Monday, January 22, 2018

Winter Wanderings

Saturday afternoon The Investigator and I decided to take a winter drive to clear the cobwebs from spending too much time indoors.  We headed north into the farming country of Skagit County passing old farmhouses, barns and empty muddy fields.

Off in the distance we could see flocks of snow geese which have migrated down from Alaska and Siberia.  Thousands of them arrive every winter.  Unfortunately, we were unable to get a close look at them this trip, so the photo below is from a girlfriend who was in the area last week and was lucky enough to see a flock resting by the side of the road.
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Eventually, we ended up in the little town of LaConner nestled along the Swinomish Channel between the mainland and Fidalgo Island.  In the spring and summer these little streets are bustling with tourists stopping to enjoy the farm produce and to boat along the channel.  This day the skies were overcast, the breeze was blustery and cold, and the boardwalks were empty.

In the distance you could see the Rainbow Bridge which crosses the Swinomish channel and takes you onto the Swinomish Indian Reservation.

Back on the main street we burrowed into our coats, and with hands in pockets, took a little walk peeking in the windows of the local art galleries and enjoying the peaceful courtyard gardens between buildings.

We wandered into a couple of shops including this old fashioned general store.

I have been seeing these little sipping broths in several places recently.  Has anyone tried them?

Lavender farming has become very popular in the area and this sweet smelling shop, showcasing local Lavender products, looked interesting.  

I loved this lavender wreath and was tempted to bring it home.  Perhaps another time.

 We took a late lunch in a little bakery restaurant, redolent with the delicious smells of fresh baked bread.

Homemade bacon and mushroom quiche with fresh clam chowder, Yumm!  I was halfway through it before I realized I wanted a picture.

The days are short this time of the year and by the time we had finished it was time to leave if we wanted to be home before dark.  I have already decided not to wait so long to come back to this lovely spot but for now it's time to call it a day.  Adieu!

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Work of Christmas

Hard to believe that Christmas was already almost three weeks ago. 

 The packages, piled high, have been opened.

Lights of Christmas at Warm Beach

The story of Mary and Joseph has been told.

Lights of Christmas, Warm Beach

The Angels have made their proclamation.

Jesus the Savior has come into the world!

And already the world has moved on.  The story has been all but forgotten as the tree has been taken down, the ornaments and lights packed away for another year, and people make their new year resolutions.  So what now?

Truthfully, I am not sure if I kept Christmas as well as I could have this year.  Certainly, we did some wonderful things during the season, visiting the lights at Warm Beach, taking our family for a winter weekend at Seaside (which I will share about more in another post), baking cookies and hosting the family Christmas dinner, and just enjoying all the festivities that the holiday season brings. I loved every minute of it, but I think perhaps I was a bit more of a Martha in a Martha world than a Mary.  

There was one moment though, when I took my mom to the Christmas concert at the beginning of Advent, and I heard a song I had never heard before.  Perhaps you have, but it was new to me.  I would like to share it with you here  The words have echoed in my heart and reminded me over and over that Christmas isn't done.  Christ is still here living in us and we are the light shining in the darkness because of him.


When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins;
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the brothers,
to make music from the heart. 

Our Lord said whatever you have done for the least of my brothers you have done for me. (Matt. 25:40)

May this not be just a new year resolution, easily made and quickly forgotten but a way of life because God first loved us.

Wishing everyone a blessed and happy new year.  

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Festival of Trees at Tulalip

Last week The Investigator and I attended the open house for the annual Festival of Trees at the Tulalip Resort in Marysville.  Every year local groups decorate wreaths and trees which are then put on display. Every tree has it's own theme.  All the proceeds from the week long event go to help support the Providence Hospital Children's Fund.  I was very excited as this was the first time we had ever been able to go.  Retirement does have its perks.  Everything was so beautifully decorated I just had to share.

Naturally, with red being one of my favorite colors I headed straight for this tree all decorated in Cranberry.

Of course, there were other colors too.

 I'm not into the comic book theme but my boys would have liked this one.

I would have definitely chosen this one for my baby granddaughter.  She loves giraffes.

This one though was my favorite, drawn back to traditional red. I loved the old fashioned feel of it too.

Everything around the resort was beautiful as well. 

 Looking forward to more celebrations ahead.  We will be decorating our own Christmas tree this afternoon and looking forward to the Festival of Lights up at Warm Beach this evening.  I hope each of you are having opportunities to celebrate as this wonderful season of Advent and Christmas continues.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sacred sounds of Christmas

After spending a lovely Thanksgiving weekend celebrating with family and friends I had the opportunity to take my mother into Seattle to the Benaroya Hall to see The Sacred Sounds of Christmas, performed by the Seattle Pacific University orchestra and choirs on Sunday night.  My mom's 85th  birthday is coming up next week and I wanted to treat her to something special.  I had not ever been to Benaroya before so it was a special treat for me as well.

The 10 year old building is beautiful, with rounded walls filled with multiple stories of glass windows that allowed for a view of the city lights beyond.

On each end of the gallery hung these gorgeous Chihuly glass Chandeliers.  There were a lot of people in the hall so I couldn't get very close but they were amazing.  Sculpted by Dale Chihuly, each chandelier weighs 3 tons and measure 12 feet wide by 15 feet long.  I wish I could have captured with my little phone camera just how beautiful they really were.

Inside the concert hall three walls were lined with rows of viewing boxes.  Behind the stage is a magnificent pipe organ.  The orchestra was just beginning to warm up as we came in.

We were fortunate to have 2nd tier seats right near the stage.  By the time the concert began every seat in the hall was taken.

The performance itself was wonderful.  The University has a symphony orchestra, a wind ensemble, a worship band, chamber singers and four different choirs. In between some of the selections the audience was invited to sing several of the great Christmas Hymns along with the choir. We heard readings from a Christmas poem called Noel written by J.R.R. Tolkien in 1936, a fanfare from a canticle by St. Francis of Assisi as well as a couple of other short symphonies.  I didn't recognize many of the choral selections,  It was such a joy to hear so many new and beautiful pieces of music along with old and treasured favorites.

It was a lot of fun being able to treat my mom to such a joyfully special birthday gift and it was a perfect beginning to the Advent and Christmas Season ahead.  May the Lord bless and keep you as you begin your Advent preparations as well.