Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Simple Prayer for the New Year

The other day when I was helping my Aunt Carmen, I came across this beautiful poem in a frame standing on her bookshelf.  I know I have heard it before, but I read it anew and was struck with the truth of it, and thought it would be a wonderful year end, and new year beginning prayer to meditate on.

"LORD, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred... let me sow love.
Where there is injury... pardon.
Where there is discord... unity.
Where there is doubt... faith.
Where there is error... truth.
Where there is despair... hope.
Where there is sadness... joy.
Where there is darkness... light.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled... as to console.
To be understood... as to understand.
To be loved... as to love.

It is in giving... that we receive.
It is in pardoning... that we are pardoned.
It is in dying ... that we are born to eternal life!

St. Francis of Assisi

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Ice Storm Part 3: {Return}

Though the sunset was certainly peaceful and beautiful that Tuesday evening as soon as it slipped behind the horizon, the temperature plummeted.
By 9:00, when the guys went out to re-fill the generator for the night, it was a "roasting" negative 2 degrees!  It snowed throughout the night, and when we woke in the morning there was a lovely layer of snow on top of the ice.  

Thankfully it warmed up during the day, and that afternoon we were able to go on a delightful (if somewhat acrobatic) hike.  But more on that later....  The evening went as it had for the past few days, and we were just sitting down to dinner (planning to check on the generator right after) when we received THE call......

The Power had....


We were very grateful to the mercies of God for the safety we enjoyed during our three and a half day power outage, and for the beauty he created.


The Ice Storm Part 2: {Company}

 After the power officially was out, we ran upstairs to start our generator, and then finished our time of worship together.  Later that day we received a call from Grace.  They (Grace, Tim and Julian) too were out of power, and unlike us didn't have a generator, so it was getting rather cold and dark in their house.  We quickly offered that if they wanted to they could come over and spend the night, since we at least were able to have hot water and run the furnace. We were thrilled when they agreed, and that evening we had company.
Grace brought along Shine, a very sweet Golden Retriever, with her, and Shine instantly fit in, looking for people to pet her and a warm place to sleep. :)

Julian was thrilled to be able to stay at "the farm" but unfortunately his favorite person, "Uncle Dewey" (Josiah) had to go to work on Monday.  So Julian hung around with me for the morning while we waited for Uncle Dewey to get home.  We played with Magnets, making all sorts of neat wheels and pyramids.

Then we got out the Dominoes and had fun making shapes with them for a while.  Soon after lunch Josiah returned and he and Julian had fun all afternoon building, playing and creating stuff.

Sadie Rose came in to say Hi! and at first she wasn't so sure about the visitor, but after a little bit, she and Shine became rather good, if slightly nervous, friends!

That evening after supper we called Mr. Reiche and went over to introduce Julian to the famous sled run!

Mr. Reiche had put all his lights on, and they were even more beautiful than usual with a layer of icicles and snow on all of them, giving them a beautiful glow.

Julian went down first on Uncle Dewey's back, and then repeated the experiment with his Daddy, enjoying it immensely.

Even Grace was persuaded to take a run down with Tim. (I think they screamed more than Julian... :D )

After quite a few runs down with the sleds we headed out back for the zip line, and had a blast pulling people up, and riding down.

Julian even went down backwards twice with Uncle Dewey!

We headed home, worn out, but happy, after a fun as always time at Mr. Reiche's sled run.  Our second day (first full day) without power ended.

Tuesday dawned, and we were still powerless.  But it really didn't bother us too much.  Julian was happy he got to stay longer, and due to the wonderful gift of a large generator and house hook up, we could pretty much do anything we wanted, in reason. (Mr. Generator would give us the fits each time we turned on the stove, or oven, and the time we dared to try to do both.... well he got so mad he blew the fuse!!) 
Grace and Tim had to head off for work back in Swartz Creek and to check on their house, and I was gone in the morning at the barn I work at, but back on the farm, Uncle Dewey and Julian were busy creating.

On Monday when Julian and I were playing with the Dominoes, Charity had found some videos of some pretty awesome domino creations.  Josiah of course was not to be out done, so he helped Julian create one of his own!!

That afternoon the sun began to phase in and out, and I ran outside each time it peeked to try to catch the glimmers and sparkles on the ice covered branches.  I failed.

But the sky was blue above, and the temperature just a tad warmer than it had been.  In all, it was a lovely day!

Later on, Grace called letting us know that they had power back at their house, and would be back soon to pick up Julian, pack up and head back.  Julian had to get at least one more Lego Soccer game in with "Uncle Dewey" before they left.

It was a blast having company for a couple days, and hopefully it won't always take a power out to get them to come again. :P

The day ended calm, sublime, and peaceful, with a dazzling sunset, and we headed off to bed.... still to the hum of our faithful generator.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Ice Storm Part 1: {Out}

It all began Sunday morning... well I guess truly Saturday night.  All through the night it was raining (a cold sullen freezing rain) and Josiah was kept awake by strange flashes and sudden cracks and crashes.  In the morning when we woke, it was to a changed and strikingly beautiful world.
Beautiful, but painfully so.  Everything was coated with a 1/4 inch or so of ice, with icicles hanging off everything.  Lovely to look at, but treacherously dangerous.  Our willow tree had received the most damage, cracking huge limbs, some plunging below to the ground, others stuck up on our power line.  At this point we still had power, surprisingly enough, yet because of the roads and others being without power, there was to be no church service for the day.  We planned to watch a video by R.C Sproul, but before that I ran outside to let the ducks out and to take pictures of the shimmering world.
Two little Chickadees hung on bravely to the ice covered clothes line, shifting their tiny little feet and yelling at me for food.  The snow crunched ominously as I tried to avoid the slick pathways.
Faith had been out earlier and had brought up some delicate "birds nests" (Queen Ann's Lace); they too were coated with ice. 
Everything was: our garden ornaments,
all of the fencing,
the clotheslines and a few stray clothespins that were forgotten,
the rose hips on the wild rose bushes out back,
and all the other bushes and trees leaning over the pathway, all weighed down by the frozen water that encased them.
After returning to the house we all trooped down stairs to have our own service together.  We began by singing a few hymns, and had fun selecting our favorites.  We had just finished the first song and were choosing the next when "blink, blink" the power flickered, struggled, then came back on.  Undaunted we began the second hymn, and midway in the second verse, "blip" then "thunk" we were officially "OUT".


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Winter Walks

With all this wonderful snow we have had recently, the three intrepid hikers (also known as Faith, Christianna and Josiah) have been venturing out into the white world for some invigorating walks.
Beaver Lake Trails is one of our favorite and usual spot for a hike, but we hadn't been able to get to it in a while.  So we were thrilled to make it out one Sunday afternoon.
The snow made everything beautiful.

The marsh and lake were quite frozen so we decided to go off trail and trudged across.
The big lake was a little more "creaky", so we cautiously walked around the edge just to make sure.  We made it back to the parking lot safely, after thoroughly enjoying are hike, even if it was brief.


A few days later we received a dump of snow.  Once again we three headed out, this time to Tody Lake trails, one of the best sledding/hiking trails known to man!!
Sadie always accompanies us on these adventures, and she especially enjoys the sledding voyages.  This time she had to wear a orange necklace to beware of hunters.
Off we go!!
And up.... up.... up.  This is one of the most impressive hills.  The path on the right is SUPER steep, so when you come down it feels like you've reached the bottom before you leave the top.  The left path, while a bit less steep, is rather more curvy, so steering is of essence unless you want to shoot off the ledge or run into miscellaneous trees.
Some of the paths were a bit treacherous because of fallen limbs, so some impressive gymnastics were required.. :P
We are hoping for many more adventures this winter, and are thankful for such a good beginning!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Whiter Than Snow

Lord Jesus I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul.
break down every idle, cast out every foe;
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
 Whiter than snow, yes whiter than snow.
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
 Lord Jesus let nothing unholy remain,
Apply Thine own blood and extract every stain;
To get this blest cleansing, I all things forego-
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. 
 Whiter than snow, yes whiter than snow.
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus for this I most humbly entreat,
I wait, blessed Lord at Thy crucified feet.
By faith for my cleansing, I see Thy blood flow,
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Whiter than snow, yes whiter than snow.
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
 The blessing by faith, I receive from above;
Oh glory! My soul is made perfect in love;
My prayer has prevailed, and this moment I know,
The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow!

By: James L. Nicholson

{Photos by: Christianna H. Sauve}

Friday, December 20, 2013

Some of our Favorite People

You know those places that you just can't wait to go to.  Those people that just brighten your day, and you look forward to working with every week.  Well the ladies we work with at the Pregnancy Center are those people, and the PRC (Pregnancy Resource Center) is one of those places. We volunteer in the Clothes Closet every Thursday, and it is one of the highlights of our week.  We are blessed to work with some of the most wonderful, Christian, funny, enthusiastic, group of ladies.  In short they are a riot! Last week we decided to have our annual Christmas luncheon early due to schedules.  
We always have the nicest table cloth and settings. 

Laughter abounded as we got the food ready.

Such a precious bond in Christ we have with all these dear women. 

The meal was simply lovely, with everyone contributing their own special delicious dishes.

We had decided to celebrate Louise's 85th birthday at the luncheon.  She is a delightful lady, originally from Maine, and we had so much fun celebrating with her!

We are so very grateful for each and everyone of these ladies, and thank God for the time we are able to spend with them!