Easter Sunday ~ A Glorious Day

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

Good morning, dear friends.  I hope this holy day finds you under blue skies and surrounded by those you love.  To me, Easter is such a glorious day.  A time to celebrate the season of hope and renewal.  Blooms abound, as does new life.  And, there are mysteries to celebrate too.  Mysteries we don’t understand and perhaps, we must wait for our explanation.  However, I do know one day we will see and understand.

 “Mysteries, Yes” ~ Mary Oliver

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the

mouths of the lambs.

How rivers and stones are forever

in allegiance with gravity

while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds

will never be broken.

How people come, from delight or the

scars of damage,

to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those

who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

If you have never held a newborn lamb, I urge you to find a farm and ask to see the babies.  Anyone who has been through a successful lambing season is always proud to show off the precious ones.  They are so sweet, love to be held, and nibble about your face.  They enjoy nuzzling in your hair or smelling whiskers or a beard.

pagewoman: “ pagewoman: “ Lamb with Daffodils ” Happy St. David’s Day ”

“It’s not just in the air.  Spring is in the light.  There’s a different light in March and April.  It’s in the grass, leaves, and flowers.  It’s in the birdsong and baaa of baby lambs.  Mostly though, spring blooms in my heart.” ~ Toni Sorenson

“There is something of the marvelous in all things of nature.” ~  Aristotle

To be adopted by a wild bunny makes one feel as though they have been chosen by a divine and loving source to enjoy a unique gift of nature.    We had such a gift a couple of springs ago.  A delightful bunny would come to visit when I called him.  He would sit on the patio with me and check out the blooms when I was weeding.  His name was Buggs.  The following spring she returned with her babies and we name her Blossom.

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

This contains an image of: Warning: Easter Lilies Could Be Deadly to Your Cat

 

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

And. . .

In our torn and ragged world,  May “peace be new born.”

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

Images:  Tumblr and Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ A Will That Is Gold

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Good morning, dear friends.  My thoughts this morning are with the Ukrainian people, as they are every morning and all throughout the day.  Each morning, I sit with Mike in our safe, warm, and sweet kitchen and ask, “Did anything dreadful occur through the night?”  He rises before I do, checks the news, and usually always has the answer.

I have thought about my precious mom and grandmother so much these past few weeks.   As much as I would appreciate hearing their wisdom, I am thankful they are not here to see the current evil and horrific, barbaric destruction of another madman, this time in Ukraine.  Both my mom and grandmother lived through wars and dreadful times, so they well understand evil. However, this time it seems unbearable because we hear it every day from journalists scattered around the world and our communication is immediate. Also, we live under the looming fear of gruesome nuclear destruction should we try and put an immediate end to the brutality.

When I was about ten years old, I remember my grandmother talking about something she thought was evil.  I replied, “I don’t believe in evil.”  And, she said, “Honey, unfortunately, if you live long enough you will.”  She was certainly correct.  When I think there is nothing worse the Ukrainian people will witness ~ it seems as though they do.  However, throughout this war, we have been exposed to something beautiful, unlike anything I have seen in my life ~ the Ukrainian’s unfathomable strength.

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” ~  Bob Marley

The Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine

 

To me, being strong is the only choice for the Ukrainians.  They do not want their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren to be under the rule of a dictator ~ who would?  I pray their strength will endure to the end and I pray our leaders will make sound and timely decisions, oh, how I pray.

 

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien

The Ukrainian people have a will that is gold and its light glitters and sparkles for the world to see.   And in the end,  once again, “the crownless will be king.” 

“Either we all live in a decent world, or nobody does.” ~ George Orwell

May be an image of person, child, standing and flower

Dear friends, in closing I believe we all should have a world where, without fear,  children can walk to their special friend’s home and hand them a bouquet from their mom’s garden.  Lemonade stands will flourish, little ones can jump rope and ride bicycles and neighborhoods will once again overflow with giggles.   Perhaps, “from the ashes a fire will be woken” ~ in all of us.

This contains an image of: ♥ ✿⊱╮ Phenomenal ♥ ✿⊱╮

 

Know I wish you and yours a most beautiful and peaceful Palm Sunday.

Amour,

Sandra

 

“Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall.  Always.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

Images: Tumblr and Pinterest

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ “April, Warm and Blue”

“Outside it is warm and blue and April.” ~ Sylvia Plath

wanderthewood: “ Bluebell wood in Beverley, Yorkshire, England by Sarich10 ” Bluebell wood in Beverley, Yorkshire, England

Good morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds you well and under blue skies.  We are having a few April showers today, but I do know that as April unfolds, she will bring us magnificent beauty ~ she always does. 

While on my weekly journey through my volumes of quotes and poems, I realized there was a significant amount of words written about the month of April.  Some transported me to the enchanted place of which they spoke and yet, others, the writer was almost cruel to this wondrous month. Evidently, April was not a month that appealed to everyone.  Of course, I selected the words of beauty and I hope they will transport you to lovely places, remind you of precious moments, and inspire you to relish the days of this glorious month. 

“Of all the months that fill the year, Give April’s month to me, For Earth and Sky are then so filled With sweet variety!” ~  Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802-1838)

“April’s Charms”  by, William Henry Davies

“When April scatters charms of Primrose gold
Among the copper leaves in thickets old,
And singing Skylarks from the meadows rise,
To twinkle like black stars in sunny skies;

When I can hear the small Woodpecker ring
Time on a tree for all the birds that sing;
And hear the pleasant Cuckoo, loud and long ~
The simple bird that thinks two notes a song.”

In past years, I was never a fan of the Primrose.  I found their leaves to be scratchy and their bloom not outstanding.  However, like many other things that change as we grow older, I have become quite fond of them.  To me, they are a lovely harbinger of spring.

“Today has been a day dropped out of June into April.” ~ L.M. Montgomery

 

No photo description available.

 

 I know you can smell them.

“In the first week of April, the weather turned suddenly unseasonably, insistently lovely. The sky was blue, the air warm and windless, and the sun beamed on the muddy ground with all the sweet impatience of June.” ~ Donna Tartt

In closing, dear friends, know I appreciate your visit so much and wish you and yours a beautiful day.    

And. . .

For you, may the month of April be “warm and blue.”

A gift from me to you ~ enjoy!

“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” ~ E. B. White

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images: Tumblr and Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ ‘Life on ‘The Gentler Side’

“Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago; to take the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.” ~ Robert Kennedy

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.

Good morning, dear friends.  As I write this, it is snowing and we have about two inches on the ground.  But, it is March and although I am ready to see spring in all her glory, there is such a peacefulness to the beauty of snow.  Its tranquility seems to make the world stop and breathe. if only for a moment.   To be calm.  Therefore, this post is about the gentle side of life.  Personally, I think it would benefit all of us if we could find what makes our own worlds more gentle.  It is my hope that such things will take root and let us begin to be a better, and certainly more loving world.  

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.

“A gentle heart is tied with an easy thread.” ~ George Herber

Nature is the place that always manages to lift my spirits.  There never fails to be something to entertain me ~ squirrels doing their acrobatics, birds practicing their songs, or bunnies playing chase.  Nature is gentle and beautiful, it never fails me.

 

I love to watch Mr. Cardinal feed his lovely wife.  They mate for life and it is a pure joy to watch a pair enjoy themselves.

“ It is not the language of painters but the language of Nature that one should listen to. ” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

 

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.

“No man or woman of the humblest sort can really be strong, gentle, and good, without the world being better for it, without somebody being helped and comforted by the very existence of that goodness.” ~ Alan Alda

image

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit and perhaps your heart is a little lighter.  Know, I wish you and yours a wonderful day.

And. . .

In these difficult days, may we remember. . .

 

“. . .There is a crack, a crack in everything.  That’s how the Light gets in.” ~ Leonard Cohen

Amour,

Sandra

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

 

‘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

 

Amour,

Sandra

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.

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ March Madness

“March is in need of a mental health professional.” ~ Mike Lambiotte

Good morning, everyone.  As I write this, it is snowing and we have about six inches on the ground.  Mike came in the other day and announced, “My snow shovel is now in the garage and my boots are going to the basement.”  I replied, “Careful, remember this is March.”  And, sure enough,  March showed her true colors.  The daffodils are under snow.  

One of my husband’s many fine qualities is his sense of humor.  I thought I would share a bit of it with you in his quote above.  I had to laugh when he said those words, but perhaps there is some truth to it.  But, how would one go about finding help for the weather?

Back to ‘March Madness.”  I am not a sports fan, but I understand why the basketball ‘play-offs’ were given this title.  Because March weather can be maddening and it appears to me that the play-offs are too.   The weather may be 65 degrees and sunny one day and heavy wet snow the next.  Perhaps, that is why horticulturists cultivate early, mid-season, and late-season varieties of bulbs and plants. Fortunately, we have specimens of all three varieties in our garden. By planting in this manner it extends the bloom season, which is wonderful to enjoy after winter.

“Everyone Knows March’s Way” ~ by, Annette Wynne

“Everyone knows March’s way,
Rushing, blowing, night and day,
Rushing, blowing, day and night,
Not a single flower in sight,
Not a bud upon a tree,
But wait until the end and see
When March is packed at last to go,
Every twig will start to grow ~
All in a trice, before you know.”

“Spring comes quickly: overnight the plum tree blossoms, the warm air fills with bird calls.” ~ Louise Glück

residentevil3: “han ”

While each month holds its own beauty and lovely secrets, personally, I believe March is in the mix simply as a way of saying goodbye to the elegant bare trees, the flawlessness of new-fallen snow, and peaceful winter days.  And, to remember and be grateful for the season of winter and to look forward to the magnificent days to come.

“Each season has its distinctive odours. The spring is earthy and full of sap. July is rich with the odour of ripening grain and hay. As the season advances, a crisp, dry, mature odour predominates, and goldenrod, tansy, and everlastings mark the onward march of the year. In autumn, soft, alluring scents fill the air, floating from thicket, grass, flower, and tree, and they tell me of time and change, of death and life’s renewal, desire and its fulfillment.” ~ Helen Keller, “The World I Live In”

Dear friends, please know I appreciate your visit and I wish you and yours a lovely day.  

And. . .

 

PATTERN Ukrainian stained glass heart suncatcher DIGITAL image 1

   May love find a way into the heart of evil.

                                                                                                                             

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images: Tumblr and Etsy

Note:  The stained glass suncatcher (shown above) is available on Etsy.

‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ Spring Beauty

“Daffodils, That come before the swallow dares, and take The winds of March with beauty.” ~ William Shakespeare

Narcissus “Blushing Lady” from Van Meuwen Gardens Daffodil, Blushing Lady

Good morning, my friends.  As our world situation is so very sad, I thought perhaps we could all use a spring tonic.   My spirit may be wounded, but my love of beauty is as strong as ever.   That said, my thoughts today will be minimum.  However, I hope what I share will lift your spirits and make you smile.  So, join me for a wee walk through spring beauty.

Daffodil, King Alfred

First, let’s stroll through a few of my favorite daffodils.  The bold King Alfred is such a welcome sight after winter,  and it is always the first of our daffodils to bloom.

Daffodil, White Lion ~ It is a double and a favorite of mine.

Daffodil Bulbs Fortissimo Fortissimo, is such a showy girl.  When gathered in a group, one can hear them singing.

“Tulips were a tray of jewels.” ~ E.M. Forster

No photo description available.

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” ~ Gerard De Nerval

Tulips

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

“Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” ~ Wordsworth

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” ~ George Washington Carver

maisonavecjardin: “ clivenichols ”

“Flowers grow out of dark moments.” ~ Corita Kent

“Flowers leave some of their fragrance in the hand that bestows them.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Love is a springtime plant that perfumes everything with its hope, even the ruins to which it clings – Gustave Flaubert

 

In closing, I will leave you with the words of the beautiful and talented Audrey Hepburn.  In case you were not aware, Ms. Hepburn worked with the Dutch Resistance during WWII.  Considering the world now around us, that makes her words truly profound.

“Nothing is more important than empathy for another human being’s suffering.  Not a career.  Not wealth.  Not intelligence.  Certainly not status.  We have to feel for one another if we’re going to survive with dignity.” ~ Audrey Hepburn.

 

Dear friends, hopefully, you have found solace in the beauty of these gorgeous blooms.  Truly, I hope they have lifted your spirits and made you smile, they certainly did mine. 

Know I wish you and yours a good day and week ahead.   Stay Well!

And…

May God hold the Ukrainian people in his arms.

                                                                                                                             

Amour,

Sandra

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

 

 

 

Images:  Pinterest and Tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Sunday Thoughts’ on Monday

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring those ripples to build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” ~  Robert F. Kennedy

Ukraine Country Flag 3x5 Feet Polyester Ukraine National Banner

Good morning, everyone.  I realize that it is Monday and not Sunday.  However, I believe my broken heart also affected my brain.  I simply could not gather my thoughts enough to write a post, even a brief one as this will be.  What occurred this week in Ukraine truly broke my heart.  As I know it did all my dear blogging friends.    You see, from what I gather during these few years of blogging, “We all seem to be cut from the same cloth.”

All of us have our own thoughts about this horrifying situation, therefore, I won’t go into detail about mine.    However, I will tell you what I hope we learn ~ really learn.  First, we could be next and may well be before it is over.  Second, are we willing to stand up and pay the price the Ukrainians are for democracy?  Oh, I hope so.  Third, I do hope the American people have gained a new respect for our country and our democracy.  Fourth, so far we have the blessing of being able to select our leaders, the availability of free press, and to make our own decisions.  Fifth, to respect one another and treat each other with kindness.

On August 24, 1991,  Ukraine officially declared itself an independent country.  Just 31  years ago this August.  They are such a new country, and no country in such infancy should be expected to fight and defeat an established, well-equipped, well-trained army, ~ one of the largest in the world.  We were once a new country too, 246 years ago.    Ukraine needs our help and the help of other countries as well.  Honestly, I believe even more help is on the way.  However,  actually getting what the Ukrainians need to them, will not be an easy task.

I have not failed to think of the Russian people.  Do they want or believe in this war?  Probably not.  Many of their soldiers may not want to be in Ukraine, truly know or understand why they are they are there, and they have also left their homes, wives, and children. 

In closing, I have been reading much about the Ukrainian people.  Did you know they are passionate about gardens and flowers?  One article I read said, “Flowers are everywhere.  Window boxes are everywhere.  Ukrainians have such a love of beauty and flowers.

“I want to be like a sunflower; so that even on the darkest days I will stand tall and find the sunlight.” ~ unknown

Isn’t it ironic that Ukraine chose the sunflower as their national flower?  Because they certainly are standing tall and looking for the light.  

I know all of you will join me in prayers for our world, the people of Ukraine, our treasured democracy, and democracies everywhere.  May our beloved Red, White, and Blue wave proudly over our land and send her message loud and clear to all others.

Together with aluminium flagpole, the national flag will be an eye-catcher in your garden or at sporting events and perfect for showing your patriotic spirit! The US flag is made of durable polyester and fitted with two solid brass grommets to ensure long-term use. In addition, the flag has reinforced edges and double stitching to prevent it from being torn apart. Thanks to the simple plug-in system, the flag pole can be set up in no time and the height can be varied with its telescopic design.

Amour,

Sandra

“Ukraine is the tip of the spear for the democratic embrace of dreams. If we allow it to fight alone, our soul as America is lost.” ~ Sean Penn

 

 

 

 

Images: Pinterest

‘Sunday Thoughts ~ “. . .Books Are Humanity In Print.”

“Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later ~ no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget ~ we will return.“ ~Carlos Ruiz Zafón, “The Shadow of the Wind”

image Art by, Leonid Afremov

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  As I write this (Saturday, 2-19) snowflakes are falling.  Not a big storm, just howling winds and quite cold.  Yes, winter is still here in West Virginia.  However, tomorrow we are promised mild temperatures and sunny skies.  I hope you will see the same.

A few weeks ago, I told you how dreadful it is for me to put Christmas away.  Although, Christmas remains in my heart every day and the spirit keeps me going forward.  But I want you to know ‘mission was accomplished’ and Christmas is now stored in its long deep closet under the basement stairs.  Old houses do have hidden treasures and secrets.

With Christmas tucked away, today I want to talk about my books.  They are my dear friends and I have done a bit of research that I hope you will find interesting.  It helped me realize that I have not lost my mind and that my books are indeed riches.  Hopefully, yours are too.

“Books are the carriers of civilization…They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.” ~Barbara W. Tuchman.

In the late fall, I promised myself that I would reorganize Christmas ornaments (done), would go through the huge cedar closet upstairs, and the books.  The last two items have not been touched.  And these last two items are too large to accomplish both of them before spring.  Therefore, I chose the huge closet (what I refer to as, ‘the black hole’) which I plan to begin work on this upcoming week. 

I am not alone in my love of books or how difficult it is to sort them and find them another home.  Several of my blogging friends also have this issue.  One such friend is Bren who writes the beautiful blog, “It Is Still A Beautiful Life.”  Bren recently wrote a lovely two-part post about her books and she gave me great inspiration to sort through mine, a next winter project.  Perhaps her post will inspire you as well.   visit here.

“Books cannot be killed by fire.  People die, but books never die.  No man and no force can put thought in a concentration camp forever.  No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny.  In this war, we know, books are weapons.”  ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Often, I look at my many books and I think, “Have I gone around the bend to treasure them so?”  But then I read that in our upside-down world, restricting access to certain books has once again become a ‘trendy’ thing to do.  And, I realize that we are in danger, once again, by these actions. 

Understand, I realize the restricting of access to certain books may be necessary in such places as school libraries and others I am probably not familiar with.  However, we must be careful.  When we restrict access to books we are in danger of not learning.  When we don’t learn we may become self-absorbed and narrow-minded and we can close ourselves off to the beauty of other people, places, and cultures.    All are dangerous in our world today.

image A boy sits reading in a bombed bookstore, London, October, 8 1940

And, I realize that even more when I see a photo such as the one above of the young boy and how important reading must have been to him. To be sitting in such a place for the opportunity to read.   By the way, 1940 was not that many years ago. 

“There are stores that enrich the streets with their presence, and the most precious of them are the shops that sells old books!”~ Mehmet Murat ildan

To come across a bookshop that sells old books is a delightful treat.  Old books are special and even though they may be from a different era they still have remarkable information that pertains to our world today.

A bookstore I would love to visit is Shakespeare and Company, located in Paris in the 5th arrondissement (a subdivision). The store was established in 1951.

Shakespeare & Co. Paris bookshop ph. Dieter Krehbiel

A wee glimpse inside Shakespeare and Company.

There are many interesting and wonderful bookstores throughout our country and the world.  One that intrigues me is the one above.  Dog Eared Books, located in San Francisco.

The Abbey Book Store also looks inviting to a book lover. The shop is owned by a Canadian in Paris’s Latin Quarter and opened in 1989.  The shop has over 30,000 books.

“Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

“It is clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying, and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down.” ~ Agatha Christie

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I have no idea where this is.  Is it a shop or is it a place of storage?  It would be a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon and of fun to roam around in such a place.  But, if there is an inventory I am thankful it wasn’t my job to prepare such a document.

“We’re all strangers connected by what we reveal, what we share, what we take away ~ our stories. I guess that’s what I love about books ~ they are thin strands of humanity that tether us to one another for a small bit of time, that make us feel less alone or even more comfortable with our aloneness, if need be.” ~ Libba Bray

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“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” ~Mortimer J. Adler

“Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Anne of Green Gables (Puffin in Bloom): Montgomery, L. M.: 9780147514004: Amazon.com: Books

Tasha Tudor and Family - Child's Garden of Verses

 

 

Tasha Tudor Book of Fairy Tales by Tudor, Tasha (Illus); Fairy Tales: Very Good Pictorial Boards (1965) Early Edition. | E. M. Maurice Books, ABAA
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” ~ Emilie Buchwald
What our children read is vitally important to them for their enjoyment as a child and to help instill their love of reading throughout their life.  However, our world is a scary place, and as adults, we must absolutely know what our children are reading.  The advice from George Bernand Shaw is the best I have read.  There are many wonderful authors of children’s books, both old and new ~ give them a read.

“If I’m honest I have to tell you I still read fairy-tales and I like them best of all.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

Dear friends, I do hope you have enjoyed my post and that I have not exhausted you to the brink on the subject.  It was my intention to give you a little insight into myself, something which is out of my comfort zone.  Hopefully, I have been successful and possibly given you le inspiration should you not be an avid reader.  

Know I wish you and yours a beautiful day

And. . .

May beautiful words find you wherever you are.  Write them down ~ won’t you?

We are like books. Most people only see our cover, the minority read only the introduction, many people believe the critics. Few will know our content. - Émile Zola

 

“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 

 

I will leave you with something wonderful that happened to me yesterday.  I received a splendid gift from my special friend of many years, Janice.  She sent me “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain as she knew it was on my list to read.  She is such a thoughtful friend and will be with me while I am reading and every time I see the book.  It will certainly be one I do not part with.  Books do tie us together.

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

Images: Tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Table ~ How One Person Affected The World.

“This is a brief life, but in its brevity it offers us some splendid moments, some meaningful adventures.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

Good morning my friends.  I would like to invite you to join me for a visit to ‘At Table.”  One, I hope you will enjoy.  

As you can see, this post is about Anthony Bourdain.  Now, you may or may not be a fan of his, however, he was truly a mega talent.  Although, there have been times when I was watching his show I would think, “Did he really say that?”  Putting aside his choice of words, he was not only a culinary genius but was also a gifted author, a devoted father to his little girl, a loyal friend, and was generous to a fault.  So, do find your coffee/tea, and let me share a little of what I have learned about this acclaimed chef, who truly was an exceptional man.  Perhaps, you may gain a greater respect for him.  Most of all, I hope you will take away how very much he wanted us to not be afraid of other cultures, and to appreciate and respect our differences.“Cooking is a craft, I like to think, and a good cook is a craftsman ~ not an artist. There’s nothing wrong with that: the great cathedrals of Europe were built by craftsmen ~ though not designed by them. Practicing your craft in expert fashion is noble, honorable and satisfying.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

 

Anthony Bourdain was born on June 25, 1956, in New York City and raised in suburban New Jersey.  For two years he attended Vassar College where he developed a love of literature and writing which would serve him well throughout his life.  While in college he worked in various restaurants serving mostly as a dishwasher. In his last restaurant of part-time employment,  he was in the position of line cook but he quickly learned he needed to further his skills if this was indeed what he was going to do.  Therefore, he was off to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, graduating in 1978.

Following culinary school, he spent more than two decades working in professional kitchens.  He first established his culinary career when he became the executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles. After his article “Don’t Read Before Eating This” appeared in The New Yorker to raves in 1997, Bourdain moved from one high-profile culinary project to the next, including television shows,  A Cook’s Tour and Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. He also wrote several books, including Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.  This book was his best-selling memoir and stemmed from an article he’d written for New Yorker magazine about life behind the scenes in restaurant kitchens.  His articles and essays have appeared in such noted newspapers and magazines as, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, The Times of London, The Observer, Gourmet, Maxim, and Food Arts.  Anthony Bourdain was generally acknowledged as one of the most influential contemporary chefs in the world.

“Travel isn’t always pretty.  It isn’t always comfortable.  Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart.  But that’s ok.  The journey changes you, it should change you.  It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body.  You take something with you.  Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain in Cuba

Bourdain traveled to the far corners of the world and to cities and towns all over the United States.  His schedule was insane, but he loved meeting people and hearing their stories.  In one of his countless interviews,  he said,  “Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me.  The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.”

No photo description available. Anthony Bourdain with two miners in a coal mine in McDowell County, West Virginia.

He even made it to “Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.”   For those of you who may not be familiar with West Virginia, the town he visited, Welch, is a small town in McDowell County located in the extreme southern part of our state.  It is coal country.  The people there are hard-working, truly know the value of a dollar, are loyal, go to church on Sundays, and will gladly share with anyone what they have.  The following were Bourdain’s thoughts about McDowell County,  “Here, in the heart of every belief system I’ve mocked or fought against, I was welcomed with open arms by everybody.

No Reservations: Croatian Coast Pictures | Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations : Shows : TravelChannel.com | Travel Channel Anthony on an episode of  “Travel Chanel” in Croatian fish market.

“I do think the idea that basic cooking skills are a virtue, that the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill, should become as vital to growing up as learning to … cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain preparing what he called, “Sunday gravy.”  Better known as pasta sauce.

 

A few of Bourdain’s thoughts about cooking.

“No amount of restaurant food can replace home cooking.”

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

“I like butter. I like a lot of butter.” 

“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food,”

“To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living.”

“What nicer thing can you do for somebody than make them breakfast”

 

 

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

His book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly depicts his time at Brasserie Les Halles Photo from, “The Guardian.”

Anthony Bourdain was gifted with an abundance of enthusiasm.  He tried with everything in him to bring us together and to make the world a sweeter place.  The photo above was taken in a place he loved, Brasserie Les Halles, where he was the executive chef.

“Few things are more beautiful to me than a bunch of thuggish, heavily tattooed line cooks moving around each other like ballerinas on a busy Saturday night. ~ Anthony Bourdain

Chef Bourdain was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America in 2008. He has won numerous James Beard awards, Emmys, a Clio, Critics Choice awards, a Peabody, and a Webby award for his writing and television series. At the 2019 Creative Emmy Awards, Chef Bourdain received two awards posthumously for Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program and Outstanding Informational Series or Special for Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

“You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

Éric Frank Ripert was Anthony Bourdain’s dearest and treasured friend.  They traveled together, worked together, and enjoyed life together as friends do.  On June 8, 2018, they were in the small village of Kayserberg, France working on an episode of “Parts Unknown” when Bourdain passed away, all too soon.  I suppose this was fitting for Bourdain to leave us in a magnificently beautiful spot on this earth, that has two Michelin-star restaurants and is famous for its vineyards and culinary richness.    I also suppose it was fitting that it was Ripert who found him.  We don’t always understand these things, but perhaps we will one day.

“Garlic is divine, few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly.  Misuse of garlic is a crime.

By now, you have probably wondered, “Is she ever going to share a few recipes?”  Yes, I am.  However, I hope you understand that it is out of respect for this talented and incredible soul that I could not simply send along a few recipes without sharing a little about him.  Please know, I only touched the surface.  The recipes I am sharing today are from his “Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook.”  They are recipes I have tried and are delicious.

Anthony Bourdain

Steak au Poivre

Ingredients

4 8-ounce (225-g) steaks

2 ounces (56 ml) olive oil

2 ounces (56 g) freshly cracked peppercorns (meaning crushed but not ground to powder!)

4 ounces (112 g) butter

1 ounce (28 ml) good Cognac

4 ounces (110 ml) strong, dark veal stock (right now, you really could use a tiny bit of that demi-glace I told you to keep in your freezer)

Salt and pepper

Instructions

Cook the Steaks: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Moisten the meat very slightly with oil, then dredge each of the steaks in the crushed peppercorns to thoroughly coat. Don’t be shy with the pepper. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add 2 ounces (56 g) of the butter. Place the steaks in the pan and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook to desired doneness, about 5 to 7 minutes for rare, 10 minutes for medium-rare, and so on. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the steaks from the pan to rest. Have I told you yet to always rest your meat after cooking?  If not, I’ve told you now.

The Sauce: Return the skillet to the stovetop and carefully stir in the Cognac. As much fun as it is to create a column of flame as you add flammable material to an incredibly hot pan, it’s not really desirable or necessary—especially in a home kitchen. Unless you’re a pyromaniac, I recommend carefully adding the Cognac to the still-hot pan off the flame, stirring and scraping with the wooden spoon to get every scrap, every peppercorn, every rumor of flavor clinging to the bottom of the pan. Now place the pan on the flame again and cook it down a bit, by about half. Stir in the veal stock (and demi-glace) and reduce over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Whisk in the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with French fries or sautéed potatoes.

 

 Rôti de Porc au Lait

Ingredients

3 lb. boneless pork loin roast

salt and pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 leek, white part only, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tbsp. flour

2 cups whole milk

1 bouquet garni (1 sprig of flat parsley, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf, tied together)

Cook the Pork

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in the Dutch oven. When the oil is hot, add the butter. Brown the roast on all sides, 6 to 7 minutes total. Remove the roast from the pan and set it aside on the large plate. Add the onion, carrot, leek, and garlic and stir over high heat until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stirring constantly, add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, then add milk and the bouquet garni. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Add the pork and any juices that have collected on the plate. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour, making sure to periodically rotate the pork (the sugars in the milk can cause sticking and scorching). Remove the pork and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Finish the sauce and serve

Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Strain the cooking liquid into a small pot and bring to a boil. Using a hand blender, purée the sauce until foamy. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Carve the pork and arrange it on a serving platter. Spoon the sauce over and around and serve immediately.

 

 

Onion Soup Les Halles

Ingredients

For the broth:

6 ounces butter

8 large onions (or 12 small onions), thinly sliced

2 ounces port wine

2 ounces balsamic vinegar

2 quarts dark chicken stock, or low-sodium chicken or beef broth ~ I used regular chicken broth.

4 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 bouquet garni 

 

For the croutons and cheese:

16 baguette croutons (sliced and toasted in the oven with a little olive oil)

12 ounces grated Gruyère cheese (real, imported Gruyère!)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Special equipment: Make this soup in ovenproof soup crocks.

A propane torch is a very handy-dandy piece of equipment, especially if your stove is not the greatest. Nearly all professional kitchens have them; they’re not very expensive and they can be used for a variety of sneaky tasks, such as easily caramelizing the top of crème brûlée or toasting meringues.

Alternative:   You can simply toast cheese over the croutons on a sheet pan, and float them as a garnish on the soup. Not exactly classic—but still good.

For the broth:

In a large pot, heat the butter over medium heat until it is melted and begins to brown. Add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and browned (about 20 minutes). Onion soup, unsurprisingly, is all about the onions. Make sure the onions are a nice, dark, even brown color.

Increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the port wine and the vinegar, scraping all that brown goodness from the bottom of the pot into the liquid. Add the chicken stock. Note that the better and more intense your stock, the better the soup’s going to be. This soup, in particular, is a very good argument for making your own. Add the bacon and the bouquet garni, and bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, skimming any foam off the top with a ladle. Remove the bouquet garni.

 

For the croutons and cheese:

When the soup is finished cooking, ladle it into the individual crocks. Float two croutons side by side on top of each. Spread a generous, even heaping amount of cheese over the top of the soup. You want some extra to hang over the edges as the crispy, near-burnt stuff that sticks to the outer sides of the crocks is often the best part, once it comes out from under the heat.

Place each crock under a preheated, rip-roaring broiler until the cheese melts, bubbles, browns, and even scorches slightly in isolated spots. The finished cheese should be a panorama of molten brown hues ranging from golden brown to dark brown to a few black spots where the cheese blistered and burned. Serve immediately—and carefully. You don’t know pain until you’ve spilled one of these things.

If your broiler is too small or too weak to pull this off, you can try it in a preheated 425°F/220°C oven until the cheese is melted. A nice optional move: Once the mound of grated cheese starts to flatten out in the oven, remove each crock and, with a propane torch, blast the cheese until you get the colors you want.

Dear friends, I do hope you have enjoyed this post and will try the recipes and perhaps, his cookbooks.  I have not read “Kitchen Confidential,” but it is on my list.

Know I wish you many happy times in the kitchen with many hungry friends and loved ones.

Stay well!

 

“Food may not be the answer to world peace, but it’s a start.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

 

 

Bon Appétit,

Sandra

 

 

 

 

 

Images:  Pinterest

Much of the Information on Bourdain was taken from, Biography.com

Special Note:  We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States ~ 1-800-273-8255.  I feel certain the same is offered in Canada and abroad.  All we have to do is ask.