May 23, 2016


The special week has arrived!!  In a few short days, we'll know whether grandchild number two will be a special little boy...

or a special little girl! Since my son and daughter-in-law have chosen to not find out the baby's gender, or given even a teeny tiny hint of what names they are considering, it's all going to be a BIG REVEAL!  (I think I've watched a tad too much HGTV lately...)

But before the baby arrives, first we had to celebrate Miss Lily's second birthday with a fun gathering of family and friends over the weekend...

she's got candle blowing mastered! 

She also knows how to make her grandparents' hearts melt...

Sunday I finally had a chance to get out in my garden and tackle weeding and mulching.  My back and legs are not thanking me this morning, but the effort was soooo worth it!  The lilacs have faded, but the peonies are promising to bloom soon...

 and the irises are just starting to open up.  I love their fragrance!

I put a "peony" border in my small side garden - what do you think?!  I'd been waiting for a chance to try one of these plate borders, and when I found this set of peony plates at Goodwill I knew exactly where they should go!

The white plate garden decoration is from my daughter and check out my new teapot and teacups wind chime!

It was finally time to bring the gazing ball out, and even though it's newly planted the scent of lavender is already wafting through the garden.

The view from my deck glider at the end of a lovely weekend...truly, it doesn't get much better than this!  I sat and listened to the birds sing their little hearts out, and thought of Emily Dickinson's Sabbath poem.

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I, just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I’m going, all along.
Have a lovely day, my friends!! 

May 19, 2016

morning has broken...

Good morning!  Here's a short quiz to get our brains going this morning.  What does purple plus green plus blue equal?  (Hint:  you don't need to check the color wheel for the answer)

 Blue sky, green leaves and purple lilacs = pure bliss

Morning has broken like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing,
Praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the world.

 I can't get enough of my lilacs - they are so beautiful and their sweet fragrance fills the air. 

But their beauty is, sadly, ephemeral.  By next week they will only be a memory, but fortunately my garden provides more than one pleasant memory...more loveliness is on the way!

the peonies buds are promising a bumper crop of pink loveliness!

they remind me of lovely pink ballerinas swaying to the music

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass.

while my iris buds stand at attention, saluting the sun...

and in the front yard, the sun shines brightly on Miss Lily's lilies of the valley...

Mine is the sunlight,
Mine is the morning,
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise ev'ry morning,
God's recreation of the new day.

Have a beautiful day!

May 11, 2016

Misty mornings

After all of yesterday's rain, this morning's mist prompted different replies from my husband and me.  I looked out the window and said "ooh, it's an Indiana morning" and at the same time from the kitchen he called out "looks like a Pennsylvania morning outside".  That lovely, almost ethereal morning mist never fails to delight us and remind us of our childhood homes.  My most immediate concern was my poor lilac bushes - they only truly opened on Monday and yesterday's rain was heavy and lasted all day.  They look a little weather beaten but at least the blooms are still on...I was afraid I might have a one-day wonder this spring!

What's not to love about lilacs?  I delight in their beauty, their scent, their willingness to show up year after year and bring spring glory with them, and most of all, in the sweet, sweet memories I have of my father bringing home armfuls of them to my mother each spring.  In a word, they personify love.

We had an amazing celebratory weekend!  Our daughter graduated summa cum laude with her master's degree in Criminal Justice, with an additional certification in Victim Advocacy.  Her ceremony was on Friday night, and we then hosted a reception for family and friends on Saturday afternoon.

We were all so touched at the effort family and friends made to come and celebrate with us - my brother and nephew drove from South Dakota, and many folks drove two or three hours to join us.  We felt so blessed to have so many people want to share in our daughter's happy day!  And if that wasn't enough reason to celebrate, she found out yesterday that the Runaway & Homeless Youth Services team that she has served on for the past two years just won the state's Governor's Service Award!  We are so very proud of this beautiful, smart, capable and caring young woman.

I had fun decorating her reception with sayings that fit her to a "t"!
We followed Saturday's happiness by gathering on Mother's Day to celebrate our son's birthday...

And of course Miss Lily made an appearance...

And I felt incredibly blessed to be surrounded by those I love more than life itself.  

As the happy weekend came to a close, the lyrics of an old familiar hymn were running through my mind:

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

And along with counting our blessings let's remember that...

May 5, 2016

A+ for effort...

Spring is trying, it really is.  My neighborhood is starting to "pretty up" quite nicely, although I am growing impatient for my lilacs to really fill out and share their fragrance and beauty with me! But considering a month ago this was the view of my backyard, I feel I have very little to complain about at the moment!

Two weeks ago my lilacs were trying to fill out...

and today I'm giving them an A+ for effort as they continue their blossom journey despite rain, cold, and windy're almost there, lilacs! 

The sunshine this morning illuminated my neighbor's trees and made me rush for my camera.  I love the play of the pink blossoms against the green leaves.  I would have tried for a close-up, but I was in my robe and thought crossing the street might be a tad indecorous!

Don't you love a morning that starts with sunshine??  It certainly lifts my spirits!

And since I've got lilacs on my mind this morning, let's greet the day with this lovely little poem from Robert Burns.  Maybe my cardinals have read this poem as well, since I often see them nestling in among the lilac branches and last year I had not one, but two, nests in  the bushes!  Hopefully the poet is right, and rude winter is finally behind us.  I want to sing on wanton wing as youthful May its bloom renews too!

O were my love yon Lilac fair,  
  Wi’ purple blossoms to the Spring,
And I, a bird to shelter there,  
  When wearied on my little wing!
How I wad mourn when it was torn         
  By Autumn wild, and Winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing,  
  When youthfu’ May its bloom renew’d. 
O gin my love were yon red rose,  
  That grows upon the castle wa’;    
And I myself a drap o’ dew,  
  Into her bonie breast to fa’!
O there, beyond expression blest,  
  I’d feast on beauty a’ the night;
Seal’d on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
  Till fley’d awa by Phoebus’ light!
Have a wonderful day, my friends, and remember...

April 19, 2016

Even though it is overcast and threatening rain this morning, the weekend gave us such a gift with the promise of spring.  Beautiful warm weather, and (finally!) a chance to sit on my back deck and soak up sunshine and bird songs.  While sitting on our deck we also started plotting some rather major changes to our home, and I'll look forward to sharing more of our ideas with you later this spring!

I have, I suppose, a rather unspectacular garden, but every plant and bush was planted with love and most of them were chosen for special memories from my childhood.  After weeks of seeing nothing but drab nothingness in the garden, it was so gratifying to see the lilac buds and leaves getting ready to make our month of May spectacular. The lilacs, with their tiny leaves and buds starting to burst forth, always remind me of my father and how he delighted in bringing my mother literally arms full of the lavender blooms each spring, cut from all the old fashioned lilac bushes growing everywhere in the country.  They were the very first thing I planted when we moved into our house, and now they bring not only delight with their beauty and their scent, they also remind me of the special love my parents had for each other.

The peonies and iris are coming up strong, and to my delight I was able to cut a small bouquet of fragrant hyacinths.  Bliss!

I always loved my mother's peonies, and have four bushes of my own.  Even though the bloom time is rather short, their old fashioned beauty charms me every spring.

My garden fairy is waiting for the day lilies and cone-flowers to bloom, but she will need to wait a little longer.  Patience may be a virtue, but I understand her readiness to embrace the garden's fullness again!

This cheeky little fellow stopped by to supervise my picture taking...

and from the back of the garden the forsythia has decided to embrace the "bloom where you are planted" philosophy.  It's been sulking ever since I moved it from one corner of the garden to the other, but evidently all is forgiven.

I think Emily Dickinson also reveled in this heady and intoxicating arrival of spring, as seen in her poem.  Bring on the experiment of green...we are all so ready for it!!

A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown--

Who ponders this tremendous scene--
This whole Experiment of Green--
As if it were his own!

And while we rejoice in the return of spring, let's all remember that...

April 14, 2016

Even though spring seems to be playing it coy this year - a bit of a tease - we did catch a few glimpses of her in downtown Pittsburgh.  We waved hello to her but she would pretend not to see us,  and soon the snowflakes would begin again.  

I really liked all the little triangular green spaces tucked away on city blocks.  As we strolled around downtown Pittsburgh, we saw a number of tiny inviting parks.

We visited Point State Park, where Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt were located.  The robins and daffodils hinted that one season had arrived, but the wind certainly hadn't received the message yet!

 I love this photo - the juxtaposition of history and the future of the city.

Taken at the entry to the Ft. Pitt blockhouse, looking towards downtown

And fittingly enough, here is a poet by British author Robert Herrick (1591 - 1674) to start our day.  I've only included the first verse, as the second verse is rather dreary!  Let's focus on how lovely the flowers are instead of how fleeting their time with us is...

To Daffodils

Fair Daffodils, we weep to see
         You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
         Has not attain'd his noon.
                        Stay, stay,
                Until the hasting day
                        Has run
                But to the even-song;
And, having pray'd together, we
Will go with you along.

 And as always, please have a lovely day and remember...