Be the Change and Say His Name #GeorgeFloyd

Heart shaped roseHello, You are very welcome to my blog.

A lot has been weighing on my mind over the past number of days, specifically the topic of racism, and the horrific death in the U.S. of George Floyd, his death caused by the police. I can’t make sense of it, or the countless times this has already happened to people of color. What I find eye opening are the personal stories of what ‘every day life’ is like for people who simply aren’t white. Have you read their stories? Eye opening is one way to phrase it, scary is another, unacceptable is another. People who cannot live their lives without extreme caution of how they are perceived by others, namely the police. Where the simple fact of being a man of color makes you threatening. A life where injustice is the accepted norm by those carrying out the injustices – with no repercussions.

How has this gone on for so long? We are all equal, and yet clearly we are not all treated as equal. But this time, this time seems to have triggered a response from not just those in the U.S., but the world. This time it has gone too far. Although we’ve been told before, now it seems to be sinking in, what it *really* means to be a person of color in America.

The conversations need to start at home. How we treat one another, how we speak of others, how we act towards those who aren’t part of our ‘inner circle’ – these are all ways in which the next generation learns how to behave. They will see and learn from us. If we sit on the sidelines and do and say nothing, they will learn from that, too.

It is my hope that this collective outrage will finally bring about the changes that are long overdue. This isn’t about politics, it is about right and wrong. The Obama Foundation website has numerous ways for Americans to get involved. Have a look here.

I have not lost hope that there is good in the world. We’ve seen it all week long – the peaceful protests, the community clean-ups, some police joining in the protests. Change is possible. It has taken too long, but it can and must happen now.

Because #BlackLivesMatter .

In Peace,
Dana

Reflections on Oxford dictionary’s Word of the Year 2018 – Toxic

Toxic

Honestly, I don’t usually pay attention to the “word of the year”, but this year’s winning word, toxic, caught my attention. To me, it relays such a negative feeling about the year as a whole.

I’m writing this in December, where for the entire month we prepare for Christmas. We are filled with the Christmas spirit, singing Christmas songs, decorating every nook, and there is simply a wonderful feeling of joy and anticipation in the air! But the reality is that “Toxic” was the word of the year…

Nativity Scene

One of our larger Nativity scenes

According to the Oxford Dictionary website, “the Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.”

stained glass nativity scene

One of my favorites, an antique, stained glass nativity scene

They further explain that, “in 2018, toxic added many strings to its poisoned bow becoming an intoxicating descriptor for the year’s most talked about topics. It is the sheer scope of its application, as found by our research, that made toxic the stand-out choice for the Word of the Year title.”

We have many Nativity scenes of all sizes. This one is only a few inches high.

When I hear the word “toxic” my mind is filled … with images of poison! I don’t want to expand on the many uses of toxic. (Hence, I have filled this post with pictures of what Christmas looks like in our home!) Instead, I’d like to propose that we make 2019 a year filled with positivity. We can even start right in our own gardens! Ditch the chemicals and go organic. Start composting to reuse your kitchen and garden “waste”. It all starts with small changes that we all can make. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Nativity Scene

A rustic, handmade star lighting a Nativity Scene

Stepping out of the garden, I hope we will all be a little more kind; Not just to those we know, but to those whose stories we know nothing about.

And hopefully, by this time next year, the “word of the year” will be one reflecting something positive.

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations can be found everywhere in our home!

Wishing you much Peace, Joy, and Happiness for 2019 and always,
Dana

Love

Peace, Joy and Love

Get out and Garden: Loosen up your soil (and don’t mind the birds!)

Flower bed at our front gates

Flower bed at our front gates

Hello!

I had the great pleasure of working in the garden a bit this past week.  I was loosening up the soil in one of my beds.  It was only recently that I learned that this is quite a good thing to do for your soil. Make sure you don’t dig up your plants, but the soil around them should be nice and loose.  This also makes it MUCH easier to pull up weeds.

Sunflowers at the end of their lives and the blueberry plant showing off some lovely red coloring

Sunflowers at the end of their lives and the blueberry plant showing off some lovely red coloring

I live in the country and we have lots of birds around nearly all of the time.  It is kinda fun to see them when they move in what seems to be a huge formation. A wee bit of a distraction during my gardening.

The video is quite short.  I was just sharing the beautiful day with you!

I hope you are able to get out and enjoy some nice weather where you are.

In peace,
Dana

Birds vs. Laundry

Hi there!

Just a quick hello today.  I thought this was rather funny.  It was SUCH a lovely day this morning that I had to hang my laundry outside.  But as I was hanging it, I could see the birds gathering around.  Lots and Lots of birds.  I should have just called it a day and brought the sheets inside…

 

A little bit of purple is just about everywhere!

20160913_171749

I hope I made you smile!  (I rewashed the sheets and hung them inside…)

In peace,
Dana

20160913_160752

Taking a moment to SIT in the garden

Are you like me and constantly on the go?  I mean I am constantly on a schedule.  There is just so much to plan and do and enjoy…

Running out of time, Running late, Running on time, or Running out of time: Which is it for you?

I love this clock which I saw in Glasgow.          “Go! Go! Go!”

But every once in a while, usually dictated by my body shouting that it has had enough, it is necessary to recharge.

View in the garden

Views in the garden today

Today was that day for me.  Life has been pretty full for us lately, all good, but it has me rather run down.  I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to rest today, and really enjoy my garden (after a few chores, of course!).

Hawthorn tree in full bloom

Hawthorn tree in full bloom

What I really wanted today was a nap; but between the sunshine, and the neighbouring farmer working his field, that was just not happening.  So I did a few jobs that have been on my list:

  • Turned over a new flower bed.
new flower bed

new flower bed

  • Turned over the compost.
Compost looking pretty good

Compost looking pretty good

  • Marked with stones the hyacinth before they fade away.
Pink & White Hyacinth from early spring

Pink & White Hyacinth from early spring

Same garden, but the pink hyacinth are replaced by purple flowers.

Same garden, but the pink hyacinth are mostly gone and now it is a purple garden with lilacs, allium, Columbine, and Iris.

After those jobs were done, then I sat in the grass and watched, and listened, and simply enjoyed the garden.

view in the garden toward one of our cherry trees

view in the garden toward one of our cherry trees

view of our "messy" garden that will hopefully be cleaned up this summer...

view of our “messy” garden that will hopefully be cleaned up this summer… You can see some orange California poppies

Christmas tree

allium garden

allium garden (*great* year for allium this year, following last year’s poor show…)

Blue Tit bird feeding babies in the basketball hoop pipe...

Blue Tit bird feeding babies in the basketball hoop pipe…

Wow, what a feeling that was.  It was kinda strange because I really and truly have a hard time sitting and relaxing.  The weather was definitely a huge help. We have had very sunny, warm and simply perfect days.

Monkshood & bee

The bees were busy but hopefully also enjoying the good weather!

I hope that you are able to take some time out to enjoy all that is around you, too.

In peace,
Dana

 

Wordless Wednesday: Betty’s quilt

Betty's quilt

Betty’s quilt

Last week’s Wordless Wednesday featured a picture in my friend Susan’s kitchen. This week I am featuring a picture from my friend Betty’s kitchen.  I wonder if this is going to be a new trend?  🙂

I’m really failing on this “Wordless” part because I must tell you about how wonderful Betty, and her husband Harold, are!  I took this picture in their kitchen last summer when I had the pleasure of visiting them. They were our next door neighbors for ten years when we lived in Central New York.   Their house is filled with so many neat antiques.  They are both 87 years young and still doing the things they love to do, like gardening, quilting and painting!

Simply amazing

Simply amazing

Betty made this quilt and I think it is so beautiful!  Just looking at it makes me smile and think of how much we enjoyed being their neighbors and having an “extra set” of grandparents right next door.

Capture the moment, share the love, and cherish the memories.

In peace,
Dana

Doing what makes you happy

bouquet of daffodils (no flash)

bouquet of daffodils (no flash)

Oh my goodness gracious me!  I am in need of slowing down and taking some nice deep breaths!  Phew! Life is going way too fast for me. Anyone else feel that way?

Narcissi Blazing Starlet

Narcissi Blazing Starlet

I returned to the outside workforce about 18 months ago after being a stay-at-home mom for 16 years.  I absolutely love working, but boy it can be tough trying to do it all!

Ice King (carnation like daffodils)

Ice King (carnation like daffodils). You can see the raindrops on the flowers!

There are times I find myself completely out of breath just *thinking* about all that my husband and I do for our family.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing!  It sure does make time all the more precious though.

six different varieties

six different varieties

My garden is my place of peace and where I “catch my breath”.  I love working in the garden and seeing how it changes from season to season and year to year.   Mostly, though, I love flowers.  🙂

nameless daffodil

nameless daffodil (read: I can’t find the name of it!) with tiny white specs on the tips of each petal.

There was a lot of rain today. It takes more than just rain to stop me from gardening, so out into the garden I went to weed …   until my fingers were too wet and too cold to do anymore.  THEN I cut some flowers to bring inside, cause that just makes me smile.

a rather gray day...

a rather gray day…

I went around the yard and cut five stems here, five there, and a few stragglers more there.  That is all it takes.

using the flash

using the flash

It’s the first time I have used my new pottery vase. Dunbeacon Pottery is made in West Cork, and I bought this vase at the RDS in Dublin this past December at a Craft fair. You can checkout  Dunbeacon Pottery here:  http://irishdesignshop.com/collections/dunbeacon-pottery  I love supporting crafters!  I really like the colors that this artist used.  I have a much larger vase and a wee vase that match this one. (’cause why buy one when you can get three?)

full view

full view (no flash)

I was really trying to use natural light which was hard to do with it being so gray outside.  So I put the flowers on a step stool near a window.  This intrigued my cat to come and investigate what I was doing.

Kitty smells the flowers

Kitty smells the flowers

I have to say that most of these daffodils are fragrant, but it was funny to see the cat go over to them to have a smell!

I think I'll sit here in front of these pretty flowers that mom is taking pictures of...

I think I’ll sit here in front of these pretty flowers that mom is taking pictures of…

She is a very good cat and a well loved member of our family.  She, I think, also enjoys being in the garden with me while I work!  Here’s a look at some of the daffodils out in the yard.

Ice King daffodils in April sunset

Ice King daffodils in April sunset

Narcissi blazing starlet in the ditch-wall garden

Narcissi blazing starlet in the ditch-wall garden

But sometimes, I’d just prefer to have them inside with me.

just another angle

just another angle

I hope that you are able to slow down, breathe deeply, and enjoy what makes you smile in life…  at least for a little bit, every now and again.

In peace,
Dana

I am an American

Happy Independence Day to my American friends and family!

Stars and Stripes napkins

Stars and Stripes napkins

It is a day to celebrate everything that being an American entails, but most of all our freedom.

Red, White & Blue

Red, White & Blue

It is a day for parades, picnics, bar-b-ques, being with friends and family, and fireworks.

Roses and Iris from the garden

Roses and Iris from the garden

It is a day to celebrate.

Showing my American colours

Showing my American colours

Happy 4th of July!  I hope it is a wonderful celebration for you and your friends and family!!!

our American flag

our American flag

In Peace,
Dana

Having it all… and a garden, too.

Playhouse in the springtime

Garden by the Playhouse in the springtime

I have had this title floating around in my head for quite a while now.  Isn’t  “having it all”  what everyone strives for?    I think most of us probably do have it all, in one shape or another – it just depends on how you measure “it all”.

misty morning (up too early to drive my daughter swimming before school...)

misty morning (up too early to drive my daughter swimming before school…)

Over the years I have learned to not wish for anyone else’s life but my own. Oh I used to think about all the other people who I was convinced had it better than I did!  It is so easy to think ‘doesn’t she have everything?’, or ‘doesn’t he have it so good?’.  I think there is a story to tell in everyone’s life.  Some stories are much harder to read than others, but everyone has a story.

a view from above

a view from above (foxtrot tulips)

Recently I had the situation where I really thought I was having a bad day.  But then I learned someone else’ story that day.  Yeah, my day was a walk in the park compared to her day.  Sometimes you just never know what is going on in people’s lives.  If only we could all be a bit more patient, kind, understanding…

Ballerina tulips with our playhouse as a backdrop

Ballerina tulips with our playhouse as a backdrop

My life is quite full just with our three kids and their activities!  Then add in my coaching swimming, working, trying to keep the house looking like a hurricane hasn’t passed through (too recently), gardening, and balancing life with my husband and kids.  I’m sure everyone’s life is equally as busy and full and rewarding!

weeds are just a part of the garden

weeds are just a part of the garden

Life is so full that time in the garden is precious these days. Precious and rare!  Our garden is  where we find peace and enjoyment, despite the amount of work it takes to care for it.  For me, time in the garden is how I recharge. I’m in the process of learning how to just sit and relax and enjoy the garden after a full day.  “Just sit” doesn’t come easy to me, so it is a learning process, but I’m getting there.

Parrot tulip

Parrot tulip

How about you?  Can you “just sit” and relax in the moment?  I hope that you too, have the “all” that you need in life.

Peace,

Dana

a not entirely stormy sky

a not entirely stormy sky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My First Weekend in the garden and boy was it lovely!

Pulmonaria

Pulmonaria

What a wonderful weekend I had in the garden!  The weather was perfectly spring like.  There was so much weeding and cleaning up to do it was a bit overwhelming at first.  Ever feel that way?  All I could do was start with one little job at a time.

Primrose

Primrose

There are lovely signs of spring.

Anemone Mr. Fokker

Anemone Mr. Fokker

I also had some new plants to plant, and others to move around the yard. My husband is very good and does the planting for me, even the movings around of plants (sometimes more than once).

Anemone

Anemone

I had forgotten that I had some very pink anemone growing in a container.  What a lovely surprise to see them this week!

Anemone

Anemone

Our strawberry plants are in a mess.  You should really clean up the plants around September.  Some how our schedules got in the way of our gardening last fall.  So we  are now in the process of cleaning them up and what a job it is!

Strawberry beds in need of attention

Strawberry beds in need of attention

I cut back all of the green leaves of my Hellebores. Some of their leaves were turning black and it wasn’t pretty.  They have been flowering all winter, so if you are looking for a winter blooming plant, this is definitely one to get (and so many colours to choose from).

Hellebores

Hellebores

Our winter garlic is finally up, growing and doing well. And look at that, another strawberry bed in need of attention!  (arg!)

Garlic bed

Garlic bed

Garlic

Garlic

This is the first daffodil in my yard.  It is kind of lonely all on its own. Hopefully the others will be up soon!

Daffodil

Daffodil

I’m so happy to have had time in the garden this weekend! I hope spring has sprung for you, too (or will soon)!

Happy spring!
Dana