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Posts Tagged ‘giving thanks’

100_5888

Yesterday afternoon I noticed a strange color had taken over the sky, but clouds were building, so I didn’t give it too much more thought.  Then it began to rain and hail.  Odd, the sky was yellow instead of green.  Oh well, I thought, this altitude is so different than the one I grew up at, things may just be that different.

Then the clouds cleared, but the sky didn’t.  It was then we smelled smoke in the air. 

The night before we woke to terrible thunder.  The lightning was so close that it shook the house.  We would hear the initial crack of thunder, then a moment of silence before it began to echo up the valley.  It lasted only a short time, before moving on, but made me grateful for all the controlled burning that the forest service has done this year.

However, even with the controlled burning, the lightning found something.  Evidently, it wasn’t something too big, because this morning, the smoke is gone and the sky is clear!

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100_5865

I just love the way the morning sun shines through the hollyhocks in the garden.  Every day I take time just to enjoy the view out my back door.  The hummingbirds zoom from flower to flower, chasing each other around and around the stalks and through the fence.  What a delight!

What are you taking time to enjoy today?

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100_3822

I once read, that if growing hollyhocks was as difficult as growing roses, then they would be just as appreciated.  I think this is true. 

Hollyhocks have always been one of my favorite flowers.  Their tall stalks seem to rise effortlessly overhead and the flowers, bright and cheerful, are like rays of sunshine, smiling at the world.  They became even more significant to me when my great-aunt Beverly showed me how to make southern bells out of the flowers and buds.  We were visiting her at her home in South Sioux City, NE  when she showed my siblings and I how to stack   several open flowers on a toothpick to form the skirt of our Southern Bell, then add a bud for the head and another, smaller, open flower for a hat.   We covered her house in these glorious ladies, and still, there were more flowers to be had.

Here, I have them growing in front of my house, steadily creeping into the lawn.  When I moved in, there was three plants.  A white, a dark salmon and a light salmon.  The next year several pink ones made themselves known.  Now I have colors ranging from almost black, deep burgundy, pink, yellow, white, salmon and multi-colored ones.   Extras have been carefully transplanted to fill in areas of the landscaping that need more color and less weeds. 

I love the way these hardy plants will even crowd out the most aggressive grasses and weeds.  I love how their roots go deep, and how little water they need to survive.  I love that they are prone to thriving!

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100_5806

If you knew…

…how many times I have planted cucumbers 

…how many times I have dreamed of jars of pickles

…how many times I’ve had not a single plant come up

…or all the times my plants have been eaten by grasshoppers the moment they are above ground…

Then you would understand my joy at finding not one, but three little flowers today!  The plants are only about 6″ tall, and it being almost August, I was afraid that once again I would have no cucumbers to pickle.

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100_5693

The middle of July is a special time of year here.  It is the beginning of berry picking season!  Huckleberries are the first berry to ripen.  They are small and tangy-sweet, a relative of the blueberry.  There are actually at least eight varieties of Huckleberries, all know by their characteristic dimples on the blossom end.

Today the boys and I took a little drive to our favorite picking site, after asking God to bless our trip with an abundance of Huckleberries. 

Last year we never found a single Huckleberry.   I assumed late frosts froze the blooms.  We tried repeatedly, and finally found some of them blooming mid August, but it froze hard, before the berries ripened.   This year, I drove to a wide spot in the road, parked and we gathered three cups of berries in about an hour!  It was so fun, watching them picking and eating, eating and picking. 

Everyone got involved, even baby.  He ate much more than he contributed to the buckets, in fact, when he first discovered the buckets, he thought he should be able to eat out of the bucket, instead of picking his own.

Since it is just the beginning of the season, we will be picking much more.  Only one of the three varieties, small little bushes that only grow 8″-12″ tall, are ripe.  The largest variety, which grow closer to three feet tall, are still in bloom. 

God is so good to us.  We asked Him to bless us with berries, and He  gave us more in an hour than I had hoped to find.  He also showed us that there would be much, much more to pick, in the near future.

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100_5437

This last month, I was very blessed to be able to take a visit to my parents farm, where I grew up.  While there, I attended two graduations for cousins of mine, butchered a beef, visited with lots of relatives and really enjoyed the time.   I was able to meet my brothers new girlfriend and talk to my youngest sister, who has estranged herself from the family.  It was a real blessing.

While I was there, I realized that I had completely lost sight of why I had begun this blog, and realized why it had become such a chore to even look at.  Now that the focus is restored, I hope to do some rearranging and share more often. 

Have a blessed Sunday.

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butch

If you have ever been at camp, in college or in the armed forces, you know what it is like to be separated from friends and family.  When lonely or stressed, what was your favorite time of day?  Was it mail call?  If you had parents and loved ones dedicated to writing you, sending packages, and other shows of love and support, it quite possibly was.  However, if you didn’t have people who loved to write, then like so many, then you know how infrequently those precious letters come.  That sweet connection to love in a big lonely world.

Mail call:  “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Emotions sore high in anticipation, and drop low when once again, nothing with your name on it is found.

When I was in college my mom wrote to me twice a month.  I heard from my cousin and a few friends about as frequently… but even with one or two letters a week, my box seemed empty.  Considering this, my husband and I have decided to get involved with AnySoldier.com.  It is an organization to connect the public with soldiers who are serving in the war zones. 

When you visit the site, you will be able to request the address of a unit, and send mail (letters and/or packages) to an individual.  The number of men and women in each group is listed, along with what they are in need/want of.   There is a list of do’s and don’ts that you are asked to read.  One example is, they are not allowed to accept home baked foods from someone they do not know.

The letters and packages sent are passed out to the soldiers in the unit who don’t get much or any mail from home. 

To all whom this may concern,
I would personally like to thank all of those who have recently contributed their time and efforts in what I believe to be an awe-inspiring and frankly quite dramatic display of support from the home-front. The correspondence and care packages have been coming in at an overwhelming and nearly monumental pace. The “Any Soldier” campaign has seen tears from some, given hope to most, and has been inspirational to us all. Your relentless support has provided the simple reminder that any one of us would proudly die for a grateful nation in our ongoing fight against terrorism.

Freedom is not Free
Sergeant Brian Horn
Iraq, Nov 2003

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