Sunday, February 21, 2016

My Winter Garden


"All gardeners live in beautiful places,
because they make them so."
-Joseph Joubert

We've been having such mild weather lately,
it does not even feel like February anymore!
However, despite the warmer temps,
I am not at all certain that Old Man Winter
is through...He may still have a few
tricks up his sleeve!

Old Man Winter

Nevertheless, it is in February that I 
start receiving many flower and vegetable seed catalogs
almost daily in the mail. Since I have recently moved,
however, I am still waiting for one to show up!
Seeing page after page of lovely blooming flowers
and trees sets my pulse raising with excitement and
the anticipation of working out in my new yard
creating a unique and beautiful sanctuary
filled with beautiful flowers to attract both
butterflies and hummingbirds.

On the subject of hummingbirds
and attracting these flitting jewel-like creatures
to my yard, I never had any luck with the
traditional nectar-filled feeder.
The only time I saw these lovely little
birds visit my yard was the year I grew a
flower called a Tithonia Torch, or Mexican Sunflower,
with bright orange petals in my front flower bed.
Another time, I grew reddish pink impatiens in
a large planter by my front door, which the
hummingbirds visited frequently, as well as
the tall purple-white blooms of the hostas
I grew in my side garden.

Large, red flowers attract ruby-throated hummingbirds
 in the Davis Mountains, Texas


"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and give strength
to body and soul."
-John Muir

Angel Garden
Photograph By
Christine M. Grote

A sensitive plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it
with a silver dew,
And it opened it's fan-like leaves 
to the light,
And closed them beneath
the kisses of night.
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Deep Purple Dream Iris

Thursday, February 11, 2016

February Hearts & Flowers

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..."
"Let It Snow"
Written by Sammy Cahn
and Jule Styne

Personally, I see nothing frightful
about snow falling in the heart of February,
the exception being if I have to drive on it! 

 Winter Wonderland

"At the beginning You existed
and laid the foundations of the earth;
the heavens are the work of Your hands."
Psalm 102:25

Starry Starry Winter Night 

I ventured outside early this morning
 to see the stars...

I was not only rendered speechless
 by the matchless beauty
of God's sparkling celestial diamonds
hanging low and luminous
 in the predawn heavens,
but by the enormous stillness all about me.

Casually glancing over at the outside
thermometer by my back door
I saw it was all of 20 degrees.

Needless to say, despite my warm woolen coat and my
love of watching the stars, I did not stay outside
for very long!

When the weather is cold outside,
there's nothing better than
a steaming hot cup
of Ovaltine and a
good book!

Winter Whimsy...

Remember grammar school and
Valentine's Day parties, where teacher
gave out boxes of "conversation hearts"
and kids made paper valentines from
red construction paper, white paper lace,
and Elmer's Glue?

When all the drug and novelty stores
sold boxes of funny and colorful
valentines like these?

Old-fashioned romance never
really goes out of style.
Even in the digital world of today.

Norman Rockwell

Pretty pink roses represent
the grace and elegance of
the bygone Victorian age.

"Suntanned, windblown
Honeymooners at last alone
Feeling far above par
Oh, how lucky we are

While I give to you and you give to me
True love, true love
So on and on it will always be
True love, true love

For you and I have a guardian angel
On high, with nothing to do
But to give to you and to give to me
Love forever true

For you and I have a guardian angel
On high, with nothin' to do
But to give to you and to give to me
Love forever true
Love forever true..."

"True Love"
Performed by
Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly
From the soundtrack
of the MGM movie,
"High Society" 
Written by Cole Porter

 "Be Mine Forever"

The snow white dainty flowers
of the Lily-Of-The-Valley
represent purity and humility,
as well as good fortune in
matters of the heart.

The lovely blossoms of purple violets
represent love and faithfulness,
while the white are said to
symbolize purity and fidelity
and the sacredness of 
the marriage union.

"Yours Eternally"

The Sea Hath Its Pearls

The sea hath its pearls,
The heaven hath its stars;
But my heart, my heart,
My heart hath its love.

Great are the sea, and the heaven;
Yet greater is my heart,
And fairer than pearls or stars
Flashes and beams my love.

Thou little, youthful maiden,
Come unto my great heart;
My heart, and the sea and the heaven
Are melting away with love! 

- Heinrich  Heine

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Faith


And Mary said, "My soul magnifies and extols the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."
Luke 1:46-47

Mary humbly accepts God's will for her life

 "Then Esther told them to give this answer to Mordecai:
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan,
and fast for me: and neither eat nor drink for three days,
night and day. I also and my maids will fast as you do.
Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law;
and if I perish, I perish."
Esther 4:16

Esther defied royal protocol in the name of
the Most High God and saved her people and herself
from the terrible fate imposed upon them by Haman.

Hannah prayed and said,
 "My heart exults and triumphs in
the Lord; my horn (my strength)
 is lifted up in the Lord. My mouth
is no longer silent,
 for it is opened wide over my enemies,
because I rejoice in Your salvation."
1 Samuel 2:1

Barren Hannah prays for a son

"And Ruth said, "Urge me not to leave you 
or to turn back from following you;
 for where you go I will go, 
and where you lodge I will lodge. 
Your people shall be my people
 and your God my God.
Where you die I will die, 
and there will I be buried. 
The Lord do so to me,
and more also,
 if anything but death
 parts me from you."
Ruth 1:16-17

 Widowed Ruth emerged from the heathen culture
of Moab to embrace the faith of her mother-in-law, Naomi,
in the One True God. 

"And Deborah  said to Barak:
 "Up! For this day when the Lord has given Sisera
into your hand, Is not the Lord gone out before you?
So Barak went down to Mount Tabor
 with 10,000 men following him."
Judges 4:14

The Spirit of the Living God elevates prophetess Deborah above
her people in the midst of battle against their enemies!

" 'With my mouth,' God says,
 'I kiss my own chosen creation.
 I uniquely, lovingly, embrace every image
 I have made out of the earth’s clay.
 With a fiery spirit I transform it
 into a body to serve all the world.'"
-Hildegard von Bingen

 Portrait of Hildegard von Bingen
 by Morgan Ungerott

But since God had commanded me to go, I must do it.
 And since God had commanded it, 
had I had a hundred fathers and a hundred mothers, 
and had I been a king's daughter, 
I would have gone."
-Joan of Arc 

Joan of Arc
Portrait by Alphonse Mucha

 Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
Written By Fanny Crosby

 Prolific Christian Poet/Songwriter
Frances Jane "Fanny" van Alstyne Crosby

 “It is a law of the spiritual life 
that every act of trust
 makes the next act less difficult.
 Trusting becomes like breathing,
 the natural unconsciousness
 of the redeemed soul.” 
-Hannah Whitall  Smith

Hannah Whitall Smith

  "God has shown me
 that from now on to pray
 in this way for Jerusalem 
will be the  highest form of service
 that I can render Him. "
"Appointment In Jerusalem"
-Derek and Lydia Prince

Mother In Israel
Lydia Christensen Prince

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

There's No Place Like Home

This is my first blog written in my new home!
I am glad we are here at last!

"Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble there's no place like home!"
"Home Sweet Home"
-John Howard Payne

I cannot wait to start gardening
in my new yard this year!

"I do not understand how anyone
 can live without one small place
 of enchantment to turn to."
-  Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings  

Time to catch up on my reading too!

“When I read a book, I put in all the imagination I can,
 so that it is almost like writing the book as well as reading it
 or rather, it is like living it. 
It makes reading so much more exciting,
 but I don't suppose many people try to do it.” 
-Dodie Smith

Nothing like baking on a
cold and blustery winter day...

 Homemade Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 cups all purpose flour
4 cups oatmeal
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease and flour baking sheet.
In a mixing bowl,
beat together sugars, butter, 
coconut oil, and egg.
Add vanilla extract.
 In another mixing bowl
sift together flour, oatmeal,
baking soda, salt, and
Gradually add sifted flour to sugar mixture,
mixing well.  Fold raisins into cookie dough.
Drop by rounded tablespoon on cookie sheet.
Bake about 15 minutes.
Makes about four dozen cookies.