Still waiting

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I had to laugh when I read one of my posts from a few weeks ago. It was a rare warm day, and I was excited that spring was about to arrive. Well, I’m still waiting, and that was about a month ago! It’s been a cold, cold spring. Here it is, early April, and I woke up to find the birdbath frozen solid yet again. There were two small finches trying to get water from the small melted area around the birdbath heater. The bigger bird was hogging the space, while the smaller was pecking at the ice. I don’t think the smaller one ever did get a drink before they flew off. When they left I made sure to fill it up with more water so the ice would melt.

A few of my flowers gave up waiting for warmth, and just went ahead and bloomed. For those stalwarts, I am truly grateful. And I did go out to get some pansies. I just couldn’t wait anymore! Besides, pansies don’t mind the chill. As a matter of fact, they don’t even like hot weather. They stop blooming in the summer heat, so now is the time to enjoy them.

Now I did check the forecast for the next few days, and I think the end is in sight. Temps are heading up to more comfortable levels, with lots of sunshine. I’ve got a lot of work to do out in the yard, and I’m ready to go. And with some real warmth, I might actually get that work done! I’m such a weakling when it comes to the cold. I have been known to hibernate when it’s cold. But this year, the hibernation has gone on way too long. Let’s get a move on spring, I’m still waiting!

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Our Church Family

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Two years ago, a group of musician friends left our old church in search of a better fit for our music. I understand that this is a pretty common event amongst church goers, but that didn’t make it any easier. As a matter of fact, it was quite painful. But after two years, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing. You want to talk about your proverbial blessing in disguise? That’s exactly how it went.

So here it is two years later, and it’s like we’ve always been there. You look around the church during mass, and all you see are the smiling faces of people you know and care about. It’s like coming home every time you’re there. There’s something so comforting about knowing so many people at your church. It’s like walking into a family get together every Sunday. And really, isn’t it just that? Isn’t it a community family?

When Catholics attend mass, there is a part of the service called “Passing the peace”, where you shake hands and greet those sitting close to you. You know you are with your church family when those brief moments are never enough to greet everyone you know sitting near you!

Until we moved to our current church, we had always belonged to large parishes, but I’ll never go back again. There’s just something about a small church, everyone becomes a family. It’s easier to get to know people, and to get involved. So if you are ever feeling disconnected, find a small parish nearby and you’ll never feel lonely again.

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Let’s Master Gardening!

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I’ve been a passionate gardener for quite a few years now, even to the point where people often ask my advice on their own gardens. But truthfully, I have no real training or certification. Everything I know is self taught. I’ve read many books, studied garden blogs from around the world, and just went out and tried things myself in my own yard. But soon, I’ll get some real expert training by starting my Master Gardener classes. I can hardly wait!

The Master Gardener program is really a volunteer program. Once you become a Master Gardener, you are expected to put in time in the community to help others with their gardening issues. Whether it’s planting flowers in public places, manning the garden hotline, volunteering with school garden clubs, or giving garden talks to groups, there is a volunteer opportunity for everyone. And in return for your commitment, you are taught and trained in all aspects of gardening. Sounds like a winning arrangement to me.

So it’s back to school for me next month. I think I even need to go out and buy myself a notebook! Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve needed school supplies? Well, it doesn’t matter, because I’m excited either way. Becoming a Master Gardener is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’ll wear my title with pride.

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Spring Hope

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Winter is winding down, finally. Only a few more weeks, and we will officially be in spring. Isn’t it about time? We even had a lovely little snowstorm this week, in March! That’s just not right. But a few days later, and the memories of that little snowstorm are almost gone. Can you hear my victory cheer? Oh, it will certainly get cold again. Heck, it will probably even snow again, at least a little. But on days like this, I know we’ve broken the back of winter.

Today it was pleasant enough to do the winter cleanup in the garden. In another few weeks, I’ll be out planting my spring vegetable crops. See, I’ve almost made it through winter with my sanity intact!

So did you get the impression that I’m not a fan of winter? That obvious, huh? To me, winter is something to be “gotten through”, nothing more. I’ve tried to appreciate the good parts, the slower pace, the pretty white snowfalls, etc. But by the end of winter, I’m over it. I’ve used every survival trick I can think of, and I’m ready to just be done with winter. I think I’ll finally get my wish! Today and tomorrow are both due to be warm and sunny. The first flowers are blooming. Spring is just a few weeks away, I’m almost there. Can I get an amen?

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Branching out…

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I’ve always considered myself a little adventurous, but I think I was kidding myself. I love to travel, but for the most part, I stick with traveling the United States. Traveling my own country means I don’t have to learn a new language, or worry about the food, or where the next restroom will be found, things like that. It’s easy and safe, while still being out exploring. That’s adventurous, right? No?

So recently I had the opportunity to go on a business trip with my husband to Mexico. I was a little nervous, but because his boss is a native Mexican, he is familiar with the country. It was a very safe and picturesque part of the country we visited, and we had an incredible time. But it really got me thinking. I haven’t been adventurous at all!

This little vacation was so filled with wonder, that it made me yearn for more. I want to go more places, experience more, and see the world! Just one little trip made me realize what I was missing. So I’ll try not to be so nervous next time a trip opportunity arises. After all, who knows what the next adventure will be!

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Is Winter Over Yet?

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I’ve tried, I really have. I tried to get on board with the whole winter thing. After all, I live in the north. Winter is going to come every year whether I like it or not. But as this long, cold winter wears on, I find myself sighing heavily every time I read yet another chilly forecast. Isn’t it over yet?

I’m just one of those people who are always cold, so I spend my day shivering no matter what I do. I wear sweaters and slippers, but it just doesn’t help until I have a blanket on and the space heater pointed directly at me. Even my extra cups of hot tea are not always sufficient. It’s hopeless.

Soon winter will begin to give way to spring. I’ve already seen the shoots out in the garden, so I know it will happen. But by the end of February, I’ve begun to lose heart. It can’t come soon enough! I’ve already used up all my winter survival tricks. I’ve purchased fresh flowers. I’ve visited the local indoor conservatory garden. I’ve looked at other garden blogs from around the world. I’ve ordered my seeds, and planned this year’s garden. Still, I wait.

The only trick I haven’t tried yet is to visit a warm location, and that one will be tried out this weekend with a little mini vacation. Maybe, just maybe, it will be enough to get me through the rest of this winter.

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Comfort and Care

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I’ve never been very good at dealing with medical problems, whether my own or anyone else. In other words, I knew early on that I would never be a doctor, or any other kind of medical professional. But when you raise children, you just have to deal with it anyway, no matter how difficult it seems. Turns out that as you age, there comes a time when medical issues pop up more and more often. Just great. I’ve never liked to face any kind of health problem straight on, but as time goes by, you simply have no choice. More and more of your family and friends have illnesses or injuries to deal with, and ignoring it just doesn’t work. I’ll be honest, it’s my least favorite part of life.

Favorite or not, it has to be faced. There comes a time when a loved one needs you there to help you deal with something. Okay, fine, I guess I have to go. Grumble, grumble. But you know what? It wasn’t so bad. My brother needed a little support while his wife had major surgery, and I was able to go and provide that support. Now that I’m not working, it sure is nice to be able to do these kinds of things, to just drop everything and drive up there to hold his hand. Actually, we mostly just talked and laughed all day. But it accomplished the same thing.

Now I’m not saying these things to brag about my good heart. Part of it was simply family obligation. No, I’m saying these things to tell others not to be afraid to provide a helping hand in times of trouble. I don’t like hospitals anymore than the next guy. However, sometimes you just have to suck it up and go. You’ll be surprised how good it feels. And your loved ones will thank you.

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Dust and Ashes

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Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. For many Christians, it begins a time of reflection, prayer, fasting, and penance. As a Catholic, I’ll refrain from eating meat today and all the Fridays of Lent. And while it isn’t mandatory, many Catholics give up things for Lent. It should be something that will really be a sacrifice, something difficult. And it doesn’t have to be food either. Honestly, wouldn’t it be better to give up smoking, or drinking, or gossiping, or some other bad habit? One year, I attempted to give up speaking badly of anyone and even though I am a pretty positive person, it was nearly impossible!

The important part of Lent should be the reflection, and you don’t even have to be a Christian to do that. Why not spend the next few weeks thinking about how you can make the world a better place? There are so many ways you can do that, from grand gestures to simple acts of kindness. Let’s do it. Let’s pass on the spirit of giving, even if you just buy the next guys coffee at McDonald’s. Lent can be a better time for everyone, with your help.

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Silver and Gold

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We’ve all heard the old axiom “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” I firmly believe this is true. I love to make new friends, but there is definitely something to be said for the friends of your youth. It’s the history thing. You have so many memories to share, and stories to tell, yet you still have the present day to enjoy together. It’s the perfect mix.

This weekend I had the pleasure to enjoy time with such a friend. We had years of ground to cover, including shared history, the in between years, and our current lives. Mission accomplished! It’s a shame we lost a few years in the middle to only exchanging Christmas cards. But it’s okay, we’re all caught up now. So go out and make those silver friends, but those gold ones sure are keepers!

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Time to Clean House

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I’m having company in a few days. One of my childhood best friends is coming to stay for the weekend, and there is much to do in preparation. Am I crazy? Does anyone else clean like a mad woman when friends or family comes to stay? Seriously, do you think she will notice if there are a few brown leaves on my houseplants? What if my kitchen rugs were not freshly washed? Do I have to dust the baseboards? I know, I’m getting carried away. I look at it this way, if I didn’t have company, my house would never get the deep clean treatment.

Of course, after the cleaning, comes the fluffing. I’ll need fresh cookies, maybe homemade muffins, and certainly fresh flowers. I’ve been known to go out and buy fresh towels and pillows, but I think I’m all right this time. There are activities and meals to plan. Oh, and I need wine! Well, of course I have wine, but she’s a special guest, so I want to have a few of the best wines, just to please her.

Well, nothing’s getting done here while I’m on the computer, so I’d better get busy. Let’s see, I’ll need to wash the shower curtains, dust the top of the fridge, polish the silver, mop the garage….Nah, but I do need to clean that bathroom!

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