‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ “Traditions”

” Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” ~ Gustav Mahler 


Dear Friends: My New Year message to you and your families…Sandra’s last New Year post. I hope you enjoy her mnessage and pass it to the ones you love.

And now…her own words and her own beautiful style…


Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  Happy New Year!  I hope you and your family had a beautiful Christmas and this new year is off to a good beginning.  

As we begin to close Christmas (oh, how I drag my feet) and welcome our new year, today finds me thinking of traditions and special memories.  I do believe they are strongly tied together with the ribbons of our hearts.  We all have traditions we enjoy and loved ones who are associated with them.   Such as the photo above of the teacups.  I can never look at a teacup without thinking of mom.  She loved pretty teacups. And she said, “A pretty teacup makes even bad tea lovely.”  She had something there, it does help.  I collect teacups and saucers ~ but only the pretty ones (just for mom).  

“We are missing an enormous opportunity if we deny ourselves a wholesome, mature reliance on those who have evolved to what we aspire to become. As Sir Isaac Newton urged, we can evolve best by standing on the shoulders of giants, getting closer to truth by building on the discoveries of those luminaries who came before us.” ~ Miles Neale

Exquisite handwork is something I adore, even if it is not made by someone dear to me.  I feel as though I am the caretaker of someone’s lovely work.  Their skills and their creative spirit are qualities to be treasured and I do.  I have gained a greater appreciation of beauty through my discoveries of such remarkable gems.  And as a member of the senior generation, to me, it is important for the younger folks to understand the work and the time that has gone into creating endeavors of the heart.  Understand, I don’t mean they have to love and collect vintage pieces, but it is important for them to have an appreciation of such.

Appreciation of the hours upon hours of work makes one pause in awe, even for a moment, to simply realize they are looking at something more than words.

The best moments in reading are when you come across something ~ a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things ~ which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.” ~ Alan Bennett

Reading is a gift that I give myself as often as possible.  I am from a mother and grandmother who both read everything imaginable.  They were both quite political and read newspapers front to back.   I think this resulted from both of them living through dreadful wars and trying social times. While I think what they enjoyed is important and I have an appreciation for their feelings, I have other reading interests.  As it should be.  I value their love of reading and what they instilled in me but, “I feel as other hands have reached out and taken mine.”

” Food history is as important as a baroque church. Governments should recognize cultural heritage and protect traditional foods. A cheese is as worthy of preserving as a sixteenth-century building.” ~ Carlo Petrini


Recently, I read something about a woman who was pursuing her Ph.D. in Food Studies.  Don’t ask me where I read it or who it was about all I remember is it was quite interesting.  The article spoke to how food correlates with our traditions.   And how important it is to preserve these traditions.  Food definitely evokes special memories.  

The other day, I was chatting with my dear friend, Janet.  Her daughter had asked her about one of her mom’s recipes.  Janet didn’t have the particular recipe, she felt one of her sisters had it.  Anyway, the conversation did lead my friend to ponder a few things.  She told me she was thinking of preparing a little cookbook of her favorite recipes and giving a copy to each of her children.  “Outstanding,” I said.  Too often, treasures are lost, part of our heritage as well as our traditions.  Apple Brandy Canelés - Imbibe Magazine

In the Bordeaux area of France,  around 1985 a group of 88 patissiers came together to protect and write in stone the standard of the recipe for Canelé’s and to make them the property of Bordeaux.  The chefs took an oath to uphold this standard and to always use the secret recipe, which they knew was kept in a vault to pass to future generations.  They felt it was so important to protect and maintain their standards in a world full of food trends, and desperation to create something “new and different,” regardless of integrity or flavor.   I do believe the folks in Bordeaux would certainly agree with the words of Carlo Petrini.


I have had the experience of things slipping away.  When I was growing up a lovely Italian woman lived across the street and she was a marvelous cook.  One of the things she made every summer was stuffed zucchini blossoms.  She would always come to our home with a plate full of these delicacies.  What a treat.  I have several of her recipes but missed this one.  I think of her and her divine creations quite often in the summer.



“Like Christmas trees and Easter egg hunts and the block party on the last day of summer, we do things because traditions feel cozy and safe.” ~ Corey Ann Haydu


Who wouldn’t remember being in the woods with someone who loved you, gathering greens and or a tree?  And using a sled that was most likely your grandparents.  Certainly a tradition worthy of preservation.



Baking treats for neighbors and your local shelter is worthy as well.  Not just at Christmas, but all throughout the year.  Efforts of kindness are always appreciated.


“Things of quality have no fear of time.” ~ unknown

Our old home, built in 1939 has “no fear of time.”  She shelters us and comforts us and we are grateful to take care of her.  And our prayer is to someday place her in worthy hands.

mymodernhouse: “From Home Decor Obsession ”

I can hear the stories ~ can you?


And, these frames are such a work of art.  It would be wonderful to know what they have held throughout the years.  

“The past informs the present.” ~Fennel Hudson



Dear friends, thank you for your visit.  Know I wish you and yours a most beautiful January Sunday.

And as we begin this new year . . .

May we all maintain respect and love for traditions that no longer serve us and “preserve with fire” those that do.

Stay well!


“Every plant, tree, and animal is a blessing and every person has a purpose for living. Courage, curiosity, and generosity produce noble spirits. Enduring life honorably results in wisdom. Knowledge passed down from one generation to the next along with humankind’s tradition of performing charitable and self-sacrificing deeds creates principled legacies for future generations to emulate.” ~ Kilroy J. Oldster 







Images:  Tumblr, M.S. Lambiotte





































At Table – A Promised Recipe and A Few More!

“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” ~ Ernestine Ulmer

Good morning, sweet friends.  As promised, here are a few recipes.  I especially wanted you to have the Gingerbread Madeleines before Christmas.  If you have madeleine pans and a wee bit of time left in this busy week, I do suggest you give them a try.  They are simply delightful and make a pretty gift for neighbors or friends.

Gingerbread Madeleines


  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice ~I changed to cinnamon and use more like 1/2 tsp.
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled (plus more for pan)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (plus more for pan)
  • powdered sugar to dust the madeleines with

Note:  I changed the pumpkin pie spice to cinnamon the second time I made these.  We liked it much better than the pumpkin pie spice, however, I wanted to send the original recipe.   The recipe is from Mon Petit Four ~ see link at the end of the instructions.


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush some softened butter onto a 12-mold madeleine pan, then sprinkle flour into the molds. Tap out the excess flour.
  2. With a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the sugar, salt, and eggs together until pale yellow – about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, molasses, and spices. Mix to combine. Scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl, then mix again to combine.
  3. Pour in 1/3 of the melted butter and mix at low speed. Add in half the flour; continue to mix at low speed. Add another third of the melted butter – mix –  add the remaining flour – mix – and finally the last bit of butter, giving one final mix to blend everything together.
  4. Use a tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out 3 scant tablespoons of batter into each madeleine mold. Bake the madeleines for 9 to 10 minutes, until they spring back when gently touched on their tops.

Use a knife to gently wedge the madeleines out of the pan and onto a wire cooling rack. Let them cool completely before dusting them with powdered sugar.  I have never needed to use a knife ~ just be sure to grease and flour your pans.

Note:  This is the link to Mon Petit Four. https://www.monpetitfour.com/                                                                       

“Anyone who’s a chef, who loves food, ultimately knows that all that matters is: ‘Is it good? Does it give pleasure?” ~Anthony Bourdain



Once upon a time, when Mike and I did a lot of entertaining,  I enjoyed preparing a pretty punch bowl.  Place it on the dining room table with a fresh wreath around the bottom and you have something lovely, especially when it is filled with some fabulous goodness.  So, here is my recipe for Iced Mocha Cappuccino, it is quite nice for the holidays.  It is a non-alcoholic punch.  However, for those who may be interested, it is nice with a bit of Bailey’s Irish Cream or Kaluha added.

Iced Mocha Cappuccino

1/2 Gallon of Rocky Road Ice Cream

1/2 Gallon of Coffee Ice Cream

1 Gallon of Whole Milk

1 cup sugar

6 cups of strong coffee – see note below

Whipped cream with a sprinkle of nutmeg to garnish

Strong Coffee – use one cup of grounds for 3 cups of water.  Brew coffee and while coffee is still hot, add one cup of sugar.  Refrigerate overnight.

Spoon ice cream into the punch bowl.  Add coffee and milk, stirring to mix.  Top with whipped cream and nutmeg.


Gooey and Cheesy Warm Bacon Dip


Gooey and Cheesy Warm Bacon Dip


6 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 cups sour cream

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

4-6 slices bacon, cooked, well-drained and crumbled

1/2 cup chopped green onions ~ white and green parts.  Plus, a little extra to sprinkle on the top.

Preheat oven to 400.  Combine softened cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions.  Spoon mixture into a 1-quart baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and hot.  Serve with crackers, veggies, or toasted baguette slices (my favorite).  


Corn Dip Recipe


Corn Dip Recipe

  • 3 cans Mexicorn- drained
  • 2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 small can of green chiles- drained
  • 2/3 Cup  green onion- chopped
  • 3/4 Cup mayonnaise
  • 1 8 oz. container sour cream
  • 1 package dry ranch dressing mix

 Cajun Seasoning- to taste – I start with a tsp.

  1. Combine sour cream, mayo, and ranch dressing mix. Add Cajun seasoning (the more you add, the spicier the dip)
  2. Add corn, chiles, onion, and cheese to the sour cream mixture
  3. Stir to combine
  4. Cover and chill for at least two hours- overnight is preferred (the longer you chill, the better the flavor)
  5. Serve with tortilla chips


Sweet friends, may you enjoy these next few days.  Enjoy your families and friends and most of all each other.  Make wonderful memories to treasure and I hope these humble recipes will add to your joy and festivities.  

And remember. . .


“Faith is salted and peppered through everything at Christmas. And I love at least one night by the Christmas tree to sing and feel the quiet holiness of that time that’s set apart to celebrate love, friendship, and God’s gift of the Christ child.” ~ Amy Grant


Joyeux Noel,




Images:  Pinterest

















“Sunday Thoughts” ~ The Bells of Christmas

“The Christmas spirit whispers softly in my ear to be of good cheer.” ~ Richelle E. Goodrich


Good Sunday morning, dear friends.   As I write this, Christmas is one week away.  Where have the days gone?  We are ready for Christmas to arrive in all her magic and glory.  I hope you are too and that this finds you in “good cheer.”

This post will be short as I plan to see you again either Monday or Tuesday.  You may or may not remember, but I promised you a recipe before Christmas and I want to send it so you may have time to prepare it if you desire.  That said, I am sharing a favorite poem which later became a Christmas carol.  It was written on Christmas day, 1863, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  The ringing of church bells, off in a distance, was Longfellow’s inspiration for the poem.  The poem was set to music in 1872.

Christmas Bells ~ By, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
    And wild and sweet
    The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
    Had rolled along
    The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
    A voice, a chime,
    A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
    And with the sound
    The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
    And made forlorn
    The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
    “For hate is strong,
    And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
    The Wrong shall fail,
    The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”


Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.  Know how much I appreciate you and your kind comments.  I have many Christmas wishes for you, but mostly. . .

“I wish the wonderful feelings of Christmas will stay with you long after the gifts are unwrapped, the tree is taken down, and the ornaments are safely stored away.  May the once-a-year joy of Christmas return to you in memories throughout the year, each time tugging at your heart strings. . .each time bringing you joy.” ~ Stay Well!


Joyeux Noel,





The ending quote is from a Christmas card I received too many years ago.

Images:  Tumblr


Lessons From The Garden!

"Flowers respond to something in the gardener's face ~ Some secret in the heart, some special grace." ~ E. B. White, "To my American Gardener, with Love"

American Beauty Dahlia ~ American Beauty

Good morning, sweet friends.  I hope this finds you enjoying these autumn days.  We have had lovely weather, although we are in desperate need of rain.  The past few autumn seasons have been dry, resulting in less than our normal magnificent fall foliage.   Our trees are golden, but the vibrant red and orange still have not arrived.  Anyway, I will not bore you with our weather details.

As the autumn season is now with us and it is once again time to put the garden to bed, I want to share a piece from a book that I treasure.   The title of the book is, A Garden's Grace (see note at the end of the post) and it was written by Nancy Hutchens, published in 1997.  As a child, Ms. Hutchens spent many days with her grandmother, Mamaw Tribby.  Mamaw Tribby lived on a farm in the mid-west and was quite a gardener.  Together, they enjoyed gathering fruits and vegetables, pulling weeds, planting flowers and trees, doing things gardeners do. 

Yes, Mamaw Tribby taught her granddaughter valuable gardening lessons.  And, little did I know that when I picked up this treasured book, Hutchens and Mamaw Tribby would teach me as well.

Last night, there came a frost, which has done great damage to my garden. . . It is sad that Nature will play such tricks with us poor mortals, inviting us with sunny smiles to confide in her, and then, when we are entirely within her power, striking us to the heart. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

The following are the words of Nancy Hutchens ~ When I was a girl it was my job to rake leaves in the fall, just about the time school started, bringing with it activities much more interesting than leaf raking.  I postponed the chore time and again ~ until it was too late.  Big, dry flashes of snow started falling early in November one year and didn't stop until over a foot had accumulated.  This severe weather continued every weekend throughout the autumn.  All winter I looked out on a yard encrusted with caked and soggy leaves caused by my procrastination.

Mamaw Tribby said this experience should teach me one of the most important lessons a gardener can learn ~ nature waits for no one.  We think we can control her, but all we can do is follow her lead.   As we puttered in her flower beds, she'd say, "People are in awe of nature when they first start gardening and follow all the rules.  The trouble starts when they get cocky and think they can do things at their own convenience."

I hope you have enjoyed a bit of wisdom from A Garden's Grace.  Perhaps you have received a gentle nudge to make sure your garden is tucked in for her winter's nap, a nudge not to let your 'leaves get soggy.' And a nudge not forget to gather lovely little things to use in preparing your gifts from the heart (the holidays are approaching).  In thinking of 'gifts from the heart,' I find Mamaw Tribby's words so touching and I hope you will too. "Gifts tied with silver ribbon, son are prized the whole world over.  But, through the years, I remember the scent of fragrant, crumbled clover."


"Did I take time out to laugh, to love, to think, to see, to pray"  These are the thoughts that cross my mind at the closing of the day." ~ Mamaw Tribby





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

And. . .

May the week ahead bring you joy.  Stay well!







Note:  Should you be so fortunate to find a copy of "A Garden's Grace,"  by all means, grab the book.  Especially if you are interested in gardening.  It is not only a delightful read, it is full of worthy seasonal gardening information.

Images:  Via Tumblr, Pinterest, and Swan Island Dahlias




‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ Life at “Maison de Jardin” ~ The Garden House

From Michael: One year ago today, Sandra published this article. Please join us for another stroll through a world of beauty and hope. Sandra’s spirit and hands are everywhere. Be very quiet, very quiet, and you can feel the beauty. 

Everything blooming in this post is even more vibrant today.  Her spirit lives on….with “Life at Maison de Jardin.”


sumbluespruce: “A pair of baby Bluebirds ”

 “What Gorgeous Thing” ~ Mary Oliver

“I do not know what gorgeous thing
the bluebird keeps saying,
his voice easing out of his throat,
beak, body into the pink air
of the early morning. I like it
whatever it is. Sometimes
it seems the only thing in the world
that is without dark thoughts.
Sometimes it seems the only thing
in the world that is without
questions that can’t and probably
never will be answered, the
only thing that is entirely content
with the pink, then clear white
morning and, gratefully, says so.”


Good morning, dear friends.  I do hope this finds all of you well and enjoying your favorite summertime activities.  To me, summer seems to arrive and then in a blink,  it is gone. There is the garden and her variety of weeds.  To bad the State Fair does not have a classification to enter ones collection.  Mine would be a blue ribbon winner for certain.  However, I will share the pretty blooms ~ not the weeds. 

Annabelle Hydrangeas, planted around 2007.

One of my favorite plants, Oak and leather Leaf Hydrangea.   She is just beginning her change in color of the bloom.  She will turn a deep pink and by fall her leaves will be a dark burgandy.  Beautiful in a floral arrangement.


“When weeds go to heaven, I suppose they will be flowers.” ~ L.M. Montgomery

Speaking of weeds and the State Fair.  Does anyone see this lovely tree growing and thriving?  I know Mike didn’t when he took the photo.  Now, if I was quite careful to dig with caution.  I could pot this beauty and in a very few years, someone who had the room would have a nice shade tree.  Tulip poplars grow rapidly, have big leaves, and make a wonderful shade tree.  However, they do not like storms and will fall quickly.

Hydrangea, Bue Danube.  She is in an urn and has thrived for several years.  Mike moves her to the garage in the winter.

The daylilies have just begun their show.  This one is Purple Badger.  I did not care for the name of such a lovely plant.  Therefore, her new name is Purple Passion.  She is like a lady in a pretty purple rufflled dress.



“Not all love stories start with Roses. Some starts with petunias too.” ~ Satabdi Panda


Be sure to look closely at these petunias.  I love them so much I order them every year so as not to take the chance of not finding them at a garden center.  Their name is Almost Picasso.  They have a chartreuse green edge.

“Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.”  ~ Malorie Blackman

I’ve been doing a little reading on the days it has been ninety-plus degrees.  Reading is a pure joy to me and the book above was wonderful.  All I will tell you, “it is based on a true story and the young woman in the story becomes friends with Eleanor Roosevelt.”

“I will look for evidence of what I do still, deep down, believe nature is singing a song, the trees are clapping their hands, and we are called to join them.  With God’s help, we can pick up the pieces of an old and dying world, and we can make them new.  We can make a place where beauty and peace can take root, flourish, and grow.” ~ Christie Purifoy

Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace


This was my introduction to the writing of Christie Purifoy.  Brenda Leyland who writes the beautiful blog, “It’s a Beautiful Life” is the sweet soul who introduced us. https://beautiful.wordfromhome.com/    Purifoy is a lovely writer.  I found myself saying, “Yes” over and over.  And I thought surely this woman knows me.  If you love beauty and have visions of such in a different world.  This book is for you.

Good News ~  my copy of  “My French Country Home Magazine”  arrived today.  If you are a bit of a Francophile this magazine is for you.  It is a little pricey.  However, each and every issue is a treasure to behold.  It can be ordered online or purchased in the US at Barnes and Noble.

May be an image of furniture and text that says 'magazine N°22 JULY AUG MY 2022 FREI FRENCH COUNTRYHOME THENTIC FRENCHLIVING FRENCH A Taste of Provence Five Traditional Recipes Château Kitchen Garden Summer Bliss in/Corsica France's "Île de Beauté" 90D Setting aMag Magical Minner'



“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller


May be an image of 2 people and people standing


Dear friends, In closing, I will leave with you a photo of a most special day, July 1, 1972.  On that day,  Mike and I said “I do.”  Yesterday we celebrated 50 years.  Hard to believe how quickly time has passed.  Truly, we have been blessed. 

Know, I wish you and yours a beautiful day and a Happy Fourth of July.  Love each other, stay safe and be well!



“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” ~Robert A. Heinlein



Images:  M. S. Lambiotte, Christie Purifoy ~ A spacious place., Facebook, Tumblr

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ A Garden Stroll

Dear friends and followers of Sandra’s journey toward making the world a little more beautiful. She so loved writing and trying to inspire people to not only look, but to see the beauty around and to  share it with others. Oh, the hours she spent on each post. looking for the right quote and photo.

When she wrote this post, her health was failing, but her spirit kept blooming. Less than a year later, she was gone. I guess God needed her more than I did.

Nevertheless, this story is about her special love for beauty. She takes you on a spring tour of her beloved gardens and sprinkles in some amazing quotes.

Walk with her …and not only look…but see the beauty in her gardens, but also the beauty in your own life.

 Sandra, “I love you more.”



“This magnetic pull toward beauty is an inclination most of us carry but too few of us acknowledge.  Even if we are aware of it, we seldom honor it as something planted in us for a purpose.” ~ Christie Purifoy

Iris ~ Cheryl’s Big Blue (Named for my dear friend who gave her to me.)

Good morning, dear friends.  As I write this (Saturday, 5-21) I am under blue skies, lovely warm temperatures, the window by my desk is open and the birds are singing, the peonies and lilacs are in bloom, and on a gentle breeze, the luscious fragrance of the garden drifts inside ~ all just for me.  Believe me when I say, “I am grateful for every sound, sight, and smell.”  This morning, I hope you will join me for a bit of a stroll in the garden.  You may want to find your coffee/tea before we go.

“I opened the large central window of my office room to its full on the fine early May morning. Then I stood for a few moments, breathing in the soft, warm air that was charged with the scent of white lilacs below.” ~ Angus Wilson


‘Madame Lemoine’, a French hybrid lilac.

“I cannot understand why my arm is not a lilac tree.” ~ Leonard Cohen

“Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands:  Perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths.  To creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.” ~ Neil Gaiman

It is Rhododendron time in these West Virginia Hills.  The rhododendron is our state flower and was a favorite of my mom’s.  Along the back of her garden, she had a stand of Canadian Hemlock Trees with native rhododendrons in front of them.  It was truly a magnificent sight.

This is a rather new beauty in our garden, which I believe was planted about three years ago.  This spring she has decided to ‘show off.’  Her name is ‘Bright Eyes.’

“May, and after a rainy spring We walk streets gallant with rhododendrons.” ~ Alicia Suskin Ostriker

“The immortality of Flowers must enrich our own. . .” ~ Emily Dickison, In a letter to Edward Tuckerman ~ Jan. 1874

This photo of the peony and delphinium made my heart sing.  The peony is ‘Faith Fenton.’  She is the most fragrant peony in the garden, plus she is a big girl.  Standing at least four feet tall.  The blooms on the delphinium are as tall as the peony.  I do believe it is because we have had a wet and cool spring. Plants have opened gradually and did not feel rushed.  No one likes to feel rushed.

An up-close photo of ‘Faith Fenton.’  She has a long vase life and does not drop her petals.


“And the wind upon its way whispered the boughs of May, And touched the nodding peony flowers to bid them waken. ~ Siegfried Sassoon

Most of our peonies are awake.  However, there are many still in the bud stage.   To avoid their feelings being hurt, I will share a few currently in bloom.  I have referred to peonies as “Queen of The Garden” for so long.  Honestly, I do not think they believe there are other flowers that compare to their beauty.  In all seriousness, in my mind, they are quite special. 

May be an image of flower and indoor In the vase are, clematis~’Josephine, peony~’Command Performance(red),  ‘She’s My Star'(pink), Iris~’Black Knight,’ and Baptisia.  

Peony, ‘Chiffon Clouds.’

Chiffon Clouds’ is fully open and in a vase by herself.  Do notice the darker pink speckles on her petals.  God gave her special attention.

Peony, ‘Red Grace’ and my grandmother’s white ‘Chestine Gowdy,’ and Baptisia.

An assortment of pink ladies.  The iris is ‘Beverly Sills.”  She shows more color toward the peach side, where actually she is pink.


“My heart spasmed among the peonies like a trout.” ~ E. Lockhart

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your garden stroll.  Spring truly is such a magical time of year.  One can leave the garden in the evening and in the morning all sorts of magic has occurred through the night.  The fairies are certainly busy little souls.  
Speaking of magic, I have been thinking of something to add to my post each week, but I am uncertain how to refer to them.  I have thought of several things, ‘Godwinks, Butterfly Kisses, An Angel’s Touch.  You get the idea.  They are special things that may have happened to me or my husband during the week.  In our crazy world, I believe it is important to note such things and share them.  I hope you will share yours as well.  
Also, many thanks to those of you who commented on my blog last week.  I now have my “readers” and am back to normal (whatever that may be).  I love reading your comments and missed being able to reply.
The week of May 15,  2022 ~ ‘Godwinks’
1) As you know I had cataract surgery recently.  Now, this is not major surgery, but our eyes are vital.  The surgery was done in a small hospital about 25 miles from our town.  Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital.  My impression of the small hospital was totally amazing, in such a positive way.  Every person we came in contact with seemed only to care about me.  Such was the case with my wonderful nurse.  My goodness, she was well trained, not leaving even a tiny mark where she inserted my IV.  When I was leaving the hospital she met me at the desk and gave me a big hug and told me it had been her pleasure to take care of me.  Oh, but it doesn’t end here.  A few days later, I received a hand-written note from her saying the same and wishing me well.  It was short, but the fact that she took the time was just overwhelming to me.  This beautiful nurse had to be extremely busy, but she thought I mattered.  What a thoughtful and caring act from truly a remarkable soul.  
2)  On another day, I had injections in both of my knees for arthritis.  Now, if you have never had these injections they are not pleasant.  Anyway, we were getting ready to eat dinner that evening and my sweet husband went to the garden and cut a vase full of brilliant yellow irises for our table.  They would make anyone feel better.  He also planted my zinnia seeds after he had been working in the garden all day.
3)  I had a special book dropped in my lap.  It was not recommended to me but it appeared on my screen when I was looking for the name of my lilac that I couldn’t remember.  The book is titled “Placemaker” and the author is Christie Purifoy.  This is my first read by this author, but I simply felt a nudge to order the book.
Know I wish you and yours a beautiful day.
May the week ahead bring you love, joy, and kind souls.  Be well!


“Sacred spaces need not be perfect, but they cease to be sacred if no one cares for them” ~ Christie Purifoy




Images:  Michael S. Lambiotte
















































Opening The Door To – Maison De Jardin

She Opened the Door

“To all who knew, loved, and followed Sandra’s inspirational posts over the years:  This was her very first blog! “Sunday Thoughts.” She was so excited. I remember her asking, “Do you really think I should do this? Do you think people will read my posts?” I found it as I was going through her years of writings.   It was dated, January 29, 2017.

And now…, please join me as we take the first step into “Where InspirationBlooms    whereinspirstionblooms.com” – Mike

In her own words…

Good Morning Everyone:

Thank you for visiting this morning!  If I appear a bit nervous, that is because I am.  This is my first post on my own website.  This is a WOW Moment for me!  Do take a moment to look around the site.  There is a brief note About me, my Welcome to the blog and a special Events section.  I will do my best to stay abreast of special happenings around our country and keep this section updated.  Also, there is a Contact section, should you want to contact me personally.  And, you will also see names of some wonderful books I have recently read, along with several lovely blogs I follow (click on the blog, to go directly to the site).

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.  Susan Branch tells us, “It’s a toxic world but you have the power to protect yourself.  Feed your life from the well of sweetness.”  Those are certainly some thought provoking words.

What is in this “well of sweetness?”  For each of us, the answer will be different.  For me, it is:  Beauty, my husband’s laugh and his crystal blue eyes, nature, the morning, the laughter of children, the voice of my dear friend Janet, good design, all flowers – especially peonies, great books, lovely poetry, gorgeous fabrics, good wine and food, all things French, the smell of rain and fresh cut grass, the feel of the earth in the spring, beautiful music, hearing from you,  and my list goes on and on.  How about you?  Write me – tell me.

Personally, I believe the love of beauty lies in each of us.  I believe it is truly in our hearts – even if we do not know or recognize it.  Often, a moment of grace opens our eyes to beauty.   Beauty is everywhere, in everything and in everyone.  It inspires us, moves us forward, enhances our homes and therefore makes life sweeter for ourselves and those we love.  It holds power.  And therefore, by being open to and aware of beauty, we can change our world.  Because, beauty and grace make us a kinder people.

So, won’t you join me on this journey.  Together, let’s create beauty, scatter joy, share ideas and inspire one another to be our very best selves.  Let’s strive to change our own little corners of the world.   And then dear friends, let us stand back and watch – The Ripple Effect of Beauty.  It will happen – I just know it will!

“Beauty hath strange power. “– John Milton

Live well – See you soon,


PS.  I hope you will take a moment to comment.  Tell me your thoughts, ideas you have, issues you feel are important and if there is anything specific you would like to see on this blog.  Just click on the comment section at the bottom of this page.  Also, on the right side you can subscribe to this blog – to ensure you won’t miss a post.









Photo: tea green chandelier.com/ just 4 me flower arrangements/ – Pinterest



‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ “Hope Floats”

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

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

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

The following are the words of, Amanda Lea Browning.

” In the spring the earth renews itself once more

with flowers in the tallest wind-blown trees

to the mossy forest floor.  Creeks thaw and gurgle

down babbling brooks.  Bees busily buzz through large open fields

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

Ruby-throated hummingbirds magically appear.

Birds flirt with one another in the trees

Soon there will be chicks for them to feed.

Bright shining sun warms the chilly air

Fiery red tulips dazzle with flare.  Sweet is the fragrance

of lilacs and honey-locust trees.  Hyacinths and honeysuckle

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

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

Hearts rejoice that spring is finally here!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

The Carpathians in Ukraine

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

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

Be Well!

Dove of peace


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




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


Images:  Tumblr and Pinterest

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

Sandra Lambiotte…truly ‘Where Inspiration Bloomed’

Sandra Hahn Lambiotte…truly ‘Where Inspiration Bloomed’

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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