Getting Garden Ready

It seems that Mother Nature just cannot make up her mind!  We have had some perfectly lovely days, but suddenly the rains came through and once again it is cold and damp.
Every time I think Spring is here to stay, another cold blast of winter comes barreling through.¬† I know that I have no reason to complain as there are places that are still getting snow!¬† ( I’m so very sorry. )

Whether it’s cold and grey where you are or if your fortunate and the sun is shining bright, we are all thinking about the same thing…..warm, sunny days and flowers in the garden.¬† ¬†So, today I thought I would share some photos of springs past.¬†

Last May, I attended the beautiful garden wedding of my niece.
As always, I was captivated by the beauty of the garden ( and the beauty of the bride) and captured a few photos to store away for savoring on grey days like today.  


It was a small garden with lots of potted plants and fountains creating the perfect ambiance for a beautiful Spring wedding.

The bride and groom exchanged their vows before this wall of potted ivory, and you can just image how perfect it was. ( I guess I’m a bit of a romantic at heart.)

I’ve always loved a garden wedding.¬† They seem so cheery and bright.¬†¬†

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.”

Have faith, in no time at all, we will all be singing in the sun.  Blessings РGerri 

Today Anything is Possible!

Let your joy burst forth like flowers in Spring!

Spring is a time of new beginnings!  The earth is bursting with colorful flowers and the trees are budding out, showing off their new green color.  The birds are singing their most glorious song and the sky is as blue as the sparkling color of the ocean seas.

¬†¬†It seems that nature is celebrating the return of warmer days with it’s burst of glorious beauty!

He has made everything beautiful in it’s time.¬† ¬†

– Ecclesiates 3:11

Spring makes me feel like anything is possible.¬† The increased light and the warmer air encourages me to get outside more, work in my garden, go for long walks, and just take in the glories of nature.¬† It’s finally time to shake off those winter blues and feel the joy that arrives with spring.¬† ¬†

Spring is a time of celebration! It’s the time to kick off your shoes and run barefoot through the dew sparkled grass.¬† It’s a time to gather with friends and family for picnics in the garden and cooking on the grill.¬† It’s a time for planting and starting with new beginnings.

For nothing will be impossible with God.  -Luke 1.37

My hope for you for today is that you will relish in the glories of spring and lift your eyes in thanks for the beauty of this day.

Wishing you blessings today and everyday.  РGerri

What’s Up in the Garden

A change of season always brings excitement!  After weeks of grey, cloudy skies the slightly warmer weather definitely has me yearning for Spring!

This past week, in between the scattered raindrops, RH and I have been observing the damage to our garden from the hard freeze.  In southeast Texas, we usually have fairly mild winters.  This year was different.  Temperatures dropped below freezing and stayed there for a couple of days.  Our somewhat tropical garden took quite a beating.  Although all potted plants were stored safely in the garage and we covered the plants that we knew would struggle in a freeze, the cold weather really took a toll on our previously lovely garden.  ( I do realize there are places in the world that would delight in our mild winters and are probably chuckling at our gardening woes.  We are a bit spoiled in this region! )

While I did enjoy the cooler temperatures, it was so nice to see highs peeking into the seventies this week, although we are still being inundated with lots of rain and grey skies.  My husband is truly the passionate gardener, and he has begun trimming away and hauling off branches filled with ugly, dead leaves.  After surveying the bleakness of our garden, we ran out and purchased a few Daylilies and Lavender in an attempt to bring some life back into the space.  I know that the Daylilies will thrive as they love our hot and humid climate.  However after purchasing the Lavender I learned that they prefer a less humid climate.  Well, I do love Lavender so I want to at least make an attempt. We shall have to wait and see.

Everyday day, with sweet Bear close on my heals, I walk around the garden searching for bits of green sprouting through.  The tulips I planted last Fall are slowly pushing through the ground and I can see bits of green around our Mexican Heather. However, I’m afraid it’s going to be a long, slow process though.

To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow.

– Audrey Hepburn

The garden is my place of delight, peace and contentment.  I look to my garden to be a retreat from the busyness of the day.  A special place to relax, enjoy and simply breathe.  However, as with most things worthwhile, gardening is a process.  So for now, I will simply wait, nurture and believe in tomorrow.  

Wishing you blessings as we await Spring. – Gerri

**The photos shown in this post are from last summer’s garden. Hopefully, I will have new photo’s for you soon.


One Word – Simplify

Simplify ……this has been my goal in life for oh, so many¬†¬†years.¬† I crave simplicity …. in my home, in my mind, in all that I do.

I have an inherent belief that if I can simplify all aspects of my life.¬† I’m not sure that this is truly possible as we live in an extremely complex world.¬† However, it has been my goal for quite awhile now, so I will continue to strive for this.¬† I believe that if I can truly simplify my life then I will find the peace and serenity that I truly desire.¬† I believe that I’m not alone in this pursuit.

With my goal being to create a simple life, each day I begin with a vision of what this simple life will look like.  For me,  the first step is to start with my home.  I want my home to be as clean, simple and clutter free as possible.  I am currently going through every nook and cranny to eliminate any items that I no longer need or desire.   I don’t want possessions to create complexity in my life.  Clutter makes me anxious.  So, I am striving to eliminate anything that restricts my idea of freedom and joy. 

Another step in the process is how I spend my time.¬† It’s important to me that my time is spent doing what brings me joy and satisfaction.¬† As I go through this process,¬†I have found that I am now eliminating¬† activities that are not as meaningful to insure I have time for the activities that I most enjoy.¬† Life is full of choices.¬† It’s important to me to choose activities that bring joy. Sometimes, I have to really stop and consider my goals and what brings me the most joy in making decisions.¬† I am not as quick or impulsive in agreeing to do some things as I once was.¬† Often times, I prefer staying home to read a good book or spend time in a creative pursuit rather than filling my time with an activity that has less meaning for me.¬† The added bonus is that I’m not spending money on something I don’t really want or need.¬† This allows me to save for those things or activities that are most important!

Several years ago,¬†I heard of the concept of choosing a “word of the year.”¬† The idea is to choose one word that will guide your life choices for the year.¬† It’s similar to making a new year’s resolution, but more……simplified!¬†¬†At the time I thought it was a great idea, but there wasn’t one word that seemed significant to me.¬† This past year, I ran across the idea in several blogs that I follow.¬† Again, the idea really appealed to me, but what word to choose!

Well, I suppose this idea has been rolling around in my head for a while now, but I have finally decided to choose simplify as my word for the year. I know that it is already February and that I am behind in this process, but I am not one to make a commitment lightly, even if it just involves choosing a word.

Our life is frittered away by detail…simplify, simplify.

                                                                                   РHenry David Thoreau

I am looking forward to my year of simplicity and eager to learn of the influence it may have on my lifestyle.  I will definitely be sharing along the way.  

If you have a “word of the year,” I would love to hear your word and your thoughts on how your word is effecting your life.¬†¬†

Sending you blessings for a simplified day!¬† –¬† Gerri

 

 

A Magical Morning

It’s a rarity to have snow in Cypress, and when it happens it’s beautiful and amazing no matter how quickly it passes.¬†

It was around midnight when I peered out my front window on the night of the great snow.¬† I was mesmerized by the beauty of the falling flakes.¬† When I realized the snow was actually sticking to the ground, I grabbed my jacket and boots to step outside my home to capture a few images while I could.¬† I knew the magical white covering wouldn’t last for long, and wasn’t sure if it would still be there when I awoke in the morning.

 

 

All night long I awoke every couple of hours to see if the snow was still there.  The next morning I was thrilled to see the snow still on the ground.  Again, I donned my boots and jacket and immediately headed to the pond to be amazed by the beauty.  No coffee needed this morning, as I was so excited to see the snow.  

The brief walk to the pond was amazing as the snow clung to the trees, bushes and rooftops.  Perhaps a half an inch of snow left a beautiful white blanket on the lawns. 

 

 

When I arrived at the pond, the beauty did not disappoint.  Although there was not much snow on the ground, the trees were resplendent with white.  The mix of fall colors with the new fallen snow made the scene all the more glorious. 

 However, even as I walked around trying to capture every bit of the sublime beauty, the snow was dropping from the branches of the trees.  I knew it would not last for long.

 

 

By the end of the day, there were only sparse lingering patches of snow on a few rooftop corners that hadn’t gotten much sun on this heavenly day.¬† As quickly as it appeared, the snow faded away leaving only a hope that perhaps if conditions are just right it will come again sometime.

In a year of catastrophic hurricanes, devastating fires, and destructive earthquakes God has graced us with a brief moment of wondrous beauty of nature.¬† It’s fleeting passing reminds us to savor each precious moment of it’s glory.¬†¬†

As the resplendent colors of fall fade into the often dreariness of winter days, there is still beauty to be found in a bright, clear day filled with sunlight, or the beads of ice on shrubs and branches that glimmer like crystal.

If you truly love Nature, you’ll find beauty everywhere.

 РVincent Van Gogh

Countdown to Cozy

While many places in the world are bracing for winter’s chill, in Texas we are just beginning to see subtle changes that some might call fall! ¬†With the recent time change,¬† darkness descends upon us by six o’clock.¬† The recent cool front as encouraged my sweet husband to light a fire to take the chill off the house.¬† With soft, jazz playing in the background the atmosphere is definitely cozy. ¬†The cooler temperatures have inspired me to make some homemade vegetable soup. ¬†It has been simmering on the stove all day and the smells wafting from the kitchen are delightful. ¬†As evening approaches I plan to light some scented candles to complete the cozy setting.¬†¬†

Gray skies and cooler temperatures definitely inspire cozier times at home. ¬†It’s the time of year to enjoy a crackling fire, grab some comfy pillows, a warm blanket and curl up with a great book. Or perhaps you prefer to spend your evenings snuggled up to someone special and watch a favorite movie together.

I’ve always found the cooler, winter season an excellent time to slow down the busy pace of life and recharge my battery.¬† The darker days encourage me to “just stay home”¬† and enjoy a cozy atmosphere, and even crawl in bed a little earlier than usual to catch up on some much needed rest and relaxation.

I’m sure that come spring I will be anxious to leave the cooler days behind and enjoy soaking up the warmer rays of the summer sun, but for now,¬† I am content to light candles and curl up in blankets and enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with this time of year.

So Surround Yourself with Pillows and Blankets and Enjoy the Cozy Days Ahead!

Stay Warm and Cozy – xxoo Gerri

 

Find Gratitude – Find Joy

Gratitude – the quality of being thankful, showing appreciation and returning kindness.

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Today, I was reminded of gratitude.  I have to admit, I have been slouching around, complaining about the August heat and allowing myself to wallow in my discontent.  Not a good place to be.

But today, I was reminded that I can choose joy!

It was just a simple article on my morning news feed.  The article focused on a woman who had tragically and unexpectedly lost her husband.  But the heart of the article was remembering gratitude in an overwhelming situation.  It made me feel so silly and selfish for allowing myself  to wallow, when truly I am so fortunate.

Then later this morning, I found out that a very dear friend of mine was in a terrible car accident.  Her car was T-boned and the jaws of life were brought out to remove her from her vehicle.  I have to say she is fine, just very shaken up and a bit sore.  But what a frightening event to go through.  Thank goodness for seat belts and airbags!  

Some how, knowing how frightening this experience was for her put everything into perspective.  I remembered the importance of the simple everyday things that usually bring me so much joy, my loving family, the joys of nature, and a faith that sustains me through all the adversities of life.  

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It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. ¬†However, if you remember gratitude each day, it helps to keep you from falling into that rut. ¬†Gratitude can also pull you up when you are in such a rut.

Finding ways to cultivate gratitude in our lives can increase our happiness and joy.  Simply stopping to think about things we are grateful for increases an attitude of gratitude.  Taking the time to acknowledge simple pleasures and express thankfulness for your blessings can increase your joy and zest for life.

To cultivate an attitude of gratitude, here are some things I try to remember to help me through my day.

  • Morning reflection – this quiet time really helps to get my day off to the right start
  • Showing kindness – offering assistance, a kind word or smile, a helping hand to someone in need can mean so much to others.¬†
  • Say thank you to show your appreciation – those simple words can mean so much, but so often we forget to say them.
  • Share what you have with others – tip that waitress that was so kind an extra dollar – drop off ¬†some groceries at a local shelter – When we share what we have, it not only helps others, it makes us feel better about life in general.
  • Keep a gratitude journal – ¬†make a list of things you are thankful for – or better yet, write 3 things everyday that you are thankful for – start off small – but as you continue, you will be amazed at how your gratitude will grow.
  • Be a good listener – sometimes someone just needs their thoughts to be heard – You have know idea what a difference you might make to someone by simply really listening to their story.

So there you have it.  If you have actually read the words in this article, that shows that you truly care and want to make a difference.  Go out into the world and make that difference.  In our world where there is so much hate, be a product of love.  I believe in you!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness in life.

Blessings to you and yours always – xxoo Gerri

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Finding Everyday Joy

Finding joy in the simple things is my quest.  I seek simplicity, peace and serenity.  I strive to make my days and my surroundings as quiet and peaceful as I possibly can.  I have made a purposeful decision to avoid stress and chaos in my life and I structure my days for calm and quiet.

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I realize this may not be completely possible.  I know that life can be stressful and there are certain times when stress and chaos are hard to avoid.  However, I am making a purposeful choice to turn away from stress and chaos and fill my days with calm and quiet.

This has been a long term goal of mine, however, as with many goals, often we fall short of what we have planned. ¬†Life gets busy, overwhelming, with stressful jobs, raising families, and seemingly endless to do lists of things we believe must be accomplished each day. ¬†It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday stresses of life. ¬†Sometimes so caught up that we become weary, physically exhausted and emotionally drained. ¬†

Finding everyday joy involves finding simple pleasures in ordinary moments.  Finding joy each day involves taking a moment to enjoy small, simple pleasures.

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I know that I cannot completely avoid stress and busyness in my life.  I know would be unrealistic.  But there are things that I can do to bring a stressful day back to calm.

Here are some tips that I follow when I feel my peace and calm is turning into hectic and crazy. 

Start each day with quiet.  I know this can be difficult, but I try to carve a few minutes of quiet into the  beginning of my day for meditation, reflection, prayer.  It truly gets my day started on the right foot.

Flowers, candles, music.  I love for my home to be filled with fresh flowers, the smell of scented candles, and spa music or jazz playing softly in the background.  These things can instantly take the hectic out of my day and bring me back to calm and joy.

Spending time in nature. ¬†A part of everyday for me includes a walk outdoors and some time in the garden soaking up some Vitamin D and enjoying the nature that’s around me. ¬†The simple quiet of a gentle breeze and chirping birds can relieve stress from my day.

Being Creative. ¬†Writing, drawing, painting, photography, arranging flowers…..anything that allows me to simply escape and forge my own way brings me relaxation, calm and rejuvenates my spirit.

Keeping things simple. ¬†I try not to let to much clutter into my life. ¬†This includes physical and mental clutter. ¬†Stuff that takes up space in my home and stuff that takes up space in my brain. ¬†If I don’t need it it in my life, I let it go.

Find the simple moments in your day and you will find joy.   xxoo Gerri

 

 

 

Celebrate Life!

In our family we do celebrations.  We celebrate all occasions, the big and the small.

We celebrate weddings and graduations.  We welcome a new life with great joy and yes, celebration.  We all come together, crowding into the hospital room,  to share the new parents joy and to welcome the precious new life our family has been blessed with. 

We celebrate birthdays, no matter how young or how old. 

We gather in our home. ¬†Sometimes it’s just family. Sometimes we include close friends. ¬†We share a meal together, setting the table with great care, including flowers, candles, whatever it takes to make the event feel special. ¬†The menu is planned with great care to include the personal favorites of whoever is attending. Of course, there is a special desert and presents.¬†

The goal of the celebration is for those involved to know how much they are loved and treasured as a part of our family. Life wouldn’t be the same if we couldn’t come together and honor them on their special day.¬†

Not only do we celebrate birthdays.  We celebrate preschool programs, dance recitals, sporting events.

We plan ways to make our time together fun, special, memorable. On hot days we have watermelon,  blow bubbles, fill up a kids pool to splash in.  

On cold days we light a fire, make hot chocolate, bring out the pillows and blankets so we can all snuggle together.

Our celebrations do not have to be elaborate and expensive.  They can be small, simple, filled with things that are easily attainable.  We use our ingenuity as a resource to create an atmosphere of festivity, saving our pennies when needed. 

Sometimes we celebrate for no reason at all, just to enjoy our time together.

The importance of our celebrations is to spend time together in a way that is filled with love and laughter, sharing and caring. 

It’s important that we spend as much time celebrating life as possible. Celebrations enrich our lives, give us purpose, and strengthen relationships. ¬†Celebrations take an ordinary day and fill it with joy and love.

 

 

Liebster Award

¬†Thank you to The Robin’s Nest for nominating me for a Liebster Award! ¬†If you are not familiar with Robin’s blog, I suggest you stop by for a visit. ¬†She shares lovely and encouraging posts about life in general.

The Liebster Award is a virtual award passed from blogger to blogger to show support and to help promote fellow bloggers. ¬†Who doesn’t need a little support and encouragement now and then!

Here are the rules!

Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.

Answer the 11 questions the person asked you.

Nominate 11 people (comment on their blog and let them know)

Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions.

Here are my questions from The Robin’s Nest:

Why do you blog?

  • Blogging gives me a creative outlet for writing, photography, and self-expression.

What are your top 3 traveling destinations and why?

  • I would like to go to Europe, Nova Scotia, and South America. ¬†I hope to see as much of the world, it’s beauty and it’s cultures while I can.

If you were granted 3 wishes what would they be?

  • World peace, an end to cancer, and that all children have a safe and loving environment to grow up in.

If you could go back in time to your younger self, what advise would you give?

  • Stay calm in all situations.

What is your favorite food/cuisine?

  • I prefer fresh fruits and vegetables….and a little bit of chocolate!

What country/culture inspires you the most?

  • Umm… I think mabe the French for their artistry and creativity.

What are you passionate about?

  • My family, art, creativity, and travel.

What is your biggest weekness?

  • Procrastination.

What is your favorite movie or book?

  • It’s hard to limit myself on favorite books. ¬†I’m going to go with The Nightengale ¬†by Kristen Hannah.

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?

  • I would like to see hatred be replaced with love and understanding.

What is your favorite pass-time hobby?

  • Just one! ¬† Reading, writing, photography, painting, traveling, spending time with my husband and family, laughing……

And now….the nominees are….

  1.  Rainy Day Reflections
  2.  Design and Style Report
  3.  Sixteen Miles Out
  4.  Linneaurea
  5. Guadalupe Cedars
  6.  Oregon Girl Around The World
  7.  Typewriter Girl
  8.  Reviving Charm
  9.  KHK Designs Interiors
  10. ¬†AngelineM’s Blog
  11.  Rambling in the Garden

These are all beautiful and inspirational blogs!  I hope you will drop by and visit them!

Now, if you accept the challenge, these are your questions!

  1.   What is your favorite part of blogging?
  2.   What country, city, or continent would you most like to visit and why?
  3.   What was the most inspirational time in you life so far?
  4.   What are you most passionate about?
  5.   What is your favorite book and why?
  6.   What is your favorite time of year?
  7.   What are other interest you have besides blogging?
  8.   Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?
  9.   Where did you go for your most memorable vacation?
  10.   Do you prefer a sunny or rainy day?
  11.   If you had a day all to yourself, how would you spend it?

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and I hope you enjoy the challenge and make a new friend!  xxoo Gerri