Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wednesday Gratitude #33: the County Fair at Heart and Home

Has it been a week already?
That means it's time for Wednesday Gratitude.
Thank you for stopping by Heart and Home,
I appreciate your visit.
 Link in below if you have a gratitude post to share.
The more the merrier!

“Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.” -G.B. Stern

The simple things in life take on more meaning when life becomes more difficult.
I'm very grateful for my daily routine,
the kindness and support of my friends and family-in-law,
and the sweet memories of a day spent at the county fair.

Every year around this time we head to our county fair.
It's one of our favorite destinations,
and annual event we eagerly anticipate.

We look forward to the Fair's arrival in the week just before Fall officially begins.
We head out to the fair grounds,
I'm thankful for the long afternoon we spend enjoying the sights.

Our first stop is always the Harvest Building.
These pumpkins are huge!
They weigh hundreds of pounds a piece.
Think of the gigantic pie that could be made from one of them.
If you could get the pumpkin into the kitchen.

It takes cranes and tractors and fork-lifts
 to move them from garden to fairgrounds.

Wandering into the Fowl Pavilion,
 we're surrounded by a chorus of clucking, quacking and cock-a-doodle-doing.

This handsome fellow didn't look too happy to be stuck in his cage.
Possibly he was thinking about November,
or maybe he was just shy.
Either way, it took some convincing to get him to pose for his portrait.

This one, on the other hand, was another story.
I'm not a turkey expert,
but to me it looked like he was strutting around and showing off.

Well, there were a lot of good-looking lady turkeys in the cages all around him.
Can't hardly blame him for wanting to show his stuff
 with such a captive audience around.

The hens didn't seem to notice him though.
They were probably used to his swaggering.
Or, maybe this he is a SHE?
I'm not sure.

Speaking of swaggering and strutting -
it's hard not to notice
the cowboys in their Wranglers!

The horse show draws a crowd.
Not a very big one at this fair, but still.
This is the place for those of us who enjoy
watching a cowboy or two,
running barrels and roping calves.
Showing us their rodeo-ing skills.
Wearing cowboy hats and boots.

I may have a small thing for cowboys, I'm not telling...
(I'm thankful I get my "cowboy fix" at the fair every year!)

 I will admit to my love affair with nannies, billies and kids.

Have I told you I'm partial to goats?
Well, I am. All kinds, I'm not particular.
As long as they are goats, I love 'em.
Someday I might even get me one.

Look at that face!
And those big brown eyes.
He's a cutie!
Of course, goats at the fair always look their best.
All cleaned up, shampooed, brushed, and polished.
A well groomed goat is a happy goat.

For now, I am very thankful that I can take my time,
enjoying and petting these sweet creatures.
No goats at my house.

The Swine Pavilion around the corner
is another favorite place to linger.
We can't get enough of the piggies.
We especially enjoy making oinking sounds.
Yes, we are very talented in the "pig-noises" department.

They don't seem all that thrilled to see us.
Underwhelmed at the very least.
Guess we're not as good at pig-talk as we think.

Now here's a booth that speaks every one's language.
Those are some extra huge pretzels.
As you can see, they come in nearly every flavor imaginable.

But we walked right on by.
What amazing restraint!
We had our hearts set on cinnamon rolls.
We get some every year.
It's a tradition we won't give up willingly.
Hot, fresh, gooey cinnamon rolls are the last thing we buy,
 right before we head home.
The aroma in the car is so strong you can taste the cinnamon.
 I'm so thankful for the deliciousness of
cinnamon rolls at the fair.

We stop at the rose garden,
and then the flower display where we inhale the scent of hundreds of locally grown roses.
These are roses at their finest, grown by local farmers in green houses nearby.
I'm grateful they are not shipped in from across the world,
grown on land cleared of rain-forest.
Earth-friendly roses, you might say.
Their colors are so brilliant.
I matched the color of my kitchen to one of my favorite varieties.

I am so thankful for the beauty these flowers add to my life.

After the flowers we check out the photographs and art, and the quilts and collections.
Next, it's time to see the commercial tents,
and then, finally, we get to eat fair food.
It's not a completely satisfying visit to the fair
if we don't partake in some deep-fried artichokes, and chicken on a skewer.
We are enthusiastic fair-food-eaters.

And, we are probably the only ones who don't head over to the carnival.
It's really not our thing.
We're not thrill-seeking, scary-ride riding girls.

But, we do enjoy the milder attractions,
and the traditions,
and the memories we take home with us.

We get the most out of our visit, every year.
I am so thankful
 for the opportunity to spend the day with my girls at the county fair.

The end!

What simple pleasures in your life are you most grateful for?

Until next time
Linking to Outdoor Wednesday, at  A Southern Daydreamer. Thank you Susan!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wednesday Gratitude #32 at Heart and Home

I am back, in time and even a little early for
 Wednesday Gratitude.

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." -Albert Schweitzer

I was touched beyond measure when I finally returned home to my computer and Internet access, and saw  the comments and emails from all of you, my dear Heart and Home friends. My heart is full, thanks to your considerate thoughts and gestures, and my home is brimming with beautiful flowers and thoughtful cards and notes.

Thank you for your uplifting words, your prayers, and your good wishes. I appreciate all of you so much! I am so thankful and grateful for your gracious and gentle spirits, which lifted me up when I was at my lowest, and helped "light the flame" within me as I struggled to maintain my composure during what have surely been the most profound and trying weeks of my life.

I knew it would be sad and painful to say goodbye to my father.

These past few weeks have gone by, the days ticking off slowly, with a million details to attend to.
And now, all of a sudden, it's been almost one month.

 I had heard that a death of a loved one often brings out the worst in some people, and unfortunately, we've found that to be true. Our grief has been compounded by several individuals who have exposed their darkest sides to us during our saddest days.

We have been the targets of reprehensible, threatening, opportunistic and profane behaviour.
Startling and surprising, even shocking, but sadly not unexpected, their actions have made these weeks more heartbreaking.
If I had any enemies, I would not wish this on them. Yet, I know I will get through it, and I'm so grateful for  the help of my husband and my daughters, whose unwavering strength and love are a constant in my life.

And, as always in any days filled with painful emotions, there are moments of grace that shine brightly in my memory.

I am very thankful for this Air Force Honor Guard, which presented our family the United States flag after performing a solemn ceremony honoring my dad's 30 years of service.
"Taps" was played slowly and reverently, each note from the trumpet carried up into the sky by brisk  breezes on a cloudless, perfect Autumn day in October.

I am grateful for the respect they showed my dad, and and for their service to our country, and for their ability to present themselves at their absolute best, for a man and a family they didn't even know.

They are so young and yet so serious, honorable and dutiful.

"Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road." -John Henry Jowett

The day of my dad's memorial was filled with moments of love and kindness, and the support of friends who traveled many hours to be with us.

As Daddy's first-born daughter, I have years and years filled with wonderful memories. It will take my remaining lifetime to revisit them all.

I can not explain it very well.
But somehow, knowing you would be here when I returned, made this all a little easier for me.   Thank you so much for your friendship and support, and for your empathy and patience as I ease my way slowly into a regular routine again.

"No love, no friendship, can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever."
- Francois Mocuriac
Until next time,

As always, link up if you have a gratitude post to share! Due to my slowed pace right now, and my state of mind (!) I will leave the link open for one week this time. Thanks for joining Wednesday Gratitude!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Broken Hearts at Heart and Home

Hello my friends.

Due to the death of my dear Father,
who passed away suddenly on September 25,
I will be out of touch for the next several weeks.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

Until next time,

Life is eternal and love is immortal.
And death is only a horizon
and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our spirit.
Rossiter Worthington Raymond -1840 - 1918