A Favorite Quote

"If you look the right way you can see that the whole world is a garden." from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Story by Aiden

I have the joy of sharing with you a story written by my 8 year old grandson (His Mommy helped him by editing and embellishing the story a little bit.  But this is his story line.)

Once upon a time, Ramsey saw a squirrel through the back door
window. Sammy was too small to see out the window, but she sensed
Ramsey's excitement and knew that SOMETHING was up. Mamma decided to
let both dogs out before they drove her nuts. As soon as she opened
the door, both dogs bolted out the door. In his impatience, Ramsey
almost bolted THROUGH the door, but since brick walls don't even seem
to register with him, this fact is of little importance.

The squirrel scurried up the tree and Ramsey tried to bark him down.
This had never worked before, but you never knew when barking COULD knock a squirrel out of a tree.!!!  The squirrel actually DID fall out of the tree. Imagine that! Sammy, the fast one, almost caught it, but...she didn't. She ran as fast as she could in order to get it, but...she still wasn't fast enough for a squirrel. Besides, Ramsey, the "big oaf", was all beside himself wondering which way to go and what to do and bowled Sammy over during this strenuous thinking process. Sammy was disgusted and embarrased. The squirrel had gotten away and she was left lying in the yard with all four legs up in the air. Her attempt at being the Mighty Super Hunter had been destroyed. Ramsey just stood there looking around wondering what had just happened. And Sammy was wondering, again, how Ramsey had been chosen to become a part of this family to begin with. The household was made up of all relativly smart people... except for one big yellar dog! Had anyone SEEN this rediculous escapade? Sammy looked around sheepishly. There was a dog being walked down the hill on Walker Drive, but he wasn't looking their way. Whew! Besides, the Leyland Cypress that surrounded the property had grown in quite a bit since last year and had the fortunate tendancy to sheild such distressing displays. Sammy knew that she couldn't be mad at Ramsey for long. He couldn't help the fact that he was....ummm... a little short on marbles. (He is actually downright dumb, but we are trying to be polite in this story.) Besides, he had already forgotten about the squirrel. He had decided that the chase had made him tired and he was taking a nap. In his dreams, HE was the Mighty Super Hunter and he DID get the squirrel.  And he evern gave the whole thing to Sammy who decided to roll in it so that EVERYONE would know about their hunting adventure by the smell of her new perfume. However, Mamma was NOT happy about Sammy's new perfume! Humans do NOT like "Essence of Dead Squirrel". And so, to Sammy's great embarrasment for the second time in one day, she was plunked into the basement sink straight away and tortured by a rather vulgar dousing of Suave "Sweet Pea" shampoo! How much lower could a dog's day get?! Why couldn't it be Ramsey who got the bath? He LOVED baths for some strange reason, but then, he WAS missing some marbles... And then, all of a sudden, the sound of Pappa's truck turning into the driveway made both dogs jump up. Their dreams were blown away as quickly as dandelion dust in the wind as thoughts of supper suddenly took the place of any previous memories. Such is the life of a dog!

Ramsey - the yellar dog

Pop Pop holding Sammy.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waterfalls at Longwood Gardens

     On this beautiful June day a friend and I planned a photo shoot at Longwood Gardens.  We both rented electric carts.  Since I've had knee issues these carts are "the greatest thing since sliced bread."  A great way to get around this vast estate.  I have been to Longwood many times but I don't ever recall seeing this waterfall.  It was hidden away in a nook right next to the Italian Water Garden.  Water was the main focus of my shooting today.  I love the sound of the cascading water.  It seemed as if it called to me and held me mesmerized as I stood there admiring it.
     Up in the center of the conservatory I admired the water lilies.  On my way out I saw a lady staring at a lacy plant in the water.  I hadn't noticed it before.  But as I followed her gaze I was blown away by the beautiful design this plant made in the water.  Now, I always try to shoot a picture of the plant tags whenever I shoot plants.  But, of course, I forgot this time and I don't recall what this plant was called.  But I'm sure you will admire the artistic design of it rippling on the water, just as I did.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Season of Rain

     This past weekend I was driving to a photography conference at Kutztown University.  It was dark and dreary and I didn’t know where I was going.  I was on unfamiliar roads.  The rain was pouring down and I was listening to the radio.  I heard Michael W. Smith singing “We Bow Down” and his song sent my mind into deep thoughts.
     I began thinking about the seasons of life we go through at times.  I began to sing along with the radio and I thought about the season I’ve just been through.  A season of rain… In Dec of 2011 I had surgery for breast cancer.  In Jan and Feb of 2012 I had radiation therapy.  All through that time I was having major back and knee issues; so much so, that I was often in a wheel chair.  In Oct of 2012 I had total knee replacement.  It was a difficult recovery.
     I lost interest in my old hobbies.  I couldn’t garden.  I couldn’t bend over to take a photograph.    The weight of the rain on my body made me droop.  I felt like I lost my petals.  But as I looked at all the flowers and trees along the road that night and saw them droop with the weight of the rain I felt worship fill up my heart.

     God brings the rain to the earth to give the flowers a drink, to bring them refreshment.  The earth cannot survive without the rain.  It knocks off the flowers and makes the plants bow down to the ground.  They are heavy with the weight of the rain.  Yet, they need that rain to grow and gain strength and to bloom again in the future.
As I went through my season of rain I was able to continue to praise God for His many blessings.  On this side of the storm I can testify of how He helped me.  I saw His hand of mercy at work in my life.  I received the blessings of love and fellowship and friendship through the rain.  Today my heart is blooming with the thought of all the blessings the Lord has given me.  As I drove that night the words that went up to God from my heart were “I bow down and worship you Lord, even in the rain”.
     I had an awesome time at the photography conference.  I had the opportunity to meet and listen to Mike Moats a professional macro photographer (along with some other great folks, too).  As Mike talked about his blog, his words were an encouragement to me to get back to my own blogging.  Viewing his photographs made me want to go out and shoot puddles.  Yes, puddles!  I will never look at a puddle in the same way again.  Thank you Mike for your tips and encouragement and for chatting with me at supper!  You all will certainly want to view his website and photos.  If you get the chance take one of his workshops, you will learn so much.  Visit his website at www.tinylandscapes.com.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

No, I didn't fall off the end of the earth!  But so many things have happened to me that kept me from blogging.  First of all, I was diagnosed with cancer.  In the meantime I had major issues with my back and knees.  I had knee replacement surgery.  So, now I hope I am back on the mend and can resume sharing some inspirational thoughts with you.  Last week I had the opportunity to visit Longwood Gardens and my sister took my picture with the flowers in the background.  Please look at the other pages now available on my blog.  I have discontinued my web site but...I have a second blog that I enjoy posting on.  You can check that out at www.rootedinfaith.wordpress.com.

Can you guess what this is?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sweet Memories

On a beautiful spring day my friend and I decided we needed a real “girly girl” day.  We headed for a tea room Sue had heard about on a recent flight to Fla.  She didn’t remember the name of it.  She didn’t remember where it was.  She thought she remembered the person telling her it was in Macungie, so we decided we would just drive there and look around.  We giggled and laughed and didn’t really care where we ended up.  We were making sweet memories, the kind you make when a friend celebrates a special victory with you.
When we couldn’t find any tea rooms in Macungie, we decided to try the Blue Butterfly Tea Room in Emmaus.  But when we pulled into the parking lot we found it closed on Tuesdays.  We certainly weren’t getting too far.  By now it was well past noon and we were both pretty hungry.  Undaunted, we said to ourselves, “Let’s drive into town a little bit farther and see what there is.”  We were on an adventure!
Emmaus is a quaint little town with tiny shops and beautiful old buildings.  We loved the feel of it and enjoyed looking at the architecture.  Sue was driving and I said “Hey!  There is a little gift shop with a bunch of ladies going into it.  I wonder if that is a tea room?”  With that, she turned the car around and we looked for a parking place.  Eureka!  We found the tea room we were originally looking for.  And the name of it was Sweet Memories.

I must say, the name of the place is very fitting as one can certainly make sweet memories with your friends at such a lovely place.  We found it delightful!  The rooms are tiny and cozy with unique decorations to fit each season.  It is housed in one of those beautiful antique buildings that adorn the town.  As hungry as we were, we were immediately mesmerized by the myriad of items on display for purchase.  And since I am a tea buff, my eyes drank in the vast display of tea and tea implements for purchase.  I made a mental note of which shelf I would explore when we were done eating.

We each chose the same things from the menu: a spinach salad with strawberries, onions, and diced nuts; and a veggie burrito with mushrooms, peppers, and squash, topped with sour cream.  They were soooo delicious.  We could tell everything was fresh and top quality.  We giggled as we thought about how much are husbands would dislike the menu and how much we absolutely loved it!  (My husband is a McDonald’s man.).
 We sat right next to a large glassed case full of the most scrumptious desserts you ever saw.  All were home made by the owners.  As diners finished their lunches they came up to view the desserts in the case to make their selections.  It was hard to choose, but chocolate usually wins, hands down, for me.  We both decided to try the chocolate toffee cake with cream icing.  Yum!  A thousand times, YUM!  It was so moist and chocolaty and had these wonderful little toffee chips between the layers.  Not chips as in chocolate chips, but real candy toffee chipped into little pieces…way better!  And, the icing tasted like real cream and wasn’t that overly sickening sweet type, which I usually pick off of a cake.  It was light and fluffy and just right.
I asked for permission to take a few photos so I could show my on line friends what a great place this is.  I know as you view these pics you will surely be picking up the phone to make a reservation.  You can reach them by phone at 610-967-0296.  Their address is 180 Main Street, Emmaus, Pa.  They are closed on Mondays.  You can view their page on facebook at Sweet Memories, Emmaus PA.

I made sweet memories with a friend that day.  We were celebrating a victory.  I am a cancer survivor.  I finished radiation and I am moving on.  I thank God for such a special, sweet day and for all the precious friends He has given me.  I am truly blessed.      



This bunny is dancing on the desserts and saying "Happy Easter"!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Shepherd - Part II

Last time we talked about Psalm 23 and how the shepherd provides for the sheep.  I introduced you to my friend Louise and her sheep farm.  I just have to tell you another cute story from Louise that brings another scripture verse to life, this time from the New Testament.
      Louise had to continuously lead her sheep from one field to another so they could have clean fresh pasture land.  She told us, “Sheep need new pastures to keep down the bugs and illness that can plaque them if they stay in one spot with too many droppings. They need you to lead the way.  They won’t go through the gate to another pasture unless you take them there.”

          She also told us how her sheep would come to her when she called.  She learned from her sheep keeping days that sheep only heed the call of their shepherd and don’t answer when other people try to call them.  She tried a little experiment with her husband, Ernie.
          “One day as Ernie and I drove to the farm,” she explained, “I asked him to stop the car next to the fence rail, beyond the barn.  I asked him to call out to the sheep ‘Here girls!’ and to wait and see what happened.  He called out, but nothing happened.”  She was excited to show him this because she wanted to make a point and share with her dear husband how God had opened up the scripture to her.  “He wasn’t their shepherd, you see, and they never even looked at him.  Then I called ‘Here girls!’”, she told us, “and pretty soon we saw heads pop out of the barn and they came out and ran over to me.”

          How exciting to feel the scriptures come alive before our very eyes as the ladies in our Sunday School class listened to these stories of sheep and read John 10: 27-28
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
          In John 10:14 Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd.  He calls to us and bids us come.  For those who are part of His flock He not only gives us an abundance of what we need here on earth, but He gives to us the promise of eternal life.  By His loving grace we can respond to His call; we are fed and led to that perfect restored garden in the paradise of God.
          Good and gentle shepherd, help me to always follow where you lead.



Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Shepherd – Part I
          I’m sitting on my back porch listening to the locusts hum and the birds call.  My lawn is a lush green carpet after all that voluminous rain.  As I look at how the rain brought the grass back to life after the long drawn out heat wave and drought, I find my mind’s eye traveling to a beautiful little farm setting.  As I walk along the old dirt road, I can envision the gentle woolly sheep in the pasture that my friend Louise talked about in our ladies’ Sunday School class a few weeks ago.
Louise raised sheep for about 15 years and during that time the Lord taught her some lessons about His Word.  She so generously shared with us (in our Sunday School class) about her experiences with the sheep and the scripture verses she associated with taking care of them.
 She said “Sheep won’t lie down unless they are fed and cared for.  They have to be comfortable and content with their surroundings.  I thought it would be easy to care for sheep.  I thought they would eat the tall grass in the field and it would save me from mowing.  I thought they would drink from the little tumbling creek running alongside the field.  Boy, did I learn a lot.”
          I chuckle to myself as I think of Louise having to ride a big tractor to mow the field for her cute little flock that she thought would be so easy to manage.  She found out her lovely little farm animals would not eat the grass unless she mowed the field.  They just happen to like short grass and they weren’t content.
          Not only would they not eat the long growth in the field, but they would not drink from the beautiful little bubbling brook.  Come to find out that sheep like still water…not running water.  They are afraid of the running water.  She had to go out and find some of those old antique, claw foot bathtubs so she could put them in the barn in the shade and fill them with clean water for these wonderful woolly sheep to drink from.
          Louise was a good shepherdess to her sheep.  She took good care of them and gave them everything they needed.  She mowed the field so the grass was short and green; she installed special tubs for clean, still water; she kept the fences mended so the sheep couldn’t get out and nothing could get in to hurt the sheep.
          So I contemplate the 23rd Psalm and how Louise related her sheep stories to us that day.  I am so thankful that the Lord is my shepherd.  I am content because He has given me all the things I need in life.  He has led me along the path to righteousness and has given me an abundance of blessings.  When you read the 23rd Psalm may you remember these special stories about Louise and her sheep.  May they be a blessing to your heart and bring your thoughts to the Good Shepherd. 

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.