Into the Lenten woods I go. Yes, this season begins with an invitation to enter the wilderness but many times we don’t go on our own or even willingly. It’s even less inviting here in Vermont where winter’s bleakness lingers on creating a feel of isolation. But as I go into the woods I discover there is beauty to be found. Let’s explore together!
The season of Lent begins with ashes — our reminder that one day we will return to the dust we came from. So how is it that we can live out the days we have? Recent events — the disturbing performance at the recent Grammys, the revival down in Kentucky at Asbury Seminary — got me thinking how we tend to applaud the darkness in the world and question the light. So, come join me at the farm, where I fire up the still unfinished bake oven, share a humble Swiss soup that is going to become an Old Stone Well Farm Ash Wednesday tradition, and ponder things in our world that have me scratching my head.
I took a muddy drive up Two Top Mountain the other day to prepare for the season of Lent with the monks of New Skete in Cambridge, New York. I did this because I realized we often focus our Lenten journeys on preparing ourselves for Easter, but what if we spent a little bit of time preparing our hearts for the actual 40 days. So that is what I am going to do as I seek some quiet prayer time and ponder two questions we should ask ourselves before embarking on our Lenten adventure.
P.S. I also share with you my one Fat Tuesday indulgence that the nuns here are famous for!
It’s been a wonderfully busy and blessed time here at the farm, and it shows no signs of slowing down. But I intend to slow down and rest a bit today. Well, rest by doing what gives me joy by searching for and capturing wonderful stories to inspire you and make you smile.
So today, as we prepare to head into the season of Lent, Fritz and I will be “off” today scouting future locations here in Vermont to film for you.
We will see you this week with some mountaintop experiences, pretzel making and the story of a pre-Lenten Swiss soup that ushers into a time of humble meals. Till then, have a wonderful Sunday. Do something on this Sabbath day to rest and renew. Do something that gives you joy.
(Now to get Fritz ready for the camera. “Please Mom, no filming me till I do something with my hair!”)
It’s Valentine’s Day and, of course, I am celebrating the 18th-century way.
Yes, love was celebrated by our forefathers and mothers with love notes being a favorite token to give to sweethearts.
The love notes were often in the way of puzzle purses, popular in the 18th and 19th century.
Join me as I share with you not only this tradition, but why I encourage you to send yourself a love note this day! Yes, send yourself a Valentine’s Day message. It’s not selfish, it’s important to love ourselves.
There’s a farm up the road from me that has a mural that reminded me of the primitive paintings found in southern France in 1940.
I got to thinking about were these drawings ancient vision boards? Were they inspiration for a primitive people, helping them to aspire to something greater in life? More importantly, what inspires us?
I know for me if I were to create a vision board it would be full of sketches of 18th-century houses. I share an interesting one with you as well. (So click below to watch!)
What would be your “cave painting”? How do we keep reaching for the unreachable? Come and join me here in Vermont and discover how you might find your inspiration today!
And if you watch the video on YouTube, please go to my channel and like, leave a comment and share and subscribe. We are growing here at Old Stone Well Farm, and I couldn’t do it without friends like you.
Friends, there won’t be a new video today. With temperatures yesterday negative zero, I found myself not motivated to do anything — even think. In a way it was freeing to have a day to just curl up with quilts and books all for the sake of “staying warm.” That’s when I wondered, why is it we often need an excuse to spend a day napping and reading? Why do we need to justify our stepping back from the world?
As you know, I am working on my addiction to productivity and busyness. Somedays I make progress. Some days I regress. But I am committed to getting to a place where life is full of peace and “in-the-moment” moments. I want to be always be open to the awareness of the gifts all around that are begging for us to receive and embrace.
So today, I leave you with the sounds of birds chirping as the sun tries hard to get us out of a deep freeze. I leave with the amazing owl that was just a few feet away from our little house, sitting in the tree and making my chickens very nervous. (I believe this might have been the bird of prey that snatched little Nugget.) I leave with the image of beeswax candles burning as I begin to make another batch of candles. (To my friends, Ken and Wendy, you will be getting one! And I am happy to report, the candles that were stuck in the mold the other day have all been successfully removed — one blessing to the -15 degree morning we had.)
As I sign off, I urge you to no longer feel you have to justify slowing down and being in the moment. Lean your ear toward the bird’s song and let its melody restore a tired soul. Open your eyes to what hides in the tree and perhaps stare back at a majestic owl who does indeed look like it has wisdom to impart. And never give up when at first you fail at something. I’ve learned that there is always another opportunity to try again. (I have my candles burning to remind me of that.)
I will see you soon at Old Stone Well Farm. Till then.
While many are watching the groundhog’s prediction for either more winter or an early spring, here at the farm I am thinking about the original “Groundhog’s Day” — the celebration of Candlemas Day. Feb. 2 was the day to take down the Christmas decorations, have your candles blessed and observe the dedication of Jesus in the temple. There was also an old saying that judging by the way your candles burned one could tell if winter would linger or leave. Join me as I step into the past, making candles and embracing Candlemas.