Winter Wonders

It was one of those mornings.  The fog was so thick I couldn’t see further than the house next door.  I could feel the moisture in the cold air.  My hair dryer was broken (so I’ll just let you imagine how I looked).  I discovered that my children had ruined something I cared about (and it was brand new, too!) and I couldn’t find my keys.

After calling my husband to complain, I grabbed the spare keys and headed out for the kindergarten carpool.  As I turned the corner, I happened to notice the frost on some weeds by the side of the road.  I turned around, went home, grabbed my camera, and went back to park by the side of the road.  I gave myself 5 minutes to capture some of the wonder which the fog had made possible.

I’m SOOO glad I did.  Just a few minutes taking pictures as the sun finally managed to penetrate the fog changed my whole day.  I hope that the beauty of God’s creations can help make yours a little better, too!

frost on weeds

frost on weeds 2

Thistles.  Simple, but now beautiful as well.

frost on thistle

frost on thistles

An oak leaf on the ground.

frost on oak leaf

I think the picture below might be my favorite.  When I look at this, I can’t help but think that all the beauty we work so hard to create doesn’t hold a candle to the brilliance of frost on this bush.  It was like thousands of sparkling stars.


frost on leaves


More weeds.

Ivy climbing up a fence.

frost on ivy

frost on ivy

frost on ivy

Lesson learned.  Next time you need to shake the foggy winter blues, get out IN it!  Grab your camera and a jacket, and give yourself a few minutes to wander around your neighborhood in search of beauty.  You probably won’t need to go farther than your own yard.  Not only will you come home with some gorgeous photos, you will feel better about the fact that it’s winter.  (And if you’re me, you might even think something like “wow, I might be figuring out how to use this camera, after all!”)

Have a wonderful winter’s day!

shed in winter

Hopeful Homemaker

Last Look at the Manger

It wasn’t very hard for me to say goodbye to Christmas and pack up the decorations… until it came to the manger.

empty manger

My heart lingered here, reluctant to carry it to the basement.  I realized that this was probably my last Christmas to lay my own baby in the manger for our annual re-enactment of the nativity.  The realization made my heart ache.

baby wrapped in white blanket

In an effort to appreciate the wonder of this stage in life while it is still mine, I dressed my infant in white and carefully laid her in our own little manger for some photos.

baby in white blanket

Gratefully, I was able to capture it in a way I feel pleased with.  I love the way the light was shining on her face.  It reminds me how much light is in her, how much light she has brought into my heart and into our family.

The words of a favorite song kept running through my mind, “dressed in white, filled with light, what wonder did I see?”

The next lyrics say, “What I feel, what I know, leads my heart to sing, ‘I will praise thy name, praise thy name from day to day.”  As my own heart was weeping a little at the idea of moving past this moment, it hit me how very blessed I am, to have experienced this wonder EIGHT times!  I realized that instead of weeping, I should joyfully praise my Heavenly Father for sharing this with me.

In the above picture, she is playing with her oldest brother.  How marvelous it is to watch your older children bask in the wonder of a baby.  In the photo below, I love the bokeh of the white lights on the tree behind her.

baby smiling in front of Christmas tree

Again, I LOVE the light.  The white is so white, her smile so pure, her eyes so clear.

Years ago I read a line in one of Sara Teasdale’s poems, which says “children’s faces looking up, holding wonder like a cup.”  For many years now I have wanted to capture the feeling of that line in a photograph of one of my children.  In this setting, I feel like I did, as my baby gazed up in wonder at all the world around her.

And because I’ve never been in love with a baby’s feet like I have with these little ones, I took a few of her toes for good measure.

baby feet

baby feet

Sigh.  How glad I am that I listened to my mother’s heart that morning, and captured a moment I don’t ever want to forget.   It made me think a little of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  I wonder how she felt when they left the stable, if her feelings were bittersweet.  I’ve never thought of it before.  We spend a month at Christmas celebrating the manger, yet it was a dirty place where animals lived.  Surely she was a little bit relieved to put it behind her, and somewhat overwhelmed by the many physical needs that both she and the baby had.  Yet if she realized that prophecy had been fulfilled in that dirty place, then part of her must have paused to mark the moment, to hold it in her heart for future reference.  I wonder how many mothers throughout history have stood on the threshold of time, anxious to move on but reluctant to leave.  I wonder what Mary thought as they left the stable.  I wonder if any of her feelings paralleled my own.

baby in manger

A stable moment.  My grateful heart sings.

Fall Yesterday, Winter Today

I didn’t want to believe the weatherman.  But how do you ignore something like this?
IMG_8228 (Large)2
Just yesterday we were playing outside in the fall sunshine.
Last week I was taking pictures of the glorious fall leaves.
Today I was in the same spot, but the picture looks a lot different:
IMG_8237 (Large)
A good reminder that life’s simple gifts need to be appreciated while we have them.
You never know how long it will last.

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