I saw a lone fox dancing

It is late afternoon on a cold, cloudy day. The ice storm is moving in, and the entire region here in southwest Illinois and southeast Missouri has essentially shut down in response. As the kids play (after a full day off from school – lucky Myles, my 7 year old son!), I finish up prepping my courses for the semester beginning next week.

But I continue to look out the bedroom window to the woods that stretch from our property and beyond — back into the ravine winding beyond sight.

Just last week, my husband and I spotted a pair of fox quietly roaming the woods — completely oblivious to the gawking humans. In hushed tones, John, the girls, and I watched as these wispy, majestic creatures carried on, sniffing for berries, scurrying across a fallen tree that bridged the creek below. Leaving nothing but quiet tracks in the recently fallen snow.

And as if that wasn’t enough, not 2 hours later, a pair of coyotes soon followed in the foxes’ tracks, probably still warm with their crimson scent.



I can’t tell you how much this still excites me. I took pictures so that I could show my son Myles (who WAS at school that day!), and while they certainly won’t make it into an issue of National Geographic, the images capture just how close the fox and coyote were to the house. (The two lower right pictures show the coyote. The large and two upper right pictures show the fox.)

And because I was so inspired by the visit, I used my cross stitch pattern maker (Pattern Maker) to create these three cute and easy cross stitch patterns. I’m still learning how to create patterns — as in how to draw/compose compelling visuals — but I have to say I’m pretty happy with how they turned out (see below (-: ).



Funny how things work out in the end. I am slowly discovering how capable I am — at parenting, teaching, designing, writing, life.

Some days, I doubt myself, but then something unexpected happens to gently remind me: It’s ok. Everything is going to be alright.

As I walked home last night,

I saw a lone fox dancing

In the bright moonlight.


I stood and watched,

Then took the road, knowing,

The night was his by right.


Sometimes, when words ring true,

I’m like a lone fox dancing,

In the morning dew.

  • A Highlights Kids Poem


[And for those of you who don’t know, Highlights is a children’s publication with various off-shoots. YES! I really did just quote a poem from Highlights! 🙂 I read these to my children and thought this one was particularly tender. 🙂  ]



rising strong…again

It has definitely been a bumpy week here in the States. Half of the country is pleased with the election results. The other half, not so much.

Now there are riots in response to the election results. Kind of stressful.

And on a personal note, we found out yesterday that our monthly premium just to have access to the university’s health insurance is going up. It is increasing from 20% to 22% of our income. Many are panicking at my university… and most were already distraught because of the election results.

I’ve been coping in my usual ways:

  • chocolate (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my go to comfort food after pizza),
  • wine,
  • creating cross stitch patterns,
  • and writing. 🙂

At any rate, below is the complimentary cross stitch pattern of the week. 🙂

I love Maple trees and the beautiful colors their leaves turn in Autumn. And while I do not plan on becoming a Canadian citizen any time soon, there are some in this country who are seriously considering this as an option.

I used to live an hour south of the Canadian border, and when I was a teenager, I would drive through Michigan and cross over quite frequently. Back then, you didn’t need your passport to re-enter the US. Times change.

So if you love Maple leaves, Canada, or both (!), then this pattern is for you! 🙂


“Home” by SQ, 2016

You can click here to access the complimentary PDF pattern.

There are also new patterns on the Etsy shop. Even if you don’t intend to purchase any, definitely check it out – festive, snarky, and doggone funny (especially if you like f-bombs, snowmen, and turkeys). 🙂