Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Is it a Waste

On my morning "fawn spotting" last Saturday, I enjoyed seeing the sunrise. These trees in the fog with the soft pink coming in behind them, was worth a snap from my camera.

One of my Facebook friends posted this message last week:

"A day of exercise results in two wasted days of life. The day of exercise is a waste (if you hate exercise) and the extra day of life it gives you is a waste because you spend it lying in bed in a nursing home. Two wasted days. I'd rather enjoy the one day I have right now. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Of course, consider my current physical condition and come to your own conclusions."

I have to say I like it. Now, I know exercise is good for you physically, mentally and emotionally. I've certainly done a lot of it in my years. I even bought a recumbent exercise bike after my second knee surgery. I'd never heard of one before, but it's good for therapy and senior adults. Well, I do belong to that club.

I know it will also be good for my heart, so I try and get on it twice a day.

But I'm not a young chick anymore. I'm not trying to impress the work place or friends with a perfect body (is there one?). You get a little bit slower as you age, and it takes longer to do everything! So I'm not inclined to exercise a lot.

Yes, I know my body is a temples of the Holy Spirit . . . and I need to honor my body. (1st Corinthians 6:19-20) And I do the best I can to keep me going well in all directions. But, I have no interest in living as long as I possibly can into my 80s and 90s. With the decline of the United States in all ways, I have a much better place to go, and I'm looking forward to that day of meeting my Lord.

I'm not ungrateful for my life. God has blessed me immensely with His love and care, and I certainly have experienced His grace and mercy all my days so far. But no day here can ever be as wonderful as eternity in heaven.

I guess you can say the same about me that my friend ended his post with: "Of course, consider my current physical condition and come to your own conclusions."

 Last week when the temps were in the 90s I thought about fall and the ribbon. I spent a little time making some bows as I wait for the joy of fall!

Right now I'm reading "The Best of Stillmeadow" by Gladys Taber. I learned about her through Susan Branch's website. Published in 1937, Taber writes about country life on her farm in Connecticutt. She also wrote for Ladies Home Journal and Family Circle, and was published in Good Housekeeping, Red Book and other similar magazines. She has about 50 books to her credit. I've read this one before, but wanted to visit a simpler time again. Similar in a way to "Isle of Dreams" below. (1899-1980)

And if you haven't read Susan Branch's three books: "The Fairy Tale Girl," "Martha's Vineyard: Isle of Dreams" and "A Fine Romance" you may want to give them a try. The first is about her life and how she got started drawing, going back to a time that I relate to. Brought back a lot of childhood and early adult memories. Isle of Dreams is about her three month escape to Martha's Vineyard (and staying the rest of her life so far) knowing no one and arriving with no reservations. A fascinating read! A Fine Romance is about her two month journey to England, written like a diary, and reads as if we're sitting right there with her enjoying the trip. If you've never been to England this opens the door to life there. Good reads.

I will miss the young of the birds as we get ready for fall. I love to hear the chirping of the little ones!

Well, it's time for me to ride my bike! Look out knees!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Coming to the End

The end of summer is upon us. There's only two Saturdays left in August and my "fawn spotting" mornings will be finished until next year.

It's been a fun time this year, snapping my favorite subjects. And I never failed to see fawn on my outings.

Last week when the temperatures were high, I stayed inside and created a new Shutterfly book titled: Fawn, The Fun of a Snap and have many of my pictures nicely arranged for me to enjoy. If you'd like to see my book, copy and paste the link below and it will take you right to my new book.

                     Above and below are lovely scenes I've seen while driving around this summer.

I found the following words interesting, giving me cause to consider them: "Depending on a person's build, there's a distance of about ten inches between our brain and our hearts. That distance might as well be ten thousand miles sometimes." 100 Favorite Bible Verses, Lisa Guest, Isaiah 40:11

It's one of those things you just don't think about, but quite true. The brain and heart are definitely not always in line with each other. I've always liked to this verse in the Bible: "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."  Proverbs 4:23

Billy Graham thought it this way: "Please take my heart and mold it for your service, shape it into the servant heart you want it to be."

If your heart is in the right place, hopefully your brain will follow it's lead. Intellect and knowledge has nothing over the reasoning of a heart.

In the last week three friends have found out they have serious health concerns. Two have been told the dreaded word cancer, and one waits to find out. In an instant a life is changed.

When I write a note to someone I often say, "You never know when your life will be changed by an illness, but you always know that God is with you." Focusing on the assurance that God already knows and is with you will help you make decisions and bring your thoughts in tune with His.

"The sick room can become a 'spiritual gymnasium' where one's soul is exercised and developed. Sickness is one of the 'all things' which work together for good to those who love God . . . If my heart has been attuned to my God through faith in Christ, then its overflow will be joyous optimism and good cheer." Billy Graham, Unto the Hills

And the "all things" comes from Roman 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

I also share these words when I write: "You have the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in God during this time of illness. He will fill you with peace and comfort, and guide you in any decisions that have to be made."

If you do not know Christ, the above words will surely be foreign to you. But those of us whose life is in God's Hand, understand He's the only one who can work all things to your good.

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." Antoine De Saint-Exupery (1900-1944)

"You can't reason with your heart; it has its own laws, and thumps about things which the intellect scorns." Mark Twain (1835-1910)

My little Mary Jane Magnolia is in bloom again. It's the first year I've seen it bloom twice. The blooms in spring were beautiful. Looks like I'm getting double the show!

I will miss my "fawn spotting" for another year. Seeing and watching fawn are a delight to my eye, but this time also affords me the opportunity to spend two to three hours in early morning with my God. Alone, quiet with nature. What a blessing to my heart.

"But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more." Psalm 71:14

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Common Is Good

"Common-looking people are the best in the world; that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them." Abraham Lincoln

I loved the quote! In the devotion "Look at a Person's Heart" in the book "Abraham Lincoln's Daily Treasure" I thought the words interesting and very true. "Outward appearances can be deceiving. It's what inside--one's motives and character--that matters most."

And, of course, Scripture backs that up: "Your adornment must not be merely external . . . but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of good." 1 Peter 3:3-4

Most of us our just regular folk, leading a regular life and having regular families. We're in the majority!

"If you value outward appearances more highly, you may have passed right over Abraham Lincoln if you had had the chance to hire him or choose him for a friend. Look inside a person to discover what he or she really is made of." Thomas Freiling, editor of the above book

I didn't know some coneflowers grew to 5 - 7 feet! This was a big surprise! I found the label and sure enough it said 5 to 7 feet!

Sometimes our self esteem is less than it should be. Being average you don't stand out. At least you don't think you do. But all those little things you do that no one seems to notice, are noticed.

"A life need not be great to be beautiful. There is as much beauty in a tiny flower as in a majestic tree, in a little gem as in a great jewel . . . A life may be very lovely and yet be insignificant in the worlds' eyes. A beautiful life is one that fulfills its mission in this world, that is what God made it to be and does what God made it to do . . . But the smallest life that fills its place well is far lovelier in God's sight than the largest and most splendidly gifted--yet fails its divine mission."  Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

The Bible talks about common people with this verse: "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?" Romans 9:21

Common is good. Some lead and teach. Many encourage and show mercy. Many help. Many serve, many do the littlest things that make a BIG difference!

I've shared this passage by George MacDonald before, but it's worth repeating in this post:

"Few are needed to do the out-of-the-way tasks which startle the world, and one may be most useful just doing common place duties, and leaving the issue with God. And when it is all over, and our feet will run no more, and our hands are helpless, and we have scarcely strength to murmur a last prayer, then we shall see that, instead of needing a larger field, we have left untilled many corners of our single acre, and that none of it is fit for our Master's eye were it not for the softening shadow of the cross."

And a fun quote for all us folk: "Scripture makes it clear that every person has a reason for his or her existence . . . If contentment is the ultimate goal, you should negotiate with the cows to take over their pastures. Their contentment with grazing in a grassy meadow seems to overshadow the satisfaction of most human beings with their life situations." Dorothy Kelley Patterson

So remember to be true to your calling and your natural inward beauty will shine!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I Will Give Her Gardens

"All things are yours! Do you believe it?
All things are yours? Can you receive it?
The sea, the sky, the air; The beauties everywhere:
God's wonderful out-of-doors -- All yours."
Jean Newberry, 1925, from a card printed in England

"For all things are yours . . . and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." 1 Cor. 3:21-22

When I retired five years ago, I like to imagine God said: "I must give my child something to bring joy to her heart. I will give her gardens." This girl never played in dirt. I love taking pictures of flowers and gardens, but no one was going to make me get my hands dirty.

But God had a delight for me that I wasn't aware of. And with the cutting down of a large tree in our yard, leaving an ugly area, God planted in my mind the dream, and a garden was planted.

Sitting right across the driveway from the new garden was an equally ugly area. That fall it became the second garden.

The following year, with another large tree coming down in the backyard, the Wildflower garden was created. I love Wildflower gardens, and although this isn't quite there yet, I dream of it becoming a refreshing Wildflower garden.

The Peony and Hibiscus garden was fenced in the next year. Peonies had been growing in this garden for several years now, under the hanging basket. We added three Hibiscus bushes. Did you notice the birdhouse on the right on top of a small shrub trunk? I love it, but the birds don't. I would like to put some more plants in this garden. Maybe next year.

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, now I love to go out early in the morning and walk and work in my gardens. The well known song "In The Garden" is a reality to me, and the doldrums of summer are now filled with joy.

I still don't like to get my hands dirty, but I have some pleasant garden gloves to keep them clean.

I'm thankful for the folks who helped me with the gardens these last 1 1/2 years while I took a detour with my health. I'm thrilled to be able to work in them once again.

Yes, I believe God wanted to give me some joy and blessed me with these gardens. They're a lot of work, but mostly enjoyable work. I am filled with JOY!

The Hibiscus are blooming! What a treat to enjoy their beauty!

"Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers." May Sarton

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In The Chicken House

"Our life is frittered away by detail . . . Simplicity! simplicity, simplicity?" Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

How about a chicken house? Yes, that's me in the chicken house! Well, close enough anyways, inside the gate. A young family we're friend's with, who have helped us with yard work and the girls, are in the chicken business!

We visited them early March when the chicks were small. Aren't they cute! Well, they grew up to be beautiful I think. And they have the run of the yard! They're friendly and so enjoyable to watch!
They even peck on the sliding door for treats.

These two below are newcomers, just arriving the other week. They have Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rock, Golden Laced Wyandotte and Buff Orpington. For me, they'll just be chicken.

They also have two ducks named Donald and Daisy. Next may be a cow! A sheep!  Aren't I the lucky one! A small farm to visit. This is a simple joy.

                                                Hibiscus are now in bloom! White is lovely!

Simple for me is my fawn spotting mornings, walking in my gardens, reading a good book, watching a nice movie--these are all simple things for me to do. And right now we all need simple things to help us through this time in history.

                                                                     Pink is lovely!

Our hope is secure in Christ. We can count on that to help focus our days. But find time for some simple pleasures that make you smile.
Red is lovely!

"All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope." Sir Winston Churchill (1874)1965)                     

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Decked Out!

My friend, Kathy, is decked out! A master gardener in my eyes, her deck is loaded with color and blooms, pots, decorations and more!

I had the pleasure of visiting her last week, driving through the country on a beautiful summer day. We sat out on her deck and enjoyed the breeze before it got too hot. She even put out meal worms for her blue bird friends so I could enjoy them too! You can barely see him to the right of the tree truck on the little red dish!

Kathy is one of my friend's who helped me plan my garden. She's had some lovely gardens through the years, which I've shared with you, and has recently moved her blooms to the deck for easier care. How do you like that elephant ear!

Thank you, Kathy, for a lovely day!

Last Thursday I was all prepared to work in the gardens, actually looking forward to it. But the hot, humid weather, at 6 in the morning, detoured me. So I wondered, "What can I do today?" And it became Christmas in July!

My friend, Carol, recently sent me ribbon for my Christmas bow making. And I also used my Let it Snow ribbon. I had a good time creating some bows that morning. Thank you, Carol, for thinking of me!

And I finished reading Bryson City Tales by Walt Larimore, MD, last week. My friend, Linda (Penny), had recommended it on Facebook so I thought I'd pick it up and see what it was about. The sub title is "Stories of a doctor's first year of practice in the Smoky Mountains."

It is a very interesting story about a medical students passage to a family physician. I laughed and sometimes couldn't believe what I was reading it was so strange. I'm now on the sequel and enjoying it just as much. Life with a small town, country doctor. Good read!

While driving in town the other week I spotted this beautiful garden of wildflowers! I love wildflowers! A man was in the yard. I stopped and asked if I could take a picture. He said his wife would be so pleased!

I was driving past Wilson's farm in the heat of the day and found his cows refreshing themselves in the creek. That there are some pretty smart cows!

The summer heat is definitely here. I've never been a big fan of summer, July and August. But since retiring and creating my own gardens, I've learned summer is a beautiful time of blooming plants and flowers. And, of course, it's fawn season. Just as lovely as the colors of fall, the snow of winter and the new life in spring!

I hope you're enjoying summer and the beauty all around. "Each moment of the year has its own beauty . . . a picture which was never seen before and which shall never be seen again." Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882