Prompt & Place – Hope/Creamy Acres Part I

I love birds. The songs they sing as the sun rises fill my heart with joy. Watching them fly from feeder to feeder in my yard is one of my greatest pleasures. Birds often give my spirit an instant uplift of hope.

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Recently, while visiting Creamy Acres, a farm and garden center located near my home, I expected to see the normal barnyard animals. While we walked among the goats, rabbits, chickens and calves, a piercing cry suddenly alerted us to the presence of the exotic. When we located  the source of the sound coming from the top of the farmhouse porch roof, we were astonished to see the magnificent plumage of a peacock. Sometimes small surprises and pleasures can fill a whole day, and even beyond, with joy. In my own life, unexpected  blessings, like the sighting of a peacock on a porch roof, bring a sense of hope, even if many of my circumstances at the moment are dark.

“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—”
~ Emily Dickinson

The first stanza of this poem by Emily Dickinson is a favorite of mine. The rooftop peacock (the ‘thing with feathers’) is still perched in my soul, the remembrance giving me a bit of wind beneath the wings of my spirit.

I also cherish the multitude of  hope-filled verses within the pages of the Bible, and  use as an example this verse in Isaiah that compares hope with the image of an eagle. God bless your day with hope.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31

Prompt & Past – Throwback Thursday/LC Smith Corona Typewriter

The WordPress Daily Post Prompt, ‘Shelf,’ was a perfect fit today for Throwback Thursday.

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Probably few remember this early edition of the LC Smith & Corona Typewriter. Planning out this post brought back many reminders of my years of typing. What I miss is the sound of the old manual typewriters. I had forgotten that they ‘ding’ when you begin to reach the outer margins, a warning that you must begin a new sentence or hyphenate a word. For those of you who have never used a manual typewriter, the previous sentence probably sounds like a bit of gobbledy-gook. In that case, who best to demonstrate an old manual typewriter than the inimitable Jerry Lewis.

This typewriter was part of the family hardware store business for decades. Many a store invoice was typed out with its keys. When I researched the model the date it seemed to match best was 1927. The typewriter sat in our basement for years. Recently, while cleaning off shelves I came upon it and decided it was too unique to languish for more years in the dark and brought it upstairs. It can still type out letters and words, with a little help in moving the carriage, and I was able to type out a holiday greeting on parchment.

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Prompt – The Celandine Flow

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When I read today’s Daily Prompt title, “Flow,” I immediately thought of celandine. Also known as the fig buttercup, celandine rivals the common buttercup in the wow power of its brilliant gold petals. Add to that, its propensity to follow the flow of running water, in this instance a creek, and you will find a wildflower that creates a  carpet of gold  to greet the early warmth of March.

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Celandine is considered invasive in some states. It can be toxic to grazing animals. On the other side of the problem of its invasive tendencies, is the ease of gathering and pressing, if you are a presser of flowers and foliage. Celandine retains its gorgeous gold color and presses well for me in traditional methods and in the microwave. Because it is very abundant, I never fear I am taking more than I should. Each year when I return to my favorite gathering places for celandine, I find the flow of flowers has taken over even more of the land.

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The color yellow, at least in the realm of wildflower spunk (I’m thinking dandelions, buttercups and celandine here) usually signals, “Charge!”

Prompt – Throwback Thursday – I Should Be Dancing!

I read today, that on this date in 1923, the Charleston Dance was widely introduced in a Broadway show called “Runnin’ Wild.” The dance had been around since 1903. The music that accompanies the dance is a form of syncopated ragtime jazz.

Childlike Daily Prompt
Childlike
Explain your biggest regret — as though to a small child.

I always wished I was a better dancer. When I was a child, poring over books laden with photographs of ballerinas, I was sure I would grow up to be wear their beribboned shoes and frilly costumes. I still tap my toes when I hear disco, but have forgotten all the fancy moves I once knew except the self-explanatory, “The Bump.”

I challenge everybody who still regrets they are not a better dancer to kick up your heels and cut a few “Charleston” moves today…if nothing else…the dance is great exercise! “You Should Be Dancing!”

Praise & Prompt – Praise God Always

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“Seven Wonders.” If I had to reduce my language to seven words…what would my seven words be?

PRAISE GOD ALWAYS…REJOICE IN HIS LOVE.

Sometimes living your life as a praise offering to God means not fitting in, or in cliche`d terms, “Standing out from the crowd.

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Yesterday we visited National Park, New Jersey, and I was able to find through the eye of my camera several instances of nature standing out in a crowd.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” ~ Matthew 5:16

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While we walked the path along the Delaware River, flocks of geese landed on the water. In their midst swam just one beautiful swan. Different, yet holding his ground alongside the hundreds of geese; he dared to be unique. We all should have that same bold attitude as we serve God and be “different” than those who serve their own self and the values of this fallen world. “Dare to be Different!” ~ Joyce Meyer

Prompt – The Daily Prompt/Memory on the Menu

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Memory on the Menu.”
“Which good memories are better — the recent and vivid ones, or those that time has covered in a sweet haze?”

Ice Cream Sundaes & Watermelon for Lunch
Ice Cream Sundaes & Watermelon for Lunch

A Sweet Memory: In the 1960’s, my sister and I were blessed to spend several weeks each summer in Hampton, Virginia, with my grandparents. One year, my amazing grandmother allowed us to have ice cream sundaes and watermelon every day for lunch. It sounds outrageous, but was really very nutritious, and it forged a love in me for watermelon and ice cream sundaes that will never wane. My grandmother told me when I reached adulthood that she gained ten pounds during the weeks we stayed with her that summer. Recently I’ve relived those moments and indulged in ice cream sundaes and watermelon for lunch. Oh my sweet Granny Davis…how I miss you!

This memory is forty-five years old, but it has not dimmed, nor needed to be covered in a sweet haze…it is as precious as those moments were so long ago, when I sat in my grandmother’s kitchen.

Prompt – Childhood Revisited and Skywatch Friday

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Childhood Revisited.”
“Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?”

Sky through table, cup, chandelier and crabapple tree.
Sky through table, cup, chandelier and crabapple tree.

I took this photo today, early morning, from the vantage point of lying flat on the ground beneath the table. The photo could be a self-portrait of who I am: I am quite willing to lay on the ground to capture the perfect photograph. I drink four cups of coffee every morning before nine. I love to trash-pick and bargain hunt treasures and redo them, just redid the chandelier in the photo for a second time. In this metamorphosis I sprayed it white. I love to look at the sky every day.

I’ve looked up at the sky all my life, in fact, I am one of those people who are often photographed looking up. In church I find myself studying ceilings. (I recently noticed my son does the same, could this be genetic?) I think I had an early fascination with looking up. My mother told me that when I was quite small I came in from outdoors and told her, “I said hello to God.” She answered, “What did he say back?” I told her he said, ‘Hello.’

This leads me to my response to the Childhood Revisited Prompt from WordPress. If I could do go back and change something about my childhood, I would continue to look toward the sky and say, “Hello,” to God every day. It might have kept me from some poor decisions and some bad years. I talk to God every day now…if not while looking at the sky, I greet him when I have my morning devotions.

What would I wish for my kids to do differently if they could go back and relive their childhoods. Well, I would have us all outside more, lying on the grass, studying the sky and talking to God out loud. I wonder how the world would change if everyone looked toward the heavens and said from the heart, “HELLO GOD!” Oh my! Just the thought of it gives me a HALLELUJAH” moment. What would God say back if you said hello to Him today? Why not find out?

I can’t wait to have my grandkids over again…we are going to be looking at the sky and talking to God for sure. 🙂

SKYWATCH FRIDAY

People & Prompt – Mother Teresa

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Think Global, Act Local.”

“Think global, act local.” Write a post connecting a global issue to a personal one.”

Mother Teresa
Photograph Collage courtesy of Flickr and Peter Lopez

One of the books I’m reading for my morning devotionals is a volume of wisdom by Mother Teresa. When I read today’s Daily Prompt, I immediately thought of her. If anyone personifies acting locally and reaching the whole world, it would be this tiny, but spiritually strong lady. Though her life on this earth has ended, her wisdom and witness live on.

“We need to give Christ a chance to make use of us, to be His word and His work, to share His food and His clothing in the world today. If we do not radiate the light of Christ around us, the sense of darkness that prevails in the world will increase.”“Mother Teresa/No Greater Love.”

Prompt – Oh Grandmother!

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“Present-day you meets 10-years-ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.”

Ten years I was on the cusp of becoming a grandmother. Yes, what you’ve heard is true…being a grandparent is one of the greatest joys in life, definitely rewarding and challenging, often in the same moment. The most fun…oh yes! It really is true, after the fun, you can give them back. 🙂

“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Proverbs 17:6

Prompt – By Hand

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By Hand

“What’s the best present you’ve ever received that was handmade by the giver, not store-bought? Tell us what made it so special.”

I have been blessed by gifts created by the hands of family throughout my life. The beautiful baby dresses in the photograph were hand sewn by my grandmother and great-aunt. I had to include the red dress my father bought for his new little girl too. It’s not handmade, but it was chosen by him for me.

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One of my recent handmade gifts is this unique journal my cousin gave to me on a recent visit. I treasure it and the goodwill and love shown to me by her gift.

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Years ago, when I married, another cousin gave me a notebook filled with her hand-written recipes. You can see the evidence of a well-used recipe by the remnants of sugar cookies across the pages.

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Sometimes the presentation of a gift is graced with a handmade treasure…as in the case of this Christmas tag crafted by my mother. The portrait is of her great-aunt Bridget Cavanaugh McCue, a beautiful lady who lived at the turn of the century.

My life has been filled with handmade treasures: quilts, clothing, afghans, furniture, what-not boxes, dolls, doll clothes…the list is so long I could never recall it all. I am blessed.

The greatest blessing these handmade treasures have instilled within me is the desire to create gifts that are handmade and contain a bit of my spirit. I have been blessed by the love of my family since the earliest days of my life.

Prompt – Perfect Conditions

“Life is too short to _____.”

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…Wait for Perfect Conditions. “

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”
Ecclesiastes 11:4

Daily Prompt @ WordPress: “No Time to Waste
Fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.” Now, write a post telling us how you’ve come to that conclusion.”

My photograph of a tenacious little mushroom illustrates the wisdom of Ecclesiastes and Mary Engelbreit…Use what you have and make the best of every situation. In short…

“Bloom Where You’re Planted” ~ Mary Engelbreit

DAILY PROMPT – NO TIME TO WASTE

Prompt/The Daily Prompt at WordPress – Psalm 100

Daily Prompt – By Heart

By Heart – “You’re asked to recite a poem (or song lyrics) from memory — what’s the first one that comes to mind? Does it have a special meaning, or is there another reason it has stayed, intact, in your mind?”

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Before prayer and the Bible were taken out of public schools, a precious elderly lady, my second grade teacher, Mrs. Ware, taught our class to memorize the 100th Psalm. The assignment was given at this time of year…for it is a Psalm of Thanksgiving. The words, in the King James Version, have never left my mind. I consider my year with her one of my best school years – a truly godly woman. I wonder what the differences in our culture would be if prayer had been left in our schools.


“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

I am forever grateful that I lived in a time of school prayer and Bible reading.

List of Countries that Ban School Prayer

Phrightening and Prompt – Trick or Treat

DAILY PROMPT – TRICK OR TREAT

It’s Halloween, and you just ran out of candy. If the neighborhood kids (or anyone else, really) were to truly scare you, what trick would they have to subject you to?

There are several ways the little ghouls in the neighborhood could scare me, in fact there are three themes that would work, not just at Halloween, but all through the year. All of these scary moments became ingrained in me through frightening scenes in movies and television.

I’m not so much a fan of “phrightening” movies as an adult in mid-life. (I think I swore off of them when I dreamt vividly of collapsing haunted houses after watching the first installment of Stephen King’s “Rose Red” mini-series.) As a child, teen-ager and young adult one of my greatest joys was being scared by a well-made horror movie. I began to turn away from the horror genre when it became filled with gore rather than good old-fashioned scares. Laying all these explanations aside, here are three horror scenes that scared me, courtesy of YouTube.

Theme One – A SCARY Doll
Maybe you are thinking, “Of course, Child’s Play.” No my dears, I am thinking of a real oldie, “Trilogy of Terror” and the Zuni Fetish Doll. Here’s a little clip.

Theme Two – A SCARY Animal

There are a lot of scary animal movies that would make good choices for this theme. My all-time scary animal is the man-eating shark in Jaws, but in this short clip you won’t see the great white shark that still, almost forty years later, keeps me hearing the same scary music any time I’m in the ocean. The first time my eyes were assaulted by this scene, in a Vineland, New Jersey movie theater, I jumped harder than I’ve ever jumped since in a scary movie.

Theme Three – Someone SCARY looking through your window.

This one is more my husband’s horror than mine. As a child he saw the Twilight Zone in which William Shatner, before his Star Trek fame, is horrified by a horribly scary (at least at the time of limited media special effects) monster on the wing of an airplane. My husband says this scared him for years as a child. Guess What? Whenever we fly I always find a moment to whisper in a frightened tone in my husband’s ear, “Shatner.” We always laugh, and he knows exactly what I mean. Seriously, he still tends to look out the airplane window at the wing when I say Shatner’s name. Funny…and true!

So there you have it…a few of the things the little darlings could do to scare me…or my husband. SMILE!!! Happy Halloween!

Prompt – Without the Clouds of Nine

Birdwatchers at Turkey Point On the Chesapeake

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Daily Post – Local Color/“Imagine we lived in a world that’s all of a sudden devoid of color, but where you’re given the option to have just one object keep its original hue. Which object (and which color) would that be?”

I can do without ever being on the clouds of nine. Why? Because the blue of the sky is one of my favorite colors and also a favored object. I am content gazing upward, focusing my thoughts on the Creator of this magnificent expanse. There is peace of heart and mind in the blue transparency of the sky.

“The heavens declare the glory of God…”

~ Psalm 19:1

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Here of a Sunday morning
My love and I would lie,
And see the coloured counties,
And hear the larks so high
About us in the sky.

Alfred Edward Housman, 1896

Prompt – In Transit

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In Transit
“Train stations, airport terminals, subway stops: soulless spaces full of distracted, stressed zombies, or magical sets for fleeting, interlocking human stories?”

Ah, an easy “Daily Post” for me, for the situation is a recent experience. In Jamaica, we stay at the Royal Decameron in Runaway Bay. What a pleasure for both my husband and me. The staff bestows an aura of goodwill upon you from the very start as they treat you with “courtly” behavior. When the time comes to depart, you hate to leave this perfect paradise and the wonderful people. On top of the letdown of vacation coming to an end, you find yourself forced to waste time, as is the rule for all on-time passengers, in the airport terminal waiting area. Oh my! After being called “milady” and “mommy” by the perfect-mannered Decameron staff, I immediately dealt with typical “Philly” (Philadelphia) behavior. I sat down, and placed my bag on the seat beside me, a seat that was empty. A big, sweaty guy, threw his head back and side-stared me, “My wife is sitting there,” he said in a abrupt bark. That was fine, I didn’t want to take a seat from someone, but instead of rude behavior we both would have benefitted from a bit more of Jamaican “courtliness” in his manner. Everything in me sagged as I realized I was indeed cut-off from the magic of Jamaica before the plane even left the runway.

Let’s try to be a little more courteous, and remember we are representing our country and the area we live in.

Prompt – To CREATE

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Today’s Daily Prompt: Verbal Confirmation – To be, to have, to think, to move — which of these verbs is the one you feel most connected to? Or is there another verb that characterizes you better?

My choice is another verb: “To Create.”

I create a home.
I create gardens.
I create meals.
I create a haven for my family.
I create friendships.
I create projects and crafts.
I create Art.
I create blog posts.
I create…create…create…I love to create.
Most of all I worship my CREATOR, The Lord God, creator of the heavens and earth.

I love the Golda Meir quote I used to create a poster for this daily post.

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” Golda Meir

Prompt – Pandemic

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Daily Post – September 26, 2014 :
Make It Count
You’ve been given the opportunity to send one message to one person you wouldn’t normally have access to (for example: the President. Kim Kardashian. A coffee grower in Ethiopia). Who’s the person you choose, and what’s the message?

My message is to the unknown scientist/researcher who is feverishly searching for a cure for Ebola and other terrible pandemics waiting to happen. My message is one word, “Godspeed!”

Prompt – The Daily Post/Flashtalk

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt: Flash Talk – You’re about to enter a room full of strangers, where you will have exactly four minutes to tell a story that would convey who you really are. What’s your story?

If I had only four minutes to explain myself I would use these pictures of my roses. In yesterday’s blog post I posted a photograph of utter simplicity, vased roses on a tabletop.

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Today’s Photograph of Roses in Morning Light

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Today

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Today, the morning sun slanted through my window and threw stunning light upon the arrangement. “Voila!'” As if by magic the illumination exposed shadows and brightness. The different nuances and aspects of the roses are so indicative of the different depths within me. Not so simple at all, for hidden within the grand design of the petals and stem is strength and fragility, softness and prickliness.

Velvet Steel

My sister once said I am like “Velvet Steel.” Wow! That wouldn’t even take four minutes to say…and it is exactly what I am.