Posts Tagged ‘angel rays’

I was coming down the stairs just as the sun was dancing through the window panes. As cold as it was this morning, at 15 degrees (F), my soul was warmed as angel rays touched upon a photo of two sisters, years ago, displayed in an alcove in the hallway. A few tears slipped out, warmed by sunbeams and sisterly love.

I grabbed my camera, for angel rays are fleeting in December. My heart felt heavy with my loss, but a smile touched my lips; sadness and joy mingled together, gathered in a brief moment, golden moment on this cold December morn.


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I opened them as they arrived, silently slitting the sealed envelopes with the swift glide of a butter knife, easing the card stock and folded notes out, reading the condolences offered and holding the givers close to my heart.

The cards kept coming, from near and from far, Hallmarks and American Greetings, local artists, prayer cards and postcards, encouragement and understanding. There were cards intricately crafted by the sender and personal letters, remembrances and poetry, words from songs and reminders of the past.

They waited for me. For over a month, they waited, each one in turn holding up the most recent arrival, a pillar of paper strength to soothe my soul.

They waited until one fine day, while the sun streamed through the dining room window. The sun warmed the house within and belied the frigid temperatures without. On that fine day, I carried the cards to the table, brewed a cup of English breakfast tea, and sweetened it with the last of my local honey. I gathered my many sad thoughts that crept in as sure as the dust motes visible in the illuminated slant of the sun’s rays, and I set to work.

As I sipped my tea, I savored each message, grateful for family and friends, and I remained in the moment, still and silent, until my eyes caught sight of a box that rested just beyond the door into the living room. The box had been a gift some years ago from my dear friend Sharon, who knows how much I like boxes. This box sat on a small side table and held a few random items. I looked and it beckoned “come pick me up”,  which I did. I lifted the lid, appreciated its charm, and realized that THIS was the perfect container to put the sweet sentiments that I have received since my sister’s passing.

I took my time as I nestled each piece of correspondence into the box, cognizant of the time and attention each sender took in choosing the card, the words, even the postage stamps. I felt a small sense of accomplishment over such a simple task while Angels’ rays continued to dance about in the old, worn dining room where I found  safe harbor at just the right moment on one fine day.

I am doing fine, dear readers. I will take my time with this thing called grief, with tears, of course, but, with laughter as well. I want you to all know that there is one more item that I will put into my box – you. Your comments have meant a great deal to me. I come back to them, read them anew, gather strength from them. I want you to know that I will be printing them out and placing them along with the cards and letters already inside the box and there they will remain with my most sincere gratitude.


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IMG_8198I cherish the slow, silent, early morning moments when the sun slips through the borders of landscape and caresses the awakening garden. I anticipate those heavenly moments when angel rays reach out and press the promise of a newborn day.

We recently moved an old wicker rocker, a keepsake from the old Ohio homestead, to the front porch. It shows its age, but, then, so do I, which is quite fine. We immediately bonded, as eldersIMG_8350 often do, rocking back and forth in an early morning ritual of a cuppa tea at daylight and birdsong.

I have been a wee bit busy lately, writing and editing about the glorious gardens on this year’s Elmhurst Garden Walk and Faire. In between tip-tapping away on the laptop, I’ve been tending the gardens as best I can and roaming the preserves and pathways around us. I’ve also been nursing a back injury; a bother to say the least, and a real pain in my back to say the worst. I’m on the mend, but, lost quite a few days in the fog of meds, a trip to the ER, and what must have looked like giant trying to put Jack back in the Box as Tom IMG_7688made valiant attempts at inserting me into the car – with a patch on his eye! Good thing angels were watching over us.

This isn’t about our troubles, however, but, to explain my absence, yet again, from these Cutoff pages, and to get on with the business of showing you that in spite of personal worries we all have, and in the shadow of all of the troubles and turmoil on this fragile planet, we can endeavor to reach for those angel rays, no matter how fleeting they are.




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DSCN7038The sun danced through the house today, slipping quietly through the windows of the kitchen door, splashing warm memories of dew drops on the faucet, while sipping on a bottle of Chardonay.

Those angel rays brushed the kitchen cabinets, rendering them a honey brown. Down the narrow hall they slid. They drifted from the skylights, casting shadows on the walls. It was a sunnyside up sort a day, so welcome and warm that I did not mind that the sunbeams accented the cobwebs that have chosen corners from which to hang. The sun has made such infrequent appearances this winter that it is pure joy to see her rays on this January day – especially with the ominous prediction of an Alberta clipper about to descend upon the Great Lakes region.

Our sunny day will be a bittersweet memory come Sunday morning. I think I’ll worry about the snow when it comes and just enjoy the goodwill of sunlight today, sipping something warm, perhaps, and enjoying a dollop or two of lemon curd on an English muffin, while I read Jan Karon’s new book, “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good”, which I have on seven day loan from the library.

DSCN7081Maybe, just maybe, I’ll take a walk about the Cutoff,  with this wonderful little book in hand, a gift from a very dear friend. Perhaps I can tell the Cape Cods and Georgians of the nesting world and determine who has been living in the trees, pondering their return from the south as soon as warmer winds start blowing.

It’s all in the little things, my friend; like angel rays and birds nests, lemon curd and bittersweet.

I Come in the Little Things

. . . I come in the little things, Saith the Lord:
Yea! on the glancing wings
Of eager birds, the softly pattering feet
Of furred and gentle beasts, I come to meet
Your hear and wayward heart. In brown bright eyes
That peep from out the brake, I stand confest.
On every nest
Where feathery Patience is content to brood
And leaves her pleasure for the high emprize
Of motherhood . . .

. . . I come in the little things, Saith the Lord . . .

Evelyn Underhill

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DSCN4084There is a sheen of hope in the air; in spite of the bone chilling cold. In spite of the dismal predictions of yet more snowfall, there is hope.  With two feet of snow upon the ground and four feet more piled in plow drifts along the roads, higher still in parking lots, one wonders if the sun could ever slant through. Single digit or less temperatures hovering in a pregnant pause make it feel as if the sun will never shine.

Ah, but, it has. It has.

On Sunday, seven good friends came for brunch. We sat around our well-worn kitchen table eating and talking and eating some more, flush with good will and angel rays of slanting sun streaming through the kitchen windows. It felt so good, so right, to have friends gathered around in fellowship, especially during this long and trying season. While we provided the food, they provided the sustenance of soul that Tom and I have been needing. Ah, life can be grand!

Monday morning, as I put away dishes and pans and such, the sun came up and peeked through our door, touching upon the red tulips Pat and Rick brought. While the sun kissed the blooms for only a few moments in its ascent, it was like that sheen of hope upon my winter weary mood.

This morning, as the sun once more arose, urging temperatures above the zero mark, I heard the sad news that Shirley Temple Black passed, and I felt a bit of my childhood had just chipped away. I have always known Shirley Temple, who, to me, has always been one of life’s sheens of hope.

Who among us, of a certain age at least, did not have – or wish for – a Shirley Temple doll, or suffer through a night of rag curls, awakening looking like, or so we thought, Shirley Temple, herself? I, for one, have been known to burst into a childlike rendition of “Animal Crackers in my Soup” when ladling up a bowl of Campbell’s vegetable soup and are there not those among us who have set sail on “The Good Ship Lollipop”?

A child actor, who later became a politician and ambassador, Shirley Temple is credited with saving a movie studio during the Great Depression, and, more meaningful to the common man and woman, for giving a country hope. With her optimistic demeanor, ready smile, and dimples, Shirley Temple and the roles she played always seemed to look on the bright side of life. Unlike our modern childhood actors, she comported herself without drugs or bad behavior and she crafted a meaningful life after she outgrew her Hollywood image.  Shirley-Temple-in-Heidi-shirley-temple-6178458-450-379

Shirley Temple was a sheen of hope through a dark, dark time, a talented dancer and actress, who learned her lines before she could read. She was a ray of sunshine through her adult life; an accomplished woman who lead a long life, and a good one.

Of all the memorable childhood characters Shirley Temple portrayed, mine has always been Heidi. Do you have a favorite Shirley Temple character?

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On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . .

. . . an angel ray as a wallscape!

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I love the way sunshine sneaks into our home this time of year. Sometimes, a slant comes through the dining room windows and slides to a candle in the living room, making it glow in a way no flame can. Other times it dances down the hallway, alighting upon a small figurine or picture like a spotlight on a soloist. This morning, an angel ray slipped in and touched on a bottle of burgundy that was used in the beef bourguignon – our Christmas dinner. The shadow was so bright and clear, so large and illuminating, I grabbed the camera and tried to capture it.

Angel rays. Such a warm set of words. The term first came to me in a wonderful little called “Evelyn”. I wrote about it here, “Evelyn” is a moving story based on a true event of a man trying to regain custody of his three children when he is declared an unfit father. Evelyn, the oldest child and only girl, is told by her grandfather as she waits to be admitted to the girls’ home that the rays of sunshine coming through the window are the rays of an angel. Thereafter, angel rays appear at just the right moments.

Really, you must see “Evelyn”. Pierce Brosnan is the father and it is set in 1950’s Ireland. He even sings (and redeems himself, at least to me, of his singing performance in Mama Mia).

I was grateful for the shaft of sun, an angel ray, that warmed the kitchen this morning, reminding me of our delicious meal, the family that gathered, the moments together. Like Evelyn’s angel rays, it came at just the right moment.

(Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa, has never disappointed me with her recipes. I used her recipe, which is a bit time consuming, but worth every minute of preparation. It can be found here if you are interested. The only thing I would leave out is the pearl onions.)

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Morning glory

What a surprise awaited me on our deck. The first of the morning glories! We’ve already had some moonflower blossoms, but, the morning glories have been taking their time. This blossom was nestled in between some leaves and I almost missed it as I viewed the pot from the kitchen, part of my morning ritual. There it was with the sun shining on it, just so, as if dropping its angel rays deep in the flower’s throat and glowing with the deep blue color of sky surrounding it.

I love morning glories, though I know some consider them weeds.

 This morning glory even made St. Francis, sitting nearby, smile in delight. Or was it a petunia tickling his nose?

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I needed to turn on the garden hose. My potted plants were thirsty, drooping, begging for some water. Instead, I stood, for twenty minutes, and watched in wonder at my afternoon visitor. He was flying slowly around and then resting on the leaves of the snowball bush, which sits right outside one of the windows in the library. The spigot for the water is right next to the bush. How could I possibly disturb the peaceful rest of this lovely butterfly?

He continued flitting about and making short swoops, soaring a bit, circling around and casting a shadow on the driveway. The sun was starting its descent toward the east, shining its angel rays on the bush. There the butterfly landed and spread his golden wings, warming himself, basking in the late afternoon glow.

I moved a bit with the camera and he flew; round and round and round until he landed again on a leaf.

These stunning Tiger Swallowtail butterflies are not unusual around here. I see them often soaring high up in the trees, where they lay their eggs. I just love to watch them fly – and I enjoyed watching this one resting in the sun for such a long time this afternoon. I am grateful for his visit and that he felt comfortable sitting for a while here on the cutoff.

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