in the palm of His hand

On this cool and foggy morning, I hear the birds beginning their day, and know so much beauty is already pouring my way. People will converge and we will sing, and laugh, and feast together. A scraggly group, all gathered around a table, being family to one another.

This year, like every year of these forty-some odd years, has been filled with blessings too many to list. We live in a place and a time of peace, and I am able to be a mother, and a wife, and a friend, and a daughter, and a writer without anyone threatening who I am or where I’d like to go. I am so grateful.

And to you I send my very biggest cheers and prayers and wishes for a glorious day! May God keep you and hold you, and may you share the love that abounds inside of you with everyone–EVERY ONE–everywhere!

I leave you with a traditional Irish blessing…

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

May the rains fall soft upon your fields,

And, until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

 

 

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Thank You Bread

I often give bread as a thank you. It’s tastier than a note, don’t you think?

This summer we’ve been gone so often, and folks have helped take out our trash, and water our pear tomatoes, and bring in the mail, plus gather up errant copies of the Wall Street Journal that stray and yellow under the coreopsis…

So, cheese bread for all! Yum. I making several batches over several days to spread out the love.

Thanks, Jack!

Thanks, Morgan!

Thank you, Susie and Mia and Noe!

(By the way, my handwriting has degraded terribly these last few years. It’s not often that I sit and write by hand anymore and I’m appalled by the lack of style and elegance. Anyway, long story short. While my kindergartener learns to write this year, I’m going to join him with my own program. I’m so excited! It’s titled “Spencerian System of Practical Penmanship” and is a series of five small books, created in 1864, for school children. I’m hoping my thank you notes will gain in beauty as I progress–we’ll see!)

Meanwhile, back to baking, on to laundry, and then to the beach! We’re making the most of these last few days of summer.

Cheers!

January Thanks

I WILL not complain about my camera not being repaired yet. Even though it’s been out of service since Christmas Eve… I will not…

I did.

Sheesh.

I am having such fun fiddling with a pumpkin bread recipe that I found online. I’m trying to get it just right, and have been making a weekly batch since mid-December. I recently shared a loaf with a sweet woman who works at my son’s school–an indispensable woman. She was out with the flu all last week, so I thought I’d make her a Stay-Well loaf.

Yesterday I baked four loaves of French bread for another homeless dinner at our church. These dinners are always humbling. The line up begins at about 4:15, with dinner being served at 4:30. Bicycles are parked along the fence, some with trailers attached, others with fake flowers woven between the handle bars. Many of the men and women are known to our community, but there are always a few newcomers… The meal begins after a brief prayer of thanks–this time Madeleine helped spoon out the spaghetti and Andrew put bread on the plates–I served as a food runner, toting more platters when supplies ran short.

There’s chatter and bantering and hellos. It’s the end of the month and some say this dinner is the first meal they’ve had all day. Some complain that there’s not enough sauce on the spaghetti–some want two helpings of butter on their bread–some slur so badly you cant’ understand what it is they want. Most of them are worn like old leather gloves. All of them say thank you.

Thank you. I don’t say enough of that.

Thank you.

Saint Brigid poured out her thanks to those around her. I’m excited that her feast day is just around the corner! My wheat arrived and…if my camera isn’t back by then???!!!!

No.

I can be thankful even without a camera. I can try. I WILL try.

What are you thankful for this beautiful January? I bet I could list 1000 things if my fingers could type fast enough. Here are the first few that come to mind…

a full tummy, a healthy family, another spring day full of sunshine, roses in front of me, a hard working and loving husband, laundry drying on the line, flour in the bin, books all around, Christ in my heart, angels in the shadows, a little one who still likes to cuddle, a body that still bends, nasturtiums under the plum tree, the fountain and the finches. Pretty good!

Cheers, everyone… Let’s be thankful together…

Kumquat Adventures

Two loaves of kumquat bread

Mixed and baked: 4 pm

Gave second loaf to Kh. Jan

We have a kumquat tree

I love kumquats. They are a unique little citrus–you eat them whole, right off the tree, peel and all. The inner layer of the peel is the sweetest part of the fruit, with the juice being extremely sour. If you like super sour candy, then here is a natural version for you to try…

Our tree is exploding with fruit so I spend hours de-seeding, then blending the fruit so I can use it in many different ways. I add the blend to my chocolate chip cookies (so good!), I make a kumquat nut bread (here\’s the recipe), and sometimes we mix it with other fruit to make smoothies. It’s powerful stuff, and so delicious!

Here’s what it looks like once it’s blended

Anyway, today I was de-seeding another batch of fruit and decided to pop one in my mouth. I tripped, and inhaled quite a lot of juice into my windpipe, and for the first time in my life I couldn’t breathe. I doubled over in the hall, and couldn’t breathe in; I couldn’t breathe out, nor could I cough. I knew holding my breath wasn’t an option for too long, so I forced myself to inhale. No air, just a constricting and burning feeling, and a strange curiosity at how the juice was forming some sort of bubble or cover or cap in my trachea… I forced myself to cough, but the reflex didn’t respond. So odd! I was stuck.

Again, I forced myself to inhale and a horrible, desperate sound came from my throat. I tried again, and it hurt, but I could tell that a tiny bit of oxygen was getting through because my vision, which was turning fuzzy, cleared. My husband bent near to help, and the little one kept asking if I was okay, but what could they do?

I inhaled again. Oh, it was awful.

Finally, the whole mess in my lungs started to ease. I’ll spare you the details. I have a new appreciation for those who have asthma attacks. Not breathing is very disturbing…

A half hour after I’d recovered, and could manage a few basic sentences, I left the rest of the gang home and went to vespers alone. I lit a candle for everyone, even one for me, grateful for the lovely, easy air we breathe night and day. And then I gave the second loaf of kumquat bread to my daughter’s godmama, who is always ready with a hug and bursting with good cheer…

And now I’m home, seeing everything around me with an intensified sense of awe and thanks.

Amazing what the juice of one little kumquat can do…