Teacher Tuesday: Tiptoe through the tulips—make that azaleas. . .

This week’s FOLK Magazine Journal Challenge is to take a nature walk and reflect on the sights, sounds, and feelings I experience as I walk.  Well, to be honest, I didn’t go for a walk today.  I was too busy working on my antiques booth and doing some thrift store shopping.  Wait, I did walk across the grass to load two pieces of painted furniture in my truck.  Does that count?
I did, however, get out in nature the other day to clear out the ugly, spiky, dead branches left by my lantana bushes last year. I actually did have to tiptoe through or between my azalea bushes to get to the lantana!

Clearing out the old lantana branches requires a strong back, gloved hands, and something to put the broken pieces into.  I carried an empty five-gallon bucket with me.  Reach down near the base of the plant, break off the branches, break them in two, and stuff them in the bucket.  When the bucket gets full, walk across the yard and dump it into the tree line. 

You poor city folks might not understand.  You see, out in the country, we have wild trees and undergrowth bordering our yards, and organic matter can be dumped into the undergrowth with no consequences other than more places for the rabbits to burrow.
There is something primal about gardening.  Smelling the broken twigs, the disturbed leaves, mulch, and soil, and avoiding the bumblebees attracted to the azalea blooms clears the mind and fills one with positive feelings and a sense of connection to the earth.  Birds singing and courting each other under Lucy the cat’s watchful eyes are a miracle to behold.  Even the poor little baby rabbits whose nest Lucy uncovered after hubby cleared a brush pile brought feelings of joy, even though our best efforts to hide them again did not protect them from predators.
Have you ever held a tiny wild baby bunny in your hand?  We rescued one from Lucy, found its siblings nearby in their little hole, returned it, and covered the hole, only to find the next day that something–maybe Lucy–got to them anyway.  The circle of life continues. . .
So. . .reflections on nature?  Nature isn’t something “out there.”  We are a part of nature and we have a responsibility to take care of nature, including ourselves.  Being outside where I can see, hear, smell, and touch plants and animals reminds me of the connection we share.  However, let me be the first to admit that I also have a healthy respect for nature and avoid wasps and poisonous snakes at all costs.  
Slow down and observe nature.  It will bring peace and calm to the frenzied soul.

FOLK Magazine Journal Challenge: Favorite Family Photo

Today’s journal prompt by Folk Magazine is to share a favorite family photo and tell why it is my favorite as well as the story behind it.

As of right now, this photograph has to be my favorite.  Yes, it is a wedding photo–my daughter’s wedding.  In the picture from left to right are me, my son Matthew, my new son-in-law Bryan, my daughter Natalie, my daughter-in-law Taylor, and my husband Jimmy.

If you have been following my blog you know that the wedding took place last November in a beautiful outdoor setting on our own property.  The Lord smiled on us and gave us a perfect day with mild temperatures and few insects (although the photographers did meet a few fire ants–sorry about that!).

This photo represents many things.  Yes, of course, it represents the end of months and months of preparation and planning and spending, but it represents more than that.

This photograph represents. . .
  • The end of an era, the era of child-rearing for me and my husband.  Granted, both children were adults well before they married, but getting married signified that we as parents were no longer their significant others, so to speak.
  • The beginning of the empty nest.  For many parents that is a sad time.  For these parents, not so much.  We still have much to enjoy and much to do!
  • The subtle change from a parent/child relationship to an adult/adult relationship, maybe even friend/friend.  Something to look forward to!
  • The reality that a new generation is following us.  It is no longer me and hubby.  Our offspring will now carry on for us.  Hopefully there will be grandchildren in that equation.
  • The fact that hubby and I are not young any more!  Slap me in the face and call me a geezer!  I’ll have to agree. . .
That photo also represents a moment of time full of promise and hope for a lifetime of marital bliss for my daughter and her husband.  I pray it will be so. . .


AT HOME Monday: My most cherished memento

Today’s prompt from FOLK Magazine’s 2013 Journal Challenge states:  “What family memento do you cherish?  Why?”

That’s a tough one.  I mean, I have TONS of cherished family mementos!  The word “memento” comes from the same root as “remember.” lists this definition:  “an object or item that serves to remind one of a person, past event, etc.; keepsake; souvenir.”  How does a mother pick just one?

I have spent much time and effort organizing photos into albums and now am in the process of scanning the albums into my computer so I can make digital copies for my children.  My external hard drive containing those photos would be my first priority if I had to grab something to save in case of emergency.  AFTER my hubby and doggies, of course.  Would that count as a memento?  

I will call it my photo collection, and yes, that definitely fits.  Why is my collection of family photos my most cherished possession?  Let me count the ways, as the poet says. . .(so fitting this close to Valentine’s Day)

  • Looking at the photos of my family is the closest I will ever come to experiencing my children as babies again.
  • Family photos are a permanent record of my family’s personal history.
  • They are proof that the memories we have are of actual events in our lives.
  • They are a wonderful source of embarrassment when necessary.
  • They are proof that Mom and Dad actually did live through the 70’s.
  • They give us something to do on a rainy afternoon.
  • They will give us something to reminisce about and share when we are old.
  • If you stare at a photograph long enough, you can almost make it come alive (wasn’t that wonderful in Harry Potter?).
  • They give us a feeling of nostalgia, happiness, gratitude, and belonging.
If I had more time I could probably think of a million more reasons why I cherish my photo collection.  What about you?

Early 90’s. . .me with my kiddoes. . .

Thank you for this opportunity, Folk Magazine!




This week Folk Magazine‘s Journal Challenge is to answer the following question:  In the near future, what are you looking forward to the most?
Oh my gosh, that is so easy this week!  I can’t wait to move into my booth at Uniques & Antiques on February 1! 
I have been preparing for weeks, but especially this week.  I spent hours inside my little storage building going through boxes, numbering my inventory and putting price tags on everything.  
I have also painted furniture, made rag garlands and curtains, banners, Valentine decorations, and dragged stuff out of my dad’s storage building.  I still have lots to do, but I figure I will always feel that way.  Like things are not finished, like there is so much more I can make, do, or find.  The cool thing is, that will be my full-time job now–to find and make things to bring to my booth. I can’t wait to share the photos!
Stay tuned!