Thank you all so much for your love every day and for your presence in my life. You are so appreciated and so cherished. I pray that you always know that. I count each of you as a blessing and always will. Thank you!
The spring blooms are glorious and I don't think we have ever had a bluer sky! The ducklings are so darn darling I cannot find words to describe. I found a rock in a tree on the lake with an adorable bird on it and I was so thrilled! Lakeland Rocks is a wonderful thing we have going on here - people paint rocks and leave them somewhere for someone else to find and keep or re-hide. A really neat way to spread some love and sunshine. Have I said lately how MUCH I love my town? SOOOO MUCH. Papa Goose is in his glory with his babies and seeing him so happy makes me so happy. And speaking of babies, Summer Lynn is so ready to be a big sister ...
And God willing, that moment will come tomorrow morning - Friday, February 24, 2017. My "baby" will be having her second baby and well, you know my mama's heart.
Ballet shoes. They hang on the bed in the guest bedroom upstairs that also houses Summer Lynn's "castle." - the bedroom that once belonged to my daughter who wore these ballet shoes when she danced. My daughter, who flexed and pointed and stood tall on the raw, bleeding skin of the end of her toes. My daughter, who twirled one day as a little girl with excitement to show me her latest learned dance moves to end up falling and breaking her arm. My daughter, who every single time in her life since then, has gotten UP after every single fall. No matter what. The most beautiful part of these ballet shoes to me, as her mother, is that the remnants of the earth - and its grit and determination - is forever embedded on the soul. And grit and determination define this precious human SOUL to me - who continues to dance; live; and love. Always my baby - Shannon! May you and your new baby to be - yes DANCE. ❤
Yeppers, random thoughts and feelings as I feel them.
In all things may we see spring. Right? Right! :-)
I hope you are doing well and life is treating you kind! Somehow January slipped away and now half of February has too! We had a very mild winter here, and yes, spring is popping already and it is beautiful. We have brand new ducklings and a few mama swans are on their nests. Papa Goose is very busy and very happy - caring for his babies so diligently. The tabebuia trees are blooming and I am embracing their beauty so much! This is Florida's glorious season and I am so thankful for it.
I have been very busy with photography sessions and have not picked up a paint brush BUT I plan on doing so this week! The exterior of Daisy Cottage is being painted - in yellow of course - and getting lots of loving. My mom will be having open heart surgery soon ~ she needs a valve replaced. Here she is at Shannon's baby shower ~ isn't she gorgeous? She will be 83 in March ...
So yes, Shannon and Austin will be having their baby girl VERY soon. Like any day. :-)
And this baby girl had a birthday this Saturday - she wore a pretty hanky for the occasion ...
Can you believe she is 13 years old? Sigh. She has been dealing with a bad UTI and we are waiting on her latest lab work to see if she is all clear from infection after several rounds of antibiotics. Praying so ...
And this one, who is now 14 1/2 years old is in his final spring ... Marley has several health issues but still has a pep in his step, an appetite, and daily enjoyment. The time is coming, however, that the decision will have to be made to let him go to the rainbow bridge unless God calls him home first.
And of course, I can't type that without tears.
Life is so precious, so fragile, so everything.
Seeing spring and LIVING spring with all of my heart.
I must admit, I really wasn't ready to say goodbye to December and hello to you. While you are indeed beautiful, please be gentle as I tiptoe through your tulips flowers underneath your glorious light. And maybe linger awhile? You know, now that you are here.
Through the failures. Through the flaws. You'll realize.
That even as fragile as you are.
You're still unbreakable."
I don't know who wrote the beautiful message above, but I loved it when I saw it on Instagram. It went straight to my soul. As a woman, and as a human being, of course I could relate. Been there. Done that. And have lived to know. I am sure that I will fail again and again. And flaws? Hello! I am so very flawed. But I am finally at a point where I am able to forgive myself for my trespasses against others and myself - if that makes sense! Why are we always so hard on ourselves? I don't know, but we are. And it needs to stop, don't you think? We have to love ourselves ENOUGH to move on... to move on in life and to have joy. Life can be so hard and that is not a cliche but a fact. None of us escape that reality. And I know that some of you are battling heartbreaking, gut wrenching things and it is all that you can do to hold on. But you are ~ hopefully and prayerfully, because life - though, yes often very very hard - is absolutely PRECIOUS. Please hold on to that fact too - hold on to the promise of a new day, a new way, a new reason to breathe with every depth of your being. I pray that peace wraps its gentle presence around you in your fragility and in your strength and that you always know that you are not alone. Hope beats in our heart. Love flows through our veins......
Sunday morning light, somehow, always seems softer. I don't think that is a coincidence.
There is so much madness in the world right now. It would be so easy for us to succumb to all of the unfairness; all of the ridulousness; all of the cruelness; all of the sadness; and all of the unknown.
But we cannot. And we must not. We have to hold on to each other. We have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. We have to keep sharing with each other.
And we have to keep loving each other.
As long as there is new life, we have hope. And as long as we have hope, we have life.
I leave in the morning for the mountains and will be gone about a week. Which means gone from "my" lake. Which means I admittedly have anxiety about leaving behind Papa Goose who is not "mine" of course but tell that to my possessive and obsessive heart!
Though so excited to slip away a bit, I will miss him terribly. I will worry about him terribly. As I fed him this morning, I told him "I would be right back" - the same thing I always told my children when they were young and what I always tell my fur children now - even if only going to the grocery store. Papa Goose looked at me and let me pet his head. His wild in nature head. Me being a sensitive freak, I teared up. And as I reminded him to stay away from cars and bad people, he shook and spread his gorgeous wings to dry off droplets from his early morning swim. One of his feathers fell floated to the ground at our feet. The thing is, Papa Goose doesn't leave very many feathers behind. So, I asked him if this treasure was for me. And with his good eye he told me yes. This I know.
Love has no language barriers.
I will take his most beautiful feather with me. And yes Papa, I will be right back.
How is it the 7th day of June already? I cannot even wrap my mind around it! In a blink we are here. We ring in the new year and blink, blink, it is summer time. We inhale, exhale, and wake up to what was once the future. In an instant. Or so it seems.
BUT - as scary or as unsettling as this can often be, this travel in time is denied to so many. We are here. Let us NEVER forget that privilege. And yes, THIS - right here and now - is the time of our lives.
Speaking of right now, I am really excited about several upcoming things, including a few trips planned for the rest of the year! One will be to the mountains; one will be to Savannah; one will be to Round Top; and one will be to NYC. God willing but of course! You know that I don't often stray from home, so these are big trips to me! It will be good to have a change of scenery and I know I will come home from each adventure, inspired and refreshed. I am also going to have a little feature in a publication soon and it looks like I will be on page 16....
And of course I will share with beautiful you when it is on the stands. :)
It is hot, hot, hot here now - though as I type we are experiencing dark skies and storms from Tropical Storm Colin. Maggie is on my lap; Bentley is on a quilt, and Marley is at my feet on a rug. He has lost his hearing, but is adjusting. Such a sweet boy. He will be 14 years old on August 1.
Yeppers. This is the time of our lives. Whatever we are doing; whatever we are seeing; whatever we are living - this is it. Whatever and whoever we are loving - this is it. Let the flowers bloom! Let the birds sing! Let the ducks quack! Let our freedom ring!
And no matter where we may roam, may we always be safe and know that there is no place like home.
The last of the swans to have babies this season had theirs on Memorial Day. It was sweltering hot but this smart mama built her nest underneath the palm fronds and she was in the shade. It was such a beautiful nest and it was such a beautiful day! A day that we honored those brave souls who gave their MOST precious lives so that we can be free. Those of us who were there with the swans never forgot what the day meant and a friend of mine even named the first baby born after my son, Shawn, in honor of his courageous service to our country. That touched me deeply.
As always, I am so grateful for so much. Grateful that my son came home. Grateful for friends. Grateful for these moments in time, spent with nature and God.
And as always, my mind always spins in thoughts, even when at peace. I think about how we humans have our bucket lists. But I am thinking animals do not. And while bucket lists serve their purpose, we also can be content with living and loving what is right in front of us. For what we have is on someone else's list. And what we have is what we got. And that can be amazing.
Though the heat is rising, the harsh summer light hasn't arrived yet and everything is still so beautifully lit outside. I love being on the porch this time of year. I wish I could get good pictures of the cardinals who love to frequent it but they are too fast for me, as are the butterflies. How lucky am I that while rocking or swinging on my front porch, there is such precious life two blocks north of me - always beckoning, always blessing.
I have had like three sinus-chest-sore throat infections so far this year. I've gone years without so much as a cold so I don't like to complain! It is no biggie in the big scheme of things but you know how it is - when you feel crummy, you drag. And this is NOT the time of year that I want to be dragging! It isn't boiling hot - yet - and the lake babies are about to be and I want to be outside and there for every possible moment! I cough and blow, and cough and blow, and suck on one soothing cough drop after another. I've had two rounds of antibiotics and I don't like taking medicine. So these germs need to fly away ... today! Right? Right!
Well that's enough complaining for this post. Speaking of soothing, the lake early in the morning is always soothing to me. I hope these images soothe YOU. I hope you are well and enjoying the fresh air wherever you are.
My nephew married his love at the beach last Saturday. I took the image above of her the night before. Moments in time, moments of a lifetime. On the sweet verge of a new life - on the sweet verge of LIFE. Spring has sprung and its beauty is all around - in the sky and on the ground. I want to walk and walk and soak it all in. I want to feel this season in the core of my soul - the newness; the tenderness; the promise.
And I hope you do too. And I hope you get to. May we always be on the sweet verge of new life.
It was so beautiful on the lake this morning. So so beautiful. This is my favorite time of the year on the lake and I wish that I could sleep there - in a tent, on the ground, amongst the life ... no matter how fleeting, for I know how precious this season is. Sometimes the tiny peeps last minutes; sometimes the calls to the wind and the wild last years. Speaking of years, can you believe Papa Goose and I have been together for five years now and we are starting our sixth year together? There are no words to express how much I love this soul. He has been a confidante, a warrior, and an angel, and so VERY important to me in my walk of life. I know he is a free bird living wild in a small town city. I know that he will not always be here. But then again, neither will I. ;-) Turn, turn, turn .... the seasons; the reasons; and all that exists. To every purpose under the sun. So I try so very hard to memorize his call of the wild as I hear it across the lake before the sun rises. I try so very hard to memorize every feather and every fiber of his being. And I take a zillion pictures of him. He, this goose of mine ours, is family.
We are family. We share the seasons; we share the walk of life; we share the now.
Underneath the sky of blue, and down the street from the lake where the birds are nesting and the spring flowers are blooming, a neighbor took his life. He was 49 years old. While I did not know him personally, other than sharing a few conversations with him in the alleys and at the lake where he always walked his beloved dogs, my mother did. He was wonderful to her and looked out for her every day. He was loved by many, though he may not have been feeling that love as he left this earth. I pray that somehow, someway, he knew of peace and unconditional love as his spirit soared to the care of our maker.
In this season of hope and renewal, may we always find those who we have lost in the nurturing light and soulful song of the universe.
It has been so incredibly beautiful here and I love every bit of it. We had our neighborhood home tour yesterday, and while Daisy Cottage wasn't on the tour, my next door neighbor's home was AND if you happened to walk by and I happened to be on the porch, and we happened to "connect" with a glance or a smile or a kind word, I invited you in. It was so wonderful to do that! I met Barbara and Amy - adorable ladies, and many other sweet and fun souls AND our own dear and beautiful Gail of Georgia came to see me, along with her precious mother, Nellie, and sweet sweet sister, Linda. They come each year for the home tour and we try to see each other while I volunteer, but the last few years I wasn't home for the tour. Yesterday, however, I was and I am so thankful that we could spend time together again! I love each of you girls.... you always are a delight and a treasure and you always make my heart soar. I also was so happy and surprised to see a dear friend of mine, Jane, walk through my gate with her beautiful friend, Anita. Sigh. It was truly a heartwarming, soul-lifting, precious precious day. Love was in the air.... and I am so grateful.
Grateful for blue skies. Grateful for old and young doggies. Grateful for color. Grateful for winged spirits. Grateful for new ducklings. Grateful for Papa Goose. Grateful for flowers. Grateful for food. Grateful for friends. Grateful for all things family and home. Grateful for brand new blooms and the hope that we see when we look up.