Sunday Thoughts, January 20, 2019

“Never  lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful,  for beauty is God’s handwriting.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Wishing you and yours a most beautiful day.

And…

“May you have heaven in your heart, starlight in your soul, and angels all around you.” ~ Unknown

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Image: viatumblr

 

 

The Gardener

“He who plants a garden plants happiness.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Good morning, dear friends.  I am so happy you stopped by.  Today, I would like to share some of what I know to be true about gardeners.  And, some of what others have to say about them as well.  You will definitely need your coffee or tea for this one, but I feel if you are a gardener, you will enjoy and even laugh a little.  If you are not a gardener well . . . perhaps you will find inspiration to join us.  I promise you, a warm welcome.

Don’t you love her dress?  I just know my dear friend, Janet, will be so anxious to do her in needlepoint.

“Anyone can be a gardener. It’s simply a matter of choice.  On the day you find yourself  fretting about the first frost ~ or ruminating about rhododendron color, the day you say to yourself, ‘I’m a gardener’ ~ you are one.” ~ Dianne Benson, Dirt

Gardeners are a happy lot. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, ages, and you will find  them absolutely everywhere in the world.  They all obsess over different plants and garden styles, but they share a love of the earth, beauty, nature, and are kind to their fellow man.  They make the world a better place by the beauty they create.  They are generous, creative, talented and patient.  If patience was not part of their nature when they began gardening, the garden taught them to be so.  Or,  perhaps it was when their black Labrador puppy picked up a treasured Camellia, about to go into the ground, and shook it until there was not a speck of soil left on the roots ~ patience was learned. 

According to Tovah Martin ~ “Gardening is about gardeners.  It’s about the camaraderie of friends in the trenches.  As I see it, gardening is a conspiracy, and seeds are our secret handshake.”  Such a lovely ‘handshake’ from my friend in France, when she sent me seeds of my now treasured French rose poppy.  She sent me more than poppy seeds, she sent a piece of her garden.  

In my garden I spend my days; In my library I spend my nights. ~ Alexander Smith
Gardeners are avid readers and devour books.  They haunt bookstores, especially used bookstores, always in search of some fabulous garden information.  Gardeners know vintage garden books are true treasures.  Because, many were written by ‘real’ gardeners, the ones with dirt under their fingernails and calloused hands.
“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.” ~ Alfred Austin
While I would not refer to gardeners as hoarders, many are collectors.  You see, many or most of us have one or a few plants, which upon sight sends our hearts completely out of rhythm.  It is that simple.  And, as many of you know for me, that plant is a peony.  At one point I believe I may have been well on my way to becoming a hoarder of peonies (leaving over 200 in our VA garden).  However, a smaller garden solved that issue.  I now have a manageable collection of about 64.  Below are a few favorites.

Image may contain: plant, flower, tree, outdoor and nature   Paeonia, Chiffon Clouds ~ The form is single.  

Image may contain: flower, plant and nature Paeonia, Gardenia ~ The form is full double.

Image may contain: plant, flower and nature Paeonia, Abalone Pearl ~ The form is semi-double.

Image may contain: plant, flower, outdoor, food and naturePaeonia, Red Charm ~ The form is bomb.

“There are many tired gardeners, but I’ve seldom met old gardeners.  I know many elderly gardeners but the majority are young at heart.  Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized.  The one absolute of gardeners is faith.” ~ Allan Armitage

The inside of gardeners homes can be quite interesting.  On any given day in the spring, one is likely to find the kitchen sink full of blooms, waiting for the vase.  Or vases filled waiting to be scattered about the house.  Gardeners love blooms everywhere.  And their generous spirit requires them to take these lovely blooms to their workplace, friends, neighbors, and to anyone they think may enjoy them.  Some have even been known to set them on doorsteps of people they don’t know.  Simply stated, “Gardeners enjoy enriching the lives of others and sharing their passion.”  And, they don’t believe in any such nonsense as a “Black Thumb.” 

Image may contain: plant, food and indoor

 

Image may contain: flower, plant, table and indoor

In the winter, at the gardener’s comfy chair,  one may find garden journals, crammed with notes made on the back of anything, which the gardener did not have time, during the garden season, to enter into his/her journal.  Important information that must  go into their journal.

 

No photo description available.

As it is difficult for gardeners to be without blooms, during the winter months it is quite common to find in their homes, various and assorted bulbs about to bloom or blooming ~ a winter tonic of sorts.

 

“In all places, then, and in all seasons, flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, teaching us, by most persuasive reasons, how akin they are to human things.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Many, if not most, gardeners tend to be creative folks.  Therefore, many dabble in floral design.  They may study at the hands of local designers, take classes, or join garden clubs in order to polish their skills.  Some of their designs may find themselves on the show bench, like the following one of mine.   A traditional design I created several years ago for a Flower Show School held in our area.  All the plant material was from our garden.  

 

This beauty (not my creation) should have been in a flower show named, ‘Spring Abundance or The Enchantment of Spring’ ~ something exquisite.

patriciaberl: “Lush pink, creme, and green parrot tulips create an elegant arrangement in a classic french vase. April 2014. ”

Isn’t this design proof of a gardeners creativity?  They will use the most unlikely vessel and the result is a fabulous creation.

Image may contain: shoes, flower, boots and plant

“At bird peep, as the country folk have a charming way of calling the break of day, I am in my dear garden, planting and transplanting…” ~ Celia Thaxter
Yes, one will find gardeners in their gardens at the ‘break of day.’  Working away, talking to plants, or possibly training something gorgeous to climb a trellis. 

Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor

Or securing climbing roses to an arbor.  Gardeners don’t seem to be content with neat and tidy plants.  They are smitten with plants which have thorns, are stubborn, like to spread beyond their space and require training.  Oh, but these plants have such personality and beauty.

Image may contain: plant, flower, tree, sky, bridge, outdoor and nature

Gardeners also enjoy early mornings as this is a time to be with their friends.  They have been quite thoughtful of these friends, by planting certain plants solely for their enjoyment or boxes for their nesting.

debunkshy: “Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Snake Creek Fen, WI, 9-3-17 ”

 

“A garden is a reflection of its owner, a thing of beauty that changes over time, a window to the creativity within.” ~ Lee Miller

There are as many different gardens as there are gardeners.  Some will lean toward a formal garden.

Walled rose garden, Pashley Manor. Photo by Alan Buckingham on flickr

While others enjoy a more cottage style garden.  Personally, I enjoy coming upon things in a garden.  I like it to surprise me and not reveal itself immediately.  This certainly occurs in our garden as there is something which makes me smile at every turn.  Plants from my dear mom and friends I love.  And plants that offer a quiet surprise, while others shout, “see me ~ see me.”  As well as, objects and statuary with treasured memories.

Image may contain: plant and outdoor

Image may contain: plant, flower, tree, outdoor and nature

Gardeners also seem to have a good sense of humor and are certainly not beyond a little intimidation when it comes to their plants.  They want their intentions clearly understood.

Image may contain: plant, flower, outdoor and nature

“A land of fragrance, quietness, and trees, and flowers.” ~ John Keats

fineartamerica.com

In closing, I hope you have enjoyed your visit this morning.  There are many reasons gardeners garden. However, I believe every gardener will agree with the words of Mr. Keats (above).  Gardeners know the garden is a respite from a world that is often unkind and can make one weary.  Therefore, if by chance,  you have a friend who is a gardener and you can’t reach him/her at 7:30 a.m. because he/she is in the garden, well. . . all I can say is ~ “Give up or Join In.”  If you decide to join, you will be happy you did.  And, while winter is here, visit the garden section of a bookstore or your local library, become inspired.  And when spring arrives, be ready to have your hands in the dirt.

 

“All gardeners live in beautiful places because they make them so.” ~ Unknown

 

THE END

Wishing you a wonderful week!

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

 

Images:  via tumblr, Michael Lambiotte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ January 13, 2019

“My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, and a preacher but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.” ~ Brenda Schoepp, Farmer

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  My thoughts today are about being ever so grateful for the hard work of the men, women, and families across our land who enable us to have food on our tables.  For most of us, we simply make grocery lists and visit our markets.  It is so easy to forget what we place in our carts did not come from the store.

oldfarmhouse: “Perfect picture.
Is there such a thing? If so, this certainly would be it:🔆 ”

And, have you ever wondered . . .“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide.” ~ Wendell Berry 

whatiadoreonly: “https://www.instagram.com/foodies ”

So, as you enjoy your Sunday lunch or dinner, say an extra thank you for the wonderful and special souls who worked the farms and made your meal possible.  I know, I will.

“He who doesn’t regard agriculture will truly value it when food becomes scarce!” ~ Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

 

 

Wishing you and yours a beautiful day and week ahead.

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Images: via Tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts~January 6, 2019

Good morning, dear friends.  Thank you so much for visiting and may these ‘Sunday Thoughts’ touch your heart.  

 

The Work of Christmas

Written by, Howard Thurman in 1985

 

“When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.”

 

These profound words were also set to music, by Dan Forrest in 2014.  To listen, visit here.

 

 

Wishing you and yours a beautiful day.

And… 

May you have heaven in your heart, starlight in your soul, and angels all around you.” ~ Unknown

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

Notes:  The “Work of Christmas” is sung by the Capital University A Cappella Choir ~ Columbus, Ohio.

Image, via Tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beauty of Winter

“Voluptuous stillness everywhere. Winter strikes my heart.” ~ Virginia Woolf

Good morning, my friends.  I hope you will enjoy your visit today.  Find your coffee or tea and make yourself comfy while I share a few thoughts on ‘The Beauty of Winter.’

I have always thoroughly enjoyed the winter season.  Actually, it never seems quite long enough for me.  Too many books to read, garden catalogs to study, new recipes to try, and not to mention things which require attention in our home.  Please don’t throw stones at me, but I even love winter weather. To me, there is such beauty and peace in the snow and frost covered bare trees and landscape.  

Frozen beads of ice look like diamonds scattered about.   This is especially gorgeous on a sunny morning before the sun melts the diamonds.

“There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow.  It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of  twig, is clad with radiance.” ~ William Sharp

“Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.” ~ Louie Schwartzberg

In the winter, to me, the birds appear brighter in color.  Perhaps that is because they don’t compete with the leaves on the trees or the multitude of bloom colors.  In reality, it is probably because I notice them more.  Time is a wonderful gift of winter.

 

seasonalwonderment: “ Winter Birds ”

 “Oh, what will I do, what will I say, when those white wings touch the shore?” ~ Mary Oliver, “The Swan”

Image may contain: bird, sky, outdoor, water and nature

“Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.” ~ John Boswell

Image may contain: people sitting, table and indoor

Lingering over a meal is a luxury, especially with the soft glow of candlelight providing such grand ambiance.  A simple bowl of delicious soup (recipe at the end of this post), is ever so lovely when enjoyed by candlelight.  I often think, perhaps in our attempt to obtain quicker and better, we may be missing the beauty of a calmer, gentler and sweeter life.  

Creamy Mushroom Soup and Parmesan Bread Twists

In winter we lead a more inward life.  Our hearts are warm and cheery, like cottages under drifts whose windows and doors are half concealed, but from whose chimneys the smoke cheerfully ascends.” ~  H. D. Thoreau

It is a lovely thing to pull a chair to the fire, sip a glass of wine and have a delightful conversation with a loved one or friend.

Or curl up in a comfy chair with a good lamp and a wonderful book.  And speaking of books, the following are beside my chair, waiting for me.  I will let you know my thoughts about them.  In the meantime, are you reading something wonderful you would like to share?

“The reward upon finishing a great book is wisdom.” ~ Unknown

The Navy SEAL's Promise - Soraya Lane

In closing, all living beings and things need rest in order to bloom.  I hope you will enjoy these winter days, they will pass all too quickly.  Let’s not rush them. 

 

And…

“I pray this winter be gentle and kind ~ a season of rest from the wheel of the mind… ~ John Geddes

Wishing you beautiful and serene winter days.

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Images: ~ (Via Tumblr) Unless otherwise stated, I do not claim ownership of these photos. These photos are the work of tremendously talented people and I simply compiled them for your enjoyment.

 

 

Cream of Mushroom soup

1/4 cup butter

2 Tbls. olive oil

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

3  (8 oz.) packages sliced baby portobello mushrooms

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

6 cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 Tbls. dry sherry ~ this is optional, but I think it is wonderful in the soup.

In a Dutch Oven, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted.  Add onion and celery, cook for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme, cook for 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms, cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add flour, salt, and pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Gradually add chicken broth, whisking until smooth.  Bring to a simmer, cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add cream; return to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Stir in sherry.  Serve with a salad and bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Year’s Wish

 

“How wonderful it must be to speak the language of the angels, with no words for hate and a million words for love!” ~ Eileen Elias Freeman

 

Dear friends, as we begin this new year my wish is that each of may: “Walk a gentler road, live in peace, stand in awe of beauty,  and ‘speak the language of the angels.’ Small stones create a ripple”

 

Bonne année,

Sandra

 

Image:  via Tumblr

Sunday Thoughts ~ December 30, 2018

Good morning, dear friends.  I do hope you and your families had a most beautiful Christmas, and hopefully this finds you enjoying a little restful and quiet time. 

The closing of the year always nudges me toward taking time to reflect.  Reflection as to what I can change, in order to live a simpler and sweeter life in the new year.  With our current year about to end, I thought perhaps you may find the following words of an unknown author, as insightful as I did. 

“If, as Herod, we fill our lives with things, and again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert as did the Magi?  Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds?  Or brood over the coming of the child as did Mary?  For each one of us, there is a desert to travel.  A star to discover.  And a being within ourselves to bring to life.” ~ Author Unknown

 

Enjoy this final Sunday in December.  May it be a lovely and peaceful day for you and those you love.

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Notes:  Image via tumblr

The quote was found in the book, Simple Abundance.  This wonderful treasure was written by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  A book I highly recommend.

Recipes ~ New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day

“I want them to bite into a cookie, and think of me, and smile.  Food is love.”Jael McHenry, The Kitchen Daughter

Good morning, sweet friends.  I am sending you two delicious recipes this morning.  When I retrieved them from my recipe archive, I thought you might enjoy them also.  Both are super easy.

The first recipe is perfect for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.  It is a wonderful snack to have out for guests or family to enjoy.

Jezebel Sauce

 

Jezebel Sauce

1 (18 -ounce) jar pineapple preserves

1 (18-ounce) jar apricot preserves

1/2 cup orange marmalade

1 ( 5.25 ounce) jar prepared horseradish

1 Tbls. dry mustard

In a large bowl, combine preserves, marmalade, horseradish and dry mustard.  Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.   Serve over cream cheese, along with your choice of crackers. 

Note:  I have substituted peach preserves for the pineapple preserves and it is perfect.  I often have trouble locating pineapple preserves.

The second recipe is for New Year’s Day.  We all know the old tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s day to ensure good luck for the coming year.  This recipe is great as an accompaniment to almost any meat and can also be served with crackers as an appetizer.  The recipe is from my Mississippi cookbook.

Mississippi Caviar

1 can black-eyed peas, drained

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup salad oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

Tabasco sauce to taste

Mix all ingredients and marinate for at least 8 hours.  Serve with meat or as an appetizer with crackers.

Note:  I double the recipe.  It is always is a hit with men.

 

Enjoy the recipes.

Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

 

Photo: Pinterest

 

Christmas

 

“Long before silver bells jingled, Christmas lights twinkled, and horse-drawn sleighs went dashing through the snow, God reached down from heaven with the best gift of all. Love, wrapped in swaddling clothes. Hope, nestled in a manger.” ~ Liz Curtis Higgs, The Women of Christmas

Wishing you and yours a joyous and beautiful Christmas.

And,

may the day bring you wonderful memories which will be with you always.

Love,

Sandra

Image: viatumblr

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ December 23, 2018

Christmas

“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” ~  Alexander Smith

 

“Call to mind, in the course of the twenty-fifth of this month, that the Divinest Heart that ever walked the earth was born on that day; and then smile and enjoy yourselves for the rest of it; for mirth is also of Heaven’s making. ” ~ Leigh Hunt

 

 Enjoy this day, dear friends.

Love,

Sandra

 

 

Note:  Many thanks to my friend, Greta Crank for the quote from Leigh Hunt.

Photo: M.S. Lambiotte