Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #8

When I feel everything is going awry: the world around me, the ills of society, life’s circumstances, relationships, and more; my faith grows stronger when I remember God’s promises and the fulfillment of them through Jesus Christ and the workings of the Holy Spirit.

It’s been a good year for growing coleus. Coleus are a great indicator of how light levels affect plants. The leaves in the photograph are all part of the same plant. The leaf with the lovely markings and pretty blush of pink grew outdoors for a few months. I loved the markings and the colors so much, I cut a piece away to root in water on my front windowsill. Although less sun created better rooting conditions, the top leaves of the coleus are duller in color and markings because of the lower light levels. The plant is potted now and on a sunnier windowsill, I’m expecting the blush of pink to return on future leaves. The pink blush of this coleus leaf is part of this week’s Color Your World Challenge – Blush.

I cherish this beautiful Fenton Glass Pink Coin Dot vase that once belonged to my grandmother; perfect for the color challenge in shades of blush. Inside I have an old-fashioned bouquet to match the vintage vase.

I also cherish this stuffed pink poodle my oldest grandson won in a claw trap game for me. These games, often found in restaurant waiting areas and arcades, are usually impossible to win. The secret: only play the ones with a guaranteed prize at the end. We paid $3.00 versus the usual $1.00, but the prizes inside were definitely worth the higher price along with the assurance that everyone wins.

Coral Nymph Salvia is a favorite of mine. I love the delicate blush and coral shade of the pink petals. Hummingbirds love this nectar-producing flower. The plant produces easily harvested seeds and also naturalizes for me each year.

The Flower of the Day is the Blush Pink Zinnia. I was able to save seeds last year from the mother plant and the offspring came back true to the original with no color change. If the goldfinches don’t strip all the seeds away this year, I will save the seeds again and keep the blushing pink beauty growing on each year.

I drove away from my mind everything capable of spoiling the sense of the presence of God…. I just make it my business to persevere in His holy presence… My soul has had an habitual, silent, secret conversation with God. ~ Brother Lawrence

Defeating anxiety and worry is not a battle for the faint-hearted. It takes courage and perseverance and a determined turning away from Satan’s relentless attacks and negative thinking. The quote by Brother Lawrence reminds me that sometimes peace must be fought for by driving away what would extinguish peace within me. I wish you a peaceful week full of God’s blessings.

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #7

The color for this week’s Color Your World Challenge is Blue-Violet.

I created the back drop for the encouraging verse from Philippians by blurring this photograph of my garden’s nepata (catmint), also known as perennial catnip. The plant bloomed in early spring. After I cut back the spent blossoms it sent out more buds and has flowered again in the heat of summer.

Blue Lobelia, also known as Blue cardinal flower, blooms in August when most flowers have begun to fade away. The hundreds of blossoms on the tall spikes draw butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Blue Lobelia is my Flower of the Day.

Another great blue-violet garden plant that naturalizes is Browallia americana. It grows easily in full sun or partial shade.

Years ago I filed away an article from Birds and Blooms magazine on Mothing. I couldn’t find the article online but found another with similar information: Finding Moths/National Moth Week.

Before the grandchildren arrived, we hung a white tablecloth on the clothesline and shone a blacklight on it when the sun went down.

We were hoping for large, spectacular moths, but only had a few small ones visit the light. I think the peak time for spotting the larger moths has passed by with the end of July.

Out best moth was this one, rather plain variety, but the grandchildren were pleased to have a look at this one up close.

The most exciting moment in the evening was realizing this large garden spider was using one of our chairs as a tether point for his web. Yikes!

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #6

Wild grapes remind me of my childhood. I often spent a week or two of summer vacation with my maternal grandparents in western Pennsylvania. My grandfather had a big garden and some fruit trees. Near his small orchard grove he had a trellis with vines of wild grapes climbing on it.

I remember being disappointed by the taste of the wild grapes, seedy and sour. Whatever my impression of the grapes was, I wish I was back in time, at Granny and Pap-pap’s, stuffing wild grapes in my mouth, running all over the back yard with my sisters and cousins, all the while spitting grapes at each other with gusto. When I smell wild grapes on my morning walks in late summer/early autumn, I am taken back to those perfect summer days.

Remembering the love of my family reminds me of the love of my Father in Heaven. Recently, while having a conversation about God with my seven year old grandson, I told him God was within us and never leaves us. He suddenly dropped his chin, stared at his own chest and said, “Hello God.” What faith! The amazing, incomparable belief of a small child! I pray that kind of unshakable belief and love is what God sees in me when he searches my heart.

“And he (Jesus) said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

I’ve had interesting visitors to my yard in shades of brown and orange. A box turtle took a stroll through my grass, stayed long enough for me to photograph and annoy him with my attention, and then disappeared into the ivy border.

Happily, the garden has been visited by Monarch butterflies daily in the past week.

I was thrilled to see one laying its white cone-like eggs on my ornamental milkweed. The variety is called Silky Gold Milkweed and is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge. I’ve been pleased with the growth and display of this beautiful plant.

The spent flowers, when pollinated, produce pods full of seeds much like wild milkweed.

I’ve been able to save seeds to plant next Spring.

I’ve taken dozens of Monarch photographs this week…the one I captured of a Monarch in flight is a favorite. Have a blessed week.

The blue-green of the grape leaves is part of this week’s Color Your World Challenge.

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #5

The God who splashes pink sunrise clouds across the sky to begin the new day created us to be unique…authentically designed!

I’ve been re-reading ‘Dear Theo’ by Irving Stone. This time, as the words of Vincent describe to Theo a painting or sketch, I look up the subject/painting in a retrospective I have on Van Gogh. The talented writing of Vincent comes to life through his paintings. I love this quote—

“I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.”
― Vincent Van Gogh

I want to take the words of the verse and quote to heart and always be authentic.

Blue Globe Thistle (Echinops bannaticus) grows in my garden as a reliable perennial. I started the plants from seed, and at this time have two growing in my summer gardens. They aren’t prolific bloomers, at least not yet, but the globes last for weeks, and the flowers for several days. Blue Globe Thistles are a good choice for Cee’s Flower of the Day in shades of Blue Bell, the Color Your World Challenge this week.

Other flowers blooming in Blue Bell shades are Blue Lobelia, Torenia, and Hydrangeas.

Burning Bush turns flame red in the Autumn.

After all the blues it’s time for a rainbow of color. The pictures can’t capture all the nuances of the coleus. Some twist and turn and are as ruffled as a pleated collar. Others are flat-leafed, with leaves so large they are longer and wider than my size 7 foot. Several are tiny with long fingers on their edges, the leaves are the size of a half dollar. The flowers are beginning to emerge, and the bees are pollinating; a new crop of seeds is beginning to form.

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #4

The quote above is from C.H. Spurgeon. I added his words to a macro photograph of one of God’s most delicate works, the colorful scales on a yellow swallowtail’s wing.

When I’m face to face with God’s creatures or admiring the beauty of His earth, I am reminded that He came to earth in the Person of his Son to bring us SALVATION full and free. I learn so much from the quotes of Spurgeon and other men of God. You can read more of Spurgeon’s words from the excerpt it came from on Truth to Freedom’s Blog.

The Color Your World Challenge from Tourmaline for this week is Blue.

Unplanned decorating in shades of blue was a recent surprise for me. I placed a case of small water bottles in a kitchen crock to have them handy for chilling in the refrigerator. I was so pleased with their appealing blue glow I decided I must always keep the crock filled through the warmer months.

A grouping of objects relational to each other through color, function or design can be a fun focal point.

The author of Priorhouse Blog once gave me a tip on using Dr. Bronner’s Mint Soap as a scrub. I haven’t bought the soap as of yet, but I did find a lotion by the same company. It’s fabulous…not heavy or too fragrant, nicely minty and rubs in without leaving a greasy feel.

I haven’t taken part in Norm’s Thursday Doors for quite awhile, and this week’s color challenge afforded me the perfect opportunity. This is the back yard view of my neighbors blue garage door. There once was a six foot fence between us, but it has been taken down; I love the expanded view of nature I have now. The bougainvillea on the border of our yards reminds me of Jamaica. In most parts of Jamaica the plant grows wild along the roadways and is also cultivated as hedges. Originally bought in a hanging basket it was impossible to keep watered. It’s doing much better in a large earthenware pot. My bougainvillea is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

I wanted to include a bit of the local wildlife/birds in my post. My days aren’t complete unless I take notice of the creatures, trees, flowers and foliage the Lord God has created. I thought these three starlings on a bare branch were worthy of a photo for Skywatch.

I put together a trio of angels for my porch this week. A very easy project using oyster and clam shells along with amazing GOOP glue. You could use any type of shell for this project. I was inspired by the many types of shell angels on Pinterest.

A simple wire hook on the back makes the angels easy to hang.

Lastly, a bit of old-fashioned whimsy. In times past stilts were a popular sight at fairs and carnivals. Nowadays, it’s rare to see someone on stilts walking with such ease in the middle of town on Friday night. This photograph, part of Kammie’s Oddball Challenge, was taken in Pitman, New Jersey, on Fourth Friday.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #3

We’ve been having some major storms, tree limbs down, streets turned into rivers, power outages, but whatever the circumstances around me, inside, I want to be rejoicing and praising God.

I’m hoping to take part through the coming year in Tourmaline’s Color Your World Challenge, this week the theme color is black.

Each day, before the heat becomes too great and my resolve to have healthy habits melts, I take a morning walk. One of my daily jaunts found me walking the path beside Glen Lake. Beautiful dragonflies shimmer as they rest upon the bushes and reeds surrounding the water.

My coffee reflects the sky and the trees above me and becomes part of this week’s Skywatch Friday Challenge. Drinking coffee black has health benefits. I switched over from adding sugar and milk to drinking it black over a decade ago. I never have stomach upset as I sometimes did when adding milk and sugar. Black coffee is amazing!

The dark water around the lilypads seems colorless, but I see reflections and swirls and I begin to feel a little of Monet’s spirit prompting a bit of creative watercolor daydreaming.

I’ve been harvesting herbs and flowers to use in cooking and crafts. After drying in the dehydrator I give them added air time on a sweater hanger in a closet.

I am still sowing seeds. It’s too hot for tender greens outdoors so I am growing them in a sunny window. Arugula, Mesclun and Black-Seeded Simpson Lettuce are sprouting well. I’ll grow and thin them indoors and eat them as microgreens.

My winter sown pansies are still growing and blooming in the intense heat of July. They are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day. The deep purple of this pansy mimics the color black.

I’m reading two books at this time and listening to a third. Erik Larsons book, In the Garden of Beasts, tells the historical facts surrounding the beginning of Germany’s rise to power and the people involved. The story is told through the experiences of William Edward Dodd, Ambassador to Germany prior to the start of WWII, and his daughter, Martha.

I just started reading a book on techniques for saving seeds, Starting and Saving Seeds, by Julie Thompson-Adolf. My third book is an audio choice, read beautifully by LeVar Burton; the biography of Fred Rogers is creating in me an even greater admiration for the man and the path he forged for educational television.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

 

 

 

Photo Challenge – Color Your World: Asparagus

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I have a lot of greens in my home. Green, especially a glowing yellow-green, is one of my favorite colors. These are my photo choices for the Color Your World Photo Challenge: Asparagus.

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I love growing philodendron sprigs in ceramic pots. Philodendron easily roots in water. The plant and pot have shades of asparagus in their greens.

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The Jamestown glass from historic Jamestown, Virginia, was given to my mother as a gift for my birth many decades ago. One of the asparagus green vases holds a piece of a Photinia shrub. The underside of the Photinia leaves have the green glow of fresh asparagus.

Photinia is a wonderful bush for your garden. The foliage is outstanding in vased floral arrangements.

I enjoyed collecting these greens for the Color Your World Challenge.

Peculiarities – Snow Squalls

We had a quick snow squall blow through yesterday; brilliant sunshine preceded and followed the showers of white. I grabbed my camera and ran for the path in the woods. The last few weeks of winter photos have all looked the same, a photo in flying snow would be something new. Before I could reach the broken tree stump where I take the photo each week, the snow stopped, the sun emerged, and my desire for capturing the snow squall with my camera was denied. But wait…dazzling in the brilliant sunshine, snowflakes, gathered on old spider webs strung between barren twigs, resembled blossoms of Queen Anne’s Lace.

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The blue sky with the snow-laden spider web was the perfect choice for the Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola/Sky Blue challenge. It also worked out well for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Looking Up At Things.

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The moral of my tale: When things don’t go the way you hoped, look around, there might be a blessing, somewhere close by, in disguise.

Place – Woodlands in Winter

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The woods are crisp with fallen leaves and cold temperatures. I took a woodland walk with camera in tow, searching for the perfect fallen tree as an answer to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Inner and Outer. Within the trunk of a split tree I found a beautiful abstract design. It’s easy to pass by and never noticed the unseen ethereal beauty created by weather and mossy tendrils.

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As I walked I purposely trudged my feet kicking up the wonderful scent of the woodland path. I found another instance of inner and outer in the recesses of a knotty fallen branch. It reminded me of a miniature bird nest; I found myself fascinated by the complexity of what on first glance appeared simple. The swirling bark was the perfect choice for the Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola/Shadow.

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I searched for greens amid the fallen leaves and was surprised by how many I found. Here’s my Ten on Tuesday & One, highlighted by the brilliant yellow of a dandelion bringing a touch of sunshine into the day.

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Plants – Yellow-Greens

“Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves; now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire.” ~Virgil

Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola has been a blog challenge I’ve enjoyed. I’ve participated through the 120 days at least a dozen or more times, and am very grateful to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her great idea. My last entry for this challenge will end on what I consider one of the prettiest colors in the world…yellow-green.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

Yellow-green is the a color of renewal for me. It is the color of Springtime and new growth. Yellow-green blends harmoniously with almost every other color in the rainbow. It is a favorite of mine to use in my pressed flower greeting cards. Here are a few instances of yellow-green growing in my garden.

Creeping Jenny
Creeping Jenny

“April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go.”~Christopher Morley

New growth on pine trees
New growth on pine trees

“Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.” ~Virgil A. Kraft

Pheathers – Color My World in Goldfinches

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An American Goldfinch changes colors with the seasons. In autumn the male molts from summer’s gold to winter’s tan. In the spring, another change begins and the male goldfinch becomes bright yellow.

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Today was the first day I noticed the goldfinches sporting their summer feathers. I had two pairs visiting my yard and photographed this sweet couple having a snack at my feeder. These beautiful birds are the perfect choice for today’s Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola Challenge – Yellow.

Photograph – Playground Harmony

On Friday, when I checked the topic for the weekly WordPress Photo Challenge, I was thrilled to find the title word of harmony.

Harmony
“The combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords having a pleasing effect; the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole.” ~ WordPress Photo Challenge

Harmony, melodious, musical…all these words bestow on me an instant uptick in mood when I hear them. In my files, I knew I must have dozens of photographs perfect  for depicting harmony, but none came to mind, and I couldn’t understand why I felt so blocked. Until today…

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Today dawned warm for early March, the sky cloudless, almost like someone had colored its expanse  with a Pacific Blue crayon. I took my grandchildren to a nearby playground, just three and almost four, they are the best of friends. Without any hesitation, they climbed the stairs and skipped across the bridge that spans two sliding board sections. As they crossed, they spontaneously began to sing, “London Bridge is falling down.” At such a young age, not in harmony of course, but in definite harmony with the spirit of the day and each other.

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I thought this black and white photograph of them, wearing my oversized sunglasses, was a perfect choice for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge – Twins.

Plant & Quote – Fortitude

“Patience and fortitude conquer all things”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Color Your World - 120 Days of Crayola
Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola

Wild Garden Cress is a very hardy plant…or as some would say…a weed. This beautiful specimen, regardless of the frigid temperatures, is growing between the rocks bordering my front gardens. Garden Cress is a plant with fortitude. No matter what the conditions I can usually find sprigs of it in my yard.

Wild Garden Cress is an edible weed. A terrific article with good information can be found at The Potager Page.

A synonym of fortitude is courage. I think this amazing little plant has plenty of courage.

Phlowers & Poetry – Daffodils

Today’s Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola color is Goldenrod. I don’t have any goldenrod flowers on hand, but I do have the promise of daffodils growing in my garden. Yesterday, I walked around the yard and found the promise of Spring in the midst of a nice clump of daffodil leaves.

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“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

~ William Wordsworth

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And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.”

~ William Wordsworth

The entire poem by William Wordsworth can be found here: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth

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Daffodil Photographs were taken at Longwood Gardens Conservatory, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Photo Challenge – Timeless Stone

“This week, think about Time and portray it photographically.” Haddonfield, New Jersey

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These beautiful churches, created with stone, fascinate me. I love to look upwards and imagine myself in another century, amid the many souls who have walked beneath the steeples, crosses and outer walls of these amazing houses of worship. I hope when I am gone on to a better world these churches will still stand, a testament to the eternal nature of God’s love.

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” ~ Psalm 90:2


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The exterior molding surrounding the stained glass window is a soft gold.

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Beautiful churches can be found in many towns all around the world.

Place – Sweet Shop

Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola – Fuchsia

Sweet Shop

Today we drove to Haddonfield, New Jersey and strolled around town doing a bit of window-shopping. We stopped in the Posh Pop Bakeshop and tried their coffee and rose macaroons. Delicious! Fuchsia letters labeled each jar: Tiffany, Vanilla, Rose, Neapolitan, Chocolate and Nutella. I sampled the rose and it was fabulous! One day I would love to make macaroons.

Product & Plants – Tea and Seeds

Color Your World - 120 Days of Crayola - Fern Green on Salada Package
Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola – Fern Green on Salada Package

I love Salada’s Lemon Lively green tea blend. A little honey and a teabag in boiling water bring me a few moments of peace.

Seed Sharing Collage

I also use the tea packets to share seeds with relatives and friends. Early this morning I was at my desk, wrapping some new varieties from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in foil and inserting them in tea packets, to give to my sister later today.

I love products that have packaging that can be recycled. At this time of year I save salad containers and other clear plastics to use as miniature greenhouses for seed starting. Gardening is expensive and it helps to find good ways to cut corners by recycling. Happy Gardening…Spring is on its way.

Color Your World - 120 Days of Crayola - Fern Green on Salada Package
Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola – Fern Green on Salada Package

Photographs – Seashells and Snow

“This week show us something you’re optimistic about, or perhaps a talisman that helps you stay positive and hopeful, regardless of what life (and the weather!) throws your way.”

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Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall…I dream of seashells and sunshine. A “little bit” of snow can’t diminish my Optimistic Attitude!

I also feel my spirit lift when I glimpse the beautiful “Cerulean” Sky.
Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola – Cerulean

Phlower – Zinnia with “Canary” Petals

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I am fairly certain this is the second time around in a blog post for this beautiful zinnia. I am gazing at it as I write these words, hoping, hoping, hoping I saved some of the seeds it produced.  As I perused my flower photos this morning, searching for a zinnia that was an all-over “Canary” color for today’s Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola challenge, I found this beauty instead.  I noticed the central petals on the underside were a perfect canary yellow, and even better, resembled wings as they faced the sky. My choice was easy.

I grow zinnias in garden beds every year. They are a perfect cut flower to bring indoors for bouquets. Zinnias are a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds. The large seeds make them one of the easiest flowers to grow. Zinnias are a  perfect “first flower garden” choice for the smallest of children.

I start zinnias a few weeks early in plastic dixie cups and grow them indoors. I also direct sow them in the garden. Surprisingly, the direct sown zinnias always catch up to the ones grown in the house. The one advantage to starting them indoors is the larger plants are less likely to be nipped off by bunnies and other hungry critters.

Now is the time to start looking for zinnias on seed racks in your local shops and garden stores. They can be purchased for under $1.00 in dollar stores and large retailers.