Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Very Special Day

Halloween is my least favorite holiday, but the date, October 31st, is very special to me.

On October 31, 1943, 67 years ago today, Halloween fell on a Sunday, and at 9:30 a.m., between Sunday School and church, my parents were married at the First Methodist Church in Monroe, Louisiana. And from that day forward, they have honored and fulfilled their wedding vows by devoting their lives to each other, for better, for worse ... for richer, for poorer ... and in sickness and in health.

On their wedding day, America was in the midst of World War II. Times were tough and the future uncertain, to say the least.

He was a handsome young sailor, barely 19 years old, and she was his pretty little 17-year-old high school sweetheart. They were deeply and madly in love ... and nothing would do but that they get married.

Today, as we celebrate their 67th Wedding Anniversary, my parents are still just as deeply in love as they were that Sunday morning in 1943, if not more so. Of course, in 67 years of marriage there were some hard times ... and some sad times ... but their unwavering faith in God, and their abiding love for each other gave them the strength to endure them.

My mother's favorite Bible verse is Corinthians 1:13:7, and I think it exemplifies their love and the life they have shared together:

Love bears all things,
Believes all things,
Hopes all things,
Endures all things.

My family and I are so blessed to have these two beautiful people in our lives.

They have been an inspiration to all of us throughout our lives, and I hope they know how much they are loved.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Magical Raindrops

This is a continuation of my walk around our yard after a rain shower which I began in my post yesterday, Why Roses Have Thorns. You can click on the link, if you'd like to read it before you read this one.

We have a row of Purple Irises planted down a fence on the side of our house, and they stand about three and half feet tall.

As I walked around the yard with my camera, I noticed that the irises were bent over from the rain, their leaves glistening with shimmery, silvery raindrops — they looked like God had sprinkled diamonds on the leaves. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like.

As I got a closer look at the leaves through my camera lens, I was mesmerized and amazed by how the raindrops clung to the leaves, seemingly defying all of Sir Isaac Newton's laws of gravity.

What amazed me most was that there were raindrops clinging to the undersides of the leaves, too!

I took countless pictures of a leaf from the side, trying to capture a clear shot of the drops on top of the leaf and the drops on the bottom, but finally gave up in frustration. This next picture is the best shot I captured.

Here are a few more of my "after the rain" pictures:

This is the stone path leading from our courtyard to our backyard. I think the puddles look as if one of God's angels spilled gold leaf along the path ...

The next two pictures are closeups of one of the last blooms of summer on my Lantana plants in the courtyard. Notice the little "jewel" raindrops in the centers of the blooms.

My love of photography has blessed me in so many ways ... and discovering through my camera lens the magical qualities and dazzling beauty God has wrought in these simple little drops of rain was truly a pleasure.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why Roses Have Thorns

Have you ever wondered why roses have thorns?

If I was a rabbit or a deer, I would probably think that roses would make an especially tasty "snack" because of their fragrance, sweetness, and bright colors.

[Photo borrowed from Internet]

But can you imagine a rabbit's or deer's surprise if it chomped down on a beautiful rose bloom and got a mouth full of thorns? I don't think it would take but one time for it to decide that roses aren't as good as they look.

So, just as God gave all creatures great and small a way to protect themselves, He gave roses thorns, or "prickles," to protect them from animals that may eat or harm them. The thorns also discourage humans from smelling, touching, and picking them, too, allowing them to blossom and grow strong.

This brings me to the subject of this story which features some pictures I captured during a walk around our yard yesterday after a rain shower. We desperately needed the rain, and everything looked so clean and shimmery, I couldn't resist taking my camera with me.

One of the things that attracted my attention was the rose vine which grows on an arbor over a stone path on the side of our house. The leaves were heavy with raindrops that were clinging to them, literally defying the laws of gravity.

While I was pondering the "magical" raindrops, I couldn't help but notice how pretty the thorns were. I have felt their needle-like tips many times when admiring or photographing the roses on the vine, but I never noticed how beautiful they are until yesterday (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like).

I would like to close with this inspiring quote from Abraham Lincoln:

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns,
or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

This is the rose that blooms amongst those thorns in the summertime.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rushing the Holidays

I don't know about you, but it really bothers me to see retailers stocking their shelves with Christmas decor way before Halloween.

In fact, I think I saw Christmas decorations in some stores around Labor Day!

With our Mississippi temperatures still hitting the high 80s (it's supposed to be 88 today!), it's difficult to even think about Halloween, much less Christmas! And whatever happened to Thanksgiving? It seems to me that it used to be in there sometime between Halloween and Christmas.

Perhaps it is a sign of the times, or maybe the slow economy is prompting retailers to "rush the holidays," but, to me, it takes away some of the fun and anticipation. And can you imagine how it confuses little ones who see Santa Claus showing up in stores and malls right after Halloween ...

... when we all know he is supposed to be at the North Pole helping his elves get the toys ready ...

And getting Rudolph and the guys in shape for their long Christmas Eve journey.

Am I just being a "Scrooge," or does it bother you, too?

[Photos borrowed from the Internet]

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shadows on the Water

We have a small waterfall and pond in our courtyard, and late yesterday afternoon I noticed some interesting shadows being cast on the water by a Corkscrew Rush plant in the pond.

Corkscrew Rush is an ornamental perennial grass whose "leaves" are wound in tight, upright spirals reaching up to 24" tall.

It thrives in wet "boggy" areas in full sun, or standing water up to 4" deep. It is a perfect landscape plant for water features such as ponds or waterfalls, and can also be grown in containers.

Our plant is around three years old, and survived the unusually cold winter we had last year.

Now that I've probably told you way more than you want to know about Corkscrew Rush, I'd like to share some of the pictures I captured of the shadows it cast on the water yesterday.

The waterfall is always fun to photograph, and I especially like this picture of Harry, our Blue Heron.

There are three Little Gem Magnolias growing behind the waterfall, and this magnolia seed pod had fallen on the rocks at the top of the waterfall. You can click on the picture to get a closer view, if you'd like ...

Plants and grasses growing at water's edge around ponds and lakes are always pretty, but yesterday I discovered that sometimes the shadows they cast on the water are even more beautiful.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blue Hydrangeas

I would like to thank Sally at Smiling Sally, our gracious "Blue Monday" hostess, for giving us the opportunity to share some of the blues around us.

I love blue flowers, and if I had to choose my favorite blue flower, I think it would be Blue Hydrangeas. Not only are they my favorite blue flower, they are also a delight to photograph.

Last May, I spent a very pleasant morning at a house in Vicksburg, that has the prettiest little "Hydrangea Garden" I've ever seen.

Those benches seem to beckon you to "come sit a spell," and, after getting permission from the owner, that's exactly what I did.

It was a wonderful way to spend a perfect May morning, and here are a few of the blue blossoms I captured with my camera.

I can't believe it is now the last week of October. It seems like it was only last week that I sat on those benches that beautiful May morning. I'm so glad I captured that sweet memory for myself in my pictures, as well as those exquisite blue Hydrangeas.

Best wishes to you for a very happy Blue Monday. I hope you will visit Sally and the other participants to see the blues they are sharing today.