Saturday, July 4, 2015

Kingston's Busy Day!

On July 3, 2015, Kingston Indy had a very busy day.

From Kingston's perspective...

After a hearty breakfast of cinnamon and raisin bagels with butter and fresh fruit, we (me and gramma) decided to head down to the end of the driveway where my favorite trio of ancient maple trees are.  I like to walk under them because the leaves crunch under my feet and I love that sound; I also find small branches for kindling there that we use in our fire pit.

While we waited for daddy and grandpa to come outside, we saw this horse-drawn carriage pass by. The friendly lady said she didn't mind if we took her picture.

I also threw rocks from the house side of the road to the barn side of the road, to see if I could get them in the pasture.  Most of the time, it was a successful venture.

Finally, I decided to just go get grandpa and daddy so we could go for a walk.

Gramma kept stopping to take pictures.

And ended up taking lots of pictures from behind us because she was always trying to catch up.

She didn't mind, though. She said the "behind" shots were pretty adorable.

Gramma loves this picture.

And I had fun running in the meadow.

Late afternoon, we packed a picnic dinner and headed to Jackson Gore for the free summer concert.  It was a Beatles tribute, which we always enjoy.

During the unexciting parts, I played on dad's phone.

But then we spotted those cool things behind us...

We surveyed the bungee thing, and dad said I could choose whether I wanted to jump on the bungee trampoline, or go on the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster.

I chose the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster!  That was so much fun!

We listened to the concert for a little longer, but I was still contemplating that bungee jumping thing. I couldn't get it out of my mind.

And when I finally got up my nerve to give it a shot, dad said I could do it, even though I already did the coaster.  Excited!

Whoa.  This is for real now...

Wow!!!  Look how high I am!

I kept seeing kids to do flips on this thing, and I was determined to try it, too.

After many attempts, I finally did it!

Yeah!!!  Dad, grandpa and gramma were cheering me on and proud when I learned how to do it... again and again!

On the way home from the concert, we were just in time to see the community fireworks.

That was such a full, fun day.  And I slept in till almost 10 this morning because of it!

Today is actually Independence Day, and we got to see the town parade in spite of a little rain.  After dinner, and since it's quit raining, we're going to do sparklers!!!  This has been an awesome weekend!

Friday, February 27, 2015


From the archives...

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I found another jewel in mom's photo albums... "One of the messages from Akseli Skutnabb's book 'Hanessa' (In Him)"  [Akseli is my great grandfather.]

It's aptly titled 'Prayerlife.'

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask
or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the
churches by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
Ephesians 3: 20-21

It is very comforting to know that God does much beyond that which we can
pray for or what we can think to ask for. If He would give us only what we
request, we would remain very poor. He does much more. He does not
need our requests and petitions. We need them in order to stay
alive. Many people ask why we need to pray at all since God would give us
anyway what we need. Yes, He would do that. But if we would receive
everything without asking for it, we would become very careless just like
children who receive everything in overabundance. In order that this will
not happen to us, God has given us the prayerlife. We have observed that
our enemy, Satan, is working hard to try to hinder our prayerlife.

Prayerlife does not basically consist of a multitude of petitions to
God. Prayer is much more a matter of stillness before God, waiting on
God. We human beings need moments when we quietly concentrate on listening
to what God wants to tell us. The oriental religions put much emphasis on
meditation, on the art of quiet reflection. The western world has received
that as something new. In a way it might be new for many Christians
because they are beginners in the word of God. But we need not go to the
orient to learn this art. If we would but understand our position in
Christ, the Holy Spirit of God would teach us to meditate on God's Word.

It is amazing what happens when we are still before God. We might not
be consciously aware of receiving anything at the time but we become richer and
we have received strength for everyday life, for life's temptations and
difficulties. We sink into a wonderful God-consciousness. We let God
control us. Without this, life would be very poor. Even though we
believe that Christ lives in us we would direct our attention only
outward. Christ would become a stranger to us if we would not practice
stillness before Him to hear what He wants to communicate to us.

The quakers have learned to practice stillness before God. It is a
healthy contrast to the world that makes too much noise speaking. there
are so few people who can be quiet. When they then should speak out, then
they stay silent. Jesus kept silent at the most important moments of His

The early Christians called themselves "theoforus," the "carriers" of
God. How could we carry eternity in our heart without expressing it?
The Holy Spirit of God in us will manifest Himself through us.

"In order that Christ might dwell in our hearts 'by faith,'" we read in the
bible. Why does it say "by faith?" The answer is that we don't
always feel it. It is not a matter of feeling or emotion. When we
understand the meaning of the cross of Christ, then can we comprehend the truth
that Christ is in us and we are in Him. This is a matter of faith just as
the fact that every bornagain person has the Holy Spirit.

That's all we have from 'In Him.' The foreword, which I blogged about previously, and this portion regarding prayerlife. How I wish I could get my hands on this book. Not only this one, but Helmi's novel, as well. What treasures they would be. Granted, I wouldn't be able to understand them... but I'd have them translated. It'd be so worth it.

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I wrote that in 2009 when I was writing daily to the Rest Awhile blog and received this comment on it:

"My name is Markus, a Finnish immigrant from Australia. I'm a great fan of your Great Grand Father Akseli Skutnabb. I found your blog when searching more information about him on Google.

His book 'Hänessä' has influenced my spiritual life a lot. Since reading his book about 20 years ago my Christian life hasn't been the same. Really, that book is awesome!

It is really hard to find his books because the publisher 'Lähetys Ystävä' doesn't exist anymore. He also wanted to use only the initials A.S. as an author which makes it even more difficult.

My edition of 'Hänessä' is from 1970 with a new name 'Uusi luomus' (New Creation). I know there is also another book of his published in the 80's which my father has in Finland

I'm thankful for my rich Christian heritage.  Read more about Akseli here.  He was a great man.  (I don't yet own any of the books written by my great grandparents.)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Here we are again.  Another year has passed and, as has become customary, I'm memorializing some of the highlights.


At the start of every year, we celebrate this sweet boy's birthday (I know, it's blurry, but it's still a favorite of mine).  This particular January was so charged with energy and emotion that I barely remember how we honored him on his day or what we got him for a gift.  It was an intense couple of weeks because our beloved babes were preparing for their move to Florida which would happen mid-month.

The little ones spent a lot of time at our place while mom and dad finalized the packing and loaded their moving truck.  It was a treasured time, having them with us so much.

We had lots of outdoor fun. 

But the temperature was frigid, so we spent most of our time indoors. The kids always enjoy cooking with Gramma, so I made each of them an apron - they thought that was cool.  And those magnets... for months they stayed just the way she arranged them.

When Rah was napping, this little dude and I had some computer time together.  I was working on one thing or another, and he was watching a bible story dvd.

We did lots of crafting, too.

And had many sleepovers.  Good morning!

Then that dreaded day finally arrived.  I kissed those precious faces and hugged them tight, then bid them farewell.  Hubby headed down to Florida with them to help with the move, and I drove on home; a little numb.

But, no matter what, life marches on and so came February.


It was a very cold, snowy month.

I did lots of DIY in the warmth of the house, like these tallow tabs for the doggies.

And hubby shoveled and shoveled and shoveled. I tried to help sometimes, but he didn't like me to.


The start of March showed great promise for the hope of Spring.

But Winter fought vehemently for the upper hand.

And it snowed and snowed.

And this is what the first day of Spring looked like. 

And it was still so cold.  C'mon April!


Oh, phew!  A reprieve!  I went to Florida for some much needed kids and grandkids love!  And warm sunshine.

We took a bicycle ride.

And went to the beach.

This was the sunrise view from my bedroom.

And more time at the beach!

Ah (sigh) and family-time. (that's me, my cousin, and my mom)

We celebrated my mom's birthday. (My brother, my mom and me)


Kingston and Aria made necklaces for the ladies. (My mom, me and my girl)

Then back at the beach, I witnessed this pterodactyl... I mean, pelican, diving-bombing the gulf for dinner.

We stayed for the sunset.

I think there was only one rainy day the whole time I was there.

These are my daughter's roosters.  Unfortunately, shortly after this they disappeared.  Panther food?  :-/

I have missed those Florida sunsets, living in Vermont. 


Then, it was time to head home again.

To hubby and my furry babes.


Ah, yes.  Back home in Vermont.   I visited a friend's lovely farm where they have horses, goats, ducks and chickens.  And stunning views of the Green Mountain landscape.

And the sun finally provided enough warmth that we could enjoy the outdoors and fresh air.  Dexter sure did.

I harvested dandelions from my own yard for dehydrating.

And I made my very first batch of kombucha.  It was delicious and I was pleased.

I had the privilege of meeting this sweet old boy who is 35 years old!

And that one single tulip in our yard finally bloomed.  First time in four years.

I love the month of May.  All of the outdoors is fresh and new and green.


Oh yay!  Look who came for a visit!  My LoveBugs are back!!

 We had fires and played outside in the yard.

Oh... little sweetheart!

The dogs slept on the deck... a lot.

Wild flowers were abundant!

And we enjoyed those summer days to their fullest and spent as much time outside as possible.

We hiked.

We went to the orchard.

We picked strawberries.

Of course, we had indoor fun, too.

Look at that grin.  Warms me up.

Then - it was time for them to return to Florida, and I started experimenting with different flavors of kombucha... strawberry, blueberry and elderberry.  All delicious!

This is my office at work.  I decided to put the podium on the desk so I could stand and work rather than sit so much.  It's working out well.

Oh yes, and June is the month for peonies.

I love peonies.

Hubby and I set out for some exploring on foot and found this beautiful creek.

With a little waterfall!

Ah, June.  I love you, too.


July found us exploring more of the charming landscape of our area.

This lovely country scene is right in our neck of the woods.

And who wouldn't love to spend a lazy summer afternoon right here?  I sure would. (Neighboring house)

A garden and some books.  Perfect.

I'm out on the deck loving the lovable BooBoo.

[sigh] Indeed, it is.

We spent a lot of time meandering the country lanes.

And took a hike to what's deemed The Top of the World.  July, you're beautiful.


In early August we enjoyed a quick visit from our son-in-law who was up for work.
The following week, however, brought tragic heart break.

This beloved and treasured friend of my daughter and son-in-law died suddenly in an accident.

"Our hearts are broken today. This precious friend of our family (high school friend of my daughter's and now also a close friend of my son-in-law's, and endeared to the hearts of my grandchildren) passed away last night from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. Louie was a kind, loving, enthusiastic, fun-spirited young man and our lives were enriched for having had him be an integral part. His imprint will remain forever and we'll miss him beyond measure."

"It's true. He's hope in hopeless situations. He's peace when troubles rage. He's who enables us to just look upward when our souls are downcast. Where would I be if not for my faith in the One who loves me with an endless love? I'd be mired in anguish. He is my refuge, my strength, my rest.
Psalm 46"
And God comforted us in our mourning.

The sun still shone and the days brought an array of simple pleasures and delicate beauty.

August brought my first garlic harvest.  It was puny... but it was something.

I volunteered at my first GMHA hundred-mile horse ride.  I helped take the horses' pulse and respiration when they returned from their long excursion.  It was fun.

We hiked a lot, and one hike we enjoy takes us right through a cow pasture.  They're sweet.  That's my friend, Jan.  She's 80!  Looks great, right (well, as far as you can tell from her backside)?  She walks/hikes every single day, no matter what.  Love her discipline.

And I went horseback riding with my friend, Wendy.  First time in decades, and it was great!


September was bittersweet.  Kristiina and the kids came back up.  That was wonderful!  They had planned a trip to see us for my birthday, anyway, but decided to come a week early so they could also be here for one of Louie's memorial services, hosted by the flight park where Louie flew and taught hang gliding.

Louie's twin brother, Landy, scattered a portion of Louie's ashes there over the park where Louie loved to fly and learned to become an instructor.

"He had a tremendous impact on the lives and in the hearts of so many. I'll cherish the memories and hold close the hope of that day when we meet again."

 Of course, a visit to Gramma's house always includes craft-time!

 We went on a nature hike, enjoyed drippy watermelon, and painted pictures.

 We collected logs from Gramma and Grampa's woods for bon fires (several bon fires), and helped cut the lawn (a lot, because it's so fun to drive that "tractor!")

We made pinecone bird feeders.

That was fun, and those seeds felt cool to sift through our hands.

We had fun pulling wagons.

And visited the petting zoo at the orchard.

We also picked out a pumpkin, and chose faces to draw on them (they each picked a face from the internet for me to draw on two sides of the pumpkin).

Then had a blast painting them outside.

My darling and I snuck out one evening while Grampa stayed with the kids (daddy was still in Florida), so we could capture some pictures of the Aurora Borealis.  It was such a freezing night!  We got a crazy cold-front that, thankfully, was very brief.

This is my best shot of northern lights (looks like a sunset, but I'm actually facing north at about 9:30 pm).  By the time the real color would have started, we had too much cloud cover to see it.  No matter; we had so much fun.

We hiked a lot.

I turned 50 (!) and got some super cool birthday gifts.  We had a quiet celebration at home which included a bon fire and star-gazing with my grandbabes - the three of us lying on a blanket in the grass, with one on each side of me.  Simple pleasures, my favorite kind.

September gave us gorgeous color and some magical hikes through the woods!


The leaf-color continued through October, with gorgeous jewel-blue skies.

I have a hard time determining which is my favorite season, though I can tell you with certainty; it's not winter.

I went to a conference for work in Philadelphia, and took my first train ride to get there.

"I have learned a couple of things riding this train. They really do go clackity-clack on the tracks, and the horn blows incessantly (though, seemingly in the distance, so it's not bothersome). The restrooms are smelly; that blue water really does nothing to quell the aroma emanating from the tanks below (at least it doesn’t spill out into the passenger cars). Internet access is very limited and ...the plans I had to get a little work done remotely are squashed.
BUT… riding the rails through New England in October is clearly what fairytales are made of, looking much like my cover photo, above (I rode on those tracks today, by the way). I’ve ridden through expansive, rolling fields and green/amber/crimson forests. I've beheld stunning mountain ranges and impressive valleys. I’ve ridden over rivers on steel bridges and under roadways through rocky tunnels. I’ve seen quaint farms decorated with hay bales, pumpkins and dried corn stalks, and charming villages with their white steepled-churches peeking through red maples. I’ve spotted every imaginable farm animal and decades-old rusty cars left in the most peculiar places (in the middle of the woods – fully hemmed in by trees and not a trail to be found). We approached numerous boarding stations, and I witnessed lovers, friends and families expressing their eclectic goodbyes (but they better make it quick, because I bet we only stand still for barely a minute, then we’re off again).
I’m so thankful I managed to obtain what appeared to be the last available window seat, and I’m very pleased with this method of travel! Now - just 5 hours to go (it certainly isn't the quickest method of travel)!"

It was my first trip to Philly and I made sure to squeeze in a bit of sight-seeing.

This is where I enjoyed lunch at work.

And I enjoyed the season's creative pumpkin decorations by one quaint little town.  Everyone along the main road participates.


This sweet little LoveBug turned three years old!  Sadly, it was the first of our grandchildren's birthdays that we were not present to celebrate with them.  Oh, that dastardly move to Florida. We FaceTimed, though... at least there's that!

I enjoyed another horseback ride with Wendy.

I put sweet little pots of peppermint in my windowsills to keep the scent and sight of summer present.

I enjoyed gorgeous sunrises on my way to work.

And snuggled with my furry babes.  All four of the girls settled in with me on the loveseat!

We enjoyed a giant 16-pound Thanksgiving turkey for just the two of us - purposefully, knowing we'd enjoy the leftovers.

And then had scads of the most delicious bone broth ever.  (Turkey broth is my favorite.)


Ada and Sara enjoyed a sunny day from their perch, which is the back of the couch.

We hiked some more and found such beauty.

We enjoyed the help of one very kind neighbor.

We were mesmerized by the dramatic winter scenery, and we're thankful for another year.

2014 brought some hard things, but not without God's grace, and most certainly not without blessings.  We're counting them and face 2015 with eager anticipation, seeking God's path.