The Sunshine Factor

where sunshine is a way of life


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The Snow Fairies

THE SNOW FAIRIES

The calendar said early spring

although the snow fairies said winter.

They danced and whirled and swirled

across the pavement

sashaying until all of a sudden,

they looked like they forgot their steps;

they scattered every which way

and the wind just laughed

 

I figure the snow fairies live with the wind

he pushes them:  sometimes angrily

but most of the time, gently.

He is partially responsible for ….

for what?

The brilliant little diamonds on their tiny crowns

these diamonds end up lying at the side of the road,

crashed and clunked and run over by unsuspecting motorists

 

Now it’s April Fool’s Day

and the weather joke continues

Spring is scared to come back

and take her rightful place

We pray she won’t be scared much longer

As the robins are already chirpingclouds their pleas to her


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Art Gallery in the Magazine

Hi!  Do you see the pictures below the Pinterest banner – in the right sidebar?  I refer to those pictures as my Art Gallery.  I plan to switch them out monthly unless there are some that are really liked by people.  How would I know which ones people like, you ask?

If you click on any of the pictures to see better, you will see the picture, its entire caption, AND a chance to comment on it.  My computer would not let me comment, but that’s probably because I originated the gallery.  But YOU can…give it a shot and let me know how it works out.

http://stantonsunshine.net

 

Thanks!

 


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Stanton Sunshine

Howdy!  There are many things I could write about Stanton Sunshine – why I’m launching it on January 4th; what it is; my Stanton Sunshine page on Facebook; and what you can look forward to.  I will discuss the last three options today.

Stanton Sunshine is an online magazine that posts new material monthly, focusing on a positive, joy-filled lifestyle with the help of an online community (you).  I will be publishing art from both children and adults, writing pieces from both children and adults, and many other features.

Thanks to those of you who have already “liked” the Stanton Sunshine Facebook page.  I would love to have all of you get over to that page:  http://www.facebook.com/thankfulgirl (Debb Stanton) and click on http://www.facebook.com/stantonsunshine.   Perhaps you could click on “Share” and help me get the word out.  🙂

So what can you look forward to?  A family-friendly community of friends who build each other up, a place of encouragement and caring, and sometimes even a place of laughter.  If you are interested in sharing your writing (or artwork or photography) in a medium other than your own blog, we at Stanton Sunshine think this magazine is your ticket!  Stay tuned to The Sunshine Factor and Stanton Sunshine page for updates later on.  (If you are a person who likes visuals, I have a countdown going on in the right sidebar relating to the launch date, January 4.)

Keep on soaking up that sunshine!  🙂

 

Debb

 


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The Conclusion of the series, “The Adventures of Debb’s Blog…”

Ahhh.  The Great Launch.  It’s coming soon on January 4th!   I’m still keeping The Sunshine Factor blog, but it will published within an online magazine, called Stanton Sunshine.  This is where my writing trail has brought me, and it feels like a very nice place!

How will this be different than a blog, you might be asking.  This one will be a community effort of like-minded individuals willing to share their particular kind of sunshine to make up one big place where everyone can participate.   But why participate?  To give and receive emotional support in a world that seems to be getting darker by the day.   You can be published here if you want to be! You can submit artwork, or that of your children or grandchildren.  Like a great recipe?  Please share with the author of the magazine, me, and I will look into getting it out to the community.  Prefer to just read and enjoy?  That’s great, too, but hopefully we can each get the word out to our friends about Stanton Sunshine.

I’ve always believed that to be a museum curator would be an awesome job.  I could decide what would be displayed and what wouldn’t.  I could gather friends together for a good time while enjoying art (and in this case — art AND literature). I would be hot on the trail, and new finds would pepper my museum.  So actually, I can be a curator after all – just in magazine format.  And in a community format, where all people are loved and welcome and can find a positive spin on their lives.

Together we can be strong — that is my motto.  This is how we will begin the new year.  (Start now by signing up for my new Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/stantonsunshine.  I will keep you abreast of the latest developments and trailmarkers on this Facebook page as well as on this blog.)

More soon!


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The Adventure of Debb’s Blog and Her New Trail: Part Five

In taking a hard look at my blog, I enjoyed having a mixture of posts – recipes, poems, stories, articles…but I wanted more.  I wanted artwork from children and adults filling up the blog, along with guest poems and articles.  I wanted to have (and give my readers) it all!  So the next question was:  so where can I get all this additional writing?  The answer came to me when I defined what my blog is.

I call this blog and its readership a community of people with the same goal and focus:  finding the sunshine in your life in spite of sometimes negative circumstances.  Hmmm….a community thrives on its citizens all contributing in their own special way.  Oh!  Oh!  Oh!  Our Sunshine community could do that – offer up their own kinds of sunshine to the community.  We could be enriching each other’s lives!  The extra photos, art, book reviews, stories, poems, articles would fit into that niche in a grand fashion!

If I could write for my blog two weeks out of the month, and write my various projects in the other two weeks, how fantastic would that be?!  I had been having a conflict within myself about writing the blog so much I was neglecting the other part of my writing life.  Here, my friends, was my answer.  If I created a new website with a lot to read, enough to keep people busy for a month, I could do all my writing!  AND get my friends involved in a great project, too!  🙂

Next up:  Where Debb’s trail ends up and announcement of The Great Launch – coming soon to a computer near you!

 


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The Adventure of Debb’s Blog and Her New Trail: Part Two

nature often inspired Debb to write

nature often inspired Debb to write

Want to know how Debb decided what posts would be in her blog?  She explains it below.

I promised God that I would post something every day, since He had inspired me to write a blog.  Amazingly, I was able to accomplish this.  (I try not to make promises lightly, since I am a woman of my word; but this promise to God – well, I thought that maybe I was promising in the heat of excitement and realization, and maybe I wouldn’t carry it out.)

In September I noticed that my early morning walks often yielded an idea for a post (or many posts).  I drafted the post or posts in my head while walking and enjoying nature.  (Oftentimes, the posts did talk about the nature I’d seen.)  I’d come home from work and rush to the computer so I could capture my thoughts.

The more I wrote, the more lively my imagination became.  I no longer cared what my audience would think.  Whatever grabbed my attention is what would show up in my blog.  I laughed at myself within posts (for instance, when I had bragged to my boss I was a good cook, and when he came to dinner, the dinner bombed – haha) and put myself out there as someone who makes mistakes – plenty of them at times!

Next up:  what forms of writing did Debb employ?  See you next week!


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The Adventure of Debb’s Blog and Her New Trail: Part One

Being a breast cancer survivor was the first reason Debb started to blog

Being a breast cancer survivor was the first reason Debb started to blog

Have you ever wondered why I started this blog and why I gave it the name I did?  Today you shall find the answers.

Debb Stanton was used to “silent retreats” at her friend’s Catholic church.  Contemplative was another way of describing them, and Debb was hooked.   “Still waters run deep” had been said of her to describe her quiet curiosity and introversion.  She liked the silent retreats because she could be alone with her thoughts and her Lord except for a couple of worship services and meals with the other retreatants (meals which were also silent, a woman needing to smile and point at the salt shaker in order for it to be passed to her).  She could nap all afternoon in her tiny guest room, or she could pray, or journal, or whatever.  At this point in Debb’s life, she was very much a perfectionist who said to herself, “I’ve got to journal every day.  I must journal every day.  What kind of writer can I be if I don’t write every day?  I’d better journal every day…”  and with white-knuckled determination she would come home from a retreat and force herself to write — for a grand total of two, maybe three days and then -poof!- she’d ease up on herself and no more writing would be done for awhile.
In August of 2012, Debb was two weeks away from her third cancer survivorship anniversary, and she went on a women’s retreat with her church friends.  This retreat was not a silent retreat (in fact, anything but).  Debb brought her Kindle along, and she discovered a poet who had a blog on WordPress.  By the end of the retreat, Debb was convinced that her “assignment” was to start a blog, and to write on it every day.  She was very thankful for her cancer recovery, and she was in a hurry to let as many people as possible know that getting a cancer diagnosis was not necessarily a death sentence — she was living proof.
WordPress was the blogging platform Debb chose, and when it came time to name the blog, she decided on “Sunshine Factor”.   Sunshine because this described her personality and was the nickname she was called by many people.  The ‘factor’ part came because “inner sunshine” was a big part of her life, and it was one of the factors that helped her through her cancer and beyond.
When Debb found out that Sunshine Factor is also the name of a pet and bird food and medicine company, she added a disclaimer to her blog, stating that she and they were not the same.  In the last couple months she bought her own domain name; now the blog is “The Sunshine Factor”.  Even though she loves animals and birds, Debb was now her own entity, not part of a company about animals, and she had her own blog.
Next up:  Part Two, which discusses how the blog became something of a melting pot of ideas, encouragement and creative writing.   See you next week!


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Orange Leaves

There is a tree outside my window that I just love.   In spring its leaves are a pinkish hue, and now in fall they are peach-and-orange colored.  It’s not a maple tree – I wish my dad was still around, I would ask him and he would be able to tell me immediately what kind of tree I have.

Seeing that tree every time I come into my office makes me smile.  It is like a rainbow in that I see beautiful parts of nature as telling us, “life goes on, and some things don’t change.  There is promise.”

May you have a beautiful day today, too.   Smile and know that you, too, hold promise in your heart and in your life.


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Poetry Saturday: The Brook

THE BROOK

I sat near the bubbling, happy brook
and eased into reading a good book

Oh, my heart the brook took
but the brook was not appreciated by the rook

Happy waters do not make a crook
It was his crimes that made him be forsook

Alrighty, then, please take a look
is there anything finer than a clear, lovely brook?


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Humanizing Wednesday: The Wind and the Petunias

English: A Petunia sp.

English: Petunias (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THE WIND AND THE PETUNIAS
Sitting on my deck one day

I noticed the hanging purple petunias

they seemed to be laughing with glee

at the wind, who made the flower pot dance

The wind, it turned out,

was telling the flowers a funny story

sometimes he would come closer to them

and they would bob their heads up and down

laughing singly and with their petunia friends

(their blossoms would blow sideways when they were sharing the joke with their friends)

As the laughter died down

and the petunias didn’t move too much anymore

the pot stopped spinning on its hook

and the wind decided to go somewhere else

to tell his funny stories


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Humanizing Wednesday: The Angry Sea

 

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill as seen from s...

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill as seen from space by NASA’s Terra satellite on May 24, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

English: Oil Slick in the Timor Sea, September...

English: Oil Slick in the Timor Sea, September 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

A beach after an oil spill.

A beach after an oil spill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Angry Sea

The ocean, so colorful and calming,

could also be a threat to swimmers and sailors and vacationers.

But unexpectedly, one of the oceans named Claire

was actually violently angry toward people –

the people that couldn’t prevent oil spills

or keep from killing thousands of sea birds and animals.

She felt so bad for the lives lost in her waters —

human beings and ocean creatures both.

She just couldn’t forget the last ocean catastrophe,

and she couldn’t forgive people with their corporations

lusting for money so much they forgot to be careful

with how they used natural resources.

 

Claire called upon her old friend Thunder

and his friend Lightning

to see if they held her same opinion.

“We certainly agree,” thundered her very loud friend Thunder.

Lightning, for his agreement, flashed his eyes quickly,

blinding everyone who saw him.

Since the sky was now dark,

stars, the sea’s friends,

twinkled their appearance

and joined in the discussion.

“Yes, we look small to living creatures on the earth,” they responded,

“but we are actually big,

and we are very ANGRY too.”

 

The outcome of this nature’s summit

was that Claire decided to do things differently.

She asked the tides to be a little more gentle

so Claire wouldn’t have to be rough in turn.

(The tides said they would try.)

Thunder and Lightning and anything else

getting Claire to act up

promised to do all they could to prevent more tragedies from happening.

 

So now when you see the clouds roll in but

Thunder and Lightning do not show up,

you are benefiting from the summit they had with Claire.

And one day, Thunder and Lightning hope,

they will just hang out for short little light shows but nothing harmful.

Claire is going to work on forgiveness,

and in the meantime,

she will still be a very caring agent of nature.

Long live Claire and other oceans and bodies of water like her, and their inhabitants!


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Focus for Wednesdays

cropped-look-both-ways2.jpg

As a writer for both children and adults, I often give human traits to plants and animals. My imagination seems to soar, turning things I see in my everyday life into a story or poem.

Instead of writing of series of “humanizing” posts, I will reserve each Wednesday for my humanizing writing. I have two ideas so far, and having a focus for Wednesdays will prompt me to keep on finding more stories.

My first “humanizing” post will be Wednesday, August 21st. I hope you will join me.  🙂


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Seaside Sparkles

“Seaside Sparkles”

 

Oh, to once again be by the seaside

where the seagulls glide

and negative thoughts hide

this is my dream

 

You can smell the salt in the air

where everything is fair

where my spirit will dare

to be at peace and just be

 

The sun sparkles on the sea

blissful I will be

the sparkles make a plea

“please be open and appreciate the now!”

 

Beauty can make you squint in surprise

beauty and nature tell no lies

let’s live this life for all it’s worth

what a wonderful new birth


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Poetry Saturday: Guest Poem

Today I turn the “podium” over to my friend Erik Andrulis from http://erikandrulis.wordpress.com.  I am thrilled that he shares such a wonderful memory…

Erik writes:

I found this poem, “Warm from Cold,” in my notebook as dated 1/18/88.  However, I think the original version of this poem dates back to 1986.  The poem tells the story of a common occurrence when I was a child – my mother sending me out into the cold—out to play in the snow—only to have her welcome me back into the warm: in front of the fire, the warm hot chocolate, the warmth of her love.

” Warm from Cold”

Covered with a scratch wool scarf,
an itchy wool hat,
(that the moths had never reached),
two unmatched mittens,
scritchy stretchy socks,
with sandwich baggies over them
(so my socks and toes wouldn’t get wet),
rubber golashes with metal clasps,
shoulder-strap ski pants,
and broken zippered jacket
held together by safety pins
(broken in by my brother),
my mother sent me out—
into the pouring snow,
to prance, to parade, to frolic
in blissful pageantry,
to roll, to throw, to build
with eternal creativity—
only to return
to a state of time,
soaked and frosty
from head to toe.

She would then proceed
to peel off my layers,
wrap me in a warm blanket,
sit me down before
the crackling, sparkling, warming fire,
give me graham crackers
and hot chocolate
with tiny marshmallows
served on that old wooden tray,
then sit down beside me
read me a book
tell me she loved me
thaw me close
and rock me to sleep.

This poem makes me want to go play in the snow!  I think a poem is truly successful when it brings the reader back in time where one can experience all their senses through the poem’s words, such as this one.  Thanks for guesting today, Erik!  🙂

Debb

 

 


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Miracle on a Rail

Sunday morning, while watering my flowers on the deck, I saw a miracle of nature.

After watering the flowers by the sliding glass door, I proceeded to the front of the deck where there are numerous pots of flowers. For only the second time in nine years did I see a bird or two on the railing (it is up high, above the garage). I guess the neighborhood birds know that the resident red tabby is no longer patrolling the area! Tiger would have really liked today…one of the two sparrows remained. As I quietly, slowly came closer so I could water the flowers, one of them stayed right where he was. He looked at me with his tiny beady eyes and didn’t even flinch. You just got up, I said to myself, so you are dreaming this. No bird has ever let you come this close before. He isn’t injured or anything…

As I moved onto the next pot, “Birdie” flew down to the deck floor and drank the spilled water on the wood planks underneath the blossoms. That gave me an idea…I poured some water on a nearby plank. Sure enough, Birdie hopped over and drank some more.

I went into the house to get a small, narrow saucer to give a makeshift birdbath to my new friend. But alas, when I came back, he was gone…bummer! I hope my friend comes back to visit, as I really enjoyed looking at this sparrow up close. His feathers were edged in white (sort of like my purple star-shaped petunias that are edged in white), and on the center of his back, he had some baby-bird-down. So I had befriended an almost-grown-up baby bird!

That is the narrative of the few minutes of fellowship Birdie and I seemed to have. A sweet time! Almost as if I had been in another world. 🙂


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Commonality

The farmer in the dell

The choir director in the choir loft

My cats in their sleepy nap places

The writer in her favorite writing spots

The housewife in the house

The flowers in the garden

The bus driver in his bus

The baby in its bassinet

The page in the chapter in the book:

What have all these things and people in common?

They are right where they are supposed to be

Not second-guessing

but accepting

and growing and thriving

They are doing what they are called to do

and even if they can’t think about it

(i.e. flowers)

they are all the richer

for being in their right place at their right time

Isn’t it nice to know we each have a purpose

even if we haven’t spotted it yet?

Never fear, friend so dear

You are purposeful too

and I am very glad our paths crossed!

—DJLS

 

 


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Response to Daily Prompt 7/27/13

Daily Prompt: A to Z

by michelle w. on July 27, 2013
My response:
A 1910 photograph of The Orchard in bloom

A 1910 photograph of The Orchard in bloom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THE ORCHARDIST AND HIS DAUGHTER

Apples, cherries, apricots and peaches are what her dad grew in his orchard on a high hill. Bees made it a point to drink the nectar from the blossoming trees in spring and summer. Choirs could not attempt to capture the glory of this orchard. Dentists liked the orchard because their patients could eat something healthy, that wouldn’t cause problems for teeth. Everything in its time and place, the orchardist often said. Failure to try meant a failure to live fully. Gossiping was over-rated, since it was not a very healthy habit. Hayrides could be held in orchards, but not in this one. Importance was placed on working hard, not hardly working. Jugglers would love to juggle in this orchard, as the view to the surrounding Lake Michigan would have been a beautiful backdrop. Kildeer birds were found in the orchard, the birds with the long, spindly legs and seagull-like cry. Lake Michigan down below was like a beautifully sparkling, blue jewel. Monarch butterflies flew nearby, but human monarchs did not have as beautiful a kingdom as this. Never be afraid of hard work, the orchardist said. Optimize joy, is the idea his daughter now practices. Press memories firmly in your heart so they can add value to your life. Questions in life will always abound, but good questioning leads to wonderful living. Ranting and raving tends to bring a person down, so stay away from it. Sarcasm is also another energy-draining vice that is a good idea to leave at the door. Troubles are made easier by sharing with a trusted friend. Umbrellas do their best work when rain is falling without heavy winds. Victory can be ours if we but persevere. When someone asks for help, freely give it, because someday you may be asking for help. Expound on the good, forget the bad, and balance can be found, pretty as a peace rose.  Yellow is the orchardist’s daughter (me)’s favorite color, its creaminess being a very calming feature for her.  Zebras are black and white, but woe to the person who sees the world in just those colors.


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Poetry Saturday: Stars and Paths

Wonders of the night sky map 20

Wonders of the night sky map 20 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“May a happy star always light your path.”
— Chinese proverb

 

I have never looked at the stars at night

without feeling happy

I am part of this great universe

but ultimately tiny

 

My path has always been lit

but sometimes the clouds got in the way

boulders both literal and figurative blocked my way

but the path did not disappear

 

I suppose I am most happy

when the night sky is filled with stars

and when I choose to take a path

that I can follow

 

Nature and life mimic each other

no promises are made

except that change will always exist

and God never changes


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From Peony Palace to Hibiscus Haven

An unidentified white peony blossom.

An unidentified white peony blossom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Dave and I were house shopping for one of our homes, I was standing in the backyard of one of our choices when a picture flashed through my mind. I imagined a whole backyard full of peony bushes. I had always loved them at my aunt’s house, had read that they could live hundreds of years, and were a science lesson – near the blossoms’ opening date each June, you would be able to see ants working hard at opening the petals. I said to Dave, “we could call this house Peony Palace!” It turns out we didn’t buy that house, but later on I did plant a perennial garden under the bay window of our kitchen, and there were many peony bushes. 🙂

I’ve told you recently how Dave and his mom gifted me with many, many, MANY big flower pots as my birthday gift. Well, one of the two smaller plants is a hibiscus. It delights me every day with a new blossom. I am glad that in the story Eric and I are writing, I mention a hibiscus. 🙂 So yes, now my house has a new name, Hibiscus Haven.

It’s interesting how years and age can change things. When I was a little girl, I didn’t understand why my mom loved flowers so much and why my dad was such an enthusiastic gardener for her. Well, now I know! It’s something unexplainable, my love for flowers, but it’s come full circle for me. What a colorful life!

 

 

 


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Happy Birthday, Cherry Blossom!

English: Cherry tree blossom Русский: Цветущая...

English: Cherry tree blossom Русский: Цветущая ветка вишни Latina: Prunus cerasus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve had so many nicknames throughout the years, it’s fun to go back and try to recall them all. 🙂

The one having to do with my dad’s cherry (and other fruit) orchard was the one that was my favorite, but only one person ever called me that (one of my dad’s sisters). I loved spending time in the orchard, and to that end, that’s why I thought the nickname “Cherry Blossom” would be easy to remember. Here’s what I liked about the orchard:

My dad, always having loved forestry and nature, would sometimes bring us home something to teach us…I remember the pail of water he brought home (our orchard was on the outskirts on the other side of town) filled with water from the small pond. The pail had a few tadpoles in it. I forgot what we fed the poor things, but grow up they did: first they grew legs, then their tails disappeared. Then it was time to let them loose!

There was a little, two-room, run-down shack in the middle of the orchard, in the shade and near a bubbling brook. Dad affectionately called it “The Hilton.” I wanted to sew him some curtains for the two windows, but then I realized I hated to sew! (This was at age 10, but I still have not changed my mind about sewing! haha)

The water in the creek running through the orchard was mesmerizing – a quiet but happy sound of bubbling water – and the water quality was better than what we have nowadays in “filtered water”. It was clean, clear, and refreshing!

The grass in the orchard grew tall between the rows of fruit trees. My dog Cookie took great advantage of that. Dad would drive our two dogs to the orchard. As soon as the dogs got out of the truck, Cookie would leap through the high grass, jumping high like a rabbit. (You could see her “smile”, she was so happy to not have to be on a leash.) Trixie, our older dog, just ambled along slowly. Evidently the orchard wasn’t her favorite place like it was Cookie’s.

Last but not least, there were the dark (sweet/”black”) cherries. We as a family could not eat many of them, since they would be sold at the markets in town, but we still managed to eat too much of them. (If you’re not aware of this, sweet cherries can give you a good stomachache if eaten in excess.) My mom made the best sweet cherry pie – the rich custard she would pour over the cherries baked around each individual cherry. Pure bliss!

Love,
“Cherry Blossom”

of193teddybearbirthday


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Deck Memories

THE LARGE FLOWER POTS ON NICOLLET MALL BEAUTIF...

THE LARGE FLOWER POTS ON NICOLLET MALL BEAUTIFY THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT – NARA – 551434 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DSC02526

I miss my cat Tiger.

Now that the deck is redone and covered with flower pots, I notice his absence even more. He always followed me around with my watering can and also drank rain water from the gutter. Now he would have appreciated the increase in flower pots from other years, and he would have been disappointed that a leaf guard has been put over the gutter, so drinking from there would have been more difficult now.

Tiger enjoyed the deck three seasons out of four. He didn’t even mind the cold, since he had a double layer of hair. Micah and Rachael are absolutely not interested in going outside, so it’s a little lonely going out there now. But I had breakfast out there this morning, and tomorrow I want to take time to deadhead the spent flowers and also read for an hour and enjoy nature. Think I will read for an hour? 🙂


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Where the Rabbits Go

English: Eastern Cottontail

English: Eastern Cottontail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Spruce. Tree.

Blue Spruce. Tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my early walk the other day, a rabbit far ahead of me ran from the bushes to the lawn across the street. The house was on a beautiful corner lot that afforded the little bunny much protection.

As I neared the corner, my footsteps slowed down so I wouldn’t scare the bunny. As rabbits do, he posed, frozen. Once I went past the corner, however, I did call out to him softly: “here, bunny, bunny”. That is when the bunny decided he’d better take cover. He disappeared under the magnificently big blue spruce tree where I couldn’t see him anymore. I imagine all his brothers and sisters could fit under the one tree!

With a switch of his white cotton tail, he was off again, this time in the direction from where he came.

My dear Mr./Miss Cottontail is one example of beauty that can’t be touched. 🙂


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Poetry Saturday: Animals and Their Language

Golden RetrieverAnimals have a way of communicating with us
having nothing to do with words

They don’t ponder if they’re going to communicate
but communicate, they do.

On a pre-dawn walk this week
I saw Matthew and his dog Buddy

I called Buddy’s name
I could see the hello in his eyes
and the rhythmic wag of his tail
“Mrs. S!” he seemed to say
even though his lips did not move at all

When I got home from my walk
My cats communicated with me too

Micah circled my legs and gave me a head bump
Rachael ran toward her momma and “chirped” with her tiny little voice

I don’t think my household could ever be without a pet
we would miss the little signs of love and acceptance shown by them


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Happy July!

Lake Michigan - Landsat Satellite Photo

Lake Michigan – Landsat Satellite Photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may have read that I am crazy about the first day of every month. First days are like a miniature New Year’s Day, when we get a new clean slate and have another chance to work hard and at the same time enjoy ourselves.

July is the month of my birth, so I am really happy when July 1 arrives. Even before cancer, I loved birthdays, mine and everyone else’s, and I never got depressed over an upcoming birthday. Now A.C. (after cancer) I love birthdays even more. They are proof that I have a life, that I am still alive and have not missed out on anything. My birthday is a wonderful time in which to count my blessings…and thank God. 🙂

Thinking of July reminds me of the sweet cherries that my dad raised in his orchard in Michigan (and the peaches…and the apples…and the apricots…and the pears!) and how the National Cherry Festival was always held during the week of my birthday. My mom would take us kids to downtown, we would set up our folding chairs to wait for the parade, and I would take my birthday money and buy myself more Nancy Drew books. How convenient that I had something to do (read) while waiting hours for the parade! 🙂 I didn’t receive an allowance, and the fact that I used the very occasional money to buy Nancy Drew books…well, does that explain why I love books more than practically anything?! 🙂

My dad could not go to the parades with us, as he was busy in the orchard during that time of the summer. He hired migrant workers to pick the cherries; he didn’t have shaker machines. If I recall correctly, July, August, and September, he often worked 18 hour days in the orchard (the peaches came in late August).

Thinking of July also reminds me of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes. We lived very close to it. My best sunburns were achieved there on the beach, as if memory recalls correctly, I was down at the water all day, every day. 🙂  In my mind, I can still hear the slap of the water on the innertube I was floating in and the smell of the lake water that was occasionally splashed onto the magazine I was reading while floating.  🙂

Oops, I digressed again. Thank you for taking a trip down Memory Lane with me. I do hope that even if your birthday is not in July, that you have a phenomenal month. 🙂


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June, Lovely June

Around here, spring came about four weeks later than anticipated. So technically, we are still in the middle part of spring. I am really enjoying the fresh smells when I take my early morning/daybreak walks. We have had a lot of rain, so everything is still fresh.

And I remember the June 18th many years ago when I got braces on my teeth. How’s that for a good memory!?


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Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Portrait of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, ph...

English: Portrait of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, photographed by Louis Fabian Bachrach, 1918. Image courtesy of the Lindbergh Picture Collection, Yale University Manuscripts & Archives Digital Images Database. Retouched by MarmadukePercy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“So beautiful is the still hour of the sea’s withdrawal, as beautiful as the sea’s return when the encroaching waves pound up the beach, pressing to reach those dark rumpled chains of seaweed which mark the last high tide.”

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Isn’t this a beautiful description of the sea?  It seems so poetic.  I’m also thinking it would be good to appreciate the sea (or lake or river) during the summer.  Was this quote moving to you?


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Happy June!

photo credit: terrydu via photopin ccMy favorite flower

photo credit: terrydu via photopin ccMy favorite flower

English: Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

English: Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

June is one of my favorite months.  Here in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, the mosquitoes are not at their peak yet, so it’s easier to be outside.   The humidity is not so cumbersome yet.  In early June, the blossoms on the trees such as the crabapple and lilac bushes might still be around for a little while yet.

June seems to be the harbinger of new beginnings, such as graduation from school or college  –and weddings too.  For me, it’s always a time for me to take more walks outside and enjoy nature.

Trivia question:  do you know that in the beginning of the month of June, when you walk past a Russian olive tree, you can smell something spicy, like cinnamon?   My neighborhood had a lot of vacant lots where the deer and other critters lived, and the vacant lots were edged with my “cinnamon trees”.  Alas, now the new subdivision has moved in.  The deer and turkeys are still around; however, my walks don’t smell spicy anymore.  😦

I wish you a very happy month of June, and prayers go out for a safe and remarkable month for you.


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Tiny

Walking in my office building

and coming to the place

where the skyway meets the rest of downtown,

I noticed people scurrying to and fro.

I pondered what we must look like

to the One who made us

those who look like tiny ants

without a hill to work on,

with no teamwork and diligence

like the real ants,

but just beings

rushing existing rushing.

We think we are so important

and what is on our minds is most crucial

We are and they are,

but so small when compared to

the One and the larger plan.


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Like the First Day of School In a Good Way!

Kids bookshelf with German and American childr...

Kids bookshelf with German and American childrens books (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Picture of graves decorated with flag...

English: Picture of graves decorated with flags at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good morning!

Today in the U.S.  it’s Memorial Day.  I wish to thank all of the people who died in service to our country and the people who still serve.  Freedom is such a precious gift!

Even though it’s the informal start of summer today, I feel like it’s the first day of school – making plans for how I will spend my spare time in this new season and what I want to accomplish.  Can you tell, I loved school and college?  🙂

I want to read one new book a week.  This is possible because a) I have one bookshelf devoted entirely to books I haven’t read yet, and b) I am a speed-reader.

I want to comment on posts that I like instead of just liking them.

I want to get my spring housecleaning finished before autumn arrives!  🙂

My goal of more, good quality sleep is still on the agenda.  To be booted out:  freakish nightmare-type dreams.  Not good!

I want to work on my list of writing projects more and find an agent.

Most importantly, I want to continue my quest for antiperfectionism.  That means, I understand at the outset that I cannot possibly get all these things done, but I have a list of things to do when and if I get the chance.  🙂

Happy, happy summer!


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Who Is This?

English: rain flowers

English: rain flowers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She walks in grace and beauty

with a flimsy gauze garment like the sunrise

She loves animals and birds

and helps them to find food

She loves the humans

and comforts their disappointment of a long winter

She is an intelligent artist

who makes sure that the blossoming trees provide awe

She coaxes the tulips and spring flowers

to come out of the soil and inspire enjoyment

She tends the rain bin

and dispenses rain to the earth on schedule

She perfumes the air

with her rain and her blossoms on trees and flowers

She gives hope for a wonderful day

with her elegant sunrises

She lends sweet peace at night

with her peaceful sunsets

Who is this creature

who inspires love and helps us all?

She is Spring.


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Curly, Comfy Morning

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis was illuminated ...

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis was illuminated in pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month during the Arch Lighting for Breast Cancer Awareness Thursday, Oct. 12, 2006. Mrs. Laura Bush delivered remarks and met with the audience members during the event. White House photo by Shealah Craighead (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you might have guessed, writing is my favorite method of communication.  In writing this blog, I don’t usually try to get my writing “just right” or worry about meter or rules.  It is fun to be spontaneous, and that is what I am today.

For my walk this morning I walked on the bridge over the pond or marsh.  Up ahead, at the far end I saw of pair of Canadian geese.  I could see little flashes of yellow near one of them, and sure enough, it was the mama goose.

I didn’t want to turn around so decided to see if I could persuade the geese to stay right where they were.    I couldn’t walk to the side of them because then I would be in the water.   Maybe if I walked slowly and spoke softly to them, I could coax them to stay.  Well, that didn’t work.   First mama goose stood up, and four little, bright yellow goslings tumbled out of her protective wing cover.  She jumped into the pond, and surprisingly for how young they are, the goslings did too.  (I was glad that their first venture into water would not be a panic-filled one.)  Papa goose brought up the rear, jumped in the water, and gave me one sidelong hiss.

I know there are mallards in the area, and I love them, too.  I especially get a kick out of the mallard’s perfect little curl at the end of their tail feathers.

Speaking of curls, I didn’t have to do my hair today.  The rain did that for me.  When I got home from my walk, I just had to scrunch my damp hair, and voila, it was done for the day.  I’m really digging this short hair!  🙂

I’m also appreciating my little pink hoodie that I wear on my walks on these chilly spring mornings.  It is soft and cozy on the inside and displays the breast cancer awareness symbol and sayings on the outside.    I have a penchant for things that are comfortable and make me happy on the inside and outside!

Another comfortable aspect of this morning was the fact that I don’t have to go in to work till later this morning, so I am getting some writing and housework done.

Here’s wishing you a comfy day and a happy spirit.

Love,

Debb


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Earthworms

Rain

it’s been here a lot lately

and even the earthworms have noticed

 

They get flooded out of their homes

under the grass

and come up to the roadside to breathe

 

Why do they not stay at the side of the street

and congregate together as if waiting for a bus?

Perhaps they think the dirt is more dry

across the street

They run the risk of being flattened by others

but they inch along anyway

 

These little guys deserve some credit

they aerate the dirt where they live

and are like little gardeners in their own right

Their homes are in danger of being washed out

but still they keep plodding along

 

Maybe we can take a lesson

from these simple, linear creatures


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Weekend Ramblings

Blue Spruce. Tree.

Blue SpruceTree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Spruce. Branch.

Blue Spruce Branch. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday the cats woke me up about half hour after the time I would normally get up for work.  But 5:15 on a Saturday?!  I decided to get up immediately and go for my walk, and even though it was raining, it was wonderful.  I had plenty of energy the rest of the morning!  I did work on a big project inside till noon… by then the sun was out.  When I went to my home office to write, I noticed how just that day, all the buds on the branches popped and the grass was a light emerald green.

Today was the same scenario.   I guess it wasn’t meant to be a “sleep-in weekend” for me at all.   This morning there were streaks of slate blue and white in the sky.  Now, however, back at home writing, there is thunder, lightning and rain.  Thank you, Rachael, for waking me up when you did.  I got home safely before the storm!

Yesterday the flowering trees must have popped too, because I had a very fragrant walk today.   One of the crabapple trees is next to the sidewalk, and its branches form a canopy overhead for the walkers.  Sweet!  I did notice the bark on the tree, and then other trees as I walked by.  It brought me back to my childhood…

I had a lot of skinned knees and legs as a child.  Why?  Because I loved climbing trees.  🙂  My dad, who loved nature and was a farmer and forester, made me a cardboard sample of a lot of different trees’ bark, all labeled.   I recall from that cardboard (wish I had kept it!) that there weren’t many barks that were smooth.

I recall my best friend in childhood always had skinned knees too. But that was because she kept falling off her bike!

I sometimes wonder if all the mishaps with skinned knees we had were a prelude to us getting older and having broken hearts and hurt feelings and skinned egos…

Back to trees again…my family had a huge willow tree at the corner of the front yard.  A family of hornets lived in it, and they didn’t like my dad mowing the lawn right under their habitat!  So my dad cut it down and put a flowering tree in its place.

We had a lot of spruce trees on our corner lot.  Now the blue spruce that lined the driveway are like very tall sentries.  To this day, my favorite trees are the willow, birch, and blue spruce.

Thank you for reading.  I must say, my walks engender a lot of thinking.  🙂

 


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Nature Journal

English: A white-tailed deer

English: A white-tailed deer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Early yesterday morning, my neighborhood was serene but filled with nature sounds.

As I walked from my street and into the new subdivision, one or two houses in, I saw it.

It was an animal that you don’t usually see in broad daylight.  It was about two miles south of where his “congregation” lives.

It was a deer, standing near the pond that is between that row of houses and the row up the hill behind it.

It was young enough and had no horns, that I didn’t know if it was a buck or doe.

Either way, it stood so still, I was sure at first that it was a realistic-looking lawn ornament.

Then I saw it was real, and it looked at me, as transfixed by the sight of me as I was of it.

I called out gently, “Good morning, deer, I won’t hurt you,” and I walked on.  Wow, I didn’t startle it into running away.

 

Once up the hill and to the next row of houses, I heard a Canadian goose honking.

The sound wasn’t so unusual, it was where the goose was that I found enchanting.

He was standing on top of the roof of a two-or-three-story house; in fact, he was centered perfectly.

He honked a bunch of one-syllable “words” to his buddy or mate, on the ground two houses east.

 

I heard a blue jay “screeching” or cawing as they do.

Come to think of it, I’ve never heard a blue jay sing.

He is related to the common crow, so that is probably why.

Jays are beautiful birds, and I am told they are very protective parents in August.

 

Back home, when I sit down in my living room,

I can see nothing but trees.  I feel like I live in a nature park, and it makes me happy.

 

I thoroughly enjoy my neighborhood!  Here’s hoping you enjoy your little bit of nature where you are.  🙂


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Another Beautiful Day!

Ivan Aivazovsky's painting Walking on Water (1888)

Ivan Aivazovsky’s painting Walking on Water (1888) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I say that, not because it’s early morning on a sunny day.  No, it’s cloudy, but I started the day out with a walk.  No two walks are ever the same with me.  Today’s walk provided some animal company.  🙂

Since it’s my day off, I decided to try another walking route nearby, to see how many minutes it takes to do that one.  Coming home, on the wooden path over the marsh, I saw the black cat.

The black cat who, last year, on one of the trails, let me pet him but then would hiss.  Pet again, hiss.  Pet, hiss.

This year he didn’t hiss at me.  He rolled around on his belly and rubbed against me.  I noticed that he (black) had a mustache area of gray and a few gray hairs sprinkled on his back.  Maybe he is mellowing.  🙂

This cat and I would walk together, he’d stay back and I’d encourage him to walk with me again.  We did that about four times.  It was a sweet moment for me, and upon my return, Micah got to “meet” this other cat from smelling my hand.  Come to think of it, I’ve seen this black cat run up my front porch steps.  He probably knows it’s a cat-friendly place.

By the way, when I got home, I forgot to see how long I had been walking.  Something to do on Saturday.  🙂

You may wonder what the painting on this post has to do with anything I’ve talked about today.  It doesn’t.  I just saw it on Zemanta and loved it so much, I posted it.  You know how I love watercolors and shades of yellow and water itself.   This picture captures all three VERY well.


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My Morning Constitutional

English: An illustration of a European Robins ...

English: An illustration of a European Robins by Henrik Grönvold (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My walk today was wonderful –

English: Mated pair of Pileated Woodpeckers.

English: Mated pair of Pileated Woodpeckers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

not because I got a lot of thinking and planning done

but because I felt like I was on a science class trip.

 

I saw and heard the great Canadian geese

come back for the season and trumpet

The lone male mallard

was just standing in the middle of the street, waiting

I even saw two loons (the bird type!)

hover over one of the small ponds around here

(Apparently they live down here in the Twin Cities now

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

instead of just up north around the lakes)

 

The rest of the birds

mourning dove (who didn’t mourn today)

chickadees

robins

and the rest of the regular variety

performed their own impromptu concert

They didn’t remember

that this neighborhood is known to be a quiet one

I guess I’d rather have bird songs break the quiet

and woodpeckers drilling on trees

than cars driving, music blaring

and people yakking

 

The ones from the amphibian world

the frogs that are always mating or dating

were still asleep – imagine that

 

And the weeping willow:

she was not weeping today

she is still trying to find the spring

 

As for my friends

I wish they were right here

but I will settle for them being in my heart

where I have a nice, comfy place for them

which I guard intensely

 

Dear friends,

As you greet the new day

remember I love  you

you’re never farther

than a thought away


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You’ll Never Guess!

I believe I wrote a post about screaming if it snowed in May.  Well, it is snowing right now!  But I am not screaming because I am at work.  🙂

Tomorrow is my Heart Walk, and I guess I will not be wearing shorts as planned.  It’s back to wearing jackets….but actually the Twin Cities is fortunate.  Farther south in Minnesota and Wisconsin, they got a lot of snow yesterday, complete with downed power lines, etc.  Mother Nature, I think, is having a field day!  🙂

Have a very nice day!


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Happy Birthday, Mom!

English: Pink roses in the garden

English: Pink roses in the garden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unidentified pink hybrid tea roses against lea...

Unidentified pink hybrid tea roses against leaves and sky. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wildflowers

It’s your birthday again
but you’re not here to celebrate
you live in a perfect place
very far away – and I miss you very much

If you were still here
you wouldn’t believe our weather:
snowstorm in April
Sandra would have seen her birthday
covered in snow!

Pink
you were the original “lady in pink”
I’m sure you’re feeling in the pink now
and loving those heavenly roses

Happy Birthday!
Love,

Debbie


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Happy, Happy May!

English: Spring flowers in England

English: Spring flowers in England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s looking at you, kid,

as the Spring takes over

the sun gives you energy

and the birds serenade you with song

 

I’d like you to see and feel

a lot of delight to enhance your days

and show nature’s way

and may your love story stay with you always


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Amazing!

English: IDS Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota ...

English: IDS Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota reflecting the nearby Wells Fargo Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday morning I woke up to a new art display outside from Jack Frost.  It seems he lost his way and got back to the Twin Cities of Minnesota.  The trees were just lovely, and now there were no green spots left on the lawns.  But this was April 24th!  Someone said that’s how the winters here used to be, back around 10 years ago.  Well, I have lived here since 1984 and I kid you not, there has never been snow in April!

What’s really amazing is today it got up to 70 degrees, and there is still some snow left on the ground, although it is very dirty by now.  Anyways, it just shows you can’t always trust what the seasons “should” do .   🙂


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Day 26 Antiperfectionism Series

Observe the butterfly, how he doesn’t start out in the world perfect.

A butterfly is another type of “Ugly Duckling”.    A caterpillar is kind of cute, but it is not the best-looking thing around.   His escape from the cocoon is not a glamorous, beautiful affair.  He struggles a lot to be free.

It seems a lot of people think that no one should see them with their hair messed up or without makeup on.  To that I say, “no one is perfect, and you can just be glad you’re still around. ”  Do I hear a second to that sentiment?


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NaPoWriMo #23

free for use My photos that have a creative co...

free for use My photos that have a creative commons license and are free for everyone to download, edit, alter and use as long as you give me, “D Sharon Pruitt” credit as the original owner of the photo. Have fun and enjoy! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The more I wrote this poem, the more I kept thinking of “Leave it to Beaver” and his buddy Larry!

SLEDDING

Mother said: “You won’t sled and be done
until you have some fun.”

So out he went into the cold and fell off the sled
‘Twas all because of his obtuse friend Fred

Oh, they got chilled to the bone
too cold to have an ice cream cone.

They struggled up the hill flat on their bellies
while Fred, as always, was dreaming of delis.

When they finally got to the hilltop
and in the distance saw a candy shop
Fred got so excited, he fell backwards
and landed on the farmer’s herds.

Mother’s boy had not had fun
he knew this before the day was done

More sledding would have to wait till next year

till his heart saying “Let’s go sledding!” he would hear.


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NaPoWriMo #19 – Happy Friday

THURSDAY
Freezing sleet and hail, oh boy!
but this did not affect my joy
‘Twas very dangerous to walk on the sidewalk
I, Ms. Happy, could not even talk

I even saw a man on a bicycle
what was he thinking, he won’t slip on a nickel?
So I drove my car Claire home, she was left unbathed
slowly but surely we got home, relatively unscathed.

Later came the snow
Hubby took me to dinner
to anyplace farther than the closest restaurant, I would not go
it took us half hour to go a mile, this weather was a dubious winner


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Day 18 Antiperfectionism Series

English: 2007 Earthquakes Located by the NEIC

English: 2007 Earthquakes Located by the NEIC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It takes only a look at nature to realize nothing is perfect.

Even nature, as beautifully as it was created, can have a fault now and then.  I’m referring to floods, tornados, earthquakes and other “acts of God“.  So it’s no surprise that human beings, equipped with individual emotions and thinking processes, cannot be perfect either.


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NaPoWriMo #18

HOUSECLEANING

Clean and polish

vaccuum and dust

why can’t I do it once and for all?

No, this is a regular occurrence

 

Oh, but nature is like that too

God in his artistic intelligence

created seasons and time

the tide going in and out

the moon and sun moving on their courses

 

I enjoy his artwork

and I also enjoy the results of my housecleaning

I guess all is well with cycles, seasons, and duties

____

Hope you are enjoying the fruits of your labor today!  🙂