Stable

I discovered this painting in the small chapel of my church back in June.

Last Sunday I invited my son-in-law, Brad, in to see it with me. He and Dale, my son, are making an unexpected move from where they thought they would be for the next couple years -New York City- to Sewanee, Tennesee in January.

And I, having dreams of moving, know that 2015 holds more substantial change, most likely a physical move from the dwelling I have called home for 13 years.

Both of us stood looking at the picture.

Brad mentioned Mary, bending over her newborn son.

I mentioned the star- pointing to it, emphasizing the long tail, the position of it over the baby.

In our common places of uncertainty, we both continued to look at the stable.

A shelter for animals.

The birthplace for God’s son.

And a word that also means “firmly established.”

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You knelt
beside me.

I felt your
presence-
hovering,
protecting,
adoring.

I am just
a babe.

And you,
are my
Mother.

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Dale and Brad’s Wedding

A few days before the wedding scheduled for May 21st, I received a call early in the morning from Dale.

“Mom, are you working today?”

“This morning I am, but only until noon. What do you need?”

“Brad and I are going to Phillipsburg this afternoon to get our marriage license, and we need a witness. Would you be able to be our witness Mom?”

The joy, the absolute joy, that I was being given such a privilege.

“What time do you need me to be in Easton to ride over with you to Phillipsburg?”

At the courthouse the three of us stood together, giving information to the clerk. This moment had come. Finally. Driving across the state line from Pennsylvania to New Jersey was a minor inconvenience to fulfill a dream that at one time seemed impossible.

Originally the plan was to have the judge at the courthouse perform the ceremony, but the day Dale and Brad wanted to marry  was already booked. As it turned out, the ceremony was held in a lovely park not far away, a much prettier place to celebrate the love and commitment of two amazing and special people.

Thank you to Paul Strikwerda, for officiating so beautifully.

Photography by our dear friend Alex Gergar. http://alexandrawhitney.com/

The happiness is visible on Dale and Brad’s faces.

Congratulations, with so much love!

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Babysitting Harper!

I had a welcome diversion this past weekend- a trip to see my daughter Amber, her husband John, Gable- my favorite greyhound, and of course, my darling granddaughter Harper.

And I got to babysit on Saturday night!

There are so many things I love about this little lady.

I love that she sees me when she looks at me. Her gaze is direct and pure.

I love that she has a definite mind of her own.

I love that she reminds me of her Mommy.

I especially love that she would much rather stand than sit.

She is amazing.

She and I had some fun with the rocking chair in her room, as you can see.

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A Tale of Two Trees

After returning from the tree farm on Saturday, my girls set to work decorating Evangeline.

True to our tradition, we put on some Dean Martin Christmas music. I put the lights on first (that seems to be my only job now).

The American girl dolls, dressed in their holiday finery, watched quietly from a nearby chair.

I decided we needed a “spot of tea,” which was really an excuse to use my Christmas dishes. My girls kept laughing at me, but quite enjoyed when I handed them their cup and saucer filled with gingerbread spice holiday tea.

The tea was delicious, especially with cream and sugar.

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I took this shot of Evangeline in all her glory this morning, as the snow was rapidly descending outside the front window. She is a true beauty to behold.

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But Evangeline is not the only tree in our home. This is a tale of two trees, after all…

Our second tree is flashy, maybe even a bit gaudy.

And she doesn’t actually have a name, except we call her “The Disco Tree.”

She sits in our family room, against the wild orange wall, making us smile with her silvery branches and brightly colored decorations.

Where Evangeline is refined and tasteful, The Disco Tree is crazy and colorful.

In my home I need both.

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My favorite Dean Martin Christmas song.

Finding A Christmas Tree

Let the day take you
like a partner
on a dance floor
who spins you
out and back.

The Forty Day Photo pilgrimage changed me. It helped me to make peace with the past, engage more fully with the present, while looking hopefully to the future.

I see.

Part of that seeing means just this…

Awaking every morning and dancing.

Yes, that’s right. While still in my pajamas, with my slippers on, I put my headphones in and I…

Dance.

I highly recommend it.

Yesterday my husband Terry, my daughters’ Rebekah and Lisa-Noel, as well as my doggy daughter, Lily, and I went to pick out our Christmas tree. It was breezy and bitter, the winter wind catching our faces as we trudged through the lines of trees looking for the perfect one.

The job of choosing the tree now belongs to my girls. They have chosen our trees the last three years and always do an admirable job. They have even added a nice new tradition to the process- naming the tree each year. This year’s tree has the eloquent name of Evangeline.

Evangeline is a blue spruce beauty, a tall, full figured lady that we also had to buy red and white striped ribbon to decorate. My girls insisted she needed to be decked out in red and white, being the festive lady she is.

Our trip was fun as you can see by the photos. Lily had a blast!

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Tomorrow I will share Evangeline in all her decorated glory.

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season!

And don’t forget to… dance! 🙂

The Thirty-Fourth Day. 1st Outing with Harper.

I took my sweet granddaughter out for the first time today.

Just Harper and Grammy.

First we went to Dan Schantz Greenhouse, one of my favorite local places to buy plants. What a lovely array of festive Christmas decorations were on display. I carried her in my arms as we walked up and down the aisles. The smell of pine was heavenly in the area with all the wreaths and trees.

From there we went to a small shopping mall close by called The South Mall. I managed to get Harper safely into her stroller and we walked back and forth, back and forth, her eyes getting heavy.

Santa came over to say hello. She stared and then gave him a big smile.

But it wasn’t until I took her out of the stroller and gave her a bottle that she finally fell asleep.

Today is my doggy Lily’s 4th birthday, so as Harper slept I made my way down to the pet store, where I purchased Lily some treats. Harper continued to snooze until we were ready to head back home.

These photos were shot with my iphone. As much as I wanted to bring my Nikon, I didn’t think I’d be able to juggle that and my granddaughter.

It was so special to be out with my little angel. My daughter Amber and her husband John are relocating to Baltimore after Thanksgiving. I am extremely happy for the job opportunity John has there, but will definitely miss having them so close by.

Guess I’ll be making lots of road trips to Maryland soon!

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Happy 4th Birthday to my sweet Lily!!

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Two amazing sources of Joy in my life today…Harper and Lily. What a delightful day.

The Twenty-Eighth Day. Rebekah’s Birthday.

Today we celebrated my beautiful daughter Rebekah’s 19th birthday. We met at Bobby’s Burger Palace in Philly to have a late lunch, then headed to the King of Prussia Mall to shop.

These photos were taken with my iPhone. Somehow I managed to walk out of the house without my camera!

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I feel incredibly fortunate to have this smart, sweet, kind, and loving daughter in my life. And what a great way to mark Day 28 of this journey, celebrating one of the most important people in my life.

Happy Birthday Rebekah, with all my love.