Friday, October 30, 2015

Thorny

I've been putting it off. I've been busy, it's true, but in the end I had to face it. My front rose garden was a mess! Since today was a lighter school day, I pulled out my rose gauntlets and bravely began to beat back the thorns.
Weeds and thorns! Yuck!
With trick-or-treat night right around the corner, I hacked away at thorns that threatened to catch on young costumed children. I pulled weeds. I pulled branches. I pulled muscles. After two sweaty hours of work, I had managed to collect two heavy duty trash bags of trimmed branches and weeds. I even managed to plant some freshly sprouted cone flower that I had grown from seeds collected from my mother's plants. I capped it all off with a hefty dose of fertilizer.

Here's the after picture:

The roses were not in the best shape. I should have taken better care of them. It made me wonder what they would look like now if I had given them the care they really needed. As much as I hope the trimming and the fertilizer work their magic, they can't replace regular nurturing care.

Thus it is with our relationships. If we want to have healthy ones, we must take the time to nurture and care for those relationships. A brief "prune" job and "fertilizing" won't do the trick. The more time and effort we put into caring for those we love, the healthier our relationships will be. The happier we all will be. Additionally, there will be no need for a "rescue" session like I had to spend today.

Hopefully my rosebushes will survive me. I'm in a season in life right now where planted material is way down the list of my priorities. Instead I'm focusing on growing up children and caring for my husband. The time will come, though, and is coming where the children will be grown up and on their own. Maybe by then I'll have that enviable garden.



Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sweetness

Fourteen years have flown. Fourteen wonderful, hurly-burly heavenly years! Today, sigh, is your fourteenth birthday. It went by blindingly fast, and I'm still catching my breath.

My precious girl, you fill me with delight, pride, and gratitude. I'm so happy to be one of the blessed to shepherd you through your life. May God bless you as you grow in Him. While this is your birthday, it is also mine. It is a day that I will always cherish. Be blessed, my darling.
Slumber party fun with friends! 
Carmen Giménez Smith wrote a poem that I love. You can hear it read at the Poetryfoundation.org. The text is below:


We said she was a negative image of me because of her lightness.
She's light and also passage, the glory in my cortex.
Daughter, where did you get all that goddess?
Her eyes are Neruda's two dark pools at twilight.
Sometimes she's a stranger in my home because I hadn't imagined her.
Who will her daughter be?
She and I are the gradual ebb of my mother's darkness.
I unfurl the ribbon of her life, and it's a smooth long hallway, doors flung open.
Her surface is a deflection is why.
Harm on her, harm on us all.
Inside her, my grit and timbre, my reckless.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Recovery

It's been a busy fall. Evidence for that fact is that I haven't had much time for blogging. I miss it, too. Blogging, for me, is a way of organizing my thoughts and sorting through them. I find that I observe life better and am more grateful. I had a special opportunity today, though, to get away from it all in the middle of the week, and I seized it.

Our family welcomed back my daughter's sweet friend into our home this week. She moved away to Indiana with her family this past spring, and we have missed them all terribly. It's been with great anticipation that we've been looking forward to her visit. One of the things she wanted to do while back in Florida is visit the beach, so we loaded up this morning with a beach blanket and baggies for treasures and headed out to Mickler's Beach, our family's favorite spot!

The beach was quiet. There had been a few onshore showers which had kept most of the residents at home, but when we arrived the sun was mostly shining and the waves were crashing. The girls immediately took off for a long walk, and I sat down on my blanket and enjoyed the quiet.

I pulled out my knitting. I'm starting a hat for the folks at Tom Bihn. I cast on 79 stitches and started.

As I knit, I felt the tension dissolve from my shoulders. The soothing sound of the waves was much-needed balm. I could have stayed there all day. 

A special treat was a visit from a tiny crab, no bigger than the tip of my pinkie finger. 
He seemed a little unsure of himself on the wide expanse of the blanket and scuttled off as stealthily as he could. I managed to capture a photo of him just off the edges of the blanket. I think he felt he was camouflaged enough that he could rest in security.

I didn't get much knitting done. Only an hour later it was time to head back home to tackle more "to-dos," but it was okay. I had rested, regrouped, and recommitted myself to some knitting. All was well.

I hope it won't be long before I can head back!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Flagler-ing

College visits continue apace. So far, the oldest has applied to five schools and been accepted to two (both with nice scholarships- yay!). This past week, we visited one of the schools he has applied to and the one closest to home- Flagler College. Flagler is situated in the gorgeous ancient city of St. Augustine, Florida and is only five minutes from where he is currently dual enrolled. A top-ranked regional college, it sits along the edge of Matanzas Bay in the city of Old St. Augustine.It was established in 1968 and is situated on a small campus made up of Henry Flagler's Hotel Ponce de Leon, a luxury hotel from the late 1800s.

The college has gorgeous Spanish architecture and features Louis Comfort Tiffany for the interior designs and the mosaics and stained glass. Even the dining hall chairs are Tiffany!

A small college, Flagler only offers twenty-nine majors and thirty-four minors. It is strictly for undergraduate studies, but by being highly focused it is able to leverage its finances and be an affordable option for private school.

We had previously attended an architectural tour of the school, but it was especially nice to be able to delve a little deeper into the campus and see how it actually operates as a school.
Outside the lobby of the hotel (now college).
 The interior of the old lobby is beautiful. If you walk up the steps you enter the dining room.
The golden dome of the old lobby.

Entering the dining room

The ceiling of the dining room

Another view

Leaving the dining room
I had to capture a photo of the chairs. Like I said, some of them are the original Tiffany chairs, although some have been copied. I'm not certain I remember this correctly, but I seem to recall each original was valued at approximately $16,000.
My Cafe Bag resting on a chair


The college was very kind and gave us all a pass to dine in the hall. They had several options, but I settled on a freshly grilled "burrito bowl," while the boys opted for pizza. And soda. And cookies. They're kids, so it was the perfect sort of lunch!

We spent the morning learning more about the college and touring the small campus. While much of it was housed in gorgeous old buildings, there was a brand new building we toured that had classes and a quick cafeteria, complete with Chicfil-a and Starbucks, plus a game room area. All of the buildings were within a few minutes' walk of each other.

Before we knew it, the morning was gone. Jacob had an afternoon class that he needed to attend, so we headed back home. It was a really neat experience, and I'm glad we took the time to investigate a school closer to home. I don't know if it will be where he ultimately ends up; at this point he has a stronger interest in another school, but he is not ruling it out.
Here are a few more photos taken from our tour... Enjoy!


The student green space


This Tiffany stained glass is almost as tall as I am. It was in a breezeway.

Going up the steps into the dining hall

The library. Love the gorgeous green floors!


A poor photo, but it is a mosaic of the city of St. Augustine. It's outside the Admissions building.
Even though the time was close, I managed to sneak into a new yarn shop just down Cordova Street from the college. Called Agape Yarn and Imports, it's been open only about a month. I love discovering new yarn shops! I picked up a single skein of sock yarn, and when I knit it, I'll remember this special day!