Tuesday, May 27, 2014

God is Great ...

We were about to eat lunch Sunday, and my husband asked my dad to say the blessing.  As we reached for each others' hands and bowed our heads, a little voice quietly began ...

"God is gweat, God is good, let us thank Him for our food. Amen."  

We all sat in stunned silence, because that's the first time our little 2-and-half-year-old grandson Maddox had ever actually said the blessing by himself.  We didn't even know he knew the words ... because he usually just says, "Amen," at the end when his big sister Avery says the blessing.   

We were all overcome with emotion, and I will never, ever forget the feeling of that tiny hand in mine and that precious little voice saying the blessing for the first time. I felt God's presence, and know He was smiling down on Maddox with pride.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

I think "Taps" is one of the most beautiful, albeit heartrending, songs ever written, and I couldn't think of a more fitting song to use for this brief slideshow commemorating our veterans this Memorial Day weekend.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

I wish I could personally thank each and every one of them for the sacrifices they and their families made for our country. May God bless and keep them and let them know how much their service is appreciated.

I would also like to thank our servicemen and women who, as I write this, are risking their lives every day to keep America out of harm's way. May God protect them as they protect us, and bless them and their families for the sacrifices they make for us.

I hope you enjoy the slideshow. Be sure to turn your sound up so you can hear the hauntingly beautiful strains of Taps echoing in the background, performed by the United States Army Ceremonial Band.

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fading light, dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

Thanks and praise, for our days,
'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky;
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

Sun has set, shadows come,
Time has fled, scouts must go to their beds,
Always true to the promise that they made.

While the light fades from sight,
And the stars gleaming rays softly send,
To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.
Taps was composed by Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield, an American Civil War general. Butterfield wrote the tune at Harrison's Landing, Virginia, in July 1862.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Magnolia on the Rocks

I captured my newest favorite magnolia picture right here at home. 

After spending several frustrating minutes trying to take a picture of a Little Gem Magnolia blossom on one of our trees which was being blown "hither, thither, and yon" (don't you just love that expression!), I finally gave up, clipped the flower from the tree, and plopped it down in a makeshift plastic vase.  It wasn't pretty, but I was taking closeups and the container was for support only, so it didn't matter if it was pretty or not -- at least it was still!

After a few minutes, I realized that I was bored and decided to try something different.  I took the magnolia clipping and put it in the small pond area of the water feature in our courtyard, and took several (about 60-70) pictures of it floating around the pond.  Magnolias are beautiful in any setting, but now it was much more interesting than it was when it was in that plastic vase!

I love the contrast between the soft white petals and the rich earthy tones of the rocks in the background ...
I like the transparent reflection of the white petals underneath the flower.  
As I was shooting, I noticed that the magnolia was slowing turning in circles, as if it was trying to help me capture its best side ...

The magnolia's final resting place of the day was on a rock in the pond, with the late afternoon sun shining on it like a spotlight. 

And that's the story of how I captured my newest favorite Magnolia of the season.  Hopefully, it won't be my last.

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Note from a Teacher

Our granddaughter Avery Grace was in the third grade this year, and was blessed to have an outstanding teacher. I will call her Mrs. R., for privacy's sake.  I would like to share a note Mrs. R wrote to her class, which another teacher shared with the parents of the students in her class.

Her words touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes as I read them ...

Today I realized.... For nine months, I pushed you to do more, read more, study more.  I said, "Try harder, do your best, and keep working." I've repeated over and over, "Capital letters and punctuation make sense" ... drilled you on the parts of speech, vocabulary definitions, facts, opinions, and text structures.  

I have watched you swing, run, jump, and fall. I've seen you shine. I've seen you fail. I have seen you grow. I have given you Band-Aids and stickers, lunch money, and hugs. I have asked everything of you and you have given.

Today, in a simple art project ... as my hands guided yours ... I realized just how small your hands really are. Then I looked again and I saw how big your young hearts are. You have been my class for months ... you will be my heart for years!

I wish every child could have teachers like Mrs. R to shape their young lives ... with love and compassion and kindness ... not only by teaching them the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic ... but to encourage them to be the best they can be at whatever they do.

As I look at the happy faces of the little ones in the picture above, I pray that happiness will follow them all the places they go ... that innocence will guard them as long as possible ... that their sense of wonder will not be left at childhood's door ... that faith will guide their every new adventure ... and that the rest of their school years will be blessed with teachers like Mrs. R.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fleeting Days of Spring

I hope you are enjoying these fleeting days of Spring. The magnolias are in full bloom here in Mississippi, reminding us that Summer is just a few weeks away.

I'm looking forward to capturing some new magnolia pictures today before the predicted rain showers move through the Vicksburg area.  Best wishes to you for a happy day, however you spend it!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Fourth of July in May

We visited my parents over the weekend, and I couldn't resist capturing some pictures of Mama's arbor in their backyard, which was covered with glorious Fourth of July Roses.

Fourth of July Roses boast abundant clusters of big,
semi-double flowers of deep red, striped with white.
They are exceptionally easy to grow, with canes reaching 12 to 14 feet tall.

Best of all, they bloom heavily early in the season, and cheerfully repeat all summer.

I thought about titling this post, "April Showers bring the Fourth of July in May," but thought that might be a little too much.  Although we had more than our fair share of rain in April, I'm thankful that it woke these beautiful roses from their winter sleep ... to brighten my parents' garden and to bring smiles to their faces each morning.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Primrose Time

This time of year, the interstates and highways of the South are lined with all kinds of wildflowers, and my favorite wildflowers here in Mississippi are the little pink "buttercups," with their dainty pink petals gracefully nodding in the wind on the roadsides and in the medians.

I've always called them "buttercups," but just discovered via Google Images, that their "scientific" name is Oenothera speciosa.  They are also known as Pink Evening Primrose, Showy Evening Primrose, Mexican Evening Primrose, Showy Primrose, Pink Ladies, and Pink Buttercups.

Whatever they're called, I love these happy little flowers and wish I could grow some in my yard.  I tried "transplanting" a clump one time and they immediately wilted and died.  I guess that's why they're called wildflowers.

They are truly exquisite up close ...
I love the shadows cast on the petals in the next two pictures ...
I hope you are enjoying the wildflowers along your roadways, wherever you live.  They don't bloom for very long ... but, oh, how they brighten these fleeting days of Spring.

Come May, sweet May, with all thy bloom,
Thy fragrant breezes, azure skies,
Come quickly to the waiting earth,
And bid its bidden treasures rise.
Give us again the song of birds,
The scent of blossoms on the air,
The rustle of the growing grass,
The dainty primrose, sweet and fair.

From "Primrose Time"
By Mary Dow Brine (1816-1913)