31 December 2010

A Look Back at 2010: Summertime Sunshine & Shadow

Late spring/early summer brought sunshine and shadows;
not just with the weather.
Mom's health took a definite downward turn
and her last trip to the place she dearly loved
--the coast of the PNW--
was made in May of 2010.
Shortly thereafter begin the time of shadows-
shadows, yes,
but mixed with light and with time by the still waters

where my soul gained strength and found refreshment

It was not always easy this place and time,
the valley of shadows never is,

but there was always some light in the midst of the darkness
and there were always still streams,
if I drew near to the Good Shepherd.

Later in 2010,
as her time drew closer and the shadows became more dense,
I was reminded that Christ had
on His earthly journey here,
also known the loss of a parent--
His earthly step-father
and it brought much comfort in the days that were still to come that
He truly did know my pain.
Still I have unanswered questions,
still I don't see clearly,
still some feeling of loss lingers on,
still I wish the answer given could have been a different one.
I know that someday those questions I have will be answered,
someday I will see face to face,
someday there will be no more pain
and someday I will know as I am known.
Until then I seek to draw closer to Him that made me,
and as I do I find that He draws closer to me.
Dedicated to the memory of my mother who passed away later in 2010,
and to the memory of others we have lost.
Some references: I Corinthians 13:8-12; Psalms 23

A Look Back at 2010: Summertime in the PNW

Summer brought trips--only a few shown here.
Trips to farms in the PNW as usual-
a berry farm--
I SO wanted to show you photos of NW berries
but couldn't take looking at them anymore--
fruitcake and Danish cheese in winter are wonderful treats,
but now I am dying for field ripened, summer fresh raspberries and strawberries,
and know I have to wait 6 more months to get some more :(
The Columbia River--Ft Stevens State Park, near Astoria
The Peter Iredale--a well known shipwreck.
Ft Stevens State Park.
On an earlier visit there, I was able to actually stand inside of it.
That was a strange feeling.
Part of the local wildlife--near the lakes there (not in the park)
Near Garibaldi, on Tillamook Bay.
Love that place!

Further south, part of Siletz Bay and the Pacific Ocean beyond.
Inland from the coast and going southeast, I believe, is the town of Mt Angel-
this is their beautiful church.
Also nearby is a Abbey with gorgeous views of the valley.

Photo taken from a mountaintop park.

A Look Back at 2010: Springtime Gardens

Our spring garden, as usual, had a lot of color everywhere (despite the odd weather)
and a few surprises too -- as there always is:)
Chives--bud stage.

A brunnera--
perfect plant for a woodland or partially shaded garden because of the flowers
and dramatic leaves.

Fruit tree blossoms after a shower.
We had many spring showers...

Bleeding heart--alba.
The first of our two types to bloom.
I love, love, love white in the garden--
especially in shady areas.

Every year, it seems, I add more of these--
some of mine are very frilly
but I like this simpler type the best.

Russian red kale.
Please don't ask me how my veggie garden did this year...
please don't ask any PNW gardeners and farmers about the
2010 growing season that wasn't:(
Our wildflower garden after many 2010 additions--this next year should be even better!
It seemed like we had more birds this year too--I think they liked the new garden a lot:)

30 December 2010

A Look Back at 2010: Springtime in the PNW

Out and about in the springtime--
these are photos of Ft Vancouver located on the Columbia River--
a beautiful area with a recreated fort, gardens, historical houses and old barracks, an air museum and more!
Did I mention they have wildlife there too?
Love roses just like my grandmother and mom did.
I would love to make an area like this in my garden.
All gardens need areas to reflect, to read and to drink in the work of God's hands,
don't you think?

I have a thing about historical homes. Maybe it is because I am a descendant of people who crossed the Oregon Trail, maybe it is from all the time in Port Townsend, Jacksonville, Astoria, etc--but I LOVE historical homes.
I especially love the towers of historical homes-
I'm sure that is from all the stories I've read and movies I've seen about princesses in towers--
well maybe.

Beautiful flowers -- in the historical Fort Vancouver gardens.

A view towards the Columbia River and Oregon hills--
from near the gazebo/parade ground I think.

A garden of herbs--old Fort Vancouver area.
This is right outside the recreated fort.

And because I like them,
and because I started with a photo of one of them,
I shall end with one.
This one we found on a drive in the mountains--
unfortunately this is
the last photo ever taken of him--
someone that came after us did not see him :( :(
But at least he will be remembered here
in my heart.
On that not so happy note I will say...
Next: 2010 springtime garden

A Look Back at 2010: Winter Garden

A few garden scenes from 2010 (none from this December--yet)
Pieris in snow--
I am feeling very snow deprived right now so these will help me feel better :)
Magnolia bud-in our Japanese style garden.
Love the pink!

I call this mushroom babies--
for several reasons...
they seem to multiply each year
and I see faces on them
(do you?)

Plum blossoms-
I love these!
Each year I look forward to seeing the white and pink blossoms of our fruit trees.
I so believe in edible gardening!

The upper pond.
I love the seasons as reflected in the waters of our ponds.
The bare tree branches in winter,
the blossoms of spring,
the irises and daylilies of summer
and the brightly colored leaves of autumn.

And last, but not least--
more snow of course!
This time on one of our leftover apples.
May 2011 be a year of peace, joy and hope for you.

A Look Back at 2010: PNW Winter

2010 was a hard year for me, and yet, even as hard as it was,
there were definite moments of sunshine,
some of which can't be seen for they are in my heart only.
Here are some photos of those moments which can be shared:)
Winter 2010:
A very odd weather year.
Here are some photos of our winter...first on the road
Looking towards the Coast Range

Another mountain view
Wetland area---love wetlands and we have a lot of them!
This year I am very anxious to try out my new camera in some of our NW wetland areas:)
River view from above
PNW forest--notice the moss and ferns.
We have lots of both...and mushrooms (you'll see soon)
A flowering tree we passed.
A lot of plants were really thrown off by our spring in winter followed by our
winter in spring weather--
this was in the yard of a farm we passed one day.
Yea, I know I said sunshine..
but above the clouds I'm sure there is sunshine,
and besides, at times in the PNW, we measure a sunny day by the minute:)
Next: winter 2010 garden

28 December 2010

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time

there lived a little girl
(we'll call her The Pink Flash no matter what she is wearing).

And she went around stealing peoples' hearts:
her great grandparents,
uncles and aunts,
her mom,
older sibling
(for she was endowed with very great powers from on High to do this).

And this little lass lived
far, far away
in a land of great beauty and grandeur,
and she was very happy there
for it was a land of awesome dogs, chocolate chip pancakes, lions, a special mouse or two and a lot of books.
But her family here missed her,
and they thought of her often;
being the kind soul the Pink Flash is,
she would keep in touch with them in every way she could--
(Did I tell you she was very wise and knew the #1 reason cell phones
and the Internet had been invented for!)
And occasionally,
when her grandparents had been extra specially good,
and the timing was just right,
and the weather cooperated-
they would get their true Christmas wish
which just happened to be always the same one.
Yes, sometimes this wish would be granted early,
and at other times a little late,
but always it was granted for...
Choose 1:
1) Grandma Aimee is always a very good girl
who never gets coal in her Christmas stockings,
2) Because Father Christmas/Santa Claus, sadly, needs new glasses
and cannot see clearly if Grandma Aimee has been naughty or nice,
3) Providence.
And with that I will say
Merry 12 Days of Christmas
and good night!

23 December 2010

Merry Christmas Eve--almost!

I can scarcely believe it but tomorrow will be Christmas Eve;
it seems like just yesterday I had at least a week more to go!

Oh well, I work better when I am on a tight timetable!
So...since I'll have my hands full of baking, cooking, decorating and such all day tomorrow and then my mouth and tummy full of goodies come evening, I wanted to take a moment now to thank all of you whose blogs have been a gift to me this year!
Many times when I was in need of inspiration, a challenge to live better, a new craft or recipe or just in search of beauty (usually when it was pouring down rain here for the umpteenth day) I would 'travel' to your cyber-home, spend awhile and leave feeling blessed :)
-So please accept this BIG thank you from me
a wish for a blessed Christmas Eve!
And now-
I'm off to dig into my first piece of lefse this season
(there are some things that just cannot wait till Christmas to be opened)!

Photos: Some pics of season's past...

22 December 2010

The WORD on Wednesday: Advent Thoughts IV

Our soul waiteth for the LORD: He is our help and shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His Holy Name.
Let Thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in Thee.
Psalms 33:20-22 KJV
For years those who loved God and believed His promise
of the coming Messiah--the Savior--waited.
Decades and then centuries passed,
and still they waited.
The old passed on this message of hope, this message of salvation, to their children,
and their children's children
while they waited for God to keep His Word.
More time passed and during this time God was not silent--
He continued to share further details about the Messiah
with the Patriarchs, kings and prophets.
Thousands of years passed since the first promise was given in the Garden of Eden
and then there was silence,
complete silence,
but some continued to wait on God for they knew His promises were sure.
And they trusted Him.
And then God spoke again--by various means:
to Simeon, an old man,
who had been promised that he would see the Messiah before he died.
to Zechariah, a priest,
who would be the father of John the Baptist--the man who would prepare the way of the coming Messiah,
to Mary, a Jewish teenager,
who would bear the promised Messiah,
to Joseph, her fiancee,
to reassure him that Mary was carrying the Son of God,
and had not broken the law.
And to some Magi,
who would follow a star--
a special
manifestation placed in the heavens by God;
a star that would lead them to the Christ child.
In all, God was faithful to His beloved children in keeping His promises.
He still is.
Preparing home and heart for the celebration of Christmas,
and waiting on the Lord.
Advent Blessings,
Wyoming --near Cheyenne.
Messianic promises are found throughout the Bible, starting in Genesis 3.
Their fulfillment and God's messages to Zechariah, Mary, Joseph and others are to be found in the New Testament--Matthew 1 & 2, Luke 1 and elsewhere.

15 December 2010

The WORD on Wednesday: Advent Thoughts III

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by Him: and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
In Him was life; and the life was the light of men…
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John 1: 1-4, 14
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen It, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you,, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.
I John 1: 1-3
For those of you who have witnessed the miracle of birth, I'm sure you can recall clearly the moment when you first beheld the little boy or girl that had just been born.
Do you remember gazing at their sweet little face, their fingers, their hair (or lack of it)?
Do you recall the first time you touched their soft skin, smelled that new baby aroma, fed them, rocked them, heard them cry, gave them a bath and put them down for their first nap?
Every time I have witnessed a birth it was always with a sense of the wonder of it all!
But now imagine, for a moment, being a witness to the birth of the King of Kings--
the Son of God--
the Lamb of God--
the Messiah--
Jesus Christ.

Imagine seeing Him for the first time.
A real baby--
one that could be seen, heard, touched, cuddled and loved.
A baby who would need all the things an infant needs;
a baby--the Son of God.
What love that the Son of God would choose to humble Himself,
leave His heavenly home
to be born as a tiny, helpless infant.
A choice that would mean pain and the discomfort of cold,
hunger, thirst, tiredness, rejection;
a choice that would mean fleeing to Egypt to escape the rage of King Herod,
and finally a choice that would mean death on a cross.
It is simply amazing!
This is pure, perfect, unselfish, eternal LOVE
that He would choose to do this for all of us--
and I, with Mary, say--

My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour,
Luke 1:46-47 KJV
May you be blessed and loved this Advent season,
Photo: Mt Rainer, WA ( near Paradise Lodge)--one of the most beautiful places in the PNW!
Notes: the scripture quoted above was written, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, by John, Disciple of Christ. He gives his first hand account of Jesus in the Gospel of John.

09 December 2010

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Dearest Farmer Boy,

Wish me well. Tomorrow I will enter THE storage zone, AKA our youngest son's old room, in a brave effort to organize and clean it up a little--again.

Some of my prior visits there have been most traumatic--but as you know I was able to recover enough to clean and organize THE room a lot; before I stuffed it full of tools, mattresses, a treadmill, Christmas and other decorations, craft stuff, extra chairs, blankets, books, kitchen stuff, boxes, rubbermaid type containers, drywall stuff, laminate flooring, a bonzai and a dogwood (silk type) tree and more in time for our wonderful DD's visit (it's called remodeling with challenges).

Let me just say there are a whole lot of obstacles between me and my real goal--the one which sets me on this brave venture tomorrow--and that is finding those cute reindeer bowls that just have to be buried in there with the woodland wreath and garlands, nativity scene, sleigh, St Nicholas - and the Swedish angel chime. I know they have to be there--somewhere--behind those enticing white cabinet doors or in the closet. I know because I've looked pretty well everywhere else for them with no luck at all; besides I remember putting them in there before I turned THE room into a storage unit.

You see, Farmer Boy, I have promised myself, faithfully, not to buy any more Christmas decorations until I can see what I can find, adapt or borrow first for the simple PNW-woodsy Nordic look I am after this year in the living areas. Yes, that means no more of my usual Christmas time weaknesses you are well aware of: the reindeer and moose decorations, evergreen Christmas picks, Christmas stockings (unless I or you can wear them), cookie cutters, Juletomte or Julenisse until I have thoroughly searched the premises...none--zippo--zilch! You are now my witness!

If I should not return, if there is no hot dinner in the oven, if the dogs are going crazy--well you'll know where to find me when you get home. I will have my cell phone on me should the firemen be required. Love you :)

Your brave, courageous and very determined loving wife--Aimee

PS: Dear, you do understand the above promise doesn't include that lovely birch covered candle set I want, right? Oh and those gummi dala horses--I will need more this weekend (for strength you know).

08 December 2010

The WORD on Wednesday: Advent Thoughts II

"...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
John 10:10b KJV
In this season of love and giving, I have been opening gifts.
These gifts were given to me long ago--but at that time I was just too busy, too full of fear
and too caught up with things going around me to pay much attention to them.
So there they sat waiting for me
(although, on occasion I would pull one down).
But, the other day, my heart was ready to open them--in fact it was eager to do so.
So, slowly, I began to open some of the beautifully wrapped packages...
as I opened each one,
my heart became filled with more and more gratitude,
for they were all carefully chosen, by the all-knowing Giver of good gifts,
according to my unique needs and personality!
And what did I find inside of those beautifully wrapped packages?
Well, I found gifts of priceless value--
gifts of faith, infinite grace, hope, limitless mercy, truth, perfect peace and love!
Gifts for an abundant life!
Gifts I truly needed.
And it seemed like the more I pulled down
from the shelf to open,
the more there was.
In fact, there seemed to be no end to the packages.
And I am sure, that up above, the Good Shepherd of my soul was smiling--
for He so loves to bestow perfect gifts on His children!
Advent Blessings,
I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
John 10:9-10 KJV
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