Tag Archive | precious memories

Making the Connection

Tonight, Dave met our new neighbors.  I know this isn’t going to be easy for him.  He has lived in this house since he was about 8 years old and for most of his life, he’s had the same neighbor living next door.

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Remember Tim the “Toolman” Taylor and all his meetings with his neighbor, Wilson at the backyard fence?

They met in our back yard.  Nathan, our new neighbor, introduced himself to Dave, and they began to talk as they watched a pile of brush burning.

“What are the neighbors like around here?” Nathan asked.

Dave was honest.  He told him who would help him out if he needed help and who to avoid.  He shared about who would try to be your best buddy to the point they were a nuisance and also about those that you are lucky if you see their face once a year.

He stood out there in the yard talking to him and getting to know him for quite some time.  It was long enough for the fire to die down to just some glowing embers.

While he was meeting and getting to know the new neighbors, I was busily packing for retreats.  Yes, I said retreats.  I am “retreating” for the next 5 1/2 days.  First, Katie and I will be going to the Mother/Daughter retreat at Joy El Camps and Retreats.  As soon as I’m finished with that retreat and get Katie back home, I’ll be retreating again with my fellow staff members.  I’m looking forward to both retreats.

Katie and I have been going to the Mother/Daughter retreat ever since she was in 2nd grade.  We look forward every year to this time away together where we can be “girls” together.

Staff retreat is different.  We go as a group to another campground and usually have something that we’re working on together…a book, a topic, a plan for the coming year.  Though most of our day is spent working on these things, there are fun moments as well.  We always learn something about each other at these retreats!  Last year, we learned how competitive our Creative Marketing Specialist is, as well as our Director!  We also learned what kind of animal we were…a Lion, a Beaver, an Otter, or a Golden Retriever.  (You can check it out here: Smalley Trent Personality Test).  The year before, it was a game of “Things” that had us in stitches.  We learned “things you should never do on a bus” included: licking the windows, yelling fire, or letting Tanya drive.  We played late into the evening, getting to know one another’s personalities by the answers we gave.

No matter what the retreat, it’s a time to get away and to connect with others, a time to connect with God too.

I packed my bags for both retreats so I’ll be ready to drop one bag off and pick up another on Sunday afternoon.  As I finished, Dave came in the door.  “Met our new neighbors!” he said.

“Really, are they nice?” I asked.

“Yeah, Nathan and Christine seem really nice.  I think we’ll be glad they’re moving in next door. They have chickens!  Christine said she’ll bring you some eggs.”

“Cool! Fresh eggs!  I like her already!  Do they have children?” I wondered.

“Nope, not yet.  They’re quite a bit younger than us, but they seem to have a lot of the same thoughts and ideals we do.  I’ll think we’ll get along just fine.”

Now I’m anxious to connect with the new neighbors too!

Making connections with others is good, but a time of retreat and refreshment is also good.  In Mark 6:31, we read, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  Jesus was talking to his disciples here and suggested they get away from the crowds and just have a time of rest.  However, the crowds followed and Jesus ends up performing the miracle of feeding the 5,000!  His “staff retreat” was interrupted, but I don’t think He minded.

Katie and I at last year's Mother/Daughter retreat.

Katie and I at last year’s Mother/Daughter retreat.

I feel pretty certain that I will not have to feed 5,000 people with two fish and five loves of bread at either one of my retreats!  But, I do feel pretty certain that I will connect with my daughter, connect with my cousin and her daughter who are joining us at this retreat, connect with other moms I haven’t seen since the last retreat, and then connect in new ways with my fellow co-workers.

We all need time away where we can disconnect from the ordinary and connect in another way.   I can hardly wait for tomorrow when my retreats begin!

♥Miriam

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Strings

 

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The other day, I stumbled across an old journal of mine. In this journal, I found stories that I had written about memories from my childhood.  It’s like my blog before there were blogs! These stories were written years ago, but the memories are still fresh in my mind. So, I thought I’d share some with you all…updated, of course, to use more adult language than I used when I wrote these stories. (I figured I wrote most of them when I was about 19!)

I grew up in a little town called Markes, PA. You know these towns. It’s one of those towns that if you blink as you go through, you’ve missed it. The town was big enough to have its own store though, and that is the source of this memory.

Gluck’s Grocery Store was in “down town” Markes. Not only did they sell groceries, but they also sold gas from the one pump they had on the front porch. Being that my grandparents didn’t travel very far, they would often do their grocery shopping here and I’d go along. Selection was limited, but you could get pretty much everything you needed as long as you weren’t particular on the brand name or size of the item.  I remember this place so well, because it was a place that I went to on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis.

As you went up the steps to the entrance, you immediately took notice of the big windows on either side of the door. What treasure troves were in those windows!! My favorite window was the one on the left. It always contained things that interested children. There were barrels full of kites and boxes of little airplane kits to put together. Stacks of coloring books and a basket of balls also graced the window. The other window was not as exciting for a child but excited the adults. Barrels containing new brooms and mops, yard sticks, galvanized buckets, and garden tools filled the window.

As you stepped inside the door, it was like going back in time by today’s standards. I only wish I had a picture of the actual store but  this one I found on the internet comes close to describing how it looked.

Candy Counter Weston

To the left of the entrance was the candy counter. Mrs. Miriam Gluck spent most of her time behind this counter.  I would be given a nickel or dime to spend at the candy counter. There was all sorts of penny candy to choose from! Boxes of gummy fish, licorice whips, sour balls and wax bottles lined the case. There were boxes and boxes of candy bars and Lifesavers, nearly any kind of candy you could think of.  Grandma would always go with me to this counter so she could get her supply of her favorite candy. Mrs. Gluck would scoop pink, white or green Canada mints from jars and put them in a brown paper bag for Grandma. She would mark the price on the bag with a black wax crayon. Grandma also wanted to spend time here for another reason.

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Behind the candy counter, the wall was lined with narrow shelves. On these shelves were tiny shallow boxes filled with sewing notions. All you had to do was tell Mrs. Gluck the color and she would expertly pull the box from the shelf and give you your desired skein of embroidery floss or spool of thread. Other sewing supplies were available. Small boxes of thimbles and needles were on the shelves as well. Grandma sewed a lot, so this was always a stop when we visited the store.

If you went toward the right when you entered the store, you would see the ice cream freezer. Hershey’s confections filled the freezer. You could purchase ice cream by the half-gallon or pint. Pappy would often select several ice cream treats and have Mrs. Gluck’s daughter, Carolyn, fill a bag. Ice cream sandwiches, fudge bars, banjos, and popsicles would fill the bag. Pappy always made sure to get some root beer flavored popsicles (my favorite) and plenty of fudge bars!

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Along the back wall was the meat and cheese counter. What ever you wanted, Carolyn would remove from the case, slice it if need be, and wrap it in brown paper and tie it with string. She too would write the price on the paper with a black wax pencil. Eggs were also kept in this case along with butter quarters.  Near the meat counter was another cooler of soda and a pot-bellied stove with a bench beside it. Here is where the men from Markes would sit and exchange news and gossip. Blair Deaver was a fixture on this bench. He was pretty much always there. Pappy would go to the back of the store to “get the latest” on what was going on in the area and he’d pick up his newspaper while he was there. He’d also eye up the hardware items behind the counter. There were tools, nails, nuts and bolts, and screws for sale all sorted out according to size.

One last stop was the center aisle in the store. This aisle contained bread and rolls, cookies and snack foods. We would take any items we had accumulated up to the counter (it was on top of the ice cream freezer) and Carolyn would check us out. She had an antiquated adding machine that she would add the purchases on. She’d punch in the price of each item and occasionally pull a lever to add the total.

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It was during the check out time that if you needed any “personal” items, you asked for them. I recall several times going with my mother who would ask for feminine napkins. These too were wrapped in brown paper and tied with string so that no one knew what you were purchasing!  Once all your items were bagged, Carolyn would pull the lever on the adding machine to get your final total and you were “checked out.”

We often would get gas before we left. Pappy would pull the car up to the pump and Carolyn would come out to pump the gas. Motor oil was kept in a locked green cabinet on the porch. You’d pay for your gas and you were on your way.

Glucks grocery was a great place to stop in for ice cream or a cold soda on a hot summer day. We would often visit Glucks in the summer to grab some chips and soda to go with hoagies for a quick lunch. I would often leave with candy or a small toy of some sort. My mom and I bought several kites over the years from the barrel in the window.

Slowly, Glucks Grocery began to die. First Miriam Gluck passed away. A lot of the sewing supplies were stopped after that. Keeping up with those and the rest of the store was too much for Carolyn to handle. Then paper routes became popular and people had their paper delivered instead of stopping in to pick one up on their way home. Blair passed away and no one sat on the bench in the back of the store any more. Then the ultimate demise came when Jane’s Market came to Mercersburg. It was a big-sized grocery store and had much more to offer than Gluck’s. Soon, Carolyn stopped selling gas and many other things.

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I hadn’t realized that Glucks was dying. I figured it was doing well still selling candy, ice cream and soda to kids in the neighborhood. I was wrong. I was about 19 years old and was in need of a new ice scraper. I decided I’d stop in and see if Carolyn still had any for sale so I wouldn’t have to go the whole way into town. I was filled with sadness as I walked in the door. Many of the shelves were empty. The adding machine was still there and there was still a fair amount of candy to chose from in the candy counter. The ice cream freezer was still running, but over half of the freezer was filled with Carolyn’s own food supply. The few cans that were still on the shelf were dusty.  The bench and pot-bellied stove in the back of the store was still there but looked as though it hadn’t been used for some time. I knew in a moment there were no ice scrapers there. Carolyn made some chit chat with me and asked about my parents.  She looked sad. I asked her if I could get a candy bar and she opened the case for me one last time. “It’s on me,” she said. I think she was just grateful that someone had stopped in.

A few years later, the store officially closed and Carolyn passed away too. The store still stands, but now it’s someone’s home. The windows are different and no longer filled with a treasure trove of items for sale.

I somehow felt a little resposible for Gluck’s demise. I was now a Jane’s Market customer. But, every time I eat a Canada mint, fly a kite, or eat Hershey’s ice cream from a box, my mind is taken right back to this place that held so many fond childhood memories. There was a lot of love and care wrapped up in those brown paper packages and many memories that I will always have with me.

♥Miriam

The Road I Travel

“The Road Not Taken”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not travel both And be one traveller, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim because it was grassy and wanted wear; though as for that, the passing there had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay in leaves no feet had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.

(Robert Frost)

I have written before about the things I have seen in my travels. But today, something really struck me. My trip to work each day is just breathtakingly beautiful! I especially love turning on to Valley Camp Road as I head to Camp Joy El. What a treat to the eyes! Just a couple of weeks ago, I got to see bunch after bunch of lovely white flowers blooming on the banks as I turned on to Valley Camp Road. Memories came flooding back to me of when I was a little girl and we saw these little flowers blooming one day as I was traveling with my mom and dad and grandma. Grandma said, “Oh look! Dutchman’s breeches!” I thought that was a funny name for the pretty little white flowers. My dad pulled the car over and we got out to look. Sure enough, these little beauties look like a row of white pants hanging on a clothesline!  My mother, who carried a spade in the car for moments like these, dug up one or two of the plants to take home and transplant into her flowerbed. They still bloom there every Spring.

Just as the dutchman’s breeches were beginning to lose their luster, a new beauty appeared. I noticed them first closest to the creek that runs through that area. Clumps of dainty blue flowers dotted the creek bank and the surrounding areas. There were just enough dutchman’s breeches left to add to the loveliness. Virginia bluebells. Again, these flowers evoke a memory. When I was in high school, my best friend, Tammy and a fellow named Joe would go to James Buchanan High School every Saturday in the Spring to help run the greenhouse. One day, Joe brought with him a plant he wanted identified. Mr. Frick, the horticulture teacher who ran the greenhouse project told him to set the pot aside until he had a chance to look up the flower. Joe had put a popsicle stick tag in the pot labeled “Joe Fitz-unknown”. A short time after, my mom came to make her purchases at the greenhouse. She took one look at the pot and exclaimed, “Virginia bluebells!” The plant had been identified, and my mother ended up leaving with the potted treasure. She planted them, popsicle tag and all and each year there after (even to this day) we look for “Joe Fitz-unknown” to come up in our flower beds!

Very soon, there was a yellow flower added to the mix. Wild yellow mustard began blooming amongst the Virginia bluebells. This too evoked a memory of the field around my childhood home that would become a sea of yellow each Spring. The wind would blow through the blooms and it looked as though there were waves of yellow coming toward you as you looked across the land. I recall one field in particular close to my grandparent’s home that stayed awash with yellow blooms for several weeks each Spring. I knew when we got to the field of mustard, we were almost at Grandma’s house.

Another new white flower appeared just days after the mustard flowers began blooming. Star of Bethlehem flowers began to dot the banks adding to the bouquet of beauty. This time the memory these little flowers brought back was an amusing one. My parents had gotten several loads of fill dirt to create a more level area around our house. We spent hours moving dirt and getting it to be “just right”. Grass seed was planted several times, as the birds wouldn’t leave it alone. The Spring after we did all this work, we waited in anticipation to see if the grass had finally “taken”. Instead of a lush thick lawn full of green grass, we started to see thin green and white leaves protruding from the ground. Soon, there were spikes of white flowers everywhere! My mother was annoyed, but I was thrilled! These flowers were so easy to pick for big bouquets of flowers and mixed in with dandelions, looked quite beautiful to a little girl. “Star of Bethlehem flowers!” my mother sighed. “We’ll never get rid of all of these!” She spent many years pulling them out and tossing them away. She eventually gave up….it was a losing battle!

Today, to  my delight, I saw yet another splash of color on the banks of Valley Camp Road. Wild red columbine. I have always loved the various varieties of columbine, but find the wild red columbine is my favorite. It is the first to bloom every Spring and is more lacey and dainty than the propagated varieties I’ve purchased from greenhouses. I have some of this beautiful flower, again thanks to a sighting of this flower by my grandmother. We were driving around one Sunday afternoon over some mountain roads when she spotted it. Again, mom’s spade dug up some of the tender plants and found new homes in her flowerbed. She later gave me some for mine.

Now that we are heading into the month of May, I know I will soon see wild phlox blooming. I love to see this flower in it’s rainbow of colors. I don’t know yet if this flower will appear on Valley Camp Road, but it does bloom heavily on Filer Road which is close to me. So I will get to see the pink, blue, purple and white hues of this flower soon. When my hubby, David, realized I liked this wild flower too, he began to carry a spade with him so that he could dig up some of these for me! I now have some white and purple among the other flowers in my garden!

I just love arriving on Valley Camp Road each day. It is a blessing to my eyes and my memories. I can’t help but think of the verses from Matthew 6:28b-29 – “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” I can’t help but think that there is nothing that man can make that is more beautiful than what God puts on His “canvas” of earth. I also thought of the Robert Frost poem…”Two roads diverged….” Valley Camp Road is not a “road less travelled” by any means, but I like to think of it as a little patch of heaven, untouched by man where God can express Himself and I want to always be able to see His handiwork no matter what road I choose.

♥Miriam

A Joyful Noise

Psalm 100:1 – “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.”

How do you make a joyful noise? Do you sing? Do you play an instrument? What is the noise you make that is joyful to the Lord?

I find the giggle from a baby makes me smile…that’s joyful. The chirping of birds outside on a sunny day….that’s joyful. The splashing of a trickling stream or a roaring waterfall….another joyful noise.

Personally, I love to make a joyful noise to the Lord with my voice. I love to sing (and those of you who follow this blog know that!) and most of all, I love to sing praises to God. I also enjoy playing the piano. Though I’m not at all an expert at it, I do spend a lot of time expressing myself through my piano music as well. To me, it’s a joyful noise.

Tonight, I got to enjoy hearing a joyful noise from my daughter! She performed in her first musical instrument concert….a recorder concert. I fully expected to go and have my ears assaulted. After all, how good could a fourth grade ensemble of recorder players sound? I fully expected to hear the occasional squeak from misplaced fingers on the holes or a note played out of rhythm, but I didn’t notice much of that this evening.

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These kids were having fun up there! They didn’t care if it was perfect. They didn’t care if they missed an occasional note. All they cared about was if their parents were watching them from the audience and seeing them applaud at the end of each song.

I couldn’t help but think about what God thinks when we attempt to make a joyful noise to Him. He doesn’t care if we’re off-key; he doesn’t care if we forget the words and just hum the tune. All He cares about is the fact that we are trying to show our love to Him by praising His name.

God loves joyful noises. I know this is true. Otherwise, He wouldn’t have given us so many beautiful things to hear!

When was the last time you made a “joyful noise?” There’s no better time than the present!

♥Miriam

A Prince of a Dad and His Princess

I thought it was time to get an entry on this blog! I can’t believe how many days have passed since I’ve done a post!! Life gets busy and time flies….you all know those cliche’s.

This weekend, I had the privledge to be part of Joy El’s Father/Daughter Connection. (No, I wasn’t a participant….I don’t meet the age requirements for the retreat!) I got to help as a staff member. What a delight to see these daddies and daughters interact with each other!

The theme of the weekend was “A Prince of Dad and His Princess”. The royal theme was carried out all weekend long. Dads and daughters alike were issued sparkly foil crowns to wear. Some dads were really into it and wore their crown all weekend long (my hubby did)! I was glad that my husband and daughter were able to be a part of this special time together this weekend. They couldn’t go last year due to Dave being head coach for Katie’s softball team.  This year was different and they were both excited to be able to come.

This is not from this weekend, but I thought this showed their "royal" status quite well!

This is not from this weekend, but I thought this showed their “royal” status quite well!

The very first evening as the speaker spoke and gave his testimony, the dads had his full attention. During the course of the weekend, I never saw this change. He had them interested in hearing what he had to say about this all-important relationship. That first evening, Prince Scott (the speaker) asked his princess wife (Fran) up to the stage to share her testimony with the girls. Soon, everyone was dismissed for some free time before bed. I went to run the camp store. As a Development Coordinator for the camp, part of my job is to interact with our guests and donors as much as possible, so I was chatting with each one who came into the store. One dad and his daughter came in, and I asked the little girl how she was liking the retreat so far. She smiled at me and said, “I like it a lot.”

Her daddy said, “Tell Miss Miriam the special thing you did tonight.”

She looked at me and grinned, the smile lighting up her face, and very shyly she said, “I asked Jesus into my heart tonight!”

Her dad explained that after the evening session, she asked him if they could talk and she shared that she wanted to ask Jesus to be her Savior. What an honor this princely dad had to lead his princess to the Lord!

Of course, being the emotional person that I am (I get that honestly from my prince of a dad), I immediately got tears in my eyes as I thought just how special that moment was and how neither of them will ever forget it. (I’m getting all teary just writing about it again!)

The weekend wasn’t all about speakers and learning sessions, there was a great amount of fun involved too! The dads and their daughters got to ride go karts, canoe, archery, play games, mini golf, and my husband’s favorite….gaga ball. Now gaga ball is just that….”gaga”. It’s crazy! It’s like a mix of dodge ball, volley ball and foursquare all rolled into one. Everyone is “gaga” for gaga ball.

Dave the "king" of gaga ball!

Dave the “king” of gaga ball!

The pic of Dave playing gaga ball is courtesy of my boss who also attended with his two princesses.

Saturday evening was the highlight and culmination of my purpose in being here for the weekend….the Royal Banquet. What a delightful evening! The “princes” picked up their “princesses” at their cabins, gave them a flower and escorted them to the Royal Banquet where they enjoyed a lovely candlelight dinner. The food was awesome and I had the privledge of being the one to decorate and plan the flow of the evening. I greeted each prince and princess as they entered the Royal Dining Hall and they were escorted to their tables. I truly think each dad appreciated the ambience of the evening and the time spent to make it special for them. I sort of felt like Cinderella at the ball….I didn’t want the evening to end. 🙂

Royal Father/Daughter Banquet!

Royal Father/Daughter Banquet!

This weekend wasn’t just about having fun. It was about building the father/daughter relationship. It was about giving them time to connect and bond away from the hustle and bustle of the world. It was about giving the opportunity for them to share their hopes and dreams. It was about the chance to work on issues in their relationship. It was also, and most importantly, about these men and young ladies being able to connect with God.

I really think that happened this weekend. Seeds have been planted, relationships strengthened, love has grown deeper.

Our theme verse for the weekend was I Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” No one will be able to leave here this weekend not knowing that they can be royalty in the kingdom of God. He is our King and we are His princes and princesses. I know that one little girl came out of darkness this weekend…I can’t wait to hear how many more did the same!

I’m so glad that Dave and Katie got to be a part of this. I’m so thankful for my “prince” of a husband who has proved to be the best dad a girl could ever hope for. I’m thankful too, that my dad has been a “prince” as well throughout my life. He has given me a godly example to follow.  God bless all His princes and princesses of this world! Can’t wait to get my royal crown one day in heaven….and I’m sure it will be much more wonderful than a simple paper crown. It will be so wonderful that none of us will be able to comprehend it’s glory!

♥Miriam

Snow Days and Hot Chocolate

We are having a snow day today, if you can call it that. It started to warm up during the midst of the storm and started to melt nearly as quickly as it laid. We did get enough (maybe about 6-8 inches) of the white stuff that Katie was able to go outside, sled for a while, and build a snow fort.

It was nearly lunch time and so I started heating a pot of water to make instant cocoa to warm her up when she came inside. I started hearing a scraping noise outside and realized that she was cleaning off the back porch! Wow! Without being asked? Unbelievable! (Sorry for the poor quality picture, but if she would have seen me taking this, she would have stopped shoveling!)

Katie clears snow from our back porch.

Katie clears snow from our back porch.

I realized that her coat was absolutely soaked as well as her snow pants. I waited until she was done cleaning the porch to call her inside. She stripped out of her wet things and it brought back memories of snow days gone by. I guess I had one of those “far away” looks, because she asked, “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing,” I replied. “I’m just remembering when I was your age what it was like to be out in the snow.”

“Tell me about it,” she said.

So, while we made turkey sandwiches for lunch and stirred our hot chocolate, I recalled memories of snow days gone by.

When I was her age, it seemed like we got so much more snow than we do now. I remember large drifts in my backyard that would get as high as me. There was one year, and I can’t remember what year it was, we had an abundance of snow. There was a large drift that formed in our side yard and it packed down quite tightly. I had recently seen a movie or TV show that had a St. Bernard on it rescuing people and found it fascinating! I decided there “had” to be some sort of lost victim in that snow pile. I found an old broom handle and went to work searching for victims by poking the stick down into the snow bank.  The giant drift was deep enough that it nearly covered the entire handle! The neighbor boy happened to see me doing this and wondered what I was doing. I soon explained that there were “victims” trapped under the snow and I was poking the stick down to find them. He quickly produces some sort of stick and began to search with me. Needless to say, we didn’t actually discover anyone, but our efforts were good!

Sledding at my house was awesome!! There was a field beside us that was hilly (we lived at the top of a big hill….one of the highest points of Peters Township, PA!) If you got the sled going just right, you could fly down the hill about 250 feet. If there was some ice involved, you went even further and could sometimes land in the stream at the bottom of the hill. The neighbor boy and me and my mom and dad would spend hours out there sledding and sledding until we couldn’t feel our hands, feet or faces. Then we’d decide we had enough and go inside for hot chocolate. We’d warm up long enough to thaw out and get dry clothes on and then we’d go out again. We’d sled until it was dark.

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We lived in a quiet area. There was one point on our property where our land met with the farmer’s field that had two huge cedar trees . I loved to go back there at night in the snow and sit in a spot I’d create between the two trees, and look out over the snowy countryside and gaze at the stars. I felt very close to God in those moments. I’d often sing as I sat there with nothing but the moon and starlight to illuminate the night. It made me feel like I was the only person in the whole world. I haven’t felt that type of solitude in years. It was wonderful.

Katie and I finished our sandwiches and cocoa and she went off to play.  I sat looking out the window at the birds in the back yard pecking at the suet in the feeders and thought how lucky they were. They could fly off and find that solitude I once experienced any time they wanted to.  Suddenly, I felt very warm and fuzzy inside. I think it was a combination of hot cocoa and good memories.

I was happy as well to be home in my nice warm house. I didn’t have to go out and drive in the bad weather with all those crazy people who don’t know how to drive in snow. I felt blessed to have a job that I could do from home and yet enjoy a little quiet time with Katie. God had kept us safe in this “biggest storm of 2013” (so they said) and we were having a great day.

I remembered a scripture that would often come to mind when I would have those moments of solitude in the snow. It’s always been one of my favorite passages and has been a passage I’ve turned to many times in times of distress or fear. Psalm 121 says – “I lift up my eyes to the mountains–where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip–he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you–the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.”

Cardinal in our backyard.

Cardinal in our backyard.

♥Miriam

Katie the Bear! (Grrrrrrrrrrrr!)

Here’s another memory I found and it’s a real “Katie classic”! This is one of my all-time favorite “duh moments” she’s ever admitted to! At least this whole incident taught her a lesson…she’s not a bear!  Enjoy…..

Well, my daughter did it again! She never ceases to amaze me!  The other day, when Katie got out of bed, she told me her back was itchy and would I scratch it.  I scratched it and the day moved on.

When I got home from work that evening, Katie once again asked for her back to be scratched.  Thinking nothing of it, I obliged and scratched her back.  She proceeds to tell me that at school that day, her back had itched but her friend, Sushmita, didn’t know how to scratch it like I did and she was glad I was home so her back could be scratched.  I started to wonder why she was so itchy all of a sudden.  I went to the kitchen and made supper, and forgot all about her itchiness.

Then came bath time for Katie.  As she began to climb in the tub I noticed something terrible on her back!  It looked raw, totally brush-burned and scabby!  How could I have not known about this?  Of course, I immediately questioned her–“What happened here?!!!!!”  Katie proceeds to tell me. “Oh, I was really itchy at recess today, and since Sushmita didn’t know how to scratch my back, I used a tree.”

“You what?”

“I used a tree.”

“How?”

“I lifted my shirt, leaned against the tree and started rubbing up and down until it stopped itching.”

“Like a bear?”

“I guess you could say that,” she says.

“Did you ever think this was a stupid idea?” I asked.

“No.”

“Do you have any idea what your back looks like?  Do you realize you could have given yourself splinters?  Do you know you aren’t a bear?” I questioned.

“Yeah, Mommy.  But I don’t itch anymore!”

"Ooooo, a little more to the left!"

“Ooooo, a little more to the left!”

Well, her itchiness had ended after her encounter with the tree, but now it’s back full force since the scabs that formed are starting to come off!  When will she ever use her head?  I guess she was–she was thinking like a bear!  🙂

One of my favorite pics of Katie! She was about 22 months old here.

One of my favorite pics of Katie! She was about 22 months old here.

♥Miriam