Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I thought I would post using the “One Thousand Gift’s” challenge.I still am thinking about Tasha Tudor and her life and how it made me stop and think. To see nature we have to do that. It really is like the poem that tells us to stop and smell the roses.

No 7 in my list …. I am so very thankful for the love instilled in me by my family to stop and enjoy NATURE.

I remember my Aunt Emily singing as we traveled past pastures with cattle.

“He owns the cattle on a thousand hills,The wealth in every mine;

He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,The sun and stars that shine.

Wonderful riches, more than tongue can tell -He is my Father so they're mine as well;

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills -I know that He will care for me.”

Did you know that comes from Psalm 50:10? Look it up…

Or she would sing as we went to Camp Hebron or the mountains “ Fairest Lord Jesus”

To see the words go here:

How I love that song!

Grandma used to love to watch birds and that instilled in me the love for our feathered friends.I can still watch them in the city and have a Cardinal that comes and sings for me each morning on my balcony.

Streams, rivers and lakes became so real to me through poetry or books I read. I was fascinated by the words used to describe these bodies of water. I used to love when we were in the mountains and I could find a large rock or log to sit on and read or write in my journal. That was some of the best times I remember and I still thrill going to Helen, Ga and doing the very same. I am at peace with myself and feel God so very close.Yes, nature means the world to me!



All this beauty is created by our mighty God. Celebrate nature with me! God is good to us to give us so much beauty and how do we thank him? We must care for the earth He made. I believe He requires that of us as His sons and daughters.
(The pictures are taken by my husband. They are in in Florida at a State Park by Sorrento. The "Bambi" is taken several in Duluth, Ga where my husband made a nature trail by the Chattahoochee River. The one on the top is in Oregon where we married.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Tasha Tudor Passed away this week. I will miss her because knowing she was enjoying her simple life gave me a warm feeling. I knew she was caring for her piece of heaven in Vermont with love and in her simplistic way.

I first “met” this author as a senior when I was working at our hometown library. I was asked to do a bulletin board display for Tasha Tudor’s book, “Becky’s Birthday”. The Librarian told me to look up all I could about Tasha Tudor and go from there. I was amazed to see she illustrated “The Secret Garden”. All I really remember doing for that bulletin board was the pin ribbon that was the border and it looked like the dust jacket of the book. From that day on I was hooked on the talented woman.

As a single mom I picked up one of her book and she became my hero again. She too was a single mom and she did it without electricity and plumbing. Having grown up in “Amish Country” I understood what this meant and I marveled because I had all the conveniences and struggled to get through the day. It was about that time that I began to search to see what simplicity was all about.

I could write a lot but decided the best I can do is share some quotes from the book I have about her called “The Private World of Tasha Tudor”. Her love for gardens and flowers came from her mother and grandmother who were “passionate gardeners. She talks about the name of flowers and how she likes to use their common names because “ The sound of ‘foxglove’ is so much pleasanter than ‘digitalis’ “. (page 41)

I may not agree with her feelings about snakes but loved this paragraph.
“My garden is built in levels with lots of stone walls. The snakes think my walls are Ritz-Carltons. There’s a lovely tame one, which lives in the largest wall just before the house. He was injured when he was tiny. I brought him inside and made a nest of moss and raised him up until he was a foot long. Than I had to let him go because he was getting too big. He would sit curled up in my hand at night when I read. Snakes love warmth, and he would make a perfect circle in my palm. Have you ever studied a snake’s face?-how optimistic they look. They have an eternal smile. I think they’re laughing at man’s folly.” (page 56)
Now I can promise I will never bring a snake in my house and become that intimate with it but it was right for her and so consistent with her life. That is a trait I admire.

On dress…remember she collected vintage clothing and wore them.
“Why do women want to dress like men when they are fortunate enough to be women? Why lose our femininity which is one of our greatest charms? We get much more accomplished by being charming than we would by flaunting around in pants and smoking. I’m very fond of men. I think they are wonderful creatures. I love them dearly. But I don’t want to look like them.
When women gave up their long skirts, they made a grave error. Things half seen are so much more mysterious and delightful; Remember the term “a neatly turned ankle”? Think of the thrill that gentlemen used to get if they caught even a glimpse of one. Now women go around in their union suits. And what a multitude of sins you could cover up with a long skirt if you had piano legs.” (page 63)
I see her wisdom here. Again I look at her with admiration because she did what she believed and did it with great grace. To me she was what a lady is to be….strong but yet gentle.

On life:
“ The past wasn’t as romantic as people seem to think. There were many hardships, especially for women. They usually had families of six to eight; they were pregnant most of the time or nursing when they weren’t. Think of all the spinning and knitting and sewing and cooking and wood gathering. It was constant. No wonder that saying, “Men may work from sun to sun/ but a woman’s work is never done.”
I don’t say they were unhappy, but I think they were tired most of the time. I was tired most of my younger life, with no electricity until my youngest was five, hauling water with a shoulder yoke, and heating irons on the woodstove. But I didn’t know anything different, so it didn’t seem like a hardship to me.” (page 88)

I think that last sentence sums it up for me. We could try to go back in time but all of us know the easy conveniences electricity gives us and to go and live like she did would seem like a hardship in the long run.

The last paragraphs in the book sum her up in a wonderful way.
“ I’m perfectly content. I have no other desires than to live right here with my dogs and my goats and my birds.
I think I’ve done a good job of life, but I have no message to give anyone. If I have a philosophy, it is best expressed by Henry David Thoreau: “if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” That is my credo. It is absolutely true. It is my whole life summed up.”

She died at 92 in her home surrounded by her family and all she loved. She lived life and although she may not have known it she showed us how we are to care for the earth and all God has given us. She cared for all of God’s creation and set a wonderful example of how to do it. It inspires me to do my part in keeping our earth a wonderful clean and beautiful place to be.
I miss knowing she is not in Vermont caring for all she loved. But she taught me a lot by her books and I will be forever grateful!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


No matter what you think living in the city there is beauty all around you. I really did not want to move down here but the transfer for my husband was not an option. I decided to treat the move like a adventure or a treasure hunt. It worked and within a week this was home!

This is the view I see everyday from my living room. I really never studied architecture with the exception of Frank Lloyd Wright who I find so fascinating. But moving down in Midtown, Atlanta I soon was drawn to the buildings around our building. Just study it a bit on the daytime and night pictures.

We see this building from the swimming pool and at night it is so beautiful and graceful.

This one is beautiful at night also and it glistens in the sun….

We have this one directly in the center of the balcony and at night there is magic in the lighting.

This is next to us and when we moved here a year ago it was a Sheraton but the transformation to the “W” has been fun to watch. It draws in stars and famous people.

I think about the talent that God has given us and I marvel. A child likes to draw and that that grows into drafting and the talent God gave them may turn them into an architect. Another child loved to build with Lego blocks and that turns into interest to be a builder and now we have the above two working to build a beautiful building. To finish you need construction workers that are skilled and crane operators that I sit here and marvel at their talent as I watch them build floor by floor. It takes interior designers to make the inside as beautiful as the outside and than landscapers to add the touch of nature. God is indeed good to us in giving all of us what it takes to fulfill our jobs and passions. I think so often we forget how He has much He has helped us sharpen the abilities we have.
Number 4 in my "One Thousand Gifts" is our talent.

5. I am so grateful for plants and my husband gift to take plants others have thrown away and bring them back to life. Notice I even have some herbs growing in out container garden. We did not buy a single plant here just rescued them.

Look at the courtyard I see every day and how I love to hear that fountain running.
John helps keep it in tip top shape too.
6. Old friends…. Really she was my first babysitter. Lorraine Murphy is the oldest daughter of my favorite schoolteacher at Kraybill’s Mennonite School. This family was a special family and all four kids worked for my dad on our farm. During Asparagus season
They were there at 5:30 AM to pick the three acres. The youngest boy was John and we were close friends through school. Lorraine is a very talented opera singer and I am going to quote the Sarasota Paper telling about her.

“Lorraine Murphy has toured the former Soviet Union,
Poland, Germany, Ireland, and France and has sung on
four tours to Scotland and England. She has concertized
throughout the U.S. and has sung principal opera roles
for the Harrisburg and Lancaster, PA opera companies.
She is a frequent soloist with Key Chorale and Gloria
Musicae. Ms. Murphy will be accompanied by pianist
Lurray Myers. Harpist Bonnie Caplan is very much in
demand in Southwest Florida. She has performed with
such entertainers as Steve Lawrence & Edyie Gorme,
Marvin Hamlisch, Barry Manilow, Roberta Flack,
Manhattan Transfer, Michael Bolton, Johnny Mathis,
Beach Boys, Peter Cetera, Oliva Newton John, and

I called mom today and Lorraine had called them and and making plans for her to visit them soon. Dad told me they will talk of "the good old days".I am thankful for her talent. It is good to remember precious friends. This lady lives life to the fullest and I know her mom is looking down from Heaven and thankful for the fact she uses her talent.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


It is so good to have a clear head...at least clear enough to share this bumpy journey.

I want to start by saying I am glad I had this surgery. I will have to fight for every degree of range of motion I can get. Remember I have not bent that knee for over 2 years so it will be a battle. The doctor kicked my femoral artery. He said he almost lost me.So they had to call in a vascular surgeon to fix that. It took 4 units of blood in the next few days and some of that time I simply do not remember.I had 3 weeks of home therapy and now am going to therapy at a center. Kim, who is assigned to me, told me we will have a fight on our hands but we will do it. So pray I have what it takes to fight through this. I still seem to be so exhausted and want my energy level to improve sometime soon. My other knee needs to be done and she thinks it should be done sooner than later. That is lot for me to deal with now. She says this knee can get no further than the other one and its range of motion is only 88. So much for me to digest now but I ask you all to pray that I have a clear answer from the Lord as to when I do the next knee.

This has been a time for me to be quiet and pray and seek God. I have had long hours alone to do it and I decided I would not get upset if I could not sleep but take that time to pray. In the still of the night it is a good time to listen and wait on the Lord. I learned much as I lay there. I also healed from some past hurts and gave those to the Lord. I saw I had put bandages over open sores so I would not have to deal with the issues. I saw what had festered and knew it had to be cleansed. It was a deep cleansing and I am thankful for it.

In these nightime hours I also heard the words gratitude, compassion, kindness and encouragement and I knew these words were from the Lord to me. I think we as Christian women need to give more encouragement, show compassion to each other and always have an attitude of gratitude. If we would send more cards, reach out to each other more without judgment, make something and share it with someone we hardly know and in doing we would touch more lives and show the world what Jesus did for us. I fear we are far too busy running around that we do not hear that still small voice tell us to reach out to that mother you just saw in church so tired and you could make a casserole for her or watch her children...we do not see the lonely look in that precious senior citizen we see everyday and all they need is a hug and kind word...we do not even see how tired our precious husbands are because we have a "honey-do list" and we want it done now and all he needs is a massage or a special dish you make......you do not see your kids are struggling with relationships or the changes in their bodies when all they need is encouragement for us.We miss so many chances to practice kindness and love.

Lewis Carroll said this:"One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others."I want to challenge us all do a "act of kindness" for one person each day. Maybe we can share these times.

I mentioned gratitude and this week I was reminded of a blog I used to read and loved...it is called " Holy Experience"

The challenge of "One Thousand Gifts" is one I want to take. I have kept a "Gratitude Journal" for 8 years and decided I would join this.So here goes...I will write I an thankful for at the time I am doing this.

1. It is a beautiful day in Midtown Atlanta. I have watched beautiful clouds and birds as I did my therapy exercises. There is beauty all around us and all we have to do is stop and look even in the city.

2. Barbara Johnson the author. To me she is the queen of encouragement. Someone sent me her book "God's Most Precious Jewels are Crystallized Tears". This quote has stood out to me and I want to share it.
Cathy Feste said, "Each of us has a string of pearls in our hearts. These "pearls" are the beautiful moments we've experienced in our lives, moments that become memories and will 'uplift, enliven, gladden, soften, inspire, and guide us. There are plenty of baubles,bangles,and beads in life, but only a few gems. Close your eyes and see your string of pearls. Name the gems by name, by place, by experiences, by gifts of the spirit. Whether or not you wear jewelry, always wear your spiritual string of pearls."

What a mouth full! I closed my eyes and I want to say I am thankful for my precious Grandma( above) who is with the Lord. She taught me the power of prayer and was a mentor to me as I grew up. Her love for me was unconditional and pure. I sure do miss her.
I am thankful for my favorite teacher Mrs. Murphy that took the time to explain what adoption was and that it made me special.
I am thankful for Oregon and the minute I knew what a gift the Lord was giving me.... it was John my loving best friend and husband. We were walking down the path to this lighthouse when I knew I loved this man.
I am thankful for the experience of losing our belongings because in the end it freed me to give and know that all I have is God's and if someone needs it that is fine with me if I can give it. And lastly I am thankful for the gifts of the spirit and that we can build each other up and encourage one another.

3. I am thankful for my friend Jane who has stuck with us through thick and thin and taught me what a true friend is. She taught me with her life what Samuel Johnson said, “Always set a high value on spontaneous kindness.” She has done that for me so many times because she spells love this way…TIME. To me this is the biggest gift we can give another, Thank you Jane for showing me this truth by living it.