Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Letting Go...

The month of July was a month of transitions, changes and letting go...

On a Tuesday afternoon in July, the day after his 90th Birthday, my Dad passed away. So, how does one articulate what it feels like to no longer have any living parents?

We find by losing
We hold fast by letting go
We become something new by ceasing to be something old
Out of nothing He creates something
Out of the end He creates the beginning
All's lost – All's found

I know no more now than I ever did about the far side of death as the last letting go of all, but I begin to know that I do not need to know and that I do not need to be afraid of not knowing. God knows and that’s all that matters.
What marvels will He bring to pass next? (Frederick Buechner)

“…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT

With great love there is much grief. Love and sorrow are the two sides of the same coin, and my heart is pulled and torn between peace and pain – I miss you!

Monday, June 13, 2011

No Ordinary People

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit… Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.” 
– from The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis

Over the last several weeks I’ve been spending time each day with my Dad, who is recovering from kidney failure and is in a rehab to build his strength back up. Many rehabs are located in skilled nursing facilities, and that is true for the one my father is in. This means that short-term patients share the facility with some folks who are there for the long-term. At first I wasn’t sure how I as going to handle spending so much time there…

but I’m finding that while it can be exhausting and challenging at times, there are so many patients (short and long term) who I have become very fond of, and I’m seeing that, in-deed, there are no ordinary people. I have met some of the most wonderful and fascinating people, and I'm learning that each life has an extraordinary story to tell. I just need to take the time to listen!

Friday, June 3, 2011


So this past Sunday after church at The Free Church of St. John (in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia) we stopped at the Memphis Taproom for brunch. And what a treat it was!

We had driven by the Memphis Taproom many times on our way home from St. Johns, and often commented that “we need to stop there sometime.” Our curiosity for the place grew after we had seen it featured in a segment of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Sooooooo, finally after driving past it for a few years we stopped in to give it a try.

The boys ordered burgers, and I had the VEGAN ROOSTER (Tofu scramble with vegan blood sausage, smoked coconut, roasted new potatoes and toast). The boys each looked at me like I had lost my mind… but this vegan delight was amazing. The smoked coconut was delicious and tasted a lot like bacon, the vegan blood sausage was made from lentils and was very tasty, and the tofu scramble more than satisfied my need for eggs. The boys said their burgers were very good. We are already looking forward to our next visit to the Memphis Taproom.

After brunch we meandered on down East Cumberland Street to GreensGrow, a favorite garden spot. There we indulged ourselves and bought the makings for a small outdoors water fountain (no, I have not assembled it yet – the recent heat-wave discouraged me from any outdoor activity), a pound of Blue Water Coffee – Havana Blend (a local coffee roaster, they roast in small batches, and support/participant in the SMBC "Bird Friendly" shade grown coffee program - shade tree coffees help maintain the delicate ecosystem balance that supports diverse wild life, and they also support Fair Trade growers). 
And lastly we picked-up two pounds of rhubarb for a friend who has found some pretty intriguing uses for rhubarb… how does Rhubarb Vodka sound??? 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
                                          ~ Moina Michael

Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. Officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30th, 1868.

…Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains, and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledge to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon the Nation's gratitude—the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan…

At that first celebration of Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetary, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.

After the First World War, and over time, it was extended to honor and remember all Americans who have died in our nation’s service.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Playing with Food

The Short Life of
a Dia Doce   
Carrot Cake Cupcake

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hope & Feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First Visit of the Year to Chanticleer Garden

The delightful weather of early April has allowed me to visit several gardens in the Philadelphia area…

in Chestnut Hill,

in Devon,

and my all time favorite Garden…
Chanticleer in Wayne!

I have a Community Bible Study friend, Suzanne, to thank for introducing me to Chanticleer.
As our small group leader, Suzanne thought an outing might be fun for our little group and that some social time would allow us get to know one another a little better.

Thank You Suzanne for organizing that visit to Chanticleer. I can't begin to express how grateful  I am for your sharing this jewel of a garden with me.

So, last Sunday, with camera in tow, my daughter and I met up with a friend and we took in the delights of this incredible pleasure garden.

For a Sunday it was not to crowded, but then it’s still early in the season...

I don’t know how others experience their visit(s) to Chanticleer, but for me it’s the colors, texture and spaces. A walk through this pleasure garden always leaves me refreshed and restored. Even my family notices its effect on me… Now, they even tell me when I need to go visit Chanticleer.

On this first visit of the 2011 season, I learned that a new book has been published about the garden…

Adrian Higgins. Photographs by Rob Cardillo
176 pages | 10 x 7 | 92 color, 2 b/w illus.
Cloth Apr 2011 | ISBN 978-0-8122-4274-4 | $29.95

The photographs and text in this book take you through the different seasons, and moods of the garden. Can I just say… Mothers Day is coming-up!

Chanticleer is open
April – October
Wednesday – Sunday

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Where is Your Treasure?

19 Don’t store up treasures here on earth,
where moths eat them and rust destroys them,
and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves
do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is,
there the desires of your heart will also be."  Matthew 6:19-21 NLT

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In Search of Cherry Blossoms & Spring

Spring Bulbs in the Rose Garden
This past Saturday my husband and I had a "Date Day", and we visited Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill, PA. We went in search of spring... fresh air... warmer weather... cherry blossoms... and some special time together. We found all that we were seeking, except the cherry blossoms - it was still a bit to early and they hadn't yet burst out from their winter slumber.

Each spring, Morris Arboretum hosts an annual Japanese Cherry Blossom Celebration. The Festival offers a variety of activities for both children and adults, and celebrates the art, culture and gardens inspired by the 35 varieties of cherry trees that grace the Arboretum with their blossoms each spring.

Lydia's Seat - in 1910 garden steps, a wall & seat were built into the hillside at the north end of what would become the Rose Garden
The seat & stairs were a favorite garden approach from the Compton Mansion to what was the mixed flower & herb garden, today the seat provides a special & a bit more secret view of the Rose Garden
Stone wall the around the Rose Garden built in 1924 & made from Wissahickon schist

In the early 20th century, John and Lydia Morris (founders of the Morris Arboretum) established one of the finest collections of Japanese plants and gardens in the region at their home, Compton, which would later become the Morris Arboretum. The Morrises vision was to promote an understanding of the relationship between plants, people and place. The Morrises recognized that plants and people depend on each other for survival.

“The progress of the world is so rapid and the hurry of life so great that we are apt not to stop and consider the interest which old landmarks may have for future generations and old buildings are allowed to be destroyed until little remains in our city to show the difference between the past and the present ant to mark the changes that take place even in a single lifetime.” 
-Excerpt from the will of John Morris

Germination Sequence Sculpture

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is a historic public garden and educational institution. Morris Arboretum is the official Arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Witchhazel near the Mercury Loggia (built in 1913)
Witchhazel near the Mercury Loggia - this shrub is around 100 years old!
Spring Flowers near the Log Cabin - Lydia Morrises private retreat
Close-up of spring flowers near the Log Cabin
Lenten Rose - Hellebore Orientalis
Bleeding Heart emerging near one of the Japanese Gardens
Spring House Garden
Close up of Lenten Rose near the Spring House Garden

If you live near Philadelphia, you can still catch the Japanese Cherry Blossom Celebration at Morris Arboretum this coming weekend – April 9th.

As we celebrate the coming of spring with the blooming of the Cherry Blossoms, lets not forget to keep our Japanese brothers and sisters in our thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Making All Things New

Why I Love Spring!
 “…The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!... This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. ”   2 Corinthians 5:16-18 MSG & NLT 

My days have been Over-packed




Running from one event to the next

Is anything really happening?
A gnawing sense of being unfulfilled

Moving from many things
...to the one necessary thing

The beginning of a Spiritual life

A change of heart

At first barely noticeable...

A joyful

 A gift

A gift

 A new
Made New - Renewed!

The discipline of solitude
into the active presence
of God’s Spirit

Discovering space
for God
in our innermost being

Distractions and obstacles removed

           A heart changing 

{ Centered }

Space to listen

God speaking
Day and night
In our work and play
In joy and sorrow
In solitude and community

Attentive to that small voice


Priorities changed







Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More delights from Springtime in Paris

and Fine Dining
At the Flower Show Life is A Bed of Roses!
The "Perfect" Setting
Here Comes the Bride!
Even "The Cake Boss" didn't want to miss out on the Flower Show
Espresso Anyone?
and Shopping...
QVC's Display - This was their 1st year of broadcasting from the Flower Show

Au revoir Paris… 
I’m already looking forward to the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show (March 4 – 11) 
Hawaii, Islands of Aloha!