Sunday, October 30, 2016

Blooms, critters, freebies, thoughts


Good Sunday evening Folks ~ I hope your weekend was a good one for you, and I hope the coming week will be good too.

After a week of gray skies and lots of wind, the sun finally came out this afternoon. There is still a bit of a breeze, but it’s much calmer than it was all week.

I came across a writing a couple of days ago, by J.R. Miller.  He was born (on my birthday) March 20, 1840, and went to his heavenly home July 2, 1912. He was a  popular Christian author, and a Presbyterian minister. I first came across his writings from the daily devotionals that my dear husband told me about quite a few years ago, which I subscribed to, called ‘Grace Gems’. You can find quite a few of his writings there among other wonderful ones by other authors.

The writing I came across the other day is titled “The Duty of Forgetting Sorrow” written in 1888. This really spoke to my heart, as it is nearing the 4th anniversary of my dear husband’s heavenly homegoing. I miss him every single day, but I have peace knowing he is with Jesus, he is cheering me on as I continue this journey without him and one day we will be reunited.

Here is part of that writing:

“Sorrow makes deep scars; indeed, it writes its record ineffaceably on the heart which suffers. We really never get over our deep griefs; we are really never altogether the same after we have passed through them—as we were before.

It is the will of God that we should turn our eyes away from our sorrows, that we should let the dead past bury its dead—while we go on with reverent earnestness to the new duties and the new joys that await us. By standing and weeping over the grave where it is buried—we cannot get back what we have lost.

Weeping inconsolably beside a grave, can never give back love's vanished treasure. Nor can any blessing come out of such sadness.

We should forget what we have suffered. The joy set before us should shine upon our souls as the sun shines through clouds, glorifying them. We should cherish sacredly and tenderly, the memory of our Christian dead—but should train ourselves to think of them as in the home of the blessed, with Christ, safely folded—waiting for us. Thus the bright and blessed hopes of immortality, should fill us with tranquility and healthy gladness—as we move over the waves of trial.

We should remember that the blessings which have gone away—are not all that God has for us.

The joys that have gone from our homes and our hearts—are not the only joys; God has others in store just as rich as those we have lost, and in due time he will give us these to fill our emptied hands.

We should never allow ourselves to face toward life's glooms; we should never sit down in the shadows of any sorrow—and let the night darken over us into the gloom of despair; we should turn our-faces away toward the light and quicken every energy for braver duty and truer, holier service. Grief should always make us better and give us new skill and power; it should make our hearts softer, our spirits kindlier, our touch more gentle; it should teach us its holy lessons, and we should learn them, and then go on with sorrow's sacred ordination upon us—to new love and better service.

Sitting down to brood over our sorrows—the darkness deepens about us—and our little strength changes to weakness; but if we turn away from the gloom, and take up the tasks of comforting and helping others, the light will come again and we shall grow strong!”

God is my strength each and every day. If it wasn’t for that strength, I would be in despair, a total basket case of longing and loneliness, wanting and wishing for what I can no longer have. I was blessed to have been loved and to have loved and am thankful for what we had. I don’t want to live under a dark cloud, but to be a light of God’s love, tender mercies and the joy that He is blessing my heart with.

Thank you all for reading my posts, for your comments, your encouragement, your good thoughts and prayers. You have all helped me survive this first 4 years of widowhood.


Now, on to some daily blessings. Last Saturday I went to Butterfly World, which you can read about here. I bought a ‘Byron Beauty’ passion flower vine and it has been blooming for me this week. I love it. There are several more buds about to open also.  They only last a day. These have a scent, which is a little strong. I liked the scent of my ‘Incense’ passion vine flowers better.

This vine is a host plant for three different butterflies, thus the leaves get eaten pretty badly.





The other plant that I bought that is in bloom is Russelia sarmentosa. It is an attractor of butterflies and humminbirds.

I was sitting here at my desk the other day and caught movement from the edge of my vision, and looked out the window and this is what I saw. The day was very windy, and the butterflies were continually on the move. These are a pair of Giant Swallowtail butterflies, probably mating, as they are usually flying solo. Needless to say, I was thrilled. The one to the right has a huge bite out of one wing.



Sorry for the blurriness.


I worked this past week on this patio area, moving more butterfly and hummer friendly plants here in hopes I can get some good photos. The weather being ‘nicer’ I am able to work more and it feels so good to be outside.  Good for my health and mental well-being.

This morning at church, one of the young women came in and asked if I and my friend, who I help set up the coffee station with, wanted to look at some cookbooks. She is a personal chef, and the lady she works for, was emptying out some of her bookshelves. My friend and I both love to cook and we said sure, even though we both have cookbooks galore already. Smile

These are all in pristine condition. I took 12, I don’t know how many my friend took, probably that many as well, a younger woman took others, and a table was set up for others to come and take also.

Here are the books I got below, plus there was one that didn’t have a cover, it was a book of wonderful salad recipes.





I am blessed and thankful. Cooking is something I have enjoyed since Home Ec. classes way back in the mid ‘60’s. When we got married I didn’t know much, but I read recipes from Woman’s Day, and Family Circle magazines, my MIL sent me some of her family recipes, and I started collecting cookbooks. I realized that I could follow directions, make great meals and we would have leftovers and save $ also. I’ve been hooked ever since. My dear husband was always appreciative and told me thank you, and there were only a couple of recipes in our 43 years that he wasn’t crazy about. I love trying new recipes. Since being a widow, some of the ‘joy’ of cooking has gone, especially in the beginning, but, I’ve been getting back into it this past year, and these new cookbooks are added inspiration.

Ok, I’ve mused enough in this post.

Have a wonderful week.

Love, hugs, prayers and God’s blessings on all of you ~ FlowerLady


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cooler Weather & Butterfly World

Good morning Folks ~ I hope you are all doing well, and enjoying life, whichever ‘season’ you happen to be in.

The weather the past few days has been just wonderful. It’s the weather we ‘year rounders’ look forward to every year. The time of year when the heat is much less and the humidity is almost gone too. The other morning it was 62 and felt like it was 59 when I was first up and what a blessing. It gives one renewed vigor for living life.

I’m able to work outside longer, getting more accomplished, and I hope to accomplish much more in the next few months.

Saturday a group from my little church family went to ‘Butterfly World’. I was able to hitch a ride with friends, as it’s about 30 minutes away and driving the turnpike. We had a good time on the way down and back getting to know each other better, plus the time at Butterfly World was a wonderful experience for all of us. So relaxing, so peaceful, so beautiful! I want to go back. I had forgotten my little Cannon Power Shot, I was so bummed, but at least I had my smart phone, and was able to get some pictures with that, although not as nice of ones as I would have gotten with my camera. Oh well. I could spend hours and hours there, I was inspired to keep working on my own personal butterfly world here at Plum Cottage.

To see lots of photos visit this link, Butterfly World photos from Google.

The weather was perfect, there were between 25-30 people in our group, is my guess. We did not have to stick together, so I mosied around snapping photos and just taking it all in as much as I could, running into friends here and there through the grounds. It was just what this FlowerLady needed. It was a gift from God, a time of enjoying His beautiful creations, in flora and ‘flying flowers’ and sweet birds. I came away feeling refreshed.

Here are some of my photos taken with my smart phone, warning some are blurry.

Here is our sweet guide, Jessica. She works here. She goes to our church and going as a group, we got a the group rate which is a much better price, which was GREAT for all of us. Isn’t she a doll? She has a wonderful personality. She has studied and has a certificate from UF in Entomology and Environmental Horticulture. She says, “I am technically a Butterfly Conservationist and I have been creating south FL butterfly habitats for people since 2002. Butterflies are my passion because I believe people can slow down and connect to nature and God while observing them.”


Here are some of the sweet little birds in the Aviary section.





Was I ever surprised to feel little bird feet on my head. The birds love silver/white hair, for their nests. Smile Jessica told me this bit of trivia when I told her later they had landed on my head. Here are a couple of selfies.



The next two photos were taken by a young lady from church who happened to be in the Aviary at the same time I was.


What a great capture this was! Tugging on my hair. All I felt was their little feet walking on my head, quite the experience.


Butterfly nursery. There are different little nurseries for each species.


Some of the butterflies I was able to capture. 

They just don’t stop fluttering around.


Bananas are a food source for butterflies. There were several of these feeding stations. When these butterflies open their wings, the upper side is a beautiful blue! I could not capture them with wings widespread.


The foreground butterflies were actually more green than yellow in coloring.






Some orchids.








Passion Vines




The butterfly house was a tropical oasis, just wonderful. Something I really loved about this place was the sound of water everywhere and the soothing sounds of lovely instrumental music.






Lovely flowers and shrubbery everywhere.








I will end with this last photo. I just loved these crane statuary. That is a swinging bridge in the background, which leads to the Aviary part. I bought three plants and a packet of seeds, which I’ll tell about in another post, as this one is overly long.

Happy Fall ~ FlowerLady