Sunday Thoughts ~ “A Place Of Enchantment”

“I do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.” ~ Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Good Sunday morning, everyone.  I hope this finds you well and under blue skies.  It is a gray and rainy day here in these ‘West Virginia Hills.’   A good day for reading or a bit of garden dreaming. 

Rawlings’s words certainly spoke to me, as I hope they will speak to you as well.  Personally, I believe it is vitally important for everyone to have their own “place of enchantment.”  Mine, of course, is the garden and our sunroom.  When I look at this photo of our garden, none of the plantings, other than the Japanese maple, were here when we purchased the home (2005).  It was mainly grass and a few ‘undesirables.’  Slowly, I chipped away and began to bring my vision to life.  The little bench, under the Carolina Jessamine (please excuse the mulch), is such a lovely spot to enjoy being alone with your thoughts and to contemplate life, especially when the Jessamine is in bloom. When I planted the Jessamine it was a tiny sprig in two three-inch pots.  It is amazing how it has grown.  And, the fragrance is breathtaking. 

With each passing day, my heart has fallen more in love with this little patch of heaven, especially during these COVID months.  Indeed, it has been a haven for both of us, as it offers such peace and tranquillity.  

“The ideal of beauty is simplicity and tranquillity.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goeth

The photo above is not of our sunroom/library.  However, it looks out upon our garden in much the same fashion from a lovely bay window. The room is small but has such life.  Perhaps, it is because my many friends live there ~ my books.  The room has two comfy chairs, two tables, and an entire wall of books. With several books ‘lovingly’ placed beside and in front of my chair.  And, I can not bear to part with one. 

“So many books, so little time.” ~ Frank Zappa

The snow and cold weather have provided perfect days for reading.  During the past few weeks, I have read some wonderful books.  Madame Fourcade’s Secret War was a Christmas gift from Mike.  It is a true story and a fascinating one.  This young woman had such courage and strength.  Honestly, I wish I could say I would do the same if necessary, but I can’t.  Certainly, I would want to, but I do not know if I have such exemplary qualities.  I highly recommend the book. 

This next book is also a gem.  A wonderful novel by Kate Quinn. There were times when it was difficult to put the book down, but one does have to cook dinner, do some housekeeping, and sleep.

Currently, I am reading The Last Garden in England.  I haven’t read enough of it to share much, other than it is hard to pass by when I am going through the sunroom.  So that probably tells you, “The book is grand.”  

“Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is.”  ~ Jessica Harrelson

 

Dear friends, in closing you now know what I’ve been doing.  Dreaming of being able to enjoy another spring unfolding in our “enchanted place” and reading.  Two of my favorite pastimes.  Spring and early summer are spectacular in our garden and I have a spot to read there too.  I do hope you have a place special where you can relax and simply enjoy being alive. I would love to hear about them.  If not, perhaps the photo above will inspire you.  Therefore. . .

Until we meet again, I wish you and yours a beautiful day.

And. . . 

May your week ahead be filled with lovely things and kind souls.

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ “Fresh Hope”

“After the cold, long, and dark days of winter, the spring season brings new life and fresh hope to the world.” ~ unknown

“If grief can be a doorway to love, then let us all weep for the world we are breaking apart so we can love it back to wholeness again.” - Robin Wall Kimmerer

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  It is hard to believe Sunday is upon us once again.  The weeks pass so quickly.  

This morning finds me thinking of all the people throughout the country who have recently endured such hardships due to the weather.  My heart certainly goes out to them and I pray the days ahead will bring them “fresh hope.” 

A beautiful and dazzling spring does provide hope to the world, after a long cold winter.  It restores our souls with breathtaking blooms, blue skies, and lovely melodies from the precious birds.  Indeed, spring is a “forever gift.”

“Come with me into the woods where spring is
advancing, as it does, no matter what,
not being singular or particular, but one
of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.”
~ Mary Oliver, ” Dog Songs”

I can still bring into my body the joy I felt at seeing the first trillium of spring, which seemed to be telling me, “Never give up hope, spring will come.” ~ Jessica Stern

Trillium, Flower, Nature, White, Plant, Bloom

Trilliums are a glorious announcement of spring.   They make their home in the mountains of West Virginia.  They are quite happy in our mountain region, due to the shade and dampness of the forests.  Truly, they are a joyful sight to behold, especially after a long winter.

Trillium, Flower, Wildflower, Nature, Plant, Blooming

“In all ranks of life the human heart yearns for the beautiful, and the beautiful things that God makes are God’s gift to all alike ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

zenobiatavares

 

Dear friends, I hope this finds you looking forward to spring days.  We all need to enjoy the warm air, sunshine, and glorious blooms once again. And sure as night turns into day, spring will arrive in all her magnificent glory.  Her brilliant rays of light will replace the cold and dark, and offer hope to the weary. 

Know, I thank you so much for your visit and kind comments.  Wishing you and yours a most beautiful and peaceful day.

And. . .

May the week ahead bring you joy and signs of the wondrous days about to unfold.  Stay well.

 

“Ever felt an angel’s breath in the gentle breeze? A teardrop in the falling rain? Hear a whisper amongst the rustle of leaves? Or been kissed by a lone snowflake? Nature is an angel’s favorite hiding place.” ~ Carrie Latet

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

Images:  via Tumblr and Pixabay

 

 

 

At Table ~ Authentic Recipes From Provence ~ By, Richard Olney

“When someone cooks for you, they are saying something.  They are telling you about themselves:  Where they come from, who they are, what makes them happy.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to ‘At Table.’  I know I have written about Richard Olney in the past. (visit here)  However, today I would like to share recipes from a different and wonderful cookbook of his, “Richard Olney’s PROVENCE The Beautiful Cookbook.”  This cookbook is divided into regions of Provence with recipes from the specific regions. And no food writer knows Provence and the regions better than Olney.  The book is a treasure.

“When you cook, you never stop learning.  That’s the fascination of it all.” ~ James Beard

The first recipe I am sharing is a Zucchini Omelet.  Onley tells us, “Throughout Provence flat omelets are commonly called crespéou.”

Flat Omelet with Yogurt and Herbs | edibleperspective.com

 

 

Crespéou Aux Courgettes ~ Zucchini Omelet ~ Serves Four

About 3/4 pound of small, firm zucchini (courgettes)

5-6 Tbls. olive oil

3 Eggs

Freshly ground pepper

Large pinch of fresh flower buds and tender leaves of sweet marjoram, finely chopped (if you do not have fresh use about 1/2 tsp. of dried)

1 Tbls. unsalted butter, chilled and diced

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I use a little more)

Preheat oven to broil.  Remove the stem of the zucchini.  Depending on the size, cut the zucchini crosswise in thirds; if they are large split them in half lengthwise first.  Pass them through the medium blade of a mouli-julienne or a food processor fitted with a shredding disk.  Layer the shredded zucchini in a mixing bowl, sprinkling each layer generously with salt, and leave for 30 minutes.  Then pick up the mass and squeeze repeatedly between both hands to rid it of its water.

Warm 2 Tbls. of the olive oil in a frying pan over high heat.  Add the zucchini and toss often, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon when necessary, for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Combine the eggs, pepper to taste, marjoram, and butter in a bowl and break up with a fork, whisking only enough to mix the whites and yolks.  Add the sautéed zucchini, stirring and beating with the fork at the same time to disperse the heat throughout the mass of eggs.  Select an omelet pan measuring 11 inches at the top and 8 inches at the bottom.  Warm the remaining 3 Tbls. olive oil in the pan, rotating the pan to coat the sides.  Pour in the zucchini mixture and stir, or swirl, the mixture with the back of the fork without touching the bottom or sides of the pan.  Smooth the surface with the fork, cover the pan and lower the heat for a minute or so.  Sprinkle with the cheese, taking care that none touches the sides of the pan, and push the pan beneath the hot broiler until the cheese is melted and the center is no longer liquid but not quite firm.  Slip the omelet onto a round platter and serve, hot or tepid, cut into wedges.

Note:  This is also lovely with thyme or tarragon, replacing marjoram.  Serving with a salad and some crusty bread, this makes a perfect summertime supper. Or, anytime supper.

“The fact is that it takes more than ingredients and technique to cook a good meal. A good cook puts something of himself into the preparation ~ he cooks with enjoyment, anticipation, spontaneity, and he is willing to experiment.” ~ Pearl Bailey

This next recipe for Stuffed Pork Chops is a gem.  I hope you will give it a try.  Also, Olney says, “These chops are sumptuous served with crêpes.”  I have never served this with crêpes, but you may want to give it a try.

These Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Shallots are juicy and flavorful, perfect for weeknight dinner!

 

Côtes De Porc Farcies ~ Stuffed Pork Chops ~ Serves four

For the Stuffing:

1 Tbls. olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 oz. mushrooms, chopped ~ I use Baby Portabellas

small pinch of Provençal mixed herbs (see notes at the end of this post)

1 clove of garlic, minced

a few drops of fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper and about 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

a good handful of fresh bread crumbs

1 egg

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4 double-rib pork chops, trimmed of fat except for thin layer of back fat

Note: You may have to ask your butcher to cut the double-ribbed chops.

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 Tbls. olive oil

2-3 Tbls dry white wine

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To prepare the stuffing, warm the olive oil in a frying pan over low heat.  Add the onion and cook gently until softened but not colored, about 10 minutes.  I also add a pat of butter.  Add the mushrooms, raise the heat and sauté until nearly all the liquid released from the mushrooms evaporates, about 5 minutes.  Add the herbs, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.  Empty into a bowl and let cool for a few minutes.  Add the bread crumbs and egg, and, using your hands, mix thoroughly.  Using a small sharp-pointed knife, pierce the back of each chop deeply, 3/4 inch from the spine end to 3/4 inch from the tip, to form a pouch.  Divide the stuffing equally among the pouches and stuff them.  Close each opening with a pair of crossed toothpicks.  Season the chops to taste with salt and pepper.  

Warm the olive oil in a heavy sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the chops and brown, turning once, over moderate heat, 7-8 minutes on each side.  Cover and cook over very low heat until the chops are tender, about 45 minutes.  Turn the chops in their juices several times, if the juices appear to be drying up, add some of the wine once, or as often as necessary.  

Serve the chops with cooking juices spooned over the top.  

“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

 

Tian De Lait ~ Provençal Custard

According to Olney, “This is the ancestor of all set custards.  Serve it hot, tepid, or cold with little cookies.”  I like to serve it cold with fresh fruit and in the winter, if you can find juicy pears, it is a special treat.

4 cups milk

1 cup sugar

4 whole eggs plus 6 egg yolks

1/4 cup dark rum

Preheat oven to 300.  Pour milk into a saucepan and warm over medium heat.  Stir in the sugar and continue to stir until a boil is almost reached, then remove from the heat.  Leave to cool for a few minutes.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the whole eggs and the egg yolks.  Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly.  Whisk in the rum.  Pour into a baking dish (I use a round casserole dish) and bake until the custard is no longer liquid at the center, the timing depends upon the size of the dish you use and the depth of the custard.  But it usually bakes for 30-40 minutes.  Test for doneness by touching the center with your fingertip; it should be firm.

Dear friends, thank you so much for your visit and I hope you have enjoyed your time ‘At Table.’  Remember, should you have any questions about any of the recipes don’t hesitate to contact me.  I would enjoy hearing if you give them a try and how you liked them.  

 

Know I wish you and yours special times at your table. 

Happy Cooking and stay well!

 

Image result for pot of thymeDo you smell the fragrance from the thyme?

“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.” ~ Shauna Niequist

 

Bon Appétit,

Sandra

 

 

 

Notes:  

Provençal Mixed Dried Herbs

A good mixture of these dried herbs is thyme, oregano, savory, and marjoram.  I just measure equal parts of each, mix well and store in a jar for use.

 

Images: Pinterest and Tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ Love’s Special Day

“The heart, like the mind, has a memory.  And in it are kept the most precious keepsakes.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

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Good Sunday morning dear friends, and thanks so much for visiting.  Today, we celebrate Valentine’s Day, a special day of love.  Pablo Neruda tells us ~ “To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life.”  Such true words.  Our love for our families and friends, and their love for us, indeed enrich our lives.

Life can change overnight and celebrating love, often, is always a beautiful and important thing to do.  Even, in small ways.  Therefore, I would like to share a few lovely photos and words that touched my heart and I hope they will yours.

 

“At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.” ~ PLATO

Winged cupid with sash and wreath around hips.

Love’s Philosophy

By, Percy Bysshe Shelley
The fountains mingle with the river
   And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
   With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
   All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
   Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high heaven
   And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
   If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
   And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
   If thou kiss not me?
” Love finds a way.” ~ unknown
“In dreams and in love, there are no impossibilities.” ~ János Arany

 

 

Dear friends, I wish you and all those you hold dear a most beautiful Valentine’s Day.  

And . . .

May the day bring you special memories to cherish always. Stay well!

“Who, being loved, is poor?” ~ Oscar Wilde

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images: via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ “Wakened Hands”

“Old houses, I thought, do not belong to people ever, not really, people belong to them.” ~ Gladys Taber

Good Sunday morning, sweet friends.  I hope this finds you well and that the first week of February was kind to you. 

You may be wondering about the above photo of our home still dressed in Christmas attire.  The photo is a rather good one for a cold December/January day. We even have a blue sky, which is a rare winter sight in these West Virginia Hills.  At the time the photo was taken, I was not ready to say goodbye to Christmas.  However, this post is not about the weather or what our home is wearing.  It is about something I came upon in my collection of lovely things that offered me additional thoughts and wonder of the things I love and treasure.  And therefore, food for my ‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ “Wakened Hands.”

“Things men have made with wakened hands, and put soft life into are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing for long years.

And for this reason, some old things are lovely warm still with the life of  forgotten men who made them.” ~ D. H. Lawrence

When I read these words, I was brought to tears, as I immediately thought of our dear old home.  Look closely at the photo of our home and notice the roof.  The roof is original to the home, built in 1939, and is made of clay tiles ~ handmade.  Now, there have been repairs over the years before us, which some actually did more harm than good.  You see, you can’t walk on clay tiles or you will crack them.    

A few years after we were settled in our home and after a bad storm, Mike thought he heard dripping sounds in the attic.  So up to the attic he goes and his thoughts were correct. We had a leak.

We have the very good fortune of having an excellent young contractor in our area.  He appeared quickly after a call from Mike.  They discussed the situation and after checking the roof, inside and out, our contractor’s thoughts were not to replace the roof, provided Mike could locate the tiles.  He also knew how to replace the tiles without walking on the roof.

Fortunately, in the attic of the garage, there was a box of unused tiles from when the house was built with a company name stamped on the tiles.  And so, Mike began his internet search.  Much to his surprise, he discovered the company was still in business and owned by the family who began making the tiles in Rome, Italy nearly four hundred years ago.  When the family immigrated to America they first settled in Chicago.  Then in 1902 opened their business in New Lexington, Ohio, where they remain today.  Their location in Ohio was a plus with regard to the cost of shipping as New Lexington is about a three-hour drive from us. 

After much discussion with one of the owners of the company, he asked Mike to send him one of the tiles currently on the roof.  After receiving this tile they created a sample tile and sent it to us for approval of the color.  The match was nearly perfect.  The tiles were handmade to match, in size and color, of our original tiles.  We were set to order. Five hundred tiles were ordered, enough for current and future repairs.  They arrived at our door in West Virginia via a flatbed trailer. “Some say the antique syndrome surfaced to offset the newness of the land, the homes, and the settlers.  Some say the interest was initiated by a desire to return to the roots of yesterday.  I contend the entire movement to acquire antiques was born out of sheer respect of things that lasted longer than fifteen minutes.” ~ Erma Bombeck

I do not remember not being drawn to beautiful things made by hand.  I suppose that is because I have had a needle and thread in my hands since it was safe for me to hold a needle.  I believe the love and appreciation of handwork and craftsmanship go hand-in-hand with the love of old and treasured things.  For instance, the needlework, pictured above, was stitched with love for me by my dear friend, Janet.  She created this lovely piece, which hangs over our front door after we gave our home a name.  Should you be interested in the story of naming our home, visit here.

Of all the many lovely pieces that my sweet friend has created for me, I would have to say these two are my favorites.  Or perhaps it is as Mike says, “My favorite is the one I am enjoying at the moment.” 

I like to think Isabel Conant would be proud her words were beautifully stitched and hang in the foyer of our old home.

“Beauty reminds humans that we have needs beyond function and practicality.” ~ unknown

Another reason I am drawn to old things is the stories.  I look at a lovely old quilt or beautiful china teacups and I can hear their stories.  This beautiful old quilt was stitched by Mike’s grandmother and kept numerous family members warm throughout the years.  She has been gone for many years, however, her quilts have remained “glowing for long years.” 

I rather imagine these teacups and saucers attended many a fireside chat as well as tea parties.  Oh, the stories and secrets they could tell.  The three on the center shelf (with butterflies) are part of a set my mom received as a gift when she was the West Virginia State Garden Club, President.  She loved pretty teacups and said, “Tea always tasted better when served in a pretty cup.”  These are just a few of my collection of too many.

“A precious, mouldering pleasure ‘t is, to meet an antique book, In just the dress his century wore; A privilege I think.” ~ Emily Dickinson

In closing, to me, Emily Dickinson was right when she said, “It is a privilege to meet an antique book.”  Antique books do speak to me and certainly, take me under their spell.  They most always contain marvelous information and are also usually beautifully written, not to mention how pretty what they are wearing may be.  I do adore these lovely gems and if you have never ventured down the old book trail, you might want to take a little stroll.  But a warning, it can be a bit consuming.
Dear friends, I thank you so much for your visit.   And, perhaps you will think of Lawrence’s words the next time you come across something of age which tugs at your heart.  Remember, there is always a reason it speaks to you.  Whether it may be an old home or a book, it is asking for your attention.  And, I believe it is also asking you to pause a moment and remember the “wakened hands” who with such care and pride in their work, created magnificent beauty.  

 

 

Wishing you and yours a lovely and peaceful day.

And . . .

May your week ahead be full of sweet surprises.  Stay well!

 

“We may talk of saving antique linens, species, or languages; but whatever we are intent on saving, when a restoration succeeds, we rescue ourselves.”  ~ Howard Mansfield

 

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

 

 

Images:  Michael S. Lambiotte and tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ A Garden Walk About

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.” ~ Gertrude S. Wister

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Good Sunday morning, sweet friends.  This past week our weather has been quite cold.  Although, on Tuesday we had blue skies and temperatures hovering around fifty degrees.  So out  I went for a ‘walk about the garden.’  Such a good idea it was because the next day we had snow and temperatures in the twenties.

On this lovely blue sky day, I was delighted by the many splendid things happening.  One of which was the charming snowdrops, well on their way through the soil.  Louise Wilder, an American gardening writer, tells us, “Snowdrops are a fragile but hardy celebration . . .in the very teeth of winter.  True words.  I never fail to be in awe of their remarkable strength to come forth in the bitter cold and provide us with delicate and delightful little blooms.  Indeed, a few snowdrops in a tiny vase provide such joy on a gray winter day.   

“Life is the greatest gift that could ever be conceived … A daffodil pushing up through the dark earth to the spring, knowing somehow deep in its roots that spring and light and sunshine will come, has more courage and more knowledge of the value of life than any human being I’ve met.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle

Daffodil ~ King Alfred.  The lovely Tulipiere was a gift from a dear friend.

A few years ago, I wrote a lengthy post about daffodils.  There are so many varieties and classifications. I only touched the surface in this post.  Should you be interested in reading,  visit here.

Daffodils are such a cheerful sight in the spring.  Bursting with sunshine, they seem so happy.  As many years as I have watched them poke their sweet green heads through the soil, I am always thrilled beyond words to see them.  On my walk, I was happy to see many of ours are on their way up, with the bold King Alfred arriving first, as always.  King Alfred will soon be keeping company with Billy Graham, Barrett Browning, sweet Tete-a-Tete, and many others.  

Daffodil ~ Billy Graham.

Narcissus 'Barrett Browning'Daffodil ~ Barrett Browning.

Muscari, Blue, Blossom, Bloom, Spring, DaffodilsDaffodil ~ Tete-a-Tete with Muscari.  Tete-a-Tete is a miniature daffodil.

I hope wherever you may be that you are seeing a few tiny snippets of spring.  These little wonders can certainly carry us through the winter, especially if one is not a winter person.  I happen to enjoy winter and all of its dazzling beauty, but I know winter can be difficult for many.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.” ~ Dr. Seuss

 

Dear friends, in closing, the following words are from my first post, written on January 29, 2017.  Now and again, I look back at this post as I always want to remember why I began this adventure.  

“There is so much I want to say and so many things I hope to inspire.  I want this blog to be special for you ~ something you look forward to in our crazy world, a source of inspiration.”  

I hope I have been successful in some small way and that my blog, for the brief few moments you visit, offers you peace and inspiration.  Inspiration to possibly inspire you to create beauty for yourself and those you love.  Or, perhaps you read a few special words to tuck away in your heart and bring forth on a difficult day. Something which speaks to you.

We are all too busy, so know, I sincerely appreciate your visit and the time you take to comment.  It is what moves me forward on this journey.  This past year has proven how terribly important a circle of like-minded friends, even virtual, can be. 

Wishing you and yours a beautiful and peaceful day.

And. . .

May your week ahead be full of kind people, sunny skies, and snippets of spring.

Stay well!

1lifeinspired: “♥ ”

 

“I already hear the flowering spring” ~ unknown

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images: Tumblr, White Flower Farm, and M.S. Lambiotte

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~January 24, 2021

“Politeness is the flower of humanity.”  ~ Joseph Joubert

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Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds you well and the past week was good for you.  We have a pretty blue sky today and the winter storms planning to go from coast to coast are predicted to visit the states around us.  While I am not eager to see feet of snow, two or three inches would be nice.

As you know, I like my ‘Sunday Thoughts’ to be something that may encourage one to pause a moment and think.  To ponder the words I have included.  The following thoughts of Danusha Laméris did so for me and I hope they will for you as well.  Perhaps, you will tuck them away and think of them on a rainy day when someone offers you a gesture of kindness.  And then,  you repay them with your best and most beautiful smile. 

 

Written by:  Danusha Laméris

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs to let you by.

Or how strangers still say “bless you” when someone sneezes, a leftover from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.

And sometimes, when you spill lemons from your grocery bag, someone else will help you pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.

We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot, and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile at them and for them to smile back.

For the waitress to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder, and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.

We have so little of each other, now. So far from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.

What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here, have my seat,” “Go ahead~you first,” “I like your hat.”

 

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Dear friends, know I wish you and yours a beautiful day and week ahead.

And. . .

May you find joy in all that you do.  Stay well!

Amour,

Sandra

“How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it.” ~ George Elliston

 

 

 

Images:  Via Tumblr and Pinterest

Sunday Thoughts ~ White Roses

“I smell the white roses sweet-scented and growing.” ~ Walt Whitman

 

Good Sunday morning, beautiful souls.  I hope this finds you well and happy this winter morning.  We have just a light dusting of snow, enough to be pretty.  So, you may be wondering, “Why is she writing about roses?” 

“Love is the only thing in this whole universe, that can make the roses grow out of the swords.” ~ Akshay Vas

My thoughts, of course, are on our Presidential Inauguration.  As you know, this has always been a joyful and celebrated time in our country.  A dignified event and a gleaming star of our democracy.  In dreaming of a perfect day for this grand event, I began to think about a flower that could symbolize such an occasion.  My mind went immediately to the white rose.  Why the white rose?  Because the white rose is an ancient symbol of love and peace.  White roses also symbolize feelings of friendship, peace, respect, and hope.  All are attitudes of love and decency, which we pray to once again enjoy in America. 

“Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Dear friends, as we approach this most special day, my heart is heavy with concern.  I can not begin to tell you how many times throughout the years I have read the following words, nor how many times I have read them in the past few days.  They are always a comfort to me.  The words remind me to think good thoughts and pray for a wonderful day and safety for everyone.

 

“Whatsoever things are true,

Whatsoever things are honest,

Whatsoever things are just,

Whatsoever things are pure,

Whatsoever things are lovely,

Whatsoever things are of good report,

If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,

Think on these things.”

Philippians 4:8

 

Please know I wish you and yours a beautiful day.  

And. . .

In the days ahead, may we see peace and goodness across our land.   As well as, many white roses.

Stay well! 

 

“.. .I will dwell on all the angels singing, putting love and truth in my heart and in the words I speak.” ~ Alexandra Stoddard

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images:  Pinterest

 

 

 

 

The Gentler Side of Life ~ A Virtual Walk

“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.” ~ Anatole France

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Good morning, dear friends and welcome to ‘The Gentler Side of Life.”  I enjoy the words, ‘Gentler Side of Life.  They make me feel safe, happy, and also they bring me to the realization of how much I crave a sweeter world.  A sweeter world is my hope for all of us.

As our weather is gloomy, I thought yours may be too.  Therefore, I would like to invite you to join me on a walk through a virtual path of beauty.  Beauty I have found from a gentler time.   I won’t be speaking much, as not to distract from the lovely images or from your own thoughts.  This post is just a wee bit of dreaming for a gray January morning.   So pour yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea and find a comfy chair.

“Beauty is all around us, of course.  Our world, with all its sordid problems, still brims with breathtaking loveliness.  And one of the benefits of the teatime ritual is that of slowing us down enough to notice what is beautiful around us.” ~ Emilie Barnes

A lovely teapot and or teacup is an exquisite thing.  Not only is it about the beauty of the vessel, but also for the gentleness it imposes on our souls.

There is something in the quiet nature of tea that leads us into quiet contemplation.” ~ Lin Yutang

“Ballet is like writing poetry with your body.” ~ Elif Shafak

Ballet is a breathtaking art that I know little about.  Other than to me it is beautiful, captivating, and holds the power to move one to joyful tears.  I have long admired the majestic dancers who are extremely disciplined and devoted to their craft.  Amazing souls who provide the world with spectacular beauty and grace every time they dance onto a stage.  

“Beauty is a nectar which intoxicates the soul.” ~ T.C. Henley

“. . . Luxury lives in the finer details.” ~ Iggy Azalea

I have long loved and collected vintage table linens and pillow slips.  The hours spent in creating such flawless beauty is astounding.   My mind always wonders about the person who created such magnificence and I like to think perhaps they know their lovely creations are now in good hands and appreciated.

“Beauty was not simply something to behold, it was something one could do.” ~ Toni Morrison

“Chandeliers are marvels of drop-dead showiness, the jewelry of architecture.” ~ Peter York

fancitaste: “ (via TumbleOn) ”

A little sparkle can change a room and its personality.  We have a crystal chandelier in our living room and dining room.  When the sun shines and they twinkle and sparkle, I become almost giddy.  They are certainly a mood changer.

“Beauty is a fragile gift.” ~ Ovid

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Vintage items are irresistible to me.  Although, often, their price tag will keep them from my reach.  Even if that may be the case, I do enjoy admiring them and never fail to fall under the charm of their beauty. 

womansart: “ 1920s Wedgwood fairyland lustre series ‘Ghostly Wood’ by Daisy Makeig-Jones, UK pottery designer ”1920s Wedgwood fairyland luster series. ‘Ghostly Wood’ by Daisy Makeig-Jones, UK pottery designer

“Nature isn’t owned.  Its beauty is available to everyone.” ~ unknown

 

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“The Earth is what we all have in common.” ~ Wendell Berry

The garden was full of fireflies, the scent of flowers was intoxicating, the moon was full.  We seemed to have reached almost the limit of beauty.” ~ Diana Cooper

Mottisfont Abbey & Gardens – Hampshire, England

A stroll through this lovely garden would be a glimpse of paradise.

 

“Great beauty is moving because it touches the soul.” ~ unknown

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your walk.  As you can tell, my heart truly resides in ‘The Gentler Side of Life.’ 

Wishing you a lovely and peaceful day.

And . . .

May beauty warm your heart and provide you all the joys and peace of a gentler time.  Stay well!

“Beauty does not become more profound the higher the price.  Beauty can be found in the most humble.”  ~ unknown

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

Images:  via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ Beauty Soothes

“Beauty is the shadow of God on the universe.” ~ Gabriela Mistral

tulipomania historyPhoto from: Flower House|Garden| Lifestyle Magazine“Soft hearts make the universe worth living in.” ~ Veronica Roth

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  The horrendous events of this past week left me feeling lost, bewildered, and heartbroken.  Perhaps you felt the same?  So, what did I do for comfort?  I turned, as I always do in times of distress, to beauty.  Beauty helps soothe broken hearts and souls.  

Thinking that your hearts could probably use a little soothing as well, I thought I would share some lovely things which helped brighten my past few days.  Please know I am not rushing the season and I don’t think I have gone around the bend.  However, tulips are such happy flowers and they always bring me smiles.  I hope they will do the same for you.

A simple tulip arrangement by floral designer Mimi Brown in a tole cachepot “A simple gathering of tulips in a tole jardinière brightens a room. See designer Mimi Brown’s step-by-step instructions for this easy-to-assemble arrangement in an excerpt from LIVING FLORAL by Margot Shaw” (see note at the end of this post.) Photo and information are from, Flower. 

“Tulips are all about levity and rebirth. Their flowers are like ballerinas ~ they dance”  ~ Sandra Sigman

All of the following photos are from Flower House|Garden| Lifestyle Magazine.  Should you not be familiar with this magazine I highly recommend you purchase a copy.  It is spectacular, not just one issue, but each one.  And, the regular column in each issue written by the Editor-In-Chief, Margot Shaw, is always grand.   Also, her book Living Floral is a treasure. (See information about the magazine and book at the end of this post.)

field of yellow and pink tulips along a wavy brick wall

This lovely photo was taken at the gardens of the Stevens-Coolidge Place. The Stevens–Coolidge Place, formerly known as Ashdale Farm, is a garden and historic home located on 91 acres in North Andover, Massachusetts. It is stewarded by the Trustees of Reservations to preserve the 20th-century North Andover, Massachusetts estate of Helen Stevens Coolidge and her husband John Gardner Coolidge, a descendent of Thomas Jefferson. Notice, the serpentine wall which was added by architect Joseph Everett Chandler when he designed the Steven-Coolidge gardens.  It serves as a nod to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.

virtual 2020 Tulip Festival

This pretty lady is floral designer, Sandra Sigman.  She said, “I felt lightheaded when I rounded the bend at Stevens-Coolidge Place and saw 30,000 tulips in full splendor.”  I certainly guess one would.  What a sight to behold!

blue, white, yellow and peach arrangement by floral designer Sandra Sigman“Muscari and white hyacinths balance the visual weight of yellow and peach double tulips. Green viburnum softens the flow.”  Design by, Sandra Sigman

multicolored tulip arrangement by Sandra Sigman with pink, yellow, and white blooms Design, by Sandra Sigman.

According to Sigman, “Tulip’s beam happiness, and they prompt glorious floral arrangements in a range of hues other flowers can only wish to match”

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit and that you have been soothed by a little beauty.  

Know I wish you and yours a lovely day and a splendid week ahead.

And. . . 

May you find love, beauty, and kind souls wherever you roam.  Stay well!

 

  Tulip, Amazone

 

“To love beauty is to see light.” ~ Victor Hugo

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Notes:

The magazine Flower House|Garden| Lifestyle, may be ordered here:

Living Floral, by Margot Shaw is available through Amazon

Living Floral: Entertaining and Decorating with Flowers

 

The Stevens-Coolidge Place’s Spring Spectacular will be held April 24–May 16, 2021. Pre-registration is required. For more information, visit thetrustees.org 

There are 150,000 bulbs planted throughout their grounds.  One would have to be inspired at such a sight.  It truly will be a Spring Spectacular.

 

April 17 – 24, 2021, will be Historic Garden Week in Virginia.  This is something quite amazing and I highly recommend attending. For information,  Visit: 

 

Photo of tulip, Amazone is from Pinterest.