A month of thanksgiving ~ Day 22

November 22, 2011

Babies and Sunrises ~ beginnings

This is the precious present, regardless of what yesterday was like, regardless of what tomorrow may bring.

Watching the sunrise, a fresh start to a brand new day;breathing in the crisp November morning air; I stood in bare feet to capture a moment on film knowing if I waited a second longer the moment would be lost…nature waits for no one. I scurried back into my wood warmed kitchen and stood watching the salmon colored sky fade…sipping my first cup of steaming hot tea. What to do today? It’s too early to worry and yet I need to begin, but sometimes…I just have to see ~ before it gets too busy to look. I just need to feel the serenity of it all as the world awakens like a new-born child. Watching the sunrise reminds me …that with each dawn we can all start anew each day, forgetting whatever troubled us the day or the night before, looking forward to what ever this new day will bring…. A new beginning, something so close to heaven, such as it is with babies…such a beautiful beginning.

I am grateful to have been able to capture this morning’s sunrise, and, I was lucky enough to spend part my day with my niece and nephew who were visiting from Canada, I snapped a few photos as Phenix explored..and Jurney knitted.

Climb up on some hill at sunrise. Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you'll find it there. ~Robb Sagendorph

A new baby is like the beginning of all things-wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities. -- Eda J. Le Shan

I'll tell you how the sun rose a ribbon at a time. ~Emily Dickinson

Babies are such a nice way to start people. -- Don Herrold

Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise. ~George Washington Carver

It is the nature of babies to be in bliss. -- Deepak Chopra

Nature is the art of God. ~Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, 1635

A wee child toddling in a wonder world.... I prefer to their dogma my excursions into the natural gardens where the voice of the Great Spirit is heard in the twittering of birds, the rippling of mighty waters, and the sweet breathing of flowers. ...~Zitkala-Sa

Every child is a deliberate, passionate creation of God. If you doubt that, just look into their eyes. You will find a gentle little spirit who hungers for life - and for your love. (Gary Holland)

One visit with a child can supply us with enough creativity dust to last for a lifetime... Visit with children like you're the child you ought to be more often. Jurney ..doing good work...

Be Well,

A month of thanksgiving ~ Day 21

November 21, 2011

The Internet

Now, I am at point in the this month of thanksgiving and gratitude, where I believe I have expressed most of the gratitude for truly cherished people, life affirming activities, and joyful experiences I have or had. So, where does that leave me; am I grateful for things? Really? That feels a bit materialistic to my sensibilities. Or is it? As I thought about it longer; I found many “things” I was grateful for, including my car, sewing machine, oven, camera…and the I thought of the internet. An aha moment. If it were not for the capabilities of an internet search, I wouldn’t be able to ponder others opinions, or smile at their musings, admire their photographs, in fact to see (in video, and photos) everyday life in every part of the world. I could not have fathomed this…could you? I can find any recipe I will ever need, how- to on virtually any subject, find (err, search) for employment opportunities, shop for clothes or anything else you could possibly want to buy. I can show the world what I’ve have made, designed, or grown. I can look up old friends, advertise our farm, share pictures with far away family, and find any help I may need for my animals on facebook. I can share every random thought I have on twitter.
And, I can write a blog, to potentially connect with other like – minded people…to express myself, and to share. For this I am grateful. For as I have mentioned in earlier posts; I feel through our personal connections we can really know ourselves and enhance our existence; and despite the separation or lack of physical proximity, through social media and the internet we are able to build on the power of human connection, don’t you think? I have built friendships some as strong as, friendships cultivated by close physical contact. I have new relationships I would not give up for anything and I have met smart, intelligent, fascinating, creative, authentic, successful and beautiful people; folks I may never ever have met in person. I have and still believed that meeting people in person is essentially the most authentic connection; person to person physical relationships, friendships and interaction, cannot be replaced by social media. But, I sure do appreciate the genius’ who created the internet and social media sites that enable us to interact with the whole of the world (if we want to).

he most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
– Marianne Williamson

Each contact is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.

We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone … and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.

Be well,

A month of thanksgiving ~ Day 20

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


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! ❤

"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,

A month of thanksgiving ~ day 19

November 19, 2011


I was lying in bed last night, just before falling asleep, wondering…what should my Grateful blog be about tomorrow? This challenge is proving a bit difficult some days. I wasn’t coming up with anything earth -shatteringly (I make up words often) new, so I said to myself, “leave it til morning”.

This morning, after making pancakes for my youngest daughter and her fiend; they are headed to Kingston to watch their high school football team play in a huge game..GOOD LUCK HFCS FOOTBALL and a shout out the varsity girls soccer team, whom are also playing today in Cortland.(ok, I’ll focus now) I made myself a cup of tea, walked over to gaze out at the frosty morning through the kitchen window; daydreaming a bit…thinking then about how families change, evolve over time, and how holiday activities that have inspired our family’s celebrations have become family traditions.

I went on to think about Thanksgiving, and the fact that my eldest daughter and her boyfriend would be home for a few days. I am looking forward to their stay; being here with us to enjoy our traditional Thanksgiving Day activities, and the after dinner, before the Pro- or College games, flag football game, we use red and blue tinsel garland for “flags”, it is always so much fun, and funny, given that we have some very athletic sort, and some not so athletic sort (me)…my usual defensive move “tuck and cover”, usually we end up laughing so hard..no one can run! On a typical Thanksgiving Day we have about 25 folks here..family and friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Our memories are a time filled with laughter and lived fully. I am grateful.
Another holiday tradition is heading out to a tree farm for a “cut your own” adventure. I say adventure, because we always have 2 trees, one in the kitchen; a family tree, decorated with all of the home-made ornaments, some by my children, some made by friends, and the forever ornaments, those worn by time..yet they retain so much sentiment and history they must be placed carefully on the tree. The other tree, in the living/dining room, is a more formal tree (or as formal as we get here on the farm). Both beautiful in their own way. This year Juli and Josh will be cutting down the first tree of their own. Juli is very particular about trees, they must be full, they must be tall, they must be perfectly shaped….we have gone through literally acres of trees before my girls and I can agree on a tree(s). I guess we are all particular…

Sharing these traditions with family…a heartfelt continuity among generations, a time for Joy. Wasn’t it Tasha Tudor who spoke about children and Joy…( actually, I think they words were penned much earlier in the 1500’s, ” The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is JOY. Take Joy!” Most recently, Tasha Tudor, who’s books and illustrations I adore, wrote a Holiday book called “Take JOY”, an opportunity to cherish the simple magic of the season…without all of the commercial trappings. The simple joy of baking cookies together, hanging stockings, decorating the tree,(err..after we find them), taking a moment to breathe deep inhaling the crisp fresh air…inhaling the scent of the holidays. I think, we still invoke the magic of childhood in our traditions, every one eagerly anticipates all the rituals, and excitement, this season has to offer. Life is what you make it ~ we choose to make it joyful, by embracing each other(for what we are) and laughing as much as possible.


Gramma McHale...


from my kitchen window...

age , comfort, beauty...


the past...

soft colors...

the present sometimes mirrors the past...

stoic bunnies?

family decor ( or better known as Riley Cat)

flowers, always flowers...

“One of the most important things you can do for your children is to give them happy memories of their childhood.”

Be Well

A month of thanksgiving ~ Day 17

November 17, 2011

I am grateful for my what?? Yep, my spinning wheel. I’m thankful for my creativity, I’m thankful my abundant llama fiber stash, and I’m thankful for the view from my kitchen window of my llama babies.

Spinning has taught me patience, perseverance, and above all..it makes me aware;I thrive on challenge. Stick-tu-it-iveness, my motto…

After purchasing a book called “Harvesting Color” by Katie Mendelson; I decided to add to my already too large garden ( wait, can a garden be too large, I think not)! I have always loved the colors exploding from zinnia’s…they it turns out are great for dyeing fiber… a beautiful deep golden color. And poke berries, they are plentiful here along the edge of our farm; perfect for dyeing fiber a gorgeously deep magenta. golden rod yields a bright sunny yellow…plentiful in our area much to allergy sufferers dismay. How about elderberry for a dusky lavender…pansies, violets, cosmos, and coreopsis..oh my…

As I mentioned in an earlier “grateful” blog…this activity also brings like- minded people into my life…People that are making a difference. People that are living joyfully, peacefully, creatively. People that are helping others go after their dreams, encouraging at every step. If I had a question or particular problem with my endeavor ~ their would be countless folks there; ready to help with answers, support and solutions. People that are living their dreams. People that love big & are loved big.

Natural fiber,and the animals that bring it to us connects people with other people & with opportunities. It connects people to activities ,to an opus if you will…to explore….to challenge ourselves. It connects people to their passions…and creative souls.

Andy's fiber is ...lushy

The trade...KatDoll, "You want what?"

Andy, "They want what?"

"OK, we can trade" "Ok, Howie"???

"I'll take your boot in exchange for some fiber"...fair?

"Uhm, could you hold still"! "If I can just..."

Andy, " Kat Doll?...KAT DOLL?...."

loverly fiberliciousness...

hmm, wonder what they think?

Do you think, you want to offer me some fiber...huh, do ya?

cardin - o - the fiber

fiber, fiber, fiber....

my wheel....empty and waiting...

poke berry, dyed yarn...( from Harvesting Color)

Coreopsis steeping in the sun...(Harvesting Color)

lusciousness.... llama fiber...

LOVE, love, love...

Listen to the Mustn’ts

Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,

Listen to the DONT’S.

Listen to the SHOULDN’TS


Listen to the NEVER HAVES

Then listen close to me-
Anything can happen, child,

ANYTHING can be.

Be well,

A month of thanksgiving ~ Day 16 ( a re-post)

Last year I was able to write what I was grateful for and why, every day of November, I thought I would re-post this one.
November 16, 2011

Spring and summer flowers and my camera

I am always so grateful, excited, and completely awestruck by the beauty of flowers; So, when they are in full bloom, I take endless photos. Flowers always help me feel happy, relaxed, and refreshed. Through poetry, music and stories, people have been writing about the magnificence and meaning of flowers for centuries. Flowers and prose, how could it get any better?

“In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
with many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle – and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.”
– Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1865

“To pick a flower is so much more satisfying than just observing it, or photographing it … So in later years, I have grown in my garden as many flowers as possible for children to pick.”
– Anne Scott-James

“He who is born with a silver spoon in his mouth is generally considered a fortunate person, but his good fortune is small compared to that of the happy mortal who enters this world with a passion for flowers in his soul.”
– Celia Thaxter

Be Well,

A month of thanksgiving ~ Day 15

November 15, 2011

I am grateful for finished projects

Earlier I wrote a blog post ~ Grateful for my home. I mentioned that when I found before pictures I would post them. I found some; they are poor quality – early cell phone pictures, so bare with me. It has been a long and arduous 6 years,(on the 23 of December) and we are still not completely finished. Though we are nearing the end. I want to build a kitchen island from the barn wood we are up-cycling, then screen in the porch between the kitchen and the deck. Speaking of barn wood, I will add a few pictures of the beams that we brought home from the NOW dismantled barn. That was a project. The property owner was awesome, he offered us an additional barn for the taking! This barn will be my studio. I am so excited!!! Did I mention I was grateful?!

ok, pictures…

before kitchen...oh boy...

ah yes, the "dining area" of the old kitchen

kitchen a couple of years ago...same cupboards; I sanded, painted and glazed them..I think they turned out ok.

kitchen with Riley ready to pounce into the chair. The venetain plaster was a bear...it has been fairly easy keep though..I did this about 5 years ago..

the old stair way...can you imagine? ....nice 50's paneling and wrought iron even...

The second floor of the old barn hat will eventually be my studio!

Outside view.

beams from one of the old barns...priceless.

My kitchen island...(model) , I think weathered wood will do nicely don't you? It will be about 8 feet long, and I hope to build in my microwave and wine chiller...

I do have to say this has been A LOT of work, but it has all been worth it. I am also grateful all of the mechanics of the house were relatively new and well maintained…the previous owner was meticulous about that.

Be well,