Snow Camp Sunset

The sunset is enough. The sunset is always enough.

But this evening, accompanying this beautiful and peaceful scene is the distinct and wonderful aroma of freshly cut hay. It is a windows open, glass in hand, front row seat to the tree frog and crickets symphony, kind of evening.

And I am so grateful for every second.

Well done, Thursday. Well done!

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Watching evening sunlight through trees

Evening rays of the setting sun are reaching through the western trees, falling between the leaves, painting brilliant patterns with lingering caresses of light.

Perhaps the sun will miss playing in the deep green of day, and the trees are wishing the sunlight would stay.

Saturday Morning Thoughts

Memorial Day Weekend is underway. It’s a time for reflection. There is no shortage of ceremonies and activities to honor the fallen men and women who entered into every military branch knowing they may not make it home alive. There’s no shortage of families forever changed by those sacrifices made.

My plans are pretty simple this weekend. I plan to help other drivers and motorists by staying off the roads as much as possible. Perhaps I’ll spend a few long moments watching the new bee that showed up in the wildflowers this morning, we’ll see.

One certainty is waiting on the rain with some coffee in the backyard swing, and being eternally grateful for this life and those who have lost theirs while serving to build and protect our society and nation.

Whatever your plans include this weekend, I wish you all good health, peace, and safety. Make sure you take a few minutes in prayer or reflection, to just breathe, appreciate the day, and make sure those you love know you love them.

Hello Saturday. It’s good to be here.

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13

An Irish Anniversary Cake

It’s been a while since I actually broke out my cake decorating kit. Sure, we’ve had a series of birthdays, parties, mother’s days, and all kinds of reasons to bake, but I kept putting it off until now. Today is our 25th wedding anniversary. This milestone year seemed like the perfect time to play around in the kitchen.

There is no shortage of traditional recipes in this house handed down through the generations, but I decided to try something new and found this delicious Walnut Cake recipe by lovefoodies.com.

Y’all, this cake was so simple. I actually had concerns, thinking something must have been missing. A few simple ingredients into the mixing bowl and away we go! Simple and smooth!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cake batter so fluffy as this! The photos don’t do it justice, this batter was like air. The recipe specifies the times to whip the ingredients, hand mix the walnuts in at the end and don’t rush it. Good things take time.

Personally I like buttercream icing, and I especially like buttercream icing made with Kerry Gold Irish Butter. Really, this is not a commercial – it just tastes better to me. My husband is of Irish descent, so he really likes Kerry Gold as well, and since it’s technically his anniversary cake too, I used the good butter.

The kitchen smelled so good! Somehow the scent of cake and icing just seems to belong in this house. This is the same house where 25 years ago my mother and aunt made and decorated our wedding cake. I’m not even going to pretend I’m as good as they were, but I like to think they would be pleased with my attempts, or at least get a little giggle out of the effort.

At some point in icing the cake I decided I wanted as much of an Irish them as I could get into a 25th anniversary cake with what I had on hand. It would be blue instead of silver, with ivory, and a deep green. Sure, it could represent any number of places in the world, even this little patch of ground on some days. But for this occasion, it’s all about the colors of Ireland. Ok, the colors of Ireland and LOVE! (Happy Anniversary to my husband).

The blue became a marble-like streak for some roses, and a blend of Kelly Green and cocoa for the leaves. The white cake stand below belonged to my grandmother. Generations of wonderful and talented women have all had a hand in my choices today.

The end result is what I call Connemara Marbled Roses on Black Walnut Cake. Clever, eh?

Here’s to 25 years of marriage, and far beyond. To the moments that lifted us high enough in love and faith and joy to hold on when other moments knocked us breathless and spinning. To the laughter, tears, silences and more laughter. To me knowing he likes black walnuts and Irish butter, and him knowing I like evening cappuccino in a fine china cup. Now, let us eat cake.

Roadside view of Cane Creek Mountains

Some days I don’t drive this part of this old road, but seeing glimpses like this makes me remember what a beautiful place this is. You can’t see the creek in this picture, but it is there, meandering through the landscape from pasture to pasture and field to field.

There are higher hills a few hours to the west, and larger bodies of water nearby as well. The colors change with the rhythms of the season, but for me these hills are timeless, always just beyond the tree-line from my back porch. Quiet, almost hidden, these Cane Creek Mountains are the very picture of perfect spring green on this April afternoon.

~ Enjoy the everyday beauty~

Reflections on the passing of Rev. Billy Graham

This beautiful spring-like morning in this little corner of North Carolina the sunshine is playing peek-a-boo through the clouds. A family of cardinals is enjoying the cover of the sentry cedar outside the bedroom window. and the air is filled with joyful sounds of squirrel chatter and songbirds.
Here, in this scene I have learned of the passing of Rev. Billy Graham. And, while I’ve never met him face to face, I have been one of the many in the crowd at a “Crusade” in Greensboro when I was much, much younger, and I have had the benefit of reading, watching, listening and reflecting on his sermons throughout my life. And for that, for that example of being a conduit or merely a thread for others to see Christ, I am truly grateful. This world is a much better place for your 99 years here, and while you will be so missed, today it seems this corner of North Carolina is celebrating your life in a beautiful, natural, peaceful manner.
November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018, What an abundant life was shared in the span of that dash.  Rest in peace and may the angels lead you into paradise, Reverend Billy Graham.
“Well done, good and faithful servant….” Matthew 25:23

Later…..

Later there will be time for maneuvering traffic. Later there will be time for phone calls, emails, meetings. Later there will be time to see people and remember to smile, just in case they haven’t seen a smile in a while. Later there will be time to clean the windows and floors. Later.

But these next few minutes shall be for appreciating the way the steam from my coffee dances into the morning sunlight. These next few minutes will be for a few prayers whispered from my heart in the morning silence. These next few minutes are for stillness and gratitude for this day, knowing “later” will be here so quickly.

Hello, Tuesday! It’s good to be here.