Sunday, May 31, 2009

weekend snapshots

1. tidy beds, 2. dado and the hostas, 3. baby phoebes, 4. first harvest, 5. toes, 6. prayer flags

a few peeks into the weekend...
lots of gardening
dado the friendly gargoyle peeks out from the hostas
the baby phoebe's are filling out their nest
first harvest of red oak leaf lettuce
enjoying jude's laundry as prayer flags

Friday, May 29, 2009

sharing a vision of love

I stayed up late 3 nights in a row to read Loving and leaving the good life by Helen Nearing. Each night I waited until I Jude’s restless legs settled down and I heard those sweet sleeping breaths that signify I am truly off the clock. Spending hours doing something alone is not something I do, so this seemed like complete indulgence. I kept thinking I would wake up regretting that I stayed up so late, and maybe because I have been fasting (due to getting my tooth pulled) I never felt tired.

The Nearings are having a huge impact on me like they have so many. It’s not new stuff. It is more like remembering what is important to me. Sometimes you are given information you know you can’t ignore (as much as you might like to) because it confirms visions or conclusions you’ve had through your own meditation . I read Diet for a small planet 20 years ago (ouch!) and I remember feeling the same sort of way. The funny thing is that I had two these two books (Living the good life and Loving and leaving the good life) for over a year and just decided to read them a couple of weeks ago.

On the last page of Loving and leaving the good life, Helen Nearing describes love. And what was very heartening about her description is that I had a vision the year after Bennett died that was identical to her description. In fact I share this vision often in talks I do for the Blue Butterfly Fund including last Friday when I spoke at the Taste of Mifflinburg. Reading this description in print for the first time after sharing it so recently myself really got my attention.

“Love is the source, love the goal, and love the method of attainment. A network of love crisscrosses the globe. The delicate shining lines form a tenuous web from one end of the world to the other. There are so many threads of love in the world, so much love going on, for and from so many people. To have partaken of and to have given love is the greatest of life’s rewards.”

Sunday, May 24, 2009

it starts with a color...yellow

I decided to play along with apples for poppy anne’s color challenge. This is a late entry given that it is Sunday of the yellow week. But these irises caught my eye. The warmth of spring is finally here, and these irises are a testament to that.

The arbor in the background was built by John and me the summer of our wedding. We were married on the other side of that arbor almost 14 years ago. When I think of all we did that year in preparation for our wedding, I feel like the last 14 years have been pretty unproductive, at least on my end. But I have been really inspired by Living the good life: how to live sanely and simply in a troubled world, by Scott and Helen Nearing (1954) who homesteaded in Vermont starting in their 50’s at the beginning of the depression. They built a beautiful stone house when they were in their 70’s and 90’s. And they grew nearly all of their own food…in Vermont that’s quite a feat. I have a ten year head start on there's hope. (Okay, upon further reading I think I'm mistaken about there ages when their stone house was built. It's probably 40's and 60's. But they were still building stone walls in their 70's and 90's. Very inspiring!)

Sadly the garden is starting to reach the tipping point when my obsession for weeding overtakes my passion for growing. Thank goodness for the perennial flowers, like these irises. They don’t care at all about the weeds, and I don’t have to do anything to appreciate their beauty except to take the time to notice them.

“For us the life in Vermont was definitely better because it permitted frequent contacts with nature, because it afforded an opportunity to master and direct nature forces, because manual skills were still practiced and because the routine of living was less exacting." -Scott and Helen Nearing

Thursday, May 21, 2009

happily bewildered

“Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment.” ~ Rumi

I came across this quote on apples for poppy anne, a blog I recently discovered through another favorite soulemama. I’m a big Rumi fan so that quote caught my attention right away, but then I realized it was also speaking to me. Sometimes we just need reminders of what we know to be true. And I am so thankful for the way God gives me these when I need them most.

I started a new treatment for Lyme disease last week, that has basically kicked me in the backside. After doing some research into the treatment and discovering other approaches in the process, my head started spinning (again) with all the new information and I started to feel that ever so familiar overwhelmed state creeping back into my mind, body, and soul. I told John that the more I read the more I feel hopeless. That’s just not me…that’s the disease. Of course, his wise response was, "well, stop reading." And really, it is just better to trust in something bigger than your own little mind or someone else little mind.

What I didn’t read and that I have to keep reminding myself of is that there is so much more to healing than the physical aspects and no one seems to share this information well. And the reason is (I think) that it can’t be explained in a rational way that can be contemplated and researched. Qigong, Reiki, meditation, prayer contribute greatly to my healing and general sense of well-being. Having a supportive circle of women friends is healing. Recognizing your blessings is healing. One of the things that I loved about apples for poppy anne is that she has a weekly post that is titled “Things that I am thankful for today.” I have used the acknowledgement of blessings in a similar way for a very long time and have seen the amazing effects of doing so.

When we are on the right track, the universe seems incredibly small. But small isn’t even the right word…the Universe seems focused. We are directed in ways that lead us to believe we are connected to everything. Our attention is brought back over and over to the things that we need to be focused on and soulmama did that again for me earlier this week. She posted another link in her LOVING section to craft hope.

Craft Hope is doing a doll making project for an orphanage in Nicaragua called Casa Bernabe. It turns out that our church has a mission to another orphanage called Casa Bernabe in Guatemala next month. And that came about because a good friend of mine, Angie, was lead to pray for a little boy, Gabriel, at this orphanage. As she shared the story of Gabriel and Casa Bernabe with a number of people, many of us prayed for them. Gabriel has returned to his biological family and now our church has many projects directed at helping the orphanage.

I really wanted to take part in the mission trip but didn’t feel I could commit given my health. With gratitude and bewilderment for all things that synchronicitiously come together, I am now planning on completing a doll for the craft hope project. And I hope that I can convince one or two of you to join me. Anyone???

Monday, May 18, 2009


Today under blue skies with the most perfect puffy white clouds we celebrated a birthday. Well, a few knew we were actually celebrating two birthdays. One of Jude’s friends, Scarlett, turned 2 today and invited a crew of kids over for an art party. Today is also Bennett’s birthday. He would have been 7.

Much to be grateful for today… I am grateful that Scarlett turned two and gave us a chance to celebrate this beautiful day being creative with joyful children.

We came home and decided to have a party for Bennett too. We made a flower cake from all the flowers blooming around our house right now. I used the top to my bamboo steamer for the form. The bottom recently came apart at the seams and I saved the top because I thought there might be something I could use it for, and it happened to be sitting on our shoe cabinet when I came in the house looking for something to use as a form. Since it was a windy day we used glue to affix the flowers. We used a special quilt that was given to us for Bennett and broke out a new tea set for a party.

When I asked Jude what he thought about making Bennett a cake with flowers, he was so excited. We never really talked to him much about Bennett because we didn’t know what he would understand. But we had this amazing conversation…
J: does Bennett like yellow flowers?
M: yes, I think he does.
J: is Bennett my cousin?
M: no, Bennett is your brother.
J: (big grin on Jude’s face) what does he do with me?
M: he watches over you.
John walked out of the house, and Jude ran over to him saying, “we are making a cake for Bennett.”
J: is she one angel?
John: yes, he is an angel

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone. ~George Elliot

Thursday, May 14, 2009

making a room, part 2

Okay, a month ago I started to try come up with a solution to this problem...

The toy baskets worked fine when Jude was younger.  There were fewer toys then, and I kept them organized.  Now that Jude plays more independently, a new system was needed.  He often ignored the toys in the baskets because he could see what was beneath the first layer.  

After having a vision for a new play area a month ago, it finally got put together yesterday.  I went to Target and they had the toy organizers that I picked out weeks ago on sale.  This isn't the greenest solution to our toy organizing dilemma.  If I had more patience, John would have made a simliar base and I would have made fabric boxes, but I'll just be grateful to China for their help in calming the toy chaos around here.  This organizer worked out great for us because we have a lot of little toys.  I bought the rug a year ago at Ikea, and Jude really likes to drive his cars and trucks on the roads, and it works perfectly to use it and the train table (the second one that John built...the first one is a gigantic piece of fine furniture with reversed tapered legs and made of walnut and crayon markings on the top) to define the 8' x 5' area.  

Jude discovered all the toys he didn't know he had, and I'm a pretty happy mama which is always a good thing!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

what's bloomin'

This is absolutely my favorite time of year.  I love the cool air in the mornings, the warmth of the afternoons, the flowers blooming everywhere, and the birdsong!  It makes me so filled with gratitude.  I wish I could bottle this up for times when I am...well, less grateful.  I went around trying to capture the beauty of our little corner in jpegs, but I didn't even come close.  This is what's blooming anyway....

perrenial forget-me-not with its pretty heartshaped leaves

foreground pink honeysuckle bush background favorite spot in the garden

purple lilac

wild pink columbine with spirea 
(wedding veil bush) in the background

The spring and summer before Jude was born I found a feather every day.  One exceptional day I found 14 feathers.  This year must be the year of nests.  I keep finding them.  Unfortunately, I found this one while weeding, and I didn't know where exactly it came from.   It just ended up in a garden path when I took an armful of weeds to the wheel barrow.  Look at the lovely little speckled eggs.  I tried to place it back where I thought it might have come from, but I sneaked out early this morning and there was no mama sitting on the nest.  I'm not so happy about that.

"It's spring don't know quite what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!" -Mark Twain

Sunday, May 10, 2009


He only said it once.  In fact, it was the only word he ever said.  And for some reason, after not thinking about this particular memory for a long time, the image of him sitting on the bed looking up at me with extended arms popped into my head Friday night.  And an endless flow of tears streamed down either side of my face.  It was if some dam broke.  I wasn’t consciously holding them back, but here they were.  And the funny thing was the deep aching pain that often accompanies these tears wasn’t there.  They were just tears and happiness for the boy he was.

 So this weekend leading up to mother’s day, I have been so grateful for both my boys.  They opened up my heart in a way I never knew was possible helping me to become more compassionate, mindful, selfless, and joyful.  And there were plenty of tears too, but how could I ever truly appreciate all that I have the way that I do if I hadn’t experienced all that I have.   No other people have taught me more about loving and being loved the way my two boys have except my own mother.  So I honor the three of them today.

I ran over to my mom’s cottage this morning to get her a cup of her coffee and was awestruck with how beautiful it was.  Again I thought about the gratitude I had for Bennett and Jude.  I looked down at my legs and a tiny blue spring azure fluttered about and followed me a bit.  This brought a smile to my face , joy to my heart, and filled me with overflowing love.  I hope you feel it too.  

"There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved." -George Sand

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

here we grow

Well, I finally had a peek into Phoebe’s nest and look what I saw…

It's little out of focused but I didn't want to disturb the nest too much.  This post is more of a garden journal entry more than anything. I took advantage of the brief break in the rain yesterday to do some planting and weeding, lots of weeding. The rain is making everything grow...our unmowed grass, the dandelions, the garlic mustard, and thankfully my second batch of peas are finally coming up. Yesterday, I planted Chinese cabbage, red cabbage, celery, kale. It's probably a bit late for these, but we’ll see. Here are some pictures of the garden carefully angled so the weeds don't detract from work that was accomplished!


chinese cabbage and red lettuce

While I was working quietly, a bald eagle flew circles low above the creek. It was being followed by a smaller hawkish/eaglish bird. I’m wondering if it was an immature eagle.

"He loved the earth and all things of the earth.. He knew that man's heart away from nature becomes hard, he knew the lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to the lack of respect for humans too." -Luther Standing Bear Land of the Spotted Eagle

Friday, May 1, 2009


This week I found myself being filled with gratitude for green. The little heat wave we had earlier this week forced all the green out at last. The heat was sweltering without our green canopy that we are accustomed to when temperatures go over 90. But now that bright, fresh, springtime green is everywhere with a few accents of pink thanks to the redbuds and tulips and blue thanks to the wild lobelia, violets, and the few grape hyacinths that are left.

I love how redbuds bloom right on the large branches and even the trunk.
 There are little orange leaves that have just started coming out too.

The birds are in heaven and their songs are in full force as well. There are a couple of birds that are making themselves right at home. A phoebe has made a really darling nest on top of the light in our shed. And a little wren knew not to pass up the golden opportunity of a woven grass birdhouse that hangs next to our kitchen window.

Happy May Day!

May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through. ~Irish blessing