Sunday Thoughts ~ “A Thankful Heart”

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue but the parent of all the other virtues.” ~ Cicero

“Gratitude is the sweet fragrance of an opening heart.” ~ Aine Belton

Good Sunday morning, beautiful souls.  The holidays are here.  And this year, more than ever, let them find us with ‘thankful’ hearts.   While our celebrations may not be like those we have always loved and enjoyed, to me, the fact that Mike and I are well is something beyond wonderful to celebrate.  I have many blessings but count my dear husband of forty-eight years, treasured friends, our sweet old home, and cherished memories of lovely holidays past, as the most precious. 

This year I will be setting an extra special table, and preparing a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Turkey, with all the trimmings.  I know many of you have similar plans.  However, do take extra caution if you are inviting guests or traveling.  As we all well know, the ugly virus is raging in full force everywhere.

Thanksgiving ~ author unknown

“The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway~
Thanksgiving comes again!” 

Dear friends from our table to yours,  know we wish you a joyous and safe Thanksgiving. 
Complete with memories you will hold forever in your heart.
And…
May you “Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.” ~ Rumi

Amour,

Sandra

Images:  via tumblr, M.S. Lambiotte

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ “November Comes and November Goes”

“No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening ~ still all is Beauty!” ~ John Muir

pagewoman: “ Geese in the Mist by Grunvald ”

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  I don’t know about you, but today finds me desperately trying to hold onto these last beautiful days of autumn. November, like October, is moving way too fast for my liking.  While autumn has been glorious in the ‘Mountain State,’ we are beginning to see signs of ‘Old Man Winter’ with the arrival of his good friend, ‘Mr. Jack Frost.’

“Of yellow leaves and gossamer In autumns that there were With morning mist and silver sun And wind upon my hair.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

A storm blew through our area this past week and most of our lovely yellow leaves are gone.  But I treasure the few which remain.  I thought I would share a few golden beauties, just in case yours may be gone as well. 

“Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue.” ~ John Muir

“November at its best ~ with a sort of delightful menace in the air.” ~ Anne Bosworth Greene

With November in such a rush,  I must also rush to attend to a few remaining things in the garden before I can say, “She is tucked in for her long winter’s sleep.”  You probably wonder, “Doesn’t she know November arrives at the same time each year?”  Oh, but let me tell you what I have been doing.  Our sunroom looks like a drying shed.  I decided to dry our limelight hydrangeas and they have behaved beautifully, along with a few roses.  My plan is to make an arrangement for our Thanksgiving table.  I want to make the table extra special this year, as I feel the fact that we are well is so very much to celebrate.  If the arrangement manages to resemble the picture in my head, I will ask Mike to take photos.  He is quite good with a camera and you know, I am not.

Also, Mike found the candied fruit at the grocery store yesterday,  last year it was not to be found in any of our markets.  So, the good news is,  I will be making our fruit cakes the day after Thanksgiving.  A long-standing tradition for me.  

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit and hearing about what I have been up to.  I should add to my list that much of our Christmas decorating is in the works.  However, we never have our ‘Grand Illumination’ until after Thanksgiving.  To us, Thanksgiving is far too special to be rushed through, and especially this year.

Know I wish you and yours a lovely day.

And…

May you see the light in all the little things along your path.  Stay Well!

 

“Novembers are for softest sleep when skies are dark and grey. They do not mind the time you keep when night looks much like day. They do not mind the rain that falls so warmly down your cheek. ‘Rest easy now’ is what they’d say if months knew how to speak.” ~ Ellis Nightingale

Amour,

Sandra

Images:  via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ America, Since 1776

“Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans…” ~ John McCain

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  Today, we are on the cusp of new beginnings.  Hopefully, an improved chapter in the life of each and every American. 

Our new leadership in the White House has much work to do.  There are so many issues facing our nation, when I think of them my head spins.  But, faith and hope are beautiful things.  They inspire and move people toward good and wonderful accomplishments.   I pray our nation will pull together, support our new president and his team, and that we will, once again, respect one another, and be a beacon of hope for the world.  

Man In The Arena,  Theodore Roosevelt

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

dentist04: “Washington, DC ”

 

Dear friends, I hope you have appreciated my thoughts.  And, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, let us move forward…

 With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan ~ to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

 

Know, I wish you and yours a beautiful day.

And…

May your week ahead be full of joy.  Stay Well!

Amour,

Sandra

“Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals, and to imagine that together we can do great things.” ~ Caroline Kennedy

 

 

Images:  via tumblr

At Table ~ Soup’s On!

“As they entered November, the weather turned very cold. The mountains around the school became icy grey and the lake like chilled steel. Every morning the ground was covered in frost.” ~ J.K. Rowling

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Good morning, sweet friends and welcome to ‘At Table.’  I don’t know about you, but the opening quote truly makes me hope the “Soup is On.”

I love soup and Mike does also, but not quite as much as I do.  So for that reason, I have learned to prepare soups that will serve us for dinner and maybe lunch, but not a recipe which will feed us for a week.  As we all know, soup does have a tendency to grow when it is being prepared.

#findyourthing Two #olive #branches. Die-cut vinyl stickers with beautiful fruits and vegetables for laptops, journals, scrapbooking, kids activities and DIY projects @RedBubble.

“Soup is the song of the hearth… and the home.”  ~ Louis P. De Gouy

Today, I am sharing three of our favorite soups.  As the days grow colder and busier with the holidays drawing near, I hope you will enjoy them.  They make a hearty and satisfying supper and are quick and easy.  Don’t forget the crusty bread or rolls. 

First up is ~ Chicken, Lemon, and Orzo soup.

10 Immune System-Boosting Soup Recipes: Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Chicken, Lemon, and Orzo Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots cut into rounds or diced
  • 2 stalks of celery cut into half-moons
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • juice and zest of 1.5 lemons ( I use 2)
  • 1 large chicken breast shredded or diced into bite-size pieces
  • 8 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 handful chopped Italian parsley (optional)
  • 1/4 cup orzo pasta or any other small pasta like ditalini or stars ( I use 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves ( I use 2 handfuls – we like spinach)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Start with a large pot and melt 4 tbsp of butter over medium heat.  And diced onion, carrots, celery, and minced garlic.
  • Over medium heat and covered, sweat the vegetables for about fifteen minutes.  The vegetables should not caramelize.
  • Add chicken broth, lemon juice, and zest.  Let the soup come to a simmer.
  • Once the soup has reached a simmer, add the orzo and shredded chicken.
  • Once the orzo is tender, about 15 minutes, turn the heat off. Add baby spinach and parsley(if using).
  • Mix well to combine.
  • Taste for seasoning and lemon.
#findyourthing Two #olive #branches. Die-cut vinyl stickers with beautiful fruits and vegetables for laptops, journals, scrapbooking, kids activities and DIY projects @RedBubble.

“Only the pure of heart can make good soup”  ~ Beethoven

This recipe is especially a favorite.  But, who doesn’t love potatoes?  I am sharing it as I received it, but please note my changes.

Photo
Baked Potato Soup Recipe
  • 4 nice size Russet potatoes
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (I use 1 large onion – but prefer 2 large leeks, green tops removed)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups 2 % Milk (I use 2 cups whole milk and 2 cups heavy cream)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • salt/pepper
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Garnish

  • chopped chives (I use chopped green onions and their tops)
  • sour cream
  • crumbled bacon
  • shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Scrub potatoes, poke with a fork to prevent bursting.  Place in oven and bake until tender (about 45 minutes).  Remove from the oven and set aside.  Meanwhile, chop bacon and cook over medium-low heat on the stove in a heavy large pot until crispy, being careful not to burn.  Remove bacon to a  paper towel-lined plate.  Drain all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease from pot.  Add butter, onions, and celery to pot and cook until tender.  Add flour, stirring until blended into the butter, and cook stirring for one minute.  Slowly whisk in the milk, one cup at a time until well-blended.  Stir in chicken broth.  Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer.  Cut potatoes in half and scoop potato flesh into the soup, breaking it up with a spoon.  Heat through about 2 minutes.  Turn heat off, stir in all but 4 tablespoons of the shredded cheese, until melted.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Note: add the cream just before serving.  Taste, and if it is too cool,  heat a minute or two.    Place in bowls and top with the crumbled bacon, sour cream, chives or green onions, and cheddar cheese.

#findyourthing Two #olive #branches. Die-cut vinyl stickers with beautiful fruits and vegetables for laptops, journals, scrapbooking, kids activities and DIY projects @RedBubble.

“To feel safe and warm on a cold wet night, all you really need is soup.” ~ Laurie Colwin

Feasting at Home

 

Last, is a favorite of Mike’s. It is Pasta e Fagiolo Soup.  This recipe came to me from a woman I worked with many years ago.  It is supposed to be a copy of the Olive Garden Restaurant’s recipe.  Although she didn’t know for sure if it was, it is so delicious.

Pasta e Fagioli Soup 

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp)
  • 3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 14.5 oz cans chicken broth (I use a box, 48 oz. of chicken broth and skip the water)
  • 1/2 cup water, then more as desired
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry ditalini pasta
  • 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • Finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • 3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley (optional)

Instructions

 – Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, crumble in ground beef cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through.

 – Drain fat from beef then transfer beef to a plate, set aside. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in the same pot.

 – Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute over medium-high heat until tender about 6 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.

 – Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, water, canned tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, and cooked beef then season with salt and pepper to          taste.

 – Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover with the lid and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are soft, about 15 – 20 minutes.

 – Meanwhile, prepare ditalini pasta according to directions on the package, cooking to al dente.

 – Add cooked and drained pasta to soup along with kidney beans and great northern beans. Thin with a little more broth or water if desired.

 – Allow to cook 1 minute longer. Stir in parsley, serve warm with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Note:  If you don’t plan on eating all of the soup right away you may want to add the pasta to individual servings. Otherwise, pasta may get soggy and absorb too much broth.

#findyourthing Two #olive #branches. Die-cut vinyl stickers with beautiful fruits and vegetables for laptops, journals, scrapbooking, kids activities and DIY projects @RedBubble.

Dear friends, I hope you will try these recipes.  And enjoy them as much as we do.  To me, soup is the all-time comfort food.  It holds great power, in my opinion. 

I will leave you with an interesting note, a quote I have had for many years.  It is from Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, the year 1518.  It was the last sentence written on a mathematical theorem.  It appears he enjoyed soup too.

“Whatever ~ the soup is getting cold.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Wishing you happy times in your kitchen and ‘At Your Table.’  

Don’t let the ‘soup get cold’ and Stay Well!

 

Bon Appétit,

Sandra

#findyourthing Two #olive #branches. Die-cut vinyl stickers with beautiful fruits and vegetables for laptops, journals, scrapbooking, kids activities and DIY projects @RedBubble.

 

 

Note: Be sure to send me a message, should you have any questions about any of the recipes.

Images:  Pinterest,tumblr

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ “Sweet November”

“Welcome sweet November, the season of senses and my favorite month of all.” ~ Gregory F. Lenz

Had to share this @WeHeartIt

Good Sunday morning, dear ones.  Remember, a few weeks ago I said, “We are going to blink and it will be Christmas.”  Well, it is getting closer, isn’t it?  As this morning we welcome November. 

I have always enjoyed November.  I suppose my enjoyment of the month stems from the years we lived in Virginia.  Being a West Virginia girl, I would be so anxious to see glorious autumn days.  However, autumn doesn’t arrive in that part of the world until November.  When it does arrive the days are beautiful, but unfortunately, the stay is brief.  Perhaps, that is what made November so sweet for me.  

“In November, the earth is growing quiet. It is making its bed, a winter bed for flowers and small creatures. The bed is white and silent, and much life can hide beneath its blankets.” ~  Cynthia Rylant
“I learned to know the love of bare November days,” ~ Robert Frost

November, by Elizabeth Coatsworth

November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

Dear friends, I hope this finds you happy and ready to welcome the beautiful month of November.  It is a month of change as we move into winter and a well-deserved rest.  And, this year, perhaps more than ever, it is a time for us to pay attention and give thanks for our many blessings and all the tiny details in our lives ~ both of which make life so beautiful.

Know how much I appreciate your visit and comments.

And…

I wish you and yours a beautiful and peaceful day.  Stay well!

“May you take time
to celebrate the quiet miracles
that seek no attention.” ~
John O’Donohue

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images: via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ A Season of Change

“It was Indian summer, a bluebird sort of day as we call it in the north, warm and sunny, without a breath of wind; the water was sky-blue, the shores a bank of solid gold.” ~ Sigurd F. Olson

autumncottageattic: “ lena.kjonsson ”

Good Sunday morning, dear ones.  It is hard to believe this is the last Sunday of October.  I hope you have enjoyed many “bluebird sort of days.”  I have tried to keep my mind on lovely things and the magnificent beauty which surrounds me.  Unfortunately, this next week will most likely be full of confusing political issues, and unsettling remarks.  Not to mention, more sad news about the dreadful virus.   I have heard so many people say, “November third can’t come soon enough.”  Honestly, I will admit, I feel that way too.  And, I know you join me in praying we will see a week without violence.

“The most solid comfort one can fall back upon is the thought that the business of one’s life is to help in some small way to reduce the sum of ignorance, degradation, and misery on the face of this beautiful earth.” ~ George Elliott

Hydrangeas, Hydrangea Flowers, Bush, Hydrangea Shrub

Did you know hydrangeas represent, ‘thank you for understanding?’  They do.  I believe it is so important to try and be understanding. Sometimes I succeed and other times I don’t.  I suppose that is because I am human.  It would truly be a dull world if we all thought alike or had the same opinions. However, now more than ever, it is especially important to take a step back and try and understand others, to truly listen, and to place ourselves in their shoes.  It is our “business to help reduce ignorance, degradation, and misery.”  Our differences can make us a beautiful nation and an example to the world.  Because, “When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.”  And, isn’t that a lovely thought?

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” ~ Pema Chodron

I pray we will walk through a new door, into the light.  And, from all we have learned, be better humans, working together to build a nation of respect and kindness.  To live with John Denver’s thoughts in our minds, “I believe that we are here for each other, not against each other. Everything comes from an understanding that you are a gift in my life – whoever you are, whatever our differences.”

 

Dear friends, thank you so much for your visit.  In closing, I would like to say, “With all my heart, I believe a change is in the air.”  And, my faith tells me it is for the good.  The virus will eventually go away and it will have taught us many things.  

image

And…

“After all this is over what really will have mattered is how we treated each other.” ~ unknown  

To that, I would like to add, and how we ‘continue’ to treat each other.

Wishing you a beautiful day and may the angels walk with you along your path.  Stay well!

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Notes:  Quote information, “When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.” is by Tuli Kupferberg.

Images:  Pixibay and tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty ~ The Gentler Side of Life ~ October, 2020

“Those who seek beauty shall find it.” ~ Bill Cunningham

Good morning, dear ones and welcome to ‘The Gentler Side of Life.’  As I write this, I feel as though God has lovingly smiled upon me this morning.  The window beside me is open, the house is completely silent, and the only sounds I hear are the sweet birds singing to me from our dear garden.  The huge sugar maple in the yard behind us is dressed in gold.  In our garden there remains a few honeysuckle blooms on the arbor, the hydrangeas are their deep rusty pink, and many of the peonies are ready for their long winter nap. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such beauty and I do hope you have a lovely view from a window in your home.   

Years ago, I was reading one of Alexandra Stoddard’s books, and she said, “From every window of our homes, we should see something of beauty.”  I believe she was trying to teach us to open our eyes and see the beauty which surrounds us.  Her words have never left me.  There is always gorgeousness, in some form, right in front of us.  Something just waiting to charm us, we just have to look and find eyes that see.

” Because beauty matters.” ~ unknown

Yes, beauty does matter.  It is most important to the human heart and soul.  There is so much written about the subject from wonderful minds, how could we possibly doubt its significance in our daily lives?  Beauty softens our lives and our hearts.  And, if only for a few moments, seeing such clears our heads and allows us to actually appreciate what we see.  It puts us in a stress-free zone.  Beauty holds great power and it can be life-changing.

“It is what I was born for ~ to look, to listen, to lose myself inside this soft world” ~ Mary Oliver

As you know, I enjoy the writings of Mary Oliver.  And the above quote is an example.  I believe Ms. Oliver and I are kindred spirits.  Even as a young girl I could be moved to tears by the magnificence of a fabulous bloom.  I have always been my happiest in a “softer world.”

This past Sunday morning, when I came downstairs, my husband greeted me with, “You must read Dear Abby.”   He had already read the Sunday paper.  I don’t know if the Dear Abby column appears in your local newspaper, but Mike always enjoys reading it.  Anyway, this past week it was about beauty and a woman who suffered from Alzheimer’s.  The woman’s daughter would take her mother for daily walks.  Sometimes the woman knew her daughter and some days she did not.  But, on their walks, they would always pass a house with beautiful flowers and for a few brief moments, the woman would have complete clarity.  She would remark, how she and her husband would always plant such flowers. When the woman passed away, her daughter wrote a note to the lady who lived in the house with the lovely flowers.  She told her how much joy the beauty she had nurtured and planted had given her mom during her final days.  She not only enjoyed the gorgeous flowers, but they returned her to the beauty of her own life.  Amazing power. 

“Dishes are one of the tools that support life. Please take great care when using them.” ~ Shoukei Matsumoto

There is so much beauty in this world, it is hard to know what to talk about first.  I am most passionate about my love for the beauty of gardens and nature.  And next, I imagine I would have to say it would be lovely and delicate china, especially vintage china.  It never ceases to captivate me and I have many wonderful memories of finding special items over the years.  As well as memories of lovely and special gifts.

One such memory was being with my mom in one of our favorite antique haunts.  Mom had a magnificent eye, she could spot something lovely a hundred yards away.  And such was the day she spotted, under a table, a set of Haviland china (now mine).  

Apple Blossom, Haviland china.

The set included twelve cups and saucers, six dinner and salad plates, and six soup bowls.  Not a piece had a chip or crack.  The serving pieces included a sugar and creamer, and a beautiful covered soup tureen with an underneath platter.  I treasure this set not only because it is beautiful, but especially for the memories of a wonderful day spent with mom.

The Christmas following our adventure mom gifted me with her set of Fostoria, Pink Navarre.  She said, “They will be happy with your Haviland,” and they are.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.”  ~ John Keats

 

“Antique things have an appreciation and worth. Something can be old, but it can be timeless…” ~ Cee Lo Green

“Everything that is made beautiful and fair and lovely is made for the eye of one who sees.” ~ Rumi

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Dear friends, thank you so much for your visit.  I hope you have enjoyed your time in the “no-stress zone.” 

Please know, I wish you a perfectly beautiful day.  And until we meet again…

May your path be lined with loveliness and kind souls.  Stay well!

“Beauty gives us hope” ~ unknown

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images:  via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ “Calm in the Chaos”

“It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.” ~ Donna Karan

j-k-i-ng: “““Untitled“ by | Daisuke Uematsu” ”

Good Sunday morning, beautiful souls.  I hope this finds you well and at peace.  The deadly virus appears to be on the rise in almost every state and the rise of heated political rhetoric is flourishing as well, unfortunately.  So how do we find “calm amidst such chaos?”  I certainly do not know. However, I do know, once upon a time, life was sweeter.

Jim Kirwan writes, “We live in a world where violence has become the currency of the day, where the insanity of hatred overwhelms the spirituality of our existence. We search for meaning, yet all we find is chaos.”  For me, home is my shelter from the ugliness of the world.  As I imagine it is for you.  Home, now more than ever, is a true blessing and such a refuge for all of us.  

Our home in the spring.

Although, the violence of this world came too close to our doorstep these past few weeks.  One horrible incident: our neighbor (three houses down the street) was shot while trying to protect his wife from someone who carjacked her and her mother as she pulled out of their driveway. Thankfully, he was not killed but remains in the hospital, and his wife and her mother are safe but emotionally scarred.  

These times are so difficult on many levels and it is not only the violence that seems to be out of control,  it is also the failure to respect other opinions.  Resulting in friendships being lost, some expanding decades upon decades.  And when this happens, friends lose the shelter of one another.  Both are tragic.

Heart, I implore you, it’s time to come back from the dark.” ~ Mary Oliver

I feel certain you will agree, “it is time for many hearts to come back from the dark.”  Perhaps it will be the end result of the virus, once it is over.  I pray we never return to this constant state of ‘rush and confusion.’  And that we will once again respect each other, know our neighbors, pay attention to the magnificence of the earth that surrounds us, and foster kindness.  Because the words of Robert A. Heinlein speak the truth, ” A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. A lack of consideration for others in minor matters and a loss of politeness…”

“There are many things to be grateful “for” but, as I ripen with the seasons of life, the many reasons blend into a sacred mystery. And, most deeply, I realize that living gratefully is its own blessing.” ~ Michael Mahoney

michaelnordeman: “Today I was almost attacked by this nuthatch. “Can’t you see the feeder is empty?” Some birds, especially Nuthatches and Willow tits, are actually following us around the garden whenever it’s time to refill the feeders. Not that...

There are many things I am extremely grateful for and have helped me sort through these difficult times.  To name a few, my husband who is at his core a cheerful person, the beauty of nature, and my blog.  I am so grateful for my dear blogging friends, their encouraging words, and humor.  And my dear friend of sixty-plus years, Janet.  I am grateful life has not eroded our friendship.

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” ~ Helen Keller

Dear friends,  thank you so much for your visit.  I wish you and yours a perfectly gorgeous day.  May the week ahead be filled with everything that is good and wonderful. And, may you always find “calm in the chaos.”  Stay well!

On that note, I will leave you with the thoughts of Steven Charleston. I hope you will find them as hopeful as I did.

 

“Wait and see. Mercy will return once more, like a mist coming down into the valley, long trails of fog as white as a wedding gown against the gray-green mountains, draped by an unseen hand, drifting down to cover the valley below, putting a stillness in the air, a veil of mystery no human heart can yet decipher. Wait and see. Peace will come once more, dancing over the tops of white-tipped waves, rushing like salt spray to tell the good news to every creature waiting, bending the stubborn wetland grass to touch the Earth, as sharp a breeze as can ever fill any sail. Wait and see. Love will be here to stay, coming over the freshly harvested fields like the shadow of a cloud in an October light, moving forward to embrace every longing heart, wrapping us in swirls of colored leaves, the season of rest already upon us, as the promise of our dearest hope is finally fulfilled. Wait and see.”

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images:  via tumblr, Michael S. Lambiotte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ Sharing Smiles

“Just one smile immensely increases the beauty of the universe.” ~ Sri Chinmoy

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Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds you well and under blue skies.  Today, I thought I would share a few smiles.  Smiling is good for all of us, especially during difficult days.  So, make yourself comfy and enjoy some of the things that made me smile.  I hope they will make you smile too.

On a side note, if you had all these Lab puppies, you would never stop smiling.  They arrive in the world happy.

“It’s hard not to feel happy when you make someone smile.” ~Roy T. Bennett

I love to read signs, they always seem to give me a big smile or a laugh.  And, they usually contain a certain amount of truth or a solid message.

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I don’t know about you, but when I receive a ‘real’ note or a letter from someone I adore, it truly is ‘love delivered.’

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” ~ Mother Teresa

The animal world never ceases to provide smiles.  Our treasured pets as well as the dear creatures who reside in nature have much to offer.

This guy is about to sneeze or he is having a bad day.  Either way, I smiled.

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Now, I have been owned by many dear kitties and none of them would have been happy with this hat.

I have felt this way many times in my life.  Wonder what has upset him or her?

oldfarmhouse: “[🌄sunday rituals ”

Our home in Virginia had a four hundred foot driveway.  I can promise you we smiled when our Labrador retriever brought us the paper.  It was one of her favorite things to do.

Such decisions!

Caught!

Who wants to go for a boat ride?

eyeheartfarms: “Flower hungry ”

Ah, it is Buggs.  I will write about him later.  This photo is exactly what he looks like, but he has a taste for delphiniums, not roses.

“A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.” ~ Denis Waitley

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Is there anyone who doesn’t smile when the opportunity presents itself to enjoy a country drive on an autumn day?  And finding a roadside stand is a bonus.

Or, a shop with an interesting name.  Should one venture inside or remain outside?

Beautiful France….

And to find the perfect spot to soak in nature’s glory. What a day.

“Smile more. Smiling can make you and others happy.” ~ Roy Bennett

 

everythingfox: “Kekekeke *fox laugh* Photo by Louise Beech ”

Dear friends, thanks so much for your visit.  I hope you have found a smile or two.

I wish you and yours a magnificent autumn day.

And…

May your week ahead be full of smiles!

 

 

“Let us meet each other with a smile, a smile is the beauty of the soul.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

 

Amour, 

Sandra

 

Images:  via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ Magnificent October

“Autumn lights one more fire in the maples.” ~ Julia Alvarez

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Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  I do hope this finds you well and enjoying the beginning of this glorious month.  The cooler days, crisper air, and not to mention the beauty, are such glorious gifts.  Yes, glorious gifts, especially during chaotic times such as we once again witnessed this past week.  Truly, it is as Joseph Campbell says, “Awe is what moves us forward.”   

That said, please know I thank you, more than you can imagine, for your visit.  And, I do hope you will find a few things today that will give you an “Awe” moment.

“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 heavy 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.” ~ Lucy Maud Montgomery

“My favorite color is October.” ~ Author unknown

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“Ah! the spring days, the summer dawns, and October woods!” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“October had tremendous possibility… the golden leaves promised a world full of beautiful adventures.  They made me believe in miracles.” ~ Sarah Guillory

 

This beautiful Ginkgo tree, with its branches hanging over the water, is my favorite specie of tree.  Not only because it is a gorgeous tree, especially in autumn, but because it is a hardy tree with quite a story.  “The tree is native to China and has been grown for thousands of years. Because it’s the only surviving member of an ancient order of plants, it’s sometimes referred to as a living fossil and is the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta, all others being extinct. It is found in fossils dating back 270 million years.”  Truly, an extraordinary tree, with a survival history that is a ‘miracle.’

“A tangerine and russet cascade of kaleidoscopic leaves, creates a tapestry of autumn magic…” ~ Judith A. Lindberg

“In October any wonderful unexpected thing might be possible.” ~ Elizabeth George Speare

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Early walks abound with sweet surprises.  It is a treat to spot a red squirrel busy preparing for winter days.   In West Virginia, they are usually found only in our heavily forested areas.  However, gray squirrels are found in towns and the countryside, usually robbing bird feeders.

And to come upon deer, who wish I would have taken a different route.  Their look says, “You are not welcome.”   So, I promise them I won’t stay long.

“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” ~ Robert H. Schuller

And returning home I find an anonymous gift (the best kind) from a sweet soul,  a basket of apples to be enjoyed.  A lovely unexpected blessing.

” Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

 

Dear friends, I pray October will be good for all of us.  It is such a magnificent month, full of marvelous weather and a feast of beauty at every turn.  So, please be sure to “take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” 

Know I wish you and yours a beautiful day.

And…

May October bring you many sweet surprises.  Stay well!

“October breathed poetry ~ beautiful and glowing.” ~ Terri Guillemets

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images:  via tumblr
Information about the Ginkgo tree from Wikipedia