Thursday, December 25, 2014


"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Gingerbread Army

Just a random, too much sugar, too many cookies post ... just brought to mind the Terracota Army figures unearthed in China in the 70s which were created to protect the Emperor in the afterlife.
   These have no protective powers - but they sure taste good in this life!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Be Still ... Look Up ... Give Thanks

   Every morning I take my dog Nikki on a morning walkabout on the three acres we call home. It gives me a chance to inspect my garden, the neighbor's cows, my other neighbor's alpacas, the slough across the road and the artichoke fields all around us. It's quite a trek. Nikki loves it and so do I. She's deaf so she can't hear a word I say, but she looks at me attentively as I ramble on. Someone should!
    The best part of the morning is watching that amazing transition between night and day. The moon fades away as the sun begins to blaze. Good morning and goodbye all in the same moment.
   I want to reach out and grab them and say don't go, let me stand in this morning blessing for just a little while longer. 
The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. 1 Corinthians 15:41

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What's In a Gift?

This past weekend I went to my first-ever cookie exchange. I've celebrated enough Christmases to wonder why I've never done this before. It was fun.
Apart from the unbelievable assortment of interesting, creative and great tasting cookies ... which we got to eat and take home ... there was also that wonderful spirit in the room that comes with the act of sharing. 
The cookies provided the opportunity to join together and celebrate each other and what we, literally, bring to the table. 
This gift of communion tasted heavenly.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Neighborhood Menagerie

Living in the country on three acres opens up a world of opportunity when it comes to having animals. I could have a herd of cows, a flock of sheep, a coop full of chickens, a tribe of goats, a string of ponies, a drift of pigs and a pack of mules.
   I don't. My Guy would be seriously unhappy with the care and feeding of all those animals.
   So, fortunately I am blessed with neighbors who do own animals. And they all love me ... the animals, I mean.
Mama Cow
Papa Cow
   When I stand at the fence and yell, "Hey Mama cow," she lumbers across the pasture as fast as her 300 pounds will go and lets me rub her forehead. She likes me so much ... and I know it's not just for the treats in my pocket!
   This same neighbor has many cows. There's always a pregnant one so we get lots of babies. There's only one Papa. Here he is looking very wet and bedraggled after our recent rain. Even with that sad-sack look on his face he's still my buddy. Even with wet treats in my pockets. There are horses, too across the way; sheep on the other side of me.
   They all see me and come running. I just have a way with animals, I guess. I'm pretty sure that's it not the treats in my pockets!?
   There's a place in my heart for all of the animals I've adopted as mine (sshh, don't tell my neighbors), but my favorites are these three alpacas I can see from my front deck. They remind me of the Beatles ... John, Paul and Ringo. Every time I see them with their silly, crazy topknot hair and their mutton chops I expect them to break into song:
Yeah, ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on brah

La la how the life goes on
Yeah, ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on brah
La la how the life goes on

And if you want some fun take ob-la-di-bla-da
   Alpacas are friendly, curious, inquisitive, sweet, calm animals that don't spit - unlike llamas. I think they come to see me at the fence because it's in their nature ... and not for the treats in my pockets ... I'm pretty sure on this one.
Piper (aka Penelope)
   The last of my animal friends I visit on my walkabouts around the farm is Penelope the Pot-bellied Pig (although my daughter and I have renamed her Piper). No matter her name, she comes a trottin' at the sound of my voice.  Here she is - waiting in piggish anticipation. I admire her honesty - she's in it for the treats!

"Whoever is kind to the creatures of God, is kind to himself." 
--Wisdom of Prophet Mohammad

Thursday, December 11, 2014

There's a Storm A'comin

   This morning, the local news was full of talk about an enormous storm that is going to dump bucketfuls of rain here on the Central Coast. There's going to be high winds - 30 to 60 mph. There's even something called an atmospheric river associated with this storm, "a narrow region of highly concentrated atmospheric water vapor transport." Never heard that before and I've lived here my whole life.
   I went outside this morning to take my dog for her morning constitutional and to get a feel for the day. The wind, a precursor to the main part of the storm, was crazy. I had to lean into it to stay upright.

   As alarming as this storm is, the skies were spectacular. As I stood, bracing myself against the wind, I found myself awestruck by the beauty of the sky. The clouds, dark and full or rain, were streaked by a light that was breathtaking. I rejoiced.
   This storm has the capacity to bring sorely needed water to a state that's been severely compromised by the lack of water. Much good will come from this storm; but hand-in-hand with that will be some bad. Isn't that just the way of life ... learning to weather life's tempests.
      In the midst, it helps to find a moment of joy.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” ~ Albert Einstein

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chicken Chatter

   This is my dad. I love this picture. He looks like he's in deep conversation with his chicken. I can relate. I talk to my chickens by name - Lucy, Ethel, Zelda, Clementine, Daisy and, my favorite, Carolyn. 
   My Dad raised chickens during the depression. He sold the eggs for pocket money. Of course, that happened well after this conversation took place. But it was a beginning.
   One day a weasel got into the coop and killed all of his chickens. I think he was sad. It was hard to know what my Dad was feeling most of the time. I know when he died, he was ready. He told me that, at least. 
   I might have to get a rooster so I can name it Richard, after him. And I would sit on a bench in the garden and have all those conversations I never got to have with him.
   I might not miss him so much.

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers.  - Malachi 4:6

The Worms Go In, the Worms Go Out

It's raining in California. Those are words I haven't said very often in a long time - four years to be exact. That's how long we've been in a drought. 
   Our reservoirs, lakes, aquifers, snowpacks, rivers and streams are depleted. The news is dire in almost every part of the state.
   Mark Twain is credited with the comment, "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting." In California, there's been a lot of fighting over water.
   But when it rains, a proverbial rainbow of hope appears. The hills turn green, the rivers start to flow, snow falls in the Sierra Nevada and the mood lightens. 
   The other day I was in the garden after a heavy rain turning the soil and lo and behold, look at that worm.
   It made me smile. I wanted to pick it up, look it in the eye and say thank you - thank you for keeping the soil alive even in the most difficult situations.
   But earthworms don't have eyes. They're basically just a giant intestine. They keep moving through the soil, turning it over with their progress, keeping the soil rich in nutrients. They're not fast, but they're effective. For that I'm grateful.