Wednesday, November 26, 2014


O my God,
Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves Thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before Thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with Thee
     ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
     ten thousand sources of pleasure are unseal,
     ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
     crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
     for adorning it, sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;
     for the body thou hast given me,
     for preserving its strength and vigour,
     for providing sense to enjoy delights,
     for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
     for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
     for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
     for a full table and overflowing cup,
     for appetite, taste, sweetness,
     for social joys of relatives and friends,
     for ability to serve others,
     for a heart that feels sorrow and necessities,
     for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
     for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
     for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
     for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express,
     for what thou are to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

(A prayer of praise and thanksgiving from "The Valley of Vision")

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Christmas card shoot

(photos taken by the lovely Katie Antonell, post processing/editing by me)

This weekend my sister graciously took some family photos of us in hopes of getting a shot or two for our Christmas card.  Even though it was a bit chilly, it was quickly getting dark and we were working with nap-less kids, I thought they came out surprisingly well.  I've already ordered a bunch to update some frames around the house, but still deciding which will make the Christmas card... :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

for everything Thy goodness sends

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.


Giving thanks for everything Thy goodness sends...

- a new art acquisition from my favorite and most elusive Salem artist 
- bundling up, mostly in hand made knits
- the stunning, perfectly scarlet tree outside my classroom
- Levi happily crunching through fallen leaves
- Saturday naps for baby in mama's arms
- Brian taking the kids and letting me sleep in after a tough night
- pumpkin soup and apple pie with the oldest and dearest of friends
- Magnolia practicing "Pa-pa" in the middle of the night
- starbucks 2 for 1 holiday lattes
- the way Levi and Magnolia just look at each other and giggle
- a new (to us) REAL fire in the fireplace
- maple syrup on vanilla ice cream
- a Mama and Maggie date at a holiday craft fair
- nursery duty with good friends
- a little family Christmas card photo shoot and some everyone-smiling photos(Thanks, Katie!)
- kitty cuddles after all the "scary" little people go to sleep
- many prayers for my Dad and his cancer recurrence
- cold November morning nature walks at Appleton Farms; poems read, treasure found, woods explored, thanks given.

(Appleton Farms, a few weeks ago)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

thy mercy

Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
the boast of my heart and the joy of my tongue.
Thy free grace alone from the first to the last,
Hath won my affections and bound my soul fast. 
-J. Stocker

- mercy, souls bound fast
- Levi kissing his sister's hand, many, many times a day
- the living room, strewn with couch cushions which are now "docks" and "bridges" over the "sea".
- fresh flowers in the kitchen
- Maggie's first grocery cart ride, her perma-smile
- "scribble" time with church artists friends
- seed pods that make great percussion instruments
- a little project, Psalm 23 as a mini-zine for my small-groupies
- first "mama!"s 
- Levi's funny memories
- rainy library days
- Elizabeth Mitchell pandora station all afternoon, Alison Krauss all night long
- skype dates with Fiji
- Christmasy magazines in the mail
- apple crisp, fresh from the oven and then cold for breakfast
- how Magnolia holds my cheek when nursing and falling asleep
- health for me, Maggie and Levi despite living with a very sick Papa for a week and a slowly but surely recovering papa. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Maggie's first breakfast

(the little lady has certainly enjoyed her first solids more than her brother ever did! PROOF)

Monday, November 3, 2014


Our costumes came together pretty well considering how last minute they were. When I asked Levi what he wanted to dress up as for Halloween, he gave me ideas like "a light" or "broccoli". I was all set to just put him in his favorite "farmer" overalls and call it a day when I found a gray dress with cute little wings in a bag of hand-me-downs for Magnolia. It just screamed "baby owl". Perfect. 
I was happy to find that between my leftover yarn, my mom's felt and my nana's buttons, I had enough scraps to pull our costumes together quickly. I started by crocheting a gray hat for Maggie. You may recognize the rest of our hats from other costumes/blog posts. I took off Levi's Curious George ears from last year and added owl features and at the very last minute (Halloween afternoon!) I crocheted some extra owl eyes/beaks to sew on a couple of existing hats for Brian and I. Levi and Magnolia's belly feathers are pieces of felt cut in the shape of feathers then layered and hot glued to a felt oval that was tied around their necks.

(Maggie's hat and everyone else's owl eyes/beaks are loosely based on THIS pattern)
We continued our tradition of going to the aunts/uncles and grandparents' houses to say hi and eat a couple pieces of candy. This year, Brian brought Levi to a couple of neighbor houses to trick-or-treat, which he thought was quite novel and fun. Despite his general dislike for costumes, Levi totally got into character and loved being part of our family of owls. He and Brian "hoo"ed all night long. Magnolia was hilarious; she must have just been excited to see all of her favorite people, because she spent most of the night bouncing up and down and flapping her arms as if she was trying to fly. It was the cutest thing ever. 

I fully realize that one of these years someone is going to rebel against my family themed costumes, but I'll enjoy them while I can! :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Giving thanks again...

(I think it's been a few months since I've listed the things I'm thankful for in this space. Once I got out of the habit, it was hard to get back into it. My bible study was recently discussing/practicing the discipline of listing thanks and I was inspired to get back to my 7 year long list, and it IS the season for giving thanks, so here goes...)

Giving thanks, for - 

- a fresh new month
- the colorful autumn world
- Psalm 23 - the hunkering down, cloistering in 
- a warm and cozy home in which to hibernate
- finding in-between times to work on projects
- candles, soft lamps and twinkle lights
- when Levi and Magnolia just look at each other and start to giggle
- nap drives and coffee "breaks"
- Magnolia - her constant happiness, her soft cuddliness, her scrunchie nosed smile, her excited shrieks and bounces, her hugs and kisses. 
- Levi - his good questions, his hip hop dances, his special love for "pappy", his book narration, our candle lit breakfasts while sister sleeps, his love for his sister. 
- my small group
- Brian unknowingly answering his phone during his English class and me being able to listen to him teach an entire (amazing!) lesson on imagery.
- last minute late-ish night coffee dates
- a successful refinance
- Levi's sugary sweetness when he's sick
- Monday dinners with my family
- our museum
- 2 legitimate, kid-less dates in a week
- friends to learn and play with
- late night guitar by the hearth
- visiting with Lisa and Alex, and sweet gifts and treats from England
- an exceptionally yummy vegan dinner with friends (coconut ice cream!)
- back and forth blessing texts  
- an elementary art project that I thought was going to bomb but came out exceptionally beautifully
- a bit last minute, but pretty cute family costumes made only from leftover scraps of yarn, buttons and felt. 
- lots of fall adventures, exploring beautiful New England with family and friends, one trip at a time