My Garden

As the sun was getting low in the sky last night, Tom and I stopped by with a load of things for our new home. I went out alone to our fenced in garden and just stood there for a moment taking in how beautiful the sun was on the flowers. A poem by a 19th century Englishman that I first read probably 25 years ago came to mind in the cool night air.

A GARDEN is a lovesome thing, God wot!
Rose plot,
Fringed pool,
Fern’d grot—
The veriest school
Of peace; and yet the fool
Contends that God is not—
Not God! in gardens! when the eve is cool?
Nay, but I have a sign;
‘Tis very sure God walks in mine.

~ Thomas Edward Brown

We may not be able to change the world individually, but we can tend well to our own gardens that God has given us and make our lives and families a thing of beauty. Here’s my new garden! This is the portion behind the white fence and gate. We are grateful for the Lord’s provision.


Say it Now – In the Living Years

A friend of mine posted this on FB, and I remembered it from when I was in high school. Great song. Mike and the Mechanics. It cuts both ways, doesn’t it? The living years – we only have them for so long.  Soon it’s too late when we die. Don’t ignore the hand that reaches out, parent to child, child to parent. We don’t get another chance when we’re gone.

All the Little Living Things

The summer walks have resumed. They started in spring, and Emmy and I observed all the subtle changes in the trees and grass and the day the bugs came out.

Now we are back at our strolls through the neighborhood. Last summer, my then four-year-old pretended to be a cardinal on the walks. She has a fascination with birds of all kinds, but settled on a cardinal for imaginative purposes.

This year she is a small dog named Lady.  She insists I toss her dog biscuits and treats and give her drinks from a water bottle as we walk along. The neighbors who see us walk by must get some interesting  glimpses of us. Emmy stops pretending long enough to exclaim over the plants and flowers the neighbors have planted in the borders or big pots on their porches. She’s so tall now, legs long and skinny as she darts here and there, full of enthusiasm and commentary.

There is a giant tree we pass. It must be 100 years old with craggy, rough bark. She hugs the tree as we go by. I have a mini-tree hugger in the making. I call her the tree whisperer as she likes to feel the bark and sometimes says something mysterious and private to the trees as we go by.

We discussed ants the other day. I told her not to wreck the ant houses if she could help it. “Why?” she asked.

“Because they work so hard to make those little houses and then we kick it down.” She thought about that for a while. (I laughed to myself because ants are fine unless they start marching into my house. My sympathies fade at that point.)

Yesterday, Emmy discovered a robin’s nest in our tree. She got to watch as the mother fed the  baby birds with their beaks open. She’s been observing ever since. The mother flies back and forth getting more food for the babies. Em put her small lawn chair under the tree and silently watches the little drama. She likes the way the feathers stand up on the baby birds heads. “I can only see their little feather heads sometimes, Mama,” she told me.

She requested lunch outside today, so I gave her some whole grain bread and strawberry jam and a bowl of fruit and thought she would be sitting on the porch to eat it. I came out and she was gone, or so I thought. She had put her pink lawn chair under the tree to watch her bird family while she ate her lunch. Children are so observant. I watched her as she watched the birds in the nest above. I wondered about what she was thinking.

Empathy for living creatures is naturally there in normal children. We as parents  can encourage it. She is staying quiet as she observes. She knows that noise will alarm the mother who is watching over her little ones.

It’s summertime! All the little living things are making life interesting. Including my little Em.

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Simply Voices

CongregationalSingingThere’s nothing so wonderful to me as standing in a congregation with good singing. I love organ and brass accompaniment, but when a congregation sings acapella, breaking off into four parts, it can be a foretaste of heaven’s music.

Late one night I discovered a YouTube channel that is produced by the Church of Christ denomination. One of their distinctives is acapella singing in parts.  On this video channel I discovered old gospel songs I hadn’t heard since childhood. If you’d like to sing along, they often sing all the verses as well, which is great. So often in (the few) churches that still sing these, they skip verses. So here you are at this link for those who like the simplicity and beauty of the human voice without other instrumentation. I hope the songs are a blessing to you.

Here’s one of my favorites.


Will’s Home – Just in Time for Mother’s Day!

Will’s back home from his first year at college. He had a wonderful year at Wheaton College Conservatory and made the Dean’s List. We are thrilled to have him home again, but he’s working hard this summer with a landscape company, so we’ll catch him when we can.  Here’s Will playing Toccata Festiva by Purvis which expresses the feeling of having our son home again. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.

A Simple, Golden Act

It’s a comforting thing to have a strong hand take your weak one, to feel patience coming from your helper instead of irritation. It’s wonderful to not be afraid, and to have a heavy burden lifted and carried for you by strong arms. To the frail elderly in this world gone mad, someone to look out for you on the street and even take the time to chat a bit must be a blessing.

This story attached here went viral this week. The fact that it was so unusual that it made news shows how far down we have come as a society. But when goodness does make news, it’s worth sharing. Too often headlines about the elderly are bad news stories where they are preyed upon, abused, neglected and abandoned. But not this time.  A simple act, based on the Golden Rule of treating others as we want to be treated, made a headline. Blessings on this young man who did what was honorable.

“…there’s nothing so kingly as kindnesss…”

from Nobility, by Alice Cary


Happy Birthday, Russ!

A big Happy Birthday to our dear brother-in-law, Russ Turner! His daughter, Rachel, summed it up this way in a post.

Dad – You are my rock and the man I look up to. You hold a very special place in my heart – one which nobody else could ever fill. The amount of pride I feel when I tell people about my papa is simply inexpressible. You are an earthly representation of how the Lord loves and cares for His children. Thank you for your seemingly endless love. Happy birthday, pops. XO

We all love and admire you, Russ Turner. God bless you and your family always.


Sunday Music Break!

Of all the singing voices in the world, this is the one I love the most. His voice was always filled with so much love and kindness. He has some great advice in this song.