Joy is prayer - Joy is strength - Joy is love - Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.
Mother Teresa

For the past several years I have friends and fellow bloggers who choose a word to focus on for  their New Year.  I have always resisted as I have never done well when it comes to making or keeping resolutions for the upcoming year. 

Is it because I make resolutions that are too daunting and impossible to stick with or is it because I just don't hold a lot of credence to the action itself?   I don't know. This year I  am joining in and choose JOY.

I bought this JOY sign at the local Salvation Army Thrift store a few years ago for a mere $5.00 with my senior discount.  
It has been displayed prominently in the front of our house every Christmas season. Every day it is up it reinforces how  choosing Joy is a choice.

   This year due to lots of snow and sub zero temps our Carolers are partially buried in the frozen ground so won't be put away until it warms up and the ground thaws a bit.
So our JOY sign remains as well.  I know the lights and the lighted decorations bring Joy to my dear heart as well and he still turns the lights on faithfully every evening as it grows dark. He doesn't have to say a word as his actions speak instead

Long after the sign comes down it will till remain in my heart.  It will give me the strength to choose to feel Joy even in the midst of difficulty. Even as I write this my heart sings.

I pray you find Joy in your day from the smallest to the largest moments.


Winter is Here

Like many of you across the nation, we are having a real winter.  Here in the northwest the past few winters have been very balmy with little snow pack and later drought seasons.

We not only had a white Christmas but the snow is continuing.  This week we are enduring sub zero temps with high wind chills. -5 to -15 degrees. These Quail live in our yard.  There are actually 5 of them but they don't always eat at the same time.  I have seen two perched higher up watching for prey.

I have been concerned about my little feathered and furry tailed friends so keep them supplied with food.  Here is a wood pecker who seems to have found a snack.

I watched these squirrels all summer along with my Mom.  They have become a symbol of some sort.
I smile whenever I see them in the yard.


This one is Rosie....named by Mom.  Her and her companions have it all figured out how to get to the bird feeder for those black oil sun flower seeds when their dish is empty.

                                 They always hold their little paws to their chests.

My Dear Heart has been out shoveling every time it snows, even  though he has a big snow blower. He says it is easier to shovel when it is only a few inches at a time. He faithfully shovels all the elderly neighbors' walks/drives so they can get to their mail boxes.

                      I always leave my solar chandelier out as it is chained in place.

              I was looking forward to the NEW Year........"this will be a better year.'
I have spent the past 7 days in bed with a horrible sinus infection/laryngitis.  I am watching the world from inside where it is warm and snuggly and am reminded LIFE HAPPENS.....good and bad and everything in between.

Waiting for something in the future to make life better or easier or happier is futile.  You have to make your LIFE TODAY while it is unfolding before you.

I know that you can never hug enough, love someone enough or tell those you love, "I love you." enough.   You need to take advantage of the smallest opportunity to be the most you can be and to love with all your heart.


Missing Blogland

We have been back from Hawaii and visiting our kids in Seattle for a month now.  John and I had such a special time in my parents Condo.  The first week was grieving them gone, especially Mom so recent.  But the time we spent made me feel so close to both of them.   We really needed the time to regroup as a couple and renew our health, especially me. I have been diagnosed with yet  another auto immune disease and have been dealing with all that comes with that.

 We enjoyed such beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  It rained all of three days in the 31 we were there.

                        The foliage was so pretty though not as many blooms as in mid winter.

 Beautiful scenery was in abundance.  God has truly blessed us with such a beautiful world.

When we arrived in Kona,  we found out that the following week they were hosting the  annual
World Ironman competition for over 2500 world athletes. The medical team was full so we volunteered to help at the finish line for three hours then finished at the medal/tshirt table.

             We didn't want to spend all of our time selfishly and felt like giving back to others.                    

 I was so humbled by the athletes we met and helped.  Men and women of all ages.  They had to place first in their age groups anywhere in the world to qualify for Hawaii.

The men and women in the age brackets 60 -84 (the oldest) were the most inspiring. They swam 2.4 miles, biked 119 miles and ran 26.4 miles.  They prove every day that any one can do anything they set their minds to.

Healing from grief is a slow process.  But God put so many wonderful people in our lives we were blessed beyond measure.

We decided to take  a boat trip to where the lava from Volcano Kileauea was flowing into the ocean.
(We were drenched with ocean water minutes into the ride. So much for blow drying my hair and I love this picture of my sweetie.)

That had to be the most amazing natural wonder we have ever experienced.  It took our breaths away.
We were actually about 15 feet from it a lot of the time.

I am busy putting Christmas decorations up, wrapping gifts, back with my weekly art kids here and some days are very difficult.  I sometimes seem to just be spinning my wheels but every day is another day of healing and another day to remember my roots and my parents.  I am determined to find the miracles in this holiday season and wish the same for all of you.