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

Monday, December 7, 2009



John 10:22 NLT    It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 

     Nine lights on the hanukkyah shine in the darkness.  As I gaze at the flickering flame I think of Jesus and all He taught us as He walked on earth.  Jesus was Jewish and he celebrated the Festival of Dedication also known as the Festival of Lights.  On the Jewish calendar the date of Hanukkah is Kislev 25.  I sit and wonder if that is why Christian leaders of ages past selected December 25 to celebrate Christmas.
      This festival was first celebrated in 164 BC when Jewish people of that day rededicated their temple which had been ransacked and desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes, an evil ruler of Syria.  As the story goes the Jews could only find one cruse of sacred oil to use to burn the eternal flame.  That cruse would only last one day.  But a miracle happened: the oil lasted 8 days, just long enough for them to prepare more of the sacred oil.  Now the dedication of the temple was complete and they could worship God in all that he had commanded them to do.
     As a Christian I contemplate what God could be telling me with those Hanukkah lights.  Those eight lights represent God’s light in us and the ninth light represents Jesus our Messiah.  He is the servant candle.  The Shamash.  All the other candles are lighted by using the Shamash.  In John 8:12 Jesus said “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”   
     When we follow Jesus he sends the Holy Spirit to place his light within us.  Phil 2:15  tells us to  “Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”  He calls us to be dedicated to Him.  As you celebrate Christmas this year remember that Jesus came to be the light of the world.  Ask him to put his light in you so that you can be a light that shines in a dark and needy world.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

fall harvest recipe

Let’s try some homemade Hearty Fall Soup

    Fall is the perfect time to make a delicious homemade soup for your family.  My daughter passed on this recipe to me from a friend of hers, so I’m not sure who to give credit to for the original recipe (I changed it a little bit), but I know you will heartily enjoy this delicious concoction.
     Start by putting together this dry soup mix which you can store in an airtight container and use for a couple more batches of soup:
Dry Soup Mix

Equal parts of the following:
Split peas (yellow or green)
Barley  (this is a Bible plant)
Lentils  (also mentioned in the Bible!)
Orzo or alphabet macaroni
Brown rice

Hearty Fall Soup

½ cup dry soup mix (see above)
4 chicken or beef cubes in 4 cups of water
½ stalk of celery
1 onion chopped
Bring above to boil and simmer 1 ½ hours.  Cook the following and add to soup:
½ lb. meat (I used ground turkey)
3 sliced carrots
1 cup each: frozen broccoli/cauliflower
(I used zucchini and sweet peppers and extra celery instead of the broccoli and cauliflower)
Add to pot and heat:
1 can chopped tomatoes
16 oz tomato sauce
1 cup frozen corn
As soup is near finishing add your fresh or dried herbs:  basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, dried fennel seed, and pepper.  Yumm!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


     On a recent day trip I happened upon a quaint little craft sale. Beautiful fall arrangements, signs, and harvest decorations were on display with a line of people anxious to purchase their favorite item. I didn’t make a full inspection of everything available as, this time, I didn’t feel inclined to make a purchase. But a few things caught my eye and set me to thinking.

     A cute little pig was hugging his blankey and holding a sign which said “Give Thanks”. I don’t know if he was thankful that Turkeys are a favorite food for Thanksgiving rather than Ham or if he was thankful for his tattered, comforting blankey. Or maybe he was telling me that we Americans are piggies and we should be thankful we have plenty to eat!      Another decoration with pumpkins, squash, and hay had a sign that said “Wicked welcome”. I couldn’t help but think how mixed up the world is today. In current slang I guess “wicked” means something good, something kids want to be; whereas in my years as a teen “wicked” meant you might be thrown into a juvenile detention center.

     But as my mind continued to return to that “wicked” sign another thought came to me. As distasteful as being “wicked” is to me, that is what we all are before Jesus rescues us from the power of Satan. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” That means me…My heart is wicked. Or, my heart WAS wicked. But something happened to change me. That something was receiving Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
     He welcomed me to his arms even when I was “wicked” and he died to save me from my sins. He can do the same thing for you. We don’t have the power to change ourselves. But when we respond to God's call on our lives to receive Jesus; when we ask for His forgiveness and accept His sacrificial death and resurrection as our means to becoming a child of God, Jesus makes us a new creature and He removes the power of Satan from keeping us in the kingdom of darkness. Then we have something to be truly thankful for. I give thanks unto you Father, King of the Universe.
Colossians 1:12-14 KJV Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lancaster County

A drive in Lancaster County makes a great day trip for the fall. Dad wanted to visit his brother, Uncle George, in Ephrata. Charlie and I decided to enjoy taking Dad out for the day. On the way to see Uncle George we stopped at a couple of farm stands and on the way home we stopped for a walk in Nolde Forest. The wonder of God's handiwork cries out to us in the beauty of the day. It was a drink for the eyes to behold as we viewed the beautiful golden and orange colors surrounding us. As we walked in the forest we could listen to the creek tumbling over the rocks calling us deeper and deeper into the stillness of the woods. I thought about how God wants us to come away with Him and spend time with Him each day. As we feed on His Word and go deeper and deeper into the stillness of His presence our hearts are calmed from the pressures of this world. He calls us to "...be still and know that I am God". That day my reply was "Here I am Lord, I hear you calling me."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Favorite Store Near the Shore

Another favorite stop off along the Jersey Shore is a shop called Wild Bird Accents. The first time I drove by I notied all of the bird houses on display out front. That made me stop on the way back from my one of my favorite gardens, Leaming's Run. After going into the shop I noticed all of the driftwood. They have driftwood all over the place made into all kinds of items for the garden lover. Driftwood birdhouses, bird nest stands, tables, benches, chaiselounges, and on and on. They have great nature toys, books, and gifts for children as well as adults. They have all kinds of bird food and beautiful specialty pots for plants that I have never seen anywhere else. I love shopping there. Anyone who loves birds and plants will love this shop!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Ahhh. Vacation time. Relaxing at the beach. Well, I don't always relax at the beach just because I go to the seashore. There are so many other fun things to do and even at the shore you can visit beautiful gardens. One of my favorite places down the Jersey shore is Leamings Run Gardens. It is a private garden open to the public. It is quiet and peaceful. A beautiful place to go. It is at least 5 degrees or more cooler than the beach because of all the shade in the wooded areas. I am not crazy about the heat. So if you don't feel like turning into a lobster on the beach on a really, really hot day...think about a visit to Leaming's Run. You will love it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Rosemary House and Gardens

Click here to view these pictures larger


A few weeks back my husband and I took a trip to Pittsburgh. On the way there I just had to stop at a shop in Mechanicsburg that I found out about through garden club avenues. Our club had Susanna Reppert as a speaker and her late mother, Bertha Reppert, many years before her. Susanna is the current owner of The Rosemary House and Gardens selling all kinds of herb plants and everything to do with herbs.

Her garden was a whimsical delight and her shop was filled with books, pamphlets, packaged teas and spices, tea supplies, soup mixes, medicinal herb tinctures, garden ornaments and more. Susanna teaches workshops and puts together fabulous bus trips to enchanting gardens. I found her shop to be interesting and educational as well. I could have spent much more time there; however, my husband isn't keen on shopping...well, you know how it goes, gals. Anyway, I did purchase a few treasures to take home to my two girls. This time, I skipped the babies and just bought for my daughters!

If you would like to visit this wonderful little place or receive her catalog and calendar of events there are several ways to contact her. If you don't have an internet connection you can call 717-697-5111 and ask to be put on her mailing list. You can e-mail her at TheRosemaryHouse@aol.com or visit the web site or blog at www.TheRosemaryHouse.com, www.TheRosemaryHouse.blogspot.com. I know you'll enjoy visiting this site.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saving Money

Grocery shopping has become an unwelcome task. I just have so many other things to do that seem more important than grocery shopping. And everything is so expensive. But did you know that even while grocery shopping, one can't get away from gardening. What does grocery shopping have to do with gardening? You might be surprised to know that you can find lots of things that have to do with gardening while grocery shopping.

I don't always shop at the same grocery store every week. My choice this week was a very large supermarket with a portico around the outside. As I approached the store, I noticed a large display of plants under the portico. Just before entering, there was a display of potting soil. It seemed like a good deal, but I really didn't want to spend the money on more potting soil this week. Inside the store there were houseplants, plant food, and small pots. I wasn't really in need of any of those things at the moment. But on the way through the check out line, something caught my eye.

Magazines! There was a large assortment of magazines in this particular supermarket. I decided to count just how many "gardening" type magazines there were and I counted 10, yes, 10! That says something about the popularity of gardening. I read somewhere in one of my magazines that gardening is the most popular hobby in the U.S. It must be true. Listen to these titles: Landscape Solutions; Outdoor Rooms; Gardening Green for Less; Backyard Solutions; Deck, Pool, and Patio; Easy Care Landscaping; Organic Gardenging; Grit Special Issue: Preserve What You Grow; Fine Gardening; and Gardening and Deck Design. Oh yes, and one more, which I decided I HAD to have: Thrifty Gardener by Birds and Blooms. I just know this $10.99 magazine will save me lots of money!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Vanderbilt Estate

This is one of the gardens I visited while in North Carolina. Most people probably think of the Vanderbilt Estate as a mansion. Of course, it is that. But the gardens there are absolutely fabulous. Not only can you view many species of plants but they add a little fun with their whimsy in the garden. I couldn't get over this pink flamingo! I thought of my friend Cheryl when I took this picture. She loves pink flamingos! Check out the set of photos below to see the flamingo.

Pictures from Patricia

Click here to view these pictures larger

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Finally! It is nice out, the sun is shinning and there is no immediate threat of rain. We have had rain in this area of PA for weeks now. My plants are waterlogged and some just don't look too good because of it. I actually had to repot some of them into a more sandy soil.

Well, I guess I have to admit that those I repotted actually needed sandy soil anyway. But if it hadn't rained so very much, I could have postponed that job. As I look at my Aloe plant I am firmly reminded how great a difference it makes to have the correct soil for your plants. I actually had to bring that plant in on the porch to keep it from getting too much rain. It is looking quite a bit better now.

My purpose in this blog is to share with others the love of gardening and taking it one step further...a love of visiting gardens. God made the first garden and we can learn more about Him through our study of gardens and plants.  I have visited gardens from the Pottstown/Boyertown area, near home, to The Bahamas and St. Thomas. As the weeks go on I will share some photos with you of some of the gardens I have enjoyed.  I'll also share occasional devotional thoughts about knowing God better.

I'd also like to hear from you readers where some of your favorite gardens are. I'd especially like to hear about gardens you have visited in the Philadelphia and Tri-State area. (Delaware/NJ/MD)