A Reason to Hope and Other Random Thoughts

We were sitting at our kitchen table with some sweet friends we haven’t seen in literally years; just talking about the world and life and how crazy things seem. And Rob said something so profound I wish I had been able to record it so that I wouldn’t muck up repeating it. Basically the setup for his remark was this…the crazier the world seems, the more ridiculous and outlandish their agenda, the more illogical the realities they push are, the more reason we believers have to rejoice. We don’t need to feel overwhelmed by their anxiety inducing judgements, press conferences or theatrics. Do you know why?

Psalm 1

Particularly the very end ~ the way of the wicked will perish.

Not that the wicked will perish, although we know eventually they will be cast out into utter darkness, but that their way will perish. All of the shenanigans will be fruitless and they cannot be sustained. Ultimately it will collapse. If that alone is not enough reason to hope I don’t know what is. As someone I know is fond of saying, “Lord have mercy. Church have courage.”

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On Monday I handed my love his morning cup of coffee and apologized for practically coming completely undone the night before when some chopped tomatoes I was trying to clean up missed the bag and fell all over the floor. I was just so tired and it felt as if I had been in the kitchen either cooking or cleaning it, for days. Obviously the next morning after a good night’s sleep I could see how silly my reaction was but in the moment I felt utterly defeated by a fruit that disguises itself as veggie.

Later that morning I was reading something a friend had written about the times she is asked to thrive in what she considers not enough environments and it just resonated. Sometimes we may feel like we just can’t catch a break or the busy season seems to have sat down and made itself at home and things will never slow down. There aren’t enough hours in the day…we need some time alone…we need peace and quiet…we whatever it is we think we need to feel refreshed or restored.

The truth she shared is a truth we must all grapple with. Sometimes there is no relief in the dessert or immediate way out of a desolate place. But God still calls us to thrive, to turn to Him, to trust and keep on keeping on with whatever He has given our hand to do. She ended her post by saying, “…I can taste and see that the Good Life to which we are called, and that we are given, is not the same as “living our best life now.” The Good Life in and with Jesus always takes a cruciform shape. You before me, down before up, them before us. But it always leads to real and lasting life.”

I was so encouraged by that.

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We may still be noodling on a name for the farm but we are busy working already! Seeds have been ordered and delivered and we have started building the two flower beds we will begin with. One is completely finished as of today and the lumber is ready for the second.

Rob is doing the majority of the heavy lifting as far as planning out and cutting the landscape timbers for the beds but we are all working to do our share in assembling them. Sam and Claire are part of the work crew and doing a fine job.

These pictures can give you an idea of the scale of our beds. They look huge but I can’t wait to fill them up with flowers! One will have three varieties of sunflowers and the other will have an assortment of cut flower favorites like zinnias, cosmos, and strawflowers, etc. We are planting a little later than is the norm but our growing zone has a fairly long growing season and according to my research and frostdate.com we are still within an acceptable planting time frame.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m a little nervous about our endeavor. I have a nightmare where for some reason nothing I plant actually grows and all of the work and money and effort is for naught. But Rob reminds of the wisdom of our friend Ron who says the seed goes into the ground, you give it some water and light and it is going to grow. It’s how God designed it to work so trust that it will.

I also came across a few quotes this week that speak well to our situation:
In creating, the only hard thing is to begin; a grass-blade is no easier than an oak. –James Russell Lowell

“The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain common work as it comes certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things of life.” Robert Louis Stevenson

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I took a drone shot the other day after we started laying out for the first bed. The picture is cool but kinda unreal looking in a sort of funky way.

I plan to chronicle our efforts as we go along and invite you to follow along and join us as we exercise some dominion over our little green square here in Louisiana! I’m thinking as we add in animals it’s going to be a mashup of Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies in reverse 😉

Bountiful

Last weekend started off low key but with plenty of work to put our hands too. Rob and Sam worked really hard to dismantle the horse ring left by the previous owners. I literally climbed on the counter in my bathroom to get a good view of them because Sam was using power tools for the first time 🙂 Rob and I took the drone up for a few minutes before they got started because we want to document our progress as we work the land.

Dinner Saturday was delicious and right in the middle of it I looked up to see Emily and Hays pulling into our driveway. It was a lovely surprise for Mother’s Day! They also gifted me with some homemade vanilla that I cannot wait to use.

Sarah and Devon sent me the absolute best card along with a beautiful new addition to my Willow Tree figurine collection.

Rob and Abigail, Sam and Claire gave me the one thing I have wanted for literally years and years and we finally have the best place for it here…a swing to hang from one of our beautiful oak trees! I can hardly wait to sit in the mornings with Rob and drink our coffee together.

Speaking of coffee, my sweet friend and I went to a really lovely bakery in Lake Charles called The Bekery as a way to wrap up a book we’d been reading together. The food was scrumptious and I enjoyed a yummy lavender and honey latte. We are already planning our next read and decided this will be our tradition every time we finish a book.

Another favorite this week is this book.

We are looking for ways of using our property instead of selling parcels of it. Currently we are researching raising chickens and/or pigs and cultivating a flower farm. I am more excited about laying hens and their beautiful yard eggs rather than raising meat birds. And I like the idea of pigs more than meat birds for some reason. But I am positively delirious with joy at the idea of a flower farm! I almost always have fresh flowers in my house and if you pay any attention to my photography it’s easy to see how much I enjoy floral photography. I have a lot of reading to do to be able to really make things thrive in the ground here but I’m eager for the challenge.

Currently we have a huge blackberry bush growing and producing like gangbusters so I know the land can be fruitful. Trying to harvest ripe berries earlier in the week earned me and Emily some scratches but no pain no gain, right? Totally worth the yummy hand pies Claire baked yesterday. There are a ton of almost ready berries and I realize I am going to have to check it daily if I don’t want them going to waste. It’s already frustrating because of some of them are out of reach already but the bush is so beautiful.

Since we are talking about sweet treats I am going to wrap up this week’s Friday Favorites post with a link to a recipe I made a few weeks back for church. My mother shared it with me years ago and until recently I had forgotten all about it. For some reason the original recipe was called Italian Bakeless Cake which just doesn’t sit right with me. I have no idea what is Italian about it but the weirder thing to me was calling it “bakeless” which is just an odd sounding word to me. I promptly made it Italian No Bake Cake but no matter what you call it just make sure you get called to the table to enjoy it!

Have a great weekend, y’all!

DPP ~ Day 15 & 16

Y’all.

Puppy hours are rough!

The first two nights they were up at 4am and let me tell you, I am somewhat an early riser but starting the day that early is not my favorite thing. At all.

But yesterday the pups were a little more adventurous and willing to explore their new home more and we stretched their awake time before bed further. Which was great but they woke up at 3 o’clock. (That sentence should be read with a tone…incredulity, horror, maybe even a whimper of sadness.) The good news is that we took them outside to use the bathroom and then put them back in their crate and they slept until about 6:30. And oddly enough I will take that over being up at 4 in the morning.

We have always said that having babies was a young person’s game and I think taking on puppies might be too. I am feeling all of my 50 years on this earth all at once at various moments throughout the day. But they are just so stinking cute and sweet.

Okay, enough puppy talk and on to yesterday and today’s dpp pictures. I took a few pictures yesterday but see the above paragraphs and I am sure you can imagine why I didn’t get to post them.

I’m really trying not to overdo it with puppy pictures (although I am sure they will show up on here again) so I stepped into the front yard yesterday and enjoyed nosing around the front flower beds with my camera. I don’t think we will be leaving things as they are but for now it looks nice and adds some color.

I have no idea what kind of berry bush this is but I have never seen one with purple and red berries on it at the same time. I’m guessing the berries are changing from one color to the other but I’ve just never seen that before. It’s really pretty!

Day 15

So, I may not be sharing pictures of the pups but I do have a shot of Milo that I took this morning. He and Tom are both quietly settling in to having other four legged furry creatures around. Maybe a better word is slowly getting used to them. They no longer bolt at the first sign of Rex and Louis and we’re counting that as a win. Tom is still the only one of the cats to have any kind of interaction with the puppies. Time will take care of things but for now they seem to alternate between looking at us as if asking, “What in the world?” or “Why? Why would you do this?” Don’t worry though, the kids are pretty quick to make sure the cats gets lots of attention so they know they’re still loved.

See you tomorrow!

Hosta Randomness

Did you know that hosta plants actually flower?

I did not so I was super surprised, and more than a little happy, when the lone hosta plant I bought on impulse started showing signs of flowering a few weeks ago.

Over the last couple of years I have been enjoying some moderate success with my house plants (the ratio of the still alive to oops, I don’t know how I killed that is in my favor) and combined with the results of our flower and veggie beds this year and last have me feeling like a real gardener of sorts.

To be honest, I have no idea what I am doing and I am more than slightly convinced that there is some kind of magic at work with anything horticultural. Basically I am winging it and hoping for the best. And loving every minute of it.

All that to say, I had no idea I would get to enjoy such delicate and sweet smelling blossoms on my potted hosta so naturally I turned to the internets to help fill in my knowledge gap.

Turns out there are over 3000 varieties of hostas spread throughout about 45 different species of the plant.

They’re native to China, Japan, and Korea and came to the United States by way of Europe in the 1800s.

Something else that really surprised me is that they are edible and are actually grown as a vegetable in some Asian cultures. A quick pinterest search yielded some recipes that actually look like they could be tasty. I don’t think I will be in a hurry to add them to my menu anytime soon as I am still trying to make sure it stays in the still alive category but I am definitely interested in the idea of cooking with them. Would you try it?

Because I am me and it’s what I do, you know I had to spend some time taking pictures of the elegant flowers.

The blooms on my plant are a soft white with a hint of pink to them and they also have a pleasant and subtle fragrance.

All in all, they are quickly becoming one of my garden favorites this year.

You can go here to see a few more pictures I took of them that I am sharing on the photo blog. I was really pleased with the dreamy abstract ones I got using the reverse lens method.

Until next time, hosta la vista!

(See what I did there? Man, do I crack myself up!)

A Couple Of Random Happenings And A Transformation

File this under “I Can’t Believe We Did That”: We knew we were having lots of extra guest at church this past Sunday (out of state friends were visiting one of our church families.) So, wanting to make sure there was plenty of food for our church wide meal, I made a huge bowl of homemade potatoes. That were placed in the microwave to be warmed up. And were then forgotten and they never made it back to the table to be eaten. Thankfully, we realized this after we got home and bless my poor husband’s heart, he went back to the church and brought them home. And I now have eight pounds of mashed potatoes in the fridge.

Can you freeze potatoes?

One other random happening: Our Walmart parking lot got repainted recently. The parking spots and white pedestrian lines are all super bright. I think it’s because they are nearing completion on the liquor store they’ve been adding to the main building.

Saturday saw lots of people helping us lay sod in our yard, front and back, as well as our neighbor’s front yard. In just under three hours our yard went from this:

To this:

There is some slight concern that my beloved is going to become one of the crotchety old men who yells, “Get off my grass!” now that he finally has a green yard. (FYI, the yard was not normally a huge brown square of dirt…that was from all of Rob’s prep work. He could just never get grass to actually grow in the yard no matter what he did so we just had patchy green spots and lots of weeds.)

It’s been kind of a sad process as every tree in the yard had to come down…two due to rottenness and my beautiful Bradford Pear was almost completely uprooted in a storm a few months back. Rob has been researching and plotting what kind of trees we’d like to plant next year though and in the mean time we spent all day yesterday working in the back flower bed and some time in the front bed.

Those two large rose bushes were transplanted to another spot along with one of the hydrangeas from the front. We’re keeping our fingers cross that they all survive the relocation.

I love container gardens and Rob agreed to using pots this year so we had quite the adventure picking out plants and pots at the Home Depot yesterday. What I learned? It is very easy to blow your budget and I have no sense of space when it comes to this kind of thing. I thought we would be cramming everything in to our little old garden bed. Rob laughed at me when I said that. He knows things.

Because we spend a lot of time outside we wanted to do as much as we could to deter mosquitoes so after doing some pinteresting I found out which herbs can be a deterrent to the irritants. Along with the Mexican Heather (one of my favorites) and the flowers we also planted some rosemary and lavender, both of which mosquitoes do not like. And since we like the functionality of herbs we also planted some mint and cilantro.

On the left side of the before picture of the flower bed you can see part of one of the two pots of the lemon grass (also a mosquitoes repellent) that we have by the gazebo.

We’ve a little more work to do out front still but we ran out of day light. For now I think we’re ready to grill, don’t you?