Monday, March 29, 2021

Catching Up: January

I doubt many of us were sad to say goodbye to 2020, but I found myself hesitating on the threshold of the new year. I longed for a sense of new beginnings, of hope -- but with three empty-arm due dates and two miscarriages in the past year, it was hard to feel optimistic. On January first I wrote on Instagram that tendrils of fear wrap themselves around my heart. Fear that 2021 will be another year in the valley, another year marked by grief and loss and pain. But, only by dwelling on God's identity and promises can I take courage for the coming year -- as one of His children, I am redeemed, called by name, precious, honored, and loved (Isaiah 43:1,4). The Creator of the Universe has promised to be with me no matter what (43:2), so what is there to fear? I can leave tomorrow to Him.  

Little did I realize how soon my declaration of faith would be tested. Days after I pleaded with God to give us a respite from grief, I found out I was pregnant with a baby I would likely never meet on this side of eternity. And then came Baby F's first heaven birthday. As I look back at snapshots from the month, I feel surprised that they don't reflect the mental torment of those few weeks of "certain uncertainty." But it makes me grateful to see how God kept me going, how I was able to enjoy so many moments with my children, and how He blessed us during that time.

It was such a strange month -- one day, the sun shining so fiercely that it coaxed us out of sweaters;  a few days later, the heaviest snowfall we've had here.

We discovered that Scout is ready for the balance bike,
and he took to it like a pro. Walks are so much less
"dawdly" now -- in fact, I can hardly keep up!

Progress on my Grey Havens sweater -- after far too much frogging...
The yarn color is "Sagebrush," just like my Balta top.

We made our first "real" snowman, thanks to an abundance of 
wet, sticky snow -- it had melted by afternoon. Crazy high desert weather.

I couldn't believe I found this Elizabeth Goudge novel at a $1 outdoor book sale, at a book shop we weren't even planning to stop at. Nestled amongst a miscellany of unwanted volumes, it caught my eye as I took a last glance before heading to the checkout (my arms already full, of course!).

Rather than being a battered ex-library book (my first impression, due to the cellophane jacket), it turned out to be in excellent "unborrowed" shape -- even the delicate dust jacket, thanks to the aforementioned cellophane! And I paid less than the original list price... *wink*

It was such a lovely story, and just what I needed at the time. I wish I could describe Goudge's writing, but every time I try, I end up with beautiful impressions of light and scent and beauty that don't seem to translate to the page -- which is exactly the impression I have when reading her books, so I suppose that's no surprise. It also makes me miss England rather badly, which is both pleasant and painful! 

One January delight was discovering a raspberry ice cream recipe, found in one of those tear-away magnetic calendars sent to us by the real estate agent who helped us buy our first home over almost eleven years ago (that's a mouthful!). I recently found a used Cuisinart ice cream maker at the thrift store for $10; I've wanted one for ages, but it seemed so unnecessary -- and, admittedly, it's a rather large single-purpose machine. Anyway, we tried the recipe and it was a smashing success! 

Raspberry Ice Cream
  • 1 1/2 C frozen raspberries, slightly thawed
  • 1 C sugar (I found it a bit sweet, so I use about 3/4 C of organic cane sugar)
  • 1 C whipping cream
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and process until thoroughly mixed and smooth
  2. Pour into ice cream maker!

We've tried strawberry (fabulous), mango (pleasant but too "mild"), and mixed berry (a bit too sweet, so reduce the sugar). I have some cherries in the freezer that I'm tempted to try, though I'm guessing cherries might actually need a bit more sugar.

I love snow, and we had several beautiful flurries throughout the month! Another gift from the Creator.

We also cut out paper snowflakes for the first time (how have I never done that with my littles before?) so that we could have more "permanent" snow -- most of our flurries are gone in less than a day! It worked in well with a mini-unit on snowflakes. We all marveled at God's creativity displayed in Ken Libbrecht's Field Guide to Snowflakes. Stunning!

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that He may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth;
it shall not return to Me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:6-11


  1. I am not sure where to begin. Many years ago, I had stumbled upon your blog while you were waiting for your Mr. Followed you through you sewing, your thoughts, when you announced your engagement and made your beautiful wedding dress. Even through your first born. Life being what is is, I didn't have the time I did to read a lot of blogs and for some reason, I had a few minutes and wondered what happened to you and if you were still blogging. To say I have mixed feelings catching up is an understatement. I am so sorry for all of the loss you have experienced. I am thankful you decided to share your struggles so that maybe others will know they are not alone. I am so thankful to see your 4 beautiful children and the beautiful life you are living. While you have experienced such heartbreak, you have also been blessed. I will keep you in my prayers that you will hopefully get some answers and healing. It was good to catch up. Peace be with you.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! You have no idea what an encouragement they are. Your compassion and sympathy mean a great deal to me, and I'm so glad you took the time to share your history with my blog. Over the years, I've considered leaving off blogging many times, but comments or e-mails like yours keep me going.

      You are so right -- life just now is a mixture of heartbreak *and* blessing, and sometimes the pain makes it easy to lose sight of the beauty. I so appreciate your prayers, and thank you again for your kindness!



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