Every little bit and piece of nature

January 18, 2007 at 2:28 pm | Posted in charity knitting, Christmas, country living, dating, faith, family, free knitting patterns, Habitat for Humanity, Holidays, knitting, love, marriage, photography, relationships, romance, scarf patterns, yarn | 25 Comments

Fireflys Grapevines Encased in IceUntil a couple of days ago, I had never seen branches and berries encased in ice … not that I can remember. I recall icicles from when I was a child, but I don’t ever remember seeing the magical somewhat lonely looking encasement of nature the way I did a couple of days ago.

That day, we had freezing rain and ice off and on all day long; the ice formed over snow where it could. But it froze all of the little branches and berries and what few leaves remained on a tree or shrub here or there. Every little bit and piece of nature that couldn’t move on its own was frozen and isolated, looking so lonely and cold. Beautiful, but quite lonesome looking.

Perhaps the quiet of winter added to that idea of loneliness.

For me it was a wondrous opportunity to photograph anything I could lay my eyes on. I could not keep myself indoors because of the wonder of it all. Although, I do have to admit I waited until my husband came home from work mid-afternoon and I was sure to take my cell phone with me. We have trees everywhere, and some branches had come down earlier in the day. One evergreen tree tipped over completely. I didn’t want to be out there and run into trouble with no one to notice or help me if needed. When I did go out, I worked on staying aware of where I was putting myself, and did not position myself under large branches.

Fireflys Berries Encased in iceIcicles about twelve inches long hung from the roof on the east side of our barn … they would have made a perfect Christmas decoration. The barn stood there stoically, no complaints whatsoever about the ice or the cold. I admire his attitude. The truth is, I’m sure he has seen worse than this.

The day after the ice, we had more snow. It certainly is a pretty world out there and I am blessed to have this opportunity to observe and participate in it. The participation is the best part: getting myself out there amid and amongst nature and the environment. I may have overdone it a bit, because my sinuses are hurting. So, I’m taking it a bit easier for a few days … or so I think. I have to admit, just a few minutes ago I went downstairs to bump the thermostat up a couple of degrees and noticed the awakening of the corn and the river and snow in the first moments of morning’s golden light.

And though I had determined not to go outside this morning, I couldn’t resist and found myself bundling up quickly and heading out to snap a few more shots. My sinuses are smarting again, but at least I siezed the day and the moment. What’s a little pain here and there, afterall. Sieze the day.

I suppose that is something like what my husband and I did in becoming a couple so quickly last year. Last year. It sounds so long ago now, long ago compared to when it was “just a few months ago”. It certainly has been a wild year.

Fireflys Ice BerriesIn Monday’s entry I told about a particular day last year, about three weeks into our online and telephone time of getting to know each other that we became a couple in my mind by facing a challenging subject and working it out together.

About three days later, he had a similar realization and that was when he started phoning me every single evening and we would speak for four or five hours. We never ran out of things to say to one another; there was never even one awkward moment of silence. There was nothing awkward at all in fact, about any of it.

We could tell each other anything, and felt drawn to do so. An amazing journey was afoot, so stunning a journey that often all we could say about it was a lame, “Wow, this is mind boggling.” There just wasn’t enough time to process what was occuring, so that was all our dizzy minds could come up with to say about it.

We decided, naturally, it was time to meet face-to-face. His idea was that I should come to New York to meet him, the farm, the environment, all of it. And, before we knew it a date was set and tickets were purchased and there was pretty much no turning back … but then, neither of us wanted to turn back.

Fireflys Ice DayIn fact, we already acknolwedged before he bought those airline tickets that we were going to get married. We knew it for certain, and so of course we needed to meet one another. It was wild but concrete, both at the same time. Sometimes you just know something absolutely and certainly and there isn’t any shadow of a doubt. And for me, that time had come. And I could tell it was completely different than anything else I had ever experienced before.

We both felt what we were experiencing was beyond ourselves, we could both feel the touch of God in our lives and in our meeting. It would have been futile to resist, and neither of us could have even if we tried.

There was one tiny little problem, however. I have a very close relationship with both of my children, very close. And my son was still living in Los Angeles, as was I. Though my daughter knew what was going on with me, I had not told my son anything yet about this man in New York I had been talking to … he didn’t even know I was “online dating” because I was certain he would think I was off my rocker if he knew about that, it was so uncharacteristic of me. And there I was knowing for certain I was going to marry this man I had not met, and that it was going to happen pretty quickly and I would be moving to New York … of all places.

When I did tell my son, the cool thing is that he didn’t give me a hard time about it at all. He must have sensed my confidence and certainty … or sensed something all his own. That was very cool.

Fireflys Barn Roof Has Icicles on ItSo, two months after that first email contact between us, at the end of March my future husband and I were to meet face to face in New York. After he bought the tickets for me, I had about three weeks to get ready. Those weeks flew by. The few friends and family I told about my big adventure were very supportive. Amazed, but supportive nonetheless. The whirlwind of it all was extremely fun and I enjoyed sharing my plans with a few trusted people.

One day however, I went off on a couple of errands and when I came back to the place where I was renting a room, there was a table of ladies gathered in the dinning room visiting with the lady who owned the place. While I was out, the subject of me and what I was doing obviously had come up, because I was greeted by three strangers asking me a barage of questions about the man I met online and was going to fly out to meet. I corrected them that I was going to marry him, and yes I would be meeting him first.

One woman in the group laid into me like you wouldn’t believe. I had never seen her before in my life, but she told me I was crazy and that it would not work out, could not work out, and that by the end of May she was certain I would be phoning home to be rescued. She said she would personally resuce me, even though we didn’t know each other. She was down right adamant. Very negative. Actually, she was pretty nasty about it. She said terrible things about him and what a dog he would turn out to be, without knowing him at all. He was to be a dog simply because he was a man and all men stink.

All-rightie then.

The cool thing was that it didn’t even bother or phase me. I was sad for her in a way, because I knew she had to be very unhappy to have such strong opinions of two people who she didn’t even know at all. For her, there could be no magic and no happiness … that’s sad, sad indeed. So, please don’t think ill of her. She is an unhappy soul who was crying out about her own unhappiness and wasn’t really talking about me or my husband-to-be at all, inspite of her words.

Fireflys Ice Day For me, there was him and I was ready to run as fast as I could in his direction and never look back.

Getting ready to meet him was a great bit of fun all in itself. Planning my outfits … I would be there for five days and the weather would be quite cold compared to LA. Oh what fun it was to plan the cutest clothes I could that would also keep me warm.

The day before my flight I treated myself to a “spa” day with a deluxe manicure and pedicure and other treats. I was floating around on clouds of dreams and excitement … it is absolute pleasure to recall it all right now as I look outside my window at the snow and the beauty of it all.

Here I am, and it worked out. He is even better than I thought he was going to be, this place and this life is even more than I dreamed of.

And look … you’re here too reading my blog and enjoying my story. And we have coffee and tea together and knit and share joys and woes and we have become good friends even though we have never met.

How good can it get? I suppose it can get about this good and then some. I’m ready. I’ll take it. I’ll share it too.

And, I am knitting by the way. My son’s scarf grows longer by the day. I’ll finish it within a few days, and then I intend to block it–I rarely, if ever, block my knitting. It’s a personal thing. This scarf needs a bit of blocking though so the ribbing will match the look of the ribbing on the hat when the hat is being worn.

Fireflys January Knitting ProjectsThe dark ginger colored yarn is for my next project: a hat for my daughter. I saw that yarn in one of the two local yarn shops and loved the color for her, so I bought it.

The teddy bear in this shot is one I bought for myself at StarBucks in LA, the day in fact when I was accosted by the unhappy woman I described above. One of the errands I was out on was to grab a cafe latte at Starbucks. I saw the teddy bear and he looked so sweet, I bought him for myself to remind me the dear man I was about to spend the rest of my life with.

This morning as I typed my blog, a song played from Carly Simon’s “Moonlight Serenade” CD (which he gave me for Christmas). The words:

“Can you imagine how much I love you
the more I see you as years go by
I know the only one for me
can only be you
my arms won’t free you
and my heart won’t try
each time I look at you its like the first time
each time you’re near me the thrill is new
That’s just the way it is”

And so it goes.

Have a good one,


Copyright © 2006 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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  1. It is so much fun to follow your story! Thank you for sharing the details.

  2. Hi firefly, just stopping in and got caught up in your story… will return for the prequel to today’s post. Great pictures of the ice, try to stay warm!


  3. I look forward to your stories too. When I was about to be married, a ‘friend’ of mine warned me that it wouldn’t work out, marriage was awful, and I would be left heartbroken. She was newly divorced and has had a rough time ever since. I, on the other hand, am fortunate to be twelve and a half years into a wonderful marriage, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

  4. Wow, such stunning pictures! I love the one of the berries.

    I, too, was warned by several people when my husband and I were dating long distance. I knew that what I was doing sounded crazy, and that there was no way I could possibly convey to them how sure I was that it was right.

    Now, 14 1/2 years after our engagement and almost 12 years of marriage, I wouldn’t change a thing.

  5. The picutres are beautiful! I am one of those weird ones because I love ice storms for the way they encase everything in ice, like a glass blower had went crazy. The damage the ice storms inflict is sad as is the dangerous conditions but if you are home, as you were, they are just beautiful. Personally, I am bummed we are still sitting here with no snow.

    I had a similar situation with a former friend that you had with the lady in LA. I was a bride’s maid in her wedding scheduled for September. In January of that year, I met my husband and began to spend less time with her nd more time with my new found love. A couple of months after we met he wanted to take me to the beach on the Gulf where he and his family vacationed and he planned this trip in June, 3 months before the wedding. I told my friend and she had a conniption telling me it’s too close to the wedding and things needed done. What needed done 3 months before the wedding is beyond me. I digress… He propsed to me on the beach and when I got home she was very upset and told me it would never work out, etc. I guess to everything there is a season becasue her fiancee of a couple of years left her 6 weeks before the wedding. So maybe the gal back in LA has been taken full circle and realizes she should not judge others for their actions. :)One can hope anyway.

  6. I love your blog! Everyday I get into my list of favorites and there you are. If you haven’t updated yet, then I read older ones. I too am amazed by the wonder of snow and ice. This morning we have had our first snow of the year and it is beautiful. I am from Florida, so the wonder of winter is beyond words. Mom and Daddy just moved up here (NC) a year ago and this is her first official snow as a resident. She’s 65 and she called this morning sounding like she was six! She was so excited by the quiet and the activities of all the little creatures at her bird feeder. It was wonderful hearing her talk about it all. The first year we lived up here I wouldn’t let anybody walk across our front yard. I wanted the snow to stay as pure and beautiful as possible! Shoot – 10 years later and I still feel the same way! On another note – will we ever get to see a picture of your Knight in Shining Armor? Enjoy your winter weather and be safe.

  7. What a beautiful story; I’m so happy for you that everything has worked out so well. I also met my husband in an unexpected way and we married just a few months later; and 20 years later, here we are.

  8. Love your photos, they are just beautiful, if you don’t mind would you please share what kind of camera you have.

  9. Very pretty pictures, but they make me cold!

  10. I am using a Nikon digital camera. It is my husband’s … but he shares.


  11. It never ceases to amaze me firefly that you and I think a lot alike. We both blog about similar things! Yesterday and today my blog featured “ice sculptures” too.

    Pretty photos!

    I’m glad you are finally looking out for your accident-prone self! 🙂

    Have a cozy day!

  12. Nothing better than marrying your best friend. I married mine. It makes for the strongest and best relationship.

    You met the man of your dreams, a little different than most, but you met him and that is all that matters. All of the happiness to you both.

  13. Spectacular! Thanks for sharing.

  14. I agree – not to feel ill towards your neigh-saying lady but to feel for her lack of faith… in her heart, something so good could not be true. According to certain family members, I married ‘too young’ and ‘it would never work out’ (as a kicker, they added that I could always ‘come home, when I fell on my face’ – a certainty in their eyes) but we’re still together after 25 eventful but rewarding years.
    Here’s to believing in love and being rewarded by finding it! I wish you many years of love and friendship

  15. Beautiful story! Oh the nay sayers – there were some when I got married and we have now been married 46 years! Happiness is precious, so grab it when you feel it and hang on tight.
    One thing I like about ice-storms is when the wind blows a bit and things start to melt and you get that sound of the ice breaking on branches, etc. It can almost be a ‘tinkling’ sound. Have a great day!

  16. I am so full of joy for you right now, I could burst! What a truly amazing love story. x

  17. Y’know, it’s stories like yours that make me have hope that things can be good, if I only have faith. Thank you.

  18. Good Morning Firefly!
    I love to read your blog! I too married my best friend and there is nothing better. As a matter of fact we will celebrate 25 years in May. It gets sweeter with time. Keep the stories coming it brings to mind so many wonderful memories for me! Thanks again for writing! Love the pictures too! Our winter has been quite mild this year and I’ve missed seeing the ice and snow.
    Have a wonderful day! Hope you feel better soon! Take care! Ann

  19. The branches and berries are not lonely or isolated. They are encased in the silky embrace of winter. The snow is the down comforter, the insulator, but the ice, the ice is the silk sheets. Some trees and branches are overwhelmed with winter’s glittering passion, but the ones left are the strong with a passion for the new life to come.

    Your marriage will never grow old or bitter. When both of you are so committed to discovering the new and the beauty of each other.

  20. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is heartwarming and just makes me more and more excited to begin my story (four months left until I move across the country to join my future to the man I love). Your photos are beautiful, I love returning to your site and seeing what new beauty you have posted.

  21. Another delightful entry in the Firefly story. The song “The More I see You” is an old favorite of mine. It was written in 1945 and I got to know it in 1966, the Chris Montez version, which was very sweet – poor Chris didn’t have much of a voice but it was a great recording.

  22. Just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I read it regularly and marvel about your story..it reminds me of my own….and I have been married for 22 years Jan. 19…Keep us all posted on life on the farm and all your knitting!

    Knitting with smiles!


  23. Amazing pictures! Especially for those of us sweltering in the heat of summer.

    My mothers parent’s met when her mother was given the address of a soldier to write to during WWII – she was quite old to be unmarried at the time. Anyway they wrote back and forth and in one letter he proposed and she accepted – without seeing a picture of him or meeting him. Her friends worried that he would be ugly, but she loved his character (he turned out to be very handsome). They met and got married soon after, in fact we have the photo of her waiting on the dock with her parents to meet her fiance for the first time.

    Your story is similar, but with 21st century technology.

  24. Wow, I can’t believe ANYONE said ANYTHING to you about your plans. What nerve. Busybodies. Ugh. The scarf looks great!

  25. Firefly,

    I have loved reading your stories about your magical romance with your husband. You cannot know what a comfort it is to me….

    I, too, met a man online last year, and knew within months that we’d be married. There he was, in black and white: everything I’d hoped and prayed and waited 27 years for. (I’d never been married, though I had been engaged once.) We met face-to-face in early May and married in September. Several people tried to disuade me, saying it would never work. But I knew me. I knew what I wanted. And I’m not stupid; I have a law degree, for heaven’s sake. Surely, I thought, whirlwind romances do still survive… and thrive…

    For me, sadly, that was wrong. It was heartbreaking. After four months of marriage, we were divorced last week.

    My “magical” marriage turned out to be anything but. Maybe wiser people would shake their heads and say, “See? Anyone could see that was headed for disaster. Maybe you’ll be realistic now before making a life-long commitment.” But you, firefly… I think you might possibly get it. You might possibly know about meant-to-be and the possibility of romance and love tapping anyone on the shoulder… ordinary and dreaming girls alike.

    Wow. Okay. All this to say that your story fills me with the reassurance that I was not necessarily wrong to bet on love because sometimes… well, sometimes it does work out in a beautiful way. Right? 🙂


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