Monday, April 27, 2009

Meaningful Monday


Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead.

"I will come next Tuesday, " I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren,

I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said," We drive in this all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car.

"How far will we have to drive?"

"Just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."

After several minutes, I had to ask, "Where are we going? This isn't the way to the garage!"

"We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils."

"Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around."

"It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand-lettered sign that read, "Daffodil Garden".

We got out of the car and each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns - great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn.

"It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline.
The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read.
The second answer was, "one at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and very little brain."
The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

There it was. The Daffodil Principle. For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun - one bulb at a time - to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top.

Just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time - often just one baby-step at a time - and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.
~ author Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards ~
I hope that you choose this day to start planting 'Your bulbs one at a time.' Until tomorrow, may you have a blessed Monday.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Birds Of A Feather..... Revisited

Mama and papa bluebirds have really been busy flying in and out of their house. I am looking for the two of them to start coaxing the babies out of the nest any time now. J.D. and I were walking around the property the other day and found a nest with four eggs tucked into the wood pile that J.D. had stacked recently. Out of curiosity he checked the robin's nest in the Clematis vine. The nest was there, but no eggs and we haven't seen the robin for a while. No doubt mama robin decided to find a different neighborhood to take up residence. I am so glad that the situation was resolved quickly. I wouldn't have enjoyed being referee between the robins and bluebirds..

J.D. told me that he saw one of the hummers zipping around the other day. I saw my first finch of the season this morning at one of the feeders. We have been visited by another type of Bluebird every year since we have been here. They could be indigos because they are common to this area, but they look more like the mountain bluebirds that are common to Western USA. No matter what they are rightfully named....they are beautiful.

Chris came with the tiller Friday evening and tilled our garden for us. He left it for J.D. to take another few runs through the garden plot. Now all we need to do is work the dirt up and have it ready to plant around Mother's Day. I can't wait. I love fresh vegetables, especially the ones that we grow ourselves.

I will be gone tomorrow for a stress test, but I have already got the Meaningful Monday post scheduled to publish in the morning. Thanks Nanna for sending this wonderful story to me. I hope you all have a blessed week.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Grandchild's Hand

Grandchild's Hand

The promise of tomorrow

And the hope of dreams come true....

A reminder of a childhood

That's still a part of you....

The wonder of a miracle

From which this love began....

There is so much found in the touch

Of holding a grandchild's hand.

~ Author Unknown

I started out this morning with the idea in my head that I would do a quick post and then get out and get something accomplished outside today. The sun is shining and not a rain cloud in sight. I have decided that I would dedicate this post to JD and my collective grandchildren. It is a special bond that most grandparents have with their grandchildren. So many memories have been made over the years that brings so much joy and happiness as we are growing older. I like to think of it as turning the pages of my memories. It can be heart breaking at times too though, as your grandchildren grow older and you witness the ugliness of the world tip toeing up on them. you find yourself left standing helpless and unable to get through to them as to what is the best avenue to take, to make things right for them again. It is that independent stage in their life, when they feel the need to spread their wings and fly out of the nest all on their own. I have found though that when Mom and Dad, G'ma and G'pa have worked hand in hand to teach good values, love, honesty and trust in God...... These children find their way back. They have to test the waters though. Eventually they all have to step off onto their own personal journey. Until they return to take your hand once more and walk with you again for a little while, we always have those pages of memories to look back on. Feeling the warmth of your mutual love is as simple as a Grandparent holding a Grandchild's Hand.

Wishing the blessing of a Grandchild's Love!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Birds Of A Feather

Every spring for the past five years we have witnessed sometimes as many as three families of Bluebirds per year nest in our Bluebird houses. One year the mother and father were no where to be seen when the babies started emerging from the nest. J.D. and I took it upon ourselves to be their nursemaids until they got the feel of flight. This was mostly to protect the little ones from a Ferrel cat that I had been feeding. This year one family nested in the Bluebird house the end of February. Now we are hosting the second family already.

It seems as if this year we may be serving as referees to the little winged critters. A Robin family has decided to build a nest in my Clematis vines. The picture above gives you an indication as to how close the two nests are. The Robin spends a lot of time sitting in one of the pear trees or deep inside of the Clematis and attacks the Bluebirds when they come to their nest. We need to keep a close watch to make sure the Bluebirds don't desert their nest. Especially if they have already hatched their eggs.

We have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of watching the birds that come to J.D.'s mountain to eat, nest and bring their own little families into the world. I remember a few years ago when Riley had come to visit us. His attention went to all of the activity going on around the Bluebird house. I explained to him how to tell the difference between the Mama and Papa Bluebird. I also told him that the reason they were flying away from the bird house and flying back so much was because their eggs had hatched and they had a bunch of hungry babies in there that they had to feed. He watched a little while longer and then pointed out the Papa Bluebird flying away. He told me that the Papa must be going to Wal-Mart to get some more food for the babies.

When we are pretty sure that the weather isn't going to turn cold again J.D. goes up on the roof and covers the chimneys for the wood stoves. He was watching a program on TV a few weeks ago and out of the corner of his eye, saw something moving in the wood stove. Taking a closer look he discovered a Starling had some how gotten into the chimney and followed it down to the wood stove. J.D. opened the door and then captured our little visitor and set him free. About a week later he heard a scratching noise in the stove pipe. Sure enough the Starling had decided to pay us another visit, only this time getting his little biddy feet hung up in one of the joints in the stove pipe. J.D. once more freed the little thing from the wood stove and after checking if it had injured itself, set it free. I think it was trying to build a nest in the chimney and kept falling down the stove pipe. After getting hung up, I think the Starling family found another location to build their nest. Never a dull moment on this mountain ridge.

(Click on collage to enlarge)
Buddy has adjusted very well to his new home. He wasn't here long when we noticed that he kept licking at his hind paw. J.D. took a closer look at his paw and found that the nail of his right dew claw had grown to the point that it curved under and was embedded in the pad by about an eighth of an inch. We used toenail clippers and cut the nail so we could pull the embedded part of it out of the pad. Poor little guy...... that had to have been awfully painful for him. He has started making up to J.D. He loves playing ball with him and when a storm pops up he spends more time on J.D.'s lap. He had his visit with the vet last week to get his shots and a good once over to make sure he is healthy. Our vet said he was just perfect. No worms, perfect weight and good teeth and clear ears. He gave us a few tranquilizers to give him when a bad storm is coming. We had a very bad storm a few days before going to the vet and Buddy was really terrified of it. He panted and paced and when we could get him to sit with one of us he was shaking violently. We were really concerned about the way he responded to the storm. Buddy being a part of our life has proven to be a joy and a blessing.

Hope that your week is filled with blessings and happiness.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Everything's Coming Up Springtime

(Click on collage to enlarge)

There is no mistake that spring is making an appearance around here. The trees and flowers are starting to bloom and stretching their limbs out toward the sun after a long winters sleep. We seem to be doing the same after a long winter of being pretty much confined to the house on the mountain. We have been as busy as the birds building their nests, going to Britt's band concerts, Britt's high school musical, Taryn's 5th grade musical program honoring our heroes and Riley's musical program with songs about a tropical retreat to Hawaii. There was even a little guy in Riley's Program that was sporting a Mohawk like Buddy's. Oop's softball games will be starting soon and Riley will be playing tee-ball this year so the entertainment spills over into the summer months. Oop told me the other night that this year she is raising a cow and a lamb for 4-H. So we will have the judging to look forward to in July. Taryn has been taking piano lessons and she will have a recital coming up soon as well. I love watching these children perform. All of them put their whole heart into what they are doing. Of course Seth isn't into any organised activities yet, but when he is old enough to be involved G'ma and G'pa will be there to cheer him on too.

(Click collage to enlarge )

Britt and Michael have birthdays in January and that just is not a good month for trying to gather everyone together for a birthday celebration. It seems as though the weather never wants to work with us on that. So we did a group birthday dinner for Britt, Michael and Melody in March. Melody got her fried chicken, Britt got her chicken noodles and Michael got his mac and cheese. Melody's grandmother turned 91 this year and Melody's mother packed a bag for her, put her in the car and brought her to Ohio from Kentucky to share her birthday with her grandchildren. She told us she didn't know where Jo (Yes, Melody's mom is a Jo too! You can never have too many) was taking her, but it took a long time to get there. Melody has been a part of our life since 1996 and this was the first opportunity I have had to meet her grandma. When you think of the perfect grandma that is wonderful and sweet and everything good that a grandma should be, then you are thinking of Melody's grandma.

I posted not long ago that April brought my big "60" birthday....... My dinner was held at Chris and Melody's. Melody served up lasagna and a big chef's salad complete with cake. I got a big laugh out of Seth. He was so excited about my birthday. He took me straight to the dining room to see all of the pretty plates and the gifts. Everything was just perfect. Seth is all about those birthday cakes. I was talking to Melody on the phone just the other night and could hear Seth in the background singing, "Happy Birthday Mommaw, Happy Birthday Mommaw". My thanks to my children, grandchildren and husband for all they do for me. I am a very fortunate woman and thank God every day for the blessing of my family.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Meaningful Monday

By T.D. Jakes

There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you...let them walk. I don't want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone. When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.

The bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us. [1 John 2:19]

People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can't make them stay. Let them go.

And it doesn't mean that they are bad people, it just means that their part in the story is over. And you've got to know when people's part in your story is over so that you don't keep trying to raise the dead. You've got to know when it's dead.

You've got to know when it's over. Let me tell you something. I've got the gift of good-bye. It's the tenth spiritual gift, I believe in good-bye. It's not that I'm hateful, it's that I'm faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He'll give it to me. And if it takes too much sweat I don't need it. Stop begging people to stay. Let them go!!

If you are holding on to something that doesn't belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to...... LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to past hurts and pains ...... LET IT GO!!!

If someone can't treat you right, love you back, and see your worth..... LET IT GO!!!

If someone has angered you..... LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge..... LET IT GO!!!

If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction...... LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents.... LET IT GO!!!

If you have a bad attitude.... LET IT GO!!!

If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better...... LET IT GO!!!

If you're stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in Him.... LET IT GO!!!

If you are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship. .... LET IT GO!!!

If you keep trying to help someone who won't even try to help themselves..... LET IT GO!!!

If you're feeling depressed and stressed.... LET IT GO!!!

If there is a particular situation that you are so used to handling yourself and God is saying 'take your hands off of it,' then you need to...... LET IT GO!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Meaningful Monday

As a drought continued for what seemed an eternity, a small community of farmers was in a quandary as to what to do. Rain was important to keep their crops healthy and sustain the townspeople's way of life. As the problem became more acute, a local pastor called a prayer meeting to ask for rain.

Many people arrived. The pastor greeted most of them as they filed in. As he walked to the front of the church to officially begin the meeting he noticed most people were chatting across the aisles and socializing with friends. When he reached the front his thoughts were on quieting the attendees and starting the meeting.

His eyes scanned the crowd as he asked for quiet. He noticed an eleven year-old girl sitting quietly in the front row. Her face was beaming with excitement. Next to her, poised and ready for use, was a bright red umbrella. The little girl's beauty and innocence made the pastor smile as he realized how much faith she possessed. No one else in the congregation had brought an umbrella.

All came to pray for rain, but the little girl had come expecting God to answer.

We all have something to learn from this young girl.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How Do I Forgive?

One day a while back, a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods.

As he thought about his life this day, he knew many things were not right. He thought about those who had lied about him back when he had a job.

His thoughts turned to those who had stolen his things and cheated him. He remembered family that had passed on. His mind turned to the illness he had, that no one could cure. His very soul was filled with anger, resentment, and frustration.

Standing there this day, searching for answers he could not find, knowing all else had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the one he knew would always be there. And with tears in his eyes, he prayed:

'Lord, You have done wonderful things for me in this life. You have told me to do many things for you, and I happily obeyed. Today, you have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot, I don't know how. It is not fair Lord, I didn't deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn't have to forgive. As perfect as Your way is Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don't know how to forgive. My anger is so deep Lord. I fear I may not hear you, but I pray you teach me to do the one thing I cannot do: Teach me to forgive .'

As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder. He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt. He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground. He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them.

He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head. Finally he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. As their eyes met, the man's tears turned to sobbing, and Jesus began to speak.

'Have you ever told a lie?' He asked?

The man answered - 'Yes, Lord.'

'Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?'

The man answered - 'Yes. Lord.' And the man sobbed more and more.

'Have you ever taken something from work that wasn't yours?' Jesus asked?

And the man answered, 'Yes, Lord.'

'Have you ever sworn, using my Father's name in vain?'

The man, crying now, answered - 'Yes, Lord.'

As Jesus asked many more times, 'Have you ever'? The man's crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer, 'Yes, Lord'.

Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus.

When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or known before.

Jesus said, 'I didn't deserve this either, but I forgive you.'

I have found that to offer forgiveness is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. Before the healing process can begin though the forgiveness needs to be given.

"Wishing you all an Easter filled with many blessings and much forgiveness."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Through The Years

Sixty years ago today I made my grand entrance into this life. I was the fourth and last child born to Bertha Mae (Crace) Riley and Joseph L. Riley. As long as my mother was alive, she recalled for me on April 9th of every year that it snowed on my first birthday. She would also tell me that Easter fell on my first birthday as well. FYI..... It has not fallen on my birthday again in sixty years. The last thing these sixty years have been was hum-drum or boring. This journey has carried me down many roads. Some quite twisted and full of curves, some dark and scary, while others were bright, beautiful and overflowing with laughter and happiness.

Regardless of the hardships and unhappiness that I have faced in my lifetime, I can honestly say that I wouldn't wish them away if I could. Those same hardships and unhappiness is the cast that molded me into the person that I am. My whole life has been mobile until six years ago when J.D. retired and we put our roots down here on J.D.'s mountain in Southern Ohio to finish out what time we have left here on this earth. I can't think of any place I would rather be.

I give thanks every day for the many special friends and loved ones that have been a part of my journey. Each of them has touched my life in some way and made me the better person for having walked with me for a while. I love and appreciate each and everyone of you.

My little family will be honoring me with a Birthday celebration this evening. I love our family get togethers..... there is always such a feeling of warmth and happiness when we can all be together. I love you little party animals! I offer thanks to my parents for giving me life. I am especially thankful to God for denying me my wishes to end my life, during those times when life seemed especially dark. There was indeed so much more ahead to live for.

Wishing all a blessed day!