June Edition

June Edition

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cottage Gardens

"My green thumb came
only as a result
of the mistakes I made
while learning to see
things from the
plant's point of view. "
~H. Fred Dale

I love this quote!  It sums up my whole approach to gardening.  I don't often write about gardening because I haven't been able to plant a large flower garden in several years.  In California, I could stick just about anything in the ground and it would flourish.  But here in our little part of Georgia, flowers are challenging to grow.  

We do have azaleas, wisteria, hydrangea, various tiny wildflowers and honeysuckle vines.  Living so near the woods as we do, more delicate flowers such as hybrid roses do not survive well between the deer and other plant munching animals and insects.  It is also hard to tend to flowering plants because as soon as they bloom they are swarmed with hundreds and hundreds of bees.  The plants literally "hum"!

I appreciate well manicured plants but I love cottage style gardens such as these, where flowers and herbs grow together playfully and semi-wild.

Years ago, while in California, I especially enjoyed seeing the  beautiful bougainvillea plants in blooms.  They came in light pink, peach, white and a wonderful dark magenta red.  

When we re-did our backyard one year, we put up trellises along the fence line and I planted all the various colors of bougainvillea, very close together, breaking every gardening rule I had ever heard of.  

Then as they grew, I carefully intertwined the viney branches and attached them to the trellis with loose tie wraps.  I tended to the bougainvillea as if were my beloved pet.  I was rewarded months later, when it bloomed with lush flowers of every color!   People who came to see it, couldn't believe their eyes.  All wanted to know from what nursery, I had purchased this "rare" plant. :)

Another flowering plant I just adore is the blue plumbago.  It is very hardy, and if left on it's own, will usually grow into a very big bush.  In California they are often planted along the freeways.  

Once, I put up a trellis in the front yard garden.  It went up and over, one of the arched bedroom windows facing the street.  I planted a plubago on each side of the window and trained it to go up the trellis.  Although the plumbago is a bush and not a vine, it slowly grew up an up toward the sky.  It took a long time, but when it finally bloomed, the sheer abundance of lavender-blue flowers, was breathtaking!  

Sometimes when we garden with our "imagination" and take an artistic approach, things don't always turn out the way we planned.  I have lost a lot of plants as well by not following the directions or having the proper soil.  But then there are other times, once in a blue moon (or blue plumbago in my case), when we come up with something truly wonderful and unique.  The beautiful thing about flower gardening, are the memories that linger long after the fragrances fade.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Friday

Hello all my blogging buddies!  I am sorry for having been away for so many weeks.  It has been a very busy: late Spring/early Summer.  We have had quite a bit of company.  It has been a lot of fun.  I have also been trying to get caught up on my yearly house cleaning chores and other projects.  

My computer was also on the blink for almost three weeks.  I lost the ability to use the mouse pad on the lap top and my battery finally died out.  Tony, my dear husband and mad scientist, was thankfully able to get it back up and running again. It has been challenging for me to find the time and the physical energy to sit down and write.  With all this added activity, the fibromyalgia and my other health issues have increased my amount of pain, fatigue and fibro fog.   

I hope to be up and writing and visiting you all again soon, and until then I hope you will stay tuned and have a beautiful summer!   

With Love,
Delisa :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

"You Are As Welcome As The Flowers In The Month Of May"

"You are as welcome
 as the flowers in May."

-  Charles Macklin

"What is so sweet and dear
As a prosperous morn in May,
The confident prime of the day,
And the dauntless youth of the year,
When nothing that asks for bliss,
Asking aright, is denied,
And half of the world a bridegroom is,
And half of the world a bride?"

-  William Watson
Ode in May, 1880

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"A True Companion..."

*Today's post, is a "blast from the past" repeat from my Spring 2012, Chronically Living Blog.  I hope you enjoy it and are having a lovely week so far.  I have come down with a sore throat and have been resting today and watching old movies.  It has been one of those "chicken soup" days.  Have a wonderful and relaxing evening ahead!

With Love,
Delisa :) 

"When we honestly ask
ourselves which person in
our lives means the most to us,
we often find that it is those who,
instead of giving advice, solutions
or cures, have chosen rather
to share our pain and touch our wounds
with a warm and tender hand."

Henri Nouwen

Having been both a caregiver and someone who has been in need of care, I have come to really appreciate the simple truth of these words.

I have had friends through the years, and at times; have been that friend, who has tried to help by giving advice and finding the solutions and the cures.  But experience has shown me that in the end, what really matters in a true friend is this willingness to share pain and "touch our wounds with warmth and tenderness."

I have learned that a true friend does not impose their will upon on you or try to take the problem out of your hands.  A true friend trusts.  They trust in us and our ability to cope and show it by their upbuilding and encouraging words.

You don't have to hide your pain from a true friend, and you don't have to make excuses.  They except the reality of your situation and stay loyal when your condition or just life in general, causes certain dynamics of your friendship and abilities to change.

"A true companion is
loving all the time
and is a brother that is 
born for when there 
is distress"

Proverbs 17:17

A true friend will at times make mistakes and will not always say or do the right thing.  They may not always understand how we feel because their experiences in life have been different.  The key is not about finding "perfect" friends, but to surround ourselves with "loving" ones.   

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"Symphony of Life"

"To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury, and
refinement rather than fashion.
To be worthy, not respectable and
wealthy, not rich; to study hard,
think quietly, talk gently, act frankly;
to listen to stars and birds
to babes and sages, with open heart;
to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely,
await occasions, hurry never.
In a word, to let the spiritual,
unbidden and unconscious, grow up
through the common.
This will be my Symphony."

-- William Henry Channing

Monday, April 28, 2014

Today In the Kitchen: Italian Soup

This is one of those, "invent as you go along" type of soups.  It is a great recipe for a busy day and can be thrown into the crock pot in the morning and cooked all day on "low".

It is also a very fragrant and spicy soup, but if you don't care for hot spices, you can substitute hamburger for the sausage, or leave out the the cayenne pepper.

Italian Soup

1/2 pound ground mild Italian sausage
3 large ripe tomatoes diced in med. sized pieces
1/2 red bell pepper diced small
1/2 white onion, diced small
4 gloves garlic, diced small
1 pkg. baby portabello mushrooms sliced
4 or 5 beef bouillon cubes
3 cups water
1 can kidney beans 15 oz. size, drained
1 can seasoned black eyed peas, with juice
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
3 large bay leaves
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. chilli powder
1/2 cup. dry salad macaroni sized pasta or small elbow macaroni

Saute together onions, garlic, mushrooms and bell peppers. When soft add the diced tomatoes and saute until tomatoes are slightly soft.

Take out of pan and put into crock pot.

Then saute the ground sausage, chopping it into very fine pieces. (I took out the sausage after it was cooked and put it in the food processor and chopped for a few seconds more).

Then add to crock pot.

Add all the other ingredients. Cook on low all day.

Shortly before serving, cook the dry pasta in a little pot of boiling water for 8 minutes. Drain off water and then add the pasta to the soup, stir and serve. 

(If you try to put the dry pasta in the crock pot with the other ingredients it tends to get very soft and will soaks up quite a bit of broth).


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Learning to "Tink"

*Hello all my blogging buddies!  I hope you are having a very nice Saturday.  The weather is beautiful here today in my little part of Georgia.  Everything is new and green and smells very fresh after the rain.  Today's post is taken from my other blog "Chronically Living" at: delisachronicallyliving.blogspot.com

I thought some of my knitting and "yarnie" friends might enjoy the story too.  Have a great day everyone!

With Love,
Delisa :)

I love to knit, it is one of my favorite past times.   Perhaps it is the feel of the needles and the rhythmic pull of soft yarn between my fingers, and all the little motions that come with forming the fiber into fabric.

Or, the way it relaxes my mind and enables my thoughts, to daydream and peacefully free float.   It is soothing to my soul.

It didn't always used to be this way though, especially when I was first learning how, or when I made a mistake.  In knitting when there is a mistake, there may be dozens of little loops that have to be accounted for and put back on the needle.

If you miss just one, it will unravel your fabric at the slightest tug and leave a big, noticeable, gaping hole.

Many a time, I have knitted along with tight shoulders, and rigid fingers, holding my breath at a difficult part of the pattern.  Pleading the "Knitter's Prayer", (which goes something like this: "No! Please no! Oh please... please, please, please!) over and over again as my project helplessly unraveled.  If you are a knitter, you know exactly what I mean!

Then one day a lady at the yarn shop asked me if I had ever learned how to tink?  (Tink is "knit" spelled backwards).  I had never heard the term before and was puzzled.  She said everyone she ever knew that excelled at knitting learned to look at their mistakes as an opportunity to "tink".  She explained that once I learned how to knit backwards, my mistakes would lose a great deal of their frustration.

Part of learning to tink, especially when it comes to knitting lace, involves remembering to weave in a "lifeline" as you go along, every twenty rows or so.  A lifeline is a temporary thread inserted through a row of stitches.  It serves as a checkpoint if you need to rip out and redo several rows.

Learning to "tink" wasn't easy.

But then one day, I noticed a slipped stitch in a lace sock I was knitting, and instead of panicking and berating myself, I took a breath and began "tinking" backwards as I had practiced, until I reached the lost loop.  Before I knew it, I was happily moving forward again.  There was no catastrophe!

I have often thought of this experience when it comes to living with my chronic pain.  Coping with pain that never goes away, like tinking, takes a skill, which can only be learned through practice

There are days when I am "knitting" along just fine.  The medicine is working the way it is suppose to, I'm pacing myself,  I'm in a good positive frame of mind, I'm up and about, and I am making progress.  Then, there is a setback, or sudden flare.

As time went on and I gained more experience and began to see the patterns in my own pain journey, I realized that I was not powerless in the face of these situations.  I could learn to "tink".  I learned to prepare for these inevitable times.  To have my tools ready and in place.  To give myself options and plenty of "Plan B's" for those days when I unexpectedly find myself in the middle of a flare.

I have discovered that sometimes the strongest and healthiest thing I could do for myself and my family is to just stop, and rest, so that I can move forward again.   I have also learned the importance of using all the good days, hours and moments to set my lifelines.

For me, my lifelines include my spirituality which involves my relationship with God and keeping his word the Bible and my hope of the Kingdom, alive and bright in my heart.  Also taking the time to create happy memories and to find ways to nurture and show the love I have in my heart for my family and friends.

This way, every setback does not become a catastrophe, of dropped stitches.

This little shift in my perception, has helped me to suffer less, even though my pain has become more intense.

What are some things that help you to "tink"?  To prepare for those flares and setbacks that life and health sometimes have to offer?  What lifelines do you set?