Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sneak Peak at Spring

My new harbor and meditation place.  I have red and green seedless grapes planted to cover it. 
Josh put in this little rock garden for me.  It has mostly sedums in it.  The rocks have been brought from all  over  the  US including sacred soap stone from a reservation that mines it in South Dakota.  The little garden is my favorite because of the memories.  My grandfather's Jack-n-the-pulpit is in this garden.  My pink/purple hydrangeas are just starting on the right.
Chives in bloom.  
Early spring herb garden - I plant my herbs around this patio each year.  The tomato cages are for cherry and grape tomatoes.  It's is closed to my kitchen door for easy access.
My pink roses and irises.  
Daisies, irises, day lilies, small bog with cat tails, and rhubarb.

Mother Hen & Chicks under birch with junipers.  The junipers now cover the  whole side of the patio.

My clematis.  Last years winter took it so I planted a new one this year.  

Rest in the shade with blue hostas.  Raspberry bushes, peonies and miniature lilac in back

Nature has been rough on my gardens the last couple of years.  I planted a Cortland Apple tree in honor of my mother (her favorite apple) and when we had 10 inches of rain in one day last summer and it fell.  It had just started producing a lot of apples.  I also lost 3 maple trees due to age and weather. I have lost the arborvitae in the corner of the above picture and two others due to ice and wind, so have had to replant the corner.  I loved my row of arborvitaes because they are so bird friendly, but God and/or nature decided there should be something else there.  That's why the new harbor and now I have started another garden in the corner this year.  I'm doing all variegated plants and bushes there.  I'll fill in with flowers over the next couple of years. The old fence has been replaced with a new white vinyl fence.  Weather was too hard on it and the new fence is cutting down on the maintenance. Like I said, I'm now going lower maintenance when I can.  Everything is constantly changing as in nature so I have to change with it.  

Get your hands dirty with me.  God bless you and your garden.  


Saw these coming home from Dubuque last night.  It was 38 degrees so they melted as soon as they hit the ground. Beautiful and then gone.

Friday, December 30, 2011


I have always loved a beautiful new snow fall to look at, but as I grow older I’m finding I’m quite content to not have it snow.  This winter we have not been blessed with it yet and my fuel bills are low.  I find that a good thing.  I have not had to worry about shoveling, salting or ice.  That is a good thing.

When I lived in California I really missed the snow and was happy to come back and have my 4 seasons.  God has blessed us with a great deal of snow the last couple of years, so I’m content this year to have him give us a rest from everything that comes with it.  Since I do not participate in any winter sports, like skiing, I’ll just look back at old photos and find my pleasure it them. 

It is still early yet.  I might be jumping the gun.   It could still be in His plan.  I’ll be patient and see what January brings.
Last Year gave us enough for this year too!  Josh shoveling my drive out.

Something Wonderful

I'm a Bird Watcher

I'm a bird watcher.  Each year when Spring comes and I see my first robin, I get so excited.  What pleasure that brings me.  I love this time of year because we are blessed with the Bald Headed Eagles flying over head.  Each year they grow in numbers so that they are now seen flying over Maquoketa on a regular basis. I saw two coming back from Cedar Rapids last week on the ground right outside of Baldwin.  Must be a pair nesting there. In January every year, Mom and I take a trip to Bellevue when the Mississippi is frozen over to count how many eagles we can see.  We stop and have a Maid Rite and then cross the road and sit and watch them until we can no longer stand the cold.  It is just awesome!

Picture I took in Bellevue of  an eagle eating a fish it caught.  A little eagle lesson... the male and female look alike in coloring.  The large ones are the females and the ones with the white heads are the adults.  Young eagles do not have the white head and tail.  
We also have swans at our local conservation office and we enjoy going and watching them.  They are breeding them so we get to see their off spring grow up.  Saylor's totem animal is a swan and they let me pick up feathers for him to put in his medicine bag.

Swans and 2 of their babies taken at Hurstville.

At Easter we go to see the pelican migrating in the Quad Cities

I feed the birds and look out my kitchen window and see many different species.  It makes me very happy.  Try bird feeding and watching as a hobby .
Feeding finches 

When I worked in Muscatine, I would go to the park and have my lunch with the  ducks.

Through my kitchen window and the screen.  

Squirrel and hawk on my garden fence.  Crazy squirrel was not afraid of it.  

I always have new babies in my trees and bushes.  

Make sure you water them if you are going to feed them.  It  helps draw more.  
I feed bird all winter.  I always have cardinals that nest in my back arborvitae trees and hundreds of house finches feed.  In winter I put out suit and it brings the downing wood pecker.
Each season seems to bring some new bird to watch.  Hope you enjoyed me sharing my birds. They are one of many of God's pleasures in my life.  Be happy and God bless you and the birds.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Iowa Caucuses

 The 2012 Iowa Caucuses are scheduled to take place on January 3, 2012, just a week away.  Mark it on your calendars.  Please take time and attend.  If you have not attended one in the past, they are interesting and you get to gather with great people that appreciate your point of view (they may disagree, but they honor your right to your own views).  It is no secret that I'm a democrat, but I encourage everyone to visit their caucus.  I have made it a point to not get political on my blog but I do want to ask you to participate in what our brave soldiers have fought for, that being your right to vote as you see fit (along with many other rights us American's are blessed with).  Hope to see my fellow democrats there next Tuesday.

Little Boys

This also applies to little girls too, but I did not want to change the quote.  The unknown author must have had grandson like me.  I've said for years that my large family has only one thing in common and that is our love for each other.  We are all so different from each other.  Peoples differences are what makes this life interesting.  Viva la diffĂ©rence (long live the difference).  They usually make me happy.


Do you find yourself very happy to just stay home in the winter?  I sure do.  I prefer the warm safety of just snuggling on the couch and reading a good book or watching some TV staying in out of the cold.  I am happy to have the season and almost everything that comes with it (exceptions being the fuel bills and ice).  It allows me to hibernate like my bear totem and rejuvenate and wait for my favorite season of spring.

Be happy no matter what the season and God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Winter Sunshine

My mom and I have been talking a lot lately about how important the sun is in our lives especially in the winter. The sun can control our mood and even our energy levels.  We hope each day for some sunlight to brighten our day and fill us with her energy.  Here is hoping your day is full of sunshine.  If there is no sun, you will have to bring your own.  Be happy and warm.

It is not the Critic Who Counts

This is a wonderful quote and I thought it was worth sharing.  I've known victory and defeat, but victory is sweetest when I have know defeat first.  The more I have put into my life the more I have got out of it.  I do not listen to those critics that find fault with my efforts.  I put my energies into living my life not worrying about others criticism.

Be happy and God bless you and yours.

New Years Resolution

I don’t keep resolutions, therefore I stopped making them a long time ago, but I will continue to try to put more commitment and effort into my happiness and other’s happiness.   Here they are again:

1.   You can’t be happy if you are jealous.
2.   You can’t be happy if you are bad tempered.
3.   You can’t be happy if you don’t choose to be happy.  Remember “Do you want to be right or happy?”
4.   You can’t be happy when you are criticizing others.
5.   You can’t be happy if you are a pessimist. 
6.   You can’t be really happy if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 
7.   You can’t be happy if you are constantly defensive.
8.   It is hard to be happy if you are surrounded by negative people.
9.   You must first know sadness to know happiness. 
10. You can’t be happy if you do not know love in your life.
11.  You can’t be happy if you do not love yourself and respect others.
12.  Happiness is not always found in grand things.   It can be found in small simple things every minute of everyday.
13.  Happiness can be found easier if you have a spiritual life to help you see your blessings.   Count your blessings and be grateful. 
14.  You can not be idle and be happy for long.  You must grow and stay active in life.
15.  You are responsible for your own happiness, no one else.
16.  Be true to yourself. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Do Not Feed the Troll

Positive Affirmations

If you are making New Year resolutions the following information may help you keep them.  Self talk in positive affirmations should be part of your daily life.  Instead of negative self-talk, you can use positive daily affirmations to direct what you want to focus on.  You can conquer your past and present fears, and enjoy your present and create the future with them.  You need to say them daily over and over again with real conviction.  Here are some examples:

Affirmations for Health

  • Every Cell in my body vibrates with energy and health
  • Loving myself heals my life. I nourish my mind, body and soul
  • My body heals quickly and easily

Affirmations for Love

  • I know that I deserve love and accept it now
  • I give out love and it is returned to me multiplied
  • I rejoice in the love I encounter everyday

Affirmations for Self Esteem

  • When I believe in myself, so do others
  • I express my needs and feelings
  • I am my own unique self - special, creative and wonderful

Affirmations for Peace and Harmony

  • All my relationships are loving and harmonious
  • I am at peace
  • I trust in the process of life

Affirmations for Joy and Happiness

  • Life is a joy filled with delightful surprises
  • My life is a joy filled with love, fun and friendship all I need do is stop all criticism, forgive, relax and be open.
  • I choose love, joy and freedom, open my heart and allow wonderful things to flow into my life.
Make up your own affirmations and talk to yourself never saying bad things.  Be happy, be persistent and God bless you and yours.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Not You

Yesterday I spent the day with my foster son of 6 years.  He is living in a group home because he is not capable of living without assistance.  Visiting him is very good for me for many reasons but each time I come away I am awed at the fact that he never complains about anything.  Of all the people I have met in my life time, he has more reason to complain than anyone else.  I won't go into his life, but just want to point out that those who have more right than the rest of us seldom are complainers.  My mother lives with chronic pain daily, but she never complains.  I think we might all vent now and then, but I take my lesson from Donny and Mom.  No one wants to hear my complaints, so I will keep them to myself and smile and try to make their day a little better.

Let others complain about their life, but not you.  Be happy and God bless you and yours.

My Christmas Gift

My gift to you is my prayer to God that He blesses you and yours with much happiness and joy.  Have a safe and wonderful Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Totem

I have talked about my family having totem animals so thought I'd share more information with you.  An Animal Totem is an important symbolic object that a person might use to get in touch with specific qualities found within an animal which the person needs, connects with, or feels a deep affinity toward. It is said that you can have several animal guides through out your life. Sometimes an animal guide will come into your life for a short period of time, and then be replaced by another depending on the journey or direction you are headed toward. Your guide will instruct and protect you as you learn how to navigate through your spiritual and physical life. When you find an animal that speaks strongly to you or feel you must draw more deeply into your life, you might fill your environment with images of the animal to let the animal know its welcome in your space. Animal guides can help you get back to your earthly roots, and reconnect with nature by reminding you that we are all interconnected. To first do this you need to know what your animal totem is.

If you wish to take a quick quiz for the fun of it and to help you determine your totem animal here is a site you might wish to visit:

I’m a bear.  I also have a second animal guide which is the wolf.  As a bear, I’m laid back, rather easygoing, and compassionate. I like to eat, and am overweight. I cry over trivial matters, often, but am always there when a friend needs a laugh.  Bear teaches us to respect our natural hibernation cycles. Just as bear rests during winter and reawakens during spring, we need spaces of rest and rejuvenation. Bear calls us to awaken the potential within ourselves and the power of our unconscious mind. Bear reminds us there are times for playfulness and times to be assertive.  Some qualities of a bear are:
  • Strength in the face of adversity
  • Finding one's way back
  • Solitude
  • Maternal protection
  • Focus on the practical side of life
Just for fun, what would your totem be?  Be happy and God bless you and yours

You know what they say about Mama Bears.  You can do anything to me, but don’t do anything to mine.  I’m a mama bear and very protective.

Christmas is Forever

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Tracks

The Artist in Me and Mine

I like to think that I am an artist.  I am creative and have a need to create.  I’m happy when I am creating.  I’ve passed this on to my son and his sons.  With each generation, I believe more talent has emerged making me wonder what my great grandchildren artistic talents will be with our next generation.

I’d like to think that I had something to do with the passing on of their talent.  If nothing else, I at least did not stifle the artist in my sons.  They did not need to stay between the lines and could color with any color they wanted.  Children see things quite differently than adults and they are often redefined by adults and school when God already made them perfect.  Let them color the leaves of a tree purple and let the colors flow outside the lines.  Encourage them in all their endeavors so they can become great, their self esteem can grow and they can easily love themselves.  Make sure you save those great pieces of art and post them proudly in your home for all to see. Fuss over each and everyone of them.  Always have paper, colors, scissors, markers, construction paper, etc. available so they can create when ever they feel like it.  Make sure you have your creative supplies available for when you get the urge to create.  You never know when the urge will strike you.
This is a picture my grandson Sam did of my totem animal for my office when he was only 6 years old.  I keep it on my desk.  I have a huge bulletin board that I display my grandson's great gifts of art to me on.  I see them looking at it often and it tells them I’m proud of what they do.  I have started books that I keep  their art work and short stories in so I can look back and see how they have grown artistically.  I’m so proud of them all.

Be happy, create something and God bless you and yours.

3 More Days

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Spirit of Christmas


May this Christmas Season be filled with much hope.  There is no tomorrow without it.

What is Christmas

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and then Christmas Day.  I think I will practice goodwill, kindness, laughter, generosity, and compassion so I've got it down to as close to perfect as I can for Christmas.

Be happy and God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's Christmas

Just 5 more days until Christmas or is it?  Christmas should be everyday of the year in our hearts. Like other holidays, December 25th is only a reminder of simple things we should not forget.  It is a birthday, a time to celebrate all that Christmas means to us like love and giving.  Keep Christmas every day of the year.