A personal pilgrimage

February 1, 2008 at 2:33 pm | Posted in art, blogging, country life, country living, dating, faith, family, free knitting patterns, hat patterns, knitting, love, marriage, photography, relationships, romance, snow, yarn | 26 Comments

A beautiful late summer field near fireflys farmNot long ago, one morning, I found myself standing in our kitchen looking out at our snow covered lawn across the street to our frozen river, it too covered with a gathering snow. I stood there in contemplation for a little while, considering my life as it is today and of course, the words came to me again, “I live on a farm.”

Those words, that thought, may seem of little significance to others. For me, they represent a something quite large and of great significance for which I will continue to feel and express gratitude … over, and over, and over again.

As I stood there in contemplation, the scene faded, shifting until it became a hillside north of Los Angeles. I stood there on a hot day in late spring four years ago, in a peach colored linen dress holding onto the leash of our beloved dog, Luce. He was dying and my world was falling apart. I have written of this before in an earlier blog, so you might already be familiar with the story to some degree.

California Sunrise on the hillside where firefly lived north of Los Angeles

I loved living on that hill (see the panoramic view I shot from that home in the photo above); it almost seemed like a little slice of the country in a small suburb of Los Angeles, facing north toward the Angeles Crest Mountains. Our house was the last in a row of only six or seven on that little winding hillside road. I was standing up the road from our house where I had a large panoramic view of the valley and the mountains beyond. My heart was broken, I was worn out from worries and troubles, unable it seemed to make anything go right any longer. Everything in my life had come to a standstill and I could not fathom exactly what it was I was doing wrong. I wasn’t sure where to turn, what to do, how to find my way.

The one thing I could do that took no physical energy and cost no money was to dream. Though I felt utterly stuck in Los Angeles on that hill in a life that had come to a complete and quite uncomfortable standstill, I dreamed of finding some way to live in a small town or on a farm somewhere out there … far enough away from Los Angeles that it could not be considered a part of LA. Since I was twelve years old, I had an unquenched desire to live in the country again and to experience the seasons, cold weather, autumn, snow, trees, barns, fields … freedom.

Another barn somewhere near fireflys farm in Western New YorkI stood there on my hillside day after day, often in tears, making myself dream even when I felt it was most futile to do so. I made myself express gratitude to God for the situation I was in, and for my willingness and ability to dream in spite of every reason I might have not to. I even expressed gratitude in advance for the dreams coming true. I expressed gratitude as if I was already living somewhere in the country or on a farm. I would form that feeling of gratitude and send it forth with a complete feeling of confidence that, physical evidence to the contrary, it had indeed come true.

In truth, I did not expect this particular dream to literally come true; I knew I would find a way again to create happiness regardless of my circumstances. Yet, the dream and conjuring up the sense of gratitude that it had come true was comforting to me spiritually and emotionally, so I continued to dream my dream every day: a dream that I was willing not to have come true, so long as I could dream it as if it were real in order to comfort myself through some very dark days.

For a long time things only seemed to get worse; more things feel apart and changed irreparably until it seemed every aspect of my life, the very foundation points of my life, were tossed up into the air and nothing had come back down and landed.

That was four years ago, and now I can stand in my kitchen in a house on a farm that is 200 years old, in Upstate Western New York. Fifty acres. A barn. A river. Trees. Autumn. Snow, snow, snow. And love.

Fireflys barn with a fresh coat of snow this winterThere are preserves in the cupboards behind me that I made from locally grown peaches and apples; homemade bread on the counter waiting for my husband to get home from work and enjoy a thick slice with his dinner. I have the time and the security to write and paint and create a future where even more dreams may come true. I have a dear, dear husband who I will love for the rest of my life and be loved by for rest of his.

It is amazing to have dreamed this very dream and to stand now in my kitchen looking out at the world and to realize even more as each day goes by, “My God, I dreamed this and it has come true.” Some of the dreams that are coming true go all the way back to my childhood.

As this dream-reality evolves and I see the elements of my dreams woven throughout the “reality” part, all of the little pieces and how they are arranged make so much sense … and yet I wouldn’t have thought it would be quite this way.

Yes, I dreamed of living in the country and on a farm, but I never would have thought I would end up in New York. Yes, I wanted to write and publish, but I never would have thought it would be a lifestyle blog about knitting, country life and food, or that I would publish knitting patterns. I wanted security and love but I didn’t think I would ever find that through marriage, not me.

He wrote to me for the first time (by email) to introduce himself on January 29th in 2006. We wrote to each other every day from then until we got married and I have all of those emails (of course).

This year I have embarked on a personal pilgrimage following the path of our emails two years ago (pilgrimage: “any long journey, esp. one undertaken as a quest or for a votive purpose, as to pay homage”; votive: “performed, undertaken, etc., in consequence of a vow” / source: dictionary.com). Each day I read whatever we wrote to each other that same day two years ago. I select a couple of quotes from each of us and forward them on to my husband so that he might experience this pilgrimage along with me.

It is a dear journey, and we both feel it is important to remember the words we spoke that resulted in this communion of souls, our marriage.

A beautiful late summer field near fireflys farmThe pilgrimage is personal between the two of us, however I share the idea of it with my readers because I hope to encourage others out there in the wide world whose hearts might be broken, whose dreams might seem forsaken, whose worlds might seem to be crumbling apart … I want to encourage you to have faith and to know that somehow whatever you are experiencing will make sense further down the road. There is always hope, no matter where you are and no matter what you are experiencing. There is hope, there is always hope. Your dreams, just as mine, can come true. I believe the way it works is that those dreams you dream that most closely align with who you really are spiritually, can work their way out and materialize within your lifetime. That’s what I believe to be true.

Have faith. I, for one, am pulling for you.



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  1. What a beautiful blog post, firefly. Such a precious message of hope. And, of course, I am so happy for you in your new life!

  2. Thank you, once again, for writing something that is so poignant… I feel that God intended for me to see this post today. I have had some personal trials and tribulations as of late, and I have been holding on to one particular dream that I can’t seem to let go of. This is one of those days that the dream seems so far away that I didn’t even want to think about the dream at all. This is a wonderful reminder that small steps toward the dream right now means a wonderful journey ahead, and a happy ending. Thank you for the reminder, and the encouragement. And, pulling for a stranger!

  3. You write so beautifully, your words are inspiring and I am one of those who needs the ‘pulling for’ and you make me see that dreams can come true and that love can happen too.
    Have a wonderful weekend & God bless.

  4. It’s as if you know what I need to hear each time I read your blog.
    Blessings to you as you retrace the path that has lead you to where you are today.

  5. Ah, you give a long-single girl some hope and the encouragement to keep dreaming. Thank you for that!

  6. You are such an exquisite writer. Your blog today reminds me, once again, that we have to believe that our dreams can come true. Your life is, I’m sure, demanding and difficult at times, but what a joy it must be to have everything you do connected, in some way, to the land.

    Today there was an ice storm where I live, so we were all off work/school. I made your shortcake recipe, but used peaches I had canned back in August. Delicious!! You inspired me today.
    Thank you.

  7. Thanks for sharing your dreams. I am so delighted that they came true. Hope is on the way up. Thanks again.


  8. Thank you so much for that post. It gives me some hope – for a long time now I haven’t even dared to dream. So many previous attempts to make things better for myself have ended in disaster. You remind me that I need to feel gratitude for where I am and to not let go of the deepest, truest dreams. I need that hope, today.

  9. Thank you so much for your blog. You give me hope when I feel I have none left and encouragement when I feel I can no longer love.

  10. Thank you for your blog as I so look forward to reading each new entry. I also live in western New York – I suspect on the eastern side of the same city in which you are west of! The beauty of our area is a wonder to see, today, the snow and ice blanketed the trees. One just needs to stop and enjoy the moment of what is around us.

  11. Such an interesting blog. DREAM! I have heard people say “If you’re going to dream, you might as well dream big”. But what if you dreamed several little dreams and the outcome was astounding? You may feel more blessed than the person who dreamed one big dream. There is a quote I read on the internet that reminds me of your blog. “Your life is an open book, fill it with love, hope, dreams and memories”. This quote fits you to a T. Bless you, Firefly, you are an inspiration to us all.

  12. Thank you. You have reminded me of something my DH has told me during our 47 years together. “If you can dream it, it can happen.” Dreams are surely long-term miracles!

  13. How timely. I needed this today. Thank you.

  14. Thank you, you’ve made me a woman of words speechless with gratitude for “right on time” reminder for what God’s been gently nudging me about.


  15. What a great post, very timely too.

  16. A beautiful post and great reminder that if we can dream it, we can do it, more important, we can be happy if we only choose to. Hugs

  17. I love your website. Please tell me more about your faith. Thanks, Bev

  18. Have not been here in some time, but so glad I came by today…surely NEEDED your words of encouragement today…often in life, seems those kind of words are few and far between!! Thanks so much!! Blessings on you and what a gorgeous setting to live in. Living in beauty surely helps ones spirit to be recharged on a regular basis!

  19. Greetings from the midwest! We must be sending you some of our snowy weather – this past week, the snow will visit while we dream, making our early morning risings all the more pleasant 🙂

    Have you tried wearing silk undergarments to keep out winter chill? They feel heavenly, last a long time and can be worn under anything!

    Wishing you a snug home to dream in, loved ones to cheer you and a lifetime of happiness! 😉

  20. I’m not sure how I stumbled across your blog today, but oh how I needed to read your words.

    Thank you!

  21. That has got to be the most beautiful post I have ever read on any blog, anywhere. Perfect!

    May thanks,

  22. With tears coursing down my cheeks I say Thank You! Dreams are precious. If we give up on them then how can they ever come true. You touched a deep cord,again your love and wisdom shines through. I too started a journey from a hill top in Los Angeles Co CA. I too dreamed of living in the country. My life has stopped and turned and ground to a halt. It took me longer to fight back, to dream again. Your reminder of those times fills me with gratitude, your eloquent words filled me with joy. Your encouragement is appreciated, the care for others is apparent in your posts. Thank you again for reminding me, life is good & dreams can come true. Even if it takes a while 🙂

  23. I believe the key is that you kept your hands and heart open to whatever God wanted to do in your life. You expressed gratitude for where he’d planted you (in L.A.) but gave him your raw dreams to work on as he saw fit. What a beautiful testimony of grace! I’m happy for you. LOVE-LOVE-LOVE your photos, too!

  24. You know I love reading your blog, but this especially hit home for me. Thanks for giving me the courage to dream and keep dreaming. I too believe in God and he know’s my dreams. In fact he knows all my wants or needs. Thank you again for sharing your life with us, your readers. And helping us to keep on dreaming and even believe that they will some day come true!!! Please keep sharing!!
    Deb in Little Rock
    PS The 1st. one to purchase a pattern from you, remember?

  25. Beautiful! I have trouble dreaming. I guess I have given up finding someone to share my life with. I am starting over in a new place also in Mid Hudson Valley and love the snow. I will be happy no matter what!

  26. hello, Iam a beginner knitter and I used your, scarf pattern knit 2 rows and 3-4 knit 3 pearl 2 adn knit 2 pearl 3…….Ive reached the end and knitted the 2 rows and then cast off end..But my ends arent the same…….what should I of done.???

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