Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Roses are red. . .

. . . and white and yellow and peach, pink, red and fuchsia.  And so much more.

I was on the west coast for work last week.  One evening I had some time to fill so I stopped in the International Rose Test Garden in Portland. 

Oh my goodness!  It is a fairyland of flowers!  There are tens of thousands of plants of every kind of rose imaginable. 

After being stuck in a stuffy conference room all day it was a great way to refresh and rejuvenate.  I wish I could have bottled up the scent, so sweet and pretty.

"Of all Flowers, me thinks a Rose is best" 

The Two Noble Kinsmen - William Shakespeare and John Fletcher


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wonder Doubled: An Inconvenience Rightly Considered

We have a new post up at the USCCB website For Your Marriage.

I wondered if I could pass through the airport security of two nations without the engagement ring secured around my neck being discovered and disclosed to my future bride. I also wondered if we would even make our connecting flight to Rome, as we clung to the armrests of the taxi, while the lights of New York flashed past – reminiscent of a Star Trek episode with Scotty shouting “I kint giv ya eny mur pow’r, Cap’n!”

We began our pilgrimage to Italy blessed by the prayers of friends for a grace-filled experience. We ended our journey with graces and blessings “shaken, pressed down, and overflowing.”

You can read the whole article here.


Monday, July 14, 2014

In the garden with Mary (part 2)

When I was working on getting the Mary Garden cleaned up, all the thoughts about life and faith seemed so profound.  The longer I am from those couple of days, the less so they seem.  But, I suppose, if I wrote a part 1, I should at least write a part 2.

I can relate so much of what I do and see in the garden to what I should be doing with my faith.  But, obviously, being human, there is always much room for improvement.  These are my reminders.

I need the right tools.

If I work in the garden with just my bare hands, I might make some progress.  I can guarantee you I am going to get dirty.  It's going to be slow going.  And, as I have experienced before, the bugs are going to get me.  Hornets and wasps, oh my! 

Gloves, shovels, clippers and saws make the work so much easier.  Put a little bit of fertilizer and weed killer into the mix and the garden does so much better.

How about some Preen in your faith life? Try this on for size.

Don't give up.

When we visited Williamsburg a number of years ago, we fell in love with the Crepe Myrtle trees that grow so prolifically in the area.  We brought a start from one of the trees there home as a souvenir, but the poor tree didn't survive our climate.  We later found a Crepe Myrtle shrub at a local garden center that was supposed to be more suitable to our zone 6 winters.   Normal zone 6 winters, that is. 

This past winter is one most of us would rather forget.  Unfortunately, we lost some shrubs in the yard due to the horrible cold and harsh winds.  We thought our Crepe Myrtle was one of them and I was ready to take a shovel to it and dig it out.

Much to my surprise and delight, there was some new growth. We trimmed off the dead branches and now have a thriving, albeit shorter, bush.  Sometimes the new growth is just small and hiding, but it is there.

 More of a good thing isn't always better.

When I first put in the Mary Garden, I added a couple of these plants.  At first they were a little slow to grow, but now, they are spreading like crazy.  If I didn't pluck out the new starts, the garden would be filled with nothing but this plant.

I look at this plant like food and drink.  Both are good.  Both are necessary and enjoyable.  But too much of either makes me fat, lazy, a glutton and/or a lush. 

Here's a challenge for you.  I no longer have the tag for this plant and have no idea what it is.  I think the name starts with an "M", but I can't be sure.  Figure out what it is and I'll send you a prize!

Cultivate the good and the beautiful

Two of my favorite plants in this garden are the Lady's Mantle and my John Paul 2 tea rose.  The Lady's Mantle is a fairly easy plant to grow and I have been finding "volunteers" of it not only in this garden but in gardens all over the yard.  There are all sorts of prayers and devotions to her that are easy to find as well.

St. John Paul 2 had a great devotion to Mary.  This rose reminds me of him often as it can sometimes be a bit fragile to grow, but even with the suffering he faced his spirit and love of our Lord and His mother grew.

Protect your faith

The devil is a temptress.  He likes pretty, shiny things to lure us away from what is true and good.  Like the mama deer and her two babies, he will try to nibble away at what we work so hard to grow and nurture. I use deer repellent to protect my roses.  What do I use to protect my soul?


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Funny Foto - #9

I drive down this road most days on the way to and from work.  On the right side there are a few houses.  On the other side is one of our county parks.  A little ways up from where this photo was taken, on the park side, is a rotted out stump of a tree.

Apparently someone thought is would make a good home to a variety of interesting characters.

Uncle Sam is there now.  I wonder who will show up next?


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Really? Already???

I was on vacation last week and decided to do some errands on Tuesday aftrnoon.  One of the stops I made was at Hobby Lobby.  I love that store, but as I was walking through it, they had me scratching my head.  Christmas decorations already???  It's only June!



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

First Photo - July

We were at a family party this weekend when someone commented on the ninety degree temperature.  I threw up my hands and gave a hearty wooo hooo!  They looked at me like I was nuts.  Heck, I said, it's not ten below zero and snowing. 

That's how this picture, this weather makes me feel.  Wooo hooo!!  The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and the garden, under the watchful eye of this year's scarecrow, is growing well.

Wooo hooo!!