Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ann's Easter Garden

I came across this wonderful idea (on Ann Voskamp's site), which I find beautiful and maybe even doable... maybe even at my house... I had to share it with you. Click here:


I have friends of all beliefs. This idea reflect my own beliefs very well. If you have other ideas, other beliefs, you might adapt it. But do check it out ... so sweetly done, so pretty, so full of life... and that is the Easter story - it's about life!

If I do this (and I still doubt my green ability here), I would review the facts of the story while making this with the children: the prayer in the other garden, the death (age-appropriately, of course), the stone rolled in front to keep Him in... which didn't work, of course, and then the greatest part, the Resurrection! which proved He was who He claimed, and what it all means to us. It means so much! It means our life, now and forever! It is such a great story, and we who believe must share it with the children... this seems such a good way to do that. Besides, it will serve as a focal point and reminder all through the season.

And if I could keep the plants alive, it would be a spot of beauty in the house. Who can't use some beauty in the house?

But, you know... big "if" right there.

What do you think... should I try it? Or should I have someone else try it for me??

Monday, March 23, 2009


It's Monday.

I have three days worth of dishes stacked all over the kitchen. There are no clean knives left in the knife block, three out of four cutting boards are in the stack waiting to be washed, the spoons are all used up and so are the forks. I have only a few glasses left, no bowls, and about half my mugs! The rest are in the pile-up on the counter.

Welcome to Monday at my house!

The living room has laundry -- folded and stacked on Saturday -- waiting to be put away. It covers the couch.

I already ate breakfast, emptied two very full trash cans and took them outside, found a new source for the plants I want to buy later this spring, returned an important phone call.... and started on the dishes.

Thankfully, I do have more energy than a few weeks ago, now that the gray winter is giving way to sunshine. I can do this, with the help of the fam...

But still.

Do other people have Mondays like this?

(I think it's the result of a very good weekend.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring comes

The Wooing

- a Poem of Seasons -

Winter woos us with exquisite beauty:
Lavender landscapes that glitter under the moonlight;
iridescent days when the air shimmers with shards of shattered sunlight thrown through the air by invisible snowflakes;

Blizzard days that cancel everything, leaving us to sit by the fireplace with warm cups of cocoa;

And powerful ice storms the leave the world covered in crystal-plated resplendence...

But then -
Spring comes dancing in and wins our hearts with her warmth and laughter.
She delights us with her sensuous charms:
Sunlight to gladden our souls;
Warmth to thaw the frozen earth, and the ground softens beneath our feet;
The sweet, lusty scent of a thousand newborn flowers;
The exquisite cacophony of morning birdsong;
And tender warm breezes to caress our skin.

We are renewed. And we fall in love with Spring.

~ (c) klm 2.03.04 ~


Winter has been long, and it has sort of worn us out. I felt in February as if I had aged ten years. But winter has also been good: Holidays and Ice Skating,

Good family times, beautiful snow in abundance,

snow days, sparkling days,
and beauty more than we can take in!

Still we are ready for spring. Oh, we are so ready!

Welcome, Spring!! We are so glad to see you!

And sure, there will be a few throwbacks with cold days, maybe a little snow... but it is all a bluff at this point, and I will not take any of that seriously, because Spring is here!! Today was the equinox and who would argue with that?

At our house the equinox has also been known as "stand an egg on its end day". In the past we have had the floors and counters scattered with raw eggs all standing on end, just to prove that we could. I can only say it takes a huge amount of patience and perseverance, and my sons have a lot more of that than I do.

Regardless, it is spring.

Happy Equinox, everybody!

Happy Springtime!!


(pics: 1) blue pic, out across our back yard. I played with the picture to make it look more like a real evening lookd in the winter out here; 2) diligent son doing schoolwork by the fire... could there be a better place to study? 3) very cold morning with frost coating every single twig in whiteness; 4) Daffies pushing up, you've seen this image before; 5) Two of the sweetest girls in my life - daughter teaching grandgirl about ants on the sidewalk; 6) Oh, yeah - fantastic, happy January day ice skating with my three daughters! 7) Lots of snow out my back door; 8) More beauty than I can describe, across my back yard into the rising sun; 9) No snow out my back door! Yay! )

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tiny salad, no dressing

Well, I harvested the first "veggie" of the season!! One little dandelion leaf, just bigger than my thumbnail. It tasted all of life and springtime, a small celebration! I found it growing where a flower was greening up through the brown, one little dandy lurking in among the flower's leaves. I plucked it, rinsed it, and popped it in my mouth. Yum! I do love springtime!

The first - only the very first - dandelion greens of the early spring are not too bitter. They are easy to eat. Later, very soon, they turn strong and, while they are still healthy, they are not as tasty to me. So when I can grab the early baby leaves I love to munch them. Usually I miss the chance, watching for signs of spring when it has begun already right under my nose.

So today that one little leaf was delicious, like ingesting a bit of sunshine. I'm sure so tiny a treat didn't bring much real nutrition but I felt like it was a small victory for me not to miss out on it this year. I am going to be looking for a few more.

Yes, and so I am thankful today for:

81. The first dandelion leaves of the spring, tender and sweet

82. The warming of spring
83. The birds' crazy, wondrous, glorious concert as they each announce the parameters of their own space and set up their apartments
84. Having Miami son here for a visit - we all dearly love having his company.

85. The quietness when sweet young daughter is working on her schoolwork by herself and doesn't need my help at the moment.
86. Seeing the first robin of the spring.

See him there among the bare branches?

(pics: Dandy in the flower's space; Oldest son with second born; Oldest with youngest; the first robin of the season out my front window)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is almost here!

Over the years, I have had mixed feelings about this date...

The thing I don't appreciate about March 17th is that I expect things to be green on that day, and yet most years the grass is still brown and lifeless. Wake up, grass! Leaves?? Anything??


By mid-March, I really long for the greening of life and landscape. But it doesn't usually happen that early. I have to be patient a while longer.

But, what I DO enjoy about March 17th is -- well, two things. First, it is my brother's birthday!! (Happy Birthday, Brother!!) He is a very cool guy and I love him a lot. All through our growing up we had lots of fun celebrating his birthday with green cakes. He didn't always wish for green, but he got it anyway.

The other great thing about March 17th is Saint Patrick's Day of course. I'm Irish, and Husband has Irish blood too. (Though he mostly talks about his Scottish heritage, his maternal grandma would tell you just how Irish she was). So our family really enjoys this day. We have fun wearing the colors.

In the last week or two we have been learning some interesting facts about St. Patrick. He has a fascinating story. I didn't do all this research myself; one better at it than I am did all the work. The information came from Patrick's own writings as well as from the Encyclopedia Britannica.

First, did you realized that Patrick was not Irish? Seriously!! Not even Irish!! And not only that, but he was not Catholic, though the Roman Church gave him the "Saint" title. And... he was not born on March 17th. Yeah -- all my ideas about him just got blown away! Here's the story:

Patrick was born in England to a father who was a pastor of the English church (not Catholic). As Patrick grew into young manhood, he rejected his father's faith. One day when he was about 16, he and some friends were playing on the beach when the Druids of Ireland came by ship and, seeing the young men there, kidnapped them. Now the Druids, you may know, were a scary bunch who were known to practice human sacrifice among other unpleasant things. I'm guessing Patrick and his friends were scared. They ran away from the incoming ship, only to run smack into some Druids coming from the other direction.

They were taken back to Ireland where thankfully they were not used as human sacrifices, but were sold into slavery. Patrick became a slave to a Druid priest, for whom he lived and worked for 6 years. He hated it, but felt that he deserved this miserable life after rebelling against his father and mother, his pastor, and God. He was humbled. Later he wrote that during this time he came back to God, and chose to accept the work of Christ on the cross as full payment for his sin, and give himself fully to Christ.

Six years after becoming a slave, he managed to escape, running on foot through 200 miles of forest to the shore, where he found passage on a ship and made his way back to his home in England. His parents were overjoyed to have him back and wished he would never leave again. He didn't plan to at first, but as much as he hated his time of servitude in Ireland, he kept thinking about he people there and the fact that they did not know the one true God, the God of love and justice and mercy. He would dream about them at night, and he felt these dreams were messages from God. The people of Ireland needed the Truth. So Patrick went back.

Patrick then went all throughout Ireland teaching and preaching, telling the people about Christ who came to love the world, who came to die in order to pay the penalty for all our sins in order to make a way for us to go to heaven. He gave the people hope. And they turned to Christianity. It is said that Patrick converted 120,000 Irish people in his lifetime! That is a phenomenal number! I can not really fathom that. And... get this... the population of Ireland at the time was about 300,000!! You can do the math... this one man converted almost half of the population of an entire country. He gave them the truth and they chose to follow it. Wow!

Patrick wrote that his life verse was Phillipians 1:12 - "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

St. Patrick wrote a prayer when he was to appear before the Druid priest which was made into a hymn, and today is called St. Patrick's Breastplate". You can read the rich, powerful words here.

Some 700 years later, long after Patrick had died, the king of England got unhappy with the fact that Ireland was full of evangelical churches. He wanted Ireland to be Catholic. So he sent a few thousand soldiers under the banner of the Pope to invade Ireland and force them to convert. (I still don't understand the idea of "church soldiers", making war with those who disagreed, but things were different then. Not in a good way.)

The King must've thought it would be an easy job, or I bet he'd have sent more troops. But instead of a few months, it took them several years to subdue the people of Ireland and get them to join the Catholic church. Many protested the invasion and clung to their beliefs... thus the "Protestants". A large number of these protesters retreated into the northern part of the country, where even to this day, you will find those who call themselves Protestants. So today we have Ireland (the southern part), which is commonly thought of as Catholic, and North Ireland, the protestant part. Now, the actual beliefs of the people have changed over time and is not exactly what Patrick taught. The people are at war with each other at this point, and it seems their focus is not so much on the ideologies. But back in that day, he northern protestants chose to separate from the rest of Ireland and keep their faith. They still wanted to celebrate St. Patrick's Day... but they didn't want to wear green like the southern, Catholic Irishmen did... so they wore orange instead.

And even today the Irish Catholics wear Green on St. Patrick's day, whereas the Irish Protestants wear orange.

Oh... And Patrick, who was canonized by the Catholic church even though he never belonged to it, died on March 17th, about 466 AD.

As I searched for images of this man, I found there to be many images, all different. I guess we really don't know what he looked like. Interestingly, they all appeared to me to make him look like a person of position in the Roman Church. Go figure.

St. Patrick may not have cleared out the snakes, but he did some powerful evangelizing!

The words on this scroll are from Patrick's prayer.

St. Patrick was a humble yet amazing man who changed a country's history
and gave the people hope.
His day is certainly worth celebrating!
Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Geese, above and below

Hey, Friends -

I'm trying something new... It's Theme Thursday, as invented by the creative mind over at, well... ThemeThursday.

The theme for today is "Animal".

And I was thinking about those geese I mentioned last time. The ones who fly beautifully over us, spreading the good news of spring to come.

The same ones my friend chases out of her yard, because... well, because "Yuck", that's why!

Geese confound our aesthetic sense, and pull us in two directions.

Like this:


The grace of geese in lofty flight

Is contradicted by the sight

Of slimy muck they leave behind,

Apparently just to remind

The populace that they were there

When they have taken to the air.

(c) June 2, 2003

Yep, it's true. Kind of like the rest of life, there are two sides to everything. Aesthetic, intellectual, and emotional contradictions pull at us everywhere . We know it, and we choose to revel in the beauty while we try not to step in the slimy mess.

Happy Thursday!

"Enjoy something wonderful today."

Revel in the beauty.


(The quote at the end is from my precious daughter in law who knows how to savor life. And no, I did not take today's' pics - they are randomly grabbed off the internet because it's hard for me to focus on a moving target. And yes, I did write the one-sentence poem about geese.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Little signs...

Ok, everybody, just some quick news:

I heard the mourning doves two days ago!! They were cooing their soft, mellow love songs, and was I ever glad to hear them!!

I saw a woolly bear caterpillar this morning! But wait, don't they show up just before winter sets in?? Who's confused, me or the little fuzzy guy?? He was cute anyway, caterpillars just are.

The daffodils are inching upwards:

Remember how they looked before?

So -- that's progress, right??

Also, we heard and saw geese flying in formation last week, heading back north. (-: Geese honking is a unique sound. This time it was an announcement of spring soon to come, and we were glad.

A few days ago we had warmth up to 60 degrees! And on those days, the birds were beginning their incredible spring songs. Not at full volume yet, but they were getting warmed up for the big concert!

And... the snow is gone! The sheep can get to the grass now! It is last season's old brown grass, not very pretty to look at yet, probably not very nutritious for them, but at least we can see it!

We're getting there.

On the other hand, the buds are not yet swelling on the maples:

Nope, nothing yet. But we know the sap is running, and we can be patient a little longer.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

At the Gardens

Here in Our Town we have a botanical garden which is full of life and beauty at any time of the year. Going there lifts my spirit in the dead of winter, and breathing the moisture in the Rain Forest room always feels very healing to me.

Right now there are butterflies at The Gardens! Last week, one day when I was feeling the weariness of late winter, I went all by myself to The Gardens to smile at the butterflies and breath in the fragrances of the flowers. The air was warm and humid, far different from the cold, harsh dryness outdoors. It was refreshing, rejuvenating.

Here are a few pictures, because beauty should be shared sometimes.

I don't know the names of these butterflies, any of them.
I just know they are beautiful and fascinating.

They have a lot of different orchids at The Gardens.
Some have no smell, others seem to fill the room with perfume.

It was getting to be late afternoon, and I decided I needed
to get home to fix supper for the family.

So I did, but...

When I got home, just as I began the cooking, I got a phone call from a friend offering me a free ticket to the Symphony that night, where one of my favorite groups was performing, along with the Symphony, and some drumming friends of mine were opening for the concert! I was so incredibly excited, I left the cooking in the capable hands of my offspring, and got dressed, and flew out of the house as fast as I could, looking and feeling good. It was a great gift and a wonderful night. But that is another story.

Maybe later.

Meanwhile, enjoy the flowers and butterflies till spring comes for real.

And for the record, today I am thankful for:

71. The gardens - beauty to savor - with friends or alone, always refreshing

72. The Symphony, and getting to go to a concert - a rare treat

73. Husband's love of music

74. French Horns, clear and pure

75. The deep, mellow sound of the cello

76. The serpentine, which is just a strange, interesting instrument, with a very mellow, even muted sound, because it is made of wood covered with leather. (I like the sound of the horn better, but this thing is very interesting)

77. Bedtime, after a full day

78. Mornings full of promise

79. Blogging (-:

80. Friends

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Birth Comparisons

I ran across this blog post that describes two different styles of giving birth. Very well explained, and worth reading if you are going to be giving birth. Check it out and tell me what you think.


Bottom line - The place where a woman gives birth is sacred ground. Anyone who attends should respect that, remember they are extremely privileged to be there, and act accordingly. The hero in the room is the mom who is giving birth and she rules. Period.

Any questions?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March is here!

It's March! I cannot tell you how glad I feel to be past February! And these first four days of March have been full of sunshine! Everyone here can feel the difference. It is still very, very cold outside, but it is expected to warm up some for the weekend. That will be great! Still, even with the cold (it is still winter, after all), the sun's brightness is making a big difference in how we feel. So I am celebrating the fact that we made it through February and here we are in March!! Yay!

Also - daughter got a new job at a department store to complement the old one working with kids. And it looks like she'll be back at the greenhouse once the seasons change. She loves working at the greenhouse. Three jobs?? Well, if she can do it, she will do it. I'm happy for her.

March is also the month when Husband had planned to put our land up for sale. He called someone Monday who he thinks may have contacts that might be interested. Waiting to hear. Now that he is no longer at his main job, we need to sell, and we need to get a good price. We'll see.

That's the news for now. Will keep you posted.