Ready or Not, Here She Comes !

“And the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep and autumn was awakened.”  – Raquel Franco

 

Ready or not, fall is on her way.  To be exact, she will arrive in 23 days – September 22, 2017. While I know there are many folks who love summer, and want to hang on to her very last hot, humid day, I am not one of them. I love fall. Fall is a glorious time of year in the Mountain State of West Virginia.  Our state magnificently wears her stunning “coat of many colors.” And, many travel from far and wide to see her dressed in her finest. Truly, “Almost Heaven.”

As summer becomes fall, There is  “…A distinct smell… A mixture of dried leaves on the ground and the smoke from the chimneys and sweet ripe apples…” – Arlene Stafford Wilson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mulled Cider

2 quarts fresh apple cider

2 cinnamon sticks

2 whole allspice berries

2 whole cloves 

1 orange thinly sliced

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.  Place pan on the grates of grill or stove burner.  Simmer until hot on low heat.

 

 

It is a “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!” – John Keats, “Ode to Autumn”

 

Our kitchens are alive with the preparation of all sorts of fabulous goodness.  The marvelous aromas can instantly transport one to a treasured memory of another time or place.

 

Perhaps, the memory of an apple tart your mother or grandmother would always prepare during the fall.

Rustic Apple Tart

1 Refrigerator Pie Crust

3-4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cored

1 Tbls. lemon juice

1 Tbls. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch

3 Tbls. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 425.  Cut peeled and cored apples into 1/4 inch slices.  In a large bowl toss apples with lemon juice.  Sprinkle in the cornstarch, brown sugar, cinnamon and dried cranberries. Set aside.

In a 10 inch pie plate, place pie crust.  Arrange apples in a mound in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border.  Fold the border over the filling.  It will only cover the apples partially and does not need to be even.  Bake for 15 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue to bake another 40 minutes until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and brush with glaze – all over the top of the fruit and crust.  Cool, serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

Glaze:  1 tsp. honey, 1/4 tsp. boiling water, mix well.

 

 

 

Autumn makes everyone feel like a child again.  I don’t believe anyone is ever too old to play in leaves. Indeed, “Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.” Shira Tamir

Beautiful fall weather truly beckons us outdoors to enjoy the spectacular views and to do the things we enjoy. “Doesn’t it seem as if autumn were the real creator, more creative than spring…?” – Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Most of all, I believe, fall draws us home.  It is a time to be by the fire, enjoy those we love, soak in magnificent beauty, and count our many blessings.  

 

 

Because, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

 

Wishing you days  full of gorgeousness, and may this beautiful season bring you great joy !

Thanks for visiting.

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

All photos:  Pinterest

Sunday Thoughts

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful.” – Emerson

 

Have you ever read something wonderfully written and thought to yourself, “That is exactly what I have been trying to say?”  Well, on this lovely Sunday morning, I feel compelled to share my experience with you – the beautiful and moving words of Steven Charleston.  Mr. Charleston is a Native American elder, author and retired Episcopal Bishop of Alaska. He ‘so’ eloquently states my very thoughts about beauty.

 

 

 

 

“The hint is in the beauty all around us, wild flowers and hummingbirds, sunsets and waterfalls, fireflies and forests, all of the countless works of art in motion around us, that surprise us and delight us, stopping us in our tracks, causing us to pause, to look, to see, to wonder that such simple perfection could exist.  Dolphins and snowflakes, still pools and evening shadows:  the mind that made creation set signposts along every road, reminders of what is really behind the illusion of time, glimpses through the cracks of our digital age into another world, a world that is not and yet always coming to be, if only we take the hint and believe.” – Steven Charleston

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting.  Wishing you and yours a glorious day!

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra 

 

Note:  Further information regarding Steven Charleston is available at his website, http://www.redmoonpublications.com

 

Photo: Facebook

Creating A Beautiful Home

“Home is where we express our passions and our unique creative vision.  We should seek and celebrate the poetry of every day at home.” –  Alexandra Stoddard

Everything matters in our homes. From the comfort of cozy chairs to the color of our kitchen towels and everything in between – it all matters. However, it is not about perfection.  

 

To me, an ideal home is about comfort.  One that meets the emotional needs of ourselves and of our families.  While I love beauty, appreciate quality and fine workmanship, I am not a perfectionist. We can create a beautiful and comfortable home without striving for perfection. There is no perfect human, house, or garden. When we strive for a perfect home we lose our way, and are robbed of joy. What we create is an uncomfortable atmosphere.  Home, our refuge,  is the very last place anyone should be uncomfortable.  

 

 

 

Additionally, through the years I have seen too much of the mentality, ‘saving the best for company.’  Or, when a home is perfect one will host holiday dinners and entertain friends. Personally, I believe both of these lines of thinking are wrong. They take away from the joy each day brings.  Each day is a gift and should be celebrated, not reserved for special occasions.   

 

A beautiful home is created when we surround ourselves with the things we love. Truly, our homes are our stories. They should tell a great deal about us.  Where we’ve been, what we’ve done and who we are.  So, don’t hide those beautiful old vintage books or tuck away your stack of lovely monogrammed napkins. Display, enjoy and use them. And, place those gorgeous silver spoons where you can enjoy taking one to stir your morning coffee or tea. You will smile every time you pass them, realizing you have created beauty in your home, by displaying things meaningful to you. When we put forth the conscious effort to make our daily lives more beautiful, we are on our way toward living a more beautiful life. 

 

 

Decorating a home is something which should continue throughout a lifetime.  We grow and change as individuals, children grow and leave home and therefore our homes should change as well.  A beautiful home evolves through time.  Creating a beautiful home can be one of our greatest achievements. The process should enrich, delight, and bring us great satisfaction.

Eleanor McMillen Brown, a pioneer in the field of interior design and founder of the legendary design firm McMillen Inc., lived to be 100 years old. Her famous words, “without the private world of retreat man becomes virtually an unbalanced creature,” are true.  And, that is the very reason we should strive to make our homes as special as possible and enjoy them to the hilt.  It is the little things, unique only to us, which gives our homes their distinct personality and makes them so enjoyable as our “world of retreat.”

 

Chill the Champagne, Love, and Enjoy Your Beautiful Home.

Thanks for visiting and have a great week !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos:  Traditional Home, At Home in Arkansas/ all photos Pinterest

 

“A Heart for France”

“For as long as I can remember, I have had a heart for France.” Unknown

I sincerely believe the person who wrote the words in the quote above, wrote them for me.  Because, for more years than I care to remember, I have had a love of French design, and pretty much all things French. Why is this?  Honestly, I cannot tell you that it is simply one thing in particular. 

 

However, a few of the reasons I am drawn to the French culture are: Their love of family and friends, appreciation of beauty, attention to details, a respect of the past, an embrace of a beautiful style for living, an understanding that tomorrow is not promised to anyone, their enormous creativity, and a sincere devotion to their pets.

Their homes radiate magnificent charm, and their approach to decorating and entertaining clearly embodies that certain something,’ or ‘je ne sais quoi.’  To me, this ‘certain something,’ is charm and a casual elegance. They seem to effortlessly turn ordinary into extraordinary ~ creating enchanting beauty.  While their grand old homes provide unmatched warmth, the French understand the beauty of details.  Such as in the photo below, which shows a lovely tablecloth falling to the floor. The furnishings are not elaborate.  But, the stage is set to enjoy good food and celebrate those seated at the table.

 

The French believe one cannot improve on nature.  They are, therefore, lovers of a garden, even a small garden.  And, they enjoy nothing more than a simple meal    shared in their gardens, around a wonderful old weathered table where many memories have been made. Treasured times. Surely, you hear the stories.  I can.

Their style of living is not about wealth.  It is about slowing down, taking time to notice the small things, sharing moments with those they love, and not filling every moment of every day with, ‘something.’  They understand quality as opposed to quantity in everything from food to home furnishings.  They are creative, they well know new does not necessarily  mean better, and they are absolutely not a ‘throw away society.’ Perhaps this style is a result of all they have endured. The brutal horrors of war ~ not once, but twice during the 20th century.

So, now you understand a bit about my love affair with France. But, I also want you to know I dearly love my great homeland.  Even with our many issues, I am ever so proud to call America home. However, when we read, study and travel we learn from, and about other cultures.  We grow.  We grow as a nation when we inspire our fellow citizens toward the good.

I suppose one could sum it up by saying my “heart for France” is rooted in a deep respect for their people and their style of living. You see, I believe it would serve each of us well to pause a moment and take a look at our lives.  Do you feel yours is passing too quickly?  Gosh, I do. Sometimes I feel as though I get up in the morning, turn around, and it is time for bed. Sound familiar? But there is a sweeter way of living.  For me, it begins by paying attention to details in our home, lingering over a beautiful meal, pausing to enjoy bird song ~ enjoying time to simply ‘be.’ The choice is mine and yours.  Indeed, the French understand living well and  have shown me an enlightened way. Perhaps they will show you, too.

 

 

” Every man has two countries – his own and France.” – Henri de Bornier

 

Thanks for visiting, wishing you a beautiful week !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

 

 

Photos:  All photos pinterest/Veranda 

The Love of Blue

“Blue color is everlasting appointed by the deity to be a source of delight.”John Ruskin 

I love the color blue – maybe you do, too.  It makes me happy – truly, a “source of delight.” My heart pounds a little harder when I gaze upon a perfect blue sky, with fluffy white clouds.  And, my love continues to the pale ice blue, deep sapphire blue, cobalt blue and navy blue. But, I am totally charmed, and drawn to French blue. You know, that marvelously soft blue gray color, like the color on the window trim, shutter and bench below. This shade of blue always captures my attention.  It doesn’t matter if it is painted on something exterior or fabric on a chair, it is a magnet for me. 

 

Did you know there is a reason many French homes have  blue shutters, doors, and kitchens?  Well, there is.  The French believe blue keeps away evil spirits.  Blue on the shutters and doors prevent evil from entering the home.   While in the kitchen, blue keeps evil spirits from the food.    

Today, I have gathered some lovely photos which, to me,  convey the beauty of blue.  Perhaps, they may also speak to you.  

 

 

Vincent van Gogh tells us:  “There is no blue without yellow.”  He was correct, it is beautiful.

 

 

 

Beauty by the late, Charles Faudree.

 

 

 

Last, certainly not least, beautiful blue in the garden. It is hard to top magnificent, blue hydrangeas!  Unless, of course, it would be peonies of any color.

And, from our garden my Cobalt Dreams, Delphiniums.

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you have enjoyed my “Love of Blue.”  

Have a beautiful week !

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

Photos:  House Beautiful, New England Home, Pinterest, Michael S. Lambiotte.  

Art – Beauty and Light !

“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful, but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look…To affect the quality of the day – that is the highest of art.” –  Henry David Thoreau

If you have been following me for any amount of time, you are most likely aware, I am passionate about home.  Our homes mean so very much to us.   The old saying, “my home is my castle,” is undeniably true.  And, we must love our castles, for they are our private world.  Additionally, beauty in our castles sustains and inspires us to live well. Beauty elevates us to a higher place. Art points us to beauty and light.

 

 

My husband, Mike and I were first introduced to the magnificent work of Roger Muhl through Alexandra Stoddard.  Alexandra and her beloved Peter were close friends of Roger and his wife.  They traveled to Mougins, France many times to visit with them. When I first saw his work, truly I was mesmerized.  I had never before seen such vibrant colors, nor had I ever been so moved by a painting. You see, when you fall in love with a piece of art, I believe you make a spiritual connection with the artist.  You become one with the piece, absorbed in the beauty.   

Truly, we benefit from such experiences, and from the influence of having inspiring art in our homes. The art we love and adore should raise our spirits, and find its way into our soul. Whether it is hand blown glass, fabulous pottery, stunning needlework, lovely hand stitched quilts, intricate weaving or glorious paintings, they all stand to remind us we are surrounded by artistic grace. A spiritual atmosphere.  We must be ever so thankful for these talented souls, and for all their significant contributions to our world.     

 

 

 

Mike and I will be forever grateful to Alexandra for introducing us to Muhl’s art, and for her assistance in guiding us to a highly reputable gallery in New York. Through the years, we have been fortunate to acquire several pieces of his work. And, on a snowy, cold West Virginia morning, when the light hits the blue and vivid green on his canvas, I believe he is with us.  I continue to be mesmerized by the vibrancy of the color in is work.  Oh, the vibrant, vibrant blue – it “affects the quality of my day.”

I sincerely hope you enjoy art in your home which captivates your heart and elevates your days. Victor Hugo tells us: “To love beauty is to see light.”  I believe his words are true.  I believe this is art. 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Artist Information:  Roger Muhl (pronounced Row-ja Mool) was born in 1929 in Strasbourg, France.  He studied painting at the National School of Decorative Arts until 1952 when he decided to leave for Paris. Two years later, he met his wife, then settled at Montreaux-Chateau and devoted his time to painting.  He displayed his first exhibit in 1960 at la “Galerie de Paris.” This was the beginning of the artist’s international success:  Paris, London, New York, Milan, and Tokyo. The public enjoyed his work and most especially his vivid colors. He lived in Alsace until 1965 and then moved to Mougins where he resided until his death, in April, 2008. He loved the South of France because the light was so special and as all great painters, he was attracted by its transparency.  Muhl stated many times: “The light is my passion.”

 

 

 

 

Photos:  Michael S. Lambiotte and Pinterest 

The Many Responses From: “Watcha Reading” & Recipes for the Weekend !

“All that mankind has done, thought or been: it is in magic preservation, in the pages of books.”  – Thomas Carlyle

 

 

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on my last post, “Watcha Reading?”  I enjoyed reading the wide variety of book titles which were submitted and thought you may enjoy them, too. Therefore, I have listed them below. If you missed the earlier post and would like to comment, or add a favorite book to the list, please do so at the end of this post. 

1984, George Orwell

A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman

A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving

A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki

Alas, Babylon, Pat Frank

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate

Bright Flows the River, Taylor Caldwell

Cry, The Beloved Country, Alan Paton

Go Set A Watchman, Harper Lee

Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Great Small Things, Jodi Picoult

I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb, Patricia McCormick

Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly

Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, Mitch Albom

Miss Julia Books, Ann B. Ross

Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, Isabella Beeton

Nightingale, Kristin Hannah

Orpahn Train, Christina Baker Kline

Poldark Novel Series, Winston Graham

Ruth’s Journey, Donald McCaig

Secrets of the Cross Trilogy, Elizabeth Musser

Silent Spring, Rachel Carson

The Alice Network, Kate Quinn

The All Girls Filling Station’s Last Reunion, Fannie Flagg

The Bright Hour, Nina Riggs

The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd

The Keeper of Lost Things, Ruth Hogan

The Red Tent, Anita Diamant

The School of Essential Ingredients, Erica Bauermeister

The Sense of Wonder, Rachel Carson

The Shack, William P. Young

The Swan House, Elizabeth Musser

Through The Brown Mountain Lights, C. C. Tillery, Christy French, Cynthia Tillery Hodges

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

 

 

And, just in time for the weekend, I am sending you two easy recipes.  These recipes will bring you rave reviews, and look quite impressive at the table.  I serve the soufflé with a garden salad, and a crusty bread.  Bon Appetit !

Gruyere Cheese Souffle

3 Tbls. butter, plus more for greasing dish

2 Tbls. freshly grataed Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3 1/2 Tbls. all purpose flour

1 cup cold whole milk

5 large eggs, separated

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

3 oz. Gruyère cheese, shredded (1 cup)

2 Tbls. chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 400.  Grease a 1-quart gratin dish with butter and dust with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; refrigerate.  In a large saucepan, melt 3 Tbls. butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking, for 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk, bring to a boil and cook, whisking, until thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat, then whisk in 4 egg yolks along with the salt and pepper.  Discard remaining yolk or use for another purpose.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form.  Whisk 1/3 of the whites into the sauce, then fold in the remaining beaten whites.  Fold in the Gruyère cheese, scrape into prepared dish.  Bake for 25 minutes until puffed and golden.  Serve.  Note:  It is important to use a large saucepan.  If you don’t, you will not have room to incorporate the egg whites into the sauce.

Vanilla Bean Custard with Chambord and Berries

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

1 vanilla bean

3 cups whole milk

3 large egg yolks

1 Tbls. butter

3 Tbls. Chambord raspberry liqueur, divided

1/1/2 cups fresh strawberries or raspberries

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan, whisking to blend.  Scrape vanilla bean; add seeds and bean to the pan.  Add milk, bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened.  Remove vanilla bean.

In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks until light in color.  To temper egg yolks, slowly add 1/3 milk mixture from saucepan to yolks, whisking constantly.  Add yolk mixture back to milk mixture in saucepan.  Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in butter and 2 Tbls. Chambord.

Pour mixture in to serving cups.  Chill for 4 hours or overnight.  Combine remaining 1 Tbls. Chambord to your choice of berries.  Toss well – top custard with berries just before serving.  Note:  Taste the berries before adding liqueur.  If they are too tart for your taste, add 1-2 Tbls. sugar, then add the liqueur.

Thanks for visiting.  Enjoy these fleeting days of summer !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Photo:  Pinterest

 

 

Watcha Reading?

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read.” –  Mark Twain

I love to read.  And I long for snowy winters, lasting November through March, the sound of our tea kettle whistling, and my comfy chair. Truly, heaven on earth. However, this isn’t reality for most of us.  So, what do we do? We read when we find free moments and we keep a list of what we would like to read.  Ah, the LIST. Perhaps, my list is a blog post for another day. 

 

I enjoy books which make me think, make me grateful for the life I have enjoyed and expand my way of thinking.  I love to learn about people who have struggled, and ultimately achieved great success.  Books like this touch my heart and I don’t forget them.  They encourage me to strive to accomplish better things and be a better person. One such book is: “The Apprentice, My Life in The Kitchen.”  It is about the life of Jacques Pépin.  Pépin came to this country, at age 18, speaking two words of English, with just a few dollars in his pocket and knew not a single soul.  Makes you grateful, doesn’t it?

 

Also, I enjoy a fabulous story, one that can set the stage of many characters and how they are possibly entwined in each others lives. Then there are the books which touch you so deeply you will read again and again. For me, at the top of this list is, “The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah.  In my opinion, it truly is a great piece of literature. Ms. Hannah passionately explains: “In love we find out who we want to be.  In war we find out who we are.”  The book is simply unforgettable.

Last winter while reading the lovely blog, It’s A Beautiful Lifewritten by my talented, Canadian friend, Brenda Leyland. I was introduced to the book, “Experiment in Criticism,” by C. S. Lewis. Mr. Lewis proposes, the quality of books should be measured not by how they are written, but by how they are read.  He describes two types of readers:  1)  A Non Literary Person   2) A Literary Person.  I found his thoughts interesting, you may too.  Therefore, I am sharing a few characteristics from each of his descriptions.

Non Literary Person

1) Never thinks or talks about what they have read.

2) Indifferent, not only to literature, but to other art forms and natural beauty.

3) Never reads anything twice.

Literary Person

1) Reads great works over and over

2) The reading can be a great experience.  The reader changes and sees things differently.

3) They are aware of literature and other art forms and the natural beauty around them.

 

So let’s talk about books.  What are you reading?  Is there a particular author that you admire?  When you find an author you enjoy, do you want to read everything they have ever written?  Also, what books are on your “To Read” LIST?  Listed below are a few on mine:

Great Small Things, by Jodi Picoult

31 Verses to Write on Your Heart, by Liz Curtis Higgs

A Force for Good, by Daniel Goleman

Behold the Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue

Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly

Do write and tell what you are reading, maybe including a book or two you would recommend. We learn so much from others.

I hope you find a cool, comfy place to curl up and read the afternoon away.  And just in case you are at a loss for something cool and refreshing to drink.  I am sending you a recipe for Peach Tea.  A lovely book and a delightful drink = perfection.  Enjoy !

Peach Tea

3 – 11.5 oz. cans peach nectar

2 quarts brewed tea

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together and stir well.  Chill until ready to serve.  Serve over ice with a sprig of mint

Thanks for visiting.  Have a Great Weekend !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Photo: Pinterest

Open Your Eyes !

“Beauty…is the blossom of goodness:  as it grows out of goodness, so it leads those who love it to the good.”   – Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499)

When I began writing this blog, my intention was and continues to be, to inspire others to see the beauty in our world. Yes, amid all the hate and ugly, beauty remains. But, to see beauty in our daily rounds, we must consciously  open our eyes. Short and simple, we must be aware to notice moments of Grace. Such moments can alter our thinking, and change the course of our days. Ultimately this practice can, therefore, be life changing.

For example:  Noticing exquisite sights in nature such as this magnificent Golden Rain Tree (photo above), a glorious sunset, new fallen snow or a beautiful moon. All are God’s handiwork – ours to enjoy.  We simply have to open our eyes to truly see such splelndid moments. 

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) tells us, “The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”  Perhaps, that day has come.  Our daily lives can be so chaotic.  Especially when our “daily to do list” should be the “weekly to do list.” Additionally, we constantly hear and see all which is sad and unkind.  We are fed this information daily via newspapers, television and social media. Combine all such craziness and it is easy to become numb, but we must not let that happen. Because,when we are numb – we do not see. You may or may not agree, but I believe people crave beauty. It is vital to our well being.

Beauty has a way of making us pause and take a breath. It makes us smile, gives us pleasant thoughts, makes us want to share our good news with others and immensely enriches our days. It makes us kinder and more gentle. This is why what we create in our homes is so important, for ourselves and those we love. 

Truly, I am not suggesting we purchase rose colored glasses. Quite the opposite. I believe it is of the utmost importance for each and everyone to know what is happening in and around our world.  However, at some point, we must turn off and tune in. Tune in to the beauty of what we see and hear. Our tastes are cultivated by what we see. Therefore, we must learn to see well.  When we master the art of seeing well, we enlarge our capacity to become emotionally and intellectually involved in all that surrounds us. Thus, our lives are forever changed. Changed for the good.

So, let’s think for just a moment.  Maybe a revolution isn’t out of the question. Imagine our world if joy and beauty were scattered about like fairy dust. Wouldn’t this make a remarkable difference in the attitudes and behavior of people who inhabit our world? Sure it would, and it is possible. It begins within each of us. Each of us has the ability and the means to do something. Share your good news, call an elderly neighbor, gaze upon a perfect blue sky, fix a lovely dinner for your family, write a “real” letter, help someone load groceries in their car, tell a friend you love them, take food to the local animal shelter, or share those irises a neighbor has long admired.  Inspired? I do hope so.  Because with open eyes, you will enrich your life and the lives of others.   

Thanks for visiting.  Wishing you and yours beautiful summer days!

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

  

 

Photos:  Roadtrippers/Pinterest

Come Walk With Me

“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space – a place not just set apart but reverberant – and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.” – Michael Pollan 

For those of you who may wonder what I do when I am not writing a blog post, I will tell you. Most often I can be found in the garden. Truly, I am completely over the moon about gorgeous flowers. The reason for my madness is simple – gardening is in my bones.

We all have things we love, obsess over, collect or perhaps hoard.  I prefer to think we have inherited “genes of gorgeousness.”  Clearly, no one obsesses over something they do not deem beautiful.  So, today I thought I would share a wee bit of my story – a love affair and obsession with blooms.

My flower gene came to me via my grandmother and mother.  Both lovers of the garden and flower worlds, but each were different.  My grandmother’s love was roses, and she did grow some beauties.  But my mother loved magnificent trees and flowering shrubs.  Trees, such as Hemlock, Ginkgo and Golden Rain. And flowering shrubs, such as rhododendron, azaleas and spiraea.  Mom also had a marvelous artistic talent, which came shinning through in her floral designs.  Her designs won her many flower show awards and led her to become a National Flower Show Judge.

Because of these two extraordinary women, I melt when I see old garden roses, rhododendrons in bloom or a stunning floral arrangement.  And, a June never passes that I don’t think of  mom’s Golden Rain tree.  However, like my grandmother and mother who each loved different things, I do also. I am what you might say a “crazy about what ever blooms,” kind of girl. Especially peonies.  Oh my goodness, how I love peonies.  Actually, I collect them and left over 200 different varieties in a former garden.  Although, in addition to peonies, I have quite a list of other gorgeous blooming plants I can stand for hours and gaze upon. And, I must also confess, I am a little mad about Boxwood too.         

                     

But the point here today is, how I came by my passion. Quite simply, I inherited the “genes of gorgeousness” from my grandmother and mother.  Truly, I wish I could tell you the joy it has given me my entire life.  They passed to me a seed which has grown and bloomed profusely.  To both of them, I am forever grateful.  

Today, perhaps give some thought as to why your heart melts when you see a certain color, photos of a specific place on this earth, or glorious flowers in bloom. Then, think of a family member who was fond of the same things or places.  Ah, yes we do inherit “genes of gorgeousness.”  So, the next time you receive a gentle nudge as you gaze upon something you deem gorgeous – pay attention. You too, may have been passed a seed which is just waiting to grow.

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you have enjoyed your “walk with me.”  

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Note:  Before you leave today, be sure to check the Events section of the blog.  It has been updated and there are lots of great things happening.

 

 

Photos:  All photos are of my garden or from my garden. Photos taken by: M.S.Lambiotte