‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ “With Heart and Hands”

” . . .but I also think of hands as the instruments of our love and creativity.  With our hands, we put our heart, spirit, and thoughts into action.” ~ Alexandra Stoddard


Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  August is moving along, so I do hope this finds you enjoying these last days of summer.  Especially, I hope it finds you doing the little things you love.

” It’s as interesting and as difficult to say a thing as well as to paint it.  There is the art of lines and colors, but the art of words exists too, and will never be less important.” ~ Vincent van Gogh

As many of you may be aware, I am a great fan of Alexandra Stoddard.  Her words continue to inspire me and I have read her book Gracious Living In a New World too many times to count.  Published in 1997, and quite relevant today, it serves as a guide to living well when the world around you is not pretty and is changing by leaps and bounds.  I urge you to see if you can find a copy of this motivating book.  You will not be disappointed. 

In re-reading this treasure the other day,  there was one chapter that was particularly touching and thought-provoking ~ “With Heart and Hands.” It brought to my attention, once again, the importance and the power of little things, such as writing letters.  Alexandra tells us, “All well-meaning letters are love letters.”  How true and what a beautiful thought.  When we write a letter, we reach out and connect with another.  Often, it is someone we care about and have had in our thoughts.  And, think for a moment how special it is to receive something hand-written in the stack of mostly worthless mail.   Actually, one can almost become giddy at the sight.

Should you be interested, Alexandra writes a lovely monthly newsletter ~ visit here.   The newsletter is often a bit lengthy but always a worthy read.


“The tomatoes I planted and later picked from the garden are now ripening on the window ledge ~ my hands have played a role in every stage, even now at this final stage when I slice them to make a delicious tomato and basil salad to serve to a friend.” ~ Alexandra Stoddard

These little things we do in our chaotic world hold power, give fond memories and make our hearts happy.  Who among you has sat on the porch with a loved one and snapped beans?  Goodness, I can’t count the times I sat with my grandmother on her porch swing and did just that. Our ‘hearts and ‘hands were in this endeavor.  Those memories are ones I will always treasure.

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Back a few years, when I was still working. it was just before Christmas and there were around fifty ladies in the office.  Having been in a school office for twenty-seven years prior to going to the central office, I was accustomed to giving a wee gift to the office staff (around ten).  There is a big difference between fifty and ten.  Therefore, after a great deal of thought, I came up with cranberry jelly.  So, one Saturday, with my ingredients and equipment all in order, I spent the better part of the day making the jelly.  It turned out perfect.  Then I dressed the jars with little white doilies, and tiny Canadian Hemlock pine cones (gathered from Mom’s trees in WV) and tied them with red and green ribbons.  The jars were so pretty.  And oh, the joy they brought.  You see, the ladies were not accustomed to receiving a little gift and that made it all the more special.  A bit of love and appreciation in a jar ~ made with my ‘heart and hands.’

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.  And perhaps received a bit of inspiration toward the joy of things made with our ‘heart and hand.’  They mean so much in our current world.  In fact, they have almost become a rarity.  Even sharing a little basket of your hand-picked blueberries is an amazing sweet thought. 

Know I wish you and yours a beautiful day and week ahead.  

And. . .

May someone’s ‘heart and hand’ touch your life.


“If nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open and so is your heart.” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett





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9 thoughts on “‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ “With Heart and Hands”

  1. Good Morning Sandra. I do remember sitting on the porch snapping beans! What a lovely post today. Have a wonderful week ahead.

  2. Thank you for the link to Alexandra S’s newsletter. I will subscribe. I loved your memory of bean snapping (I didn’t do that, but other things with my gran so similar) and the gifts for your colleagues. One gift I will always remember was a spice jar of tarragon from a friend’s garden. I like tarragon and was pleased, of course. But it wasn’t until I grew tarragon many years later that I realized what a precious gift it was. That takes such a long time to grow and get enough to fill one spice jar, much less several for the others she gave. Those things mean so very much. Have a beautiful week.

    1. Jeanie, such a lovely gift from your friend. Yes, it does take a long time to grow that amount of tarragon. It truly is about the little things. I know she would be thrilled to know how much you appreciated her thoughtfulness. Hope you have had a lovely week at your gorgeous lake.

  3. As always, a lovely post! I sat many times in my childhood snapping beans and shelling peas, sweet memories. I had that Alexandra Stoddard book, but I don’t know if I still do, I must check and see. The cranberry jelly sounds like a perfect gift. Wishing you and Mike a beautiful Sunday!

    1. Such special memories we are fortunate to have, dear Pam. Hope you still have the book -it is a treasure. Hope you all had a lovely day and may you have a beautiful week!

  4. Yes, I have many fond memories of shelling peas, butterbeans, and snapping beans on my grandmother’s porch.
    It is an honor to receive a handwritten note, and so rare I save them. By necessity, since I have hand issues, I have to type things these days but do appreciate the time it takes to send a note or card with a message.
    Your thoughtful handmade jelly gifts were deeply appreciated, I am sure.
    Gracious Living in a New World sounds inviting. Thanks for the recommendation.
    Have a lovely week!

    1. Bonnie, I forgot about the peas and butterbeans. In Mississippi, they grow what my grandmother referred to as, “field peas.” And she loved them and bought them by the bushel. Needless to say, they had to be shelled. But the time with her was such a treasure, I am so fortunate to have the memories.

  5. Alexandra’s books changed my life, enriched it so much! I had all of them except her first early one but then when we downsized I only kept two, sold the rest and have regretted it many times. I did keep my notebook full of quotations from her books, thank goodness. I love her newsletter. Didn’t we used to get her newsletters mailed to us, many years ago? She would love your story of the tiny jars of cranberry jelly given to your new co-workers!

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