Thursday, March 26, 2020

Finding a Light in the Dark

Hello, Dear Friends. 
As we wake to dark days, 
I pray that you are finding strength 
to shine the light of hope 
for family, friends, and all mankind. 

It's not easy when we hear and see so much sadness
and feel so much fear during this corona-virus pandemic. 

I know that I am struggling with how to keep 
myself on an even keel and not succumb 
to dark imaginations. 

I'm having more than my fair share of nightmares
lately, and I know that is just a manifestation 
of the fears we all face as we try 
to navigate this brave new world. 

Dark clouds invade my mind, but I try to push 
them away and focus on all that is bright and 
hopeful, by finding small things to bring a bit of 
joy to my days.  

My heart is very heavy right now with all 
of the suffering going on in these terrible times.
It's hard not to worry.....
especially for those loved ones we all hold dear. 

Not to mention all of the brave souls in the medical 
community; the doctors, nurses and the first responders.
The police, military and fire personnel, 
the grocery workers, pharmacists, aid workers, 
daycare and eldercare workers, 
suppliers and distributors, postal workers, 
 and those in government which are never able to rest. 

Our true heroes. 

I pray for all those who are sick and all those who 
have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.  

Spring is here, while winter tries to linger on.....

Although, it quickly melts away. 

Dark clouds sometime reveal beautiful rainbows.

(Can you see the flock of birds flying by?
These are crows who have roosted in these hills 
for all the years that I have lived here)

The kindness of humanity that we see in dark times 
more than makes up for those that want to 
take advantage by sowing hate, fear and chaos. 

Light always overcomes the dark. 

I've spent some time in my sewing room creating 
masks for the Mr. and I. 

We are now in that high-risk age group. 
Don't ask me where the years went......

If you want to make some of your own, 
I found the directions at  The 'Button Counter' Blog.

(Just click on this link and it will take you there)

One 'Fat Quarter' will be enough to make two. 

(click on the link to bring you to a wonderful on-line shop
for supplies)

We took the masks with us last night when we ventured 
out for the first time in weeks, to go to the grocery store, 
an hour before it closed. 

We were nearly the only ones there......
There was a single gentleman
and a young couple - she with pretty, pale pink hair. 

But so many of the shelves were bare. 
No sugar, flour, soup or pasta. 
No toilet paper, paper towels or cleaners.
The only peanut butter was the chunky kind :) 

I managed to find some manicotti noodles,
at the back of the top shelf, which 
Ramblin' Man had to climb, 
and some stevia for our coffee, and an incredibly 
expensive bag of gourmet brown rice. 

There was plenty of milk, bread, eggs and produce, but 
the candy aisle was completely wiped out.

Ramblin' Man almost panicked, until he found 
some Hershey bars and lifesavers stuffed in the back. 

Speaking of Ramblin' Man, his dream of retirement 
at the end of this month has just come to a crashing halt. 

The day after he took our little grandson for a 'flower-picking' walk, 
his company begged him to stay on for a few months more. 
(He oversees a large network of distributors in 
the salty snack-food industry)

In this time of 'sheltering in place', people 
want that little something to snack on while watching all those 
Netflick movies with the family :)

And with what has happened to our, and everyone's 401-K, 
 we will be saving as much as we possibly can in the 
next few months for retirement.
We feel very blessed and grateful for this opportunity.
Luckily, he can do most of his work from home right now.

We have well-water that is safe to drink,
but tastes horrible due to the high mineral content,
so we always bought bottled water.
With all the hoarding, there was none to be found.

Our Big Berkey water filter came just in time.
I ordered it a month ago, to save money in retirement,
and I am so glad that I did!
(They are now on back-order due to the corona-virus.)
We now have unlimited, crystal-clear, delicious water,
and I couldn't be more grateful to have it.

We had several days of beautiful, sunny weather in
the mid-50's and I was able to get outside to work
in my gardens.

I call them 'gardens', but in reality, they are mostly wild,
ungoverned patches of ground-covers, ferns, wildflowers
and a few hardy 'domesticated' plants like daffodils,
bleeding heart, and hydrangea.

For almost 40 years I have tried to tame this wild, woodland
mountainside, much to my frustration.

I was in my mid-twenties when we moved here.
So young and naive :)

Over the years I have learned to work with nature.

Lemon balm springs up everywhere.
I grew some nursery plants years ago,
and they were happy here - so much so that they've
nearly gone wild.

The same can be said for 'Forget-me-not'. I bought
one little plant at a church sale many years ago,
and now they are everywhere. Soon they will bloom,
bringing the whole blue sky down to earth.

Foxglove grows wild here - brought by pioneer women
who created their own digitalis, a very potent heart drug.
These beautiful plants are deadly poison if ingested,
so extreme care must be used around children.

We had ponies when my children were young,
and they would eat almost anything,
but always left the foxglove alone.

Sedum seems to like it here, too, and these have grown
in my wildflower garden for many years, spreading
slowly around. They grow very tall and bloom for
months, eventually giving me dried bouquets.
I use sections of wire fencing formed into hoops
to hold up their long, heavy stems.

All of these plants are left alone by deer, rabbits and slugs.
I can't tell you how many times I have planted
something beautiful, only to find nothing but a few bare stems by morning.

Primrose, hosta, and marigolds come to mind.
These are only grown in pots on my deck now.

Live and learn.

I had a visitor land on my glasses while I was working.

I have no idea if he is a 'good bug' or a 'bad bug', but
it doesn't matter.
Anything that gets eaten doesn't get planted again.

It makes my life so much easier.

Editing is the key to happiness.

I splurged on these glasses.
They are 'Transitions'.
I don't have to use those ugly clip-on sunglasses anymore.
It's wonderful.
I highly recommend them.

Speaking of transitions - our warm, sunny weather has
given way to rain, hail, and fresh snow in the mountains.

The last evening of clear skies brought us a beautiful sunset
reflected on the Cascades.

Mt. Rainier looked like a scrumptious mound of cotton candy.

It's amazing how light can transform reality.

No matter how dark life seems right now,
we must always search for the light.


"In this world, you must be a bit too kind
in order to be kind enough."
- Pierre Carlet, novelist and dramatist -
"The basis of all good human
behavior is kindness."
- Eleanor Roosevelt, American first lady
and social activist -
"Wise sayings often fall on barren ground;
but a kind word is never thrown away."
- Sir Arthur Helps, writer -


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hello, Dear Friends, and Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Although my Grandmother was Scottish, my Grandfather was 
Irish and from County Cork. 
My Mr.'s Grandfather was from County Cork, too! 

I feel a real kinship with my Gaelic ancestors
and my dream is to visit the 'homeland' some day. 

Until then, I must be content with sharing some of 
my favorite Irish Proverbs with some vintage St. Patrick's Day greetings. 
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

'May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,
the foresight to know where you are going, 
and the insight to know when you have gone too far.'

'Always remember that hindsight is the best
insight to foresight.'

'Say a little and say it well.'

'Where the tongue slips it speaks the truth.'

'A man's got to do what a man's got to do.
Women must do what he can't.'

'The work praises the man.'

'Do not resent growing old. 
Many are denied the privilege.'

'Continual cheerfulness is a sign of wisdom.'

'The light heart lives long.'

'Better to be a man of character than a man of means.'

'Better to be fortunate than rich.'

'God's help is nearer than the door.'

'If God sends you down a stony path,
may he give you strong shoes.'

'Perseverance is the Mother of good luck.'

'Need teaches a plan.'

'A friend's eye is a good mirror.'

'However long the day, the evening will come.'


May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face, 
The rain fall upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the 
Palm of His hand. 


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Nature's Awakening

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are keeping up spirits 
as we move towards a brand-new season. 

Hope and faith is what we all need right now
as we try to weather the storms of life. 

As nature celebrates new 
beginnings, it reminds us that even the bleakest winter 
eventually gives way to the warmth of spring. 

Nature's resilience reminds us that we, too, are resilient,
and that we must draw on our faith to guide us
through these perilous times.

Hope springs eternal.

I think of my Scottish immigrant Great-Grandmother,
who's husband committed suicide,
leaving her a widow with nine children to raise.
Her four year old son died of pneumonia, shortly thereafter,
a bag of garlic tied around his tiny neck - the only
known 'remedy' of the times.

My own grandmother, Beatrice Euphemie,
 her eldest daughter, had to work as a household helper,
far from her Vermont home, in a seaside Connecticut town.
There she met her future husband, my Irish Grandfather,
 at the only fun she had - a Saturday night social.
It just so happened he was at port as a commercial
fisherman. The rest is history.

My Great-Grandmother found work as a cook
 and laundress in a logging camp,
after farming out her oldest children, like my Grandmother,
to whomever could offer
meals and lodging in return for hard work.

She fell in love with the foreman of the camp,
who used her and left her with child,
and thinking she would never recover
from the shame and despair,
found a savior in the guise of
a gentleman logger, who stepped up and
made her his wife.

He took her to live on his small Vermont farm
 and raised her children
as his own, and loved her 'till he died.


We all have family stories in the archives, of
struggle, and strength through resilience, despite incredible odds.
Our country was built by these brave souls who
kept the faith, who believed in tomorrow,
who were kind to those in need, or needed those in kind.
Who have persevered through feast and famine,
war and peace, poverty and prosperity, sickness and health.

I especially love the English stoicism
through the bombing of World War II.
'Keep Calm and Carry On'.

Good advice in these difficult times.

The plum trees are blooming, lifting the sagging spirits
of all who pass by. 

My country roads are filled with such beauty, I can 
hardly keep my eyes on the road. 

The wild plum, seeded by hungry birds,
light up the somber forest as it awakens to spring.

The delicate blooms last such a brief time, it seems 
a travesty of nature to tease us with such beauty, 
only to leave us forsaken so soon. 

I gather the branches in a futile attempt to 
prolong the inevitable - proof that despite 
our most fervent attempts, all things must pass.

Which, in some respects, can be a good thing. 

I have been sneaking outside on sunny days to 
get some fresh air, find peace, and contemplate 
the beauty of nature. 

My favorite Irish prayer comes to mind
as I go about my gardening tasks. 

'God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.' 

I also pray to the Archangel Raphael, 
patron saint of illness, defender 
of groups of people and nations. 

My hydrangea hedge required a whole afternoon of 
careful snipping to remove all of the dried blooms. 

I quickly filled a whole tarp.

My helper keeps a watchful eye.

 I leave it under a tree for the Mr. to haul away. 

It looks rather like a messy bunch of twigs right now,
sort of like my hair in the morning :)

This little sweetie kept us company. 

We are still getting snow in the higher hills.
Winter is lingering...…..

My first Camellia flower of the season.

'Everything that slows us down and forces patience,
everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. 
Gardening is an instrument of grace.'

-May Sarton, poet and novelist- 

I've started a spring embroidery. 

My rosemary survived the winter with self-seeded pansies. 
The large pot holds an evergreen clematis, tiny daffodils 
and a persistent dandelion that provides spring greens. 

'As in nature. And in the arts, so in grace; it is 
rough treatment that gives souls as well as stones, 
their lustre. The more the diamond is cut the brighter 
it sparkles, and in what seems hard dealing, God
has no end in view but to perfect our graces. He
sends tribulations, but tells us their purpose,
that tribulation worketh patience, and patience
experience, and experience hope. 

-Thomas Guthrie, clergyman and philanthropist -

Storms make trees take deeper roots. 

- Dolly Parton -


Thank you for visiting, Dear Friends. 
Stay safe, stay strong and keep the faith. 


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