How does your garden grow?

I haven’t planted this year yet…but, these are the beauties that have shown up after a very harsh winter.  The Columbine didn’t do so well…although it looks like I’ve quite a bit of re-seeding that’s occurred, so there is Columbine where I didn’t expect it.  I also lost a couple of Oriental Poppies.  Lupines have come up in several new areas and I’m going to let them go.  They are so showy and last so long.

On their first visit to this particular home in the late 1990s, Mom and Dad fashioned my front yard flower bed.  They traveled all the way from Ontario with iris plants from Mom’s garden.  They are still blooming all of these years later.

P1160992Forget-Me-Nots, while sparse, did appear yet again.  I remember painting a diptych while sitting in Mom and Dad’s Frankford garden…an acrylic piece titled “Forget-Me-Not”.

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Forget Me Nots, with Coral Bells coming up behind…surrounded with Iris

The rhubarb is ready to be yanked out… strawberries yet to be photographed, but they are in bloom.  I see rhubarb and strawberries on my toast very very soon!

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Pansies 2014

Pansies 2014

I’m going with a complementary colour scheme in the garden…yellow and purple…have been moving things about and thinking about this for years.  It’s such a joy to be creative in the garden.

P1160988These succulents really really like the northwest tip of my flower bed…it’s the dry sandy soil that happens there.  I’ve begun to add other succulents for variety.  Good to learn where things thrive.

P1170013These are so easy…and so successful!  Get some!

Lupines begin...I've got the coral and the purple.

Lupines begin…I’ve got the coral and the purple.

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Poppies…oriental and other perennial mix.

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Very showy shrub thingy…but, I forget what it’s called. Early bloomer.

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Filling in under my Catoni Aster with Lily of the Valley…these came from Pat’s garden years ago.

 

 

Walking While an Eagle Flies Overhead

A friend shared something earlier today from Rebelle Society: Creatively Maladjusted’s blog titled Joseph Campbell, on the Art of Being Alive.  I’ve written about Joseph Campbell here before and often think about things he’s taught me over the years.  As we celebrate Gaudete Sunday, these particular words stand out for me…

“It reminds me of Isaiah‘s biblical poetry:

“{You} will find new strength. {You} will soar high on wings like eagles. {You} will run and not grow weary. {You} will walk and not faint.”

But between soar and soaring, Joseph advises: “Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”

And you’ll be home, no matter where you are.

And it’ll be a new day, everyday.”

Today, I took Max out to a beautiful ridge above the Bow River and above our city…the Chinook winds were breathing new life into the landscape after such an extremely cold period accompanied by plenty of snow.   From the outset of our hike, a bald eagle flew overhead.  I was in awe of the power of its wings in such a strong wind and equally amazed that he stuck with us for the duration of our walk, hanging on the air and then diving, reaching up and then hovering, over and over again.  What a blessing to be able to make such observations for an hour-long walk and to be swept up into the awe of ‘being alive’.  What an amazing thing to have such a mighty and regal bird seem to look into my eyes for a sustained period of time, sometimes from as close as ten feet away.

This experience brings new meaning to the words

“{You} will find new strength. {You} will soar high on wings like eagles. {You} will run and not grow weary. {You} will walk and not faint.”

 

Sixteen years ago, today, a young student of mine passed away.  It seems like yesterday.  Where have those sixteen years gone?  Today, walking in those hills, I felt as though I was given a little taste of heaven; joy in me…joy above me…joy beneath my feet…joy in my heart and in my head.  All that I saw or experienced was glory-filled.  It is such a privilege to encounter the divine in the places and people who surround us.  It is a privilege to be a part of this journey.  I am grateful…for Jarrett…for Mom…for those who have graced and grace my life each day.  I am blessed.

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Birth Days and Mother’s Days

I was born on Mother’s Day in 1955.  This May, I’ve thought often and hard about my mother who has struggled the past few years with Alzheimer’s disease.  I thought about Mom on my birthday.  And I thought about her again on Mother’s Day…and I’ve thought about her pretty much every day since I left her bedside last month.

Christmas St. SylvestreI want to thank those of you who brightened my days with your love, your wishes, your prayers and your cards.  It has been another year filled with blessings as numerous as challenges.  I am grateful for all of it.  I am grateful for you.

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The Joy of My Life

The content of this post is self-centered.   I dare not count how many times, I type, “I”.  Far too often, I fear!  Something inside me aches to write about ME, however, and so I am going forward.

I treasure my life these days.  That’s because I have joy in what I do.  I paint because it brings me joy…not because I need to meet a deadline or I have to achieve my quota before the weekend.  I don’t paint for approval.  For years, (more years than I care to remember) I set my alarm for four a.m. and rolled out of bed, painting with oils for three hours before the rest of the family got up.  Most nights, after the dishes were done and the children were tucked into bed, I pulled out the canvases again…working sometimes until midnight.  I carried on like that and raised children at the same time. (reading stories, carving pumpkins, making bunny cakes,  sewing costumes, observing Advent, cooking meals)

Batman!

I taught school full time and completed report cards four times a year for thirty years.  At the core, I loved painting, but on the surface, I often thought about all of those wonderful things that I hadn’t the time for…hadn’t the energy for.  I watched other people live their lives and wondered what they were all doing, while I painted.

Tree of Life 2010-2012

These days, I paint because it is my passion.  I love watching the ‘magic’ of it.  I feel giddy about it.  It is not my work, but my play.  Sometimes it is so beautiful that it leaves me breathless…the  ‘doing of it is’ beautiful; the art isn’t necessarily…but, the ‘doing of it’ always is.

I pick up other people’s garbage.  This gives me joy.  Yes!  It’s endless and there will always be more.  But it is a satisfying feeling to see the land after I’ve been there, again and again.  I know, at the least, that I have given something to the heart of the planet.

One Bag: April 24, 2012

I write.  I write poems and descriptions of all sorts.  I write letters and prayers.  The more I write, the more I know how much words have always meant to me.  Written words came and come easily, always, and I treasure them.

Taking photographs of common-place objects, settings and people, gives me joy.  I like to take down a visual history of things around me.   I see value in archives and this is just who I am and I delight in that.

By the Tracks

Now, I make short movies.   I like to explore and think about animation and what fun it must be to choose to do this all of the time and at a greater scale.  I like that this is something that once I would have been fearful to try, but on my own, I have discovered and experienced.

I spend much time outdoors; observing the sky and enjoying nature.  The past few years, I have especially enjoyed watching the variety of birds that are in our area.  I didn’t take notice of them before.  But having taken a huge interest in endangered species since 2006, I am mindful of many more things and grow in knowledge about birds every day.   We can’t be activists for all things, but we can educate ourselves a little bit every day and live consciously.

April 24, 2012: At one point, no fewer than 30 Yellow-headed Blackbirds in a Tree

If I hadn’t made the decision to own a dog again, I wouldn’t be outside in all of the different seasons.  When it rains, I put on my gum boots.  When it snows, I bundle up.  Like clockwork, I am outdoors with Max delighting in the silent mornings while so many others are sleeping and again in the late afternoon.  I have explored most of the parks of our city this way and feel enriched because of it.

Max and I visit Kootenay Lake

I read a book each week.  Inside the front cover of each book, I write a summary of my thoughts about that book and I write the date and my name and my place of residence.  One day someone might pick up that book and wonder about the inscription in the front. 

About Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat, I wrote...

I am thrilled that I am able to read.  My mother loved to read.  Now, with alzheimer’s disease, she can’t.  I am grateful each time I hold a book in my hands and can think about the story, the characters and enter into the settings.  As I have typed this paragraph, I know that my mother motivates me more than anyone right now…her life tells me that I have only time to fill my life with joy.  I haven’t time to waste on things that bring me less.

Mom

I am digging as deep as is possible into my faith;   understanding and expression of my Catholicity.   I want to know my Creator-God.  I want to be a friend to him.

Easter

I treasure my friendships and my family…so many good men and women who have made my life a joy!  My children make me proud and as I watch them grow, I treasure the memory of who they were as wee ones and who they are today.

Proud Mom of the Bride!

This is a time of wonderment.  This is the joy of my life.