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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Summer Gloom & the Sunny Side

Even in the rain and gloom,
I love how still the flowers bloom,
They stored up sun from other days,
To continue sharing in their own way,
The hummingbirds still flit and sip,
The nectar there as around they flit,
Let us then be flower-like,
Presenting, still, our sunny side.

I know this is hard to do, keeping things positive when it feels like life is drenching you in rain, and all seems gloomy.  Maybe you feel doomed, like you just can't win no matter what you do.  I've been there, many times.  It's a place we all visit, I think; the trick is not moving in.  Just as eventually the rain will end and the sun come out again, so will whatever is bringing you down.  At some point, things will change for the better.  When you are feeling that way, try to connect with someone who is at a point where they are feeling positive and soak in all that positive energy.  It can help you feel less victimized by your situation and more empowered to push through it.  Rarely is there only one way to solve a problem or handle a situation. Sometimes we need help seeing that, and weighing our options.  We may already be doing the best thing for us in the situation but sometimes just knowing there is another way to get through it makes it seem, somehow, less dark and dreary.  If you can't present your sunny side at the moment, find someone who can present theirs for you to draw from, even if it is a favorite author who inspires you, or a webinar or video with a positive message.  It helps me when I am having a rainy day.

We have hydrangea surrounded by hosta in the front yard and they are beautiful this year!

As I sat on the front deck I watched a bee collecting pollen from the new guinea impatiens.




Sunday, July 9, 2017

Summer Afternoon


Blue skies and sunshine,
A sight so divine,
Some might even say,
It's a day that's sublime!

This is a picture of some wind chimes I have. The closest is hanging from the Wisteria, the ones further away hang from the pipe frame we had the kiddie swing hung from when the girls were little.

Summer days have a special quality to them that makes them irresistible. This is especially true on a weekend afternoon. Give me warm sunshine, a deep blue sky with white puffy clouds, and a light breeze and I’m a happy woman! Throw in a weekend afternoon with no plans other than enjoying the beautiful weather and slow pace and I’ll call it heaven! Some people like to travel away or go somewhere and do things like play tennis, hike, ride bikes or go out in a boat on nice days. I'm more of a homebody and feel most comfortable and at peace when I’m relaxing in my own yard, enjoying the sound of my wind chimes, the breeze rustling the leaves as they sway lazily in the sun, and the colors and scent of my flowers. There's something to be said about just staying home and enjoying what you have worked so hard for. I treasure these kinds of days where there is no reason to rush around, just move through the day at a leisurely pace, read a book, watch a ballgame on tv, and throw something on the grill for dinner. Most of the year is filled with things to do and places to go on the weekends.  Summer slows things down and urges rest and enjoyment. Today I’ve sat outside blowing bubbles for my princess's entertainment, and read  a book in between contemplating the clouds’ shapes and the sunlight playing on the trees; I expect to do more of that every chance I get for the rest of the summer. Those are not the most exciting plans, but I can do without excitement for a couple of months. I hope you get a chance to slow down, relax, and enjoy your surroundings this summer--or go do the things you like to do. You know where I'll be!



The next two pictures are just looking through the trees with today's beautiful blue sky peeking through.


You can see the  white puffs of clouds, too.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Book Review

Every summer I read as many books as possible. I've always done so, for as long as I can remember, summertime was reading time. Lying in the sun, or lying on my bed I'd read away the hot days.  It's still my preferred method for beating the heat. Misty of Chincoteague was one of my childhood favorites, then as a teenager I was all about those Harlequin Romance paperbacks. As an adult I'm more likely to read a mystery or thriller, Mary Higgins Clark, Dean Koontz, Janet Evanovich,and John Grisham are some of my go-to authors. I also try to include a biography or two in my summer reading list. I hope you have time for reading all year, but especially in the summer.

Are you looking for a good book to read this summer? My friend, Idelle, has published a book, True Mercy, and it's available on Amazon. Here is my review:

Review of True Mercy by Idelle Kursman
Reviewer: Sue Donald

In her debut novel, “True Mercy”, the author depicts with skill two unlikely heroes, Adam, a young man who has moderate Autism, and his recently widowed father, Bruce. In this fast paced novel Ms. Kursman tells the story of how Adam and Bruce rescue Marina, a young woman running from Russian sex traffickers, whom Adam finds shortly after her escape.  While they are helping her find her way back to her native country, Moldova, to be reunited with her family, she is helping them find their way through the loss of the wife and mother whom the father and son depended on for care and direction.
In his child-like way Adam longs for the mother who took care of him his whole life and looks to his new friend Marina for the mother’s love he misses.  Bruce is trying to hold everything together-the full time care of his child-like adult son, his job, and his own grief when Marina enters the picture.  Feeling this is a complication he does not need, and fearing for the safety of Adam, he tries not to get involved in her troubles.  Inevitably the goodness of his spirit wins out and the three find themselves dodging danger and dealing with the police and criminals; hurling them into an adventure none had ever dreamed of.
The complex and seemingly unrelated subjects of Autism and the sex trade are woven together in a believable and easily understood manner. The drama unfolds primarily in Morristown, a rural northwestern New Jersey town. With a quiet neighborhood, pizzeria, and the local hospital depicted authentically, you get a sense of how unusual the events portrayed would be in such a quiet, bucolic setting.  The twists and turns of this thriller will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. You will root for Bruce and Adam to find their way through their grief and for Marina to be saved and reunited with her loving family in Moldova. Skillfully crafted characters and well set scenes make this a good read for a weekend afternoon.




Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Welcome Summer!


Welcome Summer,
You are hot!
Some of us like that a lot,
Some prefer dear Autumn's ways, 
With cooler air and shorter days,
But Summer now that you are here,
You'll go too fast is what I fear,
I love your sunny, longer days,
And in the twilight how fireflies play,
I will enjoy the parts I like,
But Humidity can take a hike!

Here we are at the end of June.  Summer is finally here and we have been having some truly wonderful weather with just the right mix of sun and rain to make flowers bloom and vegetable gardens grow. Oddly enough so far we have not had the usual invasion of spiders so I've been really enjoying spending time out side reading and just contemplating the sky and thinking poetic thoughts about the sunset. I think it's one of the things I like most about summer, the time to simply watch baby birds learning to fly, clouds drift lazily across the sky, and the setting sun coloring the sky with shades of gold and rose and purple. I have yet to see the fireflies, but with the sun setting so late in the evening I'm not outside when they are rising up out of the grass.  In another few weeks, when we get to the middle of July, the sun will set earlier and I will be watching those fireflies and remembering all the nights I spent with my brothers running around the yard catching them and putting them in a mayonnaise jar to watch them crawl around and light up in the dark.  All the games of hide and seek, tag, and Frisbee we played run through my mind when I'm sitting out in the evening, my husband and I sharing our memories from when we each were children.  I remember what was probably one of the last times I played Frisbee was either the summer before, or the one after my senior year of high school before I went to college. We lived across the street from an elementary school which had a huge field in front of it where we used to play.  That summer we took to gathering as many of our friends as wanted to join in, my brothers and I, and play keep away with the Frisbee.  The one game that sticks out most in my mind is commonly referred to as our Frisbee-kill-a-thon, which we played with a glow in the dark disc. I think it may have been boys against girls, but on certain details my memory is fuzzy.  It was dark in that field, and I recall lots of laughter, squeals, falling on top of each other wrestling for the Frisbee and just that feeling you get only on certain occasions when it feels like the whole world is perfect.  We had such fun that hot, sticky, summer night!  I'm not sure if that Frisbee survived, but I think I recall that we all signed it before breaking up the game.  My friends and I sat under the street light across from my house talking, and I seem to remember a cop stopping to ask what we were doing at that hour.  It can't have been any later than 11:00 or so, but in our sleepy little town in the 70's I guess that was late.  Life is much tamer now and I'm lucky if I stay awake past 10:00 at night!  But oh those summer nights of my youth are fun to reminisce about!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Days of Living

We live each day
As it comes
What else can we do?
We make mistakes,
We look around,
Beauty carries us through.

Ummm, a packet of hot cereal does not belong in my teacup!

Weekday mornings are hard! Typically I'm groggy and tired, and my head is filled with thoughts of everything I must do that day. So, is it any wonder that on Wednesday morning, before 6:00 I poured my packet of cream of wheat into my teacup instead of a bowl? As soon as I did it I knew it wasn't right. So I shook my head, called myself a fool, took a picture, (well I had to share this moment of being totally an imperfect human!), then outed the cereal into a bowl and proceeded to pour the boiling water. We all do things like that from time to time. We are all busy with work and life, it's easy to get distracted by our thoughts and end up with things that don't go together in our cups from time to time. 
One of the first Clematis blossoms after a rainy morning.

As I approached my door after work the other day I noticed that the Clematis had bloomed and this flower sat right on top of the deck rail. It looked beautiful with the raindrops still on it and in the dim light of a cloudy, showery day the color seemed vibrant to me. Unexpected sights like this brighten every day. We need to only look around and quiet all the to do lists in our heads. I love those moments of beauty that are sprinkled through the chaos of daily life!
A child's party plate.

We went out to dinner with the church choir and spouses, (I'm the spouse, my husband is the choir member), and the director gave each of us one of these plates. She liked the inspirational message on it, she's the kind of person who does things like that regularly. It was a pleasant evening; a nice break in the busyness of the workweek. 

It is in simply living our lives, laughing at our mistakes, appreciating the beauty around us, and connecting with other people that make our days good.