Freshening Things Up...

Aquilegia 'Songbird Dove'
Between the patio and the terrace is a flower bed in sad need of renewal.  Because it gets much shade during the summer from the maple tree planted in the middle of the terrace, it needs plants that can cope with the shade.  Among the plants I picked up to plant there is this sweet columbine called 'Songbird Dove'.  I love the ever so slight blush of pink.  The blooms are large and so graceful!

Love these violas, a paler version of the ubiquitous Johnny Jump Up.  I hope they reseed as easily!

Sweet Woodruff
I'll use this sweet woodruff as a ground cover around the plants and around the base of the maple tree.  It should fill in nicely!

Aquilegia 'Alpine Blue'
I also picked up a couple of these 'Alpine Blue' columbine to add in as well.

Along the sunnier end of the bed, I'll plant a David Austin 'Crocus Rose' in pale creamy tones similar to the Songbird Dove columbine!  Hope it will do well in this mostly shady spot.  It will get lots of early morning sunshine, but will miss the heat of the late day sun.

Ivy and Amaryllis
Inside I've been neatening things up as well.  With the onset of warmer weather, I find I want things simplified and less cluttered.

Living Room decorated for summer
For spring and summer, I removed the sheepskin throws from the back of the chairs and replaced the woolen throws with a lighter aqua one.  You'll notice that we have new curtains hung as well!

Living Room in Aqua and Linen
The mantle is freshened up with aqua candles to go with the seascape painting.  The painting belonged to my mother and was a gift to her from her painting instructor when we moved to Colorado many, many years ago.  I've always loved it and am so happy to give it a home in my living room!

Living Room - Summer
The sofa still has it's wintry dark green cushions, which I hope to change out for some aqua ones in the near future.  I am loving the softness that the new curtains add to the room.  So much nicer than just the metal blinds that were here before.


Time to Plant!

Time to plant
What a joy to have warm sunny weather this weekend!  I made a trip to the garden center and came home with an assortment of roses and flowers to spruce up the flowerbeds around the house!  It is such a delight to be able to play in the garden once again!  It's been nearly ten years since I had a garden of my own to play in!

April Snow
Just a week ago, it looked like this!  The joy of spring snow is that it melts away as quickly as it comes. I'm afraid we aren't quite through with winter yet as more snow is predicted for mid-week.

Great Horned owl nest
In the neighbor's cottonwood tree, there is a nest of Great Horned Owls!  What a treat to see them regularly!  They do help to keep the local prolific squirrel population in check.

Squirrel siesta
That is a good thing as yesterday morning we had 11 of these critters helping themselves to the birdseed!  ELEVEN!

White Crowned Sparrow
We do enjoy the birds a lot.  Yesterday we had a new visitor ~ a white crowned sparrow!  The black and white stripes on the head are stunning!

White Rose
Inside, there is a little white rose blooming on the kitchen windowsill.  With the warmer weather it has been spending days on the porch in order to prepare for planting along the front walkway.

Happy Spring!  It really feels like it's here at last!


Love Your Enemies and Pray...

St. Oran's Chapel on Iona
You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy."
But I say to you,
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 
so that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven.

Stone circle path on Iona
For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Loch Staonaig on Iona
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing  than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

The northwest Shore of Iona
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5: 43-48

What a difficult week.
~ a dear friend was a photographer at the Boston Marathon and was only 200 feet from where one of the bombs went off.  How grateful I am that she was safe and unharmed though very shaken by the events.
~ How saddened I am that these two young men were filled with such hurt, anger and hatred that their response was to inflict such injury on so many.
~ How saddened I am to see that so many have so much hatred and anger in return.  While I am grateful that these terrible events have come to a conclusion, I wonder how the hatred I hear being expressed is any better than the hatred expressed by the bombers.

I am reminded of Matthew 5:22, which says:
"I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, 'you fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire."

The photos are from my time on Iona this past summer.  When I crave peace, I think back to the deep blue waters and the crisp greens of the grass and the white soft sands, the wind from across the broad ocean, the stillness in St. Oran's Chapel.  My heart felt a peace on Iona that I've rarely experienced anywhere else.

It is my hope that these photos and words bring each of you a few moments of peace in a difficult world, that rather than focusing on our own pain and anger, we are able to find our way forward with love in our hearts, even for those who cause so much pain and suffering.

Blessings and Peace to all.  


Hoping for Spring...

Grape Hyacinths
The grape hyacinths were starting to bloom.

I planted some sweet white primroses.

Tulip buds
The tulips were about to bloom (lovely even though they were orange, my least favorite flower color),

Aspen Catkins
The aspen catkins hung in lovely pink and green clusters,

Goldfinch in mottled coat
The goldfinches were coming into their brilliant yellow coats,

The forsythia was just about to burst into bloom...

Snowy Spring
Then winter returned!!!  It was bitter cold and icy snow fell like it did across much of the midwest!  The snow has now melted, but more is forecast for the coming week and the wind blows strong with the coming of the next cold front.

Surely spring will be on its way soon and winter will takes its leave.  For now, I am grateful for the moisture it brings and for how it will help lessen the summer period of drought, but I do long for warmer days and the unimpeded blooms of spring!

For those who asked, my new job is off to a good start. The patients in our department are mostly high risk patients who have come here from a multi-state region because they or their babies need a level of care not available in their local hospitals.  It makes for a challenging and interesting job.  It also puts into perspective just how precious and what a gift life really is.  To watch some of these moms and their babies struggle for life can be heart breaking, but there are also many heart warming stories.  What a privilege to be able to care for them in their time of need.

Right around Easter, I misplaced my camera batteries and chargers... despite intense hunting for them, they continue to elude us, so photos may be few and far between for a while.  I think I will make the most of it by sharing about some of the women who have been enormous influences in my life in the coming weeks.   Until then, may blessings and joy be yours!