Mothers’ Day with our beautiful daughters and my flower garden

Abraham Lincoln quote on mother

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”–Abraham Lincoln

I had a great Mother’s Day weekend and hope you did, too. The best part for me was seeing our precious, beautiful daughters Heather and Leah. I went by to see our middle daughter Eden, but she was working late until that night. Hopefully I can see her this week when she is off work. 

Heather bought me a sweet card and beautiful fresh red roses, my favorite flowers–so thoughtful of her!

card & roses from Heather
card & roses from Heather

Heather works full-time, stays constantly busy and on the go, and lives almost an hour away from me here in Butler. So it was a real treat for her to drive here with her girls Annabelle and Violet and take me out to lunch at the Mexican restaurant, El Charro. 

Me & our beautiful daughter, Heather Mothers' Day 2018
Me & our beautiful daughter, Heather
Mothers’ Day 2018

 

Heather opening her card & gift from me The girls watching her Mothers' Day 2018
Heather opening her card & gift from me
The girls watching her
Mothers’ Day 2018

Heather and the girls then stopped by our house to see our black cat with green eyes, Natalya, for the first time. Violet loved her! Natalya is shy, so I was really glad she allowed them to pet and even hold her!

Heather seeing our cat Natalya the first time
Heather seeing our cat Natalya for the first time here

 

Our granddaughters Violet & Annabelle seeing Natalya the 1st time
Our granddaughters Violet and Annabelle seeing Natalya for the 1st time here at our house

Their visit was very short and sweet, because Heather had an errand to run, but I’m so thankful that I was able to see them and spend time with them for this special holiday!

On actual Mother’s Day Sunday, our youngest daughter Leah treated me to lunch at El Charro, too (we both love Mexican and I can never have too much chips and salsa!). Seeing our daughters made my whole weekend!

Me & our precious, beautiful daughter Leah on Mothers' Day 2018
Me & our precious, beautiful daughter Leah on Mothers’ Day 2018

 

Mexican lunch
Mexican lunch

 

I'm addicted to chips & salsa!
I’m addicted to chips & salsa!

The restaurant staff also blessed me with a free dessert for Mothers’ Day: it was a creamy, yummy cake with strawberries!

the yummy dessert: Leah & I shared it!
the yummy cake with chocolate & strawberries: Leah and I shared it!

I’m so thankful that I was able to do this with Leah. It made my whole day.

My husband Ray bought me a beautiful butterfly card (I love butterflies!) and a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, The Empowered Woman. What the card read inside about me being beautiful and what he wrote about me as a mom meant the most to me and deeply touched me.

butterfly card & book
butterfly card & book

To treat myself afterward, I planted some flowers in my flower bed that I’d bought at the Mennonite store in town, the Stoplight Market, where I purchased them last year. All this is a lot of hard work, and I was very sore the next day! I posted a meme on Facebook which read, “My glutes are on FIYAH!”

 

flower bed
my flower bed. I started gardening last year and am happy to have fresh flowers again!

My friend Stephanie urged me to buy mulch for the flower bed, so the rains wouldn’t wash away the petunias. I went the next day to buy the mulch and put it down to protect the flowers.

mulch
mulch

 

petunias
petunias in a variety of colors

 

cute little sign-fairy
cute little sign: fairy crossing

 

yellow daisies
friendly daisies for our back steps

 

purple potted petunias
purple potted petunias

 

gardenias
red gardenias for my sunroom

I love having creamy coffee and drinking it in our sunroom in the morning. It’s a great place to just pray to God and watch the birds, squirrels, butterflies, and bunny rabbits.

coffee in the sunroom
coffee in the sunroom

My mother-in-law Judy bought me this beautiful, little glass table for the sunroom. I love it! It is perfect for my coffee, flowered cactus, and aloe vera plant.

glass table
glass table

Our cat Natalya loves our sunroom as much as I do, but for different reasons. She intently watches the birds and the squirrels, anticipating a kill if she could only get outside (she’s an indoor-only house cat!). 

Natalya watching the birds
Natalya watching the birds

 

Natalya by the sunroom screen
Natalya by the sunroom screen

 

Natalya in the sunroom
Natalya in the sunroom

I bought a few herbs for my sunroom: wonderful-smelling lavender, oregano to use in cooking dishes like spaghetti, and beautiful purple Salvia. I never leave our cat alone in the sunroom with the plants, as some can be toxic. The door stays locked when I’m not in there.

I have the herbs in a big, white crate that was filled with goodies the attendees blessed me with last year, when I spoke at a retreat in Liberty, MO.

herbs: lavender, oregano, and Salvia
herbs: lavender, oregano, and Salvia

 

faith deco in sunroom
faith deco in sunroom

Last year I planted a big butterfly bush to entice butterflies, which I love. It blossomed well, and drew butterflies in my garden. But Missouri can have harsh, cold winters and it’s likely the ice and the snow killed the poor, little plant. I wasn’t able to find a big plant I really liked for that corner, so I bought a Celtic Cross.

I am proclaiming it is a prophetic declaration for me visiting Ireland, one of the things on my bucket list! Irish legend says that Saint Patrick was trying to convert the pagans to Christianity. Some of these pagans worshiped the sun, so it is said that he combined the cross with the circular pattern of the sun as a way to associate light and life with the Christian cross in the mind of his converts. I think it adds a unique touch to the garden.

Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross

I also put new bark mulch around my roses. Last year I planted my first rose garden. Two of the rose bushes look somewhat sad this spring, so they may have to be uprooted and replaced. I’m not sure they survived the winter. The other two rose bushes are doing well, and one is already blooming beautifully.

rose garden
rose garden with stones

 

my roses from this year's garden
my roses from this year’s garden

I bought bags of black sunflower and other little seeds to draw the red cardinals, sparrows, purple finches, blue jays, and other beautiful birds in our yard. I’ve already seen the male and female red cardinals in our yard. The red male cardinal is my special sign of love from God, and it makes me so happy to see one!

I’ve also seen purple finches and mourning doves. Doves make beautiful sounds in the morning and are among my other favorite birds. An interesting fact about doves is that they mate for life. 

red male cardinal Image source: Pinterest
red male cardinal
Image source: Pinterest

 

purple finch
purple finch

Last year my mother-in-law Judy bought me the squirrel-proof feeder on the left in the pic below. The squirrels are greedy, and practically do acrobatics on the feeders, even going upside down, to try to get to the seeds and eat them. 

bird feeders
bird feeders

I also put back out the hummingbird feeder with sugar water, and have already seen hummingbirds at them. I love the hummingbirds; they are so little and cute!

To make safe hummingbird food (there is controversy whether the red dye is safe or toxic to hummingbirds),  mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water and bring to a boil to kill any bacteria or mold that is present. Cool and fill your feeder. They love it! This morning I saw a big black and yellow bumblebee at the feeder; they like it, too, so be careful. I was stung by a bee on my foot as a child, and my foot was swollen to twice its size, so I’m allergic to bees. 

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”–Ashley Smith

hummingbird feeder
hummingbird feeder

The previous owners of this house had planted two pink peony bushes on the side yard. They are now blooming beautifully. My friend Stephanie said these are her favorite flowers, and that if I take care of them, they can grow as big as saucers.

pink peonies bush
pink peonies bush

 

pink peony
pink peony

I have a few more goals for our yard. One is to get a white trellis for the Wisteria tree, that Ray suggested I buy and plant last year. We put it in the front of our house by the little porch. It is now taking over our house, and friends of mine advised to get a trellis to train its growing “arms,” so it won’t destroy the siding on our home.

Wisteria tree
Wisteria tree

My other planned project is to buy 3 giant rocks at The Grass Pad in Martin City, MO, and make an attractive fairy rock garden on top of it. This is where I bought my stones for my rose garden last year. 

I had a very good Mothers’ Day this year and am so thankful.

Me on Mothers' Day 2018
Me on Mothers’ Day 2018

What did you do for the holiday? Leave your comments below.

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The little things

It’s the little things. It doesn’t take much to make me happy (Ray might debate that!). But simple pleasures give me great joy.

When Ray and I recently traveled to Texas and went through what seemed like the storm from hell, Ray’s mom Judy and his step-dad Leonard had a bird feeder and a hummingbird feeder on their back deck at their house by a beautiful lake.

lake by Ray's parents' house near Quitman, TX
lake by Ray’s parents’ house near Quitman, TX
bird and hummingbird feeders on back deck
bird and hummingbird feeders on back deck

I loved getting up early, sitting on the deck praying, enjoying the lake, and watching the birds. It was the first time I’ve ever seen a hummingbird in person and I was so excited. They are tiny and so adorable! I decided when we came home, that I was getting a bird feeder and a hummingbird feeder, too.

Yesterday, I went to the dollar store and Walmart to hunt for the perfect feeders. I found black shepherd hooks to hang the feeders on and bags of bird seed at the dollar store, and the bird feeder and the hummingbird feeder at Walmart.

The hummingbird feeder came with a kit, which included 2 bottles of nectar. Leah said it smells like Kool-Aid.® I told her NOT to drink the Kool-Aid!®  🙂

bird feeder and hummingbird feeder
bird feeder and hummingbird feeder

I’m going to have to go back to Walmart today to get a bigger bird feeder. At lunchtime, I noticed that some of the bigger birds are falling off the tiny ledge of the feeder when they try to eat, so they need a bigger ledge to be able to sit on it and eat. 

bird & hummingbird feeder in our yard
bird & hummingbird feeder in our yard

 I also bought a few new things for my sunroom, one of my fave rooms in our house: a red geranium, a green (golden pothos) plant, and a red flowered cactus with a white ceramic pot with blue and purple flowers on it. I love it!

My sunroom: red geranium, green plant & red flowered cactus
My sunroom: red geranium, green plant & red flowered cactus

One of the reasons I bought the geranium is because they are so hardy. I didn’t inherit my grandmother Moore’s green thumb, so I didn’t want to kill another house plant. Give a geranium some light and water, and it will love you forever. 

red geranium
red geranium

Same thing with the golden pothos plant and this red flowered cactus. I mean, how hard can it be to kill a cactus? Actually you can. The name of the cactus is a ruby ball cactus or moon cactus, and apparently they only live a few years, so they’re ideal for apartment dwellers.

Since they normally don’t live long, I better start preparing for its funeral. It depresses me when my house plants die! But it’s cute for now. I love the pretty ceramic pot. The blue in the dragonfly goes perfectly with my blue chair.

 You have to keep the moon cactus lightly shaded, protected from the full sun. The sunroom should be perfect for it. You water it thoroughly and let it dry out between waterings.

Red flowered cactus
Red flowered cactus

Right next to our sunroom is the utility room, where we hang our jackets and take off our shoes to keep them from muddying the beautiful wood floors in our house. I decorated the utility room with butterfly art Ray bought for me when he went on one of his missions trips to Haiti and birds that Ray’s mom Judy gave us. Her mother (Ray’s grandmother Hutchins) hand-stitched these.

hand-stitched bird pictures
hand-stitched bird pictures

These are the beautiful butterfly art pieces that Ray bought me as a souvenir in Haiti, which are on the other wall in the utility room. I love butterflies. 🙂 

butterflies from Haiti
butterflies from Haiti

The adjoining wall to this one with the butterflies just has a side window and a tiny bit of wall space, so I hung up these brass butterflies, that Ray’s mom also gave us. 

brass-butterflies
brass-butterflies

This morning I sat in the sunroom, praying, journaling, drinking my hot chai with heavy creamer (my little indulgence now since I’ve stopped drinking Cokes®), and watched the birds. I love listening to the sound of the mourning dove. 

chai tea with creamer
chai tea with creamer

Yes, it’s the little things. 

I have felt happy today. Here I am in a new, warm-weather outfit…peach tank, white wrap, and a long, beautifully-colored skirt. Ray said it’s pretty. 🙂

me in new outfit
me in new outfit

What little things mean the most to you? What makes you feel happy and content? Leave your comments below. 

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