September 15, 2012

Psalms in the Smokies

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak,
Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.

He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters;
He makes the winds His messengers,
Flaming fire His ministers.

He established the earth upon its foundations,
So that it will not totter forever and ever.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;

The waters were standing above the mountains.
At Your rebuke they fled,
At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away.

The mountains rose; the valleys sank down
To the place which You established for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass over,
So that they will not return to cover the earth.

He sends forth springs in the valleys;
They flow between the mountains;
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild deer quench their thirst.

Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
They lift up their voices among the branches.
He waters the mountains from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,
And moonshine with makes man's heart glad,

So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man's heart.

The trees of the Lord drink their fill,
The cedars of Cherokee which he planted,
Where the birds build their nests,
And the eagle, whose home is the fir trees.

The high mountains are for the wild black bears;
The cliffs are a refuge for their cubs.

He made the moon for the seasons;
The sun knows the place of its setting.

You appoint darkness and it becomes night,
In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about.
The young cougars (and mountain folk) roar after their pray
And seek their food from God (at the local brewery).

When the sun rises they withdraw 
And lie down in their dens.
Man goes forth to his work
And to his labor until evening.

O Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions...

They all wait for You 
To give them their food in due season.
You give to them, they gather it up;
You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.

You hide Your face, they are dismayed;
You take away their spirit, they expire
And return to their dust.
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the ground.

Let the glory of the Lord endure forever;
Let the Lord be glad in His works;
He looks at the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the mountains, and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

{Psalm 104, edited slightly to fit the land and wildlife of the Smoky Mountains,
 lying majestically across the border of Tennessee and North Carolina}
{Pictures taken in the Smokies, circa August 2011}
{Do you see why my heart aches for this land?}

September 7, 2012

Welcome Home!

Nearly 6 weeks.  

That's how long we've called Greensboro, North Carolina "home," whether we meant it or not.  But somewhere in the last three weeks, the word has actually been easier to say and believe, as we've gotten to know some fellow Greensboroans (Greensborites? Greensbortians?) and feel much more settled -- not just physically, but also emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  As for the actual apartment, well, here are the long-awaited pictures.  I took wayyyyy too many, so I'm sticking with the common areas today: the entry, living room, balcony, kitchen and dining room.  Ellie, our precocious cat, insisted on giving you the tour, so here we go:

Hello, humans.  Please don't wipe your feet; I like to smell what you bring in.  
Please come in so I can start that process...

Alright, now that the foot-smelling is over, let's get to business.  
Follow me from the foyer (pronounced "foyay") into the living area...

Fine. I see you insist on a self-guided tour.  
Well, while you're perusing Irish welcome signs and antique store finds, I'll be yawning elsewhere.

Hem... Thanks, Ellie.  Well, here's my newest find: our entrance table...

... complete with a map of Greensboro, always ready to go.  
After growing accustomed to Chicago's grid system, I have to admit: 
this city's streets are so confusing!!!

And now let's head into the living room...

I'm thrilled that I don't have to squeeze a dining table in here like our last place...

Here's the gift we gave ourselves upon leaving our favorite city:

And here are our bookshelves (and my new favorite clock!), conveniently organized by genre / authors:

Over to the left, opposite the couch, our piano has found a new home.

If you don't get the hats, buy a physical copy of this album; you will.

I see Ellie has been distracted from yawning by her new favorite pastime: bird-watching!
Time to check out our HUGE balcony, and the very green view it imparts.

Wait!  How did Eric get there?!  Well, never mind.  
Here's our awesome, forest-view balcony, ten feet from nature:

Our favorite thing about it right now -- while still too hot to fully enjoy sitting outside 
for more than 10 minutes -- is the bird feeder, and the abundance of forest friends it brings:

Chickadees are the most common:

Back to the living room -- here it is earlier in the day, with natural light:

And looking towards the kitchen, with natural light:

I'm afraid we get only a few hours of good sunlight in the living room in the morning (and I took most
of these pictures later in the day) but there is one room we can count on staying bright: the dining room!

Hello again, humans.  Are you ready to take this tour seriously yet?

Above the "fireplace" (and, in this picture, in very poor lighting) is a cross stitch of "An Irish Blessing," which my mom made years ago and recently unearthed to gave to us as a very sweet house-warming gift.  
Thanks, Mom!

Entering the kitchen from the "foyay," we find on the refrigerator 
two sweet, sweet pictures that two sweet, sweet girls back in Chicago made for us.  
Thank you, Bronagh & Ashling!!!

And now welcome to the kitchen, where I like to be extra-naughty by climbing on all the clean counters.

Oh, Ellie.

I love that our new place is so open, that I can see the dining and living rooms easily from the kitchen.

Here's my view of the TV, which has entertained us lately with lots of Doctor Who, The X-Files and 30 Rock.

The kitchen from the point of view of the dining room, above.
And here's Ellie being naughty again, below.

Below, Eric is hard at work in the dining room again, definitely the most welcoming 
and production-inspiring room in the apartment thanks to two amazing sun lights.

Did I say a forest was ten feet away?  I meant two.

What'd I tell you?  Our view is as green as it gets.

Oh Eric, working so hard...  What are you reading so devotedly, love?

Oh.  Heh.
Anyway... This is also where most of my favorite things happen:
coffee-drinking, eating, reading, studying Scripture, talking, 
bird-watching, and of course, when the mood strikes, blogging.

Thank you for joining me (and Ellie) on our little tour.  
I hope to show you our bedrooms (yes, plural!!!
and bathrooms (yes, also plural!!!) in the not-too-distant future.
Until then, may our home and yours be full of...