Happy First Day of Spring!

Wow!  The first day of Spring.  I know, some of you may not see any evidence of it just yet.  However, I would love to share with you some pictures I took on a walkabout of my yard just now.  We have around two acres.  It’s shaped like a trapezoid.  If you were standing on the street in front of our house, this is how it lays out.   The front faces East and our road, which ends in a cul-de-sac.  We have five very large Eastern Red Cedars that run across the road front on each side of the driveway.  I would guess they are about 30-40 feet tall?  I am NOT good when it comes to distance or height measurements.  I can measure flour with my eyeball though.  Ha Ha

This winter, the cedars did not have their usual blue berries that the migrating cedar wax wings always drop by to gorge themselves on.  I haven’t studied up on what influences the berry development, but there was nary a one on those or any others in our yard.  Here, as you can see, if you look closely, it looks like the right conditions have generated baby berries beginning to form.

Baby berries starting to form.

Along the north side or to the right from the perspective mentioned above, is a 60-70 foot tall pine grove that sets on about 1/2 acre.  Many birds and squirrels make it either their home or a good place to hangout.  The southern border of the yard, or to the left, is a long row of Photinia that has grown to at least 30 feet, but is dying out for some reason.  See pictures.

Bare branches, little new growth

Healthy new reddish leaves, flower buds forming

Interspersed amongst them are some pines that are of decent height.  At the end of the Photinia row, almost to the southwest corner of our lot is a great big old Oak tree.  I love that tree.

On the western border of the yard, lies a creek that 80-90% of the time flows with some water.  There’s about a three foot drop from where I was standing to the creek itself. It can go from an almost dry creek bed to a rushing torrent that you can hear from some distance whenever we get a huge deluge of rain, especially when a hurricane or its remnants come through.  You can read some of my previous posts by searching for hurricane if you want to hear about any of those adventures.

Looking downstream

The deepest part where sometimes minnows hang out. Lots of frogs

If you were to follow the pine grove on the northern border, at its end, our property zigs to the southwest at about 45 degrees, where it intersects with our creek and western edge.  The rest of our yard is kinda roll-y, not hilly and is probably 1.5 acres.  It is made up of what I call our grassland because of all the different kinds of native grasses and ground plants that grow on it.  There are a lot of adult trees of varying kinds scattered about.

Then in the center of the front eastern chunk sets our house.  Behind it we have a  small shed.  Behind that is our big barn.  And then, with a clear view from the back of the house and to the right rear of the barn is the chicken coop.  I have plenty of pictures of that coop somewhere on this blog and some of my chickens.  Here they are gobbling up some chickweed that I had just thrown in for them.

Eatin chickweed

I have no idea if you can picture what I just described, but you could just draw it out on a piece of paper and get the drift.

Anyway, this morning I traversed our yard (doin’ my walkabout) and observed how Spring has come forward.  I had my phone in my pocket so whatever pictures you see in this post were taken with that.  I am only going to caption them so as not to make this post any longer than it probably will end up being.

So, Happy First Day of Spring.  What a joyful time of year for me!  All this rebirth and feelings of newness and freshness.  What a fine way to experience a foretaste of Glory Divine when Father re-creates this lovely planet into its Original Beauty!

Posted in Faith, God, Health, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting to know Snakes

A friend of mine offers many a pearl on her blog about doing walkabouts around her home in Canada.  Through her many jaunts she has become familiar with many of the native animals and plants that abound in the wilderness that surrounds her.  Her more recent post discusses the “do’s and dont’s” should you decide to wander your wild areas where you live.  One animal she has seldom encountered is the snake, so to further enhance the joy and challenges of doing your own walkabout, I thought I would talk about snakes in this post.

Now, please don’t cringe, just in case you just did, because for all the horror stories you may have heard about these beautiful (yes, I said beautiful) creatures, they really are nothing to fear if you learn more about them.  Besides being very fascinating, they provide us all a good service by controlling a lot of other creatures that, if left unchecked, would soon cause us all many problems.  Come on!  Do a little reading if you don’t know the value of a snake!

So, let’s say you really want to go out and about in the woods, mountains, fields or desert where you live.  And, you really would prefer to avoid a snake or, at least, the poisonous ones. First off, NEVER go out on a walkabout without the proper attire especially if it is warm out. Most of us will dress for the weather, but on a walkabout, you have to dress for the whatever.   Whatever might bite or scratch or trip or hurt you. Trust me, between the mosquitoes, biting flies, ticks……….

So, wear some boot type shoes and socks with pants tucked into them.  Wear a long sleeved shirt; white helps when it is hot.  Make sure you have some good gloves as well for any just in case moment you might decide you just have to touch something.   And, some sort of headgear that will keep the hot sun, wind, rain or whatever off you and your face, neck,etc.  One other very useful tool is a nice, long and sturdy walking stick.  It is very useful for leaning on while traversing rugged terrain, ditches, and the like.  It is handy for pushing or poking at things so YOU can keep your distance.  Hopefully, not needed as such, it could be a weapon, though at the very most, it could probably only be useful to whack something.  And, you don’t need to go out and buy one!  Just look around outside and you probably can find one just right!  And, if it works out really well, save it for the next time.

The first thing you really should do is to download some pictures of the snakes that are native to your area.   Study them, get to know them.  What colors and designs do they have?  What shape is their head?  Is their body long and thin or thick?  If they have colored bands, which colors are next to which?  Read further and you will learn why that is so important.

Here in our part of North Carolina, the most common venomous snakes are the copperhead and water moccasin.

Copperhead

I have encountered the copperhead more often.  We have a LOT of ponds and creeks and plenty of woods in our neighborhood so these types of snakes are quite common.  Although rattlesnakes are also native to NC, I have never heard of or seen one in this part of the state.

Once you have a decent idea of what they look like, you now know what to look for.  Where not to look is the next thing you might want to ponder.  In most cases, snakes will be in tall grasses, under some old wood logs or leaf piles or a pile of rocks.  So you really don’t want to go moving things around with your hands just in case you get a real surprise!  Use your stick!  On a nice warm and sunny day, you may come across a snake “sunning” itself on a rock.  Some snakes hunt during the day; others at night.  Should you come upon one, just walk away.  They won’t slither after you!  The only time I have ever experienced an aggressive snake was, while during their mating season, a big black snake actually advanced towards me while he was on the back steps to my house.  I came upon him when I opened the door and there that big boy was!  I left him alone and he gradually made his way back into the woods.

One mistake I made in determining whether a snake was venomous (poisonous) or not was the misconception that they all have obvious triangle-shaped heads with jaws that jut out just above the “neck” as opposed to a rounded jaw.  Well, that may be true in almost all cases, but it is not always so obvious.

Eastern Coral Snake

The coral snake is a good example of that. The eastern coral snake is native here in NC.  We also have the scarlet king snake.

Scarlet kingsnake

They both have colored bands in red and black and sometimes yellow or white (in the case of the king snake).  These are two snakes that are often mistaken for one another.  Of course, the old saying, “Red touches yellow, kills a fellow. Red touches black, friend of Jack” helps IF you can remember it!  An easier tip (in North American ones) is that the coral snake will have a black head.  Keep in mind, if you are in Asia or South America, your coral snakes may not fall into these descriptions.  KNOW your area’s snakes!

However, one characteristic is their coloration.  In most cases, a solid colored snake is not poisonous.  But patterns are very common in a lot of non-venomous snakes, such as some varieties of garter, king or rat snakes.

Smooth green snake

Red cornsnake

Striped Garter

 

 

 

 

 

So, back to one of the major points made in this post is to KNOW your local snakes.

Handling even a non-venomous snake is not a good idea.  Unless you have been taught proper techniques, just don’t do it.  Snakes vertebrae are very fragile, especially the ones in the “neck” area.  Also, even though they may be non-venomous, they can still bite you as all snakes have teeth.  On the few occasions when I have been “bitten”,  it still can pack a punch.  So, why was I bitten?

When I was in my twenties, I had a large variety of reptilian pets.  Some of them were snakes, though none were venomous.  Until I learned proper handling techniques, one of them could easily twist its body and sink their teeth into my hand or arm.  I learned quickly the proper way to handle them.  However, I still have been bitten again since then.  Remember: All snakes do not have fangs, but they all have teeth!

Once I no longer had those pets, I continued to interact with snakes in the wild.  Not to play with!  Since my comfort level is good with snakes, many a neighbor has called upon me to “take care of a snake” they found in their yards or barns.  Though harmless, I knew if I didn’t find the snake a new home, far enough away, it would probably end up shot or smooshed.

One horrific experience I had involved my having to kill a black snake.  It was late one evening and I was sitting on my back deck.  It was dark out.  All of a sudden, I heard my chickens raising a commotion.  Since they can’t see at night, I knew something was very wrong.  I grabbed a flashlight and headed back to and into their pen.  There was my rooster (and he was a big one), on the ground with a very large black snake wrapped around him.  I grabbed Mr. Rooster up into my arms.  He was completely immobilized as the snake was seriously wrapped around him.  I slowly uncoiled the snake off of him and, as I did so, the snake started coiling around my arm.  DAMN!  My adrenaline and defense mechanisms were in high gear.  I rushed out of the pen, and ran, snake and all, over to the lit driveway.  As I ran there, i grabbed my hoe.  Much to my dismay afterwards,  i peeled the snake off, stood on his body with my feet and chopped its head off.  So much for the snake.

Believe me, it wasn’t all that quick and easy to do because snakes really do have incredible muscles in their bodies and they can wriggle out of just about anything.  Yes, I really did feel badly about having to kill him.  But, with all that anger and adrenaline coursing through my veins, it’s what i felt i had to do.

Anyway, there you have it.  Certainly this doesn’t cover everything you would ever want to know about snakes.  Most importantly, I do not claim to be anything even resembling an expert, so take anything I said here with a grain of salt.  And, depending on you, it may have piqued your interest or scared you away farther than you were to begin with.  But whichever the case may be, I know my admiration and respect for snakes will continue.

Posted in Health, Nature | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

A Cup of Tea

“You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”.  That old cliché has so truly hit home here at our house.  Needless to say, our list of “gone” stuff is not only endless, but probably quite the mystery since we, nor anybody I know, keeps inventory of EVERY SINGLE thing you own.  Sure, the crew that packed everything and took it off to wherever, supposedly took pictures and wrote each item down.  Uh, guess we will see how good a job they did once our house is restored and reconstructed where the damage is and our “stuff” will be brought back.

One thing I found I really missed was my cups of tea.  Yes, I do have two cups of morning coffee, usually while sitting out on my deck.  But, my tea?  Oh, I will do tea bags in a pinch and there are some brands that are tasty.  BUT, i really prefer loose tea.  Let it simmer over heat for a while and then just sit on the stove, lid on, for hours.  You have to get all the good stuff out of the plants!

With the fire’s smoke and soot, I had to throw out any loose tea I had.  And I had a LOT of loose tea.  Since I didn’t have a place to put any new and there aren’t any stores close by to buy any, replacements had to wait.  Not any longer!  Once the crew was done with cleaning and packing up all our stuff, I went online and got to ordering my precious teas.  Red Moon Herbs  is the place to go for loose tea.  Located in our mountains, these ladies provide products that are carefully made from plants that they themselves tend to or from folks that also tend to well.

Klio tea has a wonderful assortment of teas from the Greek Islands.  These teas contain many health benefits that the local folks in those mountainous areas have been drinking for many, many years.

And, then of course, I like to create my own combinations, depending on what ails me that day.  One example is chai tea. I make it in the Indian masala tradition.  With green cardammon pods, peppercorns, ginger, cinnamon sticks and other ingredients, after this concoction has set on the stove for several hours, oh my!  Once ready, you add a little milk (although I use half and half) and the taste is phenomenal!

I try to make half gallon batches at a time.  That way, I can sip all day long and just heat, add honey and smile!  And while brewing, the scent from those teas fill the house and make your nose happy!  It’s almost as good as frankincense or myrrh wafting around the house.

And, speaking of frankincense and myrrh, I also replenished my resin collection as well as my balms from Dan Riegler’s blog, Apothecary’s Garden.  If you scroll down to the middle of his blog, you will find a link to his Etsy’s shop where you will find many wonderful products he has made or purchased from villages he visits regularly in Africa.

Today, I will receive the last order to complete my loose tea collection.  I THINK I have everything I need to make some chai (some folks refer to this tea as “yogi” tea).  Man, our house is going to be smelling good for a few hours!

So now, whenever I post my goings on and I mention sitting on the deck with a cup of tea, you will know just what it is I am sipping on.

Visit some of those website links above and see if you aren’t tempted to make a few purchases.  I can highly recommend them and you won’t be disappointed.  Besides, we all should buy stuff from folks who are the real deal and support their businesses.

More folks are coming by today to give estimates and other such things.  Hubby and I have a list that changes every day of things we need to do, or remember or, in some cases, forget!  Ha ha

May your day be as beautiful as you want it to be.  Keep you heart focused on Father and, chances are, it will be more beautiful than you can possibly imagine regardless of what this life might throw at you!

Posted in Faith, God, Health, Heart, Nature | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome, Spring!

It has been relatively warm for us down here in North Carolina this winter.  Crazy roller coaster temperatures all the way up into the 80’s with a few days in a row of upper 30’s.  We did get a serious cold snap when the thermometer registered in the single digits.  The last several weeks have been above normal, so it is with some trepidation I await this coming week.

It’s going to be cold.  About this time of year, our average temperature is 62F.  Well, don’t you know it is going to be in the 40’s for the next week and upper 20’s to low 30’s at night.  And, in just a few hours, we might actually have some flurries.

I have no doubt that there are those of you who would trade for this kind of weather and might even think I sound like a wuss.  Well, I know ALL about cold weather, having lived in Iowa for six years from 1977 through 1983.  By Thanksgiving time, there would be at least a foot of snow on the ground and there was no chance of seeing the actual ground again until well into April.  It was not that unusual for temperatures to get as low as -40 F.  You add a 50-60 mile an hour wind and the wind chill was such that you really dared not go outside unless every square inch of your body was covered!  I remember a period that was below zero for over 40 days in a row.

I can remember my birdbath water frozen in June!  I was the neighborhood snow blower queen!  And don’t we love the snowplow drivers (bless their hearts) that pile up snow at the end of our driveways?  I remember having to load up my girls on our sled to go to the grocery store and returning with a couple bags of food stuck in between them.

Anyway, with the cold weather ushering in yesterday, I decided to wander around in my yard and see how Lady Spring was doing.  I wasn’t disappointed.  There are lots of evidence of her handiwork popping up everywhere!

I started right in the flower beds around my deck and saw my Echinacea and Comfrey pushing up new growth.

Can’t wait for the flowers!

Comfrey pushing up

My Salvia “Silke’s Dream” has new growth bursting out of the pruned branches.

Hummingbirds will love this!

And my Verbena is showing off some deep red flowers.

Red Verbena

One of my Japanese Maples has one small stem of freshly opened leaves and 

my Paulownia trees’ blossoms are scented with a piece of Heaven that hang in giant clusters from every branch.

First burst of growth

Down by the creek, little violets are scattered everywhere.  They are mighty small this year, but that deep purple of their flowers are easy to spot.

Purple Violets

Throughout the yard, henbit, chickweed, dandelions, dead nettle and other wild plants carpet the ground.

Sweet little Henbit

 

Tasty Chickweed

Velvety dead nettle

Full of nutrition, I grabbed a couple sprigs of some of the fare and marveled at the taste.  I especially love young dandelion flowers.  They are a little crunchy and quite sweet.  Of course, I had to grab handfuls of chickweed and henbit for the chickens.  They squawked with delight when they saw me coming.  Robbie, my rabbit, totally enjoyed my offering of dandelion plants.  As I wandered around to my front flower bed, I see my Comfrey already is sporting flower buds!  And, all around it are little teeny white violas.

Comfrey showing off buds

Okay, so it’s going to be cold for a while.  Of course, we have a split wood pile that will probably last us through next winter (!!!!), so staying warm will not be an issue.  And, of course, with the house fire and all, there is plenty to keep us occupied inside the storage POD.  We REALLY need to go through that thing before the house is complete with renovations and the crew comes back with all those items they took off-site.  That ought to be fun going through all that!  NOT!!  Mainly because there’s SO MUCH stuff we had accumulated over the years.

I guess that’s that.  I will certainly be enjoying whatever weather comes our way.  Peeks of Spring, winter blasts or snow flurries will be appreciated regardless.  I’m not a wuss after all!  Ha ha

I just stepped outside and we have flurries.  The little shop roof is white.  I am sure my grandkids are still in bed what with the time change, but if they get up soon, I am sure they will be all excited!  Hey, we don’t get much snow in these parts!

Take care and enjoy your day.  Live in each moment because every single one of them is a Gift.

Posted in Faith, God, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Morning Coffee

What a beautiful morning! I woke up early, before the sun had even begun to lighten the sky. My little dog, Tank, and I stepped out onto the deck and it wasn’t long before I heard the first birds begin to wake up.

The first was Mr. Mockingbird who, as most of you probably know, can sing many variations of song. I don’t think I have ever actually counted his many sounds, but he is quite the talented one. I can imitate most of them, so we had quite a conversation over my cup of coffee.

The next to enter the conversation was a cardinal. I am aware of three different songs they speak as they welcome the morning sun. And we engaged in our usual back and forth. If he uttered three times, I did as well. Then he would go up to seven and I just answered back in kind. It was fun.

My little Carolina wrens joined in. There were two of them, probably the pair that I have often photographed hopping around our woodpile, looking for some juicy bugs. They too have three little expressions. And, once again, I joined their early morning chatter.

Last to join in were my bluebirds. (Did i just say my bluebirds?)  Ha.  Yes, I did.  We have a pair (well, maybe who they are might change from year to year, but I don’t think so because they do have quite a fancy dwelling a friend of ours made for us several years ago) who still have their young’ns from last year.  It’s a family of five.  I am sure that once mom and dad start doing their love thing, the teenagers will go off into the world to find mates of their own.

In the distance, I could hear the early morning commuters, heading to their various destinations.  As the morning became a little bit brighter, those sounds started to transform into a slightly deafening roar.  I don’t mind the sound of the tractor trailers humming along the distant highway.  Not that they sound “natural” but they surely do not “annoy”.  But once the high pitched motorcycles start screaming along, then it is time for me to come inside until they all get to where they are going.  A good ol’ Harley I can deal with as their low guttural sounds, to me, aren’t invasive to my peace.  And, what is with those folks who insist on putting on those crazy sounding exhaust systems that whine through every gear, as if they can barely make it into second gear from first?  Sorry, I really do like my peace and quiet and I don’t mean to offend those of you who think that kind of stuff is “cool”.

It wasn’t like this when we first moved here 25 years ago.  We were just a small town by big city standards.  There were maybe 2200 of us?  Now it would not surprise me in the least if there are now 18,000 in and just out of town residents.  Stores, strip malls, housing developments, malls, apartment and townhouse complexes have reared their heads everywhere.  Where once were seriously large forests, they have been replaced with concrete, asphalt and brick.  It really makes me sad!  What used to take me 20-30 minutes to run a few errands can take over an hour now!  And, most of the places I am going to are within five miles of my house!

Oh, well, What’re ya gonna do?  Certainly not move.  Sixty six years of gathering “stuff” has accumulated way more than I want to go through and pack and ……

Oh, wait!  It is all getting packed up and I will have to go through it all!  The fire, you know?  Of course, that doesn’t include the gazillion things that hubby has piled up in the barn and shed and anywhere else he can put stuff.  Remember Red Sanford?  Well, welcome to my world!  Ha ha

Back to my little town.  Even though we have grown way too much bigger than I would like, some things have never changed.  Whether I am at the grocery store, the bank, post office or drug store; everybody knows my name.  “Hey, Miss Linda, how are you today?”  Yes, it is “Miss”, not “Ms” down here in my parts.  Out of respect.  And if you are a man, your name will be preceded with a “Mr”.  Of course, since way back when, I always made sure to engage everyone with conversation or a smile.  And, introduce myself.  That’s the way we do things around here.  Or, at least, we did.  Well, I still do and those of us from the old way still do.  Even the youngest of people have that desire to “know” you and, if you are willing, for you to get to “know” them.  If you are from around here, that is.

Most new alien residents don’t have that desire.  Well, most of them don’t.  Guess they prefer their privacy.  Or, am I actually prejudiced?  It’s not that I don’t like strangers, because nobody is really a stranger to me.  But, when new neighbors move in, everyone makes it a point to welcome them into the fold.  Nowadays, we try to do that, but when the new folks try to avoid any interactions or a simple hand wave as you pass each other, I really don’t know what to think or do about that.  So, does that mean I am passing judgment?  I guess it does.  Hmmmm.  That is so totally against the person I try to be.  Ok, so I ain’t perfect!

I guess I need to fix another cup of coffee and get cracking for the day.  There are SO many things I have to do before the crew gets here to commence work on our house.  Maybe traffic has let up some and I can finish my second cup outside?  Uh, yeah, probably not.  But, my birds are still out there.  Sooooooo………   Guess I will just mosey back out there and continue our conversations.  To be sure, a lot more of my little feathered friends are awake by now.  And, I am sure they have lots of gossip to share with me.

Posted in Faith, God, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Heaven Listens!

I usually text my daughter goodnight every evening if she doesn’t text me first.  The other night I felt an urge to call her.  It had been an extremely tiring and overwhelming day, or should I say week?  Or month?  Or year?

Allow me to digress for just a moment and explain…..

As some of you know if you have been keeping up with my blog, my husband “B” had some major surgery on the 1st of February. While he was in the operating room, they also performed two minor surgeries. The first few days after coming home went pretty well, although he had a lot of adjusting to do. However, after a week or so, he discovered that the surgery had not worked as expected. He was pretty devastated as was I. The whole reason for having the surgery was to improve his and our quality of life.  Disappointment loomed as each day went by. The follow-up visit with the surgeon was not encouraging. We go back again towards the end of March.

On the morning of February 18th, I was sick with a bad cold and in bed. “B” was in our bathroom. I noticed a strange smell but, since we have a wood stove and it was a little windy, I assumed that it was possibly backdraft into the house that I was smelling. All of a sudden our smoke detector went off. I jumped out of bed and ran down our hallway, turned the corner into the kitchen and dining area, and saw the reflection of flames coming from our office. Dark billowing smoke was coming into the rest of the house from where the fire was. I ran back and hollered at “B” that there was a fire in the house. I immediately grabbed the nearest phone and ran out the front door calling 911. “B” was trying to get some pants on and find our fire extinguishers.

911 was explaining to me to get everyone out of the house and shut all the doors. In the meantime the neighbors from across the street came running over to see what they could do to help. They had noticed the smoke billowing out of our front door and heard me a little hysterical on the phone. I asked if the husband could please try to get “B” out of the house and if the wife could please help me find my little dog. Fortunately my little dog, Tank, came running out the front door.

In the meantime, “B” was in the office in that black billowing smoke trying to at least control the fire until the fire department could get here. After a couple minutes, I ran around to the back of the house and saw that “B” and our neighbor had made it out the back door and were in the backyard. There I was in my nightgown and no shoes and “B” was standing there with just a pair of pants on. Because of all the surgeries he has had it was a little uncomfortable for him being shirtless. Our neighbor gave him the shirt off his back and the wife ran across the street to find me some shoes that I could borrow.

Since the fire, there have been many different crews coming over to our house to do a lot of different things. Because the black smoke left soot on everything, the whole house from floor to ceiling and everything that we own has to be cleaned and removed.  Then all the carpeting has to be replaced and the walls and ceilings painted.

No one was seriously hurt, thank goodness. However, while “B” was trying to use the extinguishers to control the fire, he did burn the fingers on his right hand pretty badly.

After a thorough investigation by our local fire marshal and an engineer who specializes in fire origin causes,  neither of them was able to determine what caused the fire other than where the fire originated.

So right now, our house is in great disarray. We are living day by day as each day brings another challenge.

So now that my digression turned into a book, let me get back to that call I made to my daughter!

A few nights ago I was feeling really down and discouraged. I don’t get that way very often because I try to simply deal with each day as it comes and always try to look on the bright side. But that night I was feeling really down.

So I called my daughter who was working on a weekly report she can only do at night.  After we talked for a few minutes she said that my 5 year old grandson wanted to talk to me. He and I had a very sweet conversation as I asked him various questions about his day. I was starting to feel a little better. When I asked him what he was doing at the moment he said he and Emma were cleaning the living room for Mommy . And then he asked me if I wanted to talk to my 7 year old granddaughter Emma. Of course I did.

Emma and I talked about her and Roman helping their mommy with the living room. And then something interesting happened. I felt compelled to ask her a question. And it went like this.

“Do you know what happens when you help your mommy?”  “No,” she said a little warily as she really wasn’t excited about doing chores at the moment.

“It makes her smile!”  “Oh,” she said.

“Do you know what happens when your Mommy smiles?”  “No,” she said again.

“It makes her heart happy!”  “Oh!” she said a little animated.

“Do you know what happens when your mommy’s heart is happy?” “No, what?”

“It means Heaven is listening!”  “REALLY, Nana?”

“And you know what happens when Heaven is listening?”  “Nooooo……”

“It makes the angels Sing!  Do you know what happens when the angels sing?”  “What?”

“I can hear them!”  “You can?”

“Yep!  Do you know what happens when I hear them?  It makes my heart happy.  And do you know what happens when my heart is happy?”  “No, what?”

“It makes me think of you, Emma!  And you know what happens when I think of you?”  And in her sweet little voice, she said, “No, what happens?”

“It makes me think of what a sweet girl you are!”  She giggled.

“So you know what I think I’m going to call you the next time I see you?  I think I’m going to call you ‘sweetheart’.  Is it okay if I call you ‘sweetheart’ or do you want me just to call you Emma?”  She told me “Sweetheart!”

“Okay! The next time I come over and I see little you, I am going to say ‘hi, sweetheart’!  Then you and I can look at each other and know that Heaven is listening and that the angels sing whenever we are happy or make someone happy.”  She giggled again and said, “OK!”

In the midst of such a crazy, overwhelming series of events, Father nudged me to call my daughter that night.  And as I was talking to Emma, a story unfolded as He was whispering in my ear.

Lifting me out of my misery, He gave me a smile on my face instead of doom and gloom in my head.  I needed that.  Right at that moment.

Yes, Heaven IS listening and don’t you know, if you listen back, wondrous things happen.  Even something as small as a smile into an otherwise very gloomy day.

Posted in Faith, Family, God, Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Attitude to Gratitude

5 a.m. It can’t be this early! I needed to try to go back to sleep. But it wasn’t working so I got up out of bed and went out to check the wood stove and make sure it was still going.  I added a few chunks of wood.  My nose was really stopped up and my head hurt. I must be getting that bug from whatever it is that my daughter and all the grandkids have.

I couldn’t  believe I was up so freakin early. So I made up a batch of tea and started drinking on it. I better look around and see what tinctures and other such things I have to take to try to fight whatever this thing is. I will probably make some Yogi tea as well. It takes several hours of simmering so I got cracking on that right away.

I noticed a text from my daughter which she sends me every morning with a hello. She gets up before 4am every workday to have time for herself, briefly spend time with her kids and then head on to the city in an attempt to get an early start at her office and beat that nasty traffic.  She was surprised I was already up.

I was terribly annoyed that I had awakened so early and was unable to go back to sleep. And being sick wasn’t helping my attitude. Unfortunately, I let that annoyance get the best of me and I got in one heck of a pissed off mood. I was simmering and stewing just like that pot of tea on the stove .

About an hour later I got another text from my daughter. She said, ” oh my gosh, you have got to see the sunrise and get your camera.”  I walked over to the front window and looked outside across the road. Oh my goodness!  It was incredible.  I ran and got my camera and went outside and started taking pictures. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I had seen.

And then I was humbled. Here was a gift handed to me after I had acted like such a brat. It was like God was saying to me “What in the world are you in such a fuss about? Look at what I have made just for you!” Man, seriously humbled.

Amazing how something so spectacular can make your so called problems become ever so teeny in the immensity of such awesome beauty. My heart knew from the get-go that my head was messing up and once again, head-led won. For a short while. Had my heart not been tuned in to Father as it always seems to be, that sunrise would have escaped my attention and the rest of the day would probably have just kept on the same track of fussing and fuming over stupid stuff. So, in reality, heart-led won.

Enjoy these pictures…..img_0698

img_0700

img_0702

img_0701

Nice, don’t you think?

Have a blessed day!

Posted in Faith, Family, God, Heart | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments