Saturday, July 22, 2017

To Everything there is a Season

The Pergola with daisies, lilies and a few roses in bloom

 "To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven."  At that thought, a familiar song likely comes to mind reminding us of spring, summer, fall and winter and the world around us.  But there is so much more to the seasons of our life . . . SO much more. 
"We are always coming to the end of something; nothing earthly is long-lived. Many things last but for a day; many, for only a moment. You look at the sunset-clouds, and there is a glory in them which thrills your soul; you turn to call a friend to behold the splendor with you—and it has vanished, and a new splendor—as wondrous, though altogether different—is in its place. You cross a field on an early summer morning, and every leaf and every blade of grass is covered with dewdrops, which sparkle like millions of diamonds as the first sunbeams fall on them; but a few moments later you return, and not a dewdrop is to be seen! You walk through your garden one summer morning, and note its wondrous variety of flowers in bloom, with their marvelous tints and their exquisite loveliness; tomorrow you walk again along the same paths, and there is just as great variety and as rich beauty—but all is changed. Many of yesterday's flowers are gone—and many new ones have bloomed out.

We come also to the end of trials and sorrows. Every night has a morning, and, however dark it may be, we have only to wait a little while for the sun to rise, when light will chase away the gloom. Every black cloud that gathers in the sky, and blots out the blue, or hides the stars—passes away before long; and when it is gone there is no stain left on the blue, and not a star's beam is quenched or even dimmed. The longest winter that destroys all life and beauty in field, forest and garden—is sure to come to an end, giving place to the glad springtime which re-clothes the earth in verdure as beautiful as that which perished.. . .
So it is with life's pains and troubles. Sickness gives place to health. Grief, however bitter, is comforted by the tender comfort of divine love. Sorrow, even the sorest, passes away—and joy comes again, not one glad note hushed, its music even enriched by its experience of sadness.

Thus in a Christian life—no shadow lingers long. Then it will be but a little time until all shadows shall flee away before heaven's glorious light—when forever life will go on without a pain or a sorrow! There is another ending: we shall come to the end of life itself. We shall come to the close of our last day; we shall do our last piece of work, and take our last walk, and write our last letter, and sing our last song, and speak our last "Goodnight". Then tomorrow we shall be gone, and the places that have known us—shall know us no more. Whatever other experiences we may miss—we shall not miss dying. Every human path, through whatever scenes it may wander, must bend at last into the Valley of Shadows.

Yet we ought not to think of death as calamity or disaster; if we are Christians, it will be the brightest day of our whole life—when we are called to go away from earth—to heaven. Work will then be finished, conflict will be over, sorrow will be past, death itself will be left behind, and life in its full, true, rich meaning will only really begin! The fragility and transitoriness of life, should lead us to be always ready for death. Though we are plainly taught by our Lord, not to worry about anything that the future may have in store for us; we are as plainly taught to live so as to be prepared for any event which may occur. Indeed, the only way to eliminate worry from our present—is to be ready for any possible future. Death is not merely a possible event—but is an inevitable event in everyone's future; we can live untroubled by dread of it—only by being ever ready for it. Preparation for death—is made by living a true Christian life. If we are in Christ by faith, and then follow Christ, doing his will day by day—we are prepared for death, and it can never surprise us unready.

True preparation for death is made, when we close each day as if it were the last. We are never sure of tomorrow; we should leave nothing incomplete any night. Each single separate little day—should be a miniature life, complete in itself, with nothing of duty left over. God gives us life by days, and with each day—he gives its own allotment of duty—a portion of his plan to be wrought out, a fragment of his purpose to be accomplished by us. Our mission is to find that bit of divine will—and do it. Well-lived days make completed years, and the years well lived as they come—make a life beautiful and full. In such a life no special preparation of any kind is needed; he who lives thus—is always ready. Each day prepares for the next, and the last day prepares for glory.

If we thus live, coming to the end of life need have no terror for us. Dying does not interrupt life for a moment. Death is not a wall cutting off the path—but a gate through which passing out of this world of shadows and unrealities—we shall find ourselves in the immediate presence of the Lord and in the midst of the glories of the eternal home!

We need have only one care—that we live well our one short life as we go on, that we love God and our neighbor, that we believe on Christ and obey his commandments, that we do each duty as it comes to our hand, and do it well. Then no sudden coming of the end will ever surprise us unprepared. Then, while glad to live as long as it may be God's will to leave us here—we shall welcome the gentle angel who comes with the golden joy to lead us to rest and home!"
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 
 Eccl 3:1 

Coming to the End by  J. R. Miller, 1888

Friday, July 21, 2017


Grandma EML

It is intriguing to look back at the people who are very much a part of our lives even though we never knew them.  Their influence lives on, and we would do well to learn from our history.  We don't know why some things happen as they do, but we can know that our Heavenly Father always knows what is best.  Someday, perhaps we will too.

My grandfather's first wife, a beautiful French girl, died when she was very young following an abortion for she did not wish a second child, at least then. His second wife,  according to my aunt who was still a child when she passed, "was admired for her lovely smile . . . Erma was a kind, gentle, patient person. She taught the young people's Sunday School Class and was President of the Ladies Aid . . . She was tall and had long red hair and brown eyes."  Grandma died just 26 days after their last son, was born. She'd had a sinus infection. After a healthy birth at home, everything seemed to be going fine, until she mentioned to her husband that something had "burst" in her head. Apparently this was due to the sinus infection which caused her to die shortly thereafter of septicemia.

The above photo was taken shortly before Grandma and Grandpa married in about 1919, probably at the nearby creek where my brother and I would later spend many a blissful Saturday afternoon fishing with dad's long bamboo poles, having ridden with them on our bicycles to the old fishing hole. I didn't know much about Grandma then for my own father died when I was in Kindergarten and life went on. 

I never knew this Grandmother whose life ended when my father was still very small. Grandpa never remarried. My father's older sister, a very dear aunt, perhaps so very much like her beloved mother, showed me the braid of hair she treasures, cut when she was so sick in hopes of saving her strength.  I never knew my grandfather very well either for it was heartbreaking for him to lose his not only two young, dear and lovely wives but then his son who had so much promise and potential in yet another tragedy.

She also gave me this precious photograph of her mother possibly developed herself and taken with the old Brownie camera which my aunt still has.

It is thought-provoking for me to note that I would not be writing this if Grandpa's first wife had not died nor would I have had two more dear sisters if my own father had not passed away.

I often look in the mirror of life with wonder . . .


MAIDEN! with the meek, brown eyes,
In whose orbs a shadow lies
Like the dusk in evening skies!
Thou whose locks outshine the sun,
Golden tresses, wreathed in one,
As the braided streamlets run!

Standing, with reluctant feet,
Where the brook and river meet,
Womanhood and childhood fleet!
Gazing, with a timid glance,
1On the brooklet's swift advance,
On the river's broad expanse!
Deep and still, that gliding stream
Beautiful to thee must seem,
As the river of a dream.
Then why pause with indecision,
When bright angels in thy vision
Beckon thee to fields Elysian?

Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove, with startled eye
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?
Hearest thou voices on the shore,
That our ears perceive no more,
Deafened by the cataract's roar?

Oh, thou child of many prayers!
 Life hath quicksands, Life hath snares!
Care and age come unawares!
Like the swell of some sweet tune
Morning rises into noon,
May glides onward into June.
Childhood is the bough, where slumbered
Birds and blossoms many numbered;
Age, that bough with snows encumbered.
Gather, then, each flower that grows,
When the young heart overflows,
To embalm that tent of snows.

Bear a lily in thy hand;
Gates of brass cannot withstand
One touch of that magic wand.
Bear through sorrow, wrong, and ruth
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth.

O, that dew, like balm, shall steal
Into wounds, that cannot heal
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal;
And that smile, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart,
For a smile of God thou art.

~author unknown

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Weaving Thoughts

Handwoven silk boucle shawl created on my LeClerk Loom

My life is but a weaving, between the Lord and me,

I may not choose the colors,

He knows what they should be;

For he can view the pattern upon the upper side

While I can see it only on this, the under side.

Sometimes He weaveth sorrow, which seemeth strange to me;

But I will trust His judgment, and work on faithfully;'

Tis He who fills the shuttle, and He knows what is best,

So I shall weave in earnest, leaving to Him the rest.

Not till the loom is silent, and the shuttles cease to fly

Shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why--

The Dark threads are as needed in the Weaver's skillful hand

As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.

--Author Unknown

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I meant to . . .

I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
(author unknown)

Monday, July 17, 2017


Maximillian ~ our resident guard cat
Max, as you may recall from an earlier post, came howling at our back door one bitterly cold December eve. He has since adopted us and we became his beloved family.. Even my husband who doesn't care for cats has been befriended by the persistent Max who never ceases to amaze as skillful hunter and faithful companion.

A garden without cats,
it will be generally agreed,
can scarcely deserve
to be called a garden at all.-
Beverly Nichols, Garden Open Tomorrow, 1968

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Perfect Time

How many stanzas in the springtime breeze?
How plenty the raindrops?
As He doth please.
There is no meter and there is no rhyme,
Yet God's poems always read in perfect time.
~Astrid Alauda, "Poems on Nature"

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Essentials :-)

My  Herb Garden in July

I have often mentioned using essential oils and herbs. Just came across this article by Taylor Miller which will provide some very helpful insights:

"Essential Oils, or EO’s, have infinite purposes. Here are 19 tried and true practices for the beginning user. Believe it or not, this list is by no means exhaustive, but it was somewhat exhausting to write!

Lots of mixing to ensue.
An Essential oil will release its powerful fragrance if cleverly placed . . . 

1. Put a few drops of Peppermint Essential Oil on a napkin, and rub over a lightbulb. When you switch it on, the bulb will heat and release a beautiful minty scent. But please use only on tungstens, not compact fluorescents. If you are more environmentally friendly, a stove top, when warmed, creates a similar effect.
2. I always put a few drops of essential oil on my new furnace filters. When the air blows through the vent, it circulates the beautiful scent throughout your house (much cheaper and healthier than those room-to-room evanescent fresheners!) If you use a disinfecting oil, like Lavender or Tea Tree, you can stop some nasties before they invade or to cut back on dust mites, use Eucalyptus. Every week or so, add a few more drops for continued enjoyment.
3. If the night lights in said “fresheners” (Tip 2) are just too irresistible to give up, refill the reservoir with a few drops of Essential Oil and water for an easy-peasy, CHEAP, solution.
4. Harvest and dry some of your summer flowers, your spike speedwells and roses, your lavenders and mums. Dry them by hanging them upside down, and then cut ‘em into small pieces. Mix in a few drops of your favorite smelling EO, wrap in a tissue or thin cloth and BAM, instant potpourri.
5. For an air freshener that lasts, mix 10 parts vodka with 1 part of your favorite EO (maybe Bergamont or Cedar) in a spray bottle. But just don’t drink it, kapeesh?
6. And why not mix in some EO with a bucket of paint (might I suggest lemon)? Essential oils aren’t fatty, so oil spots shouldn’t be a problem. But if you’re a worry-wort (like me), experiment on a small patch of wall and let dry.
7. ¡Amor, amorĂ©! Scent love letters by stretching a half cotton ball, doused with a couple drops of Jasmine EO and seal in an envelope. Caution: Jasmine is an aphrodisiac. Well, that may not be so much of a caution, really as just a … a head’s up.
Many essential oils are concentrated enough, they disinfect!
8. Vinegar is a super-effective cleaner but smells egregiously bad. And anti-bacterial sprays do only that, kill bacteria. But fungal spores are a growing problem (literally), and EO’s can save the day. In a large spray bottle, mix Tea Tree or Lavender oil (and be generous) with a cup of vinegar. It’s an instant multi-surface cleaner, so use it.
9. For caked on gunk (in the bath or kitch), mix in a bowl some baking soda and lemon juice until you have a paste, then add an EO for extra scent and as an antiseptic. The baking soda is used as a mild-abrasive, and the citric acid in the lemon juice cuts through the grease and grime. Basically, Lemon juice + EO = Love.
10. Brush a TEENSY bit of EO onto your microfibre or brand name duster to super-scent your daily dust-bust.
11. Last night I dropped a couple drops of Peppermint EO in the dishwasher with the detergent, and as the dishes heated, the aroma warmed my home.
12. For a home-made carpet deodorizer, mix some EO with baking soda in a large bowl. Let the oil dry for several hours (or you’ll have oil spots), then stick in a mason jar and punch holes in the lid. Shake-it-like-a-salt-shaker on your carpets, let it breathe for 4 hours, and vacuum away!
And surely you’re aware of the health benefits …
13. The EO vs. the Dust Mite. Ah, how I hate the dust mite (See the post: Attack of the Killer Tea Bag). All my friends have allergies, and I’ve been trying to find effective solutions to make them more comfortable visitors. I read a study on the USDA Web site that says, in small quantities, Eucalyptus oil, when added to the wash, kills dust mites on fabric (which is tough to do, because most can survive washing AND drying). Don’t put too many drops of EEO on fabrics or you could potentially damage your washer. Like they say, a lil’ dab’ll do ya.
14. After you’ve applied tip 13 in the wash, put a few drops of Lavender EO on a damp cloth and throw it in the dryer with your bed sheets. Bugs hate it (see tip 15), and studies have shown Lavender to be an effective sleep aid. Don’t let the bed bugs bite! You can use the same trick for towels, because it won’t reduce static like fabric softener or dryer sheets (so your towels will still absorb water).
15. Eucalyptus oil can be your one stop shop for essential health: Put a drop on your toothbrush to wake up your gums. Rub a bit under your stuffy nose to clear your nasal passages. Sit a bottle on your desk at work, and inhale every so often to keep you awake. Mix with a bit of baby oil and massage on achy joints or muscles. Mix one teaspoon with some Epsom salts and soak your worked-out feet. And mix a few drops of Eucalyptus oil with your shampoo to stimulate blood flow to the scalp (baldness-be-gone).
Bugs vs. Essential Oils, a one-sided war …
16. My grandma has this beautiful trunk that reeks of moth balls, gross. There’s a better solution: Lavender, Rosemary and Sweet Basil all contain a chemical compound known as camphor, which is the effective ingredient in moth balls. Camphor has a distinctive smell that moths hate, and most of the aforementioned essential oils have retained some camphor in the oil process, but smell good. Mix it with a Cedar EO in potpourri and wrap them in a tissue or thin fabric to put in drawers, chests or trunks. BEWARE: Moth balls, when consumed or inhaled, can be fatal!
17. Put Citronella oil on a rag and wipe buggy or spidery walls. Insects hate it, and if there are no bugs, there are no spiders.
18. Put a dab of Eucalyptus oil between the shoulder blades of your dog (where they can’t lick it off) to discourage ticks.
19. 2 cups of water + 1 TSP of Eucalyptus Oil + ½ TSP of Dishwashing Fluid = bug repellent spray for plants."
--Notes from of Herb Companion Magazine, one of my favorite publications

Friday, July 14, 2017

Some Earnest Word

These orange lilies dotted our lawns in circular beds around trees when we moved here.  They grow wild along the roadsides and on the banks of the creek, along with the ferns.  I didn't plant these but they have moved into my garden and settled there in abundance!  It is interesting to note that the lily buds are delicately delicious, even snipped raw into salads or frittered. 

If thou dost bid thy friend farewell,
But for one night though that farewell may be,
Press thou his hand in thine.
How canst thou tell how far from thee
Fate or caprice may lead his steps ere that tomorrow comes?
Men have been known lightly to turn the corner of the street
And days have grown to months,
And months to lagging years, ere they
Have looked in loving eyes again."
~ ~ ~
"Yea find thou always time to say some earnest word
Between the idle talk, lest with thee, henceforth,
Night and day, regret should walk."
--Coventry Patmore

Thursday, July 13, 2017


The Herb Garden at Twilight

Let me but love my love without disguise,
Nor wear a mask of fashion old or new,
Nor wait to speak til I can hear a clue,
Nor play a part to shine in others' eyes,
 Nor bow my knees to what my heart denies;
But what I am, to that let me be true,
And let me worship where my love is due,
And so thru love and worship let me rise.
For love is but the heart's immortal thirst
To be completely known and all forgiven,
Even as sinful souls that enter Heaven;
So take me, dear, and understand my worst,
And freely pardon it, because confessed,
And let me find in loving thee, my best,

Second sonnet in "Three Best Things,"
The Poems of Henry van Dyke (1852-1933)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sweet Contentment

 Considering the lilies . . .

 I cannot sing Thee hymns of praise
For teeming fields and granaries;
The thankful song that thrills my heart
Is not for one day set apart,
But fills my little cot with cheer
Where sweet content dwells all the year.

I do not crave a wider field
Beyond my walls' protecting shield,
Nor let ambition spur my soul
To distant search of doubtful goal;
No journey mine, o'er land and sea --
For here is all the world to me!

Here in my tiny garden plot
The restless world is well forgot;
My creed is simple, my love is great,
I thank Thee for so dear a fate.
A good man's love, a small child's need -
Ah, this is opulence indeed!

--Edith Vaughan Michaux

This is another poem found in great grandmother's scrapbook.

Looking Up

Looking up the Longwalk toward the gardens and those heavenly regions beyond

"Men never break down so long as they keep a happy, joyous heart. It is the sad heart that tires. Whatever our load, we should always keep a songful spirit in our breast.
There are two ways of meeting hard experiences. One way is to struggle and resist, refusing to yield. The result is, the wounding of the soul and the intensifying of the hardness.
The other way is sweetly to accept the circumstances or the restraints, to make the best of them, and to endure them songfully and cheerfully. Those who live in the first of these ways grow old at mid-life. Those who take the other way of life keep a young, happy heart even to old age.
The true way to live is to yield to no burden; to carry the heaviest load with courage and gladness; never to let one's eyes be turned downward toward the earth, but to keep them ever lifted up to the hills."

~J. R. Miller from "Making the Most of Life"

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Manners are the happy ways of doing things; 
each one a stroke of genius or of love, 
now repeated and hardened into usage, 
they form at last a rich varnish, 
with which the routine of life is washed, 
and its details adorned.
 If they are superficial, 
so are the dewdrops 
which give such a depth to the morning meadows. 



"Every moment of this strange and lovely life, from dawn to dusk, is a miracle.
Somewhere, always, a rose is opening its petals to the dawn.
Somewhere, always, a flower is fading in the dusk.
The incense that rises with the sun, and the scents that die in the dark,
are all gathered, sooner or later, into the solitary fragrance that is God.
Faintly, elusively, that fragrance lingers over all of us."
 --Beverly Nichols

Monday, July 10, 2017

A happy and auspicious bird of calm

There is a pretty little Mourning Dove nesting in our Pergola, actually her second family this season.  She never moves a feather as I go about my daily work, unlike the robin who flutters and squawks, having a conniption every time I draw near.  So interesting to observe.  They each have exactly the same conditions, with nests opposite one another. 

Could we but draw back the curtain,
That surrounds each others lives,
See the naked heart and spirit;
Know what spur the action gives;
Often we would find it better,
Purer then we think we would.
We would love each other better,
If we only understood.

It is a sweet thing,
Friendship, a dear balm,
A happy and auspicious bird of calm...
P. B. Shelly

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Dreamer


The dreamer sees the finished thing before the start is made;
He sees the roses pink and red beyond the rusty spade,
And all that bleak and barren spot which is so bare to see
Is but a place where very soon the marigolds will be.

Imagination carries him across the dusty years,
And what is dull and commonplace in radiant charm appears.
The little home that he will build where willows bend and bow
Is but the dreamer's paper sketch, but he can see it now.

He sees the little winding walk that slowly finds his door,
The chimney in its ivy dress, the children on the floor,
The staircase where they'll race and romp, the windows where will gleam
The light of peace and happiness-the house that's STILL A DREAM.

You see the weeds and rubbish there, and ugliness and grime,
But he can show you where there'll be a swing in summer time.
And he can show you where there'll be a fireplace rich with cheer,
Although you stand and shake your head and think the dreamer queer.

Imagination! This it is the dreamer has today;
He sees the beauty that shall be when time has cleared the way.
He reads the blueprint of his years, and he can plainly see
Beyond life's care and ugliness-the joy that is to be.

-by Edgar A. Guest

Saturday, July 8, 2017


The Hydrangea Walk

"Let us walk together in the garden, dearest heart,

Not apart!"

~Henry Van Dyke

Friday, July 7, 2017

Ten Habits to Shape a Kind, Well-Adjusted Child

Some of my ancestors attended this now-abandoned old schoolhouse. It will soon be forgotten as it collapses into oblivion. But one can almost smell the warm molasses cookies Great Grandmother had ready for my aunt and uncle after a day at this school before cutting across the fields for home.

When my aunt attended, she said the teachers there were Miss Hadlock, then Miss Edgar followed by Mrs. Parks.

They, along with my father, later attended the Grove Street School, which has since housed heifers (?) and is now being used as maple sugaring house. I asked my aunt why they switched schools. She didn't know unless it was because Miss Lowery, "Leola" was the teacher there, a dear lady who in later years was my Sunday School teacher.

The Grove Street School was very near to where I grew up, a small white clapboard building. I recall seeing the vacant swings and see-saws there, wishing to play on them. It wouldn't do to trespass, however.

Those are gone now and even the beautiful shady trees that lined Grove Street have been taken down by the town, presumably, to widen and pave the road. I went back a couple of years ago hoping to procure a cutting from a rose I had noticed by the fence, but even that had been eradicated as well.

As a young girl, I loved to walk or bicycle this way imagining what it had been like when children laughed, learned and played here. The orange day lilies that lined the roadsides are also gone, leaving only memories.

"The cloak room pegs are empty now,
And locked the classroom door,
The hollow desks are lined with dust,
And slow across the floor
A sunbeam creeps between the chairs
Till the sun shines no more."
From The School In August
by Philip Larkin

"Old Abandoned Buildings of Northern NY"
"Parenting is a very complex task. If we’re not careful, we will become too focused on one aspect and let the others fall by the wayside. Many times, I see parents who are intently focused on discipline, and I’m talking about the traditional use of the word here with regard to modifying behavior. Sometimes we get very caught up in “What do I do when...” or “How do I get my kid to...” and we lose sight of the bigger picture.
The truth is that there are many things that are more important in shaping our children than the methods and techniques we use to modify their behavior.

Here are 10 things that are more important than any method you choose, in no particular order.

1. Relationship

The relationship that we have with our children is the single biggest influence on them. Our relationship sets an example for how relationships should be throughout the rest of their lives. If we have a healthy relationship based on respect, empathy, and compassion, we have set a standard. They will grow to expect that this is what a relationship looks like and will likely not settle for less. If, however, our relationship is based on control, coercion, and manipulation, well you see where I’m going with this.
In addition to that, our influence comes from a good relationship. Children are more likely to listen to and cooperate with an adult who they are connected to. In other words, if we build trust and open communication when they are small, they will come to us when they are not so small. Our attachment helps wire healthy brains, and our responses set the tone for how they respond to us (they’re little mirrors).

2. Your lens

When you look at your child, who do you see? Do you see the positives or the negatives? The way you think about them influences the way you treat them. Your thoughts also influence the way you feel emotionally and physically throughout the day. “He is in the terrible twos” will cause you to look for terrible things, to focus on them, and therefore try to correct them...constantly.
Try to turn negative thoughts like this into positive thoughts, like, “He is inquisitive and fun!” Try to start seeing misbehavior as a clue that calls for help rather than something that needs squashed immediately. Correction is not needed nearly as often as you might think.
Also watch your tone and language. Lori Petro of TEACH Through Love says, “Be mindful of the language you use to describe your children. They will come to see themselves through that filter you design.” Be careful not to place labels such as “naughty” or “clumsy” on your child. They will come to see themselves the way you see them.

3. Your relationship with your significant other

Your kids are watching and learning. The way you and your partner treat each other again sets a standard. Happy parents make happy kids. Read How Your Marriage Affects Your Kids
“The foundation of a happy family is a strong, loving relationship between the two of you. The single, most important thing that you can do for your children is to do everything in your power to have the best possible relationship with your spouse. If they see the two of you getting along and supporting each other, they will mirror you and will likely get along with each other and their friends. Every single ounce of energy that you put into your relationship will come back to you tenfold through your children.”

4. The atmosphere of your home

All of the things mentioned above come together to create the atmosphere in your home. If you have loving and connected relationships, you likely have a warm atmosphere in your home. If there is discord between you and your spouse, or you and your child, or your child and your other child, then the overall atmosphere will suffer. Have you ever gone to someone’s home and could just feel a negative atmosphere?
You want your home to be a haven, a safe, warm, inviting, and loving place for all family members. Dorothy Parker said, “The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant—and let the air out of the tires.” You don’t have to let the air out until they’re 16 though. đŸ˜‰

5. How you relate to others

How do you treat the bank teller, the store clerk, the telemarketer? What about your parents and your in-laws? They are watching your example. Albert Einstein once said, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”

6. Community

Are you involved in your community? Aside from setting an example, there are valuable lessons to be learned from volunteering, supporting a local cause, attending church, or donating items. Seeing a bigger picture, how their acts can influence many lives, will give them a sense of responsibility and reinforce good values.

7. School

Whether you choose private school, public school, homeschooling, or unschooling, your choice will have an impact on your child. Choose with care. Peers have a big influence on children, but if our relationship is where it should be, our influence will still be stronger.

8. Your cup

How full is it? You have to take care of you so you can take care of them. If your cup is full, you are more patient, more empathetic, and have more energy. Not only that, but a child who sees his parents respect themselves learns to have self-respect. Put yourself back on your list.

9. Media. Television. Video games. Social media.

They are always sending messages to your kids. Now, I let my kids watch TV and play computer games, so I’m not taking a big anti-media stance here, but just be aware of what your kids are getting from what they’re watching. My son said something out of character for him a while back that came directly from a cartoon character. I knew where he’d gotten it and we had a talk about the differences between cartoon land and the real world. I’m just glad they don’t have a Facebook account yet!

10. Basic needs

Adequate nutrition, sleep, and exercise are not only essential for the well-being of your child but also influence behavior. Dr. Sears addresses nutrition here. Also read this article, Sleep Better for Better Behavior. Finally, exercise helps children learn to focus their attention, limit anger outburst and improve motor skills.
“If I had my child to raise all over again, I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later. I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging and less tugging.”
Diane Loomans
A version of this article was originally published on Positive Parent"

Thursday, July 6, 2017

I Shall Not Pass This Way Again


I shall not pass this way again---
Although it bordered be with flowers,
Although I rest in fragrant bowers,
And hear the singing
Of song-birds winging
To highest heaven their gladsome flight;
Though moons are full and stars are bright,
And winds and waves are softly sighing,
While leafy trees make low replying;
Though voices clear in joyous strain
Repeat a jubilant refrain;
Though rising suns their radiance throw
On summer's green and winter's snow,
In such rare splendor that my heart
Would ache from scenes like these to part;
Though beauties heighten,
And life-lights brighten,
And joys proceed from every pain---
I shall not pass this way again.

Then let me pluck the flowers that blow,
And let me listen as I go
To music rare
That fills the air;
And let hereafter
Songs and laughter
Fill every pause along the way;
And to my spirit let me say:
"O soul, be happy; soon 'tis trod,
The path made thus for thee by God.
Be happy, thou, and bless His name
By whom such marvellous beauty came."
And let no chance by me be lost
To kindness show at any cost.
I shall not pass this way again;
Then let me now relieve some pain,
Remove some barrier from the road,
Or brighten someone's heavy load;
A helping hand to this one lend,
Then turn some other to befriend.

O God, forgive
That I now live
As if I might, sometime, return
To bless the weary ones that yearn
For help and comfort every day,---
For there be such along the way.
O God, forgive that I have seen
The beauty only, have not been
Awake to sorrow such as this;
That I have drunk the cup of bliss
Remembering not that those there be
Who drink the dregs of misery.

I love the beauty of the scene,
Would roam again o'er fields so green;
But since I may not, let me spend
My strength for others to the end,---
For those who tread on rock and stone,
And bear their burdens all alone,
Who loiter not in leafy bowers,
Nor hear the birds nor pluck the flowers.
A larger kindness give to me,
A deeper love and sympathy;
Then, O, one day
May someone say---
Remembering a lessened pain---
"Would she could pass this way again."

by Eva Rose York 

Sweet Music of Summer

Summertime in the Perennial Garden

The time of the singing birds has come!  How I love to awaken with the birds, about quarter after four at the first glimmer of the sun rising in the east, to hear first one sweet song and than another and another until there is a heavenly chorus.  

"There is sweet music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
Or night-dews on still waters between walls
Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;
Music that gentler on the spirit lies,
Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes;
Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.
Here are cool mosses deep,
And thru' the moss the ivies creep,
And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,
And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep."
~Lord Alfred Tennyson (from The Lotus Eaters)

Slow Me Down, Lord!

Slow me down, Lord!
Ease the pounding of my heart
By the quieting of my mind.
Steady my harried pace
With a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me,
Amidst the confusions of my day,
The calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves
With the soothing music
Of the singing streams
That live in my memory.
Help me to know
The magical power of sleep,
Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations
Of slowing down
To look at a flower;
To chat with an old friend
Or make a new one;
To pat a stray dog;
To watch a spider build a web;
To smile at a child;
Or to read a few lines from a good book
Remind me each day
That the race is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life
Than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward
Into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew great and strong
Because it grew slowly and well.
Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep
Into the soil of life's enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars
Of my greater destiny.

W. A. Peterson

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

An Irish Blessing

"Sure, and may there be a road before you 
and it bordered with roses, 
the likes of which have n'er been smelt or seen before, 
for the warm fine colour 
and the great sweetness that is on them."

~an Irish Blessing

Monday, July 3, 2017


Train up a child in the way he should go: 
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Life Lessons
You may have thought I didn't see,
Or that I hadn't heard,
Life lessons that you taught to me,
But I got every word.
Perhaps you thought I missed it all,
And that we'd grow apart,
But Dad, I picked up everything,
It's written on my heart.
Without you, Dad, I wouldn't be
The one I am today;
You built a strong foundation
No one can take away.
I've grown up with your values,
And I'm very glad I did;
So here's to you, dear father,
From your forever grateful kid.

By Joanna Fuchs

My dad took on an enormous responsibility when he married mom. My father had died in a very tragic farm accident. Dad had just gotten out of the Navy, six years younger than mom, coming to help out my mother as a favour to the farmer across the road, for whom he was working while he decided what to do. I guess the one thing that really touched his heart was seeing mom polishing our shoes for Sunday School the next morning. My brother and I, hungry for the love of our father, would grab hold of his legs so he couldn't leave. Well, it wasn't long until he and mom realized they were meant for one another. They eloped a short time later and then blessed us with two more little sisters. Life wasn't easy but they did well and were blessed together.
Dad is gone now, having succumbed to lung cancer. We miss him more than I can say, but I am his forever grateful daughter!

The Blessing of a Burden

Heirloom Peony from my neighbor's garden.  How thrilled I was when she shared a piece of this old variety!

"Then welcome each rebuff,
That turns earth's smoothness rough, 
Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand nor go.
Be our joys three parts pain!
Strive, and hold cheap the strain;
 Learn, nor account the pang; 
dare, never grudge the throe!"

"It is not always the easiest things that are the best things. Usually we have to pay for any good thing about its full value. In all markets commodities that cost little may be set down as worth but little. All our blessings may be rated in the same way. If they come easily, without great cost of effort or sacrifice, their value to us is not great. But if we can get them only through self-denial, tears, anguish, and pain, we may be sure that they hide in them the very gold of God. So it is that many of our best and richest blessings come to us in some form of rugged hardness."

J R. Miller from The Making of Character

Thursday, June 29, 2017


(our dear, late uncle and grandfather, descendants of Johan Jacob Dings)

My thoughts often go back to our ancestors imagining, remembering the difficult times they faced. Life was infinitely more dangerous and strenuous for them than we can even imagine. Johann Jacob Dings, was born in 1675 in Germany. Hans Jacob Dinges, his wife, and four children were in the 6th party at Rotterdam in 1709 among others (i.e. Johan Schu, Johan Diderig Schniter, Johan Klein) from near the Hachenburg region (Rotterdam Lists).
He came to America in 1710 with his wife and family seeking refuge from the unbearable conditions which they had endured in Europe. Hans and his family were among the approximately 3000 Palatines that sailed from England in closely crowded ships in April, 1710. According to Hunter's report, 470 died of illness during the voyage and 250 others died upon their arrival due to illness contracted while on the ships.
About 2200 of these Palatine refugees formed a settlement called East Camp, consisting of four villages of extemporized houses and huts on the east bank of the Hudson River. These people were under an agreement with the British government to work in the pine forest making naval supplies until their services canceled the debt for their subsistence and transportation after which they were to be given forty acres of land and five pounds of gold for each person.
(notes from "The Dings Family in America" by Myron Dings) 
The following poem perhaps says more about the attitude of our ancestors inspiring me to count my blessings and make the most those I have been given:
Johann Jacob Dings
"The prospect of making a home and a farm
Gives joy to my heart and adds strength to my arm,
For here I have found a fair country that brings
A balm of content," sang Johan Jacob Dings.
A beautiful valley he chose for abide
And built a log cabin with fireplace wide -
His pockets were empty, he had but few things,
But rich was the heart of Johan Jacob Dings.
 "There's game in the wild and there's fish in the kill,
Our Lord will provide if we work with a will:
"Thus ever anon through the wilderness rings
The songs of "Old Cheerful," Johann Jacob Dings.
The wildwood, in cadence, re-echoed his whacks,
And, like startled birds, the chips fly from his ax;
There's life in his stride and there's zest in the swings
Of helve in the hands of Johan Jacob Dings.
He had no near neighbors, 'twas far from a store,
Geertruy, his wife, made the homespun he wore;
Deep mantles of snow, with their frost-pungent stings,
Brought only more cheer from Johan Jacob Dings.
He labored and struggled with deep-rooted stumps,
He mellowed and leveled the age-fallowed lumps;
With prayer and with song he made trouble take wings
And God blest the spirit of Johan Jacob Dings.
And thus was emplanted, through trials and toil,
Our own family name on America's soil,
By sire, not boasting the sap of old kings,
E'en God-loving, sturdy Johan Jacob Dings.
~from the "Dings Family in America" by Myron Dings c. 1927

Wasting Time

Lamium or Dead Nettle, a pretty groundcover that I was excited to find here amongst the brambles

I do it some and suppose most of us do more or perhaps less. I try to make the most of my time and have eliminated a good many of those things that were unproductive or less important and sincerely want to redeem what is left.

Each and every day is an investment.  We tend to forget that.   We exchange or invest the gift of our days in the way we choose to spend our time and talents beyond our immediate responsibilities. Those precious hours can be used in countless ways for which we will soon answer.

Not a one of us knows if we will have a tomorrow here on earth. How vital it is to consider our future and our influence on those around us.

May this be our prayer:

(Henry Law, "Family Prayers") 
O Eternal God, who alone has immortality,
ever living in glory, unchanged, unchangeable, bend down Your ear to hear.
We confess with shame--past hours wasted in unprofitable reading and other worldly entertainments. If future days are ours--guide us that no more time be squandered in vain pursuits.
Impress on our minds . . .
the shortness of time, the work to be done, the account to be rendered, the nearness of eternity,
 the misery of lamps expired, when the voice of the Bridegroom is heard.
May we never forget that . . .
Your eye always sees us;
Your ear always hears us;
Your recording hand commits all to a book of remembrance;
all hidden works must be unveiled at the judgment day!
Above all things--may we seek Your favor!
Above all things--may we dread Your frown!
May Christ be the pulse of our hearts.
May He speak in every word of our lips.
May He shine in every step of our earthly walk.
Grant our requests, for His dear sake.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Journey of a Mother

My cousin  sent this story which I thought was very thought-provoking. It reminded me of how I always think of my dear mother when I see a poppy, my grandmother when I smell a rose or my Italian friend and neighbor when I smell garlic.

"The young mother set her foot on the path of life. 'Is this the long way?' she asked. The guide said 'Yes, and the way is hard. You will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning.' 

The young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, she fed them and bathed them, and taught them how to tie their shoes and ride a bike, reminded them to feed the dog, do their homework and brush their teeth. The sun shone on them, and the young Mother cried, 'Nothing will ever be lovelier than this.' 

Then the nights came, and the storms, and the path was sometimes dark. The children shook with fear and cold. The mother drew them close and covered them with her arms. The children said, 'Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come.' 

The morning came, and there was a hill ahead. The children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary, but at all times she said to the children, 'A little patience and we are there.' 

So the children climbed, and as they climbed they learned to weather the storms. And with this, she gave them strength to face the world. 

Year after year, she showed them compassion, understanding, hope, but most of all . . . unconditional Love. And when they reached the top they said, 'Mother, we would not have done it without you.' 
The days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the mother grew old and she became little and bent. But her children were tall, strong and walked with courage. 

The mother, when she lay down at night, looked up at the stars and said, 'This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned so much and are now passing these traits on to their children.'
When the way became rough for her, they lifted her, and gave her their strength, just as she had given them hers. 

One day they came to a hill, and beyond the hill, they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And mother said: 'I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end is better than the beginning, For my children can walk with dignity and pride, with their heads held high, and so can their children after them. And the children said, 'You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the Gates.' 

And they stood and watched her as she went on alone. The gates closed after her. They said: 'We cannot see her, but she is with us still. 

A mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence.' 

Your mother is always with you. She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street, she's the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick and perfume that she wore, she's the cool hand on your brow when you're not feeling well, she's your breath in the air on a cold winter's day. She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow, she is Christmas morning. Your mother lives inside your laughter and she's crystallized in every tear drop. A mother shows every emotion happiness, sadness, fear, jealousy, love, hate, anger, helplessness, excitement, joy, sorrow . . . And all the while, hoping and praying you will only know the good feelings in life. She's the place you came from, your first home, And she's the map you follow with every step you take. She's your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you - not time, not space . . . not even death!
(author unknown)
'The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched
 - they must be felt with the heart.'
~Helen Keller

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Life began in a garden and it seems that is where I spend most of mine.  I have always marveled over the idea of a garden being like a room or series of rooms.  When I started gardening here, there was a lot of traffic on our road.  I didn't like the dust from the road as the cars whizzed by, nor the gawkers; so I decided to plant a hedge around my front garden. I ordered bareroot privets from a seed and plant catalogue.  They looked quite pathetic for a while but that is often how dreams start.   It took a few years  to grow tall enough to give any degree of privacy.  Then came another and another until now most of the gardens are enclosed and have become very much a part of our home and a place for quiet reflection as I work.

"Our homes are just what the individual members of the family make them. One unhappy temper, one unbending will, one unloving, unsympathizing heart may becloud and embitter the sunniest sweetest home on earth. Oh, cultivate the affections, the sympathies, and the communion you hope to perpetuate in heaven! By mutual forbearance, gentleness, confidence and love; by deeds of kindness, delicate attention, and graceful demeanor seek to transfer as much of the purity, love, and sunshine of your Father's House above as you can, to your Father's house below."

(from Octavius Winslow's "Our Father's House")

Monday, June 26, 2017

Lookin' for thorns?

"Everyone carries in himself, the sources of his own happiness or wretchedness. Circumstances have really very little to do with our felicity. It matters little in the determination of one's degree of enjoyment, whether he lives in a cottage or a palace. It is the state of the heart, after all, which in largest measure gives the color to our skies, and the tone to the music we hear.

A happy heart sees rainbows and brilliance everywhere, even in darkest clouds, and hears sweet strains of song even amid the loudest wailing of the storm.

But a sad heart, unhappy and discontented, sees spots in the brightest day, specks in the rarest fruits, and hears discords and jarring notes in the heavenliest music, and something with which to find fault in the most perfect of God's works."

~J R Miller

Sunday, June 25, 2017

True Joy

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"The fruit of the Spirit is . . . joy" Galatians 5:22

"Joyfulness is everywhere commanded as a Christian duty. Discontent is a most detestable fault. Morbidness is a sin. Fretfulness grieves God. It tells of unbelief within the heart. It destroys the soul's peace. It disfigures the beauty of Christian character. It not only makes us soured and unhappy in our own hearts-but its influence on others is harmful. We have no right to project the gloom of our discontent over any other life. Our ministry is to be ever toward joy. There is nothing so depressing in its effect upon others, as morbidness.

Hence, for the sake of those among whom we live, and upon whose lives we are forever unconsciously either casting shadows or pouring sunshine, we should seek to learn this Christian art of contentment. Joy brightens a life. It shines in the face like sunlight. It makes the eyes sparkle.

But what is this joy-which is a fruit of the Spirit? Anybody can be joyous when all things go well, when health is good, and business is prosperous, and the cup of love runs over, and the circle of friends is unbroken. The joy which the Holy Spirit gives, lives on in the heart when all earthly sources of gladness have failed. It hides like a rainbow in the midst of the darkest cloud."

~J R Miller


"Wisteria woke me this morning,
And there was all June in the garden;
I felt them, early, warning
Lest I miss any part of the day. 

Straight I walked to the trellis vine.  
Wisteria touched a lifted nostril:  
Feelings of beauty diffused, to entwine 
My spirit with June's own aura." 
-  Ann McGough, Summons

This heirloom Wisteria vine was started from seed which came from the old vine of a dear friend.  I had noted the ancient Wisteria at Washington Irving's Sunnyside home in Sleepy Holly, Tarrytown and was intrigued by the knarled vines seeming to strength the arbor on which it clambored.  (I was also enchanted by Washington's library!)  Washington Irving probably spent time in our home here and is also a relative which I ind quite an interesting coincidence.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


Perennial Garden in mid June

"The more I think about it,
the more I realize
 there is nothing more artistic
 than to love others."
Vincent van Gogh

"Love walks along life's ways with gentle step. Fragrant flowers grow in its path, and the air is always sweeter when it has passed by. Love is kindly, thoughtful, full of pity, and compassionate. It has patience with human faults, and looks with an eye of tender love on those who have fallen. It is tolerant of others who, through weakness, err or turn aside. It is forbearing and long suffering. It meekly endures injury and wrong, giving sweet love in return for the hurts of unkindness. It sees eagerly and joyfully the good things in others, and has a wide cloak of charity for their failings and sins. It is merciful, forgiving not seven times only-but seventy times seven. Conscious of its own faults and evils, it is lenient toward the blemishes it sees in others."

J R Miller

Friday, June 23, 2017

Summer Days

Grass Path from the orchard to the old cemetery and the ridge where there is a beautiful view of the mountains, the distant creek and cattle grazing in the meadows.   The path is bordered with wild blackberries, poison ivy, wild roses, honeysuckle, sumacs and so much more, a real jungle which is a constant battle to subdue for when we purchased our home, the entire lot was pretty much like this, but stewn with what once was someone's treasures.  ~smile~

IN summer, when the days were long,
We walk’d, two friends, in field and wood;
Our heart was light, our step was strong,
And life lay round us, fair as good,
In summer, when the days were long.5

We stray’d from morn till evening came,

We gather’d flowers, and wove us crowns;
We walk’d mid poppies red as flame,
Or sat upon the yellow downs,
And always wish’d our life the same.10

In summer, when the days were long,

We leap’d the hedgerow, cross’d the brook;
And still her voice flow’d forth in song,
Or else she read some graceful book,
In summer, when the days were long.15

And then we sat beneath the trees,

With shadows lessening in the noon;
And in the sunlight and the breeze
We revell’d, many a glorious June,
While larks were singing o’er the leas.20

In summer, when the days were long,

We pluck’d wild strawberries, ripe and red,
Or feasted, with no grace but song,
On golden nectar, snow-white bread,
In summer, when the days were long.25

We lov’d, and yet we knew it not,

For loving seem’d like breathing then;
We found a heaven in every spot;
Saw angels, too, in all good men,
And dream’d of gods in grove and grot.30

In summer, when the days are long,

Alone I wander, muse alone;
I see her not, but that old song
Under the fragrant wind is blown,
In summer, when the days are long.35

Alone I wander in the wood,

But one fair spirit hears my sighs;
And half I see the crimson hood,
The radiant hair, the calm glad eyes,
That charm’d me in life’s summer mood.40

In summer, when the days are long,

I love her as I lov’d of old;
My heart is light, my step is strong,
For love brings back those hours of gold,
In summer, when the days are long.45

Wathen Marks Wilks Call (1817–90)