Another Christmas in the books. And another year coming to a close...seemingly faster than all the ones before. We stayed close to home this year, spent Christmas Eve at my sister's house and with family. We enjoyed a delicious dinner, watched the children open their presents and played a quick gift exchange game. Shortly thereafter everyone dissipated and headed for their own homes. Holidays are a fairly quick affair with my family these days. There are fewer of us, some gone and some choosing to spend the time with friends or their own families. I truly prefer it this way, as the older I become, the more differences I see and feel between us. Gone are the lighthearted days of our youth and the close-knit family that lives on in my memories.
We went to church on Sabbath and enjoyed a quiet, but beautifully spiritual celebration reflecting the reason for this holiday. Lovely old hymns were sung and we felt truly blessed for our church family and friends. We went home feeling peaceful and spent the remainder of the day listening to Christmas music and baking cookies. My husband and I both had a 4-day weekend off from work duties and it was enjoyed immensely. Since returning from our cruise, I've been nursing a cold and quiet time spent at home near the hearth was just what the doctor ordered. We spent some extra time in the barn with the horses. After cleaning the stalls and giving them fresh bedding and clean waters, we passed out Christmas goodies in the form of apples and carrots along with their rations of sweet hay and a little grain. I attempted to brush a few of the horses and rid them of some accumulated mud, but my energy levels deplete very quickly these days. The horses were quite satisfied with the attentions though, and seemed to appreciate every moment of personal time they received. This morning I noticed that all that mud has been re-deposited on their coats. *sigh* We've been experiencing grey, rainy days since our return, but our temps are fairly warm so we have that to be thankful for. Christmas eve day and Christmas day we had dry, beautifully warm sunshine. :)
I took these festive shots of our little downtown area. The town has new decorations and a lovely Christmas tree in the square, but there were so many people out and about that it made picture taking quite a chore. So, I was satisfied with these few and thought you might enjoy them.
Below are the chicken girls enjoying some over-baked Christmas cookies and the sunshine in the back yard. Seeing Penny's fluffy bottom always makes me smile. She seems to bring a sense of calm and camaraderie to our little flock. We enjoy watching them and the feeling of quietness that they bring to us. I am so glad we have them!
Who knew chickens could be so very entertaining!
We've been home from our cruise just over a week now. We had a very nice time and really enjoyed the getaway from our farm chores and care taking duties especially. To have absolutely no daily responsibilities is to live like kings and queens! Definitely not what we're accustomed to. The sunshine and warm tropical breezes were also a delight. I enjoyed swimming in the Caribbean ocean, a lot! It's so warm, you can just wade in and go for a swim. Not at all like our Pacific Ocean, which will always take your breath away. In all my days, except for wading on occasion, I don't recall ever actually swimming in the Pacific ocean...well, except for those days spent in Hawaii. The Caribbean is a quiet, gentle and warmly inviting ocean by comparison. And the color! The incredible blues, teals and greens are something to behold! That wonderful ocean and the quiet times spent out on deck on the ship are my most favorite memories. To quietly gaze out over that lovely ocean with the sun setting in the distance is just magical. Peaceful, calming and restorative all at once. And I was up early enough to enjoy a few sunrises as well. *sigh* I loved every minute of that special, quiet time. I did take a few pictures, but haven't uploaded them yet from my camera. When I do, I'll share them with you.
We did disembark at every port as well. On the day we visited Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Honduras the seas were a bit rough, the wind was up and there were several tropical downpours. No worries for us Oregonians. We had windbreakers which were water repellent, and just went out in it and got wet. It was so warm that the rain actually felt refreshing. We loved it! So many people either stayed on board the ship, or the other ships in port that day chose to not let their people off. I guess maybe they thought the sea was a bit rough for the tender boats? Not sure, but the ocean swells did not phase us at all. The short tender boat ride was a bit bouncy, but nothing we haven't experienced before here at home. We loved every minute of it!
Suffice it to say that we had a lovely cruise...the food was mostly delicious, the dining experiences were amazing, we met some wonderful people and enjoyed scintillating conversations, we enjoyed getting dressed up, enjoyed the ports, the beautiful ship, the ocean...the fantastic barbecued lobster tails we had on a tiny, little island off Belize and so much more. I'd love to do it again someday. But it felt so good to come home. Home to our dogs, our horses and our cozy, little home. There truly is no place like home.
I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas, and I wish for you a healthy and happy new year, filled with wonder and adventure. You're never too old to experience life's adventures. Go out there and find yours!
Until next time, go find your joy...
Lorie and the gang at C-ing Spots.