Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year's End

As December AND 2014 draw to a close, I sit and wonder 'where did this year go'.   The month of December seems to have been one gray day followed by another gray day.  I can't remember a December that was so filled with varying shades of gray---no snow, not frigid cold, and very little sun to warm house OR bones.  Just varying shades of gray to color the majority of these December days, brightened by the flash of a Cardinal or a Blue Jay or the sweet little Towhees that have dined here during December.

It boggles the mind at how each month flew by so fast that the whole year seems to be a bit blurred.  I know there were momentous occasions throughout the year---some of them seem so distant that they could have happened years ago.

But the days are getting incrementally longer, and Mother Nature continues with her cycles.  All is well as we close the book of 2014.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Boxing Day and Winter Solstice Day 4

May you awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.
- John O'Donohue

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Over the hours of this day of celebration, we share with you our matriarch's poem, Amazing Peace. The Angelou Johnson Family.
“Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem
By Dr. Maya Angelou

...Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.
Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Magical Christmas (and Winter Solstice)

From our house to yours, wishes for a beautiful Christmas.

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields,
that it kisses them so gently?
And then it covers them up snug,
you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says
"Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”~Lewis Carroll...

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Gifts (Winter Solstice Day 2)

Christmas gift suggestions: 

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
☃ To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
☃ To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.~☃~Oren Arnold
Artist~Catherine Simpson

Monday, December 22, 2014

Winter Solstice Day 1 (of 13)

Cold and dark, this time of year,
the earth lies dormant, awaiting the return
of the sun, and with it, life.
Far beneath the frozen surface,
a heartbeat waits,
until the moment is right,
to spring.

Happy Solstice to All

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Blessings

 The Shortest Day 

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.”

Susan Cooper 1977

Happy Winter Solstice---From Dark to Light

Today is the shortest, darkest day of the year, and tomorrow we will begin creeping into the light again.  What a metaphor for life.  The paradox of life.  Sometimes the saddest days can also be the happiest---sometimes the happiest days can be the saddest.  Tis the Season for a melting pot of emotions.  May we all find a bit of peace and solace in the beauty of the Season. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Cup of Christmas Tea

 A Cup of Christmas Tea
~ By Tom Hegg ~

The log was in the fireplace, all spiced and set to burn.
At last the yearly Christmas race was in the clubhouse turn.
The cards were in the mail, all the gifts beneath the tree
And 30 days reprieve till Visa could catch up with me.

Though smug satisfaction seemed the order of the day,
Something still was nagging me and would not go away.
A week before, I got a letter from my old great Aunt.
It read: "Of course I'll understand completely if you can't,
But if you find you have some time how wonderful if we
Could have a little chat and share a cup of Christmas tea."

She'd had a mild stroke that year which crippled her left side.
Though house bound now my folks had said it hadn't hurt her pride.
They said: "She'd love to see you. What a nice thing it would be
For you to go and maybe have a cup of Christmas tea."

But boy! I didn't want to go. Oh, what a bitter pill
To see an old relation and how far she'd gone downhill.
I remembered her as vigorous, as funny and as bright.
I remembered Christmas Eves when she regaled us half the night.

I didn't want to risk all that. I didn't want the pain.
I didn't need to be depressed. I didn't need the strain.
And what about my brother? Why not him? She's his aunt, too!
I thought I had it justified, but then before I knew
The reasons not to go I so painstakingly had built
Were cracking wide and crumbling in an acid rain of guilt.

I put on boots and gloves and cap, shame stinging every pore
And armed with squeegee, sand and map, I went out my front door.
I drove in from the suburbs to the older part of town
The pastels of the newer homes gave way to gray and brown.

I had that disembodied feeling as the car pulled up
And stopped beside the wooden house
That held the Christmas cup.
How I got up to her door I really couldn't tell . . .
I watched my hand rise up and press the button of the bell.

I waited, aided by my nervous rocking to and fro
And just as I was thinking I should turn around and go
I heard the rattle of the china in the hutch against the wall.
The triple beat of two feet and a crutch came down the hall.
The clicking of the door latch and the sliding of the bolt
And a little swollen struggle popped it open with a jolt.

She stood there pale and tiny, looking fragile as an egg.
I forced myself from staring at the brace that held her leg.
And though her thick bifocals
Seemed to crack and spread her eyes,
Their milky and refracted depths lit up with young surprise.
"Come in!" "Come in!" She laughed the words.
She took me by the hand
And all my fears dissolved away as if by her command.
We went inside and then before I knew how to react
Before my eyes and ears and nose
Was Christmas past . . . alive . . . intact!

The scent of candied oranges, of cinnamon and pine,
The antique wooden soldiers in their military line,
The porcelain Nativity I'd always loved so much,
The Dresden and the crystal I'd been told I mustn't touch.
My spirit fairly bolted like a child out of class
And danced among the ornaments of calico and glass.

Like magic I was six again, deep in a Christmas spell
Steeped in the million memories the boy inside knew well.
And here among old Christmas cards so lovingly displayed
A special place of honor for the ones we kids had made.
And there, beside her rocking chair, the center of it all
My great Aunt stood and said
How nice it was that I had come to call.

I sat and rattled on about the weather and the flu
She listened very patiently then smiled and said, "What's new?"
Thoughts and words began to flow. I started making sense.
I lost the phony breeziness I use when I get tense.
She was still passionately interested in everything I did.
She was positive. Encouraging. Like when I was a kid.
Simple generalities still sent her into fits
She demanded the specifics . . . the particulars . . . the bits.

We talked about the limitations that she'd had to face.
She spoke with utter candor and with humor and good grace.
Then defying the reality of crutch and straightened knee
On wings of hospitality she flew to brew the tea.
I sat alone with feelings that I hadn't felt in years.
I looked around at Christmas through a thick hot blur of tears.

And the candles and the holly she'd arranged on every shelf,
The impossibly good cookies she still somehow baked herself.
But these rich and tactile memories Became quite pale and thin
When measured by the Christmas
My great Aunt kept deep within.
Her body halved and nearly spent, But my great Aunt was whole.
I saw a Christmas miracle, the triumph of a soul.

The triple beat of two feet and a crutch came down the hall.
The rattle of the china in the hutch against the wall.
She poured two cups, she smiled, And then she handed one to me.
And then we settled back and had a cup of Christmas tea.

Credit to:
"A Cup of Christmas Tea" a poem in book form by Tom Hegg

Copied from 
With Heart and Hands in Memory
Michele Savikko Bilyeu
Christmas 2014

Monday, December 01, 2014


"December is the year in age and wisdom, a woman with starlight in her frosted hair and a snowflake on her cheek and a sprig of holly on her coat.  The light in her blue eyes is young as this morning and old as time.  She has known youth and love and age and heartbreak, and she still can smile, knowing that life is not all of either.  She is December, which is a kind of summation not only of one year but of all years' ending."         Hal Borland

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans' Day


It has been an absolutely GORGEOUS day!  I have played outside as much as possible.  There is COLD weather nipping at our heels, and while I have lots of hobbies and such that entertain me when it's Wintertime, I so love these warm, breezy, gold-toned days.  Such a shock to my system when my friend, Flanagan, talked about Christmas shopping---HUH????  WHAT???
Thinking of all those who serve and have served our Country on this Veterans' Day.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

  To Walk With Autumn
          "There may be other times as good as late October to be out afoot and see the world, but there certainly isn't a better one.  To walk with the scuffle of new-fallen leaves, to feel the mild sun and see the Autumn sky, to have the company of busy squirrels in the woods and restless ducks on the river, is to sense the season at first hand.  To look at the hills in their true dimensions and see to the end of the valleys whence the frost came creeping down last night is to know a world that has achieved the annual miracle.
          Walk the country roads and the open fields now and you are a witness to great events accomplished.  The sugar maples stand in deep pools of their own leaf gold.  The goldenrod is graceful and gray with ripeness.  The milkweed offers a richness of silk and seed to every breeze.  The white oaks, still brown and crimson with persistent leaves, have planted tomorrow's groves in their own shade.  The jack-in-the-pulpit has summarized its own sermon on immortality in a cluster of lacquer-red berries.
          Yesterday is all around you, last Spring's growth and last Summer's maturity and last month's ripeness.  But tomorrow is there too, the sprout, the leaf, the blossom, waiting only for another Spring.  The ripeness is but a part of the continuity, achievement rather than completion.  We think of it as the evening of the year; but after the dusk comes starlight, and dawn, and another day.  To walk with Autumn is to be in the presence of forever."     Hal Borland     Sundial of the Seasons

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sky Walker

(there is more color than this now)
Seems I'm only managing a post about once a month.  Things keep changing and rearranging in my world.  I feel like I'm dancing as fast as I can but the music keeps getting faster...So I fall back into Hal Borland---I do love that man...

"The sky walker will be abroad tonight.  He always walks the moonlight.  Autumn moonlight in particular, when the katydids have almost ceased their rasping chorus.  No doubt the sky walker strides the land at other times as well, but his presence can best be known when the Autumn quiet lies upon the hills.
     Go out in the moonlight and watch the treetops, if you would know the sky walker.  The night is silent as a moonbeam, the trees themselves untouched by as much as a wisp of a breeze.  Then there is a far-off whisper, a crisp sibilance in the distance.  It grows, and the leaves of a whole treetop are in motion, crisp Autumn leaves not yet fallen from the branch.  Then the next tree is touched, and the next, and a whole path of rustling leaves becomes evident.  The sky walker has come striding through those trees, scuffling the leaves ahead of him as a schoolboy scuffles the roadside leaves on his homeward path at sundown.  And when he has passed by, there is silence again, the silence of still leaves in October moonlight.
     No one ever sees the sky walker, and no one ever will.  Sometimes he seems to be there in a wisp of mist; but at best the watcher has seen nothing more than the sky walker's mist-white moccasins, perhaps not even the moccasins but only the momentary scuffle of mist risen dustlike from his footsteps.  No one has ever seen him, yet he must be there, making his moonlit rounds when the leaves are brittle with Autumn.  We have heard him often as he passed by, particularly when the moon is at the full and we ourselves are full of understanding."       Hal Borland  Sundial of the Seasons

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Quilt Blocks and Birds

24" Giant Churn Dash Blocks

Eastern Box Turtle

Eastern Bluebird


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy Mabon Happy Autumn

“She looked like autumn, when leaves turned and fruit ripened.”

― Sarah Addison Allen
Garden Spells

Monday, September 01, 2014

September Daze and Haze

"September is Autumn at hand and Summer reluctant to leave; it is days loud with cicadas and nights loud with katydids...It is hot days and cool nights and hurricane and flood and deep hurt and high triumph.  September is both more than a month and less, for it is almost a season in itself.  It is flickers in restless flocks, readying for migration;it is goldfinches in thistledown; it is fledglings on the wing, and half-grown rabbits in the garden, and lambs in the feed lot.  It is the gleam of goldenrod and the white and lavender and purple of fence row asters, with the bright spangle of bittersweet berries.

     September is fog over the river valleys at dawn and the creep of early scarlet among the maples in the swamp.  It is sumac in war paint.  It is bronze of hillside grass gone to seed.  It is walnuts ripening and squirrels busy among the hickories.  It is late phlox like a flame in the garden, and zinnias in bold color, and chrysanthemums budding.  It is the last gallant flaunt of portulaca and petunias defying time and early frost.
     September is the first tang of wood smoke and the smolder of burning leaves.  It is bass and perch revitalized in the chilling waters of pond and stream.  It is the hunter's dog sniffing the air and quivering to be off to the underbrush. 
     September is time hastening and days shortening, it is the long nights of Autumn closing in with their big stars and glinting moon.  September is the wonder and fulfillment and the ever-amazing promise of another Autumn."  Hal Borland

Friday, August 01, 2014

End of July


Male Towhee

Male Towhee
I haven't touched my fabrics since last Fall.  Until yesterday---and I suddenly had the urge to make some St. Louis 16-patch blocks.  It felt sooooo good to play with the fabric and sewing machine.  Maybe my sewing 'drought' is ebbing.

I cannot grasp the fact that July is over and today is August 1.  The weather has been fabulous this past week, abnormally cool for mid-Summer.  I've been bundling up in my shawls to have my morning coffee and meditation on the lakeside porch.  Hints of Fall are all around.  The Tree Swallows are here this morning bidding me farewell until next Spring.  The leaves on the Burning Bush are already turning red.  Most of the leaves have already fallen from my Corkscrew Willow.  There is that certain 'sound' in the air that hints of Fall.  That 'feel' of the air against your skin that lets you know things are happening in Nature.

The last few months I have been caught up in riding bicycles with my sister.  I haven't had this much fun in many years, nor have I been in such good physical shape in many years.  :)  That's not to say I'm in optimum condition, LOL, but I'm a far cry from where I was a year ago.  Maybe I'll go for a short ride today.  Maybe I'll play with fabric again today.  The hours stretch ahead of me like a blank canvas, beckoning me to indulge in what delights my heart and soul today.

Happy Lammas

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I Promise to Love Myself

I Promise to Love Myself

So this will be my life.
My body has done nothing wrong.
I will shower her with the respect and love she deserves.
I will do my best to care for her and listen to what she needs.
When I don’t live up to those goals, I won’t blame her. She has done nothing wrong. I will be extra gentle with her, and I will love her all the more for enduring again and again what I never meant to put her through.

I will live by a standard of grace, for I am always learning, becoming and unbecoming. I will love my curves, my softness and fullness of body and soul. I won’t be the slimmest, the smallest, the most toned. But I will be the happiest, the most peaceful, the most free.
I won't look at others and shame my own body in comparison. She doesn't deserve that. She’s done nothing wrong. She’s crafted {by the Goddess} exactly the way she’s meant to be.
And she is radiant. She is worthy. She is full of compassion and creativity and boundless faith. And she is free.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Friends Never Say Goodbye

My soul-sister, Flanagan, moved from Rutledge, TN, to Nashville, TN, on March 21, 2014, and I don't have the words to even begin describing the void that is left in my world.  I know, I know, she's as close as my next heart-beat---but I also know that rather than 45 mins. away, she is now 4-1/2 hours away.  Not quite as conducive to meeting and running for coffee and groceries together.  I am so very grateful to have had her 'next door' for the last seven years...I have never had such a bond form before, and she has brought me more joy and 'gifts' than I could ever name or thank her for.  She truly is my 'twin flame' sister of the heart.  So, although I feel as if I'm in a period of grieving and mourning, I know in my heart that, as Elton John says, "Friends Never Say Goodbye".