Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Silent Joy of the Days Before

The days before the day when families gather to celebrate the birth of the Lord, are busy days for most. So many preparation taking place that involve food, gifts, gatherings and traditions.

It is always good to take some time away from the busy moments, to stop, reflect, and give thanks.

These two know nothing about the season of hustle and bustle.  Their world is much simpler.

Life is quite simple for my hens too, for these days there is not much to do.  I coax them out of the coop with some straw, and some of them venture out.

But it is not long before they are back in the run, preferring to scratch dirt rather than snow.  Cold feet are not fun!

Beautiful winter sunsets abound....

Snow covered roads make travel more exciting.

Orange flecked golden glows from the sun lightens up the pines.

Rosy sunsets over still waters, and an empty park bench.

Snow's cold embrace beckons me to look for signs of uninterrupted beauty.

So still, so quiet, so tranquil.

Bright red berries set against the backdrop of the white snow are stunning.

In the minus temperatures, our turkey friends huddle.

Frigid air mixing with less frigid air... creating billowy fog drifts along the river.

Native grasses shrouded in hoary frost wave in the stiff polar breeze.

The breath of polar arctic cold takes on a new dimensions along the river.

The frozen pond, silent today.  The remaining geese in our area have no doubt found open water to glide in.

As I ponder the stillness, the quiet, and the beauty around me, I think of all the busyness of this season and how it pulls you away from the calm joy found here.

I hope you will make time to pause, stop and let the beauty of the season wash your soul with its gentle peace, joy and love that it was meant to be.  The greatest gift the Lord has wrought for us began in in a simple cold place.  As I visit my chickens, I cannot imagine how Mary felt, birthing the Lord in such a place, no doubt in the cold, with the smell of the animals, and in her heart, the heartache too - the uncertainty of what all this must mean.

And yet, somehow in that cold difficult night when Jesus was born, hope came to the world, joy resounded from the lips of the angels, and Mary cuddled little Jesus tighter, holding onto his warmth, and wondering.

Today, I still wonder... such tender love, and the miracle of it all.  God, who created me, born in a cold lonely manger... to show how much He loved me, and how He was willing to do all this for all of mankind.

Stop and ponder it today, feel the hope, the peace, and the joy that was brought into this world because of the love our Lord Jesus has for you.  My prayer for you is much like the Apostle Paul's prayer below, that the blessings of the Lord would be rich in your life, that His presence would be powerful beyond measure, and that you would grow in the increase and knowledge of who HE is in this coming year.

Ephesians 1:15-22 
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, 
and love unto all the saints, 
Cease not to give thanks for you, 
making mention of you in my prayers; 
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, 
may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; 
that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, 
and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, 
according to the working of his mighty power, 
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, 
and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, 
and every name that is named, 
not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 
And hath put all things under his feet, 
and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.


Dear friends, I am taking a bit of a blogging break, and will see you here, the Lord willing, in January 2017.  Merry Christmas, and a Blessed New Year! 


  1. The skies in your photos are celebrating too, SUI. Have a blessed Christmas.

  2. Beautiful! I especially like the photos where the bridge is mirrored on the water. You live a stunning place. Enjoy your break. Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

  3. What a beautiful Christmas message here. Your pictures are phenomenal--just beautiful. If you have a chance I think you will love the little poem I wrote on my blog today about the birth of Jesus. Many Christmas blessings to you and your family- xo Diana

  4. So easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. It is so important to not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas, to stop and reflect on the birth of our Savior. It's a beautiful time year, and a beautiful time to spend time with God. I enjoyed all your photos, it's the only way I get to enjoy snow. Merry Christmas.

  5. Lovely, and I am learning to ponder and not allow the hustle to ruffle His peace and calm. Enjoy your rest and the family⛄ Hugs...

  6. That was just so beautiful! I find myself wanting to visit Idaho someday! Such majestic stillness and grandeur! Thank you for this little retreat from the busyness of this week. I needed that break. Praying your Christmas and New Year will be filled with joy and many blessings. See you next year!

  7. HOPE came indeed! Yay!
    Have a wonderful celebration! Love love love!

  8. Stunning photographs to look at and admire.
    Your words were so lovely to read too.

    I wish you Merry Christmas, and a Blessed New Year too!

    All the best Jan

  9. Oh, these pictures! They are simply breathtaking! I am just completely drawn in and feel like I am right there...drinking in the splendor and beauty along with you. Your blog, your photos, and YOU, dear friend, are a gift to us all. I am so thankful you share your life with us here. Sending you much love, many hugs, and hopes for a quiet, peaceful blogging break for you. Have a very Merry Christmas!!!

  10. What a beautiful and tender message, dear Marilyn.
    Your thoughts about Mary as you enter into your own chicken coop was thought provoking.
    Beautiful Scripture you have shared with us and your photos are stunning as always. God has certainly gifted you when it comes to photography, amazing!

    Have a wonderful Christmas and may the New Year bring you all the joys of the Lord, for He is good and gracious.

    Much love to you~~

  11. What a beautiful and tender message, dear Marilyn.
    Your thoughts about Mary as you enter into your own chicken coop was thought provoking.
    Beautiful Scripture you have shared with us and your photos are stunning as always. God has certainly gifted you when it comes to photography, amazing!

    Have a wonderful Christmas and may the New Year bring you all the joys of the Lord, for He is good and gracious.

    Much love to you~~

  12. From our home in Colorado to yours, Christmas blessings to you all. Enjoy the break and we'll see you in January.

  13. I so loved seeing your beautiful photos, Marilyn. What a wonderful part of the country you are blessed to live in. Thank you for sharing the passage from scripture with us to reflect upon.
    Also, you paintbrush cookies are such a special tradition for your family. Merry Christmas blessings to you and your family, sweet friend, and a Happy New Year!

  14. A beautiful post...Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  15. Beautiful photos and lovely thoughts to accompany them. Merry Christmas!

  16. Beautiful photos and thoughts on the Christmas season, Marilyn. I wish you and yours a blessed Christmas.

  17. A beautiful, peaceful, restful post. Just what I needed to read tonight. Be blessed!

  18. The dogs are beautiful and well taken care! It is fun to see how a chicken stands in one leg like the one in the photo.Lovely photos of the outdoors, the sky looks so pretty!
    Wonderful bible message! May your Christmas be peaceful and a great year ahead in 2017!

  19. The pictures are beautiful! Merry Christmas. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  20. Taking time to catch up with some of my favorite bloggers, now that it is after Christmas. Favorite picture is the picnic table.

  21. Gorgeous photos! It's such a beautiful season in so many ways.

  22. Oh my, the beauty that surrounds you is breath taking~ Your photos are gorgeous, and makes everything so inviting! I love the chickens, turkeys and dogs too. When I was little we raised that really brought back memories, especially of my sweet Mama..

    Hope you are enjoying your Christmas/New Years holiday.


  23. Your photos are beautiful! Happy New Year to you and your family! Kelly

  24. Your views are incredible. We've only had a little snow. I'm glad and pray it stays that way but know we have to have some freezes or the bugs will be terrible this year.

    Happy New Year. The animals look great.

  25. Lovely post, my friend. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you and your family are enjoying these silent days of winter. Oh, the hoary frost! We have that here, too. Yesterday on the drive to church I was in awe of the beauty of each tree, bush, and dried flowers. I don't want to miss a thing. Hugs, Nancy

  26. I loved this post so very much and hope to see you back to posting soon!

  27. you live in a world of beauty ,excitement and MAGIC friend!!!

    thank you for dropping pleasures to my eyes !
    Have a very happy new year .


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