Finding Beauty

The older I get the more I want to find beauty. To see it in people’s faces. To recognize it in their laughter. To find it in their tears. Life is a struggle (for us all), and so many times I find myself weighted down with all the things that are going on in the world, but yet still…I look for ways to list all the ways that people are beautiful. The smooth, sweet smelling skin of my five month old grand daughter, her contagious laughter instantly changing my mood. The older lady in the store parking lot, smiling at me. The UPS delivery man who is always so friendly and kind, even though I know he is tired. My husband who works hard for me and for his family. The neighbors who offered help, and unconditional support when we lost our beloved dog. My friends who know me, and know my heart, and I theirs. There is beauty. I just keep my eyes open for it.

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I enjoy being outside. I like to take sky pictures… And field pictures… And animal pictures. And yes, people pictures, in my search for beauty. The other night I walked out on the deck, waiting to call the dogs in for the night. The cold, crisp winter air was still as I peered up. The sky was blacker than ink, with sparkling glitter. I find moments like this to be holy. I am reminded how small I am, and how big God is. The intricate workings of the Milky Way, created by the sound of His voice. Beautiful.

Scented soap homemade from a friend, texted messages and voicemails from family and friends, iced tea, and iced coffee, holding hands and holding hearts, baby laughter, and giggles, good books and timeless stories, friendships that have withstood both time and distance, children who are now adults, but still say, “I love you”, pictures on the refrigerator, and smiles from strangers at the grocery store, dogs that lay their heads in my lap and lick me until I pet them, wedding rings and commitment, love and loyalty and fun. God is so good and He chooses to gift me with beautiful people and beautiful moments and ……..

I am so thankful.

 

 

It’s Fall, Y’all!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”……. okay, so that line from a song is the wrong season, whatever. I am so happy that it is Fall. The other night I watched geese fly overhead in their typical V formation. The soybean fields surrounding my house are turning yellow. (Yes, soybean plants are beautiful in the Fall—unlike corn stalks, which get brown and dry before harvest.) The leaves here, are just barely starting to fade from their summer glory. The nights are cooler. Speaking of weather, I am not pleased that today, the first day of Fall, is supposed to be 87 degrees. What is with that? I am unable to wear all my super cozy sweaters when it is that warm! I still have a box fan going in the house—even with all my Fall decorations now in place, around the house. I am ready to burn my apple/pumpkin/cinnamon candles. Being the weather geek that I am, I watch my local meteorologist every night, live on Facebook, who is kind enough to give all us weather geeks the details. He said Ohio is going to remain in the 80’s well into October. Noooooooooo!!! That just isn’t right, people.

Here is a post from my archives……enjoy it while you sip some hot coffee (or if you are in the same overly warm circumstance as I am….iced coffee).

Fall Montage

This is what I love… My favorite season of the year…

This is what I’m looking forward to seeing, I can’t wait!

This is a visual montage of what Fall means to me…

I love Autumn- Yes, I do!

I love Autumn-How ’bout you?

 

 

Llama Love

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The neighbors across the road have llamas. I never knew how much I loved llamas until my family moved here. Our little slice of heaven has a llama field directly across from our house. The llamas often greet me at the mailbox, their ears turned in like fuzzy question marks.On occasion some of the llamas break free from the confines of the fenced in area. Have you ever seen a llama jump a fence? It is not unlike a deer, as far as that goes. Of course, they are taller than a deer, but are about as silly, as neither knows to get out of the road. Standing in the middle of the road is not safe…..if you are a deer, a llama, or a human being for that matter. Move it, my furry friends! Sometimes the llamas will decide the grass really is greener on the other side, and trounce their way to our front yard for a snack. I do not fancy myself  the “lord of the lawn” or “the grass master” (that is my daughter, actually) …..so I don’t really care if they snack on our yard, eh….as long as they are helping to keep the grass down. Besides, it gives the dogs some fun and excitement. Oh, there is also a brand new cria (baby llama). Picture a black and white cotton ball on stick legs. My husband and I got some pictures the other day. His were better than mine. It never fails. Every time I go to take a picture, the subject moves! Then it sort of resembles a blur. Just use your imagination.

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This morning I was sitting at the kitchen counter, scanning through Facebook posts, as I am wont to do, when all of a sudden I heard them. My ears are attuned to all things llama. The boys were fighting! I grabbed my phone and ran out to the front porch. I turned the video on my phone. Of course, my phone does not zoom in well and it was too far out to really do a good job of videoing. Although the picture is not zoomed in, one can really hear the llamas (they are extremely noisy when going at each other!). Young male llamas like to neck wrestle each other. Usually it has to do with dominance and territory. One of the llamas neck wrestled the other to the ground but, wait…….he popped back up, bellowing at the top of his lungs. Just like two teenage boys fighting. During the entire video I am giving “Wild Kingdom” commentary. Great stuff, people. I might have missed my calling in life. Of course, at the end of the video, one can hear my dogs standing beside me panting (I promise it is them, not me), and then I can’t get the video off and so you get to see my feet and part of my front porch before I mercifully end the show. I never claimed to be a videographer, people. (I was going to attempt to download the video because it is only two minutes long. Alas, living out in the sticks, there is no fast download of video. I might post it tomorrow, because it will probably take that long to load!)

I love living in the country! City living might be more convenient, but one can’t see llamas in the city….and that is really sad for you. I, on the other hand, can watch all the llama drama right from my front porch.  #greenacresistheplaceforme #llamalove #llamadrama

Rest, Peace, Joy

School is out for the summer, my students are excited. My grad school assignments for the week are completed. I have no appointments today. I’ve already done the grocery shopping for the week. Everything is pretty much done….so I am taking today as my mini vacation. I will blog. I will journal. I will play with the dogs. I will read. I will watch a marathon of X-Files, this evening, with my husband.

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I need today.

Time to breathe. Time to ponder. Time to do nothing, but just be still.

How many times have I been guilty of rushing around, finishing things, checking items off my lists, proofreading that paper, meeting with people to the point of exhaustion?

I appreciate  these days of doing nothing, which are few and far between. These days turn out to mean everything.

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Thank you, Lord……that I can find rest, and peace, and joy in You.

Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from him.” Amen.

 

Challenge #12, Might-Have-Been

 

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I often get asked, why in the world did you move here? The people who ask, are alluding to the fact I moved from Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville is a city nestled in a valley surrounded by the foothills of The Great Smoky Mountains. It is a place that many Ohioans go on vacation. Yet, here I am. My family and I moved to a rural area of Ohio, outside a tiny village whose population doesn’t even make it to “town” status. It is not unusual to see Amish families on the roads in their buggies.I admit, it is not a happening place. I miss restaurants, and all the shopping. I could be to most places in five minutes. With that said, when I lived in the city I didn’t wake to the sound of geese flying overhead, or the rooster crowing. I didn’t have the opportunity to witness open sky and wide, uncrowded spaces. These places to breathe and think and not feel so rushed. In the city, buildings crowded out my view of the sun rising, and city lights detracted from the brilliance of the night sky. My house was on a large double lot in the city, but there is no comparison to the twelve acres in the country. There is room for the family and dogs, cats, chickens, and horse.

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When I am going about my business of feeding animals and other chores, I often stop and soak it all in. I am a country girl at heart. This life I’m living, bring me so much joy. If you had asked me a half dozen years ago, where I’d be, or what I’d be doing, I could have never imagined this. A new marriage and family, in a new house in a new state, in the country. It might never have been……but, I’m so glad it is!

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Challenge #6, The Perfect View

Today’s challenge finds me describing what is outside my kitchen window.

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It is a chilly damp day, here in Ohio. We are currently in that “in between” time. Winter is pretty much over, but Spring has not yet shown up. We are in the gray time of the year. The grass is brown and dull, the sky is the color of slate, with a few breaks, where blue sky and sunshine leaks through. My gravel driveway has multiple mud puddles, that the dogs always seem to find. Across the road, and past my mailbox, I see some of the llamas grazing in the wet field. The trees, still barren and leafless, stretch their limbs into the sky, seemingly to scratch at the gray that surrounds them. They wait impatiently for new life. Beyond the grouping of trees, I see our farmer neighbor’s wetland lake. A low spot in his field has become home to wild ducks, geese, and frogs. I enjoy the orchestrated sounds of nature that I am able to hear each day.

What is outside your kitchen window?