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Archive for the ‘Cheery Hill’ Category

Along the Path

I am now selling prints of my photos! I recently opened up a little online shop, Cheery Hill Photography, at Fine Art America and thought I ought to post about it on my blog. (I included a tab on my blog for easy access.) Fine Art America does lovely work! So far, I’ve seen a couple of prints, the greeting cards, and a canvas in person.

I’m excited to share my photos with whoever will welcome them into their home.

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I took the final photo of this series yesterday and thought I ought to post it here, since this blog is named after my house.

Here is Cheery Hill as seen through my cherry tree through the seasons.

Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall

Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall

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Winter Berries at Sunset

Winter Berries at Sunset

I’m taking a cue from Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy and Katie at Cakes, Tea and Dreams and asking the question, “What’s saving my life right now?” I love this discipline of focusing on the positive things, as little as they may seem.

This verse comes to mind:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

This one, too:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

Here are some of the things that I am thankful for, or, that are saving my life, this winter:

  • Lighting candles. I bought a couple of brass candlesticks in November and lit tapers every time I had friends over during the holidays and burned through several candles. I light them when I’m home alone, too. The glow from just two candles can fill an evening with comfort and warmth.
Candles are meant to be lit.

Candles are meant to be lit.

  • Hosting family and friends. In December, I hosted a Christmas party for my small group, a Lessons and Carols service, dinner and movie nights, Christmas Eve with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and six-year-old niece. In January, I hosted a pizza and game night, spent an afternoon watching movies with my niece, and hosted my small group. I love having people over and I love making memories in my little house.
Late night pie

Late night pie

Morning at home

Morning at home

  • Lavender Body Butter. Minnesota winters are dry, resulting in extremely dry skin. My hands  I bought a jar of this body butter at a roadside stand on the Old Mission Peninsula while on vacation in Traverse City, Michigan two summers ago and it was well worth it. I’m sensitive to harsh chemicals and fragrances, and lotions tend to make my skin drier. This body butter is fabulous. On my desk at work, I keep a bar of hard lotion that my mom made from many of the same ingredients.
  • Hot Chocolate. I love coffee and tea, both. But this winter I rediscovered my childhood love: hot chocolate. I gave Smitten Kitchen’s Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix to my coworkers last Christmas, and made some for myself as well. I have savored many marshmallow-topped mugs this winter.
Cuppa Hot Chocolate

Cuppa Hot Chocolate

  • 5ft inf. I don’t know how or when I discovered this website and Instagram feed, but I’m sure glad I did. The cheerful and creative arrangements of flowers and objects are like Vitamin D for my soul.
  • Sunsets. A couple weeks ago, I noticed that the sun set after I got off work. That is a hopeful sign indeed. The darkest days are past and spring isn’t far off. While winter is lovely, I savor the little signs of warmer and brighter days ahead.
The sun sets after 5 pm!

The sun sets after 5 pm!

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Well, it was a brand new year. On New Year’s Day, I joined a Writers’ Consortium with the goal of beginning to write my family history this year. Almost as an afterthought, I added that I would like to publish at least two blog posts a month. I was tempted to commit to two a week, but I decided to set the bar low. Apparently, it wasn’t low enough. I blinked, and January flew by.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!  Psalm 27:13

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
Psalm 27:13

I’ve been enjoying the month’s snowy enchantment and dark evenings. It’s perfect for hibernating and practicing hygge. There have been countless mugs of tea and hot chocolate, game nights, books read under wool blankets by Christmas tree and candlelight, movie nights, books discussions, and snowshoeing adventures.

Hot chocolate in a Rabbit Room mug and The Molehill Volume Three make for good company on a dark, snowy night.

Hot chocolate in a Rabbit Room mug and The Molehill Volume Three make for good company on a dark, snowy night.

I have yet to put the tree away. In my defense, all of the Christmas ornaments are put away. Garland, sparkly blue snowflakes, and golden birds are all that remain on the flocked branches, so it’s more of a winter tree than a Christmas tree. It provides so much light and cheer on dark evenings, I haven’t been able to haul it back down to the basement yet. Soon, though. Its days are numbered.

I sure love the winter skies.

I sure love the winter skies.

To any faithful readers out there, I really do hope to be a faithful blogger in 2015. Thank you for all of your encouragement and kind words. This is 29 days late, but I wish you all a wonderful and blessed year!

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Snow-Covered Cheery Hill Cottage

Cheery Hill Cottage in the Snow

It may not be astronomical winter, but it sure feels like it. Here in southern Minnesota, our first snow started to accumulate late last Monday night. I happened to have our first snow-covered day off. I put on some Christmas music, lit a candle, and made ginger spice cookies.

Delightfully cozy on the first snow-dusted evening

Delightfully cozy on the first snowy evening

Last week, I read this article explaining why Denmark is the happiest country on earth despite their long, dark winters. In one word: hygge. It’s a concept that’s hard to explain in English, but has to do with coziness, togetherness, and well-being. It’s defiant merriment. I like to think my Danish ancestors settled here in Minnesota because there are more opportunities to practice hygge. Maybe that’s why I’m still here, not 20 miles from where my great great grandparents settled all those years ago?

Winter Skies

Winter Skies

I hope to practice hygge and hospitality this winter. Winter can be long, but I’m thankful for the cold weather. Without the cold, we wouldn’t have this:

I don't think I'll ever cease to be amazed by snowflakes. At least I hope not!

I don’t think I’ll ever cease to be amazed by snowflakes. At least I hope not!

Because of the bitter cold, nights spent like this are more satisfying:

Enjoying the hospitality of friends -- and their warm fireplace!

Enjoying good conversation, the hospitality of friends, and their warm fireplace!

Because it’s dark by the time I get off work, I spend more time reading. And every time I sit down to read, this dashing kitty curls up by my side:

Mr. Dashwood enjoys big cups of coffee, long books, and cuddling on cold nights.

Mr. Dashwood enjoys big cups of coffee, long books, and cuddling on cold nights.

They’re saying this may be a milder winter. I don’t want to get my hopes up, because March (and May) of 2013 is still fresh in my memory. I guess we’ll see. In the meantime I’ll say, along with Jason Gray, let the winter come.

Crossing into Winter

Crossing into Winter

 

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33

Celebrating my 33rd birthday with my family.

I celebrated my birthday last Sunday. It was a wonderful day full of family, friends, and food. My parents made a delicious lunch: grilled pork tenderloin, brats, pasta salad, cinnamon chips and fruit salsa. My birthday cake this year was an amazing chocolate Bundt cake with vanilla ice cream and ganache. (Thanks, Mom!) And the finishing touch was an original poem written by my brother, which I was granted permission to share.

Roses are red
In some regions pinkish
White roses exist
And gold or light yellow

Violets are blue
So the poems of old go
For the sake of tradition
Let it be so

Today is your birthday
Dear Sister of mine
There have been five presidents*
In your lifetime

All served two terms
Save Bush the First
And in fairness
Obama has just begun term two

So happy birthday
And many more to be
You are a sibling
Of high quality

My friends Reagan and Brett hosted a dinner and game night for myself and two other friends who have late May birthdays. The night included a tasty meal, delectable dessert bar, fun games like telepictionary, and lots of laughter. At midnight, when there were five of us left, we broke out Puerto Rico and played until 2 am. (And since I never lie on this blog, Brett won…but only by a few points.)

It was a great way to welcome a new year!

*Joel forgot Carter–I was born in an election year.

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What a difference 15 days makes! The photo on the left is from May 2nd; the one on the right is May 17th.

May in Minnesota

May in Minnesota

The grass has been growing fast, and the weeds have been growing even faster. You know it’s bad when lawn services start leaving business cards on your windshield… We’ve had a lot of rain lately, so I hadn’t had a chance to mow. [My brother has my lawn mower, so even if I would have had an opportunity, I didn’t have a lawn mower.] Thanks to my Dad for coming over with his lawn mower to do it yesterday!

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