Friday Blessings

IMG_3711 Red Headed Woodpecker

Red Headed Woodpecker

 

Today was a marvel, weather wise. The last while, we have been sweltering and today, the day just kept getting cooler and cooler. One weatherman thought we should tell people we are in the month of Junuary. I think he might be right!

As I sat on my porch enjoying my cup of tea and breakfast this morning; I even had to wear a coat….that is really unusual for this time of year. I will say it does smell nice and fresh when it is cooler out in the morning.

My husband and I really do enjoy the quiet start to the day. We get to share the outdoors with lots of wildlife. It is so interesting that these animals don’t even seem to pay attention to us as they go about their morning rituals.

We had a wonderful time watching the Red headed woodpecker clinging to the tree in the front yard. I hope he is eating a lot of bugs and ants…..it makes for less bugs and ants that get into my house!

This morning we had a very enterprising little squirrel join us. He was so busy digging up previously buried corn kernels that he did not even care that we were sitting so close and taking pictures of him. I think he felt very sure that we would not meddle in his affairs.

It didn’t take long and a rabbit decided to make his appearance. This was really no surprise as we seem to be overrun with rabbits of every size. The rabbit population is a running argument conversation between me and my husband.

IMG_3707 Cottontail

Cottontail/Bean Eater

 

He thinks we can’t have too many rabbits around…….I think we have waaaay to many to be compatible with my flowers and vegetables.  So far, the rabbits and my husband are winning. (Can you hear the big sigh from where you are?)

I must confess the baby bunnies are cute….but eventually they turn into bean eaters and that is not cute whatsoever! I am hoping my husband commits to doing something this fall about the rabbit population. (He does like rabbit soup, so there is hope.)

Watching these animals this morning was a great reminder of trust and faith. None of these animals worried where their next meal was coming from. They just figured that it would be provided when they went looking.

They do have predators to think about, but it doesn’t seem like they live their lives in fear of what is coming. I sometimes wonder if we spend so much time and energy in fear of what the future will bring, that we find it hard to live in the present.  I think if we could live the way these small critters do……..full of trust and faith; life would be so much easier.

I am sure they have hard times……times where food is scarce, times when they are cold and uncomfortable, and times when they have to run or fly for their lives. And yet, they live and enjoy the moment for what it is. They bask in the sun when it is shining to warm them. They eat their fill when food is present. They live fully in the time they are given.

May your weekend be full of life lived fully. May your life be lived in the present and may you enjoy the small things that can be hard to see. Have a blessed weekend!

Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Matthew 6:26-27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Day of Summer

IMG_3676 Red Sky in the Morning..

Today is officially the first day of summer.  It is also the longest day of the year… at least that is what they tell us. We woke up to a sky that looked like it was on fire with the reds and oranges. I attempted to take a picture through the window that had a screen on it as I didn’t feel like standing out in the rain.

Once the rain had quit, I let the girls out of the coop for the day and took my camera with me on a little tour. Everything looked freshly washed……. the grass greener, the sky bluer and the clouds whiter. It smelled wonderful too!

The flowers were beautiful with the raindrops still fresh on their petals. The blossoms of reds, purples and yellows were so vibrant they begged to be photographed and shared.

Even the mud on the driveway had the neatest texture to it and made me stop and pause just to look. There was an odd beauty to it and the stones were wet with the morning rain.

IMG_3683 After the Rain

It was a great start to a day….it was cool and beautiful but the cool was only temporary and transient. Then the day must have realized we were still in Iowa and it was the first day of summer. Once the sun was fully up it quickly became steamy with warm temperatures and lots of humidity. I guess I should not have been surprised.

As the wind blew today it felt like liquid air flowing over my skin. It was thick, heavy and felt like you should be able to reach out and touch it. I have a feeling it is good preparation for the summer days to come.

I am in awe of the variety of weather we have here in the Midwest.( Some weather I like better than others). I am also in awe of the beauty that is there for the seeing. The colors of the sky, the grass, and the flowers.

It is like a love letter from the Father to all of us here on earth. A letter that tells us that we are His. It tells us He loves us enough to create and surround us with beautiful things. It is a letter of faithfulness. And it is a letter of grace.

May you be surrounded by His love letter and may your eyes and heart be open to read it.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

Psalm 96:11-12

Busyness and Bonfires

IMG_3542 Mallows.JPG

I have to confess.  I started today’s post at least three different times. Each time I ran stuck and my brain headed down a different track. I started out with the fact I was privileged to go to an amazing concert the other night, detoured into weeding my garden, headed down the path of the hot muggy weather and ended up at the end of the day by the firepit.  Okay….maybe I had four topics!

For some reason, focusing was not my strong suit today when it came to writing and I still feel a bit scattered.  I think I will stick with the fire pit topic and work my way backwards on those other topics over the next couple posts.

This week started out in a busy fashion that is typical of the late spring season that is Iowa and farming.  We started out the week with grass hay down in the ditches and in the waterway. Once we heard the forecast for possible rain we decided we needed to give out attention to getting it baled up before it got rained on. By Tuesday night we were so glad we had baled as we actually had 1.2 inches of rain.

For us, lately that is a pretty good amount as rain has been kind of hard to come by around here.  It is amazing what a nice rain can do to refresh the earth and your spirits!  The rain also gave me a break from weeding in the garden and let me catch up on other jobs I had been putting off.

When I look back at today I have to really think to figure out what I spent my day doing. There were so many little odd things like cleaning out a couple drawers and getting ruthless with the stuff that was in the back of those drawers. It was a day spent doing things that no one else will notice…..but I will!

By the time it was evening the wind had died down and I talked my husband into building a fire in the fire pit. I have had a stash of tree branches mounded up in the back yard since last fall. They have been waiting a long time to be burned…and tonite was the night.

I love that the bonfire served a two-fold purpose – time to sit and relax and also a great way to finally get rid of those branches.

There is something so very relaxing about just sitting in the darkening evening and watching the flames dance skyward. It was especially sweet after the busy start to the week. It was a good way to taper off the busyness of the day.

Sitting there, listening to the frogs singing and watching the fireflies dance through the night was one of those Aaaahhhhhh moments. We watched the chickens head in for the nights. We listened to the snort of a deer as it bedded down in the grass behind the grove. We got to enjoy the first stars as they came out for the night.

Life is indeed good when you take the time to slow down and enjoy the small things.

Some of the best conversations I’ve had
are sitting around a camp fire.
Robyn Davidson

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/robyndavid704971.html?src=t_fire

Blooms and Blessings

IMG_3390 Blue Flax

Blue Flax

 

I learned a new word the other day…Evanescent…..it came from the dailypost photo challenge. It seems I have heard this word, but never in a sentence where it actually seemed to have a meaning.

I actually looked it up to make sure I would know what it meant….temporary….things that fade away….fleeting. There are so many things that fit into that category.

The blue flax plant I have is a definitely an evanescent plant. Every day it blooms…. profusely….every night the petals all fall to the ground where they lay a carpet of bluish purple petals. The first time I noticed this I was kind of worried that the thing was dying. The next morning it was once again loaded with flowers!

When I looked around my yard at all my flowers  I know I had better enjoy them now….while they are beautiful. Come winter, they will once again disappear for a season. (yes, I know, it seems winter is in the very distant future….but in this part of the country you just know it will be back!) They are seasonal, they are temporary.

Today I am going to share some of my wonderful, beautiful, very temporary flowers with you.  The purple spikes originally came from my Grandma’s flower garden. When she passed away; we all got to take pieces of her perennials. She always called this one Veronica and I cherish them because of where they came from.

IMG_3391 A Perennial from Grandma's Garden

Grandma also used to have Bleeding hearts in her garden. I never did get one of those from her but I found this white one on a clearance rack at a garden center and just couldn’t pass it up. It was so close to dying so many times…but here it is blooming!

IMG_3394 Bleeding Hearts

The fact it lived and is blooming restores my faith in so many things. It seems like a message to never give up, to  give yourself time and you will surely find your way and become something beautiful that will bless others.

I have also been known to scavenge for my perennials. The iris were found growing in a ditch where there used to be a homestead. It seemed too sad to just leave them there with no one to appreciate them any longer.

 

My husband helped me dig some of them out and transfer them to our farm place. Every year I get to enjoy their beautiful blooms.

The hosta was given to me by my mom. She had to split hers as it was getting too big for the space it was in. She asked if I wanted pieces of her different varieties……I have a feeling she knew I would never turn down perennials!

IMG_3404 Hostas

I love the cool green foliage of hostas. I love the fact they flourish in places where other flowers don’t. They do well in the shady, dark places…..places where the sun is dimmed.

There is a lesson in there somewhere. Even when times are less than sunny we can flourish. Even when life seems dry and dark….we can survive. We can not only survive, we can flourish, we can be a blessing to those around us.

So many things, like flowers, are temporary. So much of what we do may seem temporary, like flower blooms, but in reality have far-reaching effects. It is good to remember that we can flourish where we are. It is good to remember that we even when the day seems to be a total loss….the next day we have the chance to bloom again!

Years ago I heard a song by Don Moen called “When It’s All Been Said And Done.” I love the lyrics of this song. It speaks of the temporary and it speaks of the eternal. May you be as blessed by it as I have been.

When it’s all been said and done
There is just one thing that matters
Did I do my best to live for truth?
Did I live my life for you?

When it’s all been said and done
All my treasures will mean nothing
Only what I’ve done for love’s reward
Will stand the test of time

Lord, your mercy is so great
That you look beyond our weakness
And find purest gold in miry clay
Turning sinners into saints.
Hallelujah

And I will always sing your praise
Here on earth and ever after
For you’ve shown me heavens, my true home
When it’s all been said and done
You’re my life when life is gone…

Don Moen

Wonderful Weekends and Road Trips

IMG_3387 Silhouette.JPG

Some days just start off with odd things happening. This morning I made some delicious fruit smoothies for my husband and me to have for breakfast. It was early morning and beautiful weather out, so we sat on the porch to enjoy them.

As we sat there, enjoying the quiet of the morning, I saw something drop just as a bird flew past. When I looked in my cup there was a whitish streak inside my cup! That bird had made a deposit in my smoothie! It did make me wonder what the rest of the day would turn out to be. Fortunately, it did not turn out like it started.

The day did turn out hot and muggy; and I commented to my husband that I was grateful that last weekend had been cooler. Last weekend we had the joy of taking a road trip to see our grandson graduate from pre-school.

IMG_3470 A Taste of Frosting

“If Only I Could Stick My Finger in This Frosting!”

We decided to take the scenic route on our way south for our visit. I figured I would just share. with you, a few of the sights that we saw on our way.

We found a hard surface road that twined through the country side and had some beautiful scenery…..we did choose it because the map had all the little dots telling us that it was a scenic route. The map did not lie…..it was beautiful.

This little town was a perfect spot to get out and stretch our legs. It was also a wonderful place to just drink in the view and listen to the water that rushed over the rocks. It will be fun to trace this road trip on the map later on and remember all these little back roads.

IMG_3428.JPG

We arrived at our destination….the graduation….with time to spare. It was so much fun to spend time with the kids and grandkids. We had such a good time going to the Des Moines Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning.

The Grandkids!

A Bridge in Des Moines

When I think back to last weekend the thing that really stands out is the joy on the faces of our grandkids. They were so excited because they got to have both sets of grandparents at their house at the same time!

Wandering through the farmers market with them, finding the balloon man and eating some popcorn…..okay…….a lot of popcorn….made for some great memories.  I hope they remember that time with as much joy as their grandparents do.

The road trips was great, the scenery was wonderful….but the kids and grandkids…..now there is a treasure without compare!

The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing
 Unknown quotes 

Read more: http://www.searchquotes.com/search/Treasuring_Family/#ixzz4itjhSeLK

 

 

Leaving The Nest

IMG_3372 Well Hidden.JPG

A few posts ago I shared a picture of very new baby robins in a nest that was in one of our white pine trees.  The trees grow at the edge of our backyard and always seem to attract birds. The other day I got curious about how much those babies had grown…… I was totally surprised!

Those babies had gotten so big; they were perched on the edge of the nest. I had no idea if there were still four of them or not as they were jam-packed in and on that nest. I did not dare get too close because I did not want to scare them into jumping out before they were ready to leave.

I was really grateful for my zoom lens with trying to get their picture. I did not have to get too close and disturb them to much.

IMG_3378 Baby Robins.JPG

I could see Mama Robin sitting on my garden fence with her beak full of a bug. She was not happy that I was checking her nest and she kept a sharp eye on me. I turned to take her picture but she was not having any of that and took off.

Today I went back to take another look and discovered that the babies were gone. I am hoping they took off on their own and did not become a meal for the local predators. The raccoons and stray cats in our area are notorious for hunting the baby birds.

I am hoping to see those young robins hopping about the place waiting for mom and dad to come feed them. It always seems like they leave the protection of that nest a little too early to be safe. It make me wonder if they just outgrow the nest or if something else prompts them to leave.

This is the time of year that many kids are graduating from grade schools, high schools, and colleges. I often wonder if they feel ready to move on or if they are “pushed” to get out of the nest and on to that next level.

I know as parents we try equip our kids to be prepared for when they join the “real world” I am never very sure just what we, as parents, think the real world is. Maybe we should wonder if they are amply prepared to join a different world than the one they are leaving.

Usually by the time our children are ready to move on, they have developed an independent streak that tends to drive parents crazy.  It is always good to remember that it is that same streak that will carry them into and through that next phase of their lives.

My mom always told me to enjoy those days as they would go too fast….and she was right! Those days are a blessing and something to be cherished. It is good to see our children grow and become independent. It is good to see them venture out and make their own homes.

It is also good to see them come back and strengthen those ties to the places and people that were part of their growing up years. It is good to have them come back to visit the nest……

 

 

There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children.
One of these is roots, the other, wings.

 

 

Sweet Weekends

IMG_3303 Getting Ready to Plant

This past weekend started in typical Spring busy fashion. My husband was trying to beat the forecasted rain by getting his soybean fields disked and planted by noon on Saturday. The rain forecast was not the only reason for the deadline…..some was  due to kids coming home for the weekend…… He got the beans planted with time to spare….a little time.

Once the planting was done; there was time to visit with the kids, grill burgers for the noon meal, play legos with the grandson, set up tea parties for the granddaughter and get ready and out the door for a bride/groom shower for a nephew and his fiancée that evening. It was a busy day, but it was a great kind of busy!

Sunday was one of the sweetest I have known in a long time……I got to sit in church; next to my kids and my grandkids. There is not much sweeter in life than a wiggly grandchild sitting on your lap in church. True….it is hard to listen to the pastor….with all the shushing going on and the distractions…but it is sweet indeed.

I had decided I wanted to try get pictures of the grandkids after church, as it was a beautiful day. I had to convince my granddaughter that taking her picture was a grand idea. She was not convinced till I resorted to bribery……spoonfuls of chocolate frosting are a wonderful enticement for photo ops.

It didn’t take long and the rest of our children arrived for Sunday dinner. It was such a blessing to have them all around the table. The laughter, good-natured teasing, re-hashing of old memories, and good food was such a treat for this mom. There is not much I treasure more than sitting and watching my family enjoy being together.

We did have to venture outside after dinner as it became time for the “Big Reveal”. (I am learning that “reveals” are the new thing as a way to tell people what gender your child will be.) My youngest son had told me last week that they needed lots of space for the reveal they had planned.

IMG_3329 Prep for the Reveal

I knew my sons like to shoot clay pigeons so I had a feeling this reveal would involve shooting some type of target….I just wasn’t totally sure what. I found out soon that it would also involve a lot of noise!

My son had found the idea on the internet that you put either pink or blue chalk powder in a box with tannerite. When you shoot it…..it makes an incredible amount of noise and it sends up a huge cloud of the appropriately colored powder. It brings to mind 4th of July fireworks!

IMG_3336 The Reveal

I must admit….it was impressive and it was a lot of fun finding out we were going to have a new grandson come September.

The day was capped off with  finishing up the leftover cupcakes from the shower the night before. There was more laughter, more planning for future gatherings, more fun in just being together for a few more minutes, before they all had to get on the road and head for home.

My children have definitely learned the art of hospitality. They live in three different cities, but they remain close. They stay in touch and make sure they all stay part of each other’s lives.  It is a blessing and a gift to see the joy they have in being together. That joy makes for a very sweet weekend.

Like branches on a tree,
our lives may grow in different directions
yet our roots remain as one
Unknown