Outside my window- Snow! We had a respite from winter weather last week with temps in the forties and now we're back at it! Snow day yesterday with everything closed and more snow topped with ice expected tonight. The treacherous driving conditions are always a concern, but it looks so lovely it's hard not to love the stuff. The transformation of the drab dreary barren grey winter landscape into so much beauty by a simple blanket of snow never gets old. And looking out the window is such a stunning visual of His grace - If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Isn't that amazing!?!
I'm hearing - Girls practicing the piano, the little girls' Suzukis alternating with Mary Rose's Wilhemus, giggles mingling with all. (Truly, that was earlier today when I started this - right now it's Lydia's bedtime harp playing in the dark. The War of the Vendee theme is so lovely on harp - do you know the soundtrack is available now?! And I hear the sleet tinkling outside as it falls.)
Thankful for- messages in the snow, even after 28 years.
Thinking about- My father, who would have been 100 years old today! We did partake of some outrageous chocolate cake Lydia made, and my mother gathered with a bit of family for pizza and cake to commemorate that day in 1914 and the life of her true love. I posted these pictures a few years ago but they are such favorites - here we are together:
And a favorite shot of him helping my boys to build birdhouses, so many years ago.
So many stories he used to tell! He was the son of Hungarian immigrants, one of eight children. He lived through The Great Depression and once ate nothing but potatoes for two weeks, buying 'tea dust' for ten cents a pound. He learned to drive when he was eight. When he was older he once drove all the way across the country with his brother 'to get an ice cream cone' and then drove all the way back. (!) He was a carpenter by trade, and I see traits of his creativity and clever ingenuity in his children and grandchildren every day. He met my mother when her father hired him to fix the leaking roof, and she brought a drink upstairs to the attic for him as he worked. I guess he thought she was pretty nice, even with curlers in her hair. (As they say, the rest is history.) For him there was no such thing as 'good enough', and I relish the many things he taught me as I worked alongside him as his helper. One of his best classic lines is from when we were at my brother's college graduation, and my mother gushed in awe of all the learned faculty resplendent in their academic regalia. My father simply looked at them all and replied, 'But can they hang a front door?'
May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
From the kitchen- Grampy didn't eat much chocolate as some doctor somewhere once told him it was poison, but we sure do.
In the learning house - I read this treasured old book about Snowy Owls to the little girls today. My mother-in-law was a teacher and I believe hosted a visit from Wendy Pfeffer herself at one time, and so we have this wonderful memento of Nana's love for books and birds, and Lydia.
Lydia's been talking quite a bit about snowies as there is a widespread 'invasion' this year, with many of these arctic creatures migrating further and further south out of their typical habitat. These unusual movements are driven by fluctuations in their food supply, primarily lemmings, and you can read more about this year's invasion here on eBird or here on the ABA blog. Although there have been numerous sightings in our state Lydia has yet to see one of these beauties, but we haven't given up hope yet. I also showed the girls some youtube videos today of the owls in flight and hunting lemmings, and we do have the comfort of a friendly snowy right outside the door.
For the latest World War II doings, visit Josiah's blog for a bit of artwork and links to two more very good prop shorts we watched recently. The one on the jeep is both informative and entertaining and features many cameos of historical famous folks. The D-Day-minus-one is a moving look at the paratroopers and their preparations for the great day (though we had a hard time catching Mary Rose with all the swooning during that one).
Living the Liturgical Year - We celebrated Candlemas on Sunday with a beautiful candlelit procession at church, the final feast of Christmas. This feast commemorates the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple forty days after his birth and He was recognized as the Messiah by Simeon. The symbolism is so beautiful as the faithful process around the church with lit candles, as the Light of Christ is to be spread throughout the world. The candles are lit again for the Gospel reading (Luke 2:22-32) recounting the Presentation, and finally at the Consecration, as the Light joins us in the Real Presence of the Eucharist. The Preface (one of the prayers before the Consecration) of the Nativity is used for the last time of the year, again recalling the birth of Our Savior. Fittingly the schola sang Ave Maris Stella, the vespers hymn for the feast day, and we sang Alma Redemptoris Mater for the very last time of the year, the Marian antiphon used from the beginning of Advent until February 2nd. So poignant to hear Eliza singing it out in her little froggy voice one final time.
I am hoping -To get all the Christmas decorations cleared out of here soon (ahem). It was nice to sit by the tree as we exchanged the last of our presents on Candlemas, but it's really time for it to go!
Picture thoughts- Happiness is receiving handmade gifts from far-away dear friends! Sorry about the terrible nighttime lighting, but you can see the happy shining through:
Happy February, friends! Stay warm and keep safe!