Perspective & Plants – Updates

I’ve been in a bit of limbo for two months. We had more than half of the interior of the house painted. It began mid-February and ended last Thursday. TOO LONG! I will think very hard before I ever begin major home improvements again. No matter how nice a stranger is, they are a stranger, and I am ashamed to say even an attempt at chit-chat and pleasantries began to grate as the time began to drag on and on. I really began to feel a bit wacky due to my routines being disrupted for so long. The job was well done though, and the walls are bright and clean.

We had a break in the two months of painting and went on vacation in Jamaica. The weather was wonderful. We came home to very cold weather in New Jersey. Brrrr….better now though. It is very warm today.

The praying mantis pods I gathered a few months ago, after spending the winter on the porch, are now velcroed to my rose bushes. I am hoping they will keep the sawfly invasion down this year. I also bought some alyssum seeds to sow. Sixteen packs from the dollar store only cost $4.00. I read alyssum helps keep pests that rise from the ground at bay. I am hoping to have a carpet of alyssum beneath the roses this year. Of course, now that I am searching for a link, I can’t find it again. Bah!

Placing a plastic grid from an old market tray over my pots of bulbs worked great. Pots without the grid were dug through by squirrels all winter long. The grid was a perfect shield and easily removed when the bulbs had sprouted.

I started over 200 seeds indoors this Winter. I always start weeks earlier than the seed packets recommend. If grown with heat mats and under light, the plants do not get leggy, well at least most of them did not get leggy. My biggest surprise, the dahlias. They thrived under the indoor conditions.

I have managed to root the tips of geraniums that had become hopelessly overgrown. I was inspired to try this gain after watching Gardener’s World on Britbox. This has become a favorite and it kept me sane through the weeks of painting.

Pheathers & Perspective – One Liner Wednesday/Never Give Up!

Last week, here in Southern New Jersey, our temperatures were in the single digits. Thankfully, this plummeting into frigidity occurred after the heavy rains, and although we had a coating of ice for a few days, we did not have the mountains of snow that northern areas experienced.

Today, the sunlight warmed the air, and I grabbed my coat and camera hoping to find an area in the woods near me to photograph once a week in 2023. I found this sweet spot, a trail created by a thoughtful, though unknown person, bordered with fallen limbs. Ground pine and holly trees give the scene some winter color. I think this is the perfect place to photograph weekly to watch the changes occur in what is growing and changing.

My next thought was to capture several photos of local birds, perhaps I’d come upon some blue jays, juncos, cardinals, finches, sparrows, titmice, woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, all the lovely wintertime birds who visit my feeders. A few images of them in their more natural habitat would be perfect. I wasn’t having any luck until I turned a corner at the edge of the woods and spied a flock of what I thought were sparrows or juncos. A flash of blue feathers confused me for a moment. No, could it be? Yes! For the first time in my life, I gazed on a flock of bluebirds.

I didn’t have my ‘readers’ on, inexpensive glasses that help me see up close. I didn’t know if my viewfinder was locating the birds. I kept on trying, click after click after click. I had no idea until I was back home and downloaded them if even one image had a bluebird in it. Most of my photos were blurry or missed my subjects completely, but some captured the beautiful bluebirds. Oh, Happy Day! I had a few good photographs.

I’m so glad I followed the advice of, “Never Give Up!” My motto for One-Liner Wednesday.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

Photographs, Perspective & Place – Cedar Lake or Missing the Window

We revisited Cedar Lake over the weekend. I posted about this place in February 2022, and meant to showcase it again on the blog in its Springtime glory and spectacular Summer abundance, but somehow, missed my window of time and once again am writing a piece when all the growth has fallen away. Whatever the season, it is a perfect place to revisit and blog on Jo’s Monday Walk and Skywatch.

If I had visited when undergrowth was growing wild and lush, I would have missed this sight. “Look, through these trees,” my husband said, pointing the way. I didn’t see much at first, but then saw the gleam of sun on a living creature.

I zoomed in with my camera, and since the doe was resting, and unafraid, I was able to take a good photograph through the twiggy protection around her. She must live in the park, accustomed no doubt to many people walking by her on the criss-crossing paths. Can you see her eye?

Further along the path we saw some robins, hanging around long after the first frosts. They never leave our area to fly south; they Winter over here, finding berries and other fruits. I need to remember to place a bit of fruit on the platform birdfeeder and maybe draw them in.

A few mallards swam within a small pond hidden in the woods. There are creeks, small ponds, and larger bodies of water every hundred feet or so in the park surrounding the lake. A perfect spot for a ‘Water, Water, Everywhere‘ post.

Cedar Lake and Washington Lake Park, Sewell, NJ, is the setting for this post.

Perspective – What Do I Save?

The Ragtag Prompt today is the word Save. Without even a minute of thought my post almost wrote itself. Throughout the day, 5:00 a.m. to now, 1:16 p.m. (EST), I set aside the trash in the photograph to save. I realized, that without trying, the items followed a theme: things to recycle for gardening.

The can full of water is soaking the label off a cinnamon spice jar. I can use this to hold my own dried herbs. The can itself will be put on a shelf in my garage, ready to hold bacon grease or other refuse. Empty cans are indispensable in the garden, and in previous growing seasons I’ve used several for small plants. Larger-sized crushed tomato cans are a good one to keep, perfect to measure out a daily portion of bird seed. The mesh bag, cut off a ham that is even now simmering on the stove before baking, can be used to dry vegetables, suspend melons or squash above the ground, and can also store bulbs in the Autumn.

The cheesecake container, empty now, (wish it was still full) can hold expanding peat pots. They make a great instant greenhouse. I have quite a few Moonflower vines sprouting in one I saved a few weeks ago. Hmmm? I wonder what I’ll save next.

Perspective – Upside Down

My wonderful father, after 87 years of serving the Lord on this earth, is with him in heaven. Even though I knew he could not go on much longer, my heart is aching without him. I know he has rejoined my mother and so many others who went on before him. God is good. I have the assurance of a better world after this one.

He always had movie star good looks. He was often mistaken for ‘The Man from Uncle,’ Robert Vaughn, or sometimes people thought he looked like Johnny Cash. He certainly could sing like Mr. Cash. The photo above is of Dad with my sister and me, Frontier Town, Ocean City, MD, early 1960’s.

Perspective – Throwback Thursday

This beautiful oak cabinet belonged to my parents. It sits in a corner of my living room; a unique piece of furniture I feel blessed to have it in my home. Inside are vintage novels, many written by Grace Livingston Hill. I haven’t read all of them, but perhaps at some point I will find the time to immerse myself into each one. The stories were written in a different time, and might be considered quaint by some, but they are also comforting in their lack of descriptive violence, swearing, and the ‘other things’ that cause me to cringe when I read today’s brand of fiction.

I also enjoy the non-fiction of Faith Baldwin and was delighted to recently find my sixth volume of her prose. This lady had a sweet wisdom that both counsels me and uplifts my spirit. No matter she lived in an era different from mine. Her timeless words live beyond her lifespan.

Gratitude is a humble emotion. It expresses itself in a thousand ways, from a sincere thank you to friend or stranger, to the mute, up-reaching acknowledgment to God–not for the gifts of this day only, but for the day itself; not for what we believe will be ours in the future, but for the bounty of the past.

~Faith Baldwin

This last photo might seem strange, but it illustrates my life at the present moment. Another person I love has come down with Covid even though they received the vaccination. Everything seems awry today, even something as simple as opening the curtains properly. I laughed when I walked into my living room and noticed the disarray of the front window.

Thanks be to God the new person who has come down with this virus seems to be recovering. I won’t tell you how I feel about the virus, what I believe about the origins, reasoning, and treatments, that is for each person to decide for themselves. I will tell you though that I so agree with the four words one of my cousins texted to me yesterday, “I’M SO COVID WEARY.” I think we can all nod our heads and shout, “Me too!” God bless us all in this time we were born to live in. He will equip us to live for him.

Perspective – Thanksgiving

My grand-daughter, aged 6, is a good reader at a young age. Sunday morning, she stood beside me in church services and read, with the rest of the congregation, the responsive reading, Psalm 100.

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. ~Psalm 100

I listened to her sweet voice as we read the words together. I was reminded of my second grade teacher, Mrs. Ware. This lovely Christian lady taught our class to memorize Psalm 100. I remember it still, near sixty years later, and I am ever grateful for the treasure she gave us. It was a different time, the 1960’s, there had not yet come banishment of anything Christian from the curriculum.

I felt so blessed to have both my grand-daughters with me in the service, and began to remember all the times I worshipped alongside my parents, grand-parents, in similar services throughout my childhood. How blessed I am that generation to generation the Lord remained forever with us. He is eternal. I know that my grandparents prayed for me, my children, and probably as I do now, for all the generations that will come after us.

I see within this certificate for the Cradle Roll department that my grandfather’s parents were also believers. These would be the great, great, great-grandparents of my own grandchildren. It fills my heart with Thanksgiving, that through the last century and longer, prayers have been spoken by my family for their descendants. These prayers are still being answered today. How could I not make a joyful noise, speak prayers of Thanksgiving, to my Father in Heaven on this special day? I am resolved to pray even more fervently in the coming year for all of my family, and for those as of yet unborn, who will come after us.

Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation. Lamentations 5:19

Perspective and Plants – It Is Well.

My new rose garden is in a full flush of bloom. The roses thrived from the start, but the warm days of summer, and a season of good rain and fertilizer, bumped up the amount of Autumnal blooms. Also a help was the waning of the pest attacks that decimated the foliage in early Spring. My Mother loved asking about the rose garden throughout the Spring and Summer months. She frequently called me in the early morning to chat a bit and often asked about the roses.

Mom is no longer with us. You might have noticed I have not posted for months. During that time my Mother struggled with injury and failing health, and she went to heaven in early September. When she passed into the presence of Jesus, a small bouquet of my roses lay upon the tray near her bed. My sister and I were with her at the end. It was peaceful, yet so hard; we were aware by her deteriorating condition there was no coming back from the strokes she suffered in the last three days of her life.

When we left her, we took the elevator up two floors to where my Father was also a patient. Yes, both of my parents were in the hospital at the same time. The nursing staff allowed Dad to be brought down in a wheelchair to visit with Mom, and he sang to her the old beloved hymn, ‘It Is Well.’ My Dad is recovering. I am grateful for that, and we hope with some Physical Therapy he will continue to improve.

The photograph above is how I remember her in appearance when I was a little girl. I am in the middle. I believe from my size this photo was taken in the early 60’s, and I would have been between four and five years old. She was beautiful until the end of her life.

The photo was taken on my back porch this summer on the Fourth of July. We had no idea at the time it would be the last Fourth we celebrated together? My Mom is on the left, my Mother-in-law on the right. They became good friends over the years.

In the early years of this century my mother fought breast cancer twice. God healed her and gave her twenty more years to live and spend with family. During that hard time of chemotherapy and radiation she was encouraged by Jeremiah 29:11. The verse is engraved on the cross I took from her desktop and placed amid the roses. 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~Jeremiah 29:11

While I was packing up her devotional corner, near her chair, one of those faith-boosting divine mysteries occurred. The devotional she had been reading had a bookmark inside. It wasn’t at the date she would have stopped reading, instead it was on the date July 17th. I read the words, wanting to connect with the place she had marked, these words were at the top of the page. “It Is Well.” A devotion based on the the hymn my father sang to her. It is well! I know I will see her again one day.


Pressed Flowers & Perspective – Wrong Words

As I grow older, I want to be a person who rambles on less, choosing instead my words with care. For instance, a good example is the pressed flower card I’ve pictured above. On closer examination of the background page I noticed I had not read through the paragraphs from ‘Alice in Wonderland‘ and at the top was a phrase about an ignorant little girl. How careless of me, I would feel awful if someone bought this, or if I gave it to a person dear to me, and found out afterwards they wondered if what initially seemed good was really a backhanded insult.

I will probably make more cards in the Spring, but this time I will read every word on the page before I create the finished product. I won’t throw this card away. I still feel it is beautiful, and I will frame it, and place it in my work area, a reminder that insult disguised with beauty is still an insult underneath.

The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone? ~Ecclesiastes 6:11

These cards are easy to make. Use old classic books you don’t mind cutting up, and a background color. Cut the background color to 4.5 x 6.5 inches, the book page or upper background to 4 x 6 inches. If you don’t have pressed flowers you can use garden catalog flowers to create your design. Fun to make…and a handmade card is always a joy to receive. To make a card out of card stock cut the sheet to 10 inches by 7 inches. Sometimes folding the card is difficult. It’s always a good idea to measure across five inches, place a ruler where the fold will go, and run a credit card along the ruler on top of the cardstock. This makes a small indentation that helps create a crisp, non-wrinkled fold.

Perspective – Judging by the Headlines

Sometimes I don’t need to add any words of explanation. Here are recent headlines concerning our outgoing president, and our newly-inaugurated president.

Christian Headlines – “Trump, in Final Proclamation, Urges Americans to Fight for the Unborn: They’re ‘Made in the Holy Image of God‘”

NBC News – “Biden readies sweeping rollback of Trump-era abortion crackdown.

There is a link to the official government page included with the Christian Headline article. The link did not work for me. I checked two other sources of the same proclamation, and their links were broken too, so I am assuming that the statement was removed.

Perspective – Taking My Temperature

When I went to a favorite pizza restaurant recently they took my temperature on the back of my wrist/upper hand before I was allowed to enter. When I went to the dentist last week, they took my pulse, and my temperature, using my hand and forehead before I was allowed to enter. Just saying…read your Bible…be aware.


The second beast was permitted to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship it to be killed. And the second beast required all people small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark—the name of the beast or the number of its name— ~Revelation 13:15-17

Edited on 1/24 – Rereading this post I realized I was assuming (perhaps wrongly) that most would read between the lines and know I meant we are being conditioned to offer hand or forehead for a scan. It’s all about being conditioned! Check out this link for an in-depth, biblical perspective concerning the ‘Mark Of the Beast.’ End Edit.

Of course, they will say, it’s moral, for the ‘good’ of your neighbor. To do otherwise would make me ‘evil’ and ‘immoral.‘ Be aware.

Blogging Friends, check and double-check your post content. For a time, mysteriously, my quote was deleted. When I attempted to edit in the new block editor, there was a note that the content was questionable. It took me quite a while to get my Bible quote back in the post.

Perspective – Decorating Cheer Trending

I’ve never been one to follow trends, but I’ve done so accidentally, I’m decorating for CHRISTMAS. I didn’t know I was part of what might be a nationwide movement until I watched a news show yesterday on the topic. I’ve noticed in my area many people began to put up Christmas decor long before November even arrived. My husband and I chalked it up to warm weather and putting lights up with sunshine on your back instead of winter winds.

I’m going to bring out the Christmas boxes and ornaments one at a time. I’m going to hold them in my hand and delight in their history. I’m going to focus on the childhood faces of my sweet boys when I hold the glittered and painted handmade ornaments they made in my hand. I’m going to remember parents and grandparents when I use things that were precious to them throughout the years.

I always try to start with the Nativity. It is the reason for the season. It might be a cliche’, but it’s one I like and intend to live by through these next few months. The joy I have felt just thinking about bringing Christmas out early makes me think I might leave the beautiful reminders of God’s love up for a long, long time. Does the word ‘Springtime’ sound long enough?

Funny, I have no urge to buy anything new or change colors or placement. I want everything in the same old corners and rooms. Decorating early seems like a bit of insulation against the horrible circumstances of the current days. I wonder…are you decorating early too?

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2).

Perspective – God’s Amazing World in Song, Scripture and Images

A beautiful rendition of Give Thanks by Henry Smith, combined with Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D and photos from the Hubble Telescope, beautifully combined in video format by Tim and Geri Ungurean. You can find a link to Geri’s blog at Absolute Truth From the Word of God.

I love the way Geri and Tim Ungurean have combined beautiful music and stunning visuals from the Hubble Telescope to share Scripture and Song that points the way to Jesus.

Perspective – Let it Shine

I have been horrified by videos of people being bullied if they don’t raise their fist in support of hypocritical organizations and violent demonstrations. I will not raise a fist, but I’ll raise my hand with my finger pointing toward heaven, claim the name of JESUS, and sing and live this song. Will you?

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel? No!
I’m gonna let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? No!
I’m gonna let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? No!
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

Don’t let Satan blow it out,
I’m gonna let it shine
Don’t let Satan blow it out,
I’m gonna let it shine
Don’t let Satan blow it out,
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

When I sang this as a child we would also add this lyric:

Let it shine ’til Jesus comes,
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine ’til Jesus comes,
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine ’til Jesus comes,
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

Perspective – Thursday Doors/The Garage Door

As I write this a pleasant young guy is installing a new garage door for our home. The old door is a relic…an original…near sixty years old. When we purchased the house in the mid-80’s it wore a peeling coat of the deep gold paint so popular in the 70’s. On top of being decrepit, the old wooden door is heavy, I’ve developed some muscle over the years lifting it up and down.

When my youngest son graduated high school, twenty years ago, (how can that be true?) a despicable chipmunk chewed through one of the panels to reach the birdseed stored inside. He left a gaping three inch hole. My husband said it couldn’t be fixed. I wasn’t happy about a hole in my garage door right before a graduation party.

I fixed that hole with a piece of cardboard and liquid nails and gave the door another coat of paint. My husband said the patch would never hold. It has held for twenty years. Every time I gloat about my handyman ability I realize I am also paying for my repair prowess…we have kept that peeling monstrosity twenty years longer than we should have; we would have replaced the door two decades ago if the hole had remained.

The new garage door…Hurrah! Once the woodwork around it is capped the whole front of the house will have had quite a facelift.

This post is part of Norm’s Thursday Doors.

Perspective – Rainbows and Darkness

This morning, at 6:00, I looked out my window and saw this beautiful rainbow in the sky. Even better, I saw it after a time of prayer.

I had my breakfast next, still soothed in spirit by the beauty and promise of God’s rainbow, and listened as the newscaster described people taking a knee in honor of UNITY. I instantly felt extreme warning over this…and what came to mind is taking a ‘MARK’ in an attempt for ‘PEACE’ and unity…a bowing down to peace, or do I say it, a COUNTERFEIT man of peace. Please consider the consequences of ever kneeling to anything other than the Lord God Most High. Evil seems to be accelerating…everyone wants peace…but be aware, worshipping anything other than God, even a concept such as peace, is idolatry.

Perspective – Choices

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” ~ John 1:12

At some point being socially correct, pleasant, uplifting, a crowd-pleaser, etc., will become a personal choice totally against the Word of the Lord. What will be my choice? What will be yours? Will I flee to people and places that better suit my understanding of God’s will, or will I recognize that I am seeing wrong attitudes and choices but decide to stay and fight the Good Fight, to spread the Good News, to become a Prayer Warrior for Restoration and the Message of Salvation.

Following the road you’ve always walked can become confusing when edges begin to blur, when those in Christian leadership all over the world make choices for Community rather than Christ. My decision, I will turn my eyes upon Jesus. I will read my Bible even more, and trust that the worldly view will grow dim, and His Glory and Grace will light my way.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Helen Howarth Lemmel

Perspective – Choppy Waters

Life’s a little choppy right now, are you anchored? Jesus is the ‘Anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll.’

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.                                                                           ~Hebrews 6:19

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

It is safely moored, ’twill the storm withstand,
For ’tis well secured by the Savior’s hand;
And the cables passed from His heart to mine,
Can defy the blast, through strength divine.

It will firmly hold in the straits of fear,
When the breakers have told the reef is near;
Though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o’erflow.

It will surely hold in the floods of death,
When the waters cold chill our latest breath;
On the rising tide it can never fail,
While our hopes abide within the veil.

~Priscilla Owens