Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dear Jack Frost,

Thank you for the lovely pictures you made for us. 

They are beautiful.   An enchanted forest of icy trees grace our windows.

 But do you think you could keep your future canvases on the *outside* of the windows?  The children are more than happy to come out and play.  You must know that those beautiful delicate paintings in ice will not last long once the stove is rekindled and the sun shines bright. 

Or perhaps they are all the more beautiful for their rare, fleeting presence.  Never mind, come anytime you like.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The entry in Small Steps for January 13 asked me to make a list of the things that bring me joy.  For whatever reason, my mind went completely blank.  I was stumped.  I was alarmed.  There must be something!  I read over Danielle Bean's essay in the Companion Journal.  Yes, I was quite sure that I that I knew the experience of Joy.  But nothing came to mind.  Needless to say I wasn't going to be able to make the list that day - instead I set out to watch for those moments of Joy.

At some point during the day I glanced out the window and saw a bird alight on the tree - an immediate lightness and delight filled me.  Yes - this was a moment of joy!  I began to think what a salve God's creation is to my soul - from the vastness of the ocean or the view from a mountain top to all the little love notes He leaves me to find in the most surprising places.
I remembered how loved I felt when I realized that in every walnut you can find a love note fashioned by the Creator!

Then I remembered the giggles that escaped from me as I finished each little mouse for a friend during Advent.  All it took was a walnut shell, a bit of wool, some soap and water, a few beads, needle and thread.  With these small things and the work of my hands I crafted a little token that would be a gift to a child. The work of my hands, the giving...Joy.

How our Lord must have delighted in His creation!  How he must delight in each one of us.

I remembered the simple smile of a child brings Joy.  Their sweet mischievousness.  A chess game won.  A new tune on the Bagpipe mastered.  The sound of young womens' voices in song.

So much Joy.  I only had to stop, look, and listen.  And give thanks.  I think I will never struggle again to recognize the Joy in my life.  At least I hope not.  Lord, forgive me if I do.  My work now is to take those moments and stretch them out until they meet one another, until our days are covered by Joy.  What a happy vocation. 

CCC 2094
--acedia or spiritual sloth goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes from God and to be repelled by divine goodness.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On Snowy Days.....

We usually get to have Papa home with us and that almost always means something good will be happening in the kitchen. 

On our first snowy day, Papa made simply must try to make fresh donuts sometime in your life preferably when you have children home to enjoy their lip smacking goodness.  And please if you can manage to get some good quality lard, do use it, that is our preferred fat for frying.  This time around, Ed and the children got adventurous with some new shapes....

Donut Men

The donut recipe we use is from the Wooden Spoon Bread Book.   We like to make some with a lemon glaze and others with a chocolate glaze.   You must have at least one of both.  And although we didn't make them this time, my favorite are filled with orange marmalade and glazed with chocolate - so good.

Today we had Papa home for another snow day and we even got the call last night; so before he went  to bed he put up a starter for homemade bagels.

Starter after sitting overnight

Risen dough

Shaping the bagels

                                                    Bagels are boiled in water
After boiling they are glazed with egg whites and toppings are added.

Finally they are baked in oven and ready to eat.

We use the bagel recipe from The Bread Bible which is probably our most used bread reference book.  It even goes camping with us!