Thursday, December 30, 2021

Reflections and Other Thoughts as We Bring in the New Year.

Hello, Dear Friends, here we are at the end of one year
and the beginning of another, and we must find a way to put one 
behind the other. 

Not an easy task given the difficult year we have had. 
This is the time to make peace with what has 
come before and find a way to create a new 

We've had our first snow of the season, which 
has covered the landscape in pristine sparkles. 

 The perfect metaphor for the new year ahead. 
Blanket the old with sparkling hope,  
pristine new dreams and deep resolve. 

It's been very cold, and our mountain road is treacherous, 
so, we have been sheltering in place. 
A term we are all quite familiar with these days! 

We are going nowhere fast.
I am glad that we stocked up before the Christmas holidays
so that we wouldn't have to shop again until after the first of the year. 

In the meantime, we are staying warm in front of the fire
with our favorite books and journals. 

Occasionally, I sneak away upstairs to read 
alone in peace and quiet without interruption. 
Ramblin' Man and Kai are always up to something,
and it usually includes coming in and out
multiple times. 

I love the 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' books. 
They consist of sweet stories from people's 

They renew my faith in our fellow man and women-kind. 

My absolute favorite genre of book is memoir. 

I've had this book for years, unread, but just unpacked 
from storage while the library was being remodeled. 

I couldn't put it down. 

If you like reading books about different cultures, 
and overcoming incredible odds, 
you will love this book. 

Copyright 2005. 
It was a New York Times bestseller 
and is just as relevant today as it was then. 

It's too cold to go out and build a snowman, 
and the snow is too powdery to stick together, 
so, I make myself happy with my snowman 
treasures inside. 

This little sea-glass beauty is from my sweet sis-in-law. 

A vintage snowman that Ramblin' Man's dear mom 
brought out on a visit from New England one Christmas
 when my children were small. 

I bought this one for myself at the local Hallmark 
store years ago. 

He has earmuffs and skates with paper-clip blades
and a wooden wagon filled with felt snowballs. 

My own little snow-boy. He loves the snow. 
An American Eskimo, he lives up to his name. 

"My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog
thinks I am."
- Paul Dunn -

My little cockatiel, Birdy Boy keeps me company, too. 
He is patiently waiting for me to give him a treat
on the top of the door to 'his room'. 
I take him out every day for a sweet visit. 
He's over 20 years old! 
He's very tame and will come when I call and sit 
on my shoulder and give me kisses.

This is the view from his cage. 
Once I brought home another cockatiel friend
for him, thinking he was lonely, but all they did was fight. 
I had to re-home his little 'frienemy'! 
He seems very content and happy, 
and believe me, an unhappy cockatiel will let you know! 

Memorial ornament for my dear Mother-in-law. 
It is filled with white feathers. 

Ghosts from Christmas past. 
My dad's pipe and tobacco can. 

Sweet little things given to me by my Mom and Sis-in-law.
The trunk is a music box.  

Did you have a nice Christmas? 

Thought I would share some photos from Christmas 
day at our home. 
I don't often share photos of myself and my family, 
but thought you might like to see them. 
After all, my blog is all about home and family!

From left to right, our grand-girl, Sam, daughter, Jennie, 
Me, and new little family member, Jack, our youngest grandson. 

Out two sons, Dustin and Gabe. 

Our daughter-in-law, Jen (Dustin's wife), daughter-in-law, Erica (Gabe's wife), 
and my eldest daughter, Heather. 

Ethan and Gavin watching the snow fall. 
A white Christmas! 

Liam and Ethan (Gabe and Erica's) found Grandpa's old glasses. 
Grandson fun. 

Steve, Jennie's husband, couldn't come 
because he was on duty (Captain), 
but she stopped and had this photo taken 
on the way. 

Son-in-law, Eric, (Heather's husband and father of Gavin, Declan and Liam), 
and son Dustin. 

Jen and Dustin. 

 Auntie Heather with Jack (getting fussy). 

Brother and sister, Dustin and Heather. 
Youngest and eldest, but only 5 years apart. 

Gabe and Jennie in between. 

We were busy. 

Dustin was a popular photo companion! 

Jennie and son, Jack. 

Our twin grandson's (Heather and Eric's), Declan and Liam
in the playhouse. 

Ramblin' Man and grandson, Jack, eating an apple. 

 Gavin, Declan
and Ethan, along with 
Jennie's dog, Lovey, and our Kai, 
who wore his red bandana all day. 
He was a very good boy. 

Steve and daughter Lilly (sick at her mom's), the only two missing. 
Here they are all together at home with Sam, Jennie and Jack. 

The loves of our life. 
We are truly blessed. 

That being said, it's not always easy keeping up 
with this crew. 
I tire much more easily now that I'm 
older, and sometimes I stay awake at night 
worrying about one or the other. 

And all those different personalities take the skill 
of a diplomat, the selflessness of a Mother Teresa, 
and the thick skin of a politician. 
Hey, we women could rule the world, 
couldn't we? 
Sigh..., if only...

I certainly think it would be a much kinder, more inclusive world. 

Although, there are some true 'mean girls' out there, for sure.  

With all the incivility and vitriol going around, I 
want to channel my Scots Irish grandmother
and say, "A kind word never broke anyone's mouth."

But seriously, I am incredibly proud of each and every one of them. 
They are kind, generous, funny, hard-working and loving. 
It was a privilege being their parents and 
watching them grow, learn and become the great 
human-beings they are. 
They chose equally wonderful partners and 
now we get the blessing of watching our 
grandchildren thrive and grow under 
their patient and loving parenting. 

Life is good now after all the hard work 
and struggles.
And the teenage years. 

" A dog owns nothing, yet is seldom dissatisfied."
- Irish Proverb -

I've been thinking of a word I want to highlight 
in the coming new year, and I've decided on 
the word, Grace. 

Grace seems to be in such short supply 
in this day and age, and I think it needs 
to be resurrected. 

There are several interpretations of the word, 'Grace'. 
There is divine Grace, being the love and mercy of God. 
There is the grace we give to others through forgiveness,
empathy and kindness, and there is physical grace - a graceful 
presence, graciousness. 
All three forms are so important to repair this 
broken and grieving world. 

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak
but their echoes are truly endless.
- Mother Teresa -

"Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal.
It's a way to live." 
-Jackie Windspear, writer

I've had some leftover ham from Christmas dinner, 
and have been trying to use it up in creative ways. 

These little sandwiches turned out to be a hit. 

I used leftover rolls, buttered both halves and placed them facedown
on a baking sheet. I also put some thin ham slices on another baking 
sheet, drizzled with leftover glaze. 
(Made with melted peach preserves, brown sugar, 
mustard and ground cloves). 
I heated both the rolls and ham slices in a 375 degree oven
for about 5 min. until the buttered rolls were golden and the ham slices 
were sizzling. 

Then I assembled the sandwiches by spreading the buttered rolls 
with dijon mustard, the glazed ham, and a slice of swiss cheese, 
put them back in the oven until the cheese melted and voila! 

They were soooooo good! 

I served them with the leftover fruit salad I had on hand, 
but applesauce is good, too. 

I've been putting together some 'resolutions' for the new year, 
and I've come up with a few. 
Drink more water. 
Eat more fruits and vegetables. 
Make an effort to start an exercise routine. 
You, know, the usual. 

But I also want to work harder to fit in 
more of the things that I love to do. 
Like sewing, crocheting, gardening and sketching. 
And I want to be more diligent in keeping a journal
on a regular basis - a personal journal and also, 
a nature journal. Perhaps with sketches. 

Most importantly, I want to practice stoicism
along with grace. Kindness along with faith 
in the knowledge that things are exactly the
way they are supposed to be. 

I do believe that whatever is presented to us in life 
 is for a reason, to be brought into the light, 
 resolved and healed. 
I also believe that every time we extend grace to one 
another, it brings more light into the world. 

So, as we leave this challenging year behind, 
I hope that we can all go forward with courage, 
resilience and faith, grounded in kindness and empathy, 
but not afraid to seek understanding, truth and justice,
knowing that these always prevail, whether in this life, 
or beyond. 




  1. Happy New Year - nearly! We did hear over here that the North West had had a lot of snow and I thought of you but it looks as if you've had just enough to make your garden look magical. It certainly didn't spoil your family Christmas, I loved seeing all the photos, what a wonderful time you had all together and haven't the children grown! Let's hope 2022 is a kinder year to us all. x

  2. You got snow! It's so pretty, and it's still snowing here as well. It's all new to me, and I'm so fascinated with this white wonder. It looks magical on your deck all covered in snow, and Kai seems to blend in with the pictures, so cute. Your Christmas with the family was wonderful, and I enjoyed seeing all the smiling faces. Heather has such a warm smile, and Jennie still looks exotic and beautiful with her blonde hair. I remember it being very dark. This is a lovely photo of you with the girls. The grandsons are so funny playing with grandpa's glasses. And that's a great photo to the twins. I wish you would frame that sometime. I love seeing all your old treasures - your dad's pipe and the music box trunk. Your words, 'whatever is presented to us in life is for a reason' are so true. And the word GRACE is a very special word, and Yes, one to bring back in the new year. I love your little snowmen all throughout the house too. I hope the new year brings you so many good things, dear Karen. I look forward to more of your dear and heartwarming posts this year.


  3. Beautiful, beautiful post with such words of wisdom. Happy New Year.

    Mia Malick

  4. Such a lovely post.
    Great family photographs.

    Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year.

    All the best Jan

  5. Happy New Year to you Karen! It was lovely to drop by and see your post .... I've been very sporadic at blogging over the past 3 years (and 4 house moves).... my goals for 22 seem to be pretty much like yours lol and blogging fits right in there with helping me to be more balanced (Balance is my word for 22) as it's like my own journal where I can share my love of gardening, crochet, knitting, sewing and home & family.

  6. HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let's hope for a great year now...
    So lovely family pictures! Always so nice visiting your blog :)

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  8. Happy New Year!
    I wish all of you a healthy and peaceful New Year.

  9. a very Happy New Year to you also!! Wow you did get a lot of snow, so thankful your family were able to make it there safely and spend the day with you. I am sure many wonderful memories were made all around!! Your sandwiches do sound yummy!! Great word for the coming year, if more people showed it, a wonderful avalanche of good will and caring would happen, and boy do we need that right now. Wishing you a healthy and happy and hopefully more crafty new year!

  10. A lovely family and a proper winter, such a great start to the new year! Wishing you all the best.

  11. Hi Karen, happy new year. I enjoyed looking at the photos of the snow and your dog out in it too. The snow scenes look beautiful. I enjoyed looking at the holiday photos. It looks like you had a wonderful time with your family. Good luck with all of your goals for the new year. Take care and stay safe.

  12. Happy New Year Karen! Loved this post -- you have a lovely family -- we also had four children in just a little over 5 years, but two of our four are grandparents themselves now -- sometimes I can't believe I have children in their 60s! And great-grandchildren! ..... I also like memoirs and will look that one at the LIbrary. Your winter pictures are wonderful (but I would rather enjoy it through your pictures than "for real.".

  13. Liebe Karen,
    es war wunderschön Deine liebe Familie einmal kennen lernen zu dürfen! Ich kann gut verstehen, wie stolz du auf ALLE bist. Es ist großartig, wenn eine Familie so zusammensteht. Für 2022 wünsche ich Euch ALLEN ein ganz wundervolles Jahr! Bleibt vor allen Dingen gesund!
    Alles Liebe

  14. Hello and Happy 2022 Karen!
    I loved catching up and seeing your beautiful family. Your grandkids are growing up so fast. I LOVE your word and completely agree about needing more of it in the world. I need to practice more grace myself and it gets difficult in certain areas at times. I find I then ask the Lord to come right then and grant it to me and I hand over the messy thing I'm dealing with into His hands. We could absolutely use more of HIs light and love too.
    I love seeing your cozy home -even post holidays. And those ham sandwiches sound mouthwateringly good!!
    I pray this year brings you and Rambling Man lots of peace, happiness and grace. xo


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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