Bonfire sparks drifted up to the sky where clouds parted like curtains and stars crowded the stage, accompanied by the singing creek beside us. No moon softened the darkness - the pitch wall of night rose just beyond the reach of the firelight.
There was a time not too long ago when I would have feared the darkness, imagining all sorts of danger lurking where my eyes couldn't see. But last night I hugged my jacket around me, craned my neck up to stare at the stars and felt nothing but awe at the beauty of the night and amazement that I ever felt fear standing in its darkness.
I had spent the past day and a half immersed in the world of children's books, listening to authors, agents and editors sharing their stories and experience, offering advice and encouragement to those of us still only dreaming of publication.
Standing there watching the stars break through the clouds, hearing the sizzle and pop of the fire, the trickle of the creek, the frogs singing in the distance... it all just added to the impression that this is a magical world where dreams can come true...
...Especially the small ones like sleeping in for the first time in weeks and meeting my cousin Pat for lunch after two years of trying to match our schedules (which is just ridiculous because she only lives an hour away!)
Pat's a genealogy addict like me, except she's still actively researching. I've had to put myself on a 12-step-program, otherwise I'd get nothing else accomplished!
A few years ago we spent a Saturday tracking down family cemeteries and visiting the Bell County Museum, where we discovered a photo of 'the oldest house in Bell County' hanging on the wall.
According to writing on the photo, it was built by one of our ancestors. She sent off for a copy of it and today presented me with a framed canvas copy, along with copies of other family mementoes and letters she knew I'd treasure.
Well, she's the true treasure! But I was enjoying our time together so much, I completely forgot about getting a photo of us together as I'd planned.
Next time... and by golly, we won't wait another two years for it.
"Our most treasured family heirlooms are our sweet family memories."
And now, here are a few Sweet! moments from the past week I remembered to record...
Monday: puppies, stretched out warm and cozy in the laundry room on a rainy, cold morning; making Valentine cyclops cookies with your Valentine
Tuesday: sharing Valentine cookies with your middle son and heart-shaped chocolates with your daughter; a "Happy Valentine's Day, Mom" call from your oldest; searching for fossilized hearts with your sweetie beside a lake, followed by dinner by candlelight and a funny, romantic movie
Wednesday: a chicken quesadilla for lunch, shared with your honey who decided to take the day off; a little bird outside the window posing for your camera; a job that lets you eat pizza, play with jewelry, sip wine, and catch up with friends while you 'work'
Thursday: a rare day spent totally at home; a puppy's face in the window reminding you to take a break from the computer
Friday: the sound of raindrops on your umbrella; familiar faces in a roomful of strangers
Saturday: the rain stopping just as you leave the house; a day spent listening and learning from authors, agents and editors; watching the clouds give way to stars; bonfires on a crisp night
Sunday: late Mass so you can sleep in a bit; a glimpse of a huge red-tailed hawk flying past; a long-overdue lunch with a dear cousin/friend
Hoping you had a week full of sweet!s and are blessed with even more in the week to come! (Share some of yours here!)