Daily Reflections From My Window

December 29, 2020 Tuesday

“I’ll pray for patience, because if I pray for strength, I may throw you out the window.”

Anonymous

Today is the day. Maybe I’ll wash my window. The view is looking gritty, as was most of 2020.

I had a hard time getting grounded this morning. I woke up to a text from an acquaintance asking if I knew what happened with another acquaintance’s son. These two families, to my knowledge, are far closer to each other in friendship and vicinity than I am to either, but I did a little digging and it seems that this young man had passed away unexpectedly. May light perpetual shine upon him and God grant peace and comfort to the family.

This morning was meant to be the start of hopeful posts and back to funny-or at least sarcasm! We’ll get there.

Yesterday was a beautiful day so I decided to drive a package to my friends Edyce and John in Pgh. It was a special gift and I wanted to make sure that they got it. Visions of the post of the box tumbling end over end over other packages but stating in the same spot on the conveyer belt kept dancing in my head and this package needed to be porch delivered. It was a great decision. I got some things done along the way. Stopped and picked up chaff hay at the Agway, picked up a display stand at a pet store that is going out of business that I will use as a yarn stand, stopped and got some supplements and then headed to the delivery. They weren’t home so I just left it on the porch. It was just great to see life buzzing along like normal. I needed a purpose.

By the time I got home, Edyce had already texted pictures! I can always count on that. She is so good at communicating and always has been. One of the reasons I love her.

The box was filled with dinosaurs 🦕 from our wonderful local toy store (YoungHeart Books and Toys) for them to play with when their grandson Oliver visits. I think they all liked it! There was a hat for John and something else special hidden in a pocket for them only.

The dinos were a hit and there is nothing like sleeping with a cuddly cold blooded dinosaur that says love!

So back to my view pic and quote.

Jay and I are putting together a 1000 piece puzzle. It reminds me of the first time we played Monopoly together over 34 years ago. This puzzle is a challenging one and we approach things so differently. Where I just sit down and put some pieces together as I find them, first sorting out the edges, he sorts, narrates and celebrates every piece that he connects. It is endearing and annoying at the same time! This is why we work well together. We see things from different perspectives. BUT the first thing he asked me this morning was, “Did you check out the progress I made on the puzzle?” Guess I better do that!

Last night:

This morning:

Looks good! I love puzzles and this one is a doozy, but together, and with patience, we’ll git’er done.

Remember to wash your hands, don’t touch your face, stay home but if you MUST go out, wear a mask and keep the length of a full grown llama (which is bigger than an alpaca) between you and the next person.

Have a blessed day!

Daily Reflections From My Window

December 24, 2020 Christmas Eve

“If you come caroling under a starry night sky, and a candlelit lyric sheet and you have the US constitution illuminated by those candles, like we do, you might catch the “Hope Virus.” It’s very contagious. Your heart will swell, you fears will diminish, and you might feel compelled to love your neighbor as yourself.”

Kirk Cameron

Even though I didn’t get to see “The Great Conjunction”, the Star, I’m so glad that the shepherds and the Wise Men did. Even with an app, I’m lost! Maybe tonight.

I saw Kirk Cameron on Tucker Carlson last night and the above quote was so profound. There will be no in-person Church Service at my church. There wasn’t in person singing since the virus started. You may spit because you sing too passionately. “Sing along in your head” -with your mask on (I added that part), the Pastor would say. We’ll watch online because I want to hear our Pastor’s annual Christmas Story. What will it be this year? Then we’ll join the Pope in Rome. What will that look like? All without leaving home.

Here’s the link to the show.

Let me tell you a story. When I was in my early 20s, I decided to go to midnight mass at the church I grew up in. My family always went Christmas morning and I wanted to see what it as all about. I loved to sing in church. I was no good, but loved to sing anyway. I could sing as loud as I wanted and my voice was usually drowned out by better voices around me. At this service, they had the full choir! It was Bliss! Sort of like singing in the car with my siblings or mom when on a car ride. We’d sing loud and for all we knew, we’re about to be discovered as the next Partridge Family.

So this time, I was singing my lungs out. I was by myself. An older woman who was in front of me turned around and said, “Honey, please! I come to hear the choir.” 😬 It was a long time before I sang in church again. Then when I moved to Johnstown and joined a church I would sing half heartedly. We had one interesting minister in the revolving door of leaders but this one said something in a sermon that that stood out for me. He said, “There’s a filter between your voice and God’s ears that transforms every voice to that of an Angel.” I liked that thought and it made sense to me and got me singing again. Maybe with a little less gusto than I began with, but it got me singing!

Are you ready for Christmas? Not much prep this year. It will just be Jay and I. We’ll celebrate with the kids when they get back. We’re ready with our cookies for Santa.

Here are pictures of my, as we affectionately call it, Nativity Set with the accumulated cast of characters. My mom was an artist and jazzed it up with cotton balls, velvet fabric, my sister Janey’s hair. She painted the faces and added glitter. I think she and my dad would have really enjoyed my alpacas and the fiber. She would have been a fiber artist. She already was! Jack played with it as we did growing up and it is a little chipped up but in my eyes, the most beautiful, full of love pice of Christmas we have. I was so happy that when my parents died, no one else wanted it. It was meant to be here and when I look at it. It reminds me of wonderful Christmases with my family and the love we shared just like Mary and Joseph and soon little Jesus. Santa will still bring him tonight and lay him in the manger and I’ll show you how my mom blinged him out.

I slept in a bit-till 6 and feel great!

Yesterday I had to deliver a few things and to get some groceries. I had no luck with a full turkey, but got a turkey breast roast. It will be fine. There wasn’t the usual Christmas vibe, or maybe I’ve just lost my people skills. Here are a few things I delivered to a sweet customer.

Tonight, I’ll do one of my favorite things since we got alpacas. I’ll go out after dark to the barn to give them a little more hay and a little more food. I’ll drink in the stillness and breathe in the smells of a “manger” and the sounds of the lowing of the alpacas, in awe of how God chose this humble setting for the birth of his son. I wish you could all join me. It’s transformative.

This reminds me of the Peanuts cartoon where Snoopy is lying under a giant icicle on the roof of his doghouse waiting for it to fall so that he can get out. It’s right over our garage door. I can’t find that cartoon in my favorite book but don’t you just love Linus?

Remember to wash your hands, don’t touch your face, stay home but if you MUST go out, wear a mask and keep the length of a full grown llama (which is bigger than an alpaca) between you and the next person.

Have a blessed day!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Daily Reflections From My Window

December 14, 2020 my friend Amy’s Birthday

“For God so loves ME, that He gives me this incredible, changing view to look at every single day.”

Julie Follansbee

If that isn’t the truth. Every single morning and all throughout the day, I get to see this. It doesn’t even look real. It is spectacular.

When we moved into this house 20 ish years ago, the prior owners had the most awful wallpaper in the kitchen and it went around this window. My first job was to remove almost every spec of dated wallpaper when we moved in. Jay, who sees things as they are, thought all of the wallpaper was the reason we bought the house and kept saying, “the wallpaper is great. I don’t know why you hate it so much”. When I got the last distractive bit down and painted the frame white and the walls a nice neutral color, I said, “this is why I hated that wallpaper so much! THIS is our focus!” He got it then and never says a word when he sees me with my wallpaper scraper. One more room and I’ll be finished. Forever.

I have a tendency to see things as they COULD be. If only. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s not.

So yesterday we had a treat. We got rapid Covid tests and though both came back negative, they did an extra swab to send out, just to be sure. We’ll know in a few days. If they are accurate. Amazing how they wheel everything out and are smiling! The precaution was because Jay has chills and fatigue and I had a headache that came and went. Otherwise, I have more energy than I’ve had in a very long time. Time will tell. I knew that Jay wasn’t feeling well when I saw him in the woods like this. The smile was only for the camera. He was exhausted.

And we wait.

Getting back to the scripture verse in the picture. We attended a funeral (I think I told you) on Friday, and the minister said, “If we learned only one verse growing up, it was John 3:16- God so loved the world that He Gave His only begotten Son…” Nope. I never heard it before I became an Episcopalian and started to join group Bible Studies. I grew up Catholic, went to a Catholic school for 8 years, and we were on a need to know basis. Apparently they didn’t think that we needed to know that. It still makes me laugh and I DO LOVE the ceremony of the Catholic Church service. I don’t miss the guilt and fear, though that has become ingrained.

This morning, I sent this to our church secretary and the poor thing didn’t deserve it but these are my thoughts after getting the word that in person church has been canceled indefinitely. But hey! I’ll meet you at Walmart!

“I just think that the Devil doesn’t have to work very hard these days to separate us! Now I know why Christians felt the need to communicate through the song, the 12 Days of Christmas, people had speakeasies and met privately. Jay read yesterday that a Gov in another state (Jay just corrected me-it was some stupid tech billionaire) wants people to wear certain colored masks if they have gotten the vaccine. What next? Scarlet letter? Jewish star? Tattoos on our wrists? 

The devil has certainly been laughing and all we have is our faith and he’s even working to destroy that. ”

But on to happier thoughts before you all think I’m checking in to the funny farm.

You know that I have been obsessed with growing celery on my windowsill? Well, the other day, last week, I was thinking that “if only” I could find a way to grow celery hydroponically, that would be amazing. I pulled into the parking lot of the Zebra Stand, walked in, and there, on top of three huge boxes sat a hydroponic growing system. I asked Andy, the owner if it was put aside for anyone and he said, No, it had just been delivered. God answers my prayers, as silly as they are, ALWAYS! I grabbed it and brought it home and with the help of my neighbor Sue, set it up. I had gotten a Beta that day too (it was a day FULL of Godwinks!).

I think I need another growing system to keep this guy entertained.

On to some happy news! Today is my friend Amy’s birthday and if ever there was a person that God introduced me to, literally, it is her. We worked on the Altar Guild of our church together forever and only when Jay and I started attending another church did we not see each other as much. We have practiced our faith together in common and don’t get to do that that often anymore. I miss my friend. I wish you the Happiest of Birthdays this year! Stay safe, stay faithful and stay strong. Love you! Amazing that I don’t have a photo of us together. That will be on my to do list for 2021.

Remember to wash your hands, don’t touch your face, stay home but if you MUST go out, wear a mask and keep the length of a full grown llama (which is bigger than an alpaca) between you and the next person.

Have a blessed day!

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What’s With the Pen?

February 18, 2018

Mark 9:23
Mark 9:23

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 NIV

“Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.”
Washington Irving

So what’s with the pen? On Friday we got a call that the wonderful Fr. Charles Martin was on life support after a fall. When we first came to Johnstown, he welcomed us to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church with open arms and heart. Always cheerful, with a sardonic smile, he blended Godly teaching with earthly wisdom to lead his flock and develop deep friendships. Later on that Friday, I was packing my fiber off to send to a mill and filling out the forms. My dependable pen conked out so I rummaged around in the drawer of my studio for another. I had just moved all of the supplies to the studio a few months ago…every tool, every pen and pencil passed through my hands. Except this one. I have no idea where it came from but picked it up and continued working. Not long after, we learned that Father Martin had passed. I showed Jay the pen, musing that it was so distinct and I was surprised that I didn’t remember putting it in the drawer. His response….”you don’t think it has something to do with Fr. Martin? One of your Godwinks? Amazing how you discovered it today and it is a verse from St. Mark?” Thank you Fr. Martin for being a part of our lives. I hope to see you again someday!