Let Vibrancy Show!

I love summer and freshly mowed grass, trimmed shrubs and flowering plants on the property! I am far from a Master Gardener, but I do have an appreciation for things that grow. We have a manageable number of trees, shrubs, and border plants throughout our .55-acre corner lot. I also add a select number of flowers each spring to some pots and a raised flower bed. It's all I care to water, prune and otherwise nurture until the first freeze comes in late fall. This work of nature feeds my inner spirit and gives me energy. I remember hearing a friend say one time about her need for nature, "I have to move to think!" I resemble that remark when I get outdoors!
What I love about the perennials of daylilies that border in the corner of the backyard is how low maintenance they are! They are incredibly hard, deep-rooted, and extremely tolerant of adverse conditions. Yet, these tall, spiky and grass-like leaves serve such a useful purpose in visually defining that area and especial…

Home Office and Studio

Thanks to a recent invitation from the pastor of my local faith community, I was able to turn our home into a recording studio for three devotional talks that were accessible through Facebook. These 10-minute “mini-seminars” were recorded the week before viewing, uploaded during the week and then viewed "on demand" by individuals whenever their schedules permitted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the assigned week. It was fun for me and I hope a blessing to others! The equipment required included: an iPhone with camera, a telescopic stand with camera adapter, a “say so” stand and prop pillow for notes, good lighting, an interesting setting, and of course, a presenter. In essence, three rooms of our home became a studio for each presentation. It was gratifying to have several hundred "tune in!"Since my retirement 2 years ago from the pastorate, I know by experience that my blog audience has made it possible to connect with many more people than I ever did in the l…

"Persistent Climbers and Twiners!"

Every summer I fight to eradicate a persistent, pesky vine from preying upon my border plants, shrubs, and beloved rhododendron! While I have never completely identified the exact species, I think this "climber" is in the family of summer annuals like a "Morning Glory." One thing I know, although it has heart-shaped leaves that are configured alternately on the stem, I have no love in my heart for this "twiner!" Nearly every season, this vine will spread like a canopy upon the tops of the rhododendron until it shades and smothers this plant that we prize for its beautiful lilac flowers. When I unloose the vine and pull this mass down to dispose of it before it completely suffocates the plant, it fills up half of a large lawn-waste container! 
This vine is the enemy! Just this week, I was surveying the roof and siding of our house for any wind damage from a recent storm. I looked up some eight feet at the corner molding behind a downspout and just under the…

"I'm Frustrated!"

We have one of the best postmasters at our local post office! When we got our PO Box about a year after moving back to Illinois, we were told, "Now be sure to notify everyone that you have a new address. Request that they no longer send mail to you at your physical address." Off the record though, we were all but assured that even if family, friends and businesses sent our mail to the street address, we would continue to receive our mail because the postmaster and other postal employees knew almost every resident of our small community by name! And that has continued to be the case even though Sherman has nearly doubled in size since we first purchased our home nearly thirty years ago.
Since we are on a first name basis with our postmaster, it makes going to get our mail an extra enjoyable experience each day. The Post Office has become another one of our gathering spaces for catching up with friends. That's what makes this interchange even more meaningful. Recently, Moni…

Baseball Bans Spitting!

What? Baseball bans spitting! What is the world of sports coming to?! In the last few days, Major League Baseball has finalized their decision on health and safety protocols that will enable players to take the field by August 1st for baseball's shortened, 60-game, 2020 season. In light of the Coronavirus Pandemic, MLB announced that smokeless tobacco products and sunflower seeds would be prohibited along with spitting! Yes! MLB has instituted "a ban on spitting!"

Of course, this was a wise and necessary decision in light of what we understand about how the virus spreads in community settings. However, think about how radical and revolutionary the ruling! (Sarcasm alert! "I now have my tongue firmly in my cheek!") Our 9 year-old grandson, Danny, has been practicing and perfecting his spitting since he began junior league ball over two years ago! What is he to think now that "America's Pastime" has banned spitting of any kind and in any direction? …

"Bobbing and Weaving!" While Looking Back!

Our comedic, number-two son, surprised me this Father's Day with a humorous and candid remembrance from the family past... "'Heads bobbing and weaving!'... you would yell at Matt and me as a signal to start looking for cars as you backed out of a spot in our three-row, 1986 Caprice Wagon. Kids were a precursor to the backup camera in those days. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I ever actually looked for cars as it was just fun to move my head back and forth! Happy Father's Day, Dad!"

The greeting brought back some fond memories of the old blue station wagon that served as our primary vehicle during the late eighties and nineties. That wagon was our version of the popular people mover of the time, the minivan, and it kept me from ever having to own a real one! 
In that social media greeting, Marc had reminded us that "back in the day" we utilized the eyes and ears of four children to keep us out of some vehicular scrapes with that "big bo…

A Voracious Appetite!

Marc is our family gardener! He lives in a climate that allows for two growing seasons and he takes advantage of both. In just four boxes on top of the ground, he grows tomatoes, green beans, melons, squash, radishes, carrots, hot peppers and of course, okra, a Texan's favorite! (Please check out this previous blog article - Some could say Marc has a "green thumb!" Yet, you would be mistaken to think that his gardening successes are nothing more than plant, grow and harvest. Marc takes great pains to keep at bay all the weeds and critters that come to share in his bounty!

One pesky intruder turned up with several comrades this season and went to work immediately on any and everything that had a leaf or fruit on it! Especially, the tomato plants! Marc thought at first that this was a tomato herbivore, but after some research, he identified this particular species as a "Tobacco Hornworm." (And no, Mar…