Monday, July 26, 2021

Word for the Week


Persimmons "hanging in there"
  Definition: noun -

persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success."his perseverance with the technique illustrates his single-mindedness"
Roses continuing to be beautiful even as they wither and die. If that isn't perseverance I don't know what would be. Each season has it's own beauty.

The last book I read was The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards. Then the next book, which I am still reading, is The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester. There seems to be a theme here. I am forever tempted and teased to read books that take place in Europe during World War II. The main character is always a woman and most often creative and somehow involved in saving her country from the Germans and Hitler. Thinking about these two books, which I have thoroughly enjoyed, I am struck by the main characters perseverance to hang in there no matter the consequences. 

Even as building encroach on the land, weeds persevere and grow.

I have wondered if I would have the strength to persevere in times of trouble. To just "hang in there" when times get rough. Books challenge me to think on these things. 

Along the way I must acknowledge my examples as I grew up. I watched my mother persevere through difficult times. I was proud of her for doing so. I learned from her example. If she were alive today I would love to tell her how much I appreciated her example to persevere no matter what. She would probably look at me in astonishment, not realizing what she taught me would stay with me for a lifetime and go on to be an example to my daughter. These life lessons carry on from one generation to another. What I learned from my mother and the books I have read about brave women has influenced me greatly. We must persevere, carry on, and be that example for young women growing up before our very eyes. Whew! I didn't think this word would take me in this direction! Persevere is a good word, but in doing so also remember to care for yourself.

The self care today is a cup of tea and a bouquet of flowers while I remind myself to persevere.

Have a terrific week, dear friends!


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Wacky World of Alice and the Mad Hatter

 "There is a place, like no place on earth. A land full of wonder,

mystery, and danger. Some say, to survive it, you need to be as mad 

as a hatter. Which, luckily, I am."

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here.

I'm mad. You're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.

"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very

earnestly. "I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended

tone: "so I ca'n't take more." "You mean you ca'n't take less," said

the Hatter: "It's very easy to take more than nothing."

"I want a clean cup," interrupted the Hatter: "let's all move

one place on."

Oh this wacky world of Alice and the Mad Hatter at tea.

My whimsical adventure of a Mad Hatter Tea Party.

Playing along with Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist. Stop by her blog to see what fun she has created.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Family Adventure, A Dream Come True

 This was a family adventure I had dreamed of doing for several years. For me, it was a dream come true. Upon arriving at my favorite cousin's home in California last week the first sight was her beautiful hydrangeas. Be aware, there are quite a few pictures, especially in water.

But that wasn't the goal for the trip. My goal was to introduce my grandson to cousins in California. I told him once he learned to swim I would take him to California to meet them. So my daughter, my grandson, and I flew off to California last Wednesday to finally make this happen. I was thrilled.

As soon as D saw my cousin's pool he was in his suit and in the water.

Summer's for kids should be about playing outdoors. That is exactly what happened. He met his two cousins, they played in the pool, did chalk drawings on the driveway, played in the pool some more, swam with their dog, had a water balloon fight, ate amazing food, and once again played in the water.

And he got braver each day. He was so proud of himself for jumping off the board and swimming the length of the pool.

I loved seeing citrus growing in the garden. It wasn't the time for ripe fruit, but they were still beautiful.

My cousin and I sitting by the pool, under the umbrella just enjoying time together. Don't tell her I posted her picture here. Smiling!

Cousins are forever! So glad D and cousins finally connected.

But there was something else to come. D was invited to another cousin's birthday party here in Oregon.
We returned from California on Saturday and Sunday he and I ventured out to play just a little more. This wasn't on my radar until right before we left for California, but I was so happy he could have this connection too. The boys played, had a water balloon toss, and yes! a pinata full of candy.
I got to see my farmer cousin that grows blueberries and mini-kiwi. Here he is checking out a newly planted kiwi acre. It was great to walk with him here.

Did I tell you I have a lot of cousins? There were 26 of us. I am the second oldest, so I babysat my younger cousins occasionally. Plus cousins make the best playmates when growing up.
I wanted my D to have these experiences and so it was a dream come true.
I just loved seeing the roses growing by the farm shed; so will leave you with that image.
Happy Summertime, dear friends!
Go out and enjoy each day with play!
PS - come back on Saturday as there will be one extra post for this week. Join me for a Mad Hatter Tea Party, hosted by Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Word for the Week

 Not to long ago I was thinking I needed to have more self-care for myself. It is something I don't always do very well. During that time I realized I hadn't drawn a new card from my box of Listen for Joy cards; so I pulled one out and it said "Self-Compassion". Whew! I needed that. It was such a reminder that I needed to pay attention to the struggling, injured, or grieving part of me. I needed to be gentle with myself, plus a bit generous too.

Now the pictures may not indicate "self-care" to you, but for me they do exactly that. I love the outdoors and yesterday I had the opportunity to walk around my nieces/cousins farm with my camera. Looking with my camera is a bit of self-care for me, just noticing the little things.

Did you notice I wasn't here to post last Friday? I was on another "self-care" adventure. I had dreamed for several years of taking my grandson to California to meet some cousins. It was a dream come true  to finally do a three day adventure, plus sit with my favorite cousin and catch up with our chats. It was indeed "self-care" to the fullest.

“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren't more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”
Kristen Neff

 So true! Do you criticize yourself often?
I know sometimes I don't trust myself to know and do the right thing.

Let's open the door widely! Care for ourselves most generously. Be forgiving of ourselves when we make a mistake. And above all else, just love ourselves.

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”

Focus on self-care this week and take good care of yourself. Now I am off to get a massage.      If that isn't self-care I don't know what is.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Word for the Week

 From the dictionary, noun for REST: "an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity."

Alan Cohen says: "There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither."

When I stepped into my garden a few days ago I found this bumble bee resting on one of my tea leaves. I talked to him and moved the leaf and yet he remained there for quite awhile. He was resting! He had been working quite hard and it was time to rest. What a perfect leaf to rest on.

Then in church yesterday my pastor spoke on the importance of rest. So today I am paying attention to REST.

Do you find time to rest or more importantly take the time to rest? How do you like to rest? Do you take a comfy chair out into nature and sit awhile? Pick up a book and a cool drink and spend some time savoring a fantasy? Do you pray in rest? Do you sing as you rest? Or do you just let your mind wander where it will? Lately I have been waking in the night for a couple hours. I remind myself to just rest as I lay there and not to worry that I am not sleeping (sometimes easier said than done), but I try reminding myself to rest.

Anne Lamott says, "Rest and laughter are the most spiritual and subversive acts of all. Laugh, rest, slow down." 

Laughter is indeed a form of rest for me, one I very much forget to do at times.

So for today and all week long let's focus on REST.

Have a great week, dear friends, and remember REST in your busy days.

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Friday, July 9, 2021

Tea 4 Me

 “Where there’s tea, there is Hope”
– Wing Pinero

“Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.”
– Henry Fielding

“A simple cup of tea is far from a simple matter.”
 Mary Lou Heiss

Photographed in my herb garden in sunshine too bright for teatime in the garden, but still fun to play awhile.
The teacup I chose to use has a very special memory tied to it. Our last trip to Europe I was very fortunate to attend the Chelsea Flower Show in London and have tea there. While strolling through the flower show I found this teacup at a booth selling antiques and fell in love with it. The flowers are a nod to that visit to the flower show with flowers from my garden on the table and embroidered flowers on the vintage napkins and table cover.
“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.”– Catherine Douzel

For some time I have thought I would like to do afternoon tea just for me.

No food restrictions, just things I like. Actually after doing this one I felt like it was a tea time "swan song" for me. It is a lot of work to do the whole thing from planning, shopping, to producing and my back doesn't much like the work anymore. That said, who knows, maybe I will do it again; but in the meantime I wanted to do it just for me.

Now you might think that is a lot of food just for me. Well I did share with the other members of the household. As you see we moved it inside to eat because the bees, flies, and sunshine were a bit too much.

The menu was:

Sausage rolls with mustard

Cucumber cups with crab salad and a dollop of guacamole on top

Egg salad sandwich

Trout sandwich

Scones with strawberry jam

Vanilla cake with fresh fruit (with the heat the fruit kept sliding off the top-ugh!)

Lemon bars

And thanks to Mary of A Breath of Fresh Air for recommending Rose Lemonade from World Market/Cost Plus, we enjoyed this sparkly special finish to afternoon teatime served without actual tea. I did have my daily tea, just not with the afternoon tea time. Mostly I wanted to sleep last night and having tea late in the day just doesn't work for me. The rose lemonade was perfection. 

There are all kinds of opportunities to have tea, sometimes they are elaborate and sometimes as simple as a store bought cookie and a mug of tea. I love them all and plan on sharing tea times again; so come along with me, pick up that cup of tea and celebrate each day even if it is just for you.

Happy weekend, dear friends!

Monday, July 5, 2021

Word for the Week

 Kindness:the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

"he thanked them for their kindness and support"
Pittock Mansion
Often during the past few years I have thought what the world needs is more kindness. That is often on my mind as I walk through my everyday life. With that on my mind recently I had a dream. In the dream there were many people and much color. I don't remember exactly what was happening or the story, but the word "kindness" kept floating through the story. It was like kindness smoothed out the rough edges of what could be turmoil.
Mount Hood and Portland, the view from a bench.
The view behind the bench while sitting under a giant tree.

Waking up the word took on an ever larger presence as I focused on the color around me. I thought of the different colors of people's skin, the different colors that people choose to cover themselves, and the colors that people choose to surround themselves. It seemed that throughout the colors there was always kindness. Each person is different and makes choices that delight them. Our kindness is in accepting the varied colors that make life sparkle.

Then one of my friends sent me an email and asked me to join her for a picnic tea. Again I thought of kindness. What a treat to receive kindness from a friend. Now you might be saying, but what do the pictures have to do with kindness?
My friend, Stephanie, of Steph's Cup of Tea, and I met this morning under the big tree right there and shared a cup of tea. It was indeed a special moment of kindness, tea, and a few things to nibble too.

Stephanie had made a lavender tea bread, cucumber slices with sundried tomato spread, cheddar cheese with chutney sandwiches. I added some fruit. Stephanie was drinking a lovely Darjeeling tea and I drank Honey oolong. For my tea loving friends, they know I love having a picnic teatime; so this was truly a touch of kindness and much appreciated.
What kindnesses have you received recently?
Did they delight your soul?
Wouldn't the world be a better place with more touches of kindness?

Friday, July 2, 2021

Hug a Tree

 A tree hugger I am!

The weather here in the Pacific Northwest has returned to it's normal June weather. Whew!

Right before the heat arrived I met a friend at Leach Botanical Gardens for a walk among the trees. My friend lives near the gardens, but doesn't venture out often alone and had not visited these gorgeous gardens and trees. I love showing her what is in her own backyard and for me returning to a garden I love walking in. Even as the day was warming up, under the trees we could still see moisture sparkling on the ferns. I know the sparkle doesn't show up well on the first picture, but it stopped us both with it's beauty. It was like diamonds there just for us.

Now this tree I didn't hug, but just smiled to see the home for the gnomes and fairies. Yes, I have talked about that before and I just know they are there. We just can't see them, but at night they come out to dance.

The gardens, during the pandemic, had done some renovating. They added this bridge through the trees just to walk and be with the trees and look down on the garden.

I did title this post "Hug a Tree".  More and more I have become a tree hugger. During the winter I read Forest Bathing by Dr. Qing Li. What a fascinating book. To start the book he says, "We all know how good being in nature can make us feel. We have known it for millennia. The sounds of the forests, the scent of the trees, the sunlight playing through the leaves, the fresh, clean air--these things give us a sense of comfort. They ease our stress and worry, help us to relax and to think more clearly. Being in nature can restore our mood, give us back our energy and vitality, refresh and rejuvenate us."

So I walk outdoors, I go to the trees as often as possible.

I look down and find the beauty of little flowers sitting next to the tree. They are joined together in mutual admiration.

The Oregon grape was fully fruited and more beautiful than I remembered.

From below the bridge we admired the trees from another angle.

Wild strawberries covered the ground. Here and there were flowers in bloom.

I loved this sign.

The original cabin in the gardens was not accessible as the bridge across the creek had washed away during the winter. Still I can imagine living there among the trees.

A new structure has been added to the gardens and for any nature tree hugger would be a lovely place for a wedding or special event.

One final look back at the trees before we leave. Visiting the trees again makes my heart happy.
"We are part of the natural world. Our rhythms are the rhythms of nature. As we walk slowly through the forest, seeing, listening, smelling, tasting and touching, we bring our rhythms into step with nature. Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world. And when we are in harmony with the natural world we can begin to heal."

Welcome to the weekend, dear friends.
Go out among the trees and enjoy this festive, holiday weekend.