‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ “Hope Floats”

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” ~ Alexander Pope

Good morning, dear friends.  Mary Oliver tells us,  ” It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in the broken world.”  Her words are so true and notably so for the people of Ukraine. Oliver passed away in 2019, I would love to hear what she would say about our current world.  However, hope moves us forward and to me, spring is the season of hope and renewal.

If you love sunflowers in the summer, then this row of sunflowers is going to look so cute on a wall as a border or a sign at someone's house. This reusable stencil measures 16.5" x 6" and is designed by Carmen Medlin for The Crafter's Workshop. This stencil can be used with your favorite inks, paints, sprays, texture products, or any other mixed media products (sold separately). It can be used on wood, tile, metal, plastic, or other surfaces. This stencil is made in the USA.

The following are the words of, Amanda Lea Browning.

” In the spring the earth renews itself once more

with flowers in the tallest wind-blown trees

to the mossy forest floor.  Creeks thaw and gurgle

down babbling brooks.  Bees busily buzz through large open fields

and tiny little nooks.  Geese honk noisily for all to hear.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds magically appear.

Birds flirt with one another in the trees

Soon there will be chicks for them to feed.

Bright shining sun warms the chilly air

Fiery red tulips dazzle with flare.  Sweet is the fragrance

of lilacs and honey-locust trees.  Hyacinths and honeysuckle

are sure to please.  Frogs sing happily in a faraway lake.

Insects hum and groundhogs wake.  Winter is over so we cheer!

Hearts rejoice that spring is finally here!”

If you love sunflowers in the summer, then this row of sunflowers is going to look so cute on a wall as a border or a sign at someone's house. This reusable stencil measures 16.5" x 6" and is designed by Carmen Medlin for The Crafter's Workshop. This stencil can be used with your favorite inks, paints, sprays, texture products, or any other mixed media products (sold separately). It can be used on wood, tile, metal, plastic, or other surfaces. This stencil is made in the USA.

“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.” ~ Langston Hughes

As I was writing this post I thought, “How easy it is for me to talk about hope.” Sitting in our sweet home, the sky is blue and the daffodils are blooming.  Anyone could speak about hope under such circumstances.  Mike and I,  as well as most of you, are fortunate in today’s world.

As in any life, I have seen my share of dark days, but hope has always kept me afloat. And may it also keep the Ukrainians afloat.   I pray this gruesome war will soon come to an end and the Ukrainian people will not lose sight of their dreams for themselves and their children.  Dreams are precious, especially those a parent has for their child.

While my first prayer is for Ukraine and its people.  My other prayer is for the remainder of the world.  I have read many times in different publications, that after World War II it was said, “Never, Never, Again.”  When will we learn?  Perhaps, it is because I have read so much about WW II, Hitler, and his friends, that honestly, I can say, “I saw this coming.”  And, I know I am not alone.  But the difference this time is, we all are aware of what is happening and we cannot say we didn’t know. 

If there is any good to come from this, I believe it is to be our wake-up call.  A call to bond us together, to scatter joy and beauty, stand up to hate and horrid remarks, and name them for what they are.  Just as the Ukrainian people are doing ~ what an inspiration and example they are to the world.  They do understand, that if you don’t deal with evil when it is knocking on your door, it will chase you forever.  

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” ~ William Wilberforce


If you love sunflowers in the summer, then this row of sunflowers is going to look so cute on a wall as a border or a sign at someone's house. This reusable stencil measures 16.5" x 6" and is designed by Carmen Medlin for The Crafter's Workshop. This stencil can be used with your favorite inks, paints, sprays, texture products, or any other mixed media products (sold separately). It can be used on wood, tile, metal, plastic, or other surfaces. This stencil is made in the USA.


“. . .Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

The Carpathians in Ukraine

For those who have neven been to West Virginia, the photo above looks very much like our Pendleton County.  I can honestly tell you, anyone would have a dreadful fight on their hands should they try to take land away from anyone in Pendleton County.  However, I rather imagine the same holds true all across our land.  While we seem to have been separated lately, I do believe for the majority of Americans, the appreciation of our freedoms and respect for others who want the same is solid.  If you love sunflowers in the summer, then this row of sunflowers is going to look so cute on a wall as a border or a sign at someone's house. This reusable stencil measures 16.5" x 6" and is designed by Carmen Medlin for The Crafter's Workshop. This stencil can be used with your favorite inks, paints, sprays, texture products, or any other mixed media products (sold separately). It can be used on wood, tile, metal, plastic, or other surfaces. This stencil is made in the USA.

In closing, know I wish you and yours a beautiful day and a spring full of beauty, birdsong, and joy.  And, while spring may go unnoticed by the Ukrainians this year, it will visit them again and hopefully in peace so that they may treasure the moments and enjoy.

Be Well!

Dove of peace


“Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson




If you love sunflowers in the summer, then this row of sunflowers is going to look so cute on a wall as a border or a sign at someone's house. This reusable stencil measures 16.5" x 6" and is designed by Carmen Medlin for The Crafter's Workshop. This stencil can be used with your favorite inks, paints, sprays, texture products, or any other mixed media products (sold separately). It can be used on wood, tile, metal, plastic, or other surfaces. This stencil is made in the USA.


Images:  Tumblr and Pinterest

Hope Floats is a 1998 American drama film directed by Forest Whitaker.

Sandra Lambiotte…truly ‘Where Inspiration Bloomed’

Sandra Hahn Lambiotte…truly ‘Where Inspiration Bloomed’

“Wow, the view from this side of the bridge is so beautiful!”


Today is February 27, 2023, and just a few minutes ago God decided he needed a new “chef, head gardener, and inspirational writer. “ He found all three in Sandra Lambiotte. She died at home, peacefully in her sleep Sunday night following after a long, very long, and fierce fight against cancer and other health issues. Her husband, Mike, was by her side, and they were holding hands. She looked at him and said, I Love you.” And he said,” I love you more.” And she followed with,  “I love you more more.”  Later that night, she just closed her eyes.

As she approached the Gates to Heaven”, God said, “Sandra, welcome to my Kingdom and your eternal home. I know you were not ready, but I needed you…we needed you. Mike will be OK; you have trained him well. And, do not be surprised. I have a feeling it won’t be too long before he joins you, but that is a conversation for another time.”

“I have seen your beautiful gardens, the wonderful French meals you prepared, and read your blog.  I needed you. Trust me, Mike will make it.”

“In the meantime, it’s time to check you in. Here is what I have on record.  You were born in Oakland, Maryland on October 11, 1950. Your mother’s name was Louise Fears, from Collins Mississippi. Your father was Cecil Hahn from Oakland. They met while your mother was a nurse at Hopemont Hospital.  Your parents were only married for a few years before they divorced. They both died years ago, and you are the last remaining member of your immediate family. You have no brothers or sisters. Ah, I see Mike was also an only child.”

“Your mother moved to Clarksburg, West Virginia, and then married Lester Ogden, of Enterprise, West Virginia in 1953.  You were a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Clarksburg. It was there you met your childhood friend Janet when you were both three. Amazing, you two have talked almost daily for 70 years.”

“You went to Towers Elementary School, then to Central Junior High School, and graduated from Washington Irving High School in 1968. After high school graduation, you immedicably went to work for the FBI in Washington D.C. Then you worked for the Letters Carrier Union in D.C. Soon after that, I see you had enough of the big city and its politics and returned to Clarksburg in 1970. A month after returning, you became the bookkeeper for Avis Rent-A-Car and attended business school while with Avis.

On July 1, 1972, you married Mike (Lambiotte) at the First Presbyterian Church in Clarksburg.  You were high school sweethearts, meeting when you were 15 and he was 16. And, you were together for 57 years and married for 50 years and seven months, until you came to live with me in Heaven?”

“A few weeks after your marriage, you moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia. While in Virginia Beach, you worked for the Virginia Beach City Public Schools for 30 years: first as the bookkeeper for Kempsville High School, then in the Guidance Department and main office at Princess Anne Middle School. For a while, you attended classes at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. Then, you were hired as the office manager at the newly opened 1,500 students, Larkspur Middle School. After some changes in leadership at Larkspur, you thought it was time to move on. You were then hired as the Executive Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, retiring in 2005.”

“During the last twenty years in Virginia Beach, you and Mike had a small farm where you raised chickens, pigs, geese, Angora goats, two beautiful Labrador Retrievers, and wool-breed sheep (12). You learned to spin and weave, using the wool from your own sheep, and won several awards for your spinning and weaving – “Best in Show, Sheep to Shawl” at the Virginia Beach Convention Center Annual Art Show – two years in a row. You also taught basket-making classes at the Virginia Beach Art Center.

“In 2005, after you both retired from the Virginia Beach school system, you decided to return to Clarksburg to take care of your elderly mothers. That must have been tough, considering everything you had in Virginia, but you were both only children. “

“It did not take long for you to get involved in the Clarksburg community, in between caring for your mother and training Mike. You were a member of the League for Service and the Goff Plaza Garden Club, winning several Blue Ribbons for your flower arrangements and individual entries in area flower shows. You also served a term as the club president. You were also a member of the Harrison County Senior Center and also a member of the Oral Lake Fishing Club. Sandra, you had a very busy and fulfilling life.”

“You leave behind, Mike, your husband for over 50 years. I never blessed you with children. There are some distant cousins on both sides, but you have not had contact for decades.”

“Back to why you are here. Oh, Sandra, I have had my eyes on you for the last few years: following your love for cooking, especially French cooking; the beautiful gardens you created around your home (Maison la Jardin) on Main Street in Clarksburg, and your inspirational posts on your blog (whereinspirationblooms.com). You are creative, caring, a hard worker, and always put others before yourself. Here is your first Heavenly assignment: Look to your right. As you can see, my gardens need hour hands. About your inspirational posts, which helped so many: Together, somehow, we will find a way to continue your writing.”

“Well Sandra, that’s about it. You have had quite a rewarding life and touched the lives of so many. Look down, yes, that is Mike. No, he is not really alone. You have left a little of you everywhere he looks, around your home and gardens. He will manage the pain.”

Sandra spoke up, “God, make sure Mike honors my wishes: I want to be cremated and buried in the plot not far from our home, the plot Mike and I bought a few years ago. He can walk to visit if he chooses. He is to bury me when the peonies bloom, with a small private graveside service and church service. Ask him to see if the minister at the First Presbyterian Church could say a few words. No flowers. Mike will make sure I have plenty of peonies, daffodils, Irises, and some French poppies from our gardens.”

“Instead of my friends sending flowers, ask them to make a contribution in my name to the West Virginia Botanic Garden in Morgantown, West Virginia. Mike said he will match all donations and create something special, inspirational, and permanent within the Botanic Gardens. Here is their address:  West Virginia Botanic Garden, 714 Venture Drive, PMB 121, Morgantown, WV 26508. This is the link for donations: https://www.wvbg.org/tributes-and-memorials/   Make sure to enter my name.” “ Do not worry, Sandra, I will send my most dependable Angel to make sure your wishes are carried out. Right now, Mike is trying to pick up all the pieces, pieces scattered near and far, large and small.”

“Well, Sandra, it is about time.  Fear not, notice you are now pain-free and walking like you did when you were 20.  I know enduring cancer, crippling arthritis, kidney and bladder issues, and other serious health problems was not easy on you and Mike. You wanted to keep everything private. I understand. Keep in mind, my son was beside you every day of your suffering. Remember how he suffered on the cross, the pain he endured. You did not suffer alone. He rose with you and opened the gates of Heaven for you.”

“Welcome, Sandra Lambiotte to your eternal home…enjoy the beauty and inspiration of these heavenly gardens. Rest today my child, for tomorrow, you go to work. “

For those interested, online condolences may be expressed through the Davis – Weaver Funeral Home, 329 E. Main St., Clarksburg, West Virginia         www.davisweaverfuneralhome.com.   Note: Davis-Weaver has been proud to serve Mike and Sandra during this difficult time. Mike would also like to thank the doctors at UHC, especially Oncology, those who attended to her, WVU Home Health Services, and Amedisys Hospice. All the nurses were caring and gentle while caring for Sandra and counseling Mike.

It may take a while for Mike to respond to the condolences, but he will. Sandra will see to it! Right now, though, he is experiencing a bit of a major problem…fitting some of the pieces back together again. He is a bit like Humpty Dumpty! However, unlike Humpty, “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men will put Mike back together again.”

And finally, “Rest in peace my precious. There will never be a peony bloom, a daffodil open, an iris show its beauty, a hydrangea reach to touch the sun, nor a field of lavender dance in the wind, that I shall not think of you and the love we shared. I love you more” –  Mike

I know God is Listening

For my wife Sandra:

“For those who know and love her and have been following her beautiful words over the years, I am asking for a collective prayer at 12:00 p.m. today. That was the time we were married (July 1) over 50 years ago. Her health has taken a major turn for the worse. I have been praying every day. I know God is listening, but I am hoping, with your help, if not for one more miracle, he will grant her peace.

If you chose to respond, please understand, emotionally, I am unable to respond right now.” – Mike

Taking a Wee Break

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.  ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Good morning, dear friends. I hope this finds you well and enjoying this beautiful season ~ it moves too quickly.

Some of you may have thought that when you didn’t hear from me last week, I was ill.  Not true.  Just doing a little rethinking ~ about many things.  Such as the things I love to do, the things I need to do, and what I actually can do.  After all, I am no longer forty.  I know you have heard me say, “I no longer whirl and twirl like I once did.”  Truer words were never spoken.  

I very much enjoy writing my blog, but it does take time, as all of you know.  Cooking and trying new recipes is a total joy for me, as is our garden and reading.  Again, they all take time.  And, I am one of those strange people who enjoys keeping house and a tidy one.  Perhaps, it was all the years I worked outside our home and didn’t have the time to spend where I wanted to.

All said, I have decided to take a wee break. I want to read and enjoy your blogs and take time to make sincere comments, write notes to dear friends,  watch my stove dance, and when spring arrives, reacquaint myself with our precious garden.  I want to “sit and watch the leaves turn!”  And, when the holidays arrive, I want to sit with Mike, sip hot chocolate and enjoy Christmas music and twinkling lights.  I know you understand.  

Not to worry, I will see you “At Table” soon and we will enjoy the holidays together.  I know your blogs will be beautiful and bring me and all those who are blessed to read them,  the holiday spirit.  I hope you also will take time to “watch the leaves turn” and especially take time to enjoy all the things you love.


 “Take rest, a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” ~ Ovid


À bientôt,



Images: Tumblr


‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ It Is October and Time to Make Apple Butter!.

“Apple butter is not a combination of apples and butter. Let’s just get that out of the way. There is no butter in apple butter, which does make it seem like whoever named the stuff could have done a slightly better job. But if it has nothing to do with the creamy dairy product, then what is apple butter? ” ~ Bon Appétit Magazine

Good morning, dear friends.  I do hope this finds you well and enjoying these autumn days.  Life is good here in ‘The Hills.’  We have been notified Jack Frost will pay us a visit tonight ~ so we know for certain October has arrived.  I hope you will enjoy your visit, as something a bit different is in store for you. 

Along with the arrival of October comes apple butter and the Salem, WV Apple Butter Festival.  West Virginians will look for any excuse to hold a festival.  There seems to be a festival for every berry, season, and occasion.  Even ramps have a festival.    Festivals are in every town and community.  Goodies and recipes abound.  From violet jelly to . . .apple butter. 

My husband belongs to a group known as the Salem Rifle and Pistol Club.  They gather for different events at their club ~ target shooting, learning new skills from skilled and certified instructors from their club, other clubs, and members of various law enforcement agencies.  They are quite a diverse group and personally, I believe they also gather to ‘shoot the breeze.’  Their backgrounds range from educational professionals, farmers, skilled craftsmen (who can build and fix anything), retired military men, law enforcement officers, attorneys, and businessmen.  There are a few ladies in the group, who joined mainly because they want to know how to properly and safely hold and fire a weapon.  

In order to help support the club, one fundraiser each year is held and that is making apple butter ~ the old-fashioned way.    The apple butter is placed over an open fire, in its copper kettle, during the wee hours of the morning, then the members of the club take turns stirring.  The club holds two to three “Apple Butter Kettles” (and a demonstration kettle at the festival) each October in order to have enough to sell at the festival.  In addition to the festival, the apple butter is most usually sold at a local grocery store.  However, there will not be any available for sale at the grocery store this year ~ they sold out.

Mike Lambiotte stirs a demonstration kettle at the festival.

The Mountaineer is not just a mascot. It is a leader. And I will proudly lead my University and state with love and passion ~ my home among the hills,” Roush said. “I also hope to serve as an inspiration for young girls for generations to come.”  ~ Mary Roush

Mary G. Roush, West Virginia University Mascot ~ 2022~2023. “The Lady Mountaineer”

The photo above is of Mary Roush, stirring apple butter.  She is the 2022~2023, West Virginia University Lady Mountaineer and the third female in nine decades to don the buckskins and carry the rifle as the 68th Mountaineer Mascot.  She fires the rifle at athletic and other various events, and public appearances throughout the state.    For those of you who are not familiar with WVU, this is quite a coveted position.  I would imagine Roush could hold her own against any of the men in the Salem club.


“Aim to be the blue ribbon best. Have high standards and work to be exceptional. Develop yourself from practice to be a winner at what you do.” ~ Mark F. LaMoure

These two fine-looking gentlemen are standing in front of the blue ribbon won by the club for their outstanding apple butter. Winning a blue ribbon is quite an accomplishment, whether one is sixteen or sixty ~ you or the group represented is always proud.

“Being a festival queen is a remarkable opportunity for a young woman.  It teaches a lot of life skills.” ~ unknown

There certainly can not be a festival without a queen.  And, this gentleman looks happier helping the lovely queen stir the apple butter than he did standing with his friend in front of the blue ribbon.   Pretty girls do have an amazing effect. 

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.  Should you live near and may be looking for a road trip,  Go to festival.Net for a list of current fairs and festivals in the ‘Mountain State.’

Know, I wish you and yours a beautiful day and week ahead.  

And. . .

Enjoy the falling leaves!

“The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals.” ~ Siddharth Katragadda




Note:  Inspiration for this post came from my dear friend, Janet.

Photos:  Mike Lambiotte


‘Sunday Thoughts’~ October Has Not Arrived With A Smile.

“On earth, there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.” ~ Jules Renard

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this...

Good morning, dear friends.  I do hope this finds you well and under blue skies.  This morning finds my thoughts here, there, and everywhere.  As I am certain, your thoughts probably are too. I am terribly concerned for the people who have been affected by these hurricanes.  And, the situation in Ukraine continues to be beyond tragic. The lives of many in both situations are and may be forever changed.  I pray all of you are safe and that your families are also. 

With all the sadness of our current world, I thought perhaps we needed something lovely to lift our spirits.  Therefore, I hope you will enjoy the selection of photos and words I have chosen to accompany them.  I promise you, with my thoughts so scattered, they will be far better than what I could present. You might want to find a nice cup of coffee or tea.

“October had tremendous possibility. The summer’s oppressive heat was a distant memory, and the golden leaves promised a world full of beautiful adventures. They made me believe in miracles.”  ~ Sarah Guillory

BY nataabramova_


“Autumn teaches us a valuable lesson. During summer, all the green trees are beautiful, but there is no time of the year when the trees are more beautiful than when they are different colors. Diversity adds beauty to our world.” ~ Donald L. Hicks

“Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron, and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under the harvest skies.” ~ Sharon Kay Penman


“ The leaves are flying high away, and the heart flies with them… ” ~ Emily Dickenson

By kjp


“It was October again. . .a glorious October, all red and gold, with mellow mornings when the valleys were filled with delicate mists as if the spirit of autumn had poured them in for the sun to drain~ amethyst, pearl, silver rose, and smoke~blue.  The dews were so heaved that the fields glistened like cloth of silver and there were such heaps of rustling leaves in the hollows of many stemmed woods to run crisply through.” ~ L.M. Montgomery 


“October sunshine bathed the park with such a melting light that it had the dimmed impressive look of a landscape by an old master.” ~ Elizabeth Enright


“October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins… Merry October!”  ~Rainbow Rowell


 The trees go all red and blazing orange and gold, and wood fires burn at night so everything smells of crisp branches.  The world rolls about delightedly in a heap of cider and candy apples and pumpkins and cold stars rush by through the wispy, ragged clouds. . .” ~ Catherynne M. Valente 


Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.  Know I wish you and yours a beautiful day.

And. . .

May the ‘Hope of a New Day’ bring us joy and peace.





Images: Tumblr









‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ A Gift Tied With ‘Heartstrings’

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” ~ Boris Pasternak


Good Sunday morning, sweet friends.  I hope this finds you well and that the past week was good to you.  Life handed me a sweet blessing from above, and I am so happy, I want to share the news.

It was a lovely gift that pulled at my ‘heartstrings.’  You see, it was a beautiful and personal gift from a  friend ~ one I have never met.  Yes, you read that correctly and are probably wondering, “How can that be?”  I have learned many things over the course of this summer (one is never too old to learn).  One of the things I have learned is that the friends made in the blogging world are special and sincere.  No longer will I refer to them as virtual friends, as that seems cold and certainly not ‘kind of heart,’ as my friends are.  Perhaps, I was simply blessed and my blog spoke to these dear friends, but I believe differently.  I see God’s love and warmth in each of them.  Truly, He has had a hand in our connection.

On Friday, I was sitting in the sunroom (still going through books) and Mike brought me a package from the postman.  Immediately, I said, “I didn’t order anything.”  He replied, “Well, it is addressed to you.”  Therefore, I went about opening my unexpected package.  To my great surprise, it was a leather-bound book containing beautiful daily devotions.  Not long, but each one is so inspiring and uplifting.  Written by Sarah Young,  it is titled, “Jesus Always.” 

Written in the introduction, is a little information about the author.  She sounds like a remarkable woman, as she has been dealing with chronic health issues since 2001.  In 2013, she and her husband moved from Western Australia back to the United States and settled in Tennessee.  I hope she was young when they made that move.  Moving from Virginia to West Virginia was enough moving for me. To add to this story, since 2008, she has been dealing with vertigo.  Having dealt with vertigo myself, I can tell you, “It is a mean and ugly visitor, one you do not ever want to welcome.”

We all know God is everywhere, in everything, and everyone.  He clearly has held Ms. Young in the palm of His hand.   And, He also knows my friend that sent me this special book, along with a joyful letter.  Both, I will always treasure, as well as how they made me feel will be forever stored in my heart.  Most of all, my friend will join other bloggers who have done special things for me.  Special people I adore.  

“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth.  They share it.” ~ C. S. Lewis

I have been richly blessed through the years with many dear friends and their sweet surprises.  My grandmother used to say to me, “Baby, I hope your life is full of sweet surprises.”  She would be most happy if I could share my stories with her. It truly is a joy to be the recipient as well as the giver.  


Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.  Know I wish you and yours a glorious day.

And. . .

May sweet surprises be yours ~ always.

And. . .

A sincere and special thanks to my dear friend, for your kindness and thoughtfulness.  Blessings to you and yours.


“Joy is the serious business of heaven.” ~  C. S. Lewis





Images:  Tumblr