Edition 43-Wednesday’s Word

July 28, 2010 | My Jottings

Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.

(J. I. Packer)

Schmeedith Needle

July 27, 2010 | My Jottings

Our oldest Miniature German Schnauzer Edith is a really nice dog. She loves the company of her humans – during the day as I work in different areas of the house, she follows me and often curls up wherever I am, just to be close. When I’m at the computer, she makes herself a circle dog on the office carpet. When I’m folding laundry, she lays on a chair by me and quietly watches. When I’m cooking, she curls up on a kitchen rug to be near. I love that about Edith.

What I don’t love about Edith is her instinctual hyper-vigilance and her need to bark at almost every moving thing. It is said that Schnauzers were specifically bred to be ratters. We have a lot of moving things in northern Minnesota in the summertime. In the space of one hour we might have right outside our house three deer, two chipmunks, four squirrels, one rabbit, one cardinal, ten chickadees, twenty sparrows, one indigo bunting, two blue jays, five children on bicycles, four neighbors walking various dogs, and one postal carrier. We often have to pull our shades just to keep Edith from seeing outside so she can keep quiet for a little while.

When we scold and shush her she acts very contrite and ashamed of herself but can’t seem to control her spontaneous outbursts – her need to bark seems almost involuntary. I am sure The Dog Whisperer could come along and help us in less than one hour but for now we are inept dog owners who can’t keep our pooches from being shrieking sentries.

Mildred (Millie) is our younger Schnauzer and she has a host of other issues I’ll tell about someday. You won’t want to miss that post. Very electrifying stuff here on the blog, folks. Millie behaves like a spoiled princess, even though we don’t spoil her. In spite of her barking, Edith is the more sedate and controlled dog – she is Queen Edith.

This photo of Edith sort of epitomizes what she thinks she was put on earth to do. She’s looking alertly out the front living room windows to make sure nothing moves without her immediately notifying us about it.

Notice the one upright ear? It won’t bend. Schnauzers have floppy ears that bend forward, but Edith’s one ear is always standing up. We say she has more cartilage than the average dog, somehow an admirable distinction we want Edith to feel good about. When she comes back from the groomer and isn’t as furry as she is in this photo, her stand-up ear looks pointed and sharp, like the dorsal fin of a killer whale. Then we call her Orca.

Once in a great while, Edith also smiles. When she is very relaxed (which is rare) and is being gently petted and crooned to, she raises her bearded chin and gazes into the eyes of the crooner and slowly draws her little black lips back to show her Schnauzer teeth. We especially like when she does this, and will even call others into the room to see it. “Look! Edith is smiling again!” we say.

I’m not sure why or how it started, but for as long as I can remember we’ve given our dogs quirky little nicknames. Sara has been especially talented at this. She used to call our long departed little Schnauzer Winnie “Beauteous Montoya” and “Niffery Yoder.” Years ago Carolyn started calling Edith “Schmeedith,” and from then on we commented that a very unique business to own would be a needle making company called Schmeedith Needle. We laughed about how the customer service calls would be smoothly answered: “Good afternoon, Schmeedith Needle, how may I direct your call?” Now that Sharon owns a yarn dyeing business, maybe Schmeedith Needle could manufacture knitting needles.

Have any of you imagined manufacturing companies built around a nickname you’ve given your pet?


None of you?


Well, have any of you given silly little nicknames to your pets? What are they? Tell us the kind of pet you have (or have had), the actual name of your pet, and some of the goofy things you and your family have called him/her!

Are You talking to me?

July 22, 2010 | My Jottings

Every summer for the past nine years I’ve had the privilege of hosting a beloved group of friends for a Bible study in my home. All of us comment each year that there’s no better way to mark our summers than to study together, to pray and encourage one another, and to hopefully grow in grace and truth. We have done several of Beth Moore’s eleven week studies, a seven week study called Conversation Peace by Mary Kassian, and this year we’re doing the updated Breaking Free by Beth.

We meet on Tuesday mornings, June through August, and share our hearts, go through the week’s study questions and discuss what we’ve learned, watch a teaching DVD by Beth, pass the Kleenex, and close by praying together.

Breaking Free is based on Isaiah chapter 61:1-4, and has been written to help people break free from any bondage that keeps them from being who they were meant to be in Christ. Some people need to break free from some pretty huge chains and some people have smaller chains that don’t seem to be of as much consequence, but whether it’s drug addiction or despair, food issues or fear, abuse or apathy, narcissism or nail-biting, most of us have something we struggle with. Most of us have some issue in our lives we’ve just learned to live with. Last week’s study called it “making peace with our captor.” I know that story.

Here is the passage from Isaiah 61 on which our study is based:

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.

Six hundred years after God inspired Isaiah to write his prophecy, Jesus came to earth to fulfill it.

This is from Luke, chapter four:

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

(painting by Greg Olson)

“Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'”

Was Jesus speaking only to the Jews in that synagogue? Or was He saying that He had come to bind up the broken hearts of others too?

Did Jesus mean only that He would give sight to physically blind eyes then, or did He intend to open eyes in 2010?

Did Jesus come to set captive people free only in His own country during his earthly lifetime, or does He intend to do it now, in our countries and in your home and mine?

When He unrolled that scroll and said that He would release the oppressed from their chains, did He mean only the demonized man of the tombs and Mary Magdalene with seven demons, or did He look down the centuries and see you and me sitting at our computers reading these words, and have us in His mind?

Can the ancient ruins of our families really be rebuilt? Can He really restore the places that have been long devastated? Even the ones that have been devastated for generations?

Did He mean you and me when He said He would drape us in a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair?

Will He truly pour the oil of gladness on us instead of mourning?

When He stood up in His hometown synagogue after being in the wilderness for forty days, when He asked for the ancient scripture scroll of Isaiah the prophet, when He unrolled it and read aloud His job description, was He talking to you? Was He talking to me?

Jesus, are You talking to me?

Little Miss Priss

July 19, 2010 | My Jottings

My mom was thirty-five years old when she had me. I was a surprise to our family, and the news of my mom’s pregnancy was apparently not especially welcome, as she and my dad did not have a very solid marriage.

When I was in my twenties I was blessed to have a short visit with the older woman who had been my parents’ next door neighbor when I was born. Her name was Ruby Greener, and she was also the first Sunday School teacher I ever had at the First Baptist Church of Covina. I vividly remember Mrs. Greener teaching a roomful of three and four year-olds how to sing “This Little Light of Mine” and how demonstrative she was when she whisked her cupped hand (bushel) away from her pointed index finger (her little light) and sang, “Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it shine!…”

Anyway, decades later an elderly Mrs. Greener told me that my mother had confided in her over the fence that separated their houses, and cried when she shared that she was pregnant. Mrs. Greener remembered my mother hanging laundry out to dry, and visiting with her on a sunny southern California winter day, and Mom weeping at the sorrows in her life. My brothers were fifteen and ten years old when I was born, and I think Mom thought she was done having children. Mrs. Greener told me that my mother looked at her desperately and cried, “If I only knew I was having a little girl I think I could bear this better!”

It made me sad to know that things were bad with my parents so early on. From my lofty perch now (the ripe old age of fifty-two) I can say without hesitation that I know what was at the bottom of my parents’ woes: selfishness. I am not trying to disparage them — they loved me and showed me over and over that they did. And I love and miss my mom and dad. But even though their troubles might have had other names to them (maybe workaholism, depression, anger, poor communication, mishandling of finances, pride, whatever) there had to be one bedrock problem contributing to all of it – selfishness. On both sides.

If ever there is tension in my own marriage I can trace it to selfishness in some way. If I love my husband unselfishly and he loves me unselfishly, things go well. When I start thinking it’s time for me to have my say or get my way, things deteriorate. I’m a very selfish person and being unselfish does not come easy for me, yet it makes me happier when I am. But I digress.

When I was little and asked my mom how I came to be, she smiled and said, “I prayed and asked God to give us a little girl.” I don’t doubt the truth of her answer. She may not have prayed for a third pregnancy, but I’m certain that once she realized a third child was coming, she did pray and ask God to give her a girl. And anyone who knew my mom would remember that she doted on me, dressed me fine, encouraged me, sacrificed for me and showed me in a zillion ways that she was glad I was her little girl.

I had Easter hats and ruffled socks and new patent leather shoes every year. I had ribbons in my hair (but no bangs, if she had anything to say about it, which she did) and ruffles on my blouses. I had pleated skirts and fur collars on my coats. My mother starched and ironed my dresses and put curlers in my hair for special occasions. I was tomboyish too, but my scrapbooks are filled with photos of me mostly all dressed up and smiling for the camera.

This photo was taken when I was nearly five years old, and it sat with two others in a trio of frames on my parents’ dresser in their bedroom. My mom took me to her hairdresser, Mabel, to have my hair done specifically for the photography session. The dress I wore was white and was topped with a lavender colored little cape with a fake carnation on it. The photographer tossed a ball at me and I caught it, and the twinkle in my eye from that shot made my mom choose that photo for one of the three that was in their room. Another photo was of me looking pensive, reading a Little Golden Book.

And this one is of me looking like Little Miss Priss.

My hair truly never looked like this again. I came home, threw off my dress and flowered cape, put on some shorts and a tee-shirt, and went off riding my two-wheeler with training wheels down our quiet neighborhood street. I had people to see, dogs to pet, books to read, and dirt to play in.

Now, every time I look at old photos (and I’m going through them slowly these days) I remember my mama, and how she prayed so earnestly that she would have a girl. And how once she saw that prayer was answered, she did everything in her power to make sure I was dressed and treated like one.

Did your mom ever take you to the beauty parlor or make you wear a purple cape?

In Christ Alone

July 15, 2010 | My Jottings

A few years ago I drove with a group of friends to attend a Living Proof Live conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was such a wonderful weekend, and it was a privilege to be there with thousands of others who were gathered for essentially the same reason: to experience Jesus Christ. Some may have found Him in the worship, some came to hear His voice spoken over their circumstances in the Word, others may have come to see if He could really be who He claimed to be. That weekend in April the SAGs began memorizing scripture together, as we reminded ourselves that God is able to make all grace abound to us, so that in all things at all times, having all that we need, we would abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

One of the songs the worship team played deeply impacted each of the SAGs. I had heard it before, but never sung by Travis Cottrell and the LPL team, and never coupled with the hymn “The Solid Rock.” Each time “In Christ Alone” was sung that weekend, it was as if we all stood there riveted by the profound lyrics that encapsulate what it means to be a Christian…to be in Christ, to belong to Him, to rest in His love and power, to trust Him with this life and the next, to love Him. I realize that there are many people who only see of Christianity what imperfect Christians display. And I know I’m one of the Christians who has not adequately represented Christ to the world. My life may not have drawn many to Jesus.

But if you can take a few minutes to listen to this song and see the lyrics, you might sense what is so magnetic, so lovely, so amazing and magnificent about Him. I cannot get over the fact that somehow Jesus loves me and has taken me as His own. And He loves you too, and wants to be the Friend, the Father, the Comforter, the Deliverer, the One you have perhaps intensely needed in your life.

As we drove home from that weekend away, we listened to this song over and over in the car, letting its truth wash over us and into us. It became an anthem of sorts for The SAGs.

It never fails to make me stop whatever I’m doing and listen carefully to the words, letting them interrupt the idiot thoughts and frenetic activity of my little life; it usually makes me cry.

If the lyrics of this song are lies, then I’m receiving false comfort here on earth, and when I die, the worms will make dust of my body and that will be the end of me.

If what this song says is true, then every moment of every day means something, and when I die I will cease leaving here and cross over into living somewhere else.

I hope on that day that somehow my grandchildren will understand that I have not ceased to exist, but that I have just moved. And that I’ll be waiting for them, watching for them, cheering for them, to make their own individual and momentous decisions to be In Christ Alone.

Edition 42-Wednesday’s Word

July 14, 2010 | My Jottings

“Hurt people hurt people, and blessed people bless people.”

Quoted by Amy Grant in an interview

Author unknown

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Sara Barber

July 12, 2010 | My Jottings

“Dad, your eyebrows are growing down into your eyes. Let me help you with those. As a matter of fact, it’s such a nice evening…let’s go out on the back deck and I’ll give your hair a little trim too. Hmmmm, now how does this battery-powered trimmer work, exactly?”

“I’m getting it now…I think if I use my fingers to measure by, I can give you a nice, even haircut. Don’t fall asleep, Dad.”

“Wow, this thing really cuts close to the scalp in some places! Are you doing okay there Dad? Can you crack a smile to show me you’re still awake?”

“Okay, Dad, I think the trend for men’s sideburns has changed as of right now. I think the new look is going to be sideburns that are level with the tops of your ears. Just think Dad — you can lead the way for countless Minnesota men who want the newest look! Yes! I’m glad you’re happy about that, Dad.”

“Now maybe I can just even up the few little places that look a little choppy. Hold still, Dad. Ooops, maybe I should give you a tonsure. No sideburns and a haircut like a moth-eaten monk. You don’t mind, do you Dad? You’ve always been easy going and certainly never vain, and after all, hair grows back, right Dad?”

“Well, I think I may just take a little break here, Dad. I’ll sit down while you rest and we’ll consider what to do next. Maybe you should see Pete the barber and get that buzz cut that Mom always likes on you.”

“Mildred thinks you look terrific, Dad.”

If anyone reading this would like to make an appointment with Sara Barber, you can reach her at 1(800)MOTHCUT.

Have a great week,

These days

July 7, 2010 | My Jottings

Last night we were finally able to sleep with the bedroom windows open, because it was slightly cooler and there was a whisper of a breeze. Lately, these days have been hot and steamy, with not much cooling down after sunset, so when it’s like that we shut the five windows in our master bedroom space and turn on the window air conditioner. Then we sigh in relief as the Black Wraith of Hopelessness slinks out of the room while the artificially cooled air washes over us. Or at least I sigh in relief. I don’t think Michael knows about the Black Wraith of Hopelessness that occasionally hovers in the corner of our bedroom at night, behind the overstuffed black and cream plaid chair.

Sometime around three a.m. I awoke to an awful, sharp smell. Some of you might remember that over a year ago I lost my sense of smell (a condition called anosmia), then after several months a small portion of my olfactory capabilities were slowly restored. Thank you Lord! People ask now and then, “How is your nose doing?” and I usually tell them I think I have about 30% of my sense of smell back. In order to discern smells these days, something has to be right up against my nose or something has to smell horribly putrid. Last night I smelled a skunk, and it was as if he had taken aim at the window near my side of the bed. I considered getting up and closing all the windows and turning on the air conditioner, but instead pulled the sheet up over my nose and tried to go back to sleep. This morning the skunk odor is almost gone.

Last night Sharon and Chris and their three little ones stopped by to get some of their mail that is still coming to our house, even though in early June they moved into their own place 1.5 miles away. They have filed two change of address forms with the post office, but somehow a lot of their mail is slipping through the cracks and coming here. I always wondered where random things go when they “slip through the cracks” and apparently a goodly amount of it comes to our house. Due to yesterday’s heat, Chris and Sharon took the kids to one of the many swimming spots in our city, a fresh, deep pool that’s part of a small river that empties into Lake Superior. When my girls were little they swam there a lot in the summer.

Their new chocolate Lab puppy, Rosemary Ruth Rosenbaum (Rosie for short) took her first swim last evening, frantically pistoning her front paws and legs to stay afloat.

Sharon told me that when one of the kids recently asked for something, she replied, “Maybe later.” Then she heard Mr. McBoy whisper to one of his sisters, “When ladies say ‘maybe later’ it usually means no.” We laughed hard at that one. I’m so thankful for these days of having all of my grandchildren nearby.

Even though we just finished celebrating our 29th anniversary, Michael and I went out to lunch yesterday at The Olive Garden and spent the time discussing where we’ll go to celebrate our thirtieth anniversary next year. We want to decide on the place and the tour and the time of year, so we can put a deposit down and start slowly planning. Michael would like to see every country on the globe, especially China. I would like to see China too, but somehow I hadn’t envisioned pressing through throngs of people and wearing surgical masks to avoid air pollution while not being able to communicate with anyone, as possible memories of our anniversary trip. Thankfully Michael is flexible so we narrowed it down to either two weeks in Ireland and Scotland, or two weeks in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. As of this writing I think the latter has won out, and when we have time we’ll start looking at tour companies and tours. Do any of you have recommendations? I’d be so grateful to hear of any.

We love to get the soup and salad lunch at The Olive Garden. Michael gets the Zuppa Toscana soup with the spicy Italian sausage and the kale in it, and I like the Chicken Gnocchi with the bits of spinach and the grape-sized dumplings. After lunch we went grocery shopping and I found these.

Michael has a deep attachment to soup of any kind, and also dumplings, so I thought I’d search for a good gnocchi soup recipe and make it as soon as the weather cools down a little.

These days I’ve been craving summer things: freshly made salsa with tons of cilantro, my mother’s old six-ingredient gazpacho recipe, Swedish cucumbers with fresh dill, Spicy Grape Pasta Salad with triple the amount of ginger the recipe calls for, Ina Garten’s Panzanella, whole wheat pita sandwiches stuffed with salad and blue cheese and raw sunflower seeds, fresh blackberries and raspberries tossed together with a little yogurt, Miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. That kind of summer fare. What do you like to eat in the summer?

I’ve also been seeing a mother deer and her twin fawns strolling in our neighborhood these days. They often walk in the same direction, single file, and I’m filled with delight when they show up while I’m working in my office. The mother walks at a fair pace and is cautious and watchful, but not what I’d call paranoid. I don’t care for paranoid deer, do you? I always say there’s nothing worse than a paranoid deer. Her two little children still have their white spots, and they follow along behind her one after the other, epitomizing the word gambol. They don’t quite trot or frisk – they gambol. I believe that’s the first time I’ve ever used that word. I grabbed my camera and went out on the front porch in my nightgown to get the best shot I could. You can click on the photo to enlarge it to see the little compulsive gambollers better.

Anyway, then after a few days of this little deer parade, the mother walked by again, but only one fawn followed her. This upset me very much and I went off to tell Michael about it and to see what he thought. It’s not hunting season in Minnesota (don’t even get me started about that) so what could have happened to the other twin? Michael wasn’t worried and said that the little deer could have simply been asleep somewhere and they would go back to him and all would be well. I wanted to believe him, but deep down inside I am dubious about the little twin just deciding he would stay home while the other two went out for a walk. I have other things on my mind these days, though, so can’t think about the deer today. I will think about the deer tomorrow. Maybe.

I am also paying a lot of attention to the calendar these days. In twenty-two days my beloved sister-in-law Christy and my darling niece Savannah (or are they my darling sister-in-law and my beloved niece?) are coming from Tennessee to visit us in Minnesota. I’m hoping they’ll like the third floor guest suite and that it won’t be terribly hot while they’re here. I’m trying to figure out what meals I’ll make, and just the right amount of sitting around time and driving to see a couple of spectacular sights time for their visit.

I have asked God to show me if it could possibly be in His will for me to go to England this fall to a retreat my friend Ember is leading at a beautiful place called Penhurst. She will speak on “Gospel simplicity — not just about shaking loose from the clutter that threatens to overwhelm our schedules and our homes, but about developing quietness in our hearts, finding spaciousness, clearing some of the baggage that fills up our souls and leaves less room for love and for real peace.” Doesn’t that sound amazing? It makes me yearn just to read that description again.

Ever in my mind is that this may be the last full year we spend in this house, as we are still planning to put it on the market next spring. We’re putting the final finishing touches on things and hoping that the right buyer will come along and love everything enough to make it theirs. One more Christmas here, one more Thanksgiving, one more winter…of course only God knows whether this house will even sell next year, but we prepare nonetheless.

The living room window area was never used as a window seat before we bought the house, and I’ve always thought the lovely filtered light streaming in called for a special place to curl up and read. This area is still in process, but this is what it looks like this sunny morning.

Here’s another photo taken a few days ago after some sweet grandbabies had been over. I took the photo from the stairs, looking through the posts in the banister.

One last living room project remains: a suitable fireplace mantel/surround. Through the door to the right is the office, and the window behind the window seat looks out on the front yard. The old waterfall hope chest belongs to Sara, something she inherited from her paternal grandmother when she died.

For inspiration, I always enjoy looking at the ideas at The Inspired Room – have you checked out Melissa’s site?

These are also days of summer Bible study. Eight cherished friends fill my den on Tuesday mornings as we discuss our week’s study of Beth Moore’s newest Breaking Free. To share about some of the things God is pressing on my heart through this study will require another post altogether, but for now I’ll just say that rarely is there a dry eye after watching the DVD, and I think we all feel the weight of blessing it is to study and pray together in freedom and great expectation.

Soon Michael and I will be driving to Rochester, MN for an orthopedic consultation at the Mayo Clinic. He tore his rotator cuff in February and since there are extenuating circumstances regarding a possible surgical shoulder repair, we decided to take advantage of the best medical care around. Kings and princes come to the Mayo for treatment….my handsome prince will too.

I spent seven hours last weekend climbing the paperwork Alps. What a good feeling to get so much done. I probably have three more hours to do this week, and then I’ll be able to see the summit.

These days the schnauzers bark at every movement outside our windows. There are black squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, deer, and woodpeckers enough in the yard to keep Edith and Mildred feeling useful. Bob Bennett sings on the house stereo system a song that brings peace and tears, “Jesus In Our Time.” Michael and his friend Carl are working on the Taj Mamichael in our back yard — an edifice they’re building that I wasn’t thrilled about. It will hold Michael’s four-wheeler, his snowmobile, the snow-blower, the lawn mower, and maybe even his boat. I am working on an article (for a small California newspaper) about my dad and his friendship with the late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. Lately almost every day I make iced tea.

I am counting my blessings today and am depending on Jesus to make Himself known in new ways to me and my family.

That’s what’s going on these days….

Kidquips 5

July 5, 2010 | My Jottings

A few weeks ago four-year old Vivienne spent the night at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Oh, what a delightfully unusual child she is! She is feminine and sweet, imaginative and loving. We all comment that Vivie sometimes seems to live in another world of her own creation, because once in a while it takes a little beckoning to get her to come back to the here and now.

Anyway, in that candid way that children have and should not be faulted for, Vivie made an observation about me when she was over last. I was reaching high into a kitchen cabinet to get something, and she was across the room by the table and chairs, waiting for me. She tilted her head slightly in her Viviennesque way and said quietly and matter-of-factly: “Uhhh, Grandma…you have a big bottom.”

I smiled to myself and answered without missing a beat, “Yes, you’re right, Vivie. I do.”

Then after a few moments of deep thought she slowly said, “Uhhhh, I think that’s because Carolyn is your daughter.”

Carolyn is Vivie’s mama and my second child. And I had never before thought that it was Carolyn’s doing that I am shaped the way I am.

I am quite relieved to have been enlightened, though. Now when I look in the mirror and sigh, wondering when change in this part of my life will finally come, I comfort myself knowing it’s all Carolyn’s fault.

Druthers 5

July 2, 2010 | My Jottings

If I had my druthers…..

…I would spend a good many hours reading and studying, praying and writing, pondering and napping in a space like this…

…and the window beside the bed would open out over a view like this…

…and in the late afternoon Michael and I would sit down to this…

…and in the evening we would warm our toes by this…

…and for the first time in decades, when we first peered at the clock in the morning it would say

….but that’s only if I had my druthers….