But first, this is spring in western MA:

and so is this:

and this:

and most especially this:

That's actually our very own maple tree, being tapped by a neighbor who's promised us some syrup. Everywhere you go around here this time of year you see two things: 1) sap lines running into collection barrels; and 2) snowmobile trails through snow-covered fields. It's a nice reminder that there are still pockets of rural America around.

And now for the retreat. M and I have both been feeling the need for one for a while, so last night I called our favorite B&B and scheduled some away time for a few days next month. This beautiful and charming inn in the White Mountains is where we went on our first vacation together and where we spent our honeymoon. The plan for the week is us, a pile of books, a tote or two of yarn and -- if it's chilly enough -- a fire. Oh, and a bag or two of penny candy from Chutters (LOVE that place!).

The inn is homey, serves a great hearty country breakfast, and is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery God ever created. There are some great restaurants in the area, some fun shopping to be had, and lots of relaxing to be done. It is the perfect place for a pastor and her wife who just need some time away.

I know, I know, now that I'm not working things should be so much better, and they are, most definitely. But even when you're happy there's still that need to get away for a while, and we haven't done so for a year and a half.

And now, the greatest cat toy ever.

Hours of fun for your cat (and for you), all for the bargain price of $2.89. It even comes with a free gallon of milk. The Queen B (who DOESN'T play, mind you) has been batting this thing around for hours.

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