Phlower & Perspective – Iris Cathedral

Purple Iris – Flower of the Day

“I have had more than half a century of such happiness. A great deal of worry and sorrow, too, but never a worry or a sorrow that was not offset by a purple iris, a lark, a bluebird, or a dewy morning glory.” ~ Mary McLeod Bethune

This regal flower reminds me today of beauty lost. How horrifying it was yesterday to witness Notre Dame in flames and realize there was nothing to be done to save it. A reminder to make the most of every moment, so much can change in just a matter of minutes or hours.

Perspective – Nurturing Sights

I love walking through my garden several times a day. The Spring bulbs I planted in Autumn are beginning to bloom. This beautiful scilla, captured a bit of the blue sky in it’s blossoms. I decided it was pretty enough to be part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

I had a surprise when I downloaded the photograph and spied a small insect of some type on the underside of the the Scilla leaf. Do you see it to the left of the uppermost bloom? It appears to be a sweat bee, ready to begin searching for pollen and nectar.

Why would this thrill me? I felt like it was sent from God to give my spirit a lift. You see, when I paint a floral watercolor, I always include a small inchworm somewhere in my painting. The sweat bee felt like God calling my attention to his artwork, and reminding me to stop all the never-ending upkeep of house and garden, and nurture myself a bit and paint.

This post is part of Nurturing Thursday.

Perspective – Coming Attractions

I have observed the signs: the date on the calendar, felt the temperature rise, taken notice of longer daylight hours. I am assured Spring is coming soon. I’ve used this beautiful photo of a convolvulus flower and bee in a previous post, but this Sabbath Day seems a good time to revisit it and be reminded of coming attractions.

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” ~ I Thessalonians 4:16-17

The Lord will come again.

Perspective – Bugs in the House

I made two mistakes when I picked up a cat food crumb off the carpet. First, the crumb was not a crumb at all! As I neared the kitchen trash can the piece of kibble began to move. I looked at what I held in my palm and instinctively threw it on the floor, a stink bug. I picked the bug up with a tissue, wrapped it like a mummy, and deposited it in the trashcan.

What was my second mistake?

Stink bugs are detestable but also awesome at the same time; the indestructible insect somehow unwrapped itself and climbed out of the trash can. I didn’t make the same mistake. I threw the stinker away again and sealed the trash bag. Victory!

I don’t like stink bugs, but I love ladybird beetles. They also find their way into the house in the winter, but are welcome guests. I found one on my tomato sprouts and was so enamored I took a dozen photographs of her as she traversed the top of the party cups. Sweet!

Perspective – Throwback Thursday/Books & Cereal

New Bikes and Dolls – Christmas 1963 (I’m on the right)

According to Days of the Year, today is World Book Day. Since today is also Throwback Thursday I thought I would think back and list my favorite books of childhood and preteen years. I read many other books too, but these are the tales I know I read more than once. Did you read any of these as a child?

Little House Books by Laura Ingalls
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Heidi by Joanna Spyri
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Tales from the Arabian Nights (compilations)
Red, Green, Yellow Fairy Books (compilation)
All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman (This is an adult book that I adored as a child)
The Secret Garden by France Hodgson Burnett
Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Charlie Cockatoo by Keith Moxon
The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore by Laura Lee Hope
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge
Patty Fairfield by Carolyn Wells
Elsie Dinsmore (first four books) by Martha Finley
* Adding Anne of Green Gables…how could I forget my beloved Anne?

March 7th is also Cereal Day. Compiling the book list brought up remembrances from the past; I recalled a cereal commercial from the 1960’s that made my 6 year-old self laugh hysterically. Crispy Critters featured a lion getting stampeded by dozens of cereal animals.

I also remembered Lorenzo the Clown and his stomp dance. When I watched the Youtube video I remembered doing the dance with my sister. It probably was the peak of my dancing career, before the inhibitions of possibly looking silly set in and I became a wallflower.

Researching this post I found The Lorenzo Show was a local Baltimore program. That is probably why when we moved away from Easton, Maryland, I don’t remember ever watching Lorenzo again. I might just try Lorenzo’s stomp with my grandchildren when we have our next sleepover. Fun!

Perspective – The Opposite of Love Part II

I intend to do more to speak up for the unborn and those newborn babies in peril of infanticide/murder. A first step is to contact my state representatives. I am including links that explain how to contact your state senators and congressmen. We all need to begin putting action behind our beliefs in the Sanctity of Life.

United States Senate/Contacting the Senate

United States House of Representatives/Contacting Congress

Perspective – The Opposite of Love

At the moment of his birth my older son was very vocal, immediately protesting his entry into the cold world. My younger son was quiet, gazing upward at the delivery room lights, no crying, a quiet contemplation of the world. They have stayed exactly the same throughout their lives, one talkative, one quiet. Who they were at the moment of their birth is who they have remained. The knowledge in me that their personalities were in place before they were even born once again solidifies my view on abortion. It’s time for everyone who believes in the sanctity of life to say so!

Here are a few wise quotes:

“Late-term abortions, especially when the baby survives, but is then killed by starvation, neglect, or suffocation, show once again the link between abortion and infanticide. The time to stop both is now.” ~Ronald Reagan

“The state could have been concerned about rendering society callous to infanticide … the horror of seeing a live human creature outside the womb dismembered. Can’t that be a valid societal interest?” ~Antonin Scalia

‘We need to recapture the gospel glow of the early Christians who were nonconformists in the truest sense of the word . . . Their powerful gospel put an end to such barbaric evils as infanticide and bloody gladiatorial contests. Finally, they captured the Roman Empire for Jesus Christ.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Perspective – Valentine’s Day and THE BIG KNIFE

Can you have a whole conversation with those you love using only movie quotes? At times we can in our house. When we are having an especially difficult time with a situation we will say to the other, “Chrissy, Bring me the BIG KNIFE.”

Bring me the big knife is a quote from one of our favorite movies, MOONSTRUCK, starring Cher and Nicholas Cage. The Big Knife scene is inside Ronnie Cammareri’s (Cage) basement bakery, and when he’s reached the end of his patience with his situation, he yells for his employee Chrissy to bring him the BIG KNIFE so he can end it all. Moonstruck is a great movie for Valentine’s Day. In the storyline, when people do the wrong thing, it is called the wrong thing, and not glossed over as their right or celebrated. In the movie people actually acknowledge wrongdoing, believe in God and the church, and try to make things right in their lives. By the time the credits roll you feel like you are a part of their family.

For me, true love is a paint paddle made into a “Big Knife” by my husband a week or so ago. He knows I have been having a difficult time in several situations, and to make me laugh, he brought me THE BIG KNIFE. Would anyone else in the world know how meaningful this paint paddle is for me besides him? Well maybe now you will too. True love…priceless…and sometimes in the form of a Big Knife. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Perspective and Praise – Casting Cares

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

~ Psalm 55:22 (KJVA)

The acacia passage is one of my favorite areas in the Longwood Garden Conservatory. This beautiful vignette is just one of the many plant displays that will pique your interest during the Orchid Extravaganza.

If I was the gardener in charge of the area, the care, placement and upkeep of all the plants would be daunting. To cope, and do the best job possible, I would remind myself of wise counsel a good friend once gave me, “Concentrate on one problem at a time.” This sage advice works for so many aspects of life. We get into trouble when we overextend ourselves and try to take care of too many problems at one time.

Aha, you say, all my problems must be taken care of now, I have no choice. Yes, sometimes choosing just one doesn’t work, but in that case, I remind myself of the verse I began the post with, and I cast the burden on the Lord. What a promise to cling to in the midst of our busy, problem-filled lives. He will sustain me, He will sustain thee. God bless you on this Sabbath Day.

The orchids are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

People & Perspective – Things That Matter


Sunday Night Supermoon Rising

When beautiful events take place in the sky I look up and take notice. When a person changes many lives for the better by standing up for what he knows is truth, I take notice of his words. I wonder what Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream would be if he lived in our present world.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

What am I silent about even when I know something is very wrong? Do I keep opinions to myself because I don’t want to come across as condemning instead of loving? What might my silence let happen that should, at the very least, be spoken against? Today I am stating my opinion on abortion. My belief is that at conception life begins. I don’t usually contact government leaders, but this weekend I sent a thank you email to Rand Paul for reintroducing the Life at Conception Bill.

“Each year, the March for Life calls on the powerful to protect life at its most helpless. What we say about the value of human life fundamentally impacts who and what we will be as a nation. In recognition of this, I have reintroduced the Life at Conception Act to ensure the unborn receive equal protection under the law, along with legislation to end forced taxpayer support of Planned Parenthood. May the message heard today and the marchers’ passionate dedication inspire change to reaffirm this most basic of rights-” ~ Rand Paul


Monday Morning Supermoon Setting

Perspective – Jingling Bells or Clattering Chains

Yesterday morning we had a bit of clear weather before another rainy spell descended. I took a quick walk around the neighborhood to get a bit of exercise. The quiet of my winter jaunt was suddenly filled with the jingling of bells. The chiming was courtesy of a local mail carrier delivering the day’s mail. He was wearing a string of sleigh bells as part of his uniform and with every step the lovely jingling grew louder. I wouldn’t have been able to quench the big smile that spread over my face if I had tried. Added to the music of the bells was a ‘Happy New Year’ greeting from the carrier. I told him he had brightened my day just when I had needed an uplift, and it was 100% the truth. I felt the heavy load of the moment lightened by the sound of the bells and his greeting of cheer.

Photo courtesy of Project Gutenberg

For some reason as I walked away I was immediately struck by a contrasting thought of the clattering chains the ghost of  Jacob Marley wore in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I immediately decided that in the coming year I want to bring the joy of jingling bells to others rather than weigh them down by the heavy chains of negativity. I want to spread a positive outlook as far as I am able. I don’t believe in false optimism or perky attitudes when tragedy or negative situations besiege others or myself, but I hope that as often as I can, I will bring to others a voice of hope in 2019.

“…All thought, however trivial-seeming, however fleeting, is immeasurably powerful.” ~ Faith Hill

I hope to dwell in positive thoughts the whole year through. Happy New Year to all my blogging friends.

Perspective – Simplicity

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. ~ Matthew 1:21

I love simple peg ornaments. They remind me of cuckoo clock people and always bring a smile to my face. They are a good of example of simplicity bringing joy.

Minding My P’s with Q will be back New Year’s Day 2019.

Perspective – Angels We Have Heard & 100 Years Time

Time To Create – Timesquare Challenge

Did you know a fireplace hearth is a convenient place to produce art masterpieces? My grand-children do, and they use this area quite often for their creations. The youngest grand-daughter is diligent, and doesn’t quit until every inch of paper is covered in color. The girls especially love markers and crayons, and make magic with Princess Pink and Electric Blues.

I feel a sense of gratitude to their parents, school teachers and Sunday School teachers for instilling in them a love for art and singing. While they visited yesterday we danced to Rockin’ Robin, a fifties tune that is cheerful and sweet. The song was part of last year’s school program and the girls still love it. We also sang along to YouTube videos of Angels We Have Heard on High, their favorite song from last Sunday night’s Children’s Christmas Program. I will never forget the sight and sound of those sweet girls exuberantly singing ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo.’ I told them when I was a little girl I also loved singing Angels We Have Heard on High and we spent some time singing Christmas Carols available on Youtube.

Before we finished with our singing I played them an old Chuck Wagon Gang song. What a precious moment I had when I told them that when I was a little girl I would listen to these songs when I visited my grandmother, their great-great grandparent. It was near fifty years ago that I sang along to this group when my grandmother played the album on her stereo. It suddenly dawned on me as strains filled the room of a guitar strumming a quick overture to Echoes From the Burning Bush, that perhaps this would be a century long memory, and one day my grand-daughters will play this song and say to their own grandchildren, “When I was a little girl…” and I’m reminded again of how the Good News of Christ the Savior is best passed down from generation to generation through the centuries of time, and I ask you, are you spreading the Good News and the true reason for this season?

Perspective & Project – Scrub Pine Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree That Ran Away was a favorite album of my sister and me. Why do I mention this song? Because the words and tune ring through my head whenever I decorate a scrub pine and turn it into a sweet Christmas tree. Here’s the Youtube song, if it sounds dated, it is; the album is from the 1960’s.

I had forgotten how cute a scrub pine can be when decorated with simple ornaments. This one is loaded down with some turned-wood decorations I found for pennies at a thrift store. Planted in a pot and placed on the kitchen table, it reminds me that things that are ‘found’ are sometimes what become favorites during the Christmas season.

We dug this little scrub pine up along the railroad tracks. Plants that grow in the rocks that border the track are by necessity resilient. Most foliage succumbs to the lack of dirt and good soil, which is what the railroad wants…encroaching plants and trees would be a hindrance to the train’s smooth travel. When Christmas is over I’ll find an out of the way spot amid the ivy where a fir tree that can grow in rocky soil will survive.

Perspective – Restorative Power!

Saint Francis Xavier Church was founded by Father Thomas Mansell, S.J. in 1704. It is one of the earliest Catholic establishments in the English Colonies and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

History of St. Francis Xavier Shrine (Old Bohemia) Years ago, before the age of digital cameras, my husband and I drove around Cecil County, Maryland. We came upon a beautiful church unawares. I was struck by its beauty and took a snapshot with my camera. The photo above is a digital copy of the beautiful moment I captured.

The Old Bohemia Church was built in 1792. The church was established in 1704 to battle the repression of Catholicism in the English Colonies. In 1953, a group formed to renovate and restore the building. To me, the coming together of three such separate denominations is a testament of what Christianity should represent.

In 1953, the Old Bohemia Historical Society was formed by a Catholic, a Quaker and a Methodist who purchased the property’s core 120 acres with the goal to restore and maintain the historic site. Since that time, members have worked to bring the property back to its original state.

The month of October for me was a month without church. Between vacation and a dental surgery I missed every Sunday at my place of worship. This past weekend I was once again worshipping with the members in our church. When we entered we were greeted with the sight of almost every seat taken in the sanctuary. Hallelujah, what a blessed sight. We made our way to the balcony where there was still room, and I said to my husband, ‘It’s a full house today.’ When I left I felt uplifted and full of joy…I had been where I belonged on Sunday morning…in God’s house.

Yesterday I visited the blog ‘Tales From the Mama Duck.’ She perfectly put into words exactly how I felt on Sunday about the restorative power of church attendance. Here’s a quote and a link to her amazing post. ‘I Didn’t Want to Leave Church on Sunday.’

“Church is not a social gathering for me. Sure, it provides fellowship, but more intimate relationships are experienced in small groups. Church service is restorative. After six days in the world, I need a reprieve from the depravity, the images, the diseases, disappointments, and this Babylonian culture.” ~ Tales From Mama Duck

“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” ~ Psalm 23:3

Place & Perspective – Negril Lighthouse/Rick’s Cafe/Carpe Diem

The Negril Lighthouse was built in 1894. You will find a perfect view of this landmark in Jamaica from another landmark, Rick’s Cafe.

We arrived at Rick’s Cafe in minutes from the Samsara, a great hotel in between Rick’s Cafe and Seven Mile Beach, just in time to see a diver prepare to jump from the cliffs.

Ten second video of the jump.

My husband has jumped off the moderate sized cliffs the Samsara is built upon numerous times; I have not. I decided this was my year to jump. I contemplated the sea below, the height, and decided to seize the day and finally jump off the cliffs.

There I go, my hair makes me laugh, it looks as if it wants to stay behind and is yelling, “NO!”

My husband jumped with the underwater camera this year. Here’s a quick glimpse of what you see and hear when you jump in from the cliffs.

I’m glad I did seize the day, the next morning the sea was rough, churned up by Hurricane Michael’s path to the left of Jamaica. If I had waited I would have missed my chance.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

This post is part of Skywatch Friday

Plants & Perspective – Cuttings

In August I took about three dozen cuttings of plants I liked. Oh my! They all took to rooting in water and soil and I soon had them growing under lights in the basement. My success surprised me even though I have rooted cuttings for years. The small plants quickly became another demand of my time.

Where are the plants now? You might cringe and ask ‘why,’ when I tell you they are in the compost heap. I am getting wiser. I am cutting back on things that tie up my time and energy. Do I really need to carry over so many plants? I live in an area with many garden nurseries. My flowering perennials grow larger every year. I don’t really need as many plants as I did in the past.

I’ve decided I must cut away successful endeavors that might kill me. Sounds funny, but those of you with too many projects going on know exactly what I mean. Growing older for me means less really does give me more…and by that I mean TIME. By the way, I also have a glorious compost heap to use next year. Hooray!

Perspective – Playing with God

We walked atop old telephone poles laid flat as parking lot barriers, balancing, waving our arms when we wavered, laughing at each other as we struggled to keep from falling off. We were pretending we were explorers walking a high, narrow bridge between two mountains. He is six, I am sixty. He is my grandson, I am his grandmother.

He had just told me he has nightmares. A scary guy from a video game called Freddy is in his dream. I told him I would pray he has good dreams. We both began talking about our ‘exploring’ game and what fun we were having playing together when he said, “Nanny, I want to play with God.”

My heart soared. Whenever one of my children or grandchildren has acknowledged the personhood of God I know they have a belief in God. My grandson’s remark, that he wanted to play with God was, to me, a precious example of seeking God.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” ~ Hebrews 11:6

In the evening, after the day spent with family, I remembered my promise and prayed that Dominic would have a good dream, and that God would play with him in his dream. I am so grateful that God gives me these moments with my beloved grandchildren to reinforce my faith in Him and in the coming Eternal Life we will all share together. All praise to our Glorious Father in Heaven. Amen.

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” ~ Matthew 19:14