Saturday, November 22, 2014
I am glad we have a day called Thanksgiving. I am blessed to gather family around our table to share prayers of gratitude and a meal we have prepared together. I am also glad to practice being grateful and saying thank you every day. As part of my early morning quiet time, I keep a gratitude journal where each day I write 5 things for which I am thankful I write down what comes to mind without editing or spending too much time trying to say it well! This has been a year full of paying attention to God's good gifts, being astonished at beauty and blessings, and wanting to tell about it.* As I look through the pages of that journal and browse all the photos, I have chosen a few things to share with you from these days of 2014. I chose the photo above for the way it shows being covered. I feel covered with the love of my family and God's good grace.
I am thankful for...
my forever friend, Joe
the miracle of new life: Nora Opal, arriving this Spring
my word for 2014: Release
healing for hurting hearts
knitting lace that I started in 1973!
winter garden harvest - cabbages, cauliflower, and a tree full of Meyer lemons
Skye's love of cooking and being with me in the kitchen
fragrance of a single gardenia
lessons from seeds
Grandma's rocker near the fireplace
March 16: Maddie's 8th birthday
March 19: Nora Opal arrives!
our rose arbor in full bloom (the survivor rose, Peggy Martin)
singing songs my mother and grandmother sang to me for Nora while I rock her
our back porch
dawn sky, peaches and spun sugar
old cookbooks, heirloom recipes
morning glory blooms at my kitchen window
August 19: Jordann and her birthday doll
the warmth of copper as it catches light
handwritten thank you notes
our porch swing
glimmers from the past - old family photos
November 19: Skye is 12!
*this refers to my favorite quotation from the poetry of Mary Oliver:
Tell about it."
Friday, May 3, 2013
As in the photo of above, our antique roses are thriving in the cooler temperature. The colors are intense.
Petunias, not to be outdone by the roses, but they will never muster that kind of fragrance!
Tuscan Kale and Swiss Chard - ornamental, but also edible. Organic gardeners, we can eat our borders! We already have tomatoes on the vines, and a big bed of hot peppers.
This amaryllis has had more blooms this year than anytime since I planted it.
Look at the blooms on this Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow bush my friend Debbie gave to me.
Sweet little nosegays of Forget-Me-Nots
This pot of geraniums on the porch makes me smile.
There are tiny Meyer lemons, the Satsuma is blooming, and the fig tree bravely sports baby figs!
Post a comment and tell me what is greening and growing in your garden!
Thursday, August 16, 2012
I love growing antique roses. Every time I tend mine or bring bouquets in to grace our kitchen table, I am reminded of the dear friend who first introduced me to “old roses.” I had never been much inspired to grow roses, appreciating the beauty of long stemmed hybrids, but avoiding their need for pampering. Marcia told me about robust roses that are so hardy they grow on old tumbled down homesites and along fences. Once I realized that each one had its own unique story and fragrance, I was hooked. I pored over catalogs, and planted Sombreuil, Mutabulis, Maggie, and Crepescule. My rose friends’ stories blend now with my friend Marcia’s story, and that of her husband, Bob.
Bob was crazy about Marcia. Marcia adored Bob. Her nickname was Moose, and she fancied cats and roses. The cats were a pair of vocal chocolate point Siamese named Mikhail and Nikita and were Bob and Marcia’s babies, but the roses were their passion.
Marcia had picked out her wedding dress and envisioned a wedding long before she found Bob when she was in her mid-thirties. During their pre-marital counseling sessions with Marcia’s pastor, Bob was asked what one thing he would change about her if he could. He said he would give her a healthy heart since she was born with a hole in her heart and developed Eisenmenger’s syndrome which meant her heart and lungs were unable to provide her with enough oxygen. That didn’t keep her from her photography business but it made keeping up with physical activity hard for her. It also didn’t keep her from loving Bob and planning a life with him.
After Bob heard Marcia say she always wanted a rose garden, he bought 80 acres of fertile South Texas Gulf Coast land to plant neither rice nor cotton, but thousands of rose bushes. They drew up plans, pored over catalogs, and began choosing roses. When the first 2000 rose plants arrived, Marcia directed the planting from her hospital bed. A group of us who called her friend went out to plant the roses with Bob’s help.
Two pacemakers later, she was placed on a heart transplant list. Finally, Bob and Marcia and the cats moved to Nashville, TN to be near Vanderbilt University Hospital while she waited what they thought would bea few months to receive a heart and lungs. I went out to their rose farm a few times to help pot cuttings as their plans to open a shop and nursery were postponed. Many of their family and friends did what they could to help maintain the plantings. Time dragged on over 2 years, with Marcia in and out of the hospital as her need became greater. Because the need for organs so far outweighs donors, Marcia once said “There’s just no ordering from the Land’s End catalogue.” That may have been a quip, but certainly not a joke. In order to increase awareness for organ donation, she allowed a reporter and photographer to follow her for 4 ½ months in the hospital, a story later published in the Nashville newspaper. In the series of articles, Marcia and Bob's love for each other and their deep faith dominated the story of their courage.
Bob worked from her hospital room and their apartment on his computer and was her chief encourager. One day he filled every pitcher, Styrofoam cup, and container he could find in her hospital room with Texas roses which he had flown to Tennessee. He brought Mikhail and Nikita for visits because she missed them so much. Her Dr. OK'd this when he found out how much it helped her.
The day came for Marcia's rare heart and double lung transplants in April 1999. Recovering, she returned to Texas with pink cheeks, a grin, and enough air to play her flute as well as honor a promise to a friend to be in her June wedding. In her absence, friends and family had planted, rooted, and tended endless cuttings and rose beds. Bob built her a house. Early on they had planned a gift shop, tea room, and wedding chapel for their antique rose nursery and display gardens named The Vintage Rosery. Together, now they worked side by side, nurturing roses, increasing public awareness of organ donation and organic gardening, and kept all the commitments involved in maintaining Marcia's health. Together, they prayed and played, keeping the dreams alive, celebrating the opening of their gardens only 2 years after her transplants. For the next 5 they grew their garden and introduced customers to roses.
On a brilliant fall day, a line of cars miles long drove through the arches at the Vintage Rosery past masses of climbing yellow Lady Banks and fragrant Madame Alfred Carriere drifts, along the beds of multicolored Mutabulis, Maggie and pink Duchesse de Brabant next to rows of Souvenir de La Malmaison. They passed by the stream with its covered bridge and saw a tiny chapel. As people got out of their cars, they walked by a charming yellow house with a kitchen garden and fragrant herbs lining paths. By the lakeside, they gathered to honor Marcia and celebrate her life.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Clyde, as the baby was called, was born into adversity and affliction of circumstance. But she was also born into a close family circle as her mother moved back home to relatives. I don't know much about her childhood, but I do know she loved her siblings dearly and spoke of them often. In 1904 she married Hezekiah Peyton Terrell and gave birth to 3 sons and a daughter. Opal, her daughter, was my mother. I became Clyde and Ky's first grandchild.
Clyde Terrell mourned the death of her oldest son, Vinnon, due to a hunting accident on Christmas Day in 1922. She never drove a car, never lived in a house with indoor plumbing until she was nearly 80. She raised her family on a farm in Smith County, Texas, drew water from a well, washed the family laundry in an iron wash pot set over a fire in the yard, and hung the clothes on a line outside to dry after which she ironed them with a flatiron kept hot on the wood stove. She planted morning glories and old maids, kept a garden for vegetables, milked a cow, hung slaughtered meat in a smokehouse, and kept chickens for eggs as well as wringing their necks for Sunday dinner for the preacher. She put up berries and peaches along with peas and green beans in mason jars with sealed lids and baked pies and tea cakes. She lived by "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!" Therefore, she sewed her own clothing, replaced buttons, turned collars and cuffs on Papa's shirts, and made patchwork quilts with what was left. She was an adept seamstress, adding embellishments of crochet, tatting, hemstitching, and cutwork to aprons, pillowcases and tea towels.
I remember being folded into her soft, sweet embrace and never felt more loved. I remember drinking cold well water from a dipper, picking berries with her, and stubbing my toe on the red dirt road when we walked to the mailbox. I remember that she welcomed folks to her door and to her table, the same one that my own family gathered around for lunch after church today. However, she always put a clean white tablecloth on top, and when anything was blooming, a jar of flowers on the table. Whether we were eating fried chicken or cornbread, biscuits or berry cobbler, the food was always delicious and warm and her welcome even moreso.
But most of all I remember her deep faith in and love of God. She knew God loved her and trusted him unfalteringly. She was a woman of prayer. She didn't just go to church, it was a part of her and she was a part of the people and their worship and service. Her pastor and his wife were her best friends. I loved going to church with her because she loved it so much. She had tragedies. She did not have what most would call an easy life. But she lived in gratitude and praise for the blessings she had.
Grandma died one month before her 90th birthday in 1977. I still miss her. This morning just as dawn was arriving, I went out into our garden and picked these yellow roses in her honor. She had an old rose bush near the front window of their house at the top of the red dirt road. She often brought bouquets of the blooms in for her table. They were golden yellow.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Cooler mornings and more reasonable, if still hot days in the past week are bringing some old friends fresh growth and a few tentative blooms. Our pink Peggy Martin, the antique rose with the reputation of being a survivor of Katrina has a few small clusters of buds. This less hardy climbing rose is named Crepescule, an old French old rose. Its name is not so pretty, but the blooms that are beginning are lovely and fragrant, reminding me once more why all the work and watering is worth it, and that we all need a little more nurturing in drought, whether it is of the weather or the heart.