Archive for February, 2010

Wishful, Wistful Thoughts of Spring

February 23, 2010

So.  Which one of these hydrangea pictures would YOU rather look at?  The one above? Or the one below?

Yeah. Me too. 🙂

After I took the photo on top last week, I remembered that I’d photographed the same hydrangea last summer.  So I went back to find it and ended up wandering about my computer, looking longingly at my pictures from last summer and spring.  Sometimes, when the world outside your window is gray and brown, it’s hard to remember that under that winter-hard earth and in those fat buds on the bare trees new life stirs, waiting for the right time to burst forth in its hallelujah glory, when we all emerge from our homes, blinking in the bright spring sun, amazed anew at the miracle of life after death.   

Even though we had a small taste of spring over the weekend, snow is expected again tomorrow (and beyond).  So I thought I’d post some shots from last summer of a few of the plants here at the Doublewide Ranch to help us all remember that Spring will indeed come again.  And soon!  I’m still very much a rank amateur when it come to gardening, but I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done here outside  (on a tight budget) to add a bit of color to our lives.  When we moved here, there was pretty much almost no landscape at all, save a couple of scraggly lilacs and rose bushes.  There was nothing growing around the doublewide itself in the awful baked clay soil but grass and weeds that came right up to the foundation  It was not a pretty sight.  Not a pretty site at all. 

But now, two years later, we are looking forward to a riot of color come March, starting when the peach tree blossoms and ending when the asters bloom in November.  I spent far more time and money on our landscape (even, I must confess, our grocery money sometimes!) than I should have, but as you know, man (and woman!) doesn’t live by bread alone.

So here’s a few shots of our flowers that I’ve never posted before just in case you need a flower fix like I do.    Should you need more (perhaps a butterfly fix or a honeybee fix?),  feel free to click on Little Signs of Spring under  Categories in my sidebar.  Or Nature maybe. 

And never fear…the days of sweet hallelujah glory will soon be here.  Hold on.  Have faith.  Life is stirring. 🙂

Here’s some yarrow I planted near our front door.  I love yarrow—all the lovely colors it blooms in, its toughness, and its delicate ferny foliage.   

The view from our front yard looking up to the porch. As you can see, I’m not a very tidy gardener.  The fancy garden magazines might call this “The English Cottage garden” look.  I think I’ll call it that, too. Sounds so much better than “garden run amok.” 🙂 The petunias, in the porch flower boxes we installed, self-sowed last year.  I’m hoping for the same this year. 

This is a picture of the bee balm from the shot above it taken from the porch looking down.  I love bee balm even more than yarrow.   And so do the bees, the butterflies, and hummingbirds.

There’s beauty even in our vegetable garden.  Last summer, every time I went out to pick our supper for the evening, I could hear a constant buzzing hum from the squash blossoms, always full of drowsy honeybees.  I say “drowsy” because although I’d bumble right through the squash, brushing past the blossoms, the honeybees seemed undeterred (and unperturbed).  They probably liked hanging out with the squash blossom fairies. 🙂


Some Pictures and a Thank-You

February 11, 2010


(Just a reminder that you can click on any of my photos to enlarge them, should you wish to see them better.)

Once again, words seem inadequate to express how grateful I am for the kind hands extended and love shown in your responses to my last post.  You know, I actually typed “virtual love” at first in the previous sentence.  But that would seem to imply somehow that it wasn’t real.  But I think it was.  Every word I read (and I read them all more than once) seemed as honest and true as the generous and compassionate hearts behind them.  So I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your healing words of love.

Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks here at the Doublewide Ranch.  Yes, the dreary cold and relentless ice and snow continue and the medical bills keep coming, but there was a bright spot last week when I did our taxes and found out (thanks to an increase in the Earned Income Credit) that we are getting back more money than we ever have before.  And it so happens that it should be sufficient to cover most of what we owe on Benjamin’s hospital bill.  So thanks be to the Lord for His grace and kind provision.  And thanks be to God for birds that sing in the bitter cold.  And for snow-dusted mountain tops and white, icy frost flowers.  And for squirrels that make me laugh. 

And thanks be to the Lord for you.

See the pretty little frost flowers on the ice?

There is still life under the ice that will be there long after the ice is melted.

Eventually, all that pristine snow makes mud.  At least, in our driveway it does.

Comic relief.  We are easily entertained with a potato from our garden.  Mrs. Potatohead and her baby Spud.

A rare bit of golden morning sun on my Grandma’s pie safe.  Yes, I do like whimsical knick knacks.  I hope those of you who like spareness in your spaces are not too horrified. 🙂

I really love the way this squirrel was holding his tail.  Made me feel oddly happy.

Leaves in ice

Can you see the little heart on the tree trunk?  Happy Valentine’s Day!

My Appalachian Alps 🙂

For Smiley

February 4, 2010
 Why is it so hard for us to lay our souls bare—-to expose our deepest griefs and yearnings?  What are we afraid of? Why do I feel something close to shame when I talk about my sadness? I wrote this several days ago, but have been unable to hit that “Publish” button.  But if I don’t, then it would seem that I don’t believe the words I write.  So if you’re reading this right now, it means I finally had the courage to click “Publish.”  It will also mean that I’m sick to my stomach, as I always am when I put myself out there like this.  But I guess it’s better to risk your heart than to close it…
When I first started blogging, it was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. I didn’t give a lot of thought to what my objectives were other than a desire to revive my dormant writing muse. As time went on and I began to post on a regular basis, I was genuinely surprised to realize that people out there were actually reading my stuff. And every so often, someone would tell me that something I’d written had moved them or changed their thinking or, best of all, given them hope.
Of course, it thrilled me to think that, with my words, I could encourage or maybe even enlighten someone. Or make them laugh. But I’ve realized over time that it is most important to me that my blog be completely true to who I am, whether I am feeling happy and hopeful or sad and lonely.
Now that I think about it, I think maybe THAT’S what I really want, more than anything. To help people feel less alone. I know how it feels to feel alone. When I was small, I felt alone when my oldest brother abused me—physically and otherwise. Thank God he stole a car when he was fourteen and was sent to reform school, giving me two years of peace. Well, not complete peace. My sister was prone to inexplicable rages and almost killed me twice. Daddy had a real hard time pulling her off the second time, and I passed out before he could pry her fingers from my neck. He said later that had he not been there, she would have surely killed me.  I think my parents did the best they could, but they were overwhelmed. Mama always said I practically raised myself.
But had you seen the girl I was back then, you never would have known all this. I had plenty of friends because I was always smiling or laughing or trying to make others laugh. My uncle called me “Smiley.” But I remember that sometimes I’d be in the middle of a group of my friends and suddenly be seized with the most overwhelming feeling of loneliness. But I never told anyone. Because I was Smiley—the girl who was always happy. And the world loves a happy girl.
I can’t help but notice that I get the most comments when I write a happy or cheerful post. And who can blame you? Lord knows, we need all the positive we can get these days. I myself am drawn to positive people because I think there’s always something to hope for and I believe that almost always, joy follows sorrow.  And it’s a lot more fun to write a happy post.  But sometimes I do feel sad. Or angry. Or lonely. So I reach out with my words, knowing that it’s not always just the positive posts that help the lonely feel less alone. Sometimes it’s good to know that others feel sad or angry or lonely, too—that you’re not the only one. So maybe sometimes even my less cheery posts might help someone out there to feel less alone; to know that it’s okay to feel that way and that there are those that love you whether you’re feeling happy or sad.
Please know that I don’t mean this at all as a rebuke to those that don’t comment on my angry or melancholy posts. I’m sure you have good reasons why you don’t, and that’s okay, too. Perhaps it’s because YOU are feeling sad. But I do want to thank those that do. I think you understood that my last post wasn’t just about poor customer service, but about how awful it feels when another human being treats you unkindly. So thank you. For accepting me as I am and for helping ME to feel less alone. I am grateful.
But really, I’m writing this to that little girl named Beth from so long ago. The one with the stubby hair and wide crooked smile that never stopped. For Smiley. I’m writing this to tell her that I love her whether there’s a big smile on her  eager freckled face or big tears flowing down it. I’m writing this to tell her that it’s okay to feel sad. But that she should never feel lonely. Because even though sometimes people will turn from you when you’re sad, there are always those who love and embrace you for who you are—no matter how scarred or broken. There are always those who will extend a hand of kindness—whether virtual or real—to let you know that you are not alone. You are not alone.