Day 224 – Its Season Has Passed

Its Season Has Passed

Day 224

Winter Scenes by Karen Stephens

I have

               seen Winter; its cold, grey mornings,

Its frozen mist-drops clinging to yielding tree branches,

Its glass-like tears sparkling in the short noon sun,

I have seen Winter.

I have

               heard Winter; its fast-moving wind noises,

Its sharp voice piercing the solemn quietness of the day,

Its crunch where the crusty snow gives way,

I have heard Winter.

I have

               touched Winter; its frosty whispers on my face,

Its white, wet iciness in my boots,

Its fresh, clean air, breathed in deep draughts,

I have touched Winter.

I have

               known Winter; in its most violent tempers,

Through its placid dreamings,

In its soothing vastness,

I have known Winter.

 I am de-Christmased.  The ornaments are tissued and boxed.  The lights are rolled and bagged.  The tree branches are sorted, bundled and packed away.  My home has a certain strangeness to it now that the clutter and bright lights of Christmas are gone.  It looks naked.  I like the nakedness of the house now, though it could certainly use a bit more stripping.  Now the bleak cold of January can take over.  And that means that Spring is inching ever closer!

(today’s poem is brought to you by my lovely friend, Karen Stephens)

January Will Have its Way...

Day 218 – A Bit Before the Morn.

A Bit Before the Morn.

Day 218

Music on Christmas Morning by Anne Bronte

Music I love -­ but never strain
Could kindle raptures so divine,
So grief assuage, so conquer pain,
And rouse this pensive heart of mine -­
As that we hear on Christmas morn,
Upon the wintry breezes borne.
Though Darkness still her empire keep,
And hours must pass, ere morning break;
From troubled dreams, or slumbers deep,
That music kindly bids us wake:
It calls us, with an angel’s voice,
To wake, and worship, and rejoice;

To greet with joy the glorious morn,
Which angels welcomed long ago,
When our redeeming Lord was born,
To bring the light of Heaven below;
The Powers of Darkness to dispel,
And rescue Earth from Death and Hell.

While listening to that sacred strain,
My raptured spirit soars on high;
I seem to hear those songs again
Resounding through the open sky,
That kindled such divine delight,
In those who watched their flocks by night.

With them, I celebrate His birth -­
Glory to God, in highest Heaven,
Good-will to men, and peace on Earth,
To us a Saviour-king is given;
Our God is come to claim His own,
And Satan’s power is overthrown!

A sinless God, for sinful men,
Descends to suffer and to bleed;
Hell must renounce its empire then;
The price is paid, the world is freed,
And Satan’s self must now confess,
That Christ has earned a Right to bless:

Now holy Peace may smile from heaven,
And heavenly Truth from earth shall spring:
The captive’s galling bonds are riven,
For our Redeemer is our king;
And He that gave his blood for men
Will lead us home to God again.

Well, it really isn’t a morning photo – but I like Anne Bronte and the poem, so there you go….  Not much else to go with as I have been doing an over-abundance of photo editing tonight between the posts that I do not like to put up all at once.  I am lagging behind one day, today (!), because rebel that I am, I didn’t take one single photo!   Just one more day to roll over to the end of this project…..  My husband will be so pleased.

Day 217 – Between Shows….

Between Shows....

Day 217

Between Two Hills by Carl Sandburg

Between two hills
The old town stands.
The houses loom
And the roofs and trees
And the dusk and the dark,
The damp and the dew
Are there.

The prayers are said
And the people rest
For sleep is there
And the touch of dreams
Is over all.

I had some time Saturday while waiting for the 5:00 o’clock show to end so I poked my camera lens through the metal blinds of Room 200 and shot the snowflakes, the cafe, the Christmas tree and the few people left to wander as hundreds of people enjoyed what our friends and children were giving them in song, dance and praise.  Samantha enjoyed every moment of this experience and is ready to go again next Christmas!

Day 216 – The Endless Loop.

The Endless Loop.

Day 216

Pretty Paper by Willie Nelson

Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Wrap your presents to your darling from you
Pretty pencils to write I love you
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Crowded street, busy feet, hustle by him
Downtown shoppers, Christmas is nigh
There he sits all alone on the sidewalk
Hoping that you won’t pass him by
Should you stop? Better not, much too busy
You’re in a hurry, my how time does fly
In the distance the ringing of laughter
And in the midst of the laughter he cries
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Wrap your presents to your darling from you
Pretty pencils to write I love you
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue

 I knew, right after taking this photo, that these were the words that would go with it.  And they have been looping around in my mind in the days since I snapped that shutter.  I feel kind of fortunate with this particular loop because normally it is one of those “other” songs that careens around in my head; you know the ones – the ones you despise so much that you can’t even love to hate them.  For me, the song track is started with Cher’s “Believe,” followed by The Black Eyed Peas “My Humps.”  During a lot of the Christmas season it was concluded with “Happy Birthday, Jesus,” by the Saccharine Child Singers- I feel a strange guilt for really HATING that song, but it sets my teeth on edge and once heard, it is like a bad guest and it doesn’t go home for hours.

Yes, I think I am pretty well satisfied to have the sweet sound of Roy Orbison and of Willie Nelson on a loop in my mind.  It makes for a nice soundtrack for the day.  Which leads me to wonder what I would CHOOSE to use for a soundtrack for my day.  What song would play as the alarm clock blares at 6:30 am, as I start my car and back out of the driveway, as I sit at red lights and as I used my key fob to open the metal door that opens into the library.  What one would herald the entrance of ‘the boss’ and what would accompany the sound of books being checked in, as I walk in the door at the end of the work day, as I greet my hot husband, as I head off to bed for the night.

I do know what I would WANT as the soundtrack for my day; the ones looping through as I go through my day:

Beautiful Things – Gungor

Decollage – Les Balayeurs Du Desent

Ray of Light – Madonna

Down Home Girl – Old Crow Medicine Show

What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

Last Orders – Richard Hawley

Anuna – Suantrai

Whisper – Morphine

I am afraid that Believe, My Humps and Happy Birthday, Jesus are probably too pushy to let that happen….  And now I wonder, what would you choose as your soundtrack for the day, be it one song, or an album full of songs?

Day 215 – Toot Sweet!

Toot Sweet!

Day 215

Toot Sweets from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Don’t waste your pucker on some all day sucker
And don’t try a toffee or cream
If you seek perfection in sugar confection
Well there’s something new on the scene
A mouth full of cheer
A sweet without peer
A musical morsel supreme!
Toot Sweets!
Toot Sweets!
The candies you whistle, the whistles you eat.
Toot Sweets!
Toot Sweets!
The eatable, tweetable treats!

Toot Sweets!
Toot Sweets!
The toot of a flute with the flavor of fruit!
Toot Sweets!
Toot Sweets!
No longer need candy be mute!

I have been busy.  Terribly busy.  So busy, in fact, that my daily photos are completely out of order.  I have no idea what order they were taken in, and I don’t really feel like looking at the meta data to figure it out.

We passed out candy cane after candy cane after candy cane Friday and Saturday – hundreds of them.  The children in the show fell over each other in an effort to be the first ones to the doors of the church to hand them out.  And candy canes are so pretty!

Day 214 – For I Bring You Good News That Will Cause Great Joy

For I Bring You Good News That Will Cause Great Joy

Day 214

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

  “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:8-20

Today, I am taking a moment to just breathe before the hectic weekend and so I am giving you a photo taken last night.  My tomorrow will start very early with a good deal of driving, searching, comparing, hunting and hopefully saving, driving some more, paying some bills, hoping to be home by 3 or 4 then off to Riverside by 6, helping out, getting candy canes ready, waiting for crowds, enjoying music, enjoying smiles, enjoying life, then driving, then good nights, then wrapping, wrapping, wrapping, good night Cyndi, good morning Cyndi, and repeat the day but add plenty of well loved family.

But for now, I am going to breathe.

Day 213 – Joy


Day 213

Psalm 98

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The LORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.

 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.

We had full dress rehearsal tonight at the church for the Big Shows this weekend.  I am continually amazed at the talent that is part of  my church family.  6 vocalist from 11 to 40 bringing me to tears, flutist and violinist accompanying a band that has no boundaries sending chills over my skin, dance, acting, lighting, sets, direction.  How God has gifted this fine people and how those gifts are given freely in His name.  I can’t wait for Friday!  My talent?  Putting a total of 1800 candy canes into baskets for 3 different shows so that every member of the audience enjoys a sweet treat as they leave the building and making sure that the children passing them out is at his/her post on time. Dealing with children is not my gift, so it should be an exercise in patience!

Day 212 – And Let it Begin With Me.

And Let it Begin With Me

Day 212

Let There Be Peace on Earth by Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller

Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our father
We are family.
Let us walk with each other
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.

Yup!  I am sitting here next to my sweet baboo, and I am pretty darn content.  And that is all I have to say tonight!  Kisses and hugs to all.

Day 207 – Merry Smug Christmas!

Day 207

Merry Christmas to our dear family and friends!

We KNOW that you have all been DYING to hear about our glamorous and fantastically successful year, and we have certainly been DYING to share the bounty of the year with you!

Our year started out with more adventure in automobiles!  We were able to drive a diverse array of vehicles early this year as the Taurus went into the shop for some expensive and extensive modifications – 5 months worth.  And imagine our surprise when, after only a few weeks, there were more modifications needed!  That Taurus had the value of a LUXURY car!  Needless to say, it was far too luxurious for us, so we downgraded Bob to a Buick Park Avenue.

Right after Christmas we also had a new year addition to the family – she has brown hair and hazel eyes and very pointy ears– we like to call her Booker.  She is so sweet and so loving, just wanting to give us her full attention; so much so that she always giving us the little love bites she is so fond of.  She is very conscientious and solicitous as well; scratching any little spots on our hands and arms that she feels are in need of her attention.  She was joined recently by another little sister, Mittens, who is very relaxed and has 4 extra toes.

We know you have all been anticipating hearing all about our summer adventures, however we decided that a bit of R & R was in order this year.  We tried to maintain a spa-like atmosphere in the house with peace, quiet and solitude.  The couch was quite a comfort as was the air conditioning!  We did break from the serenity of our four walls in order to go to work each day, but as you all know, the library is the jewel in Cyndi’s crown of activity, what with the plethora of INTERESTING people and EXCITING adventures the public library brings and Bob craved the activity and exercise that building RV’s gives him, as well as the great humor and intellectual stimulation it offers.

Part of our summer adventure included the construction of the chicken habitat in the yard adjacent our very own backyard in the middle of town!  The sound of the rooster in the morning is music to our ears.  Lucy, the black lab, had her very first hunting experience too, courtesy of our very generous neighbors.  She went hunting and caught a black chicken that went perfectly with her own black coat!  She was so proud of herself and we were very proud of her as well.  We just couldn’t accept this gift though, so Bob tossed it back over the fence.  The chickens are also giving Frontline, Sergeants and Hartz some business this year as they shower flea eggs all over the back fence line!  We are fully infested and the fleas are protected from the harsh Michigan winter!!!  Cyndi has become quite an expert at giving the cat a bath – Thanks again, Mr. Jaramillo!

Cyndi was able to get out and hone her craft again this year, photographing two more weddings FOR FREE!  What a great opportunity for her to be able to compose new shots and angles as well as tweaking her editing skills!  She also submitted two batches of photos online to sell; this is GREAT exposure for her. People are looking at her masterpieces of photographic genius and that is far better than actually selling anything – It is just not worth it when it becomes A JOB, don’t you think?

Yesterday was quite an adventure for the children because they got to SKIP school and spend the day with their Aunt Bonnie, shopping and having Christmas adventures.  The high point of the day though was likely having Grandma come over and help them to clean bedrooms and then tonight she took them to the LAUNDRY MAT!  Let me tell you, they were so excited to go on a trip like that!  Feeding coins into the dryer – who could ask for more fun?

It is time to wrap up our fabulous year, but what wrap up would not be complete with another invitation to come visit Scary Mary across the street for her special recipe?  We have it on good authority that she makes a fine batch of cinnameth!  It is guaranteed to keep you awake until Santa slides down your chimney!

We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Your friends, and ours,

The Quite Self-Satisfied Fitzsimmons-Smuggery Clan

Isn't she just smug though? Looks more than a bit self-satisfied to me...

Day 204 – What a Word Can Do…

What a Word Can Do...

Day 204

A word of warning that I should have posted at the very beginning of this month:

December is hard for me.

I start mourning my father anew when December comes.

I worry about how we are going to pay the bills when December comes.

I worry how I can possibly put a Christmas together for my children when December comes.

I feel the weight of the world when December comes.

I look forward to when December leaves.

December is hard for me.

And with the difficulties December brings, I am over-sensitive, apt to moodiness and tears are always lurking.  Today at church, was no exception.  Our pastor has been discussing peace this holiday season and what holds us back from peace, what can give us peace and who we are letting destroy our peace.  Nice guilt inducing lectures if you are the one who has no peace in December.  I had to swallow some pride today and ASK (in tears) for free tickets to our Christmas production – yes, my church is actually charging people to attend the Christmas program – because I am having a hard time finding 2 nickles to rub together after paying the bills.  I also took umbrage at my pastor’s lecture designed to shame and belittle the person who used a PRAISE REPORT CARD and questioned the price tag on Christmas program and further,  had the pure GALL not to sign his/her name – then he went on to talk about forgiveness.  This little lecture occurred at three packed services and I know that someone was probably shamed for not daring to sign a name because of this very thing happening.

Ho. Ho. Ho.  January’s coming!