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Showing posts with label gratitude. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gratitude. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Unchosen Adventures

There has been a longer break than usual between blog posts because of some unexpected and uncharted experiences. The past few months have not been healthy ones for me. Since my hospitalization in July I felt unwell and exhausted. Last week at a nephrology appointment I was advised I have Stage 3 renal disease. Before I could absorb all that would mean for me beyond a strict low sodium diet, we plunged into preparation for Hurricane Harvey, a history making Category 4  hurricane that made landfall in the Corpus Christi/Rockport area. Because our area is on what is called the dirty, or wet side of the storm, we have had and continue to experience catastrophic flooding. Because we live southwest of Houston near the Brazos River, we have had so many inches of rain that we stopped emptying the rain gauge, about half the normal amount of rain received in a whole year. Again and again I have gone to look out at the lake beyond our back yard as it flooded and crept toward our house. This is a picture I will never forget, taken before the level of water reached even closer to our porch. We are grateful to be dry at present, to have electricity (lost only for a short time) and to have plenty of food and bottled water although our tap water must be boiled and our septic system is uncooperative. So many thousands of people have been flooded, rescued, evacuated, displaced.

The above is not my photo, but one that has been shared on social media to illustrate the crisis in Houston. My heart is broken as I see pictures of local neighborhoods, including our old one, flooded and filled with destruction and shattered dreams.

Today there has been some receding of the water in our immediate area and the rain has almost stopped. The sun even peeked out for a moment. But there is still watching and waiting as the Brazos river has reached its flood point and crests within the next 48 hours. We are prepared to move to the second story of our home if needed. As I write, I hear rescue helicopters and see the small pecan tree in the back yard bobbing in the wind. The young trees and roses we so proudly planted in late Spring are standing in water. 

And even now, with flooding still occurring, preparations begin for others and for our family for replanting and restoration. I am thankful for new beginnings.  I am thankful that during the unchosen adventures of the past 7 days, I am certain of God's faithfulness. 

Monday, May 22, 2017


This is the first chocolate tomato harvested this year.  If the birds do not get to them before we do, there should be many more, along with other types of heirloom tomato goodies. I fell in love once with a tomato called Cherokee Purple,  An old Cherokee Indian heirloom, pre-1890 variety; it has a beautiful deep dusky purple-rosy red color and sweet flavor.  And so I began to learn more about heirloom plants in general, and especially tomatoes. I love them for their stories, for their names, and for the adventure of growing them. They are not as hardy as the recently hybridized tomatoes. In addition to these 2, this year we have Brandywine, Louisiana Pink, Eva Purple Ball, and Kosovo plus a yellow heirloom I failed to tag. No, we don't have a large garden, only 1 or 2 plants of each. Joe, Ben, and my daughter in law Kristen do most of the work, and I get to pick a tomato or two and enjoy the benefits. Nora, at 3, already loves harvesting cucumbers and tomatoes and peppers with her mom. 

I find heirloom plants intriguing, and am thankful for the pleasure gardening brings to all of us.  I believe the love of gardening is another heirloom, one passed down to me and mine from my parents and grandparents, who first showed me how to garden, but also introduced me to delicious fresh food on our table.  Long before the current farm to table trends, I knew that eating local (as in very local, our own garden) tasted better and helped to keep us healthy.  

Celebrating Heirlooms!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Heart Full of Gratitude

Today, January 20, 2017 is a day with a heart full of gratitude for me.

Forty-nine years ago, I almost died due to a massive postpartum hemorrhage. My newborn son was 1 week old. I was at home with him and my mother, who had come to help after his birth. My husband, Joe, was at work in San Antonio.  As a registered nurse, I recognized the severity immediately. I called the weekend answering service for my doctor, and I called my husband to come home as soon as he could. I should have called an ambulance. There was a lack of accurate information understood by the on-call physician, who probably thought I was overreacting, and Joe had to drive through flooded streets to get home.  By the time he got there and scooped me up into the back seat of our car, I was not able to talk anymore  I remember praying - for me, for Joe, for our baby son.  I was not aware of the fact that since the Nix Memorial Hospital building on the river in downtown San Antonio, had no wheel chair or stretcher where he was able to park, he carried me to the elevator and up to the floor where I was admitted. By the time I was evaluated, I could hear the nurses saying things like "blood pressure dropping" and "can't find a pulse" and could not speak to tell them not to give up.  It is absolutely true that a person who cannot respond hears.

By that time my own doctor had received the emergency message and arrived.  He personally helped to get blood started and pumped it in manually.  I remember the cold rushing up my arm. As soon as I was stabilized, I was taken to the O.R. to do what was necessary to stop the hemorrhage.  I  was hospitalized for a week.  I missed my baby. I worried about him and my sweet mom, suddenly thrust from the role of proud Nana holding her her first grandson to fill in full time for me. Joe tried to work and take care of all of us. 

I do not tell the story often, but today, one week after Sean's 49th birthday, I am flooded with thanksgiving for those 49 years of his life, and for those 49 years God-given to me. Joe is by my side.  We have two more sons. We have six precious grandchildren. I have been blessed with a full life, friends, and family. I look at the photo above, taken on the first evening of 2017, and can only say thank you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hope Floats

Signs of recovery and restoration are in many places in our county following the Brazos River flood. While the river is still high, the area labeled as a Federal disaster and many homes have been destroyed or severely damaged, many more have been cleared out and cleaned so that some can return to the places they lived. Our church's Red Cross shelter has been closed; the remaining residents have received assistance to go to relatives or hotels. Agencies have come together in the previous shelter location (ordinarily our church gym and kitchen) for access by those who need help and direction. Friends, neighbors, and generous volunteers have helped to do the hard work necessary to clean and organize.  Fields that were under water show green beginnings under brown, withered foliage.  I have chosen to post photos and story of one of our favorite places as an example of the stories of many.

 Enchanted Forest is one of 2 garden centers owned and operated by the Linderman family.  Before our recent move, we lived near Enchanted Forest, so for 24 years have loved going there, stocking our garden and leaning on their advice in many ways.  Gary Lenderman and Danny Lenderman, his son, have in particular been good friends who have helped us over and over. We shook our heads sadly as we learned of the flooding at this beautiful place and saw pictures of what looked like a river instead of the place of beauty we have enjoyed with our family and friends.  So when they announced they would reopen on June 18, we were there along with others expressing the same "We are so glad you are back!"  Without exception, every Linderman family member there along with every employee smiled and welcomed us. We learned that all the plants floated away and all the plants now displayed were new ones. There was extensive damage to buildings, offices, and gift shop. But there were still smiles (along with aching backs, I am sure.)

Not every story of loss and grief will have the beauty and message of green growing things and poetry of flowers, but almost all the stories I hear contain somewhere a glimmer of one thing in common:  HOPE.  Last Saturday, T shirts were being sold at Enchanted Forest's reopening with this message:  "Even when the river gets high, hope always floats."  Typical of their generosity and gifts to this community, the proceeds all go to Fort Bend County charities.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ky and Clyde

Ky and Clyde
In the week that leads up to Valentine's Day, I am reflecting about the couples and marriages that have been part of my understanding of love and commitment. Both my maternal and paternal grandparents and my parents had the "until death do us part" kind of marriage.  And since they lived a fairly long time, that meant many years together.

The photograph above is one of the last ones I have of both of them.  It has been stored away for many years, and Joe's scanning project brought it to my attention again.  I am so grateful for these two and their love for me.  I remember Papa's hearty laugh, his toothless grin, the way he bent down low over a small radio to listen to baseball games. I remember Grandma's hands kneading biscuit dough, scattering scraps for the chickens, tucking me into a feather bed, doing fine needlework and quilting, the way she lived out her faith.  Life was not easy for them.  They had few comfortable amenities, and a great deal of heartbreak. But they did their best and shared what they did have. Ky's birthday, February 17(1885), and Clyde's on March 15 (1887) prompt me to think of them with great respect and admiration. They were married in 1905, and were together until Ky's death in 1965, a month short of his 80th birthday.  Clyde lived on for another 12 years, dying in 1977.  Their 60 years of marriage is a tribute to making a life together.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


One of Nora's first and favorite words is "shoes!"  Pronounced with a special lilt and emphasis! Whether it is used as she looks for her own little pink Nikes, or carries her Daddy's heavy shoe around, it is obvious she loves shoes.  This week I watched as she took her own shoes off and tried again and again to put on my sandals and walk.  I laughed with her as she tried, but my thoughts about the scene lasted for a long time after our giggles. It is a great privilege and a great responsibility to think about her wearing my shoes or following my footsteps.  It is serious business, being a grandmother.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Not About the Rabbits

Recently a topic of conversation in a group of women friends: "What Easter stories or memories come to mind?"

I thought about Easters in the seventies when we decorated and hid eggs for our three little boys, dressed them up and took them to church and to visit grandparents. I thought about Easters in the past 15 years when I found just the right Easter dress to delight first one, then two, three, four, and now five sweet granddaughters! I smiled when I pictured the fun we have had with our little boys and these little girls decorating eggs, cookies, and cakes, and gathering our growing family around Grandma Terrell's dining table in our home.  Which led me to think of that same table surrounded by my grandparents, parents, my sister and me, and sometimes others.  Always my sister and I proudly wore Easter dresses sewed by Mother.  Often we had a coat, hat, and purse to match!  Those little girl Easters always included going to an outdoor Easter sunrise service in a rock ampitheater.  Those red rocks made for hard, cold seating and shivering little girls in the early hours.

I thought about all the Easter baskets and Easter bunnies these memories represent, including this stern looking celluloid blue and white bunny that was mine in 1941, my very first Easter.  I have no recollection of that Easter, of course, but the fact that this odd little rattle was something Mother kept and passed on to me is significant.  She remembered.

Remembering is really what matters after all. In all the little signs and symbols of Easter there is one common thread, one reason for each:  to help us remember. We remember that Christ came, that he lived to show us how to live, was crucified, laid in a grave, and that he rose on the third day.  We sing the Easter songs and celebrate with joy because we remember.

We practice resurrection and redemption.  Happy Easter!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Some Things Don't Change

Mary Ann, 1940  

While I am happily spending this week caring for our baby granddaughter, Nora, I have thought about my own grandparents, who from all accounts were thrilled at my birth and delighted in my smiles and laughter in the same way I delight in Nora's.  I reflect with gratitude, remembering stories of my own parent's happiness in having a baby after almost 9 years of marriage when I see my son and daughter-in-law's radiant faces as they hold their daughter.  When I care for her, hold her close, rock her,  and sing to her, I am re-enacting those long ago love stories.

Many things are very different now- early pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, disposable diapers, washers and dryers that are marvels, air conditioned homes and automobiles, car seats, and  Mp3 lullabies!  I am thankful for every convenience that helps to keep babies safe and provides help for parents, but there is no replacement or upgrade for the calming reassurance of human voice and the comfort of loving arms.  

                    Ben and Nora

Saturday, January 18, 2014

After Christmas Surprise!

I have always been slow to pack away the Christmas decorations for our home.  While I drive down the street and see some trees already stripped and hauled out for pickup a day or two after Christmas, and know that many people like to pack away decorations after the first day of the new year, I am known for lingering over the task.  It is not all because I move a little slower these days.  I simply enjoy savoring the last drop of twinkle lights and tinsel, and choose many years to leave out a manger scene for awhile.  This past week, as I stood in front of our mantle deciding whether to put our largest manger scene back in its box, I started laughing when I saw that Joseph had an extra staff!  I knew right away that Maddie had left me another surprise to find after she went back home. At 7, she delights in tucking a bow here, a flower there, and I delight in discovery!

Thank you, Maddie!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Our sons and their wives gathered family and friends for a lovely celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary. We loved every minute of an evening full of hugs, fond memories, photographs from 50 years of adventure, good food, and gratitude overflowing.  Our friend Aija played violin music and our son Ben quoted this favorite Shakespeare sonnet.  We have so many reminders that we are surrounded by love!

 Sonnet 116           William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
     If this be error and upon me proved,
     I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Garden Gifts

Fall gardens on the South Texas Gulf Coast are sometimes even more productive than Spring plantings, but not this year.  Tomato plants are big and leafy, with only a few small green tomatoes.  Peppers are still growing, but barely.  A combination of unusual wet cool weather has all but stalled any further setting of blooms. My youngest granddaughters have just spent some time here, and prove that though the gathering may be small, the joy is large.  There are a number of reasons I choose to garden, and these grins are one of them.  These little girls have helped me in a number of ways, and I am thrilled to pass on the joy of harvest to them.  This week, as we have cut herbs and gathered peppers and chopped and cooked together, our Thanksgiving has been much more than a meal.  It is a celebration of the happiness of being together, working together, and gathering all the family around Grandma Terrell's old oak table.  The table is now mine, and I am now the grandmother, but I probably won't ever call it Granmary's table.  The girls, however, will, and I am glad. I am thankful for those who have gone before, and these who will go beyond.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thinking Pink

My most delightful birthday gift last week was presented as an announcement: "It's a GIRL!"
Our youngest son and his wife are expecting the arrival of Nora Opal Parker on April 2, 2014.  The second part of the gift is her name.  Her name comes to her from two of her great grandmothers.  This is a sweet tribute to Opal, my mother, and I love it.  How she would have loved looking forward to this baby!
Thank you to Ben and Kristen for these gifts, and for our happy anticipation of holding and rocking baby Nora Opal.  The happy news was announced to family and friends when Kristen cut the cake she had baked and showed us it was pink!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Opal and Howard

My parents, Opal Auntionette Terrell Teal and John William Howard Teal, photographed on  July 2, 1943
They were married on December 27, 1931. This photograph was taken at the wedding of H.P. and Catherine Terrell.  H. P. was Opal's youngest brother.

November is a month when many focus on gratitude.  For several years, I have kept a daily gratitude journal to use as part of my morning meditation time.  I write down 5 things for which I am thankful.  Some are very small things - a bird at my kitchen window, the way morning light casts a lacy shadow on the wall, a phone call.  I say thank you, too,  for the biggest things in my every day:  God's faithfulness and love, for the way he is working in my family's life.  I give thanks for food and shelter and good hugs from Joe and our sons.  I am grateful for my daughters- in- law, and my granddaughters' laughter.

 I was born on November 14, 1940, so today is my birthday. I am grateful for my parents' life and love which began my life.  Thank you, God, for Opal and Howard Teal.  Thank you, Mother and Daddy, for loving each other and for loving me.  I never doubted for a moment that I was cherished.  Your faith and love and your hard work to provide good things for me continue to sustain me. You live on in me, in your grandsons, and in your great grandchildren.   You are part of everything I ever write down on my gratitude list.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Family Photographs

This picture wall is between our master bedroom and great room which also has our kitchen, so I walk through the area many times a day - from first thing in the early morning to last thing before I go to bed at night.  In the eight years we have lived in this house, I have rearranged the wall a number of times, particularly as new babies join our family circle.  Sometimes I stop to adjust a frame or touch a smiling face. Often, I stop, loving the connection with individuals and the gathering of all of us as family.  Those are the times I thank God for Joe and our sons and their wives and our grandchildren.  Through the ups and downs of our lives, we remain connected.  Sometimes I let my eyes travel from frame to frame, praying for daily strength and peace, fortitude in adversity, wisdom in plans, discernment for challenges, joy in new beginnings,   and overall that we will love God and each other well. Soon we will add another photograph.  Our family is growing.  I am blessed and grateful. Our story continues!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Celebrating our anniversary last week and heading into both our 50th year of marriage as well as the year 2013 has meant spending time in reflection and gratitude, savoring memories and looking forward to making more. Joe is the love of my life, my partner, and my forever friend.  Our sons are my pride and joy; my granddaughters fill my life with delight and laughter, more than I could have ever imagined.  That is why I love this image of our oldest son, Sean, and his daughter, Skye.  They are standing in our kitchen, surrounded by my pot rack,  the little altar at my kitchen window where I worship even while washing dishes, and that word, "Imagine" on the cabinet top. Just to the left is a smaller phrase, harder to see, but very big in importance.  On it are the words "Celebrate Family,  Friends, Tradition.  Here in one small photo - what a wonderful life!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude for Hand Me Downs

        Thanksgiving memories: Quilt from Mary Clyde Curley Terrell and Opal Terrell Teal

I grew up in the 40's and 50's in a small town in East Texas. I remember ration stamps during the war, “butter” that we made out of white stuff that we mixed with coloring to make it yellow, tea towels made from flour sacks, and patchwork quilts made from the scraps of fabric leftover from clothes sewed by my grandmother and mother. “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” was really practiced. Men's shirt collars were turned when they became worn, and socks were darned. Mending was an important word in our vocabulary.

I learned to do handwork like embroidery and crochet from Mother and Grandma, but I took a sewing course from the local Singer Sewing machine store when Mother got a new electric sewing machine to replace her treadle Singer. The course came free with the purchase and she already knew how to sew, so I took the lessons, made a dress and jacket, and modeled them in a fashion show for the last lesson. I remember working over the scalloped neckline and sleeves of a teal blue outfit and wearing it proudly. I was 8 years old. After that, Mother and I worked together on making my clothes. I learned from her to shop for fabric bargains, the reason I still have yards of fabric stored for the time when the right need appears. We always planned something pretty for the first day of school. When I was in high school, I would sketch a design for a prom or banquet gown and was never disappointed at the results. My outfits were always one of a kind!

Even so, I did a happy dance when the occasional box of hand me downs arrived in the mail from my cousin in South Texas. Marcia Lee was 6 years older than me, and all her clothes were store bought! She had a younger brother and no one to pass down to, so I was the glad recipient. I never grumbled about wearing second hand. I was aware, however, that not everyone felt special wearing not-new things. My younger sister had a lot of hand-me-downs!

Today, there is a revival of appreciation for used clothing and other worn items. We call it repurposing or recycling. I am reminded of the wisdom of my parents and grandparents. The root of the concept of passing something on is the word “give.” Making something we no longer can use or need available to someone else is a gift, both to ourselves and that one who receives it. As we donate, pass down, relinquish, and turn over things, or receive those which have been made available to us, we are acting out a physical image of a much larger passing down, the transmitting and endowment of a priceless legacy. 

My cousin passed down clothes.  Mother and Grandma handed me down so much more.  The quilt in the photo is a passed down treasure with its patches from dresses worn 70 years ago by all three of us.  Every patch and stitch reminds me of the gifts of themselves handed on to me that live beyond me in the lives of my sons and granddaughters. 

"And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously,handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see - or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read."  ~ Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers' Garden
"My work in the world is to catch fire, to bloom, and to unleash my own secret words."  ~ Christine Valters Paintner

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Honoring People and Places

"We clasp the hands of those who go before us.” – Wendell Berry
Home has for many years meant the place I lived with my husband and our sons (and now gather them with their wives and children).  We have made a home in many places and learned to move on and call another place home.  But, as Eudora Welty says so beautifully,

There may come to be new places in our lives that are second spiritual homes closer to us in some ways, perhaps, than our original homes. But the home tie is the blood tie. And had it meant nothing to us, any other place thereafter would have meant less, and we would carry no compass inside ourselves to find home ever, anywhere at all. We would not even guess what we had missed.
I am grateful for the piney woods of East Texas around Tyler, my birthplace, and Jacksonville, where I grew up. I also warm with a smile when I think of Bullard, the tiny town in between those two.

Both my parents grew up in Bullard.    Because both sets of my grandparents lived there, it is part of the place of my childhood and fondly remembered.  The Bullard cemetery is where a great many of my ancestors are buried: parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and great grandparents!  But this is no longer just a little country community, a "wide place in the road," my Daddy called it.
I read with interest how Bullard has changed and grown.  One of the old buildings I remember as Ferrell's Drug Store used to be the location of the medical practice of the Ferrell's daughter, Dr. Marjorie Roper.   We called her Dr. Marjie. She is a legendary physician and has always been one of my heros.  She practiced family medicine in Bullard for 60 years, retiring, she says, because she was not computer literate!

 I was recently sent the link below telling of her plans to convert the old pharmacy.  I think I need to go to Bullard for a museum trip.  But I will also take some herb bouquets to place on cemetery markers, honoring those who have gone before me.

Longtime doctor transforms historic pharmacy into

Friday, September 28, 2012

Most of my garden photographs get posted in my blog . Most of my kitchen stories and recipes get told at .   But this blue pea vine that blooms so profusely at my kitchen window reminds me why I love vines so much: they are quite alot like families.  There is something magical about a climbing vine in a garden. Vines seem to have a mind of their own and grow here and there in many directions - but they need something to cling to or climb on, a support.  Like morning glories and moonflowers, they reach for the strength of a trellis or rail and hang on, blooming and blooming some more.

Families can be like that too. Especially in our marriages,  I think sometimes we are branches of  the vine and at other times we need to be the trellis, offering support for each other's growth and change. As I age, my children help me do things I once could do for myself or for them. So last night, as the blue pea vine peeked in my kitchen window, I cooked a pot of seafood gumbo with my granddaughter's good help while my son hung curtain rods for me and my daughter in law stood on a ladder to change light bulbs. I am thankful for my trellis and glad I can still bloom.  They loved the gumbo.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tribute to Friends and Family

"From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised."    ~ Psalm 113: 3

This week started with end of summer and start of school stuff.  It is hurricane season here and there was a storm brewing, Monday was the beginning of school for our 4th grade granddaughter, and Tuesday the first day for our first grader. Both my recently planted tomatoes and I were wilting in the heat and grateful for long cold drinks of water.  Joe was busy with work and medical appointments. By the end of the day on Monday, my cool pillow was the only place I thought I was headed.  Suddenly, everything changed.  We were on the way to the hospital instead of to bed.  Joe, who has had so many surgeries on his left knee, was literally brought to his knees by that joint collapsing and dislocating.  We found ourselves in a swirl of pain and prayers. Calls to our doctor and our son, who came to help resulted in emergency hospital admission and on to the operating room where the out of place pieces were put in place and snugly encased in a thigh to toe cast.  It is going to be a painful, challenging recovery but he is addressing it with his typical courage and good spirits
All this to say, I am so grateful for God's provision for our peace in the middle of this storm, which felt like the pounding confusion of hurricane winds to us. 

Isn't it good that we know we are not alone in dealing with this?  We are grateful for access to medical care, and most of all so thankful for our family and the friends who help us and love us in so many ways.  Our sons gave us their time and strong arms to lean on.  Ben made our dinner when we came home from the hospital.  He even remembered his Dad had said mac and cheese sounded good. Our son who does not live here was connected and encouraging by phone.  All 3 daughters in law responded with loving attention.  And I am overwhelmed with appreciation by the emails and Facebook messaging as well as phone calls from our friends.  So it was natural that when I thought about a blog post for today that I wanted to give the spotlight to all of you who love us so well and help us so much.  As the photo of a note I received many years ago declares "Hope your day starts and ends on a beautiful note!."  I might add certainly make the notes in my day a symphony!

Postscript:     The note I mention was the last letter I received from Doris Nutt,  a longtime friend and mentor on October 22, 2001 although I got a birthday card a few weeks later which she mailed before she died.  She taught me at church when I was growing into and out of my teens, and was so important to me as a friend and mentor that I (along with other women who had the same blessing of knowing her) called her Mamma Nutt.  Her faithfulness, loyalty, and unselfish giving of herself remain an example to me when I think of friends.  When she passed away, friends found her with her Bible open in her lap.  All those years ago, her encouragement and teaching helped to equip me for the storms of today.  I am thankful for family and friends, then and now.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thank You for Planting This Tree!

When we planted a Vitex tree in our back yard, we had no idea how much the whole family would enjoy it.  It is an old fashioned tree which will soon be covered with spikes of purple blooms.  When it is in full bloom, it looks like a cloud of purple smoke is hovering over the garden.  But a few weeks ago, Skye, Maddie, and Jordann just enjoyed its low spreading limbs for climbing!  The limbs are small, but so are the girls, so all three could get up in it at one time.  I loved hearing them laughing and talking and having fun.  Just before I went to get my camera,  Skye looked up, saw me on the porch and called out, "Thank you!   Thank you for planting this tree!"  It reminded me of her Daddy, who once told us he wanted an apple tree he could climb.  We planted apple trees in the yards of more than one home but we always moved before they got big enough to climb.   I, too, am thankful for this tree, for its blooms and its shade,  with limbs low enough for little girls to clamber up and strong enough to give them a perch.