We should have perfect viewing conditions tomorrow evening as the total lunar eclipse happens here at the ranch (January 20, 2019 starting at 9:41 PM CST) I have my camera gear ready and will bundle up to be out in the clear cold night to capture some of its mysterious beauty. I am looking for a pair of gloves that has the fingers cut out, but I may have to take an old pair and improvise. That way, I could just cut out the index and thumb and be slightly warmer. Yes, I like that idea better!
I’ve been interested in skywatching for a very long time. Mike and I met one icy cold night at the Stephen F. Austin Observatory forty years ago this month. I was a non-science major avoiding the flunk out course of biology and attending my first astronomy night lab, and Mike was a grad student who needed a flashlight to see his paper. I had the flashlight and the rest is history, as they say.
My other reason for following eclipses is the references to a blood moon in the Bible and its prophetic connection. No one knows the day or the hour when our Lord will return, but there are some signs we can watch for, and the blood moon is one of them.
This article is a good guide for the information you need to catch this astronomical event. Hope to be back here on Monday with some great pics.
Joel 2:31 “The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.”
Yesterday, our old reunion group got together for lunch at the gorgeous new home of one of our original members. The six of us met every Monday at La Madeleine Bakery over coffee for some 25 years. We poured our hearts out as we navigated times that we thought so difficult and beautiful and so full of life and blessing and every facet of emotion. Little did we know what the next years would bring.
We called it reunion group but it was our therapy session–truly our lifeline to sanity and everything sacred as we journeyed through what Anne Morrow Lindbergh referred to as the Oyster Bed years in Gift from the Sea–years where family and chores and the busyness of a full house demanded so much of our time that we often wondered if we had lost ourselves entirely in the laundry piles somewhere. We grounded ourselves in those wondrous years with a weekly visit about the deep mysteries of a sacred life and reset the course each week to walk closely with our Savior and to know Him better as we muddled our way through this messy chaotic, and blessed time of life. Finally, we closed the meeting with a prayer for each other and discussed our moment closest to Christ that week.
Yesterday as we gathered, we knew how changed we were from life’s blows. Beautifully, each had managed to maintain an inner glow that only Christ can give. We had all centered ourselves on that inexplicable Peace that comes in the storm, not once we are free from it. Three of the six of us had lost our husbands in the past three years. Another’s husband was recovering from a heart attack that he had suffered just this past November. We had lost parents, suffered serious health issues, breast cancer, and a stroke, financial struggles, and we had dealt with grown children who had major struggles, substance abuse, divorces, and some had lost their way. Life imprinted its indelible scars on each of our hearts, and the captivating result were hearts more full of love and mercy than I ever remembered so many years ago.
Aren’t these women beautiful! If you knew them, you would know also that their beauty runs through and through coursing through their veins, not simply through their alluring smiles. They survived the curves life has thrown them, and they stand as sweet testimony to a victorious life when you have Jesus deep inside.
I so love these women and am overflowing with gratitude that God chose them to walk with me over all of these years and show me Christ in their love for me and others. And for the record, this luncheon was my moment closest to Christ this week!
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
We went to a very special wedding last night of one of our dear friends’ daughter. It was a beautiful evening from start to finish. It was especially good to catch up with our old neighbors and reconnect.
To start, any time you plan a wedding in January, the weather certainly can be questionable but yesterday was just perfect. The bride selected the Julia Ideson Building in downtown Houston for her venue. The architecture of this library is stunning. I cannot wait to see her photos as they are sure to be be phenomenal. Wolfgang Puck’s catering team led by Vanessa catered the event, and the band was outstanding. The wedding was held in the auditorium, then we went outside (where the January weather was delightful!) to the courtyard for cocktails, and then moved to the Reading Room for the seated dinner and reception. There was even a cameo appearance of Princess Leia and a couple of stormtroopers in the courtyard as we arrived!
And to end the dinner with a sweet note, All the Crave crafted some scrumptious mini cheesecakes. Cynthia Hughes and Stephanie with EnVogue Events did an amazing job of putting together an evening we will not soon forget.
So, I love weddings. And I have seen my share of them having had our own venue at our ranch. I love the festivities, the excitement, the joy. But for me, it can all be summed up in one special moment of the night–those few moments when the bride and her dad dance together.
It’s not the dad and the bride that I have my eyes on, though that is a sentimental moment for sure. I will make a point to seek out the mother of the bride’s face as they dance. I love to see the bride and her dad, but I melt at the sight of seeing a mom realize that full circle moment of seeing her groom dancing with her baby. And so it was last evening as I watched my dear friend smiling through glistening eyes as she took it all in.
This wedding was a great reminder of our own promises we made, as this month, Mike and I are celebrating 40 years together as a couple. As we drove home last night, we cranked up the oldies playlist and opened the sunroof to take in the clear star-filled sky just as it was some 40 years ago in January on the 19 degree clear night when we met.
Like most years, as this year draws to a close, it brings pause for reflection and a little optimism for a new start with another year. Did you ever see the Disney movie, “Pollyanna?” It is a classic and well worth your time if you haven’t seen it. Pollyanna is an orphan of missionaries who comes to live with her aunt. She shares new perspective for her Aunt Polly and much of the her new town as she plays the Glad Game. The Glad Game involves turning bad things that happen to her and to others into a positive, all based on how they choose to look at it. I believe that game can be played on most of what life hands us. Find the good in everything, even challenges. In almost any situation, circumstances aside, life can be so sweet and rich and full all by how we perceive it. And that is the trick.
The year ahead will be filled with both wild good and most difficult. As we peek around the corner to take a look at 2019, I see challenges ahead for us, but I know that we will tackle each one with all the grace God gives us as we commit to focus on the sweet moments. Mike’s parents will be joining us here at the ranch and that will be a gift to us to spend time with them and take a more active role in their care. I want this to be a gift of care and love to them as well, but I also know Mike’s and my patience is not what it should be. So, while we approach this task with trepidation, we recognize what a privilege it is to have them with us as our mentors, our example of what love means, and our sacrifice of joy. It will be a privilege to be part of their lives as they round the next corner of their story.
We also will be sharing in the lives of our seven grandchildren as they show us how to look at life with wonder and enthusiasm and wild imagination. We are very blessed to live near them. It is a rare week when we haven’t seen at least some of them. We will never take this gift lightly, and will continue to soak up every moment, as time goes so very quickly.
Other things I hope to pursue in 2019 will be to return to photography and learning more about light and developing an eye for the shot, and return to writing more here on the blog, whether it’s about spiritual revelations or spicy recipes. It is my plan to share here more, and it might be a place to come to vent a little, too. I suppose that is yet to be determined. The story continues, and one thing is certain. Whatever will appear, it will be from my heart.
How about your new year? Are you looking forward to your next chapter? I surely hope you are. Wishing you a most blessed 2019! Love and hugs~ annie
Since moving to the country, I still try to make it in to Houston every few weeks. Originally, I came once a week, but now work and the weddings take more of my time at the ranch.
So when I get a chance to go to Houston and visit with my daughter and her girls, I always enjoy it. We had a fun day playing and finished it off with a trip to the Mexican food place. I’ll share a few pics that I took with my Canon 50mm.