You’re Going to Need This Juicer, Honey

As I used my vintage juicer this morning, to create lemon water, a warm fuzzy feeling overcame me. This simple gadget that was commonly found in kitchens in the mid 1900s, is more of a novelty now. There are more modern versions of juicers available.

I love my juicer, however, and I enjoy the homey practice of twisting half a lemon, lime or orange on it, to extract fresh juice. As I considered the source of the warm feeling, I thought of my Aunt Annie, who passed away in March of 2015. This was her juicer.

You’re Going to Need This Juicer Honey

Clear Depression Glass Juicer

I researched vintage glass juicers and quickly located exact matches to the one I own.

Depression glass is clear or colored translucent machine made glassware that was distributed free, or at low cost, in the US and Canada around the time of the Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 until 1939. Much depression glass is actually uranium glass. The Quaker Oats Company, and other food manufacturers and distributors, put a piece of glassware in boxes of food, as an incentive to purchase.

During its years of production more than 20 manufacturers created 100 plus patterns, with entire dinner sets available in some patterns. Common colors were clear, or crystal, pink, pale blue, green, and amber. Less common colors included canary yellow, ultramarine, opaque pale green, opaque pale blue, cobalt blue, ruby red, black, amethyst, monax, and white milk glass.

You’re Going to Need This Juicer Honey

Taking Home a Juicer

Five months after my aunt passed away, my mother, sisters and I met two of my cousins at Aunt Annie’s house. We sorted through memories and items. My cousins graciously allowed us to select keepsakes to take home.

In the basement we opened cardboard boxes and examined items that Aunt Annie had collected over a lifetime. We all chatted and told stories about pieces we recognized. And some items we wondered about. How we wanted to ask my aunt questions.

I was drawn to the juicer as soon as I saw it. I like vintage kitchen gadgets and this one was in perfect condition without chips or cracks. I couldn’t remember ever seeing my aunt use it, but she surely did. I tucked the juicer into my “take home” box, pleased with the find.

You’re Going to Need This Juicer Honey

You’re Going to Need This

This morning, as I made lemon water and thought about my aunt, an image came to mind. I could imagine Annie there with all of us, in spirit, in the basement. She stood among her family, peering into boxes and remembering with us as we pulled items from long sealed cartons. I could hear her soft voice with its southern drawl, exclaiming over old treasures. She smiled as we told stories and added to them, even though we could not consciously hear her.

When I picked up the old glass juicer, I now wonder if my sweet aunt whispered into my ear, “You’re going to need this juicer, honey. Take it home.” In 2015 I had not yet taken charge of my health. That shift would not occur for another 11 months. We operate in linear time. Spirit does not.

Is it possible that my aunt knew that a time was coming when I would not only cherish this juicer but use it every day? Could she have foreseen how important creating fresh juice would become to me, months before I switched to a plant based lifestyle? I like to think so!

This little depression glass juicer, that perhaps came to my aunt via a box of oats, helps me maintain my good health. I am grateful that in the flow of life, that sometimes operates outside the flow of time, what I need comes to me at the perfect moment.

And that warm fuzzy feeling I experienced this morning? Maybe that was Aunt Annie, giving me a hug.

You’re Going to Need This Juicer Honey

Surrender 107: Feeding the Soul

I was excited today to have no appointments or commitments, freeing me to spend the day puttering in my backyard garden. Spring arrived early this year, and although I’ve spent an hour here and there pulling weeds, the flourishing garden needed a good deal more attention. I was happy to oblige. 


This is the third season for my personal paradise. It thrills me each spring to see the garden awaken, plants pushing through the mulch. It’s never quite the same garden, year after year. Plants spread, spaces fill in, surprise flowers pop up in unexpected places. That’s the joy of gardening, watching the way that nature shifts and evolves. 


Today I tidied up the southern border, removing weeds and inspecting new growth. Greg was a tremendous help, reattaching the vintage screen door that fell victim to high winds, chopping wood for the fire pit, mowing and weed eating, and joining me in removing the last of the weeds.  

The weeding finished, I turned my attention to one of my favorite activities…planting. I have a large assortment of metal containers dotting the brickio and backyard, including wash tubs, buckets, watering cans, boxes, minnow buckets and an old red toolbox. I vary the flowers and color themes each year, which is part of the fun! 


Because I harvested seed last fall, some of my containers received seeds today, rather than established plants. I’m looking forward to seeing if the calendula, firework flowers and coneflowers germinate and thrive. I also started lavender seeds in a large metal box. Other containers had young flowering plants tucked within them. 


The oval tub that belonged to my sweet Aunt Annie received special attention. My aunt, who left this earth last year, had a July 4th birthday. As I did last year, I planted red, white and blue flowers in the tub, to honor her life.  

It was a good day in the garden. I have more to do…more containers to plant, a whole section near the Peace Gate to redo, bare spots to fill in. And the north side of the yard will receive creative attention this summer. It’s a process, a journey, a surrender, to the desire to create living art. I anticipate many happy days ahead, spent puttering in my garden. 

Alfred Austin wrote, “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” My soul was fed today. 


Journey 337: Christmas in a Red Box

When my cousins allowed me to bring home the old wooden box I found in my aunt’s shed, I was delighted. With its simple design and chippy red paint I knew I would use this box throughout the year, creating vignettes that I could change with the seasons. 

The red wooden box found a home on my front deck. I filled it with terra cotta pots, in varying sizes, all from my aunt’s shed as well. Fall mums and pansies created a simple and beautiful autumn vignette. 

Tonight, I had the pleasure of transitioning the box from fall to Christmas. I have been looking forward to Christmas in this red box since I brought this dear keepsake home. 


I used fresh sprigs of Fraser Fir that I brought home for free from Lowe’s Christmas Tree Center. I purchased my fresh tree from there as well. They have a big wire bin full of branches trimmed from the trees. I added pinecones that I already had on hand. And two different rustic picks. One has red berries and rusty stars, and the other, rusty jingle bells. These I purchased at the 2 Friends & Junk Show in Springfield. 


At the other end of the red box I nestled three white frosted lanterns with a different design etched on each: a Christmas tree, a snowflake, and a star. I bought these on sale recently at Kirkland’s. More rustic picks were added, another red berries one with stars and a long pick with rusty stars on it. I dropped tea lights into the lanterns and lit them. 


I placed a larger lantern nearby with a votive candle inside, for more light. This too came from Kirkland’s. 

I love the Christmas season, and enjoy decorating my home for the holidays. As with last year, I am moving slowly through the house, bringing Christmas into each room, using a eclectic mix of vintage, newer, and collectibles. 

The red wooden box connects me to my Aunt Annie, who passed earlier this year. She was an avid gardner, creative, full of joy and life. I think she would be pleased with this box of hers, and the new life it is experiencing, and the pleasure it brings to me. Merry Christmas, Aunt Annie! I’m thinking of you tonight. 


Journey 287: Bits of Fall

Most of my day revolved around showing property and follow up work on the computer. In between shutting down the lap top and dinner, I had a burst of energy and creativity, and added a bit more fall décor to my home. Redoing the chippy entry table was quick and fun and satisfied my urge to create. 


I loved this little project for three reasons:

1) Other than the purchased gourds, I created this table vignette using items I already had on hand. It’s great fun, for me, and expands my creativity, when I pull pieces that I own together in new ways. All my decor gets reused and combined in endless ways. 
2) The stack of mini pumpkin-like gourds in the metal cloche was a happy accident. When I created the vignette in the vintage wooden sieve, I had one white gourd left over. I popped it into the cloche, so it had a temporary home. A few days later, I stood studying that cloche and visualized a stack of orange and white gourds, rising in decreasing sizes within the wire cover. Would that work? Only one way to find out. I purchased more mini pumpkins, paying attention to the sizes of the gourds. My idea came together perfectly and became the focal point of the table top. 


3) On the bottom shelf is a favorite quote on a plate with autumnal colors. “A friends knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” I cherish my friendships. How amazing it is to share the journey with those who know my heart so well. And nestled there in the front, is a little marble owl from Italy. That treasure came to me from my Aunt Annie, who passed earlier this year. He seems right at home as part of my vignette. 

I enjoyed listening to Liz Gilbert speak Monday evening, on creative living. I’m reading her book on the subject, Big Magic. One of the things she shared was that it’s important for creativity to be able to trust us. She explained that creativity is set free in us by being creative, every day, in big or small ways, wonderfully or imperfectly, for a few minutes or for hours. By expressing our creativity, consistently, joyfully, doing what we love to do, we send out the message that creativity is fostered by us, appreciated, honored. I so agree.  As with so many things, the more we express and explore creativity, the more creativity flows to us. I love spending even a few minutes allowing my soul to hum with that vibrancy that being creative brings. And those days when I can spend hours in the creative process, then my soul opens wide and energy flows, and anything is possible. 

Journey 239: Autumn in a Box

I’ve been looking forward, with joyful anticipation, to creating a lovely display with this old red box. I brought it home a couple of weeks ago, from Derby, KS, a gift from my sweet cousins. I spied the box in my aunt’s garden shed and fell in love. My cousin Greg encouraged my sisters and me to take whatever we could use or would enjoy, as tokens of love from his mother, Annie. Spurred on by his generosity, I continued to look and found stacks of terra cotta flower pots, which fit perfectly within the wooden box. 


My beautiful aunt loved to garden. It was a hobby that we shared. I cherish the items I’ve brought home from her house, yard and shed that I can use or repurpose in my own garden. It makes me think of Aunt Annie, and brings me joy. I hope she strolls with me, as I putter in my garden, and smiles. 

This evening I took time to pick up pansies, in yellow and orange, and a couple of small, rust colored mums.  This cool weather is triggering fall fever in me. Although I’m waiting until September to bring out my crates of autumn decor, I couldn’t resist creating my first fall arrangement tonight. 

I’ll redo the rest of the front deck next month. Tonight the red box rests on one of the wooden benches, the yellow, orange and rust colored blooms hinting at what’s to come. I love the natural look of the terra cotta pots, in varying sizes, nestled within. I foresee many delightful uses ahead for this simple wooden box with the fading red paint. The contents within may change, with the seasons and according to my whims, but this box may never leave my deck. I think Aunt Annie approves. 


Journey 227: More Treasures From Annie

Back across Kansas we went today, my mom, sisters and I, to Derby, just south of Wichita. We met my cousins, Sheila and Greg, and Greg’s son Wes, at Aunt Annie’s house. My beautiful aunt passed away this past spring. This will most likely be the last time I visit her house. 

One of the powerful experiences that has come out of so many losses this year is that I have spent more time with my cousins. We have determined that it is important to  connect, now, rather than gather only during funerals. I am enjoying the reconnections, the laughter, the sharing of stories, the hugs.

We’ve spent a fun day together, doing all of those things, as we sort through the remainder of my aunt’s possessions. My cousins very generously invited my mom, sisters and me to open boxes, look through piles of old photos, and sort through treasures. I took home items for my backyard garden earlier this year and I think of Aunt Annie every time I look at the metal containers holding brightly colored flowers. 

I picked up several items today…a crystal vinegar cruet, vintage china, and other small pieces. In the backyard I wandered about, enjoying my aunt’s gardens, admiring the flowers in bloom. In the garden shed, I found an amazing item for my own garden…a large wooden box with faded red paint. It’s perfect to hold terra cotta pots, which I found nestled on shelves. 

I’ll save these items for next spring, when I’ll fill the flower pots with an assortment of plants. Herbs would be a great choice. Then I’ll find the right spot in the garden to display this earthy vignette, with its connections to Annie. 

I so appreciate my cousins and sisters. They are such gracious, genuine souls. As we chatted and laughed together over dinner tonight, I marveled at the passage of time that has aged us all from rowdy, inquisitive kids…to rowdy, intelligent adults.  I’m grateful for my mother as well, with her wisdom and her playful spirit. I am glad to have each as a traveling companion, through the challenges and joys of life’s journey. May we have many more adventures together. 

Journey 185: S’Mores on the 4th of July

This evening I got to enjoy the brickio, and use the fire pit for the first time this summer. As neighbors lit up the skies with their own fireworks displays, Greg built a beautiful little fire that crackled merrily within the ring of stones. 

Daughter Adriel and her boyfriend Nate stopped by first. We enjoyed visiting and sipping on cold drinks. I had graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows near by. The first s’mores of the year were created and enjoyed amid the whistles and explosions and pops of a variety of fireworks. 

As darkness fell, and the noise escalated, these two lovely people left to go comfort their dogs. While fireworks are fun for humans, our pets don’t care for them and are often frightened by the commotion. Two of my cats have been in hiding all day. Adriel and Nate are wonderful and conscientious  pet owners who wanted to be there with their furry babies. 

Shortly after they left, Linda, Roy and London stopped by. The fire was stoked and more s’mores made and devoured. London celebrated the night with a silver sparkler. 

I love sitting around the fire pit on a summer evening. It doesn’t normally sound like a battle is raging nearby, but the flashes of color exploding in the night sky were pretty to watch and we lost count of the number of lanterns that drifted by overhead. 

I felt gratitude for the freedoms I have in this country and for the love and companionship of family and friends. I was grateful that the explosions were sounds of freedom and not war. I was especially glad that when we discussed that fact, London asked what war was. 

Another 4th of July is winding down. The pops and crackles are more sporadic. The fire has faded to glowing embers. Puffs of smoke scurry along, carried by cool breezes. The garden surrounds me, soothes me, puts on its own little display as a few brave fireflies twinkle among the flowers and ornamental grasses. 

I am reminded of my Aunt Annie, whose birthday is today. Her metal container is overflowing with red, white and blue flowers, a perfect tribute to her. And I think of Uncle Dale. The Fireworks Flowers that I planted in honor of him are gorgeous, the blooms bright pink with yellow tips. 

I associate the 4th of July with both of these precious family members. Ironically, they passed within a couple of days of each other. As I watch the beautiful lanterns floating overhead, I am reminded that Aunt Annie and Uncle Dale are set free, their souls at peace. I miss them. I love them. I’ll never celebrate another 4th of July without thinking of them and honoring them. 


Journey 91: From Annie’s Garden to Mine

Annie teen

On this bright and beautiful spring day, my family gathered to celebrate the life of my dear aunt, Anna Lou Reynolds, affectionately known as Annie to those who knew and loved her. Over her lifetime, that was a huge number of people. I was reminded today that my aunt called friend anyone that she knew longer than 15 minutes.

I knew her for much longer than that, of course. She was a constant in my life, my mother’s older sister, mom to three of my cousins, Uncle Ralph’s adored wife. Although these relatives lived in Kansas, near Wichita, we spent much time together throughout my childhood and my teens. My sisters and my cousins and I were raised in close kinship, much as my children were raised with their cousins and my grandchildren now spend time with my sisters’ grandchildren.

I always knew everything was going to be fine when my Aunt Annie showed up. Fun times shadowed us throughout the visit, and stories flowed freely each evening around the dinner table. My aunt talked with her hands, gesturing to punctuate her sentences, her soft southern drawl as distinctive as the glint of humor in her eyes. I watched her a lot, unbeknownst to her, the eldest child in her family, older sister to my mom and my uncle Ben. I’m the eldest child too, and watching how she interacted with her younger siblings, my mom especially, set an example for me as my own sisters and I grew up.

Annie with bird

Annie loved her husband, her children and her grandchildren, her extended family, gardening, and being creative. She was always an animal advocate, loving many dogs, cats and birds during her life. Each time we visited her home, I was curious to see what new pet she had acquired, what new plant was blooming under her care. She, like my mom, was a wonderful story teller. Lying in my cousin’s basement bedroom as a child, I loved listening to the muffled rumble of voices in the dining room above. The comforting sound of Aunt Annie and my mom and Uncle Ralph talking and laughing soothed me into drowsiness. Peace descended along with sleep, knowing these stalwart people in my life were still awake, keeping watch in the night.

Annie Mom and Grandma

Aunt Annie and Uncle Ralph had a long and lively marriage. They seemed well suited, even to my childish notions of what romance was. Their love never faltered but seemed to grow stronger over the years. They raised their son and daughters, welcomed grandchildren. His strength complemented her sweet temperament perfectly. Uncle Ralph left us seven years ago. We all know he has been patiently waiting for Annie to join him, a blink of time for him, long months and years for her.

During the beautiful eulogy for my aunt, written and read by Annie’s younger daughter, my cousin told of a dream my aunt had last fall. She dreamed her dear husband Ralph drove up in a new, shiny black car. In the backseat, Annie’s mother and stepfather waited. As Ralph smiled and opened the door for her, ready to seat her in the car, Annie decided to run back inside the house, to leave a note for her daughter, who has been my aunt’s caretaker since her stroke 18 months ago. To her great disappointment, Annie woke up in her bed, confined still in a body that was failing her. She wept that morning. My understanding cousin, seeing her distress, told her mother that should her father return for her in his shiny black car, it was okay to leave with him.

Annie and Ralph 2

We know that happened. My uncle returned for his bride, his Annie, last Thursday. As we shared stories and tears today, shared love and respect, several of us had beautiful images of the two of them, healthy, young, strong, dancing together on streets of gold, reunited in joy. A love like that knows no bounds, lasts for eternity, overflows to us here in the earthly realm to warm our hearts and give us hope.

After a lovely time of celebration, the family returned to Annie’s house for a meal together and goodbyes before we departed. I walked with my mother, sisters and cousins in my aunt’s yard, admiring her flowers, feeling her presence, wishing we could have spoken about this shared passion that we have for gardening one more time. My sweet cousins gifted me, along with my mom and sisters, with metal containers to bring home. I have loved using metal buckets, washtubs and watering cans as receptacles for flowering plants of all types. I now have an oval tub on my brick patio that belonged to my aunt. Knowing how much her mother would enjoy passing along transplants from her garden, the cousin closest to me in age dug up Irises, in purples and yellows, and a hardy sedum plant called Autumn Joy, to give to us.

Annies tub

I am beyond touched by my cousins’ generosity. It means SO much to me to have plants in my garden that came from Aunt Annie’s yard. She tended these plants and now they will be tended by me.  I will smile each time I see them. Their beauty will remind me of hers, their presence a reminder of my cousin’s graciousness. I already know what I will plant in the oval container. I will share that in future pictures.

Annies irises

As we stood at the grave site, Paster Don spoke of the transformation that Annie has undergone, like a caterpillar who has emerged from her cocoon at last, as a gorgeous butterfly. She is free. She is made new and her spirit soars, whole, complete, beautiful. He closed our time of celebrating and saying goodbye, for now, with these words:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Phillipians 4:8 NIV

What fitting words for Anna Lou Reynolds, recently of this earth. In the wind that swirled around us, I could feel her caress, hear her voice, sense her joy. Until we see you again, Aunt Annie, tend your new garden, twirl and dip as you dance, watch over your loved ones. I am grateful for you. I love you.

Annie and Ralph

Journey 90: Traveling Across Kansas


Today’s journey was a literal one, first of all, as my mom and sisters and I traveled across Kansas today. Tomorrow is my Aunt Annie’s funeral. It’s a sad reason for the trip, and yet none of us would miss this opportunity to be with my aunt’s three children, my cousins, to remember this special lady. 

Greg made a very generous offer, before the four of us departed. He offered to meet us on the voyage home tomorrow, with Debbie’s car, so that she can head south toward her home in Oklahoma. Greg’s willingness to meet us in Kansas enabled the four of us to make this trip in one vehicle today instead of two. 


Secondly, the journey was one of reminiscing and remembering, chatting and connecting. Debbie graciously drove. We laughed and talked and shared about life. And we pulled up fun memories of long ago trips to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins who lived in a suburb near Wichita. 

We made the trip several times by bus, which was exciting for my young sisters and me. I realize now how challenging it must have been for a single mom with active daughters! Most often we traveled by car, sometimes with my grandparents packed into the car with us. 

The time spent with my family in Kansas was always magical, interesting, fun. We were close to our cousins, in age and in fondness. How quickly the years have passed. When did we all enter middle age?

Tonight that connection was instantly reformed with the cousins , as if we had all just spent time together last week. There were hugs and tears, laughter and shared memories. After spending time together at the funeral home during visitation, we gathered at my aunt’s home to share stories. 

The culmination of our evening was dinner at a local Chinese Restaurant. The buffet style meant everyone could choose what they wanted to eat. We were a big group that grew as other family members joined us. And we were a happy group, mindful of the reason we were gathered, and yet aware too that Aunt Annie was surely among us, laughing too at the tales circling the tables. 

Tomorrow we will say our “See you laters” to this beautiful lady. Tonight it was family time, mingled with love and humor, joy and sorrow. And for the first time in a very long time, my sisters and mom and I are sharing a room. When we were young, my mom would tell us stories after we were tucked into our beds, her voice comforting in the darkness and her imaginative tales enchanting. It’s been too many years since I’ve heard Mom’s story-telling. I can’t wait for lights out tonight!