Memorial Day, Remember why.


A day to remember those protect our nation and our freedom.
A day to connect with family as summer casts it’s golden spell on our country.
A day to enjoy company of friends and neighbors at the Village Parade.
A day to re-invent what all of this means…my youngest daughter, my son, my husband, my baby sister, her daughter, and my adorable neighbors were one family today…remembering, connecting, and enjoy all that the day had to offer here on our small farm. If you can’t be with all of your loved ones…remember them as you enjoy your re-invented family.
I love you all.
J.

as part of the Boston Holocaust Memorial, is a gathering of neatly placed cobbles…each one signifying a child”s lost life ~ when the Nazis murdered as many as one and a half million Jewish infants and children.

Boston statement - Copy
Freedom isn’t Free.
Each May, the United States celebrates a day called Memorial Day.
Does Memorial Day have meaning? I sure do hope so.

This weekend, as my husband dresses in his Fire Fighter’s Uniform, dressed in their best, they ready to march in our town’s parade in honor of those who gave so much for OUR FREEDOM . Across the country children and their parents gather for their Town’s Memorial Day Parade ~ little ones will sit on the sidewalks and wave their flags as the band goes by. Later, maybe, they’ll have a BBQ or a picnic at the lake or beach. And that’s good, because today is a day to be with the family and to remember
Boston names
“And we owe them something, those boys. We owe them first a promise: That just as they did not forget their missing comrades, neither, ever, will we. And there are other promises. We must always remember that peace is a fragile thing that needs constant vigilance. We owe them a promise to look at the world with a steady gaze and, perhaps, a resigned toughness, knowing that we have adversaries in the world and challenges and the only way to meet them and maintain the peace is by staying strong.
…..We must be strong enough to create peace where it does not exist and strong enough to protect it where it does.
Ronald Reagan,40th President of the United States

Boston North side - Copy (2)…..
”It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Abraham Lincoln,16th President of the United States ~ Gettysburg Address
Thank you all, who have given so much to preserve our Freedom and the Freedom’s of others.
God Bless America!
Pray for God’s blessing on America. Ask for God’s protection over all branches of our military
Be Well,
Jessica

Pint Sized Gardening.


I was asked a few days back for ideas around children’s gardens and gardening with children. Do reserve a space for “their” garden, do they help with small parts of the whole shebang, or do they have specific tasks? time to pull

My children helped with the whole thing. they helped start the seeds, they helped plant; well until they got tired. or hot, or thirsty, or hungry, or a butterfly fluttered past. You get the way things worked, right?
072.1

downMy eldest daughter adored sunflowers, many were planted at our home and in her Poppa’s garden. She could not wait to pose for a picture with the humongous flowers towering over her diminutive, but oh so coordinated person. She was all of about 26 pounds upon entering kindergarten. Tiny but make no mistake – there is not a person or thing she was afraid of and she had a patented mad-walk to prove it.I think she could have registered that, holeh.

berrilicious
Justin loved the berries, luckily they grew wild, I could never have planted enough for him. WHen we went pay per pound berry picking at a nearby field, I always thought they should weigh him as he entered and disregard the basket he carried. The blue smile and belly clutching upon exiting was a tell tale sign.

garden carrots Jenn’s favorite was carrots, and we rarely had a carrot grow to maturity, she checked them so often to see if they were ready for her soup creations. These soups [and keep in mind at this point in time she was 4 - 5 years of age], contained any number of things, though not very much of anything, an underdeveloped string bean, a carrot the size of a pen cap, a few peas, some water, and maybe some lettuce. I always was granted a taste. You can only imagine the look of guarded enthusiasm as I partook of this culinary delight.

I think my point here is ,isn’t every garden a child’s garden if we let it be. If we let go of the controls for a bit, let them dig in, as little or as much as they wish. No your rows won’t be as straight, your harvest may not be the envy of the neighborhood; heck you may have tomatoes in your squash! Sometimes I stressed more than now I think prudent..with age comes wisdom so they say. I will be planting many raised beds her at the PIcasso’s , and I am yearning for those eager little hands to help. Childhood passes so quickly,but, I don’t wanna grow up!
Will

We did have some child-like structures in our gardens over the years, like sunflower forts, pole bean tee-pees, and plants to attract butterflies, there was one year this was particularly important. 097
Fairy gardens would be fun for little ones to create, I think. Or brightly painted tires, filled with salad or salsa fix ins; easy to weed and fun to do!

100.1

I am eager to start spring specials, put the soup pots up to rest; fill our plates with spring’s fresh bright culinary delights. Peas anyone?

A little kiss on the forehead….together forever.


There comes a point when you just love someone. Not because they’re good, or bad, or anything really. You just love them. Sometimes in spite of who they are, and sometimes because of who they are. And you know that they love you, sometimes because of who you are, and sometimes in spite of it.
Valentine’s Day makes me so sentimental. ♥

HJS&JJS

Now, what ever will I post on Valentine’s Day?!
Be Well,

Some things are just worth re-visiting ~ Don’t you think?


Live your life so that the fear of death can never enter your heart. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light. Give thanks for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. And if perchance you see no reason for giving thanks, rest assured the fault is in yourself.

Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Indian Chief

November 20, 2011

Sundays

I do believe, I have little writing to do this day…Craig Morgan’s song “That’s What I Love about Sunday” says everything…I love about Sundays.

Raymond’s in his Sunday best,
He’s usually up to his chest in oil an’ grease.
There’s the Martin’s walkin’ in,
With that mean little freckle-faced kid,
Who broke a window last week.
Sweet Miss Betty likes to sing off key in the pew behind me.

That’s what I love about Sunday:
Sing along as the choir sways;
Every verse of Amazin’ Grace,
An’ then we shake the Preacher’s hand.
Go home, into your blue jeans;
Have some chicken an’ some baked beans.
Pick a back yard football team,
Not do much of anything:
That’s what I love about Sunday.

I stroll to the end of the drive,
Pick up the Sunday Times, grab my coffee cup.
It looks like Sally an’ Ron, finally tied the knot,
Well, it’s about time.
It’s 35 cents off a ground round,
Baby, cut that coupon out!

That’s what I love about Sunday:
Cat-napping on the porch swing;
You curled up next to me,
The smell of jasmine wakes us up.
Take a walk down a back road,
Tackle box and a cane pole;
Carve our names in that white oak,
steal a kiss as the sun fades,
That’s what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah.

Ooh, new believers gettin’ baptized,
Momma’s hands raised up high,
Havin’ a Hallelujah good time
A smile on everybody’s face.
That’s what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah.

That’s what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah.

“Joy is the feeling of grinning inside.”

“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.” -Mother Teresa

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” -Henri Nouwen

“This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.” -George Bernard Shaw This my friends is the ~ rare, and elusive ~ idle Hubby…you may never have the opportunity to see him in a sitting position again, please enjoy.

To get joy, we must give it, and to keep joy, we must scatter it. -John Templeton My Girls! <3

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” -Thich Nhat Hanh The Boys.

“Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.” -Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

“And Joy is Everywhere; It is in the Earth’s green covering of grass; In the blue serenity of the Sky; In the reckless exuberance of Spring; In the severe abstinence of gray Winter; In the Living flesh that animates our bodily frame; In the perfect poise of the Human figure, noble and upright; In Living; In the exercise of all our powers; In the acquisition of Knowledge; in fighting evils…Joy is there Everywhere” -Rabindranath Tagore

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

There may be no joy like lazing around on a Sunday afternoon, doing nothing in particular,…Enjoy your Sunday!

Be Well,
Jess

Some things are just worth revisiting…don’t you think?


Live your life so that the fear of death can never enter your heart. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light. Give thanks for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. And if perchance you see no reason for giving thanks, rest assured the fault is in yourself.

Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Indian Chief

November 20, 2011

Sundays

I do believe, I have little writing to do this day…Craig Morgan’s song “That’s What I Love about Sunday” says everything…I love about Sundays.

Raymond’s in his Sunday best,
He’s usually up to his chest in oil an’ grease.
There’s the Martin’s walkin’ in,
With that mean little freckle-faced kid,
Who broke a window last week.
Sweet Miss Betty likes to sing off key in the pew behind me.

That’s what I love about Sunday:
Sing along as the choir sways;
Every verse of Amazin’ Grace,
An’ then we shake the Preacher’s hand.
Go home, into your blue jeans;
Have some chicken an’ some baked beans.
Pick a back yard football team,
Not do much of anything:
That’s what I love about Sunday.

I stroll to the end of the drive,
Pick up the Sunday Times, grab my coffee cup.
It looks like Sally an’ Ron, finally tied the knot,
Well, it’s about time.
It’s 35 cents off a ground round,
Baby, cut that coupon out!

That’s what I love about Sunday:
Cat-napping on the porch swing;
You curled up next to me,
The smell of jasmine wakes us up.
Take a walk down a back road,
Tackle box and a cane pole;
Carve our names in that white oak,
steal a kiss as the sun fades,
That’s what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah.

Ooh, new believers gettin’ baptized,
Momma’s hands raised up high,
Havin’ a Hallelujah good time
A smile on everybody’s face.
That’s what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah.

That’s what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah.

<a href=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/044.jpg”><img class=”size-full wp-image-1364″ title=”044″ alt=”” src=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/044.jpg&#8221; height=”332″ width=”500″ /></a> “Joy is the feeling of grinning inside.” <a href=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/024.jpg”><img class=”size-full wp-image-1363″ title=”024″ alt=”” src=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/024.jpg&#8221; height=”752″ width=”500″ /></a> “Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.” -Mother Teresa <a href=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/julis-bday-weekend-11-139.jpg”><img class=”size-full wp-image-1369″ title=”Juli’s Bday weekend 11 139″ alt=”” src=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/julis-bday-weekend-11-139.jpg&#8221; height=”332″ width=”500″ /></a> “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” -Henri Nouwen <a href=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/julis-bday-weekend-11-087.jpg”><img class=”size-full wp-image-1368″ title=”Juli’s Bday weekend 11 087″ alt=”” src=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/julis-bday-weekend-11-087.jpg&#8221; height=”332″ width=”500″ /></a> “This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.” -George Bernard Shaw This my friends is the ~ rare, and elusive ~ idle Hubby…you may never have the opportunity to see him in a sitting position again, please enjoy. <a href=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/my-girls.jpg”><img class=”size-full wp-image-1370″ title=”MY GIRLS” alt=”” src=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/my-girls.jpg&#8221; height=”410″ width=”500″ /></a> To get joy, we must give it, and to keep joy, we must scatter it. -John Templeton My Girls! &lt;3 <a href=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/oh-boy.jpg”><img class=”size-full wp-image-1371″ title=”oh, boy” alt=”” src=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/oh-boy.jpg&#8221; height=”355″ width=”500″ /></a> “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” -Thich Nhat Hanh The Boys. <a href=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/common-lets-go-for-a-walk-andrew-and-miss-maeve1.jpg”><img class=”size-full wp-image-1366″ title=”common’ let’s go for a walk…Andrew and Miss Maeve…” alt=”” src=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/common-lets-go-for-a-walk-andrew-and-miss-maeve1.jpg&#8221; height=”420″ width=”451″ /></a> “Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.” -Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy <a href=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/down-a-country-road-046.jpg”><img class=”size-full wp-image-1358″ title=”down a country road 046″ alt=”” src=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/down-a-country-road-046.jpg&#8221; height=”332″ width=”500″ /></a> “And Joy is Everywhere; It is in the Earth’s green covering of grass; In the blue serenity of the Sky; In the reckless exuberance of Spring; In the severe abstinence of gray Winter; In the Living flesh that animates our bodily frame; In the perfect poise of the Human figure, noble and upright; In Living; In the exercise of all our powers; In the acquisition of Knowledge; in fighting evils…Joy is there Everywhere” -Rabindranath Tagore <a href=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/saturday-afternoon-river-clouds1.jpg”><img class=”size-full wp-image-1361″ title=”saturday afternoon river clouds” alt=”” src=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/saturday-afternoon-river-clouds1.jpg&#8221; height=”752″ width=”500″ /></a> “Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” -Eleanor Roosevelt <a href=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/saturday-afternoon-setting-glow1.jpg”><img class=”size-full wp-image-1362″ title=”Sunday afternoon setting glow” alt=”” src=”http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/saturday-afternoon-setting-glow1.jpg&#8221; height=”297″ width=”500″ /></a> There may be no joy like lazing around on a Sunday afternoon, doing nothing in particular,…Enjoy your Sunday!

Be Well,
Jess

Roots give you something to stand on…


Why Traditions? Because I said so that’s why! No, really ..traditions reinforce; tradition works.

Have you ever been a bystander, a guest of another family – viewing a family tradition? Kinda lonely right? Tradition reinforces who we are; who our families are…it doesn’t matter who you ARE individually, you’re family…

….the hilarious uncle, odd cousins, senile grandparents, or eccentric Aunt, when a reason arises for the a family get together; we are all welcomed back into the fold despite past disagreements, Thanksgiving is such a time.

Generation after generation has gathered together to celebrate and gives thanks…a tradition that has been around for a LONG time (well, in relative terms; this is a young Country after-all).

Roots give you something to stand on. They give you an identity that you can be proud of.

Traditions are tried and true…with the onslaught of commercialism; and “gotta’ have it mentality so prevalent at the holidays it’s easy to lose track of the reason they exist. It is about family and friends. Without family, all the material and money in the world wouldn’t mean much.

Getting together as family during holidays, celebrations, and life’s milestones is second-nature, a custom, a way of life…a tradition, and traditions evoke a deep seated emotional response, a connection to our past and our present. This is why tradition works.

Tradition is about creating a refuge, a comfortable haven, away from the world. It’s all about putting some meaning behind life’s steps. No matter how much you’ve done in your life, how many miles are on your frequent flyer account, how rich you are, or how powerful, tradition will always be bigger than you are.

Be well,
Jess

Do you ever wonder…?


Do you ever wonder?

The morning’s hustle and bustle has come and gone, leaving the house quiet and warm. Warmth brought not only by the wood fire crackling but by the love shared, dreams chased, full with beautiful moments that make up our life.

Snow was falling, as the dogs and I set out for our morning ramble about this small farm…it is a wet snow and wont last long; just long enough to coat the llamas in a sparkling frosty icing. The snow is giving this grey gloomy November day just the boost it needed, I think.
Do you ever wonder what is really valuable to you, what is beautiful, what inspires you? What keeps you going?
I think, this question is why I blog..it helps me sort things out, to reminisce, to smile about the days, weeks, or even years past’s misadventures and sweet moments.

I look at my life differently, ordinary things take on a new meaning when looked at through the lens of my camera or the words of my blog. Snippets of life brought into focus more thoroughly enjoyed, moments not lost in the flurry of our lives, moments we can now go back to. Moments to smile, laugh, or let the tears fall.

It seems as though I have my camera in my hand no matter where I go; capturing moments, moments in nature, moments in our lives, moments of simple beauty.

I wonder… now, how I could have passed by so much inspiration, so much beauty and not capture it to be shared and enjoyed later, later, when we thought we had forgotten. Blogging affords me an outlet, a community of sharing – if you will – a wonderful place to connect with others. Others, from distant lands, different cultures, with different languages and different time.

Blogs.
Our visual journals, our creative outlets; joys shared, sorrows softened, inspiration found…feelings validated and kindness received; a beginning of something new and exciting. My blog, a place where I open up more than I ever thought possible.

I wonder.
I wonder where this journey will take me and where your journey will take you?
My blog has led me, with your compassion and support to reach for dreams that once felt impossible.

I wonder; I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
Courtney is home; she and her Mom are staying with us, getting stronger and enjoying family while she awaits her transplant.
Be well,
Jess

evening…the day exhales


Inspiration found. With the setting sun comes evening chores; the water, the grain mixed with the appropriate amount of beet/soy mixture; chickens fed, their eaters filled (and de-mudded – thank you dear ducks), hay carried, barns floors mucked, and wheel barrows pushed…yet, last night the evening sky was full of color and vibrancy. We lingered, the dogs and I; sitting at the edge of a pasture.

The llamas seemed in no particular hurry to be fed. They milled about eyeing us, and nibbling on any persistent grass leaves that dare to brave the frost and snow showers. Llamas silhouetted against the setting sun.

It was one of those nights..where you feel as though everything will be ok. There was no reason to be afraid – of anything. It helped me remember—and I need to remember. Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, and despite all of the uncertainty in our lives and the lives of those we love – it will be ok.

While it may look different for all of us, I suppose this is the feeling we wait for in life: a sense that there’s boundless beauty out there, and we have the capacity to feel, channel, explore, and express it. We just have to slow down, open up, step outside of ourselves long enough to see it.

Notice what really matters…

Sing out loud! Although, at my house, I would dole out ear plugs first..to the humans. My animals don’t seem to mind that I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.

Let go! Sometimes.

Tomorrow, My husband and I are traveling to NYC to bring my Sister and Courtney home. If all goes well her transplant can happen after Christmas. Thank you for all of your good thoughts and prayers!

Be Well,
Jess

You don’t get an award for the Most Beautiful Things in Life; Your Heart Simply Swells to Six Times It’s Size.


The Big E, a favorite Llama Show of many held at the Eastern States Exposition venue in Massachusetts. We have attended since Jenni started showing her animals, I think she was in second grade; she is now a college freshman.

We have forged lifelong bonds, respect, and simply an awe of others abilities and gifts. The beautiful lady who wrote the following (for her blog); is one of those of which, I am in awe….I think you may be too…

……..The Big E Llama Show is one of my very favorite things. I was around llama people and llamas for almost four whole days! I loved seeing old friends and making new ones. I loved talking llama all day with the public and getting on my knees with little children to help them pet the llamas. And this year it was fun to have some of my llama lockspun yarn to show people and let them touch a tangible product and see the animals it came from.
On Friday, my buddy, Bruce, from Living Resources came to the show. Bruce and others in the day program have been coming to the farm for over two years to help with some farm chores and work with the llamas. I had told him if he came to the BIG E for a day, he could help me – he was excited for weeks prior! His father brought him early and he helped with some sweeping and with a little assistance, he did some wonderful PR (answering questions from the public). I am so proud of him!

But….the best part – and this is important because it defines me and my llamas….I took my llama, Lisel, (the best public relations llama EVER – even if we flunked the PR class), into her halter class – there was only one other llama in it. Lisel did her muppet bounce walk, didn’t hold her neck up, and confirmed for me that this would be her last show because it’s not her thing. I wasn’t upset, mostly I felt guilty for putting her through it. The saving grace – Bruce was waiting for us when we walked out. I clipped the big shiny Second Place red ribbon on his jacket and handed him the lead rope. He pet her and complimented her, and Lisel’s neck straightened right up and she walked at his side easily and smoothly. With him…she walked with PRESENCE and meaning. Bruce’s smile was so big, I got a lump in my throat and had to blink back…well, you know. He walked her back to her pen, obviously tickled to walk by dozens of people oohing and aahing over her (those swaying suri locks, you know). I watched Bruce walk tall and proud. He knew to stop and let children pet Lisel. ”STAND, Lisel,” he would say. ”Pet her neck, not her face,” he told people. Back at the pen, he unbuckled her halter without any help from me, and told her she was wonderful and a good girl….and rubbed her neck. THAT few moments, my friends, was better than any first place ribbon for anything…ever!…


If you were teary, don’t worry, I was too.
If you are intrigued, her is my blog post from last year’s show
Be Well,
Jess

life is delicately balanced, but the scales never evenly hung…


Have you ever been so busy, you had to remember to breathe…(or blog?)

On a messy childhood. Stay focused on staying busy. Courage, determination, pride…that’s what little girls are made of.
I survive as I always have…I survived by keeping my emotions in check – by maintaining my composure and tucking it all away. I managed to stay under the radar, skating through without anyone truly remembering I was here….oh, to stand out would have been unthinkable. Life in my world, was designed to stay busy, less time to dwell…You can’t control what you, as a child are not responsible for…so you carry on, life carries on. I guess you just don’t pay attention. I think you’re too busy attempting to fade…until one day, you realize; I don’t need to hide, I don’t need to keep my head down. I have survived! My husband and children are awesome; my life full of hope and love. Our family has been blessed with a beautifully perfect baby girl; my Step-Son and his beautiful wife are all doing fantastic. A new baby is like the beginning of all things-wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.

Sometimes”, said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”

Our hearts are full, perhaps with whatever we choose to put in them…I choose joy!
Be Well,
Jess