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 had Summer Lynn for a few hours last night while her mommy got her hair done in peace. She wanted to ride her little red trike down the sidewalk and back and back again. She had just recently and accidentally broken her glasses and her 4 1/2 year old hair was a bit wild -bringing out her inner wild child.
And I loved it.
Soon to be a big sister to a little sister, she is growing up so fast. As they all seem to do. As we all seem to do.
But, no, let's scratch that. We are NOT all grown up, for we are still growing and evolving for as long as we can, right?
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.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, I finally made a post.
*edited to say, that thanks to our Vee, I finally learned when the REAL 12th day of Christmas is!
I hope you all are having a BEAUTIFUL December. I hope you are healthy and doing well! The lake has its Christmas tree up and it makes me so happy that Papa Goose has his own tree - he has to share of course - but you know what I mean. And Daisy Cottage has her Christmas tree up too and it is all decorated and bright and shining. The annual Christmas parade was the first Thursday night of the month and it started out with gorgeous fireworks and I brought my chocolate chip oatmeal nut cookies to celebrate. I decked the dining room WALLS with a canvas print of one of my images of Summer Lynn feeding the ducks. I love it up there! I've been busy painting while Marley has been busy sleeping. ;-) Have listed a few cards in my Etsy shop too. And the Great White Pelicans are back - our literal snowbirds have arrived, once again, all the way from Wisconsin. I find that SO fascinating that they find our little lake every single year! They will be with us through Easter. Oh and I stood on our airport's tower catwalk to photograph the runways for a client. I just didn't look down. Or breathe.
Well, I haven't finished Christmas shopping. I haven't wrapped anything. I haven't mailed any cards. I haven't ....
Ahhh never mind. I would rather focus on what I HAVE done.
And being in the moment of the moments. It's all we have, right kids?
It is early Wednesday morning, the day before Thanksgiving, and Maggie is on my lap while I write to you. The sun is still asleep but when it rises I will go check on Papa Goose and all on the lake before I proceed with grocery shopping and sweet potato casserole and pumpkin bundt cake making. This is my favorite time of the day. The hope to come in the morning bird's song and the brand new day's dawn is so beautiful to me. I cherish these gifts so much.
Well, I have been busy painting and Christmas card making. I've also been working on my photography site. And cooler air has finally made its way here and that has been so refreshing! The swan couples are swooning and no matter how many times I see them do so, it is always a breathtaking sight. We have a few ducklings making their way in life, a few steps at a time, and sometimes that is the SUM of their life. Precious precious beings. Tiny, sweet souls who teach what is really important to giant human souls with each and every peep.
In this season of thanksgiving, I wanted to thank you for your presence in my life. You are always in my heart and I am so appreciative for all that you are and all that you have given me! I pray that each of you know how much you are loved in this world. And how much you are needed. You are beautiful.
And just like that, it is November. It is unreal, isn't it? With each passing day, I want to inhale the seconds deeper and deeper. So fast our world spins - so very very fast.
I have been cleaning closets and my office and enjoying some fall nesting in Daisy Cottage. I painted one of Papa Goose's feathers yesterday - I hope to get back into the painting groove soon! I have also had several family photo shoots in the past few weeks, including one of Shannon and her family. Baby number two is due in March, as you all know, and Summer Lynn can't wait to meet her sister, but of course! I love how she loves her already. We took these photos at a local ranch and the light was beautiful. :-) The horse came across the pasture strictly to see Summie. And the way they talked to each other made my heart overflow. She is truly an animal whisperer.
I spent this first morning in November at the lake and discovered that we have four baby ducklings! I will forever adore spending time with these precious beings .... so grateful to be able to and so VERY grateful for our special goose and his angel soul. While it is always so hard to walk away from the babies, it is easier to do when I see that Papa Goose is there.
And as our world spins I am so thankful for you. Thank you for being here and for your unconditional love. Not a day goes by that I am not blessed by you.
So hello November. May I embrace the gifts you bring.
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......
I had SO much fun. My friend, Lori, and I went to Stone Mountain, Georgia for the Country Living Fair. It was cold. It was beautiful. And I couldn't keep my head out of the glorious trees! We met the Junk Gypsies - Amie and Jolie Sikes! They have a wonderful new book and we got to have our copies signed. Such a thrill to meet them! They are absolutely adorable. These pictures are from my phone - I didn't bring my big camera with me. Next time?
I won't leave home without it. Sigh. I missed it so much. But gosh, I had a great time! I plan to go again next year!
Are Shannon and Austin having a baby boy or a baby girl? Will Summer Lynn's wish come true and have a baby sister?
Well they are about to find out! Family and friends gathered in my sister and brother-in-law's backyard for a delicious barbecue and the "Reveal." At their last doctor visit, the baby's sex was determined and the nurse sealed the result in an envelope. Shannon and Austin were not told. At the reveal, Shannon gave the envelope to one of her friends and she slipped upstairs to fill one of the balloons with the appropriate confetti - "Baby Girl" or "Baby Boy." Hmmm .... I wonder which balloon is the one?
The girl on the train that I am sharing is Summer Lynn - not to be confused with the New York Times best seller by author, Paula Hawkins or the movie that is currently out. ;-) Summer Lynn has loved trains forever and that's a mighty long time in a four year old's life you know! Books about trains; videos with trains; and seeing the trains pass through downtown have made her face light up time and time again and capture her attention and imagination. Well for her 4th birthday, her Mommy and Daddy gifted her with her very first train ride on the only wood burning steam locomotive in Florida! I was so excited to be able to go along and this witness made me teary behind the lens. She was so thrilled as the whistle blew and the train chugged chugged down the track. She thought she could, she thought she could ... and she did.
Before I talk about the pumpkins, I wanted to thank you all SO much for your SWEET and kind comments about Summer Lynn's "castle." You all are such loving souls and such SUPPORTIVE souls - always. You mean the world to me - always too. Thank you very much my heart friends.
Well you know that I am beyond ready for fall! For those of you north of me, and that's pretty much most of you (haha) pretty please blow some cooler weather my way! I can't wait! So to hurry things along, I have been bringing home the pumpkins and playing! I have real ones on the porch and I have a small collection of fabric ones on the dining room table. I LOVE them! You have probably seen them when you are out and about too. They make me happy - the colors, the patterns, and the whimsy! I used bamboo placemats that I just found at Salvation Army for a table runner and pulled my vintage glassware out of the cabinet to sit out and sparkle. Summer Lynn collected fall leaves for me when she was here last week and I put them in a crystal dish. Vintage coffee cups were found at a thrift shop downtown. While I am definitely a red wine girl when it comes to choosing libations, I love the beauty and art of a bar! I thought for the holidays I would turn the green buffet into a bar for fun and in the spirit of celebration. I love lighting the candles and seeing the dancing illumination on the bottles.
Anyway, I'm having fun playing with pumpkins and layering the house in patterns and cozy fall fun. You know - so that when it drops to 70 something, I will be ready!!!
Our Summer Lynn turned 4 years old yesterday. I had her with me for the day while her Mommy and Daddy had to work. I couldn't wait to surprise her with her special "hideaway" I created for her upstairs! I finally cleaned out the upstairs guest room closet which has a glorious window view to the blue sky and has tall ceilings with rustic 1922 wood floors. I have spent the last few weeks gathering art work from around the house and happy flowers and wreaths from thrift shops. My dear sis made an adorable teepee for her out of several yards of fabric that I picked out in the boho theme to go along with the guest room redo that I just did. There were shelves in there already and I have put all of the children's books that I have saved from my kids' youth and ones that I have gotten for her on them. My childhood Thumbelina, and other baby dolls are in there for her to love on. I filled clay pots with crayons and there is lots of paper to color on. I don't think you can see in the pictures above, but there are branches brought home from the lake perched on the shelf going up to the ceiling. There are play clothes and dress-up shoes and hats. No noise toys - only things to dream and imagine with. I love this special place. And it was a joy to create for her! I will paint the ceiling blue with clouds and add butterflies to the branches .... oh and twinkle lights too. :-)
Upon seeing her special hideaway, her eyes lit up and her smile was huge. You could see her and her little mind and heart take it all in.
She said, "I love my castle Birdie!! I love it TOO much!" She always says "too" instead of "so." I asked her if she might want to call it something else - like her "hideaway" or her "forest" or her "tent." She was very decisive in that no, thank you very much, this was her CASTLE.
And so it shall be.
Happy Birthday my love. You are so deserving .... I love you always and forever.
Our world may be badly broken and it may be severely hurting and how I worry, and cry, and hope that it mends as my heart breaks for all who suffer. But, like the incredible Louis Armstrong, I will always believe our world is wonderful and I will always see trees of green and find the good somehow, someway, wherever I go.