Monday, December 29, 2008

Dawn: A Beautiful New Day in the Woods.

We had a beautiful sunrise the other morning. I took this picture of it from my kitchen window. And soon, we will be having the dawn of a new year.

I am not making any new year's resolutions this year. But I do have a motto that I have and will continue to follow in the new year. It is summed up beautifully in this little poem:

A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.~Edgar Guest

A New Day, A New Year, and a MEMEME!

The Dawn of a New Day! The Dawn of a New Year!

I took this shot of a beautiful sunrise in the woods the other morning. The dawn of a beautiful new day, as the old year is winding down, and the dawn of a new year is upon us.

I am not making any new year's resolutions this year. But I do have a motto that I have always followed and will continue to follow in the new year:

A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.
~Edgar Guest

New Year's Eve will find me celebrating early with lunch at a Chinese Buffet. And much to my family and friends dismay, I do not plan on staying up until midnight, to watch the ball drop and to receive Happy New Year phone calls. That will have to come on New Year's Day, which will also find me dining out and wishing friends and acquaintances a happy new year. What can I say? I'm an early bird!

My family, friends, animals, and Nature have been a big blessing in the old year, and I pray that, that will continue into the new year. I don't ask for any more than that.

Thank you for reading. I wish you all a healthy, happy and prosperous new year, friends.

New Year's blessings from the woods!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Angel Deer-A Christmas Story.

(This story is fiction!)

It was going to be and especially wonderful Christmas this year, Patty
Hudson though, eyeing her watch anxiously. Two o’clock in the afternoon.
They should be arriving any minute. Just then, the gravel on her driveway
began popping, followed by a "honk, honk," of her daughter’s car. Patty
hurried out to greet them.

"Hi, Mom," Anne said, getting out the car and giving her a hug, while the pint sized girl in the back seat struggled to free herself from her seat belt.

"Hi, Nana," a sweet voice shouted, jumping into her arms. "We’re finally

"Yes, you are, and I couldn't be happier," Patty replied, covering her face with kisses. "Let’s go inside where it’s nice and warm."

"Do you have your Christmas tree up yet?" the little girl asked as they
walked through the door.

"Not yet, Nicole. I thought that tomorrow you and I’ll go to the cedar woods and cut down our own tree. Then we can spend the evening decorating it. What do you think of that idea?"

Nicole’s dark blue eyes grew wide with wonder as she snuggled in her
grandmother’s lap. "Oh that will be wonderful, Nana!"

"That does sound wonderful. Too bad I can’t be here to go to the woods with you two," Anne said in a disappointed tone.

"Well, why don’t you call your boss and tell him you decided to take the
entire week off. Then you won’t have to make the four hour drive back to the city until after Christmas," Patty suggested.

"I can’t, Mom. But you and Nicole can enjoy some time together, and Jeff and I’ll be here on Christmas Eve."

After Anne drove off the following morning, Patty and Nicole fed the
chickens and ducks and filled the wild bird feeders to the brim. Then Nicole watched the droves of finches, cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers feed, while Patty began preparing lunch.

"Are we going to get the Christmas tree right after lunch?"

"Yes, we are," Patty smiled at the tiny imp with the long brown pony tail.
"The sun is shining and it will be warmer outside by then. I would not want you to get too cold. "

It was one o’clock in the afternoon when they were finally walking up the
old lane that led to the cedar grove.

"This looks so different from the way it looked in the summer,"Nicole
remarked, walking just ahead of Patty, who was carrying her bow saw.

"Yes, it does. And all the biting insects are gone now, so you won’t be
going back to the city with your usual summer souvenirs. "

"That’s funny, Nana. Are we almost by the cedar grove?"

"Just a little ways up from here, sweetie. Are you getting tired?"

"Oh, no, I was just wondering. Oh, there they are. I see them." Nicole ran
ahead, eager to reach them. "They look so beautiful!"

This cedar grove, in the middle of an oak and hickory forest, has always
enchanted Patty. The cedars came in many different sizes, and their green, cylindrical shapes among the leafless hardwood forest in the winter, was a visual delight.

"How about this tree, Nana? Or this one?" Nicole asked, running from tree to tree.

"Now remember, it can’t be a real tall one. We have to get it back to the
house, and it’s a half a mile walk," Patty reminded Nicole. "Let’s
go that way. I see several smaller trees over there. "

They walked on among the cedars, turning left, then right, excited about all the beautiful trees the grove offered. Finally, Patty stopped in front of a six foot tree, and after looking it over, announced, "I think this one here
is perfect. Not too tall, not too small, with beautifully shaped branches.
It will look perfect in the bay window. What do you think, Nicole?"

"Oh, you are right, Nana. This tree is perfect. Will it be hard to cut

"No, the trunk is not very thick. Let me see now," Patty crouched down and examined the trunk of the cedar. "Good thing I’m wearing gloves. Cedar branches are prickly," she added.

Once the tree was down, Patty held on to the trunk and pulled it along as
they headed back towards the lane. Nicole, just ahead of her, kept on
chatting and walking, commenting on everything in sight. After some time, Patty stopped for a moment and glanced at her watch. It was almost three o’clock! Had they been in the woods that long? And they should have reached the lane already, she thought, an uneasy feeling creeping into the pit of her stomach.

"Are you getting tired, Nana?" Nicole asked, glancing back at her.

"No, I’m just shifting hands," she replied, walking on.

After a while, Patty glanced at her watch again. It was fifteen minutes past three. She knew in her heart that they should have reached the old lane by now."Let’s turn here, sweetie, and walk towards those oak trees," she said, trying not to sound anxious. She did not want to frighten the little girl.

But as they reached the oak woods, there was still no sign of the old lane,
and it would be getting dark in another hour!

"Nicole, let’s sit down and rest a minute on this fallen log," she finally

"You look worried, Nana. Is anything wrong?" Nicole asked, sitting down next to her.

"Well, I am a bit worried. I think we might be lost. I believe we have been
walking in circles. That’s not hard to do in the woods. I should have been
more careful. I am so sorry I wasn’t."

The little girl moved closer to her and put her arm around Patty's shoulder. "It isn’t your fault, Nana."

"Oh, but it is my fault. It wouldn’t be so bad if I was out here by myself,
but..." She stopped herself. There was no sense in frightening the child
even more.

"I tell you what. Let’s you and I say a little prayer before we continue on
our way. I think that might help."

"Okay, Nana, and I know just the prayer we need to say," Nicole responded enthusiastically, her sweet voice enunciating the words of the prayer clearly and without a single mistake:

"Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day, be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide. Amen."

"Amen. That was beautiful, Nicole," Patty said, pulling the little girl into her arms and holding her close. Tears welled in her eyes as thoughts of spending a chilly night in the woods, with a trusting four year old, plagued her.

"Nana, look! A deer!" Nicole, wriggling out of her arms, suddenly whispered, jolting Patty out of her dour thoughts. She turned towards Nicole’s pointing hand and saw it, too. It was a sleek doe, standing no more than ten feet from them.

"Nana, she says we should follow her," Nicole announced, standing up. "She will lead us to the lane."

The little girl is hallucinating, Patty thought, as she stood up, too. "But Nicole, the doe will probably run off, if we try to approach her," she said out loud.

"No, Nana. She is telling me that we should follow her," Nicole insisted.

Patty looked at the serious expression on her granddaughter’s face, and then glanced towards the doe, still standing there looking at them.

"Well, why not, we’re already lost," she said, taking Nicole’s hand with one hand, and holding on to the cedar tree with the other, as they began walking towards the animal.

The doe turned and walked through the woods slowly, glancing back often, as if to make sure they were still following her. And of course, they were...a small girl with faith in her heart, and an elderly woman with hope in hers. A few minutes later, they found themselves back on the familiar old lane! There, the doe stopped and gave them one last look, then she turned and gracefully bounded back into the woods.

"Come on, sweetheart, let’s hurry on home to the warm house. The sun is
going down and it’s getting chilly," Patty said, sighing with relief and
saying a silent "thank you, Lord."

"Thank you, angel deer!" Nicole cried out after the vanishing animal. Then taking her grandmothers hand, she said, "Okay, Nana, let’s hurry home. I am getting a little cold now." .....

Christmas turned out especially meaningful this year, Patty was thinking as she said good bye to her departing family settling into their car for the drive back to the city.

"I’ll miss you," she said to the little imp, giving her one last hug.

"I’ll miss you, too," Nicole responded. Then getting close to Patty's ear,
she whispered, "I think you should say the guardian angel prayer each time you go to the woods, Nana. It will keep you safe."

"Thank you for your wonderful advice, sweetheart," Patty Hudson whispered back, tears welling in her eyes. "I promise to follow it faithfully."

(c) copyright 2002, by Renie Burghardt

I hope you enjoyed the little story, friends, and I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read it. Somehow, I can't seem to get the formatting right on
it. This will be my only post until next week, as I will be happily busy as well. Have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hannukah, evryone!

Blessings from the woods!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful!

After a warm, sixty degree Sunday, our weather turned frightful. Yesterday we had freezing rain and sleet all day, and peeking out the glass door this morning, I see it is raining. Since it is 19 F out there, that is freezing rain again!

It's only the second day of this frightful mess and I'm already getting cabin fever! But as you can see, Fred the cat is enjoying the warmth of the Christmas tree lights, while he dreams of his favorite past time-chasing squirrels outdoors!

What is really even worse about all that sleet that looks like snow out there, is that I can't spend any time outdoors. It's just too slippery. It was in December of 2005 when I went out to feed the birds while there was snow on the ground, and fell and broke my hip. I recovered well from that terrible ordeal, thank the Good Lord, and thanks to my wonderful sons and daughter, who took turns spending six weeks staying with me so I could recover at home, instead of in a nursing home.

So, I have been listening to my Christmas Cd's, especially the new German one, " Weinachten mit Hansi," (Christmas with Hansi) sent to me by my old and dear friend Maria, who lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Thank you, Maria! It is a beautiful CD!

Of course, this weather means we will have to miss our Chinese Buffet day on Wednesday, but Eileen and I are both hoping we will be able to attend our annual Christmas Bingo and Luncheon, at our church, on Thursday. It is always great fun, and we go home with some nice Christmas prizes. Keep your fingers crossed that our weather will warm up by Thursday, as the forecast is promising.

I hope the weather is better where you are, friends, while you're out and about, getting ready for Christmas.

Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful week, everyone.

Blessings from the woods!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chasing Away the Winter Doldrums!

Well, besides still battling the last of this bug that has been plaguing me, I have been down with a major case of the winter doldrums. The Bah Humbugs! So I decided to post some of the pictures of Thanksgiving and birthday week, to remind me of the wonderful time my daughter and granddaughters, son Greg, and dear friend Eileen and I had together. Since I have several pictures here, I hope you won't be too bored with them.

My daughter took this picture of Eileen and me at the lovely restaurant where we all had lunch. And the waitresses even came and sang the Happy Birthday Song, to me! :-)

Here are my granddaughters Nichole and Hannah with Uncle Greg, in the woods. The girls think Uncle Greg is a cool and fun guy to hang out with!

City girls enjoy hiking around in Nana's woods!

And they also enjoy riding around on the 4-wheeler.

Since the weather was mild and beautiful the entire week they were here, we decided to go to the river, too. And as you can see, The Current River is beautiful even in November!

And here are the girls by our cabin on the river.

Alas, our visits are never long enough, and I always miss them when they leave for home. :(

I also had some good news in the mail this past week.
I received my copy of the Winter 2009 issue of "Pure Inspiration Magazine," with one of my stories in it. As a writer, I'm always happy to see my work in print.

I also received the new "Chicken Soup for the Soul, Loving Our Cats," book with my story in it.

And I have a story in "The Big Book of Christmas Joy: An Inspirational Treasury to Celebrate the Season," published by Howard Books.

I also have three awards I will acknowledge very soon, friends.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you are all doing well and ready for the holiday, unlike me.

Ah, and today is Chinese Buffet day. That should also help chase the winter doldrums. :-)

Blessings from the woods!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blowing My Horn, and Other Sound Effects, Oi Veh!

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday week. I certainly did with my daughter and the girls, above. When they left on Friday evening to fly back to Ohio, a bug decided to come and stay with me!

I woke up Saturday morning with a miserable cold, and went to see the doctor and got medicine. It turned out I had a nasty sinus infection. Since then I have been blowing my trumpet, (well, okay, nose,) sneezing and coughing and generally feeling out of sorts. Of course, I did not go to church Sunday, deciding to spare the congregation of my sound effects and germs, and have been pretty well in bed these last few days.

This morning, I feel much better, and will attempt to go to town and pick up some groceries, and stop for coffee with friends.

I hope everyone is well and getting ready for Christmas or Hanukkah, or whatever you are celebrating. My granddaughters put up my Christmas tree, as they do every year when they are here for Thanksgiving. So, except for a bit more shopping, I am ready for the holiday.

Thank you for visiting. Have a wonderful week.

Blessings from the woods!