Friday, December 30, 2011

Begin the New Year on a Positive Note (With Random Chicken Photos)~

Hello, dear friends!

We hope that you had a very happy Christmas, and that you have created wonderful memories to treasure for years to come. We're still gathering all the Christmas cards and paper bits that tell the story of this Christmas, and pasting them into a scrapbook, along with things we did and said, and learned.

We have been lately reading several books on the power of words and thinking to affect our lives for good or bad, and would like to issue a challenge for you. Let's do it as a group "New Year's Resolution," and make the world a better place!

You see, our bodies and minds "believe" the words we say, and respond with something akin to those words in a physical or emotional way. Beyond our own bodies, are those of all those with whom we interact each day.

There are so many phrases that are commonly used which do not serve our highest good, so let's start to cut them out and see what difference it makes for us (Believe me, this is a much easier exercise if you have children who can catch you when you forget!)

We're going to replace any negative words that we may have used in the past that do not serve us anymore, such as:

"I hate. . . "

"What a pain!"

"I can't stand. . ."

"I'm so sick and tired. . . "

"I can't wait. . ."

"Over my dead body (ouch)!"

Let's be especially careful when beginning a phrase with "I am," as this is summoning creation in our lives (e.g. "I'm sick", "I'm poor", "I'm so dumb", "I'm hopeless", etc.).

Not only do we speak these words, but we constantly have a dialog with ourselves running through our mind. This is where what I call "The Opposite Game" comes in especially handy, replacing thoughts like "I don't know what I'm going to do" with "I know exactly what I'm going to do!" It truly takes a lot of reminders and written notes (at least for me) to remember to do this, but I've been doing it for about six months now, and I have seen a great difference in how I feel about myself and my life situation. I still have moments when I flounder, but they are less frequent than they used to be.

So here's to a happy, positive New Year's, my friends! Let's do it both for ourselves and for those around us.




"Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results."  

~James Allen

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Taking Peace This Christmas

Dearest Friends,

Thank you for visiting with us today. We hope that you are giving yourself the gift of peace before Christmas! So many times we feel guilty if we do not buy gifts for every person we've ever met (or so it seems), and run ourselves frazzled trying to make others happy. Our bodies, however, know that this is the time of year for rest and renewal, and can rebel after too much neglect.

Be sure to savor some time out in nature as much as possible (things always look better after a little fresh air), and bring your family with you if you can. A little nature exploration can be one of the memories you treasure in coming years, and you can find little treasures like seedpods and pine cones to give as gifts (include a little note about where you found your treasures, and why they're special to you).

We love decorating our home with nature, and our tree bears many natural decorations!

This mouse is made of two acorns and pipe cleaners~

An acorn cap "bird nest" with bean "eggs"~

~And a delightfully-scented clove-spiked orange slice!

 A dear friend sent us this super-adorable rabbit ornament~

~And another sent us this sweet angel that we love.

Instead of running to the store for a last-minute gift, why not take some time to nourish your soul today? You can always give post-Christmas gifts, which will be more remembered anyway!

Wishing you peace on this day,

(Napping with a cat is a great way to take peace)


It was the winter wild, 
While the heaven-born child
  All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
    Nature, in awe to him,
    Had doffed her gaudy trim,
  With her great Master so to sympathize:
~John Milton 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Boy Who Loved a Christmas Tree

Dear Friends,

Doesn't our post sound like a good book title? Frankie (and the girls) is soooo excited for Christmas he can barely stand it! He has been singing "Honk the Halls With Burning Love" at the top of his lungs (see what happens when you marry an Elvis impersonator?) every day, and asking if he can unwrap presents.

The top picture was taken right after Mr. Graham put the tree up; it has since been re-decorated at least three times, and tipped over by the cat only once. :) After looking at several Victoria Magazines, Tasha decided our tree should be more "Victorian" and added popcorn and cranberry strings, as well as lots of bells and other old-fashioned things.

It's dark and rainy here today, but we had a little skiff of snow on St. Nicholas Day, which was a nice treat.

~The chickens were less than delighted with the snow!

We had a fun cookie-making party for the Tall Dolls on St. Nicholas Day, followed by a little tea.

The birds have been mobbing the feeders lately. We had forgotten how many of them there are here in the winter! Where were they in the summer?
The deck railing makes an excellent blue jay feeder~

Ready for a refill~

Our little oyster mushrooms have been growing in the rain (we have two small logs that we brought home from a nearby woods); what a fun science project!
We finally feel in the holiday mood (we're late-bloomers that way) and have been working on last minute presents for everyone. AnnaMarie made tiny Advent calendars for all the children but Rebecca, and they have been wonderful for counting down the days (we'll have to take a good picture when the sun shines again).

This weekend we'll be performing for local nursing homes, so we're practicing daily. It's wonderful to have the oldest girls play their violin and harp for accompaniment. I tear up when I watch them playing together, since it's been a dream of mine for such a long time to have a family orchestra. Dreams really do come true!

Here's AnnaMarie fiddling away~ We'll have to get a good picture of Audrey on the harp, too!
Love and blessings to you all,


Friday, December 2, 2011

A Merry December to you!

Dear Friends,

A merry December to you! This year is just flying by~ as it reaches its close, we reflect back on all the little things that we did and didn't accomplish. It seems like just yesterday that we were putting away the decorations from Christmas, and planning all the wonderful things that we would do before we next took them out of storage.

One of the nicest things this year has been the gaining of new friends, and keeping up with longer acquaintances. One of our dearest friends even invited me to be in her newsletter which she has begun publishing. Imagine my surprise when I saw myself on the cover! If you'd like a peek at Emily's Desert Rose Homestead Newsletter, visit her blog here.

I think you'll be truly enchanted with what she has put together!

Now we're off to watch the girls practice for their latest at-home production of "The Nutcracker." This year's costumes are quite creative, being culled from the local thrift store where we volunteer!

Love and blessings,