Green is the Color of Hope

Green is the color of hope. Oscar De La Renta
To Plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. Audrey Hepburn

Gardening brings me hope for tomorrow and the next day and the next. It is so rewarding to create a  small garden that is enjoyed each day. I sometimes feel gardening has been a life saving hobby for me. If I feel down a bit of hard-work in my garden cheers my heart. 

While I have been visiting my sister I am replanting some of her gardens. I find such joy and hope even on vacation in the garden. 

Enjoy gardening even a small spot of earth. It will brighten your day.

H is for Honeycrisp Apples

May I share with you the first moment I took a bite out of a Washington Honeycrisp apple? My husband and I visited Washington State over a decade ago during the fall while on a recruiting trip for work. We were enamored by the clear weather, crisp fall air, and quaint farms and fields in the Snohomish and Sammamish River Valleys. One night during this trip we stopped by an adorable local market to pick up some snacks. I eat an apple nearly every day during the fall and winter months, so I went to find one. I noticed an apple we didn’t have in Florida, where we lived at the time. What variety could it be? Yep that’s right, it was a Honeycrisp apple. No words can adequately describe my surprise and delight as I took that first juicy bite.

Honeycrisp apples have a gorgeous appearance and in Washington you’ll find they reach a size nearly two or three times that of a regular apple! When you take a bite…WOW that is all I can say! The flavor is sweet, but not too sweet, while being simultaneously tangy but not tart, and ever so juicy while also being crisp and satisfying with every last bite.

Ok, I get that not everybody feels the same way that I do about fruits and vegetables, but go with me here as I relish in apple bliss!

Honeycrisp apples are exceptionally good when eaten fresh out of hand. They are mediocre in pie, apple crisp or fried apples, as they become very soft and don’t hold their shape well when cooked. Other varieties are better for these uses. Honeycrisp apples could be used in a delicious apple juice or sauce, but there are far more economical choices. Besides, Honeycrisp apples are divine and because of this they are likely to be eaten before you know it. In my opinion, they just have to be enjoyed as they are and for what they are. Eaten fresh they are pure goodness.

Speaking of pure goodness, I am the mother of three amazing daughters, and an aunt to sixteen amazing nieces. I am a daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter. I have lived on both the East Coast and the West Coast of the United States. I have lived in two foreign countries. During all these experiences, I have met so many good women and shared in wonderful friendships. What I have observed from all of these women is that we simply think too little of ourselves. We don’t love and appreciate ourselves as we are. We are looking to be more of this, less of that, more like her or something more like that. It really is exhausting! It does not help us be at peace with ourselves and it prevents us from finding joy in being ourselves–being amazing women.

My post today is to encourage women everywhere to recognize the greatness others see in you. Think more of yourself, be gentle with yourself, forgive yourself, and love yourself as you are. Sadly I struggled with thinking too little of myself into my late thirties. I wrote a little about this in my post entitled Fluffy Soil. In my recovery from cancer the second and third time, God let me see myself as He sees me, as his daughter, and I am forever changed by these experiences. I discovered that God and Christ have an infinite love for us. This love allows me to just be me. Because of this knowledge, I understand that within each of us there is pure goodness. Remember what God said in Genesis 1:31, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” We are very good even. Don’t forget it!

We are inherently good. Our choices, thoughts and actions increase our goodness and our ability to love and serve others. I want to encourage us to remember our own goodness more often and choose to care for and love ourselves. Don’t forget to enjoy a Honeycrisp apple as often as possible this fall and winter–it will remind you that you are purely good!

L is for Lettuce Alone

Flashy Trouts Back Lettuce

What do you call lettuce alone? Honeymoon salad! Super funny, right? Ha ha. 

My kids would tell you that all of my jokes are lame. I don’t remember jokes very well. I do have three go-to jokes that I remember and will use. The joke above is my number three joke. When I ask my kids about this topic, they will fain annoyance and make comments like, “Not again mom!”

Writer’s block has plagued me this last month and I have decided it is because I have needed “lettuce alone” time. I am not talking about the honeymoon kind! Goodness! It has been family time that I needed. We took our kids camping, canoeing, waterfall-exploring, and hiking during August. We also did a lot of things together at home: we made jam, tried some new dinner menus, snipped sooo many green beans, started some art challenges, played UNO (too many times), and worked and worked in the garden. The lasting memories we made brings me, and I hope them, such joy through the mundane moments of life. When we are sad or discouraged these memories we make in life will lift us and unite us.

I believe that my past battles away from death have given me a perspective that our time is limited and precious while here on earth. I feel the urgency to ensure that my time is given to my family and that we have quantity and quality time together. I protect this time to make sure my little family knows that they are loved by mom and dad. For example: at Valentines I always prepare a fancy dinner and we skip any prescheduled activities, making sure that no work travel or anything else takes us away. I do the same during our kid’s birthdays, and often extend their special time by celebrating them all week. I try very hard to be in attendance at family member’s key events. Each night I try to take the time to check-in and spend a few minutes with each family member before bed. We sing, pray, read or talk. I am not perfect and some nights I am so tired that I do just say, “Say your own prayers.” I do try, because I have learned all too personally that time is fleeting.

My encouragment this week is for all of us to enjoy some “Lettuce Alone” family time. The time spent will be lasting.

Rich Tomato Harvest

I am late on my Wednesday post this week just enjoying my Clever Girl on a return trip back to college. A simple post about our 2017 tomatoes. 

During the past three years our tomato harvest has not been as plentiful as planned due to blight and not enough time to really care for our crop. However, this year due to my Midnight Gardener and my dear Critter Girl our tomato harvest is overwhelming rich.

Here are some Tomato Garden Views.