31 December 2012

2012 ~ A Look Back

A look back at 2012.

As always, I took an enormous number of photographs ~ over 18,000 of them!  It started off with my photo a day project, which I did very well with until March, when my Mom fell ill.  It picked up in earnest with my trip to England and Scotland!  With this many photographs, it is so difficult to choose a single favorite or even a dozen of them.  After much deliberation, I narrowed down to this collection of photos, which I believe represents some of my best photos for 2012.  

2012 Best Photos L.P. Boni

In the past, much of my photography has centered around my handwork, but this year there were few projects.  I only participated in one round robin, which I had to drop out of, so there are just a few things to show.  Most of these were created in January and February.  I have hardly picked up a needle since then, though I hope that will change with the new year!
2012 Handwork

One thing that increased however, was my artwork!  The sketchbook was opened frequently throughout the year and I enjoyed it so much!  It was also wonderful to get the oil paints out again ~ something I hope to do much more of in the coming year!
2012 Artwork

Of course, travel played a huge role throughout the year, from a trip to Colorado in January to see the family, to the unexpected trip to Costa Rica in March, to the incredible dream come true trip to England and Scotland via the Queen Mary 2 as well as several journeys to Rocky Mountain National Park as well as several National Parks and Monuments in Arizona.  Once again, it was so difficult to choose just a few photos as representative of my travels this year.
2012 Travels

If you've been reading my blog for very long, you know how much I love flowers and especially roses.  Usually I put up a mosaic of flower and plant life photos, but this year I had so many lovely rose photos, that I wanted to share a selection of them with you.  From my Mom's backyard, to the Eden Project in Cornwall, to the David Austen Roses gardens as well as many of the other amazing gardens I visited throughout England and Scotland ~ here are some of my favorites.
Roses in England 2012

The thing I will remember most about 2012 though is that it is the year that my Mom passed away.
Suzi Plooster

Her passing came so unexpectedly.  And with so many challenges.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and my Dad.  To have lost them both within a 10 month span of time has been so hard.  Truthfully, I never anticipated that it would be so difficult.  She and I were as different as two people could be.  Where I tend to be quiet and shy, she was outgoing and loud.  Where I tend to sit back and observe, she was the center of attention, the life of the party.  While I try to avoid conflict at all costs, she had no fear of it and a temper that knew no bounds.  Growing up with her was not at all easy, and she and I often misunderstood one another due to the fundamental differences in our temperaments.  

But during the past couple of years, we finally were able to move beyond that and develop for the first time, a fully warm and loving relationship.  It still had it's moments, but it was a vast change from what it had been throughout the majority of my life.  The past couple of years with her were such a blessing and a joy.  It made it doubly hard to lose her just when our relationship was blossoming so beautifully.  But how thankful I am, that we were blessed with this time of comfort with one another, that the anger of our earlier years was gone.
Suzi Plooster
Oh Mommy, how I miss you.



I will also remember 2012 as the year I found my little cottage!  In the space of 2 short months, it has become as much "home" as any place I've ever lived!  I look forward to many years of joy and peace here!
Trees removed

There were other joys in 2012 as well ~ celebrating the marriage of foster son Gary to Marcy in June!  Seeing them with one another makes my heart glad and reinforces for me the beauty and joy that marriage should be!
My Family

























We also celebrated the engagement of my daughter Jessie to David!
Untitled

With all that took place this year, my sister Holly and I were able to spend more time with one another than we have had in the past 20 years combined.  What a joy our time together has been!
Me and my sister

So, I look back on 2012, with it's great sorrows and great joys and what seems a life time of memories packed into 12 short months.  There was a lot of moving!  From Arizona to Colorado, from my Mom's house to my son Jonathan's, and then from there to the new home in Greeley.  There was a great leap of faith in quitting the job I loved in Arizona, in hopes that a new job will come in Colorado ~ something that I hope will be coming soon!

Through it all, I've felt God's firm hand holding me up, guiding me, comforting me, nudging me, and yes, even a little disciplining here and there.  It has been a miraculous year.  It has been evidence of the Psalm that has been my guiding light this year.

I lift my eyes to the hills, 
From where does my help come from?  
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth! 

He will not let your foot be moved,
he who keeps you will not slumber.  
Behold, he who keeps Israel 
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand. 
The sun shall not smite you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil; 
He will keep your life. 
The Lord will keep 
Your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and for evermore.

Psalm 121

30 December 2012

White Christmas

White Christmas
We woke Christmas morning to a white Christmas with snow gently falling!

White Christmas Morning
The day started off quiet, though there was a bit of bustling around in the kitchen preparing our Christmas brunch.  There were bird feeders to fill with Christmas treats.  But best of all was the quiet that comes with new snowfall.  For me it was a beautiful gift!

Waiting for Company
Thomas waited patiently by the door all morning.  He seemed to know that all the kids were on their way!

Untitled And eventually, they all did arrive, safe and sound despite the snow and slick roads!  How wonderful to have them all around the table together!

Conrad under the tree
While we opened gifts, Conrad sat next to the tree watching the festivities.  It was a lovely day.  Then, mid-afternoon, my son Stephen became suddenly overwhelmingly ill.  His wife and I spent the remainder of Christmas with him at the ED, where he was diagnosed with complex migraines.  Who knew that they could produce stroke like symptoms.  We are so very grateful that it wasn't a stroke or something worse and that he is on the mend.

Red Barns ~ Summer
During the days following Christmas, the house was very quiet.  I put together my new easel and pulled out an old unfinished painting to work on.  It is still a work in progress, but coming along.  I have hopes of completing a series of seasonal barn paintings based on photos from my time in Iowa.  This one is Summer.

Frosted Window Pane
Since Christmas, the weather has been quite frosty.  Where the storm windows are missing, the old single panes are covered in frost each morning.

Frosted Window Pane
I love the iridescent patterns that play across them, different each day.

Winter Morning
Outside, the Christmas snow remains, blanketing the earth, like a fresh page, waiting for the day's story to be written across it and edited anew.

So too, the story of 2012 is nearly complete ~ and what a tale it has been this year.  There is much to think on and look back over,  but as my Mom would have said, "One MUST keep moving forward."  Soon the blank pages of 2013 will start to fill with new tales ~ and just as it was with 2012, it will be quite the tale!

Each year is such a gift and isn't it wonderful that we get this amazing opportunity to start afresh with each new year, each birthday, each anniversary and all the other markers that fill our lives.  Like the old saying from the late 60's/early 70's;
Today is the First Day of the rest of your Life! 
Make the most of it!  Write a beautiful story on today's page!

24 December 2012

Christmas Eve ~ 2012

Untitled
Luminarias light the streets throughout our neighborhood tonight.  So beautiful to see and such a lovely reminder that darkness cannot overcome the light.

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From our home to yours, we send you our deepest prayers and wishes for a joyful Christmas filled with the love of family and friends!   Blessings and Peace to you and yours this Christmas Eve!  


And while they were there the time came for her to be delivered.  And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.  

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by nigh.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be  sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,


"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let u go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." and they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God of all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. 

Luke 2:6-20

22 December 2012

Watchful Waiting

Winter Birds
The house is quiet, filled with morning light.  All the decorations are out, the gifts wrapped.  The last of the baking will take place later in the day.  But for these few quiet minutes, I sit in what has become my favorite spot in this new house.  Like these little birds all bundled up for winter cold, I too have been seeking warmth.  A strong head cold laid me quite low for a few days.

Christmas Living Room
I love the quiet and the sense of anticipation.  Knowing that everything is ready.  Unusually for me, who tends to be one of those up well after midnight on Christmas Eve still wrapping gifts until the very last minute, it is all ready days early.

Christmas Mantle
There is time to enjoy the peace, the readiness.  And isn't that what Advent is all about anyway?  A time of watchful waiting, a time of preparation to ready our heart and mind for the coming of the Christ child, the son of God?

View from my Chair
Despite the peace and calm there are still a few boxes of things to put away  The dining table is still cluttered with the remains of gift wrapping.  But as this holiday season progresses, this house truly becomes our home for which we are so grateful.

Thomas
There is still time to meditate,  to be still,  to remain watchful,  waiting,  for the advent, the birth of the Son of God, the light of life, Christ himself. 

Isaiah 11:1-9

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. 

He shall not judge by what hi eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, 
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist,
and faithfulness the girdle of his loins. 

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them. 
The cow and the bear shall feed;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 
The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. 
They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea. 

18 December 2012

Meditations for Christmas ~ December 18, 2012

Morning Sun in the Kitchen

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.  And he came to her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.  And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus."
Luke 1:26-31


Morning sun ~ such a lift after days of grey.  I imagine it was just such a morning that Mary was visited by the angel.  An ordinary everyday moment turned miraculous in the twinkling of an eye.

Happy Lady Orchid
A housewarming gift of "Happy Lady" orchids has burst into bloom!

16 December 2012

Meditations for Christmas ~ December 16, 2012

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"I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace.
In the world you have tribulation;
but be of good cheer,
I have overcome the world."

John 16:33



Finally, brethren, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is just,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

15 December 2012

Meditations for Christmas ~ December 15, 2012

Windows in the Gloucester Cloister

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited.

Yorkshire Moor

Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.

If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12: 14-21

Gloucester Cathedral Cloister

14 December 2012

Meditations for Christmas ~ December 14, 2012

In MemoryJeremiah 31:13b
I will turn their mourning into joy;
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

On a day such as today, there are no words, just sorrow.  
Prayers for the families and friends, the community.  My heart goes out to those affected so deeply by this tragedy.  

13 December 2012

Meditations for Christmas ~ December 13, 2012

Feeding companions
Matthew 6:26

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?

Wild Turkey visiting
There have been a number of new birds at the feeders this week!  Who would have expected a wild turkey in the middle of the city?  Or that she would eat so peacefully with the squirrels?

Bobwhite
The Bobwhite has been around all week and we see her daily!  She's a little camera shy, so I haven't gotten a clear photo of her yet.

Kitchen Remodel nearly complete
The kitchen floors are done and the countertops have their first coat of sealer on them!  I am so happy with how it all turned out!

New Dining Room Carpet
The new dining room carpet arrived at long last!  The soft green and cream colors go perfectly!  So nice and warm to the toes on a chilly morning!

12 December 2012

Meditations for Christmas ~ December 12, 2012

Paperwhite Narcissus

John 1:16
And from his fulness have we all received, 
grace upon grace.


dusting of snow
Winter seems to have arrived at last.  The nights have grown cold and the days chilly.  Morning sometimes sees a dusting of light snow or frost upon the ground.  I am grateful for the changing season.

Squirrel Feeder
The side patio has become the gathering place for the birds and squirrels of the neighborhood!  We love watching them.  What a surprise it was to even have a bobwhite visiting regularly!  We kept one piece of the old cottonwood tree and it has become the base for the squirrel feeder.  

House Finch
The house finches bring a lively bit of color!

newly sanded floor
Inside, the work is ongoing, though nearing the end of what will be done this winter.  The old black paint has been sanded off of the kitchen floor...

newly stained floor
and the new coat of stain applied that matches the countertops!  It's looking fabulous!   The last coat of finish is drying and tomorrow the appliances get put back in place.  Then I will apply the sealer to the countertops and the kitchen will be mostly finished!  All that is left is to put the trim up and to design the shelf brackets in order for my brother-in-law George to make them, then to put the shelves up!

It's really such an amazing thing to watch a dream come to life like this!


10 December 2012

Meditations for Christmas ~ December 10, 2012

Nativity

John 1:9
The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.  

Meditations for Christmas ~ December 9, 2012

Christmas Tradition
Today, a celebration of thankfulness and joy for our new home and anticipation of Christmas!  The table filled with good things to eat, especially the Pigs-in-the-blankets ~ a family Christmas tradition in the form of a recipe passed down from my Grandmother!

Christmas Cookes
Lovely sugar cookies made by my daughter!

Ready for Housewarming party!
The house looking festive as it waits for our guests!

My daughter
My daughter Jessie.

Me and my sister
My sister came to visit for a few days!  What a joy to have her here and to be able to share my new home with her!

To finally, after many unsettled months, be "at home" once again  ~ it makes my heart sing!  And to be able to share my new home with family, friends and new neighbors is such a joy!  What a lovely and beautiful day it has been!  

Luke 8:39
"Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." and he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

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