Begin Again


This morning, I just needed to dig my brain in to something new and a little challenging.  I'm not sure why I thought I needed that as I've been learning to use a new app on my phone and it's been making my brain hurt already.  I suppose though that the time spent learning in Photoshop this morning will also help me learn that new app.  The negative space font was a free one on Creative Market and I just wanted to learn how to use it.  I did!  Now...if I'll remember how when I come back to it again, ha!  But, seriously.  I learn and forget.  Forget that I even learned in the first place sometimes.  Can anyone relate???

So I made this little digital art piece.  Just like the learning of the software and apps, if we don't keep working at our faith we will lose it or it will become stagnate.  Daily practice for art and creative work is touted everywhere and is so truly beneficial.  But first, please, daily practice of our faith.  Scripture reading, prayer, meditation, adoration, praise, good works...whatever and however your desires and God's promptings lead you.  That daily practice means more that any organized drawer, tv show, special dinner, new skills, etc. 

 My husband and I finished this book a few weeks ago.  So good! It was the first time we've read a book out loud together. We didn't really plan to read it that way, it just happened.  I think we will do it again.  Takes a while to get through, but a spiritual book is usually best in small bites with time to talk and think about what was read.  That's how this transpired too. I'd read, then we'd talk about it.  

The main message from the book to take away was to "begin again".  To nurture your faith and if you feel like you failed, let it go and begin again!  And again.  And again.  (You get the picture.)  Words to live by for sure. Continuing on with the garden metaphor;  When a plant doesn't do well in one location,  I change the watering/fertilizer practice:  Begin again if you will.  Still not doing well?  I move it.  Begin again. The book was full of encouragement, and very easy to read.

I'll leave you with a quote from the other book I'm just finishing, Anne of Green Gables:

"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it...Yet." 

Begin Again

Foraged Wreath

I am enrolled in Kim Klassen's Inner Circle. One of the projects was to make a foraged wreath and then take a photo of it. Kim and her friend Aileen posted a video a couple of years ago about making wreaths from vines and I have been making them ever since. So, this wasn't new, but always fun to be inspired to do more so to speak. I had seen a beautiful wreath on the Terrain's website and decided to use it for specific inspiration to make one for this challenge. You can see it here

I am always foraging and this past Sunday we went out to the Native Prairie near here to do a little more. My husband sat in the front while our 15 year old worked on her driving skills. I enjoyed watching the ditches and taking pictures from the back while our 14 year old listened to music on her headphones. My husband very quickly honed his visual skills to help me spy different grasses and weeds with interesting seed pods or leaves. I posted a few pictures on Instagram.

So here is my "inspired by Terrain and Kim Klassen" wreath!

I could make wreaths for hours!  (and have...) The dried bits are certainly fragile, but they are also pretty forgiving when a piece does break off.  It's usually pretty easy to not fret about it whether I fix it or not.

So today is election day here in the US.  It's so sad to think that no matter the outcome, close to half of the people will be unhappy.  I really don't like that.  My eyes have been opened to the polarization of the world.  And I avoid it.  I won't listen to it and I try to not participate in it.  I'm trying to eliminate the us vs them mentality in my mind. It's hard.  I was in it deep in my young adulthood.  Loved the news.  Loved the politics.  Very much us vs them.  I've left that space years ago and am trying hard to "sing a new song" as God asks us to do so many times in the Psalms.

So wreaths may seem silly to some in the world right now, but it's more in tune to the song God has put on my heart.

Back to School Pictures


Here we go!  They've been home since March and we truly have had very little contact with others.  They are ready to roll.  My second to last child is entering high school and my youngest is entering the eighth grade.  This was probably the most ideal age to be stuck at home for all of us.  They can entertain themselves and aren't too used to running off on their own yet.  

I decided with the requirement of masks in school, that now would be the time to get them contacts.  Oh dear, fighting the steaming up of glasses all day would be so hard.  I'm sure some of you are fighting just that, and I feel bad for you.

Along with no steamed up glasses, contacts mean you get to wear sunglasses!  So they bought some this past weekend.  
Earlier this week I suggested a photo shoot with the new shades.  I thought it would be fun and a boost to their confidence.

I love to shoot non traditional portraits.

The girls were very willing participants.

It was good to be shooting photos again, it's been awhile.

The summer without one visit to a swimming pool, no vacation, no fair, no 4h projects, no schedule of any kind.  It wasn't awful, that's for sure.  I'm not sure what to say about it.  No way to easily sum it up as I'm sure many of you can relate.  Moving on to the next thing certainly feels like the right thing.

Continuing to pray every day for a vaccine, better treatments, protection, and graces.  For the beautiful graces that God can bring from all of it.

Discernment: Listen to the Tone

I speak regularly to a Spiritual Director.  She helps me discern God's voice in my life.  I started meeting with her years ago after going through the Saint Ignatian Spiritual Exercises with the Priest who confirmed me in the Catholic Church.  Funny side note:  One time I mentioned driving to go talk to her (my director) to my Mom who very nicely gave me a slightly pathetic, (but attempted sympathetic) look and cautiously asked, "Is she a counselor?  Are  you seeing a counselor?"  First of all, if I was, that would be fine so that made me roll my eyes inside, but this concept was very foreign to my Mom.  As it is to many people so now maybe I'm introducing the practice to you too.  Back to where I was going with this...

One thing she has taught me is to listen to the tone of the voice.  The voices that one "hears" internally.  Is it loving?  Is it condemning?  Those two right there will take you quite far.  Guess which comes from God? And where the other comes from.  Often, it's tricky, which again points to the evil one and not God.  God is not ever trying to trick us.

In the past years in the 'online' world of social media, we often heard a repeated message in many different quotes of "you are enough" and that was such a beautiful message that people were sharing.  Sometimes Satan got in and twisted it for sure, but there was a lot of truly good and loving posts by people encouraging others to know their value in the eyes of God.

Now, it seems the tone had definitely changed.  What I see and hear often is "you are not enough"  "you are wrong" "you should do more" etc.  Satan has come in and divided people.  He has divided those who truly are most likely on the same page.  People are being divided not on where we want to be, but on how to get there.  And there is almost always a condemning voice.  A "poking" as it were.  For those of you who have children, you may remember them poking each other to irritate each other.  Or perhaps they poked you, to get your attention. One of my kids poking me when they were little, I could handle, but this virtual poking is annoying.  I bet many of you have felt the need to poke back, right? (I fight the urge and know it's time to walk away from the phone/computer.)

We, as people, certainly may be divided in places where you need to stand strong.  For me that's in the area of human rights, the rights of the human embryo.  There is no compromise for me there.  What I'm talking about is the division in so many areas that are gray.  The divisions that are being stoked with sometimes aggressive and sometimes passive aggressive messages.  If you can discern the tone, you may know how and when to turn away.

My son said to me a number of years ago while he was college.  "I turn back to my opinion.  My opinion doesn't hate me."  And I laughed and thought how that puts something so complicated in to a simple form.  He by the way doesn't engage in political or controversial conversations.  

God may be calling you to take action, he may call you to vote a certain way, he may call you to just do your life the best you can.  But, that call will be loving, a drawing in, a drawing attention to, not an aggressive poke.

Concrete Vases: Hidden Treasure

Good hot Wednesday to you!! The heat and humidity are ramping up here in Nebraska.

So I guess sitting inside for a bit to edit photos and post to my blog seems like a great idea.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across this blog called Made by Barb.

She had this project which really got my attention, layered concrete jewel vases.

I knew I wanted to try it.  I also knew that mine would end up very different because so many factors come in to play.  I was hoping it could be a 4h project for the girls.  They did help, but Nora lost interest fast and the pouring the concrete in a very small space and arranging the broken pieces of glass became trickier that I thought it would be.  So Audrey mostly helped me mix the cement.

We made this first vase not really connecting the dots of how much concrete the container we had would need to fill it.  Almost the entire 20 pound bag of concrete was needed.  So....this thing is heavy.  But, wow....what a statement it makes!

I needed to go out for more propane for our grill so I could justify making a trip in to Menards just to buy more concrete.  Since the quarantine started we've made no extra trips for one item at all.  That's been pretty tricky for me who flies by the seat of my pants often.

So I had more concrete, but still needed a smaller container to go around the jar on the inside.  It just so happened that I had a nearly empty shortening container.  Perfect size. ♥

I left a residue of the shortening in it, to help the concrete release and interestingly, that gave the new vase a texture that I didn't expect.  Of course, truly, I had no idea what to expect with any of this, so it's all been a surprise and all new things learned.  I used broken bottles and china to go inside the concrete to be exposed just a bit.  Then chiseled away gently at a couple of spots to reveal more of the broken piece inside.  

Then the next thing we tried was a planter.   I still need to "plant" it and find a place for it outside. Maybe I'll bring it back inside if I can find a good way to catch the water under it.  

By this time, I realized that more pattern from the broken tea cups would be neat so tried to get them to show.

It's kind of like finding a hidden treasures or the half buried things we see when we explore old houses and places.

And, they are intriguing.

I pushed a cork into a terracotta pot then placed it into the bigger plastic container and then poured the concrete in. I was able to break out the cork easily and with just a bit of coercion (and a prayer!) I was able to get the terra cotta pot out without it breaking!  My husband suggested tapping it gently, and it worked. Whew. I wanted to keep the pot!

A "woodland" type of arrangement seemed so perfect for these two vases.  
Now I need to make room on a shelf that is about waste level to store these, ha! 

More cement projects are in the works (in my mind anyway)  
How neat would that be out in the Garden?!

June in the Tank Garden

This is my first year planting Bachelor Buttons en masse.  And, I got more than I bargained this packet was called "Chinese Forget Me Nots" but they came up Bachelor Buttons!! I put the package of Bachelor Buttons in the Tank Garden so I have quite a few of these.  I'm loving them in mixed bouquets but really love a vase full of only these.

The Tank Garden is doing well this year.  I had hoped to add new mulch to the paths and may do that yet, but we'll see how the summer goes.

I've posted on Instagram about the lovely pink flowers on the left there.  Someone helped me identify them as Sweet William Catchfly. 
They are somewhat delicate, grow so easily from seeds, and seem to last about a month.  Really perfect to plant along side other flowers to bloom as you wait for others to get going.  I will transplant some of my Zinnias or Celosia in this pot when they are done.  Or just put the pot away.  They are just wonderful!!

More Bachelor Buttons!  They may be a bit tall for this space, ha!  But the height in the raised pots is really kind of neat.  I just should have given them some support.  Always learning.  Always!

These Marigolds are pretty happy...some of the biggest blooms I've ever had.  That baby's breath reseeded itself as did the Spanish Flag vines in the ground.  I sowed the Four O Clocks that are growing well in the ground there too.

My first successful year with Poppies!! So happy about that.  I planted a lot of them.  And this tank is the only place they did come up, but I have 5 different kinds in here.  Will I remember which seed pods are which?? Maybe I should be marking them.... 

A purple one.

A lighter pink one. ♥

I've had this plant for a number of years, wintering it over and then pulling it out to the garden.  This year, I've planted it in a number of places and it's thriving!

Bells of Ireland and Trufala Pink Gomphrenia

This Hyacinth Bean Vine volunteered here by our new raised bed, so I put up a vine trellis for it.  I cut a bunch of vines out of our trees last summer from the Bittersweet running amok and saved some of the pieces. :)

These Stella D'Oros, the Bee Balm and the Apricot colored Snap Dragons are hard to see because of the other flowers around them.

I added this tool box planter this year because I found Lantana at 50% off and thought I'd try it.  I hope it keeps blooming!
I didn't want to keep adding little pots, but then there were more I grabbed these coffee cans.


This year I started painting some pieces to add more color and art to the garden and I have really enjoyed the process of it!  This post was all weathered wood with hardly any paint left on it.

It was some point in all the rioting and I was praying for the world and for peace.

So it says, "PEACE" around in bigger letters.  I don't care that you can't read it all at once.  I know what it says.

And, so does God.  

"Peace Be With You and With Your Spirit"

The perimeter has Milkweeds, Mullein, Rudbeckia, and Queen Anne's Lace....and some weeds. Ha!


That ladder really needs a home, it's hangs here to let vines crawl on it for now.

Here is where a different variety of Forget Me Nots did come up!  

I love the color, such a striking blue!

I also repainted my bike this year and my girls repainted the white Adirondack chairs.  We are using our extra time.... 

I am really happy with how the bike turned out and may need to find a new place for it where I can see it better.

Another post that was bare wood, that I painted.

I have the Sweet William Catchfly everywhere and the Spanish Flag vine in a number of places too.  I planted them all from seeds that I saved from one vine last year.

Recent garage sale aquisitions.  They may just sit here for awhile.

From the outside.


One Hollyhock coming. I'd love to have a whole patch of these somewhere someday.

Chinese Lanterns.  I read they could be invasive.  They were right. I'm letting these grow in the sand and they are pretty happy here.

This Silver Falls is perfect with a galvanized tub!

We have animals that dig, and this little brick path takes on new dips every year.

I may have gone too far with that Avon bottle Peacock, but I saw it a couple of weeks ago at a garage sale for 50 cents and thought Peacocks like to fly up and perch on windmills and barns back in the day when there were more of them on farms.  I kind of like it there.  Soon it will be hidden with vines.  Currently Sweet Peas but then Cypress Vine.

I'm struggling a bit with the new format on blogger for creating my posts so I think there may be some odd spacing and the text looks small.  I will need to figure that out another day.  Off to the grocery store and perhaps we'll find a sale or two to stop at. :) Masked up like bandits of course!  We have masks we've made and apparently we need to hit the sewing machine yet again as two of my girls will be needing to wear them full time this fall and perhaps the younger ones may need to also. 

Continuing to pray for Peace and a Vaccine....
Have a Blessed Independence Day!

God. Bless. America.


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