Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Watercolor Inspired by the Sea

My latest watercolor painting was inspired by photos from the Sea Cottage blog. You can see her photos here:

Next I want to try one with the rocks, sand, and sea. It'll be more of a challenge. I'm trying to get braver and use more vivid colors. This one is 8x11.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dirt On My Hands

February, March, and April are prime gardening months in Georgia. After that, It'll be too hot to garden except before sunrise and after sunset. Even then I'll be dripping wet when I come back inside because of our high humidity.

So every spare minute I have, I'm in the garden weeding, moving seedlings, planting, remaking walkways, etc.

I love gardening! I'm determined this year to have a fabulous garden. I want gardens so wonderful that people gasp when they drive by. I want our cottage to be rose covered and have full, blowsy borders of colorful flowers.

When I laid out our gardens in 2000, I thought I'd finish and that'd be it. Ha! They're higher maintenance than a house full of kids! You have to keep at it everyday or they'll just be mediocre; which is what I've had for the last twenty-two years.

Well, this is the year that I go for fabulous! Breathtaking! Stupendous! I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Noonday Pause for Prayer

"Trailing clouds of glory do we come from God." William Wordsworth

I'm reading Seven Sacred Pauses, Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day by Macrina Wiederkehr. The above quote was in the section The Hour of Illumination, meaning the noon hour.

During the lenten season, I've been praying the hours beginning at 6 AM and ending at 9 PM. If I'm up at midnight and 3 AM, and I sometimes am, I'll pray then, too. I set the alarm on my phone to go off at the appointed hours so I won't forget to pray.

This one thing has made a big difference in my life. When I come to Sunday worship, I have no problem like I usually do of paying attention. Usually I'm constantly having to bring myself back to the sermon. My mind wanders... I'll go over what I'm cooking for Sunday dinner, I think about the coming week, I'll think about our children that live far away, and on and on and on...

But since I've been praying the hours for these few weeks, the 'wandering mind' problem is much less of a problem. I'm more attuned to God's spirit. I can feel my heart is softer. I'm nicer to my family. I'm learning to be more present. This personal prayer is good practice for corporate prayer.

It's a practice that I've come to love and won't be giving up once Lent is over.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Watercolor Finished

Well, I finished the tiny watercolor that was based on an original by Jules Pascin I wrote about here: I think it turned out fairly well. The paper was a little quirky and soaked up the paint and water much too rapidly which made it difficult to do what I liked with it. Maybe I'll try it again someday on a different paper.

Praying the Hours; Listening for the Bells

I set my phone alarm for 6, 9, 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock in order to pray the hours of the day. Unfortunately, my phone alarm clock has a snooze button which keeps ringing every five minutes if it isn't turned off.

The purpose of praying the hours is to stop what you're doing when you hear the bells and take a moment to pray and come back to center.

I've been letting the bells ring for about thirty minutes or until I finish what I'm working on at the moment before turning the alarm off and becoming quiet. It finally dawned on me that I was missing the point of STOPPING. I've been putting God on hold....not good.

And I guess that's one of the purposes of praying the hours; to reveal sinful behavior and attitudes. So I'm going to STOP when the bell rings at the top of the hour and quieten my mind and heart. I'm always interested to see what will next be revealed to me that needs cleaning up. I've become okay with being a mess. Not complacent just content to let God work on me.

The Comforts of Home in the Springtime

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." ~Jane Austen

Goodbye Teacup Header

As much as I loved my tea cup header, I felt that it was time for spring to show up, so I changed my header photo to apple blossoms. I took this image last year in our fruit orchard. This year the trees have already bloomed and leafed out. We've had an early spring. Good thing we didn't get a late killing frost. It would have wiped out all fruit for this year.

We have several varieties of apples and peaches, a fig tree, two pear trees, a plum tree (maybe two), and a row of blueberry bushes. And there's raspberries next to the blueberries.

Around the property we also have muscadine grapes, persimmons, blackberries, crabapples, a mulberry tree, and lots of pecan trees. We are blessed to live in a place where the growing season is almost year round. I'll try to remember that this summer when it's 102 degrees in the shade and 100% humidity!

Sunday Morning Rainbows

Grandson #2 spent the night with us last night. While waiting for church this morning he found the laundry room full of rainbows.

This crystal in the window makes beautiful rainbows when the Eastern sun hits it.

A rainbow over the sink. It's strewn with patterns and fabric as I try and decide which dress to make my twin granddaughters; one pattern and fabric=two identical dresses.

Rainbow on the beadboard ceiling.

Rainbow on the Ivory Girl's face and the cabinet.

A small thing that brings much joy to child and adult alike.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hymn Singing

I've been trying to be more mindful during our church's worship services and really notice the words I'm saying and singing. Some things I've been practicing during this Lenten season are helping. I'll share more about those later.

We, as Protestants, have such a rich heritage in the hymns that have come down through the centuries. One that has meant a lot to me recently is Rise Up, Oh Men Of God.

The first verse says: "Rise up, oh men of God. Have done with lesser things. Give heart and soul and mind and strength, to serve the King of Kings."

I've been trying to 'have done with lesser things' and it's making a difference in my mental state which is affecting my outward demeanor. I'm not angsting anymore and am more joyful and calm.

I'm really enjoying this season leading up to Easter. I'll tell you tomorrow what I've been doing.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Come Into my Parlour

Since I already have the parlour pretty much the way I want it, I like to do small things to make me happy; such as tie a burlap string around a stack of books. I'm easy!

This tea arrangement makes me happy, too. The books I tied up are under the teacart.

I bought two of these needlepoint pheasant pillows on e-bay.

I've posted this photo before but haven't shown it hanging on the wall. It's one of my favorites taken in Stratford-on-Avon. I made it into a black and white photo and then hand-colored it using transparent oil paints. Pretty cool, huh? Excuse the reflections of the curtains in the glass.

A bevy of family portraits on an end table. I threw in the turquoise frame to shake things up a little.

I have matches in this box which hangs to the left of the fireplace. There's a story that goes with this box.

I think I was college age and our family was at this bluegrass/craft festival up in the Smoky Mountains. I saw this box and really liked it. Daddy, being the sweetie he is, said, "I'll buy it for you." I only ever remember him buying two things for me; this box and a Sarah Coventry bracelet that I still wear forty years later. And he's taken my brother and me to the country store for many ice cream cones.

I remember one time he was taking us fishing, and we stopped at this same store for lunch supplies. As a special treat for dessert, he got little cups of pudding but failed to buy any spoons. Of course we didn't discover this until it was time to eat. We didn't know what we were going to do short of sticking our fingers into the pudding, but Daddy being ever resourceful, looked around and saw some reeds on the river bank. Walking over to them, he cut a long one. As he walked back to us he cut it into three pieces, each piece about the length of a straw, and handed one to me and then one to my younger brother.

We looked at each other and then over at Daddy who had stuck his reed into the pudding and was drinking it like a milkshake. We thought he was a genius for being so innovative. He was and is a genius still. He's one of the smartest men I know. And one of the kindest. I love my daddy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

I'm A Violet


You Are a Violet

"You have a shy personality. You tend to hesitate before trying new things or meeting new people. But once people get to know you, you open up and show the world what you are really all about."

Look in the side bar to take the quiz and find out what kind of flower you are. I know you've always wondered!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Love To My Blogger Buddies

I've been re-reading through some of my old blog posts and the comments that followed, and I'm struck by the wisdom and wit of so many of you.

So I want to say with a loud voice, "I love ya'll! Your comments have meant more to me than you've known, because lots of times I don't respond (bad me).

You've challenged, chastised, and cheered me up immensely. I wish I could meet all of you like I met Pom Pom when we were visiting Colorado in 2010. I know she has many, many blog followers, so if you're ever in Colorado, look her up. You'll be SO glad you did. I want to be her next door neighbor, and every time this overly-introspective, morose spirit of mine starts its downward spiral, she'd be there with a cup of tea to pull me back out.

Thanks to all of you who read my feeble whinings and love me anyway. You're loved back a hundred times over.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sage Advice

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.“

---Mark Twain