Earth Day 2017

Today was Earth Day, and although it was rainy and unseasonably cool, it was the perfect morning to get out. I picked up my Mom and sister Linda and we headed to the Webb City Farmer’s Market for the first time this year. 

Earth Day 2017
I love the farmer’s market. What a great place to gather with hundreds of other people to celebrate the earth’s bounty. The colorful displays of fresh veggies and fruits, in their seasons, the tantalizing aroma of herbs and veggies and meals for sale bubbling in pots at the end of the pavilion, the cheerful chatter of vendors and shoppers, all create an exotic atmosphere that makes me smile. 

Earth Day 2017
Earth Day 2017

The weather did not hamper shoppers today as they filled the market. Due to the chilly temps, the sides were lowered on the pavilion so that there was a cozy, cheerful warmth within. Mom, Linda and I followed the tradition of starting at one end of the market and walking the whole thing before deciding which vendors to shop with. 

Earth Day 2017
Earth Day 2017
In honor of Earth Day, trees were given away at one booth, while at another table children were encouraged to plant seeds in cups that they could then take home. I appreciated the smiling faces and the noisy bustle at the market. And everywhere there were tables piled with vegetables, herbs, plants and goodies.  

Earth Day 2017
Earth Day 2017

I am very proud of my mom and sister. Mom has been plant based for almost as long as I have, willing to walk with me in this healing journey to improve her health. And Linda completes the 28 Day Cleanse Monday. (Read about the 28 Day Cleanse HERE) They are taking responsibility for their health by eliminating meat, dairy, sugar, gluten, gmo produce and eggs from their diets and consuming lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and rice. It is totally up to them whether this will be a long term lifestyle. However, both attest to feeling better.  

Earth Day 2017
Earth Day 2017
We talked to vendors and asked questions, sampled buckwheat sprouts and purchased winter and early spring veggies and herbs. We also bought plants to tuck into the ground at home, on a drier day.  

On the way back to Mom’s we stopped by Aldi’s Market to finish our shopping. Look at the basket in the picture below! It is full of fresh fruits and veggies. What a beautiful sight and promise of healthy, delicious meals to come. 

Earth Day 2017
At home, preparing a fresh juice for lunch, I thought about Earth Day. It is intended to raise our awareness about the health of this planet we call home. It encourages us to take actions to care for the earth, the environment, the flora and fauna of this world, as well as humankind. These actions are all crucial to ensure that we continue to have a place to live. 

I thought about the connection between caring for our planet and caring for myself. 

It is crucial that we care for ourselves too, nurturing our bodies, feeding them well for optimal health, eliminating the foods and products that are making us so sick. Because our bodies are where our amazing, shining selves reside. A healthy body equals somewhere to live. It’s home. 

Happy Earth Day. 

Earth Day 2017

Happy Birthday Mom

Today was my mom’s birthday. Because it was also Sunday, my sister Debbie was able to join my sister Linda and me in celebrating this special woman. Mom selected Golden Corral for her birthday lunch. Our stepdad Walter, Linda’s granddaughter London, my daughter Adriel and her fiancé Nate joined us as well, turning the luncheon into a full fledged party!





We had a fun lunch, dining buffet style, chatting and laughing. London took photos, moving around the table, capturing selfies. Mom has joined me in pursuing a healthier way of eating. The buffet offered fresh salad fixings and plenty of steamed or sautéed veggies for our meals. There was the obligatory dessert bar present, which we skipped. 

I looked up Mom’s name:

“Patricia, you have a powerful way of expressing yourself, either through speaking or writing. You enjoy studying and doing research for your creative projects. You are clever, clear-sighted and intelligent, bold, independent and curious. Once you decide on a course of action, you stay on that path until you achieve your goal. 

You seek freedom, and seize opportunities to enjoy life. You love to go places and have new experiences. You are very adventurous and willing to take risks to achieve your objectives. New places and new experiences don’t satisfy your restless nature for long. One adventure leads you to another. You are honest and fair, because you know that this is the only way to receive justice and honesty from other people. Your personal growth is vital to you, and you choose not to be tied down by too many rules and obligations. You make your own way in life. 


Those words paint an accurate picture of my mom. She is extremely creative, in many different ways, finding artistic expression through drawing, sewing, gardening, repurposing and do it yourself projects. However, she is a born story teller. When my sisters and I were young the best bedtime stories were the ones Mom told. 

Later she began to write stories, rather than tell them verbally. She is a sucessful author, having penned several children’s chapter books and contributed to collections such as the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I am positive that my own desire to write flowed to me from my mother. 

Two of Mom’s books

Mom is truly a self motivated person and a strong woman with a clear idea of who she is and what she wants to do. Her cleverness and intelligence have served her well. She has owned and operated a variety of businesses, including a pizza restaurant and a family video rental store. 

When she retired from working she indulged her passions for writing and traveling. Mom has a gypsy spirit that fuels her longing to see the world and experience new things. This adventuress has traveled throughout the US in an RV and across much of Europe. I am excited that next year I will get to travel with my mother, sisters and niece on an amazing adventure. 

Halloween fun. 


Mom has always been my champion and my encourager. I continue to learn from her, by way of her words and her example. She’s had a tough year, health wise, and yet she keeps going. I had the privilege of accompanying her this week to various doctors’ appointments. I appreciated that she trusted me with this part of her journey. Listening to her and to the doctors, I determined to walk alongside her, in the role of teacher this time, showing her new ways to care for herself and her health. 

It’s time for me to be her champion, her encourager, and to lead by example. Mom has made the commitment to embrace a healthier lifestyle, particularly by eating a plant based diet. I am honored to walk with her on this new adventure. She has lots of places yet to go, and more stories still to tell. 

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you!

Surrender 129: Mother’s Day Legacy

As I’ve celebrated Mother’s Day this weekend, loving on others and being loved on, I have thought about all the strong and influential women in my life. In my journey, I’m in the esteemed position of having generations before me to appreciate, mothers and grandmothers, and generations after me to encourage, children and grandchildren. 

Granny Grace, baby sister Linda, and me. 

Grandma Mildred and me. 

My grandmothers are gone. However, I was blessed to have them both, well into my adult years. These women hugged me and supplied bowls of ice cream and homemade cookies, played games and taught me to sew and crochet. Beyond being fun grandmothers, they modeled for me independence and perseverance, kindness and devotion. I still think of both of them often, as I carry their wise words with me through life’s circumstances. 


I am so grateful for my mom. No one else has had as great an influence on my life as she has. My creative side has been nurtured by her my entire life. And even greater, she has lived her life creatively, writing, gardening, sewing, sketching, owning several businesses, making crafts and DIY projects. She didn’t live this way for my benefit. She lived as her authentic self, pursuing her interests and passions fearlessly, which was the greatest invitation I could ever receive, to do the same. 


Jerri became my stepmom when I was eleven, and she has been a strong influence in my life as well. Although I have never experienced being a step parent, I have welcomed new grandchildren into my family, embracing them as my own flesh and blood. Jerri has modeled blending families together, to create a larger stronger family. Beyond just nurturing my sisters and me, Jerri also embraced my mother. I don’t know if my mom, stepmom and dad realized how incredibly precious the gifts of unity and respect were to me and my sisters. When my friends spoke about the hate and animosity between their divorced parents and new step parents, I felt deep gratitude that in my family the adults lived in a bigger way. I am grateful for Jerri and for her willingness to create and maintain a different kind of family. 


Leta became my mother-in-law, my third mom, when I was 18. She had two sons and she excitedly embraced me as her daughter. Leta was one of the most gracious and generous women I have ever met. She modeled love to me, by way of her actions. She cooked delicious meals and luscious desserts, made crocheted blankets and enjoyed surprising me and later her grandkids with gifts that she spent hours shopping for. She had a child-like sense of wonder about the world that she never lost. However, she was strong, a survivor of losses and illnesses. I am grateful that she taught me that circumstances don’t determine how I live life. She chose to respond to challenges with faith and joy. I choose to follow her example. 

There have been and continue to be many other strong women in my life…aunts, cousins, sisters, friends. We honor and nurture and mother each other. And when I have needed to, I have mothered and nurtured myself. When I faced my fears a few years ago, I was able to nurture the frightened four year old who cowered within me. I am continuing to mother my wee self, and the results have been incredible. 


One of my greatest joys in life is being a mom and Yaya. When I was still a child, I couldn’t wait to grow up and become a mother. I have never taken this role lightly, praying earnestly to be a joyful mother of children, long before my babies arrived. My first pregnancy ended very early in miscarriage, something I didn’t talk about until fairly recently. I named that baby Daniel, making me the mother of four children. I have had the pleasure of raising three…a son and two daughters… and I couldn’t be more proud of the beautiful adults they have become. 

Elissa and her husband Josh. 

Nathanael and his wife Megan. 

Adriel and her fiancé Nate. 

Today, as I reflected on motherhood, I am exceedingly grateful for the experience of parenting and nurturing these children. They have helped me to be a better person. They have encouraged my growth. They cheer me on in all my endeavors. 

As I journey with them and observe their lives, I have seen my older daughter Elissa switch careers, learning new things and stepping up into greater responsibility. She and Josh are so very present for their sons, showing up for events and awards. As Dayan nears the end of high school, I see his mother preparing him for life beyond living at home with his family. 

I have watched my son deal with high stress situations in his career and life, with grace and strength, his wife Megan at his side. They too are involved in the lives of their children. In spite of long hours working, keeping his community safe, Nate takes the time to have lunch at school with each of his kids. 

My younger daughter worked for years to achieve her desired career. She’s very good at what she does, showing great compassion. I watched yesterday as Nate brought their car to a stop, and Adriel hopped out to rescue a turtle who was slowly crossing the street. She carefully placed him in a grassy area, away from the dangerous road. Nate does the same thing often. It’s who they are…caring people. 


Being a Yaya to my five grandchildren has magnified my joy. As a little girl, longing to be a mother someday, I couldn’t imagine anything greater than that. I possibly couldn’t imagine myself being so old that I’d be a grandmother! I have become the person that I so looked forward to spending time with as a child.

I am coming full circle, in my journey, from a girl with powerful women in my life, to the grandmother who desires to show her granddaughter and grandsons how to live a life full of love and joy, creativity and strength. These kids are continuing the task of helping me grow into the kind of person who can live such an open and authentic life. They inspire me. 

Surrounded by such brave hearts…grandmothers who still journey with me in spirit, mothers, and sisters…I can offer with confidence from my own heart to my children and grandchildren. I have a family legacy that I want to pass on. 

Surrender 121: National Go Birding Day Comes to Me

I didn’t intend to celebrate this unique holiday. I had other plans for the day that involved purchasing flowering plants for the containers in my mom’s front yard and on her porch. My mother had knee surgery Thursday and she is not able to work in her yard or garden. I looked forward to bringing bright colors to her yard and porch, and also to brightening her day. 


I awoke early, so that I could attend a local garden shop’s half price plant sale, and immediately my mind filled with a disturbing image. I “saw” my stepfather calling me to say that my mother was in the emergency room. I checked my phone. No such message was there. But I know how my intuition works. And this premonition was strong. I checked my phone several more times as I prepared to leave the house. Just as I turned onto 32nd Street, en route to the garden center, my stepdad called. My mother was in the ER and being admitted to the hospital. 

I was only minutes away. Arriving at the hospital, I learned my sweet mom had double pneumonia. She was very sick and she most certainly felt that way. 


The day shifted, and I shifted with it. My mom was settled into a private hospital room, with a pretty view of an enclosed courtyard out the window. I spent most of the day with her, chatting, watching over her as she rested, and talking to nurses, the doctor and Elissa, Dayan, Adriel, her fiancé Nate and Greg when they stopped by. 

I had a comfy chair in the corner, overlooking the little garden, content to be with my mom, content to observe the courtyard. The Divine, the flow of life, not only brought National Go Birding Day to me, as my lesson in surrender, the birds were brought to me as well. 

Mom and I enjoyed watching a pair of cardinals as they flitted about the tree and bushes outside the window. The male was a gorgeous bright red with distinct black markings. Although the female was not as showy, she was as beautiful as her mate. We were serenaded as the pair hopped about, their sweet songs seemingly saying, “cheer, cheer, cheer”. 

Much as I accept my intuitive side, with its quirks and the ability to bring me extraordinary information, I trust that everything that shows up in my life appears for a reason. I looked up the symbolism of the cardinal. These song birds represent clarity and communication (I know Spirit is present with me when a cardinal appears), health, vitality and renewal. Encouraging symbols when one is in the hospital. I read that cardinals are known to be feisty in nature. That’s certainly true of my mother as well! 

Google image

Watching the cardinals brought peace and joy to me, in the midst of knowing my mother did not feel well. And incredibly, they offered more to us. My daughter Elissa was watching the birds while she and her son Dayan visited Mimi. Suddenly she realized the cardinals had youngsters that they were feeding, one tiny bird in each bush. We peered out the windows, delighted, as the parents took turns stuffing food into insistent peeping mouths. The young cardinals are just about ready to take flight, yet they are dependent still on their parents. 



During my research, I read that cardinals are excellent parents, sharing the duties of parenthood. They symbolize a dedication to nurturing and caring for family members, as part of the cycle of life. That message struck me as timely today. My mother has cared for my sisters and for me, nurturing us, loving us, while encouraging us to fly away from the nest and create our own lives when the time was right. 

In the cycle of life, the time is approaching to nurture my mother, loving her and caring for her, encouraging her as she continues to live her creative and rich life, as independently as possible, for as long as possible. We’ve flown the nest, my sisters and I, but we are never far away. I want my mom to know that. 

I’ll still plant flowers for my mother some time this week, creating colorful living vignettes. However today took me around a different bend in the river. I’m grateful that Mom is receiving great care and should be home soon. I’m thankful for a quiet day spent with her, just being present. And I’m grateful for the cardinals who entertained us, sang to us and made us smile. Their messages of cheer were perfectly delivered and full of hope. 

Surrender 34: Completed Vision Boards

This evening my sister Linda, my mom, and my grandson Dayan gathered with me to complete our vision boards. Or in Dayan’s case, his drawing.  

And just like last week, we enjoyed a time of creativity and lively conversation, as we began the task of gluing images, words and phrases onto the white poster boards. Dayan deftly sketched Egyptian landmarks, artifacts and symbols while contributing to the topic of the moment. We had so much fun, chatting and laughing, that Dayan opted to stay with us this time, rather than going to his youth group. 

  
I love that three generations of my family can have so much fun together. Somehow the conversation shifted to music. Dayan used his iPhone to play a couple of his current favorites, one of which was Pink’s version of Bohemian Rhapsody. Of course, we sang along. Adele’s widely popular song “Hello” was discussed and a funny video watched. When Linda requested the actual song, well, we put our hearts and souls into that sing-along, and perhaps a few hand motions. Adele would have approved, I’m sure. 

 

As we finished, we took turns holding our boards up so I could take pictures. Mom started the trend of peeking over or around the edge. Her board features her word for 2016, “Kindness”, and an emphasis on health, fitness, finances and a trip to Ireland. 
 

Linda’s board has her word for the year, “Courageous “, at the top. She is focusing on fitness, organization, better habits, a trip to Seattle…and her love life apparently! 

My board is pictured below. I am hence forth referring to this yearly practice as creating an awareness board. I’ve realized that I’m capturing who I am, at this moment in my journey, on my board. This is an accurate snapshot of who I am, right now, and what I enjoy, what I dream about. 

My symbol is there, in the middle of a collage of words, quotes and images. My word, “Surrender”, is captured in a couple of quotes. Creativity, writing, coloring, and gardening are all represented. My family is there. And almost half of my board is devoted to travel, with Scotland and Italy pictured as destinations. Rivendell made the board, along with a playful nod to an upcoming adventure in which Dayan and I will meet David Tennant and Billie Piper, from Doctor Who. 

I appreciate my family joining in, in the creative exercise, the conversations and the singing. They created awesome boards and Dayan’s drawing is amazing. I like the way my Awareness Board turned out. It’s a great collage, representing a great journey. Life is great! 

  

Surrender 11: Vision as Art

Tonight I began working on my 2016 vision board. I met Linda, my sister, at our mom’s house. Mom not only joined in the process of creating a board, she fed us too! We each enjoyed a stack of pancakes with warm maple syrup before clearing the table and hauling out the magazines. 

  

I love creating a yearly vision board, which is a collage of pictures and words that captures my dreams and goals for the upcoming months. I include my word and symbol for the year. And I search through magazines for those pictures and phrases that represent the vision I am casting.

My sister and mom began creating boards with me a couple of years ago. I cherish these evenings of companionably browsing through a variety of publications, chatting about what we are searching for, sharing our life journeys. We laugh, and tell stories, and help each other find specific words or images. 

Kindness is my mom’s word for 2016 and she located it quickly, adding the cutout to her stash. Linda hasn’t found her word, Courageous, yet. And I’m still searching for Surrender. I may have to print my word out after typing it on my computer. We giggled when Mom happily exclaimed over the word Gorgeous as she cut around it. Of course it will go on her board! My mother is a gorgeous woman, inside and out. 

    

We did not finish our boards this evening. It will take at least one more evening together and maybe two. The surrender for me is allowing it to take as long as it takes. There was a time when I felt I had to complete my vision board before the new year started. It became one more task to squeeze into the last week of December and I often rushed to complete the board. 

Now I enjoy the process and let the board come together as it will. If it takes the whole month of January, that’s fine. If the creation of it takes longer than that, it’s still not a problem. The board will be on view in my studio all year.

I have images to print out that I collected as I worked through The Artist’s Way. These will be added to my board and I marvel at the perfect timing of doing those chapters as the new year approached. I’m very aware that my board is shifting, as I am shifting. I’m playing around with calling it by another name. But for now, a vision board it is. 

I recognize that vision is art as well, a way of seeing beyond what is currently in front of me. I am making the invisible, visible. 

  

Journey 268: Mom’s Birthday

Today is my mom’s birthday. Neither of my sisters could be in Joplin to celebrate, so we have plans for gathering together next weekend to take Mom to dinner and get much laughter and visiting in. However, after completing my day, I was free to stop by for a chat and to deliver a fun little gift. 

  
I’ve fallen in love with the art of coloring. With my colored pencils and a coloring book for adults open before me, I can lose myself for a few minutes…or many minutes…in this simple activity. My mom is so very creative. She has modeled living out of her artistic side all of my life. I used to anticipate coming home from school in the afternoons, and discovering what project my mom had been working on that day. From reupholstering furniture, to painting silhouettes on the bathroom walls, to sewing tiny wardrobes for my Barbie dolls, my mom was always finding outlets for expressing her creativity. 

Mom always enjoyed coloring with my sisters and me when we were young. She continued that practice with her grandchildren and now keeps a stack of coloring books and a box of crayons in the living for her great grandchildren. A couple of days ago I enjoyed perusing coloring books for adults at the craft store, Michael’s, in search of a book for Mom. I find a delightful one…it has to be good, it has the word whimsical in the title…and picked up a box of 50 Crayola Colored Pencils. 

It’s not an expensive gift. But what fun to surprise Mom with her own pencils and coloring book. She seemed genuinely pleased! There’s no right or wrong way to color, no time constraints, no judgment. There is just the joy of laying color onto the page, whatever color or combination of colors draws you, and your own spark of creativity. I trust Mom will enjoy. 

I so appreciate my mom and her birthday is a good day to make sure she knows that. No other person has shaped and guided me as much as she has. Her strength and high energy continue to inspire me. Her sense of humor still gives me the giggles….and gives her the giggles too. My mom can rarely complete the telling of a joke because she gets so tickled, which makes her family laugh even harder. She has, and will ever be, my greatest champion, my encourager, my person to bounce ideas off of. And she is ever growing, trying out new experiences, finding fun ways to do something routine. She has a great, shining soul, and a heart that loves her family and supports them, surrounds them, with prayers, light and good thoughts. 

Happy birthday Mom. I am grateful for you. Thank you for believing in me and for walking with me in this journey called life. You are my traveling companion, my friend, my mother. I love you! 

  

Journey 130: Mother’s Day (or the Gathering of the Sisterhood)

Mothers Day 2015

It’s been an amazing weekend, with a wedding yesterday, and most of my family able to be present for that joyous event. Today, it was a special treat to have my sister Debbie and her family still in town to celebrate Mother’s Day together.

The day began with breakfast at my mother’s house, lovingly prepared by my niece’s husband, Jon. This kind and cheerful young man is talented in many ways, and cooking happens to be one of his fortés. The moms assembled…Linda, Debbie, Ashley, my mother and me…enjoyed being pampered. Jon prepared blueberry pancakes, sausage, fresh strawberries and individual omelets. He gave each of us a small bowl and we selected the ingredients for our omelets, placing them in the bowls and then lining them up as Jon cracked eggs. The food was delicious and I appreciate Jon so much.

Mothers Day  2015 Jon

Later in the day, my daughter Elissa and grandson Dayan met our group at Golden Corral as we treated Mom to a Mother’s Day buffet. And yes, the lines were long and the restaurant crowded. That didn’t deter us or bother us in the least. The staff moved us through quickly and seated all eleven of us together. We enjoyed all the food choices available and Ethan and Kaleb especially enjoyed the dessert buffet, wearing a great deal of chocolate from the fountain on their faces! More great conversation flowed around the table, easily, humorously. Being together was the most important part of the meal.

Mothers Day 2015 lunch

Mothers Day 2015 lunch 2

We all gathered back at Mom’s briefly, mindful of storm clouds massing to the west. I sat with great-nephew Kaleb on my lap, while watching my other great-nephew, Ethan, create a game on his iPad. Although he is only nine, Ethan is skilled at not only playing games but creating his own. I watched, fascinated, while in a matter of minutes he created a Frogger type game, chatting to me about each step. Ethan learned to email over the weekend, and he sent me a picture of a vehicle in one of his games, with a logo on it that he knew I would like…Albert Einstein. He successfully emailed me a screenshot from the game, which I am delighted to include in my blog. I promised Ethan I would email him a link, so he can see his work here. It’s all good practice for this intelligent boy, who dabbles in technology as easily as the rest of us breathe.

Mothers Day 2015 Ethans logo

My great-nephew Ethan has a funny car logo on a game called Turbo Dismount

It was a grand day, spent in the company of precious family, with six mothers present. My sisters and mother and I form our own Yaya Sisterhood, except we are Yaya, Gigi, Meem and Mimi, who is the only one of us who can boast of great-grandchildren. My mother is the matriarch of this clan, and she has raised my sisters and me to be strong, independent, capable, loving and fiercely protective adults who have passed these qualities on to our own daughters and sons, granddaughters and grandsons. She presides over us all with strength and love and a good dollop of humor. I deeply appreciate her, knowing the sacrifices she has made to raise us well, provide for us, champion us in all our endeavors. I couldn’t ask for a better mother and I am blessed to have her influence and presence in my life still.

Mom on her birthday

As we hugged good-bye this afternoon, departing for our homes, little Kaleb gave me a bright yellow dandelion and a fuzzy one, the seeds forming a white globe. I stood in my yard, and held the fuzzy dandelion up, ready to make a wish before blowing the seeds away. Instead of wishes, I thought of my blessings: my extended family, whose love surrounds me like an invisible yet powerful force field that nothing can penetrate, my three beautiful children and their significant others, who have gifted me with their love and devotion…I am appreciative of their texts and visits today, and a surprise gift card from Adriel and her Nate to Lowes (garden center, here I come!), and my five gorgeous, talented and loving grandchildren who continue to show me the world afresh through their young yet wise eyes. The seeds scattered as I blew on the dandelion, and my thoughts scattered as well, carrying gratitude, love and blessings to their intended recipients. May they all know how much I love them.

Mothers Day 2015 Wishes

Journey 122: The Violin

Papaw Bill's Violin

Mom and I made the trip home this afternoon, back through Kansas to Joplin. With us on this return trip were boxes of treasures: mementos of my aunt’s life, keepsakes that belonged to my grandmother, and great-grandmothers, all graciously given to my mom by my cousins. In a place of honor, alone on the middle seat in the van, swaddled in a protective blanket, rested a worn black music case. Nestled within that case was a violin.

I watched last night as my cousin gently placed that violin into my mother’s waiting arms. I watched, with teary eyes, as the emotions played across Mom’s face….grief, joy, tenderness, wonder. This is not just any violin. This gorgeous instrument, estimated to be approximately 100 years old, belonged to my mother’s dad, Bill Gregory. Made in Czechoslovakia, it is a ¾ size copy of a Jacobus Stainer violin. My mom doesn’t know how my grandfather acquired the violin or what he paid for it.

What she does know is, it has been at least 72 years since she heard her father play his violin. Tragically, Bill Gregory died in a truck accident in February of 1945, when my mother was just five years old. Her mother remarried later, and my mom and her sister and brother were raised by a fine man, who became the only grandfather I ever knew. But she never forgot her daddy, of course. The violin passed to her sister, Annie, who cared for it over the years, keeping it repaired and protected. With the recent passing of Annie, who has been reunited with her father, my cousins very generously asked my mother if she would like to have this beautiful treasure.

Mom and Annie

My mom, with her sister Annie

Such a tender offer has touched my mom, and indeed, my sisters and me, so deeply. My mother lost her dad at such a young age. She has cherished memories of him, but nothing tangible, nothing that belonged to him. To hold that violin, to care for it now, stirs such powerful emotion, tucked away in her heart long ago. The strings are silent, the bow still, but when she closes her eyes, she can hear her father playing. One of her great joys would be to hear a grandchild or great-grandchild cradle the violin and play, the spirit of her father alive within the music, within the violin.

I listened on our journey home today, as Mom told me stories of my grandfather…how he collected herbs in the wild, as a child, and sold them…how he was a carpenter and helped to build Camp Crowder, his induction into the Army delayed until it was completed…how he took his family to visit his sister Jane before joining the military…how he drove off into a blizzard, leaving his wife and young children with his sister, concerned about his animals at home…how he never made it home that night. I listened, aware that my grandfather’s violin was riding quietly behind me. Aware of my grandfather’s quiet presence as well.

“Do you think my father knows I have his violin?” my mother mused aloud, as we neared her home. I glanced in the rearview mirror, into the backseat. “Yes,” I answered….”I’m sure he does.”

Papaw Bill's Violin Bill and Lloyd

Bill Gregory, playing the violin, with his brother Lloyd, on the mandolin


Journey 108: Colander Planter

colander planter finished

Today, in spite of thunderstorms and rain, my mom, sister Linda and I headed out into the weather to participate in Sutherland’s annual half price plant sale.  Mom and Linda wanted plants for their “Aunt Annie” containers, among other flowers and vegetable plants, and I had many metal containers still to fill. Rain or not, this was too good a sale, too great an opportunity, to miss.

The rain didn’t deter us or, apparently, other shoppers. It was busy, in a cheerful sort of way, in the garden center at Sutherland’s. We had fun, pushing our carts up and down the crowded aisles, discussing flower choices and what would grow best where. We each ended up with our own unique assortments, since we each have our own preferences and ideas. Linda called her selection of plants the “rebel” assortment.

colander planter ingredients

There were a few plants that we didn’t find at Sutherland’s, so off to Lowe’s garden center we went next. Mom found the central plant for her tub, a beautiful red Gebera Daisy. And I picked up a trailing perennial for my copper watering can and an assortment of succulents to complete a project I was looking forward to doing for the first time. I had a grand time, shopping with my mom and sister, laughing and talking, and not minding the dampness or how wild our hair looked. Okay, maybe it was just my hair that looked wild!

colander planter in process

 Back home, the rain moved out of the area and the sun, at last, came out. I was excited to bring my idea to fruition. On the first day of spring this year, I brought home a metal colander from True Treasures in Bentonville, AR, with the intention of using it as a planter. Serendipitously, the very day I bought the colander, a picture popped up on Pinterest sharing this very idea. I laughed this afternoon, when I pulled up the Pinterest pic again. The instructions for creating the planter were in Spanish. Oh, well….I was confident I could create my own.

colander planter angel loves it

Angel loved the new planter!

And create it I did. Using a coco fiber liner, I cut it to size and lined the inside of the colander with it, and filled it with fast draining soil mix (both items were purchased at Lowe’s). The fun part was adding a variety of succulents. It was an easy project. I look forward to seeing the plants grow and fill out. After the plants are established, I’ll keep the colander-turned-planter on my bistro table in the garden.

watering can prep

With such gorgeous weather, I didn’t stop, but continued adding my newly purchased plants to various metal containers. Four buckets and a large watering can received impatiens and asters in pinks, purples and whites, and bronze and yellow Gazanias. And I tucked the trailing perennial with tiny white flowers, called Trailing Mazus, into the copper water can and hung it on its shepherd’s hook in the hosta garden.

watering can with Mazus

I loved my time in the garden this afternoon. The earth was washed clean from the heavy rains, and there was a freshness, a newness, in the air. Drops sparkled like diamonds on the wet grass. It was a fun and productive day. More weather is moving in overnight, with an 80% chance for thunderstorms tomorrow. I have flowers for my next project, which will make use of a recent purchase during the 2 Friends & Junk show. After the rain….I’ll be back out…puttering in the garden, creating, enjoying, getting dirty…experiencing bliss.

colander planter next project