Friday, April 24, 2015

Getting Back to Simple

This was taken the other week. They're about twice that size now. Looks like we're going to have plenty of giant zinnias for my gardens.

Jerry and I have had a little vacation this week and this week coming. Mom went back to Oklahoma with my sister for a visit, and she'll also visit a niece and a friend in Texas. So we've had some free time to enjoy.

With the girls here we haven't taken any overnight getaways, but we are taking some day trips. Driving a little farther than normal for lunch, hoping to see bear again at Cacapon State Park, WV, driving past Gettysburg through apple orchard territory, and a scenic drive near Bedford PA.

                                            The girls playing tug-of-war on a warm afternoon.

Just simple outings, getting away from home now that I'm feeling just about normal. It had been a long winter of illness and these shorts trip have been refreshing.

I've also been able to get out in my gardens for the first time, as warmer weather is starting to become the norm. Shrubs and plants are blooming, trees are blooming, and baby laves are now almost full grown on our maple tree. With rake in hand, I've had the energy to do some work and its been good!

                                                   Our new cherry tree did well this spring.

We're not big travelers, really just homebodies, and doing what we can in the neighborhood. I've been able to write notes again, and that makes me happy. I'm reading again, and sitting in our back yard enjoying the scenery God's given us.

Life has returned and it feels good. I lived in another world for four months, and I'm glad its ended. The simple life is returning. It may not be for everyone, but it is for me. I've even made my first lunch date with a dear friend.

                             Candytuft is now in bloom. It's a nice bright spot in early spring.

Mom will return home near the end of next week. They tell me she's doing well. Well, I am too! And for that I'm very thankful. Thank you, God!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Every Step is Lovely

My sister, Kathy, and her husband, David, came to visit recently. They live in Oklahoma and it had been three years since we'd been able to visit. I love this snap I took of her one early morning in the kitchen. I love you, Kathy.

Every step in the development of each plant is lovely!

There's always surprises as I walk our yard in the spring, looking for new sprouts and buds. This week I wasn't disappointed. Our young magnolia tree is in bloom, and yesterday while looking at the flowers I saw inside one of the blooms. Usually the petals are folded together, but this bloom was open and it looked like another flower inside at the base. I can't recall ever seeing this before. What a treat!

The viburnum shrub in two gardens is filled with the glossy, dark red flower buds that show before the flowers bloom. They're almost as pretty as the flowers themselves! The flowers have a deliciously sweet aroma. I can't keep away from them when they're in bloom!

The peony plants are strong as they shoot upward in development. I can see in my mind the large, beautiful flowers yet to develop. I find it amazing the steps each plant goes through.
Tulips are budding and will open soon for a stunning display of color! Jo dug up some of the tulips that were outside of the garden fence, but I still have enough to enjoy!
And I can't forget my baby leaves that are still wound up loosely just waiting for a warm and sunny day to open. It only takes a few days for the leaves to grow to their full size, so make sure you stop and look at a new baby leaf!
I think watching each plant develop can be just as beautiful as a full blossoming flower! And each one of these plants was designed by God. Each step lovingly created so the plant grows into a beautiful plant.
And that's what He does for us. At 66 I'm still going through each step He has designed for me until I am completely mature and full grown. We're all a work in progress as the beauty of each plant so magnificently displays, just like that lovely second flower inside the delicate magnolia petals.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Seasons Change

"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

   I like this adorable snap from Carol's (not me)Country Sunshine Facebook page. Spring indeed!
In the April issue of Mature Living magazine, Executive Editor Mike Glenn, had these words to say about spring:

"April is a time of mixed blessings. By now, we're excited about the coming of spring, but we also have to pay our taxes. The days are getting a little longer, but sometimes it's still too cold to enjoy them.

"Such is life. Most of our days aren't all good or bad but a mixture of both. While we can't control everything that happens to us, we can control how we respond. A lot of times, having a strong purpose and meaning, regardless of the circumstances, allows us to deal successfully with the ups and downs of life."

I don't know if I've ever wanted spring to arrive more than I do this year. It's coming, friends. As each week passes there are more warm days to enjoy. There was one spring, many years ago, after a bitter and depressing winter, that God brought me new life in the form of baby leaves (see Baby Leaves, March 30, 2009). They're going to be here very soon.

    Baby leaves are so lovely to look at. It only takes a few days for them to grow to their normal size.

Spring will arrive on time according to His plan, in nature and in our hearts. There's always hope.

I'm looking forward to photo shoots. My camera took an unwanted rest, and my snapping finger is ready to snap once again. I learned from my friend, Peggy, that there is an eagle's nest not far from home. I had Jerry take me over there. I didn't get a good snap. The nest was too far away and you couldn't get close to it, But fuzzy or not, that's definitely two eagles below!

Soon I'm going to find new calves, lamb, foals, goslings and fawns! And those tulips will bloom soon and my lovely magnolia's will too. I'll be in snapping paradise!

Yes, spring is coming. Thank you, Lord, for the hope of new life as the seasons of nature, and the seasons of  life, change according to His plan. I'm in a new season now. It's unfolding slowly, but rest assure, His Hand still guides, and I still follow.

"Springtime . . . invites you to try out its splendor . . . to believe anew. To realize that the same Lord who renews the trees with buds and blossoms is ready to renew your life with hope and courage."
Charles Swindoll.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Passing the Torch


Over the past two and a half months I not only put a hold on my blog posts, but I couldn't continue in writing notes to encourage others. My heart wanted to, but my hands couldn't.

Instead, I received notes to encourage me on a daily basis. I, once again, was reminded what words of encouragement could accomplish to help a person during a difficult trial.

I'm very thankful for all the cards and written words I received, but I want to share with you one note that really touched my heart and the purpose of this ministry God has given me.

As many of you know, I began writing notes after receiving a note when I was going through a difficult time. It made such an impression on my heart, that I knew I wanted to touch others in this way.

Recently I received a handmade note card from a young lady whose heart had been touched by notes I had written to her mother. She saw how the notes made her mother smile and how her mother loved to be thought of, and that meant a lot to this young lady. So she wrote me a note to tell me she was praying for me and Mr. Jerry and missed seeing me.

Friends, that's what we all hope to do as we serve Christ. Open the eyes of another to a possible opportunity of service that's filled with hope, God's love and His encouragement. What a blessing to my heart to see the torch pass on to someone else.

I sent one of my books with Jerry to church last Sunday and asked him to give it to this young lady. I wanted to offer her encouragement as she considers the value of a note.

I don't know when or if this young lady will begin a note writing ministry, but the seed has been planted. God waters and instills the gift! Maybe another little bird will be delivering encouraging notes to cheer the hearts of others!

This was a golden blessing that came during a time of personal trial. Now isn't God just like that!

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Happy Day

                                       Abby and Jo staying close to Mom's seat on the couch!

Throughout the past 2 1/2 months since I took leave from my weekly posts, I would occasionally pull up my blog to see if there had been any visitors. There always were, although not very many.

Not knowing when I will begin my weekly posts again, or perhaps every other week, I decided I wanted to write a happier post than my last one at the end of December. So here it is:

Spring is ready to show its lovely face as temperatures warm, birds sing and clean out bird houses, and our early flowers of crocuses and daffodils begin to sprout from the ground. I'm ready for it!

I've had a long and trying 2 1/2 months, but my time of trial is over and my time of refreshment has arrived!

I won't have the strength to work in my gardens as in previous springs, but I can see in my heart all the beauty waiting to open on it's own, and I'm excited. Thank goodness for perennials!

I'm starting some flowers from seed for the first time. I'm anxious to see them grow and be ready to plant after the last frost. My sister-in-law, Bobbie, is loaning me a wel used seedling stand with light, and I'll be planting giant zinnias. She gave me two giant zinnias last year, and I planted them in my wildflower garden. They were amazing! Jerry loved them too, so we're going to have some in all three gardens.

We have seeds for orange, red, pink, yellow and purple flowers. I can hardly wait!

I'll be back again soon to share about my baby leaves and the hope of new life that God provides. New life indeed! Happy Spring!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Battle Begins

       My friend, Danielle, had this lovely bouquet of roses waiting for me after a long and tiring day.

When I put out the new calendar January 1st, I will begin a battle. A battle no one wants to begin. The battle of life.

I have cervical cancer. No one wants to hear that word in their family. But many of us do, and now I'm one of them. December 5th was the day that the news came and after many tests and examinations I'm on the road to radiation and chemo.

I like my doctors. It has been determined I have Stage 2 cancer so I won't be having surgery. The next 6 weeks, beginning next week, I'll be having radiation treatments everyday and chemo treatments one day a week. After that, I'll have a brief surgical procedure and then 5 treatments in Baltimore once or twice a week.

Since December 5th I've been going here and there and seeing this doctor and that doctor. It's been tiring and upsetting. Jerry said, "They're not your appointments, they're ours."

Before we knew I would not have to have surgery, we were trying to figure out how to handle the pups. They're still puppies, even at a year old, and are very excitable. I thought of taking a walker and putting it around the ottoman I put my feet on. Then we could get some plywood and put around the three sides so the pups couldn't jump on me. I was telling my friend, Diana this, and her comment gave both Jerry and me a BIG laugh! She said: "I know we put our pets in cages, but I haven't heard of putting an adult in a cage!" Thank you, Diana, for that laugh!

My friend, Paula, told me, "I know you believe God gives you the words to write in the encouraging notes you send. I believe that too. I also know you keep copies of all the notes you write. God is bringing those words back to you to encourage you heart. Read the notes and let Him bring refreshment to your soul." That sentiment was also shared by another friend. Good advice.

I will be suspending my weekly blog posts while I go through treatment. Please add me to your prayer list as I go through this adventure. I just stopped and looked up the meaning for "adventure" for I wasn't sure that adequately described what I'll be going through. The dictionary said it is an "exciting or dangerous experience." Dangerous for sure, but I think Jerry's word "journey" probably fits best.

I have chosen Psalm 71:14 (there's that number 14 again) to help me through: "But as for me, I will always have hope. I will praise you more and more."

They are beautiful indeed! and fit right in with my Christmas bows and canes! The rose in the front next to the yellow rose actually has a lavender hue. So lovely!