‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ Random Musings

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive. ” ~ Eleonora Duse

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds you well and enjoying the beauty of these summer days.  

This post will be short and I will explain.  There was some confusion with my post last week, (Sunday, July 25) as it made its way into ‘blog land.’  Rather, I should say, “Not making its way.”  Most of my blogging friends did not receive the post until Monday mid-day.  Therefore, I decided to make today’s post short to see if all was well. Fingers crossed!

You may or may not enjoy the writings of Mary Oliver.  However, in my opinion, she often interjects her humor with sound advice.  Both of which I can often benefit from.  Therefore, I thought, perhaps, you may also.

“Upstream,” by Mary Oliver

“Come with me into the field of sunflowers is a better line than anything you will find here, and the sunflowers themselves far more wonderful than any words about them.” 

“I Worried,” by Mary Oliver

I worried a lot.  Will the garden grow, will the rivers flow in the right direction will the earth turn as it was taught, and if not how shall I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven, can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows can do it and I am, well, hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it, am I going to get rheumatism, lockjaw, dementia?

Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.  And gave it up.  And took my old body and went out into the morning, and sang.

“Evidence,” by Mary Oliver

“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.”

 

 

Dear friends, I hope you found inspiration from the words of Mary Oliver.  Isn’t it true that words so often fail us when we try to describe something of beauty?  And haven’t we all worried unnecessarily?  Or, stood in a magical place and suddenly realized the amazing blessing to enjoy such a place.  Certainly, I have done all of these things.  

 

Please know, I wish you and yours a lovely and peaceful day.  

And. . .

In the week ahead, may you

“Pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it.” ~ Mary Oliver

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images:  via tumblr

Sunday Thoughts~ ‘A Pleasurable State of Mind’

“The sun will not rise or set without my notice, and thanks.” ~ Winslow Homer

Photo by, VonShawn

“Always take the time to be completely present, because it is perhaps the best and most joyous way to keep your mind sharp and your life bright.”  ~ Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds you under blue skies and enjoying sweet moments with those you love. 

While I have been savoring my much-needed reprieve, I want you to know how much I have missed you.  Many of you I know personally and others are virtual.  But to me, I treasure you both.  Additionally, I want to thank those who have sent me personal messages expressing your sentiments and wishing me an enjoyable and peaceful time away from my blog.  Precious moments doing the things I enjoy. 

Rest and relaxation is a lovely gift, one should give themselves from time to time.  However, it inevitably seems to fall at the bottom of my list and it should not.   When we are rested and relaxed,  we notice and pay attention to the beauty that surrounds us.  Our garden, for example, has been especially lovely this year.  The sights, sounds, and scents are truly mesmerizing.  I might not have noticed the many small breathtaking details and intricacies if I were weary and not paying attention to my beautiful surroundings.  However, the garden has not been my only pleasure.  On the days when the weather was too warm to happily enjoy the garden, my stack of books, patiently waiting for me, provided marvelous enjoyment. 

Nonetheless, writing my blog is a spark of joy I have missed and I hope you have too.  My last post was May 22, 2021.  Goodness, time does move on. 

“Butterflies come to pretty flowers.” ~ Korean Proverb

Two of the sights I adore in our garden are the hydrangeas and the arbor.  Scampering up and over the arbor is ‘Peaches and Cream’ honeysuckle.  She is a charming and wonderfully fragrant addition to the garden and when she is in bloom (late June), she is exquisite.  Another sight I deem lovely is the hydrangeas.  I planted them about four or five years ago as an experiment to see how they would thrive in a pot.  As you can see, they have done well.  Their name is ‘Blue Danube.’ They are pink because I have not added soil acidifiers.  It is a risky endeavor to add soil acidifiers to potted hydrangeas.  From my reading, there is a fine line between adding too much or too little of this substance. Too much will kill them, too little does them no good.  Therefore, I chose to leave them alone and allow their color choice to be their own.  The important issue is, they are thriving with the help of their bi-annual feeding of fish emulsion and the great care Mike takes to pull them into the garage for the winter.  On warm days he will give them just a wee drink to prevent their roots from drying out.

Please step into the garden.  Rex would like to meet you.   Rex, our unique Cardinal who is named after one of Mike’s golfing buddies,  is a beautiful and always welcomed sight.  Hearing his call is music to our ears.  Every morning when Mike ventures out to feed him and his friends, he appears and begins his flying about routine.  Arriving close by the feeder then initiating his conversation with Mike.  Boldly, he flies closer and closer, waiting for Mike to stand back so he can land on the feeder.  And, of course, the feeder belongs solely to him.  Should you wonder what is hanging above Rex’s head, it is a sock feeder filled with thistle feed for the finches.  They find them an irresistible delicacy.

“Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.” ~ Louis L’Amour

Reading is pure joy for me.  It is a marvelous thing to read a book that sends me off in other directions.  Pointing the way toward people, places, and things I want to know more about.   What I am really drawn to are books by authors I almost feel as though I know personally, and especially books that have a connection to places I love.  However, I imagine I am no different from anyone who enjoys reading ~ we all have preferences. 

I absolutely adore all things, French.  Therefore, I am drawn to learning about this country and its people, which seems to have captured my heart for as many years as I can remember.  While all of the following books have in some way a connection to France, to me, they are books that bring forth to the reader the great testament of the human spirit in many different ways.    Therefore, I am sharing a few with the thought perhaps, you may enjoy them too.

“Lisette’s List,” by Susan Vreeland was for me, not only a lovely read but an informative book as well.  It is a story of a young woman and her husband  (André) who move from Paris to a small village in Provence to care for her husband’s grandfather.  Upon their arrival, they discover that the grandfather (a frame maker) had befriended the great artists, Pissarro and Cézanne, and had traded his frames for their paintings.  As World War II broke out,  André works to hide these paintings to keep them out of Nazi hands.

This book also discusses the ochre mines (located in this region of France) which  I found so interesting.  These beautiful pigments were mined, sold, and used to color their homes, both inside and out, as well as a multitude of other uses.  

Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre and Its Treasures from the Nazis

“Saving Mona Lisa” was an amazing story of how a handful of people labored day and night to empty the Louvre of its paintings and ship them off to secure locations, safe from Nazi hands.  And, from these locations, paintings were often moved several times before returning home to the Louvre at the end of the war.  It is a  story of love, intense courage, dedication, and suspense.

I was drawn to this book because I had never read much about either artist, with regard to them personally.  In reading, I learned that Van Gogh was a gentle soul and in today’s world his mental health issues could have been easily treated.  Thus, allowing him to continue his work as an artist and live a far better life. The book also revealed that Gauguin’s nature was extremely competitive and in a far different way than Van Gogh, he dealt with mental health issues himself.  I found the book to be well written and at least I now know a little of the lives and personalities of both men. 

Do you ever re-read books?  I do.  And,  I never fail to be surprised as to what I missed on the first reading.  For instance,  In “My Life In France,” Julia Child refers to the small village of Mougins.  Mougins was and continues to be a famous haven for artists.  Among many of those famous artists, it was home to Roger Mühl. We fell in love with Mühl’s work several years ago and feel so grateful to own a few of his pieces, which we enjoy daily.  Mühl was best known for his light-drenched landscape paintings of the South of France.  The remarkable light in his paintings is what drew me to his work.  Photos do not begin to capture the light.  

Roger Muhl French, 1929-2008 Village, 2002 “Village,” by Roger Mühl.  Painted, 2002.

Also, in this book, Child refers to her favorite restaurant in all of France which happens to be in Mougins.  The restaurant is Le Moulin de Mougins.  This restaurant remains a lovely attraction today, known for its outstanding food, service, and charm. 

There were many other notable ‘takeaways’ from my second reading.  Without a doubt, the most is realizing I did not remember reading about Mougins during my first reading. How could that possibly be?   Perhaps, I should read it a third time.   

“In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection.” ~ Curnonsky

Many of you who know me, know how much I enjoy cooking.  I am quite at home in the kitchen and can putter about all day.  Cookbooks are my delightful friends, ~ old and new.  When I retired and had a little extra time, my love became more of a passion. I wanted to improve my skills, cook new things, and so I did.  And, with my love of France, of course, I ventured into French cooking, with Julia as my guide and Mike as my ever-willing taste tester.   Julia is all about classic French cooking.  According to Julia, this means, “Not trendy, souped-up fantasies, just something very good to eat. . . where the ingredients have been carefully selected and beautifully and knowingly prepared.”  During the past few years, I have mastered many of her wonderful recipes.  Actually, most are not difficult ~ simply time-consuming.   Plus, winter days in West Virginia allow for the necessary time and a brief summer respite does also. 

With our garden about to burst, I can’t help bringing out the cookbooks and begin creating something delicious.  Especially, since we have just relished a beautiful season of lettuces, green onions, and such.  Now, swiss chard is in abundance, peppers of all varieties abound,  and the plump, juicy, tomatoes are about to explode.  Oh,  I must not forget the herbs. Stands of sweet and lemon basil, a full patch of thyme, oregano, parsley, and tarragon about to leap from the pot.  And, there are others.  Mike’s vegetable garden is an irresistible delight, just waiting to be prepared into a tantalizing culinary feast.

“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.” ~Judith Thurman

The Best Things To Do in the Cayman Islands: 16 Essential ExperiencesGrand Caymen Island, B.W.I. ~ 1999

In closing, I will tell you I have also been doing quite a bit of dreaming.  My garden bench is a perfect spot for such pursuits.  Dreaming of places we have been and places we hope to go.  Possibly, you have been doing the same.

 

So, dear friends,  as this day ends and we begin a new week, let us wake up in the morning and see the beauty in the world

and in each other,

encourage others along their path, and count our blessings ~ we have so many.

 

Wishing you peace, love, and joy. 

And. . .

‘A Pleasurable State of Mind.’

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

“I’m into all that sappy stuff ~ a surprise picnic, nice dinner, or traveling. I’m kind of an old romantic.” ~ Will Estes

 

 

 

 

 

Images:  Michael S. Lambiotte, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ Taking A Rest

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ~ John Lubbock

image

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  Perhaps, you may have wondered what happened to me last week.  Well, the week was quite a blur, filled with life happenings. Writing a post was not at the top of my list.  And, I certainly did not want to post something that was not from my heart and, therefore, might not touch yours.  That said, I have decided to take a wee break from blog land.  A little time to simply ‘be.’  To watch the flowers unfold, and enjoy the sweetness and beauty of nature.  Something I feel we all need from time to time.

Additionally, in my resting time, I need to give some thought to a few changes I would like to make to the blog and some things I might want to do differently.  Always with the goal of keeping the blog reader worthy.   

Know I will miss you and your lovely comments, and I hope you will miss me,  too.  I will continue to read your blogs, as I enjoy them so much and they are always a bright spot in my day.  Do enjoy these remaining lovely spring days, days we have long waited for and the summer ones which are ahead.  Always take a moment to notice the beauty that surrounds you and the moments  “. . .when you realize the simple things are wonderful enough.”  See you soon!

“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward. ~ Spanish Proverb

Amour,

Sandra

 

Photos:  Via Tumblr, quote in the last paragraph, Jill Badonskyxs

 

 

 

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ Mother’s Day

“A mother’s love how sweet the name!  What is a mother’s love?  A noble, pure, and tender flame extended from above.” ~ James Montgomery 

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds everyone well and enjoying this wonderful time of year.  Today, a most special day, of honoring and showering our mothers with love and gratitude.  Letting them know how dear and special they are.  To stop for a moment and reflect on all they have given us, sacrificed for us,  and their monumental efforts to make our lives better and richer.  And most of all, to be grateful for their love and the path/paths they have helped us walk.

“A mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s.” ~ Princess Diana

 

Mother's Day Shrine, Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church - Grafton, West Virginia Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, Grafton, West Virginia.

This lovely church, built in 1873, was the location of the first mother’s day service held in 1908.   It was established as the International Mother’s Day Shrine in 1962 and designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1992.

The International Mother's Day Shrine located in Grafton, West Virginia honors the memory of the founder of the holiday.

The Mother With Children statue by William Douglas Hopen, outside the International Mother's Day Shrine, at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia | Library of Congress

Mother's Day roots run deep in West Virginia | West Virginia | timeswv.com

“Motherhood is the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary ~ it’s an act of infinite optimism.” ~ Gilda Radner

Carnations are the flower symbolizing mother’s day.  During the first mother’s day service, in 1908, Ms. Jarvis handed out hundreds of white carnations to those in attendance.  The carnation was her mother’s favorite flower.  White carnations are traditional flowers to give or wear in remembrance of a mother who is no longer living. With pink representing gratitude and love and red signifying admiration and adoration.  

Dear friends, know I wish all of you who are mothers, or those who have been or are currently mothering others, a happy and beautiful day.    

And . . .

May God bless you and guide you in all that you do.

 

 

“A mother’s love endures through all.” ~ Washington Irving

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

Images:  “Times West Virginian” and Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ One Blossom At A time

“Blossom by blossom spring begins.” ~ Algernon Charles Swinburne

Tree Peony, Hanakisoi 

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  As I write this post (Saturday, May 1), we are under cloudless blue skies and much is happening at ‘Maison de Jardin.’  Therefore, I thought you may enjoy seeing a few of our treasures as they unfold.  Treasures I consider to be beautiful and I hope you will too.  Spring does hold such exquisite beauty. 

Tree Peony, Hanakisoi in our garden about to unfold.

I would like you to meet our tree peony, Hanakisoi.  Her name means ~ Floral Rivalry.  Tree peonies, unlike herbaceous peonies, have woody stems.  They will lose their foliage in the fall, but their woody stems remain.  Blooms will form in the spring from these tree-like branches.   Tree peonies are native to China and are prized for their large and prolific blooms.  These beauties are excellent cut flowers, and many will have blooms up to ten inches in diameter.  It has been said that a tree peony is the most beautiful flower to bloom in a garden.  Their blooms are delicate and thin, resembling crepe paper.  Unfortunately, when fully opened, they only last a very short time. 

Pale blush pink Hanakisoi in the vase.

“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.” ~ John Ruskin

Tree Peony, Princess Cathy.

Hanakisoi is not to be confused with Princess Cathy.  Princess Cathy was given to me by my dear friend and neighbor who moved several years ago.  I named this beauty for Cathy, as Cathy received her at a plant swap and there was not a name attached.  I wanted you to see her enormous buds. Once fully opened, she is a deeper shade of pink than Hanakisoi.  She will be in my post ‘In Full Bloom.’

Soon, she will take center stage.

Tree peony ~ Shimadaijin.

And, the last of our tree peonies is this lovely deep violet ~ Shimadaijin.  I have always loved the color and she is exquisite in the vase.  You will also see her ‘In Full Bloom.’

Shimadaijin about to unfold.

“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.”Ellis Peters

Next, unfolding is our Carolina Jessamine.  One reason I am so attached to her is, I grew her from two three-inch pots.  She is a burst of sunshine with an intoxicating fragrance.  Her perfume overwhelms the entire garden.  Miss Jessamine is the state flower of South Carolina.  Beloved by many and thought to be an invasive weed by others.  Nonetheless, she is truly lovely, in my opinion.

In this next photo, you can see where a freeze a few weeks ago bit her blooms.  She is too tall to cover, so Jack Frost had to show himself before he left town.

“Spring heralds the return of the sun’s warmth, the renewal of life, and the reappearance of green and color everywhere.” ~ Unknown

I had a lovely surprise the other morning.  This pretty girl had opened.  Her buds are a blush pink and they turn to this beautiful white.  We planted her about four years ago.  We have native rhododendrons on one side of the front of our home, which are a pretty lavender color.  On the other side, we have a lovely deep pink rhododendron and had a hot, hot pink azalea, with orange tones, beside it.  The two together were like nails on a chalkboard.  I do not like to remove mature plants, however, after three springs I decided I didn’t want to see the azalea again.  And, that is when ‘Bright Eyes’ arrived on the scene.  She looks like a movie star in between the two pink rhododendrons.  Her blotch is a rosy pink.  Just as a point of info, the rhododendron is the state flower of West Virginia.

“What a desolate place would be a world without a flower!  It would be a face without a smile, a feast without a welcome.  Are not flowers the stars of the earth, and are not our stars the flowers of the heaven?” ~ A. J. Balfour

This iris and peony are lovely friends.  The peony, Sunny Girl, is butter yellow.  The iris, Ruby Morning, is chocolate.  They are rather like two snooty girls, who think they look pretty together.  And they do, so I felt they would be happy living beside each other.  They will both be in the ‘Full Bloom’ post.

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit and seeing a bit of spring as she unfolds here in our beautiful “Mountain State.”  Know, I thank you for stopping by and I hope I haven’t kept you too long.  Spring is beautiful in every corner of our world.  What I love about her here is, she stays around for quite a while and gently unfolds.

Finally, I wish you and yours a magnificent day and week ahead.  And I am going to do my best to follow the words of Anne Lamott.    I hope you will too.

 

The lilacs continue to add their beautiful fragrance to our home.  We are blessed.

“I am going to try to pay attention to the spring.  I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees.  I am going to close my eyes and listen.” ~ Anne Lamott

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images:  Michael S. Lambiotte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ Smelling the Lilacs

“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.” ~ Edith Wharton

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds you well and enjoying the beauty and fragrance of spring.  As for me, I am now enjoying the beauty and fragrance of lilacs,  and I am about to welcome the Carolina Jessamine. Does it get any better? I don’t think so.

Carolina Jessamine (about to open), white lilac, and Loving Cherubs  

I do love and enjoy lilacs and never take them for granted.  They are quite common here in North Central West Virginia and many may wonder why I am so captivated by them.  When we lived in the south, it was too hot for them and I missed them terribly ~ for thirty-two years.  There were a very few scattered about, that seemed to be in the exact right spot, with the exact right soil and light.  But they are not, in any way, hardy in the south.  Recently, a couple of varieties have been cultivated just for the southern states, although, I’ve been told they lack the intense fragrance.

“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, lilac

Our white lilac, Madame Lemoine, was the first to bloom this year.  Madame Lemoine was named in honor of the wife of  Victor Lemoine.  Who cultivated many French hybrids.  Usually, this lilac blooms in conjunction with our very dark wine-colored lilac, Ludwig Spaeth.  However, this year ‘Madame’ decided she would be first on the scene.

In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings, Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart~shaped leaves of rich green, with many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love, With every leaf a miracle ~ and from this bush in the dooryard, With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green, A sprig with its flower I break. ~ Walt Whitman

In the language of flowers, the colors of lilacs represent different meanings.

White ~ represents purity and innocence.

Violet ~ all shades represent spirituality, darker purple represents that the wearer is concerned or knows of spiritual mysteries.

Blue ~ represents happiness and tranquility.

Lilac ~ represents one’s first love or the first time one feels love for someone.

Pink ~ represents love and strong friendships.

Magenta~ represents passion, love and the thrill of being alive.

“The smell of lilacs crept poignantly into the room like a remembered spring.” ~ Margaret Millar

“A faint smell of lilac filled the air.  There was always lilac in this part of town.  Where there were grandmothers, there was always lilac.”  ~ Laura Miller

” Flowers have a way of creating strong and lasting memories. Flowers may fade, but the memories and the emotions felt never will.” ~ unknown

This lilac, just beginning to open, holds special meaning to Mike and me.  I do not begin to know its name, although it is similar to a variety named Blue Skies.  This lilac came from Mike’s family farm in Western Pennsylvania, a special place where we both spent many happy times with his family.  I raised it from a tiny sprig. The farm was sold many years ago.  Upon returning to the area some time ago, the lilac (once enormous) is now gone and there is no sign a human ever worked the land or lived on the farm. The lilac serves as a beautiful memory for both of us.  It is now about four feet tall and this is the first year it has shown her lovely blooms, we are so excited.  While there are not many blooms, we treasure each and every one.

“But remembering those moments, I stand still in ecstasy, inhaling through the noise of falling rain, the smell of invisible, enduring lilacs.” ~ Marcel Proust

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed smelling the lilacs.  When the lilacs are in bloom, Edith Wharton was certainly correct when she said, “Set wide the window.  Let me drink the day.”  When I was growing up and my mom had a vase  of something lovely and fragrant, she would hold it to my nose and say, “Take a drink.”  Wharton’s quote brought back a sweet memory.

Know, I thank you for your visit and wish you and yours a day of beauty,  filled with the marvelous fragrances of spring. 

Have a wonderful week ahead.

And. . .

Be well!

“Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning” ~Lydia M. Child

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Note:  There are many lilac festivals held throughout our country each year.  However, I have been told two of the best are, The Rochester, New York Festival, May 21 through 23, 2021, and The Mackinac Island, Michigan Lilac Festival, June 4 through 13, 2021.  If your travels take you to either of these parts of the country, it would most likely be worth your time to stop and smell the lilacs.

Images:  Michael Lambiotte and Tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ Peace and Love

“Peace is always beautiful.” ~ Walt Whitman

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds you well and that you are enjoying peaceful days.  As for me, I have no complaints.  Some days are sunny with warm temperatures and other days are cloudy, cold, and rainy.  However, that is April in North Central West Virginia.  And, how could I complain when white lilacs and daffodils fill vases around our home? 

While I feel so fortunate to enjoy peaceful days, I do know there are many souls in our world who have no semblance of a peaceful day.  I find myself wondering when and how all the madness will end, and I imagine you do also.  So, I put my mind toward other things and continue to pray for a sweeter world.  I hope you will find this post peaceful in images as well as words.  Perhaps, you may find something that tugs at your heart to carry with you throughout the week.

https://www.instagram.com/soft.t_/

“Peace brings with it so many positive emotions that it is worth aiming for in all circumstances.” ~ Estella Eliot

“We must believe that there are places where tranquility exists and nature is given back her power to speak…” ~ Nanette  Avery

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“. . .And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.” ~ Anne Frank

Dear friends, this past week a Facebook friend tagged me in her post with something beautiful I had almost forgotten.  Perhaps, if we could someway somehow spread this message,  it could make a difference.  Maybe you will tuck it away for a cloudy day.  Written by James Taylor, the lyrics, in my opinion, are relevant for current times.  Give a listen.

Wishing you and yours a beautiful day and week ahead. Stay well!

 

“Deep in our hearts, the light of heaven is shining.” ~ Rumi

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

Images:  via Tumblr

You Tube ~”Shower The People” Written by James Taylor and performed by Ventura Highway.

 

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ The Magic Of Morning

“When I first open my eyes upon the morning meadows and look out upon the beautiful world, I thank God I am alive.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good Sunday morning,  dear friends.  I hope this finds you well and enjoying a lovely morning.  In my opinion, mornings are the best time of day.  The birds are singing, the air is cool,  and all of nature seems to be happy to greet the day.  I find the early morning is such a beautiful time to be alone with my thoughts, be still, watch the sunrise, and count my blessings. And, to wander the garden to see how busy the garden fairies were during the night. 

There are many talented writers who also seem to have had a fondness for the early morning.  In going through my ‘little book of special things’ I have found a few lines I hope you will enjoy.

“Why I Wake Early” ~ Mary Oliver

“Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who made the morning

and spread it over the fields

and into the faces of the tulips

and the nodding morning glories,

and into the windows of, even, the

miserable and the crotchety.  . .

good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day

in happiness, in kindness.”

 

Possibly, just possibly,  the world would be a sweeter place if everyone began the day in ‘happiness and kindness.’  I wish I knew how to make it so.

 “. . . the older I get the more treasures and hope and joy I find in mornings.” ~ Terri Guillemets

“Outside the open window, the morning air is all awash with angels.” ~ Richard Wilbur

I agree with Terri Guillemets, the mornings always provide hope and joy.  Isn’t it a glorious thought to think of the morning air being “awash with angels”?  Perhaps, that is why the morning is so sweet and enjoyable.

Not only is the air lovely, but the morning light is divine and one never knows what they may discover.

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.  There is much more I could say about this magical time of day, but I do know everyone’s time is precious, and I do not want to take your time reading a lengthy post.  However, if you are not a morning person perhaps my thoughts will inspire you to ponder the many gifts that are always provided for our morning enjoyment, especially during this special season of dazzling beauty.   All we have to do is wake up and bask in the splendor of a new day.  What an amazing privilege.

Wishing you and yours a gorgeous and peaceful day.

And. . .

May every day, in the week ahead, begin with a lovely and joyful morning, just for you.

 

“A morning glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.” ~ Walt Whitman

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images:  via Tumblr and Pinterest

Snippets of Life at Maison de Jardin!

“The energy of the Earth flows through the veins of Springtime.” ~ Terri Guillemets

Good morning, dear friends.  I hope you had a wonderful Easter and are enjoying Spring in your corner of the world.  Today’s post is about a variety of things that I hope you will enjoy.   Let me begin with ‘Rip Van Winkle.’  Rip Van Winkle is pictured in the photo above and yes, he is a daffodil.  Rip is one of our favorites and he is an heirloom daffodil dating to 1884.  But what makes him special to us are the memories he holds of my husband’s great aunt and spending time with her at her farm in Western Pennsylvania.  She happily shared Rip with us and we moved him to our home.  We think of her every spring when he blooms.  I love his chartreuse swirls plus, he has a long vase life.  Should you be interested, Rip is still available through Old House and Gardens. 

Currently, the daffodils are on center stage in our garden.  They will be in bloom for several more weeks, as we have many late-blooming varieties.    Mike fed them last year and it has made a huge difference in their blooms this year.  

I have seen the Lady April bringing the daffodils, bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain.  ~ John Masefield

All the daffodils in the photo above hold special memories.  The small white one is named Cheerfulness (it is also available in yellow).  It usually has at least three blooms per stem, is extremely fragrant, and was one of mom’s favorites.  The yellow with a deep yellow trumpet was from mom’s great gardening friend, Nellie.  And, the lovely white with a coral center was a ‘no reason’ gift from Mike.  I love ‘no reason’ gifts.  Anyway, it did not have a name other than ‘assorted’ daffodil.  So, I chose ‘Just Beautiful’ as her name.

On our Easter table, Bugs is holding, in his basket,  an assortment of the daffodils currently in bloom from our garden.    Mike took the photo before the table was finished so please excuse the wrinkle in the table cloth.  Also, Bugs was to have a bowtie around his neck and the green berry glasses were to be filled with jelly beans, which happened later.

The Haviland china was found on an antiquing adventure with mom and the matching tureen with underplate was a birthday gift from Mike.  The green berry glasses were Mike’s great grandmothers and the sweet little lamb with a flower crown was a gift from a dear friend.  The Fostoria stemware belonged to mom.  Memories and treasures.  

“They made their way to the dining room, where the air was blossom-scented and gilded with candlelight.” ~ Lisa Kleypas

“Whoever says, “It’s only a rabbit” has obviously never loved a rabbit.” ~ Unknown

May be an image of grass

I would like you to meet the real, one and only, Bugs.  He/she was born in our garden last spring and stayed with us until late fall.  And yes, he is the guilty one who enjoys our delphiniums.  Although, he doesn’t seem to enjoy them seasoned with cayenne pepper.  The unusual thing about Bugs is he has returned this year.  Enjoying his favorite spots(the same as last year) and in general, just lounging around, eating clover, and being, well, just Bugs.  I have always had a fondness for bunnies and Bugs has only made my soft spot softer.  

 

“Laughter is brightest where food is best.” ~ Irish Proverb

Just before Easter, the following two recipes were posted in our local newspaper, “The Exponent Telegram.”  I prepared both of them for our Easter dinner and they were wonderful.  Therefore, I thought I would share and I hope you will give them a try.  With summer approaching the Pea Salad would be an excellent choice for a Covered Dish luncheon or supper.  For such things, I always look for a dish that will travel well and this one certainly would.

Southern Pea Salad 

12 oz. frozen sweet peas

3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 hardboiled eggs, diced

1/4 cup grated white cheddar cheese

Dressing

3 Tbls. Mayonnaise

2 Tbls. red onion, finely chopped

1 Tbls. sour cream

1 Tbls. fresh chives

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Bring a medium saucepan with water to a boil.  Add frozen peas, cook for 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse in a colander under cold water until cool.  Let the peas stand in the colander until thoroughly drained.  Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from pan, and drain well on paper towels then chop.  In a medium bowl, combine peas, chopped eggs, chopped bacon, and cheddar cheese.   In another small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and mix well.   Pour dressing over pea mixture and mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  

 

Cauliflower and Leek Gratin 

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets

2 med. size leeks, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

2 small shallots, peeled and sliced

1/2 tsp. ground pepper

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves chopped

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups half & half

1 1/2 cups grated aged Asiago cheese

unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 2 or 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Bring to boil salted water in a large pot.  Add cauliflower florets and cook for about 4 minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Place cauliflower in a large mixing bowl and set aside.  In a small to medium saucepan, melt 3 Tbls. butter over medium heat, then add leeks, shallots, ground pepper, and thyme.  Cook, while stirring, for about 5 minutes.  Stir in flour until well combined.  Slowly pour in milk, stirring constantly until well combined.  Bring to a boil, and allow to cook until thickened about 3 minutes stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese and salt.  Pour the leek mixture into the mixing bowl with the cauliflower.  Mix well and transfer the mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup of cheese over the top.  Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes.  Note:  I baked this for about 45 minutes.  Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed a few snippets of joy from our beloved old home and garden.  Spring does provide all of us so many chances to enjoy the beauty around us, each other, and our many blessings. 

 

Know I hope this finds you under blue skies, listening to bird song and taking time to simply ‘be’ during this glorious season. 

And. . .

May your days be filled with joy, and kind souls.  

Scilla in bloom in our garden.

“The flowers appear on the earth; The time of the singing of birds is come.” ~ Song of Solomon 2:12

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images:  Michael S. Lambiotte

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ Happy Easter!

“‘Twas Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees filled all the air with fragrance and with joy.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Good Sunday morning, beautiful people ~ Happy Easter!   Easter has always been a favorite time for me.  The land is overflowing with majestic beauty, the air is cool and lovely,  and hope is truly alive.  Hope is a marvelous thing, especially when we stop and think of our situations last April when COVID had turned our world upside down.

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.” ~ Kate McGahan

The legend of the dogwood tree is a story I have heard since I was a child. The petals of the flowers, always four, actually form in the shape of a cross.  The center of the bloom has a tight grouping of tiny yellow/green buds in a shape that resembles the crown of thorns, and the tip of each bloom is indented as if it was dented by a nail. I always remember the legend when I see a lovely dogwood in bloom.

“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.” ~ S.D. Gordon

 

 

“This is The Day The Lord Has Made Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad.” ~ Psalm 118:24 

“For I remember it is Easter morn, And life and love and peace are all new born.” ~ Alice Freeman Palme

 

Dear friends, Mike and I wish you and yours a glorious Easter, filled with joy.

And with. . .

“The great gift of Easter ~ hope.” ~ Basil Hume

 

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images: via tumblr