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



Deb J. in Utah said...

So nice that lady from church gave you some new cook books. You will have lots of new recipes to try! I love the flower and butterfly pictures. So beautiful! Thanks for sharing this thought on sorrow. God bless you as you continue your grief journey. He will continue to heal your heart. Have a good week.

Ruth Hiebert said...

The years do move along, even without our dear loved one at our side.It is almost 6 years for me and not a day goes by that I don't miss him.keeping busy with meaningful activities does helps I'm sure you know as well. I love that Passion Flower.It is so unique and the fact that it attracts butterflies is a wonderful bonus.I hope you get lots of butterflies and Hummers and get lots of pictures to share.Have a wonderful week my friend.

NanaDiana said...

First-That passion flower is beautiful!!!

That was a good article about sorrow. I think each one of it deals with sorrow in a different way. Sometimes it is very hard to find any joy when we are suffused with sorrow. God bless you- I know you must miss your hubby a lot-4 years is just the blink of an eye in some ways and seems eternal in other ways when we are missing someone.

Love your cookbooks. I gave a lot of my collection to my kids but kept some that I really love. I barely cook now since John can't eat regular foods.

Hope you have a good week. xo Diana

Jane said...

J.R. Miller was very wise. I think that goes for other losses in one's life too, such as the loss of a childhood due to abuse. We must always remember that through our suffering we are drawn closer to our Savior, who suffered more than we ever shall. Bet you will enjoy those cookbooks, particularly the Spanish one. Happy cooking!


Dewena said...

Isn't it amazing how a devotional written far over 100 years ago can still feel heaven-sent today? I'm sure your husband would not want you to continue to live in sorrow, but we also know that time to mourn is different for everyone. I'm so glad that the love of cooking has come back to you. It has to be hard at first to cook for one when you've cooked for more for so long. I love cookbooks too!

Nancy J said...

Stunningly beautiful passion flower, and the cookery books, what a bundle of gifts. I know you will treasure every one. And it is almost 4 years, where has that time all gone? Just over 4 years since Hugh had his heart attack, and to me, that time since then has seemed to be so long. Lovely and loving words to begin your post today, and all so true. Look to the brightness and the dark and dull will fade away. Love and fond hugs from NZ.

BeachGypsy said...

Very lovely post my friend!You are an inspiration to many with your great attitude! It's got to be HARD....and you just keep on trying and doing your best. Love those passion flowers...they are about the strangest flowers I've ever seen, and also the most beautiful, aren't they? I love to photograph them. The butterflies are here too, hubby said he saw many this morning. Glad you got all those cookbooks, that is a great variety!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Lovely. I had a Passion vine years ago. I can't even remember what happened to it. They are so beautiful and I can't remember the last time I saw one for sale in a garden center. I used to love to cook...long ago before I ever went to work. Since I retired, I do cook more but Terry has decided he doesn't like to eat anymore and nibbles like a bird. Now I cook easy things that I know he will enjoy. He's so picky.

Our weather in Northern Indiana is unseasonably warm right now, but the weatherman says we will be hit by the Polar Vortex later in the winter and have about 20 more inches of snow than normal. I'll be stitchin' and grinnin' as I watch the snow fly...and baking. I always love to bake when the weather is cold.
Have a great day.
xx, Carol

Stacey said...

Lorraine, you are a light to others and this post is too. I read every word and took them to heart because I believe them. My MIL is a walking example of God's word every day...she lost her first spouse very unexpectedly long ago, she had had stage 4 cancer and recovered, and now she's caring for my father in law who has advanced stages of Alzheimer's. But...she's still a light and shares God's word just like you are.

Now about that passion vine, I planted my first one this year and was so excited about a month ago to go out and find it covered in caterpillars. They were Gulf Frittilary caterpillars!! We've been so lucky to have butterflies all over the gardens this year. I love seeing them and can't wait to plant even more plants for the pollinators. By the way, my good friend has an unbelievable butterfly garden and her Gregg's Mist Flower has been the best homing spot for the butterflies this year.

Connie in Hartwood said...

I imagine that there are times when it's very tempting for you to stay within yourself and dwell on how different your life as a widow is from what you knew with your dear husband. Instead of being defeated, you stand as an example of how to live every day and make a difference ... what you write here is an inspiration ... you know that, right?

Yum ... Barefoot Contessa! I think I love everything that I have ever seen her cook. Her food is always so effortless and delicious.

Summer said...

Love the sound of new cook books and those blooms are pretty ♥

Rebecca said...

What beautiful blooms - and how exciting that they've already lived up to their name!
The Tuscany cookbook looks particularly interesting to me...
When you say "4 years" since your dear husband went to be with Jesus, I can hardly believe it! I'm sure the years have been long for you, but I remember when it happened and it doesn't seem possible it was that long ago.
Things here are starting to fall into a sort of rhythm. I AM cooking more since my father moved in with us. And while I normally don't enjoy cooking that much, I'm surprised with how easily it is going!
We continue to arrange and rearrange small details to make them work more conveniently as we fall into patterns of shared life. I am SO blessed.
Have a good week, Lorraine.

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Lorraine, You are an inspiration to all. Sorrow is something we are all going to face at one time or another. It does not pick and choose. When I think of all those loved ones I've buried in the last 20 years, I cringe at the thought. Somehow with God's comfort he see's us through. 4 years seems so long, yet just like yesterday, when it comes to the missing!! The writing you share is as relevant today as it was all those many years ago. I know you miss your hubby dearly. The strength and courage you show in all you do and accomplish on your own is amazing. I'm not sure I could be so strong!

Gorgeous Passion Flower. WOW what a interesting vine. Your gardens have to be a blessing to attend and enjoy!!

Lovely cook books. How nice of your church friend to let you look at the cookbooks her client was parting with. I collect them too and inherited all my mother's as well. I will most likely never make all the recipes but it sure is fun to read them and try. My hubby always says thank you too with every meal I prepare.

Love seeing your beautiful butterflies too.
You captured some lovely photos. Have a great week ahead.
Blessings to you. xo

Debbie Harris said...

Hi Lorraine~~ such a wonderful post!
Thank you for sharing a glimpse into that book of yours,I appreciated every word that was shared. What a tremendous encouragement that book must be for you.

One can never have too many cook books, right? :-) good for you for still going to the trouble to cook. Being alone can cause you to not want to cook or eat and you are doing what is best for you.
You are always such an inspiration to me.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful gardens with us,I do enjoy your beauty.

Bless you~~

CraveCute said...

Beautiful and heartfelt post. I think that gardening is a natural balm for many a heartbroken soul, I know it helped me heal after my mothers death. Your photos are so lovely and inspiring. It's nice to see some bright flowers again as ours up north are going to sleep for the winter. Wishing you a lovely week ahead.

Melanie said...

We don't have passion flower vine around here. It is so beautiful - it almost doesn't even look real! Lucky you to get all those cookbooks. There's some really good ones in there!

Stephanie said...

Sweet friend, you are such a beautiful inspiration and testimony. The Lord is using you to bless and encourage many, myself included.

Lovely photos and that one flower is truly stunning! It just shows the beautiful handiwork of our Creator.

Hugs to you!

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

Hi Lorraine, that was a lovely passage about grief and sorrow. So incredible that it was written so long ago. Timeless words of wisdom.....I am so glad to hear that it has given you some solace. The passion flower and butterflies are so beautiful. It is wonderful that you are able to enjoy more time in the garden. The cookbooks look very inspiring! I have 'The Barefoot Contessa' book. I loved her show on television - I wish they would run it again. Hope you have some happy hours in the garden this week. Hugs xo Karen

Cheryl said...

As I read the Miller passage, I thought how difficult that would be to deliberately turn from sorrow. I will need to read that again and ponder some more. Sorrow is a good teacher. Grief in our lives allows us to suffer with Him and to learn compassion and to lean on Him.

Your passion flower blossom is fascinating!

Enjoy your cookbooks! I'd be excited about those too!

Mother Em said...

This is 3rd attempt at placing a comment, but will not repeat all. Just check out the numerous websites on the passion fruit. Fruit has a distinctive taste if you're fortunate enough to have fruit (pesky squirrels love them just as much). Yes, the flower is gorgeous that butterflies love; they then lay their eggs, followed by the baby caterpillars that strip all the leaves, then an occasional fruit. We have two or three around the yard and it is indeed a beauty to behold.

Still "HOT" here in Georgia breaking all kinds of records with cooler weather predicted, just wishing for the much-needed rain before we all burn up.

RockWhisperer said...

Dear Lorraine, as cooler weather approaches I find myself leaning towards the depression that runs in my family, and so I'm planning several home improvement projects, have bought a few interesting-sounding books and have learned to knit dishcloths. I think that's a good start towards keeping me off the brink of "the black hole". And so I understood, completely, how you talked about grief. You know, grief covers many things that may not have anything to do with missing a loved one, though that's certainly at the top of the list. There's grief over decisions that were (or were not) made that changed the whole future. Things that were said or not said. As we age there's worry about what's left of our future and how we'll be able to navigate it. And there's sadness over things that happen around us, about which we are helpless to do anything, but which colors our consciousness nonetheless.

It's such a blessing to have God and to know Him and how He thinks. I read somewhere that grief, worry, and depression are insults to God, as if we don't have trust in Him. And so I'm sure when we are able to turn away from the things that rob us of our joy, God smiles. I love to make God smile. I know that you do, too.

I have a lot of cookbooks, myself, as you probably already know. And I have a lot of clippings from old Family Circle and Women's day magazines of the 1970's and 80's, taped onto pages in an old 3-ring binder. I've bought their cookbooks and they don't seem to include recipes that were in articles, one in particular about a Kansas farm woman, who shared her bread recipes. Same situation for some wonderful cookie recipes, as well. I must get that binder down from the attic, now that you've jogged my memory, and look through it. We never thought, back in those days, that someday all we'd have to do to get a recipe would be to download one off the internet. LOL

Love and Hugs to you...

M.K. said...

The cookbooks look great, FL! Barefoot Contessa is very popular, and the one from Tuscany looks really gorgeous. Those passion flowers are just amazing. We have a vine of that stuff back by our chicken coop, and it grows amazingly. WE didn't know what it was last year :)

The pastor you quote has had experience with grief. I think not everyone is ABLE to respond to grief in the way he describes, especially if they do not have strong, abiding faith in Jesus and in the heaven that awaits us. Those beliefs become the bedrock of recovery, or at least of somehow moving forward. He is right that you are never, ever the same. I'm so glad you understand that your dear husband is very much alive right now, watching you and cheering you on as Hebrews says the saints above do. And he is pleased at the strength of your faith in Jesus!