sing
Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah
Laying in the green grass
Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah
Dee dah dee dah dee dah dee dah dee dah dee
Sha la la la la la la la la la la la la
Dee dah la dee dah la dee dah la

Songwriter: Van Morrison

Brown Eyed Girl lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

Song Lyrics Sunday

Thanks to This Thing Called Life One Word At a Time for hosting this challenge every week. It’s so much fun!

“You are not adrift…”

Bishop Steven Charleston inspires me everyday. Retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska, retired Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School, and an elder of the Choctaw Nation, he posts a daily inspirational message on his Facebook page and hosts a weekly prayer forum.  His daily spiritual reflections are read by over 10,000 people.

Bishop Charleston’s post from three days ago touched me in a special way and speaks to anyone who may feel afraid, adrift, or unmoored ….

“Do not be afraid. It is going to be alright. You are not adrift. You are not lost. Even if the shore seems far from you, an unseen current is carrying you, taking you where you need to be. It will bring you safely through any storm. It will guide you to the harbor that is your home. Even if you do not have the strength to sail, trust the flow of grace beneath you, trust the motion you know is taking you to healing. We are riders on the sacred sea, voyagers on the restless waters of time, brought to lands of wonder for a reason, sent into the world for a purpose. Do not be afraid. The love that never ceases will hold you up, no matter how deep the waters.”  (The Right Reverend Steven Charleston)

You are not adrift

A Fractured Spine

My long-time readers may remember that almost two years ago my husband suffered a major stroke. It left him an invalid, half-blind, no longer able to read, and with expressive aphasia, meaning he has difficulty with verbal expression. I quit my job and have been his caregiver since that time.  Last week he fell, fracturing his spine.

Doctors are treating the fracture conservatively with rest, a back brace, pain medication, and physical therapy (which hasn’t yet begun.) After spending two nights in hospital, my husband is back at home. We are not having an easy time of it, so I may not be blogging much for a while, and I may not be able to read and comment on others’ blog posts.

Here’s hoping things get better!

My husband was on the fourth floor of the hospital, and I took a few photos from hospital windows…

From hospital window

From hospital window 3

From hospital window 2

When life throws trials and tribulations towards you, shield your destiny with courage, faith and perseverance.    (Edmond Mbiaka)

“All things are alive and beautiful”

I don’t know if the mushrooms growing by our river birch are poisonous Jack O’Lantern mushrooms or edible Chanterelles, but they are quite large and quite beautiful.

What is it-

 “By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty. There seem to be two sides of this world, presented us at different times, as we see things in growth or dissolution, in life or death. And seen with the eye of the poet, as God sees them, all things are alive and beautiful.”

(Henry David Thoreau)

Festival of Leaves 2018, Week #10: Last Hurrah

I thought most of the leaves had turned completely brown now or had dropped to the ground.  However, these have just begun to show color.  I’m not sure if this is a small tree or a shrub, but I noticed it this past week while walking down our road.  As of today, the colors were still as vibrant as they were when I took this photo.  What a pretty way to wrap up this year’s Festival of Leaves challenge!

Last hurrah

Yes, this is the last week of the Festival of Leaves challenge.  Many thanks to Dawn at The Day After for hosting the challenge again this year!




Song Lyric Sunday Theme: First- “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”

“The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes 

Roberta Flack

Because I spent much of my youth listening to folk singers and groups such as Peter, Paul and Mary; The Chad Mitchell Trio; The Kingston Trio; The Brothers Four; and Gordon Lightfoot, all of whom recorded this song, I know I heard the song in the 1960s.  However, I never really heard “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” until Roberta Flack’s version was released in 1972.

It was written in 1957 by Scottish singer Ewan MacColl for American folk singer Peggy Seeger (sister of Pete Seeger) whom he later married.  MacColl disliked every recorded version he ever heard and had a special “Chamber of Horrors” section in his record collection for all of them.

I recently read that he didn’t quite know what to make of Roberta Flack’s version, but it was her recording that won the Grammy Awards Record of the Year and Song of the Year and was ranked by Billboard as the number one Hot 100 single of the year for 1972.

(Of the earlier folk versions, I like Peter, Paul and Mary’s the best.
The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the endless skies
The first time ever I kissed your mouth
I felt the earth move in my hand
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command my love
And the first time ever I lay with you
I felt your heart so close to mine
And I knew our joy would fill the earth
And last till the end of time my love
The first time ever I saw your face
Your face, your face
Songwriter: Ewan MacColl
(The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face lyrics © The Royalty Network Inc.)

Song Lyrics Sunday

Thanks to This Thing Called Life One Word At a Time for hosting this challenge every week. It’s so much fun!

Bluebird in the house

Whenever a bird falls down the stovepipe into the small wood burning stove in the kitchen, we have a protocol for getting the bird out of the house. We close off all the windows and doors except the front door which we prop open. Then we open the door to the stove, and the bird flies out and directly toward the light coming through the open front door. It works every time, until it didn’t.

Kitchen wood stove

When we moved here we thought his stove was only decorative, but as you can see, it actually works.  Birds only fall down the stovepipe when there’s no fire in the stove!

By the sound it made in the stovepipe, we could tell that the bird that fell a couple of weeks ago was slightly larger than the wrens that usually fall through.  We followed the normal protocol to get the bird out, but when I opened the stove door, instead of flying in a straight line out the front door, the bird flew in circles in the dining room and then flew into the room at the far back of house.  That room was once a back porch that has been enclosed. It never dawned on me that a bird would go in that direction, so we hadn’t closed it off from the rest of the house.  It does, however, have a door to the outside back deck, so we opened that and tried to coax the bird out.

We don’t see many bluebirds here and were surprised to see that this was a beautiful bluebird. It took an hour to get it out of the house.  The back room has nine windows, and the poor bird flew from window to window but never flew out the door even though we kept the door open for an entire hour.

Finally, the bird flew out of the back room and through the house toward the front door but stopped and sat just inside the door, refusing to go out.  Our cat, sound asleep and completely deaf to the world, never noticed.  It took a while longer, but eventually the poor little bird flew out of the door and away.

Next time a bird falls down the stovepipe, we’ll close off that back room. And we obviously need to get someone to fix the cap on the stovepipe.

Festival of Leaves 2018, Week #9: Still hanging on

Most of the leaves on our property have fallen, but some are still hanging on…

Still hanging on

See more autumn leaves or join the Festival of Leaves challenge here.