The sun is shining down on the snow. At the edge of the forest, tea-berry leaves are peaking out from under the snow. We’re expecting another storm on Friday, but today the warm air and sunlight are mingling with pre-lenten joy.

We’ve been splashing in puddles, bringing in wood, slow-cooking chili on the stove, and wandering down memory lane. The kids have pulled out photo albums – asking for stories and laughing at faces. They tell me I look better now than I did then, it’s not true, but they really do believe it.

The albums remind me that I want to take more pictures – real pictures to put in real albums. We don’t have a lot of physical photos of young-Luba. I went digging though and found a few of our old dog before her muzzle went gray.

Yarrow and Luba – best friends (c. 2014 I think)

But as I was searching, I found an old blog, and read through young-Masha’s reflections. I loved the format, so here it it – with new sights, sounds, hopes, and dreams for a renewing year and a renewing me.

Seeing: Sunlight on reused church candles, graceful children draped over albums – they’re laughing over old photos of their own tender-selves.

Listening: To Ilya tell Yarrow about the life of cars and his dream of a terrifying black spider. To Yarrow telling me that she’d only like to live in the 90s if she could still managed to avoid hearing the “happy birthday” song. To crows calling above the house.

Feeling: Inspired, hopeful, motivated. Lent is on it’s way, and Lent – more than any other season – feels like renewal. Sloughing off the old and letting the begin.

Reading: Love & Responsibility for a bookclub. It’s been years since I last read it, on a train, in Canada. I was 20-something and unmarried. I loved the flow of the words and the building and rebuilding of thoughts. I still love it today – and still tend to read it for the sense of who Karol Wojtyla was rather than what he thought.

Smelling: Chili and woodsmoke. A little bit of incense left over from the morning.

Grateful: For sunlight and warm days. For distance from social media. For beautiful cups and plates. For the quiet and not-so-quiet sounds of joy at home.

Working on: Birthday presents…March is a month full of birthdays for us. Am I prepared? I am not.

Queen of the Forest (c. 2015) – even at 11 (almost 12) she’ll
still run wild if I let her.

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