Poetry ~ The Rhodora

The Rhodora

On being asked, Whence is the flower?

In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.

The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.

Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!

I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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My Rhododendrons that I photographed just yesterday in my yard. Rhododendrons are the Washington State Flower. The purple Rhodora at the top of this page is not in my yard but one I photographed in a garden we visited.

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Don’t be shocked if I choose Rhododendrons when we reach the letter R, too!

Linking up to ABC Wednesday for P is for Poetry. Also photography, purple and pretty!

This meme was started by Mrs. Nesbitt and administered by Roger and his Team.

Hello Autumn!

The Autumn (1833), by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them —
The summer flowers depart —
Sit still — as all transform’d to stone,
Except your musing heart.

How there you sat in summer-time,
May yet be in your mind;
And how you heard the green woods sing
Beneath the freshening wind.
Though the same wind now blows around,
You would its blast recall;
For every breath that stirs the trees,
Doth cause a leaf to fall.

Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth
That flesh and dust impart:
We cannot bear its visitings,
When change is on the heart.
Gay words and jests may make us smile,
When Sorrow is asleep;
But other things must make us smile,
When Sorrow bids us weep!

The dearest hands that clasp our hands, —
Their presence may be o’er;
The dearest voice that meets our ear,
That tone may come no more!
Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,
Which once refresh’d our mind,
Shall come — as, on those sighing woods,
The chilling autumn wind.

Hear not the wind — view not the woods;
Look out o’er vale and hill —
In spring, the sky encircled them —
The sky is round them still.
Come autumn’s scathe — come winter’s cold —
Come change — and human fate!
Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,
Can ne’er be desolate.

P1050657This is one of my very favorite times of the year. I hope you are enjoying your days…

O Mystery Tree, O Mystery Tree…

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Our Mystery Tree tradition is continuing this year. On Sunday we put the back seat down in the jeep and headed to the Home Depot to pick out our tree. Our round trip from home to the store and back again took a little under 45 minutes total! We arrive, we spy out the trunks of the trees in our height range in the piles where the trees are still all tied up, we pick one, buy it, throw it into the back of the jeep and head home where the stand is ready and waiting. Dear cuts off a portion of the trunk and gives it a good thrust into the stand. Tighten the screws on the trunk and get ready for the reveal…

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It’s so much fun to stand back and watch as Dear cuts the string off the branches.

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Tah Dah!

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When I got home late last night Dear had put the lights on the tree so I can now finish decorating it. We’ll see what gets done today.

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Little by little it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around this old house.

Life continues to keep us on our knees in the midst of this joyful time of Advent and more and more we look to the Hope we have in Christ. We had one of those 3 A.M. phone calls where you know the news can’t be good. A Brother in law had a heart attack that was caught in time and arteries were cleared. He’ll be home soon. We know the reality of how fragile life can be. We always wait for good news from Afghanistan. “Made it back from the Mission, I’m O.K., going to bed now, talk more later.” We rally around each other supporting each other in whatever life throws our way.


I will have faith,
However dreams are shattered;
I will have faith that righteousness can live;
I will have faith e’en when my heart is breaking,
To work and pray and give!

I will have faith
When troubled is life’s ocean,
When low-blown clouds the Pilot’s face shall hide;
I will have faith when my fair ship is battered;
I will await the turning of the tide!

I will have faith
That God is still in Heaven;
I will have faith that He is by my side;
I will have faith though every star is darkened,
That He and truth abide!

The Residence, Denver

Apple Blossoms

Apple Blossoms

God might have clothed the apple trees
In scentless brown of gray —
Such frail and fleeting blossoming,
So soon to pass away —

Instead of this fair springtime garb
Of fragrant pink and pearl,
That flutters down like rosy snow
On every breeze a-whirl.

His goodness gives the pleasant fruit
On laden boughs down-bent;
His lovingkindness adds the bloom,
Its beauty and its scent.

He loads us with His benefits
Until no want we know,
And then He sends the little more
That makes our cup o’erflow.

He opens wide His hand of love;
He gives no stingy dole;
His tender mercies crown our days:
O bless the Lord, my soul!

Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932)

California is back to it’s old ways of showing off it’s sunshine. All my family is slowly trickling in today. Two more to go. I got to see the Bride and Groom last night along with my folks and may brother’s family from Dallas. Their daughter will be one of the flower girls and she was quite confident about her task since she has gotten experience in two of her cousin’s weddings in the last year.

I haven’t taken one photo since I’ve gotten here but tomorrow is the wedding so my camera will be clicking away!

Hope all is well in your part of the world. We’re hearing a lot about droughts and floods. Hope things won’t be as bad as they are predicting.

Tulip Festival in the Skagit Valley


By A.E. Stallings

The tulips make me want to paint,
Something about the way they drop
Their petals on the tabletop
And do not wilt so much as faint,
Something about their burnt-out hearts,
Something about their pallid stems
Wearing decay like diadems,
Parading finishes like starts,
Something about the way they twist
As if to catch the last applause,
And drink the moment through long straws,
And how, tomorrow, they’ll be missed.
The way they’re somehow getting clearer,
The tulips make me want to see
The tulips make the other me
(The backwards one who’s in the mirror,
The one who can’t tell left from right),
Glance now over the wrong shoulder
To watch them get a little older
And give themselves up to the light.
On this past Sunday after Dear picked me up from the airport we headed straight to the Skagit Valley for lunch and a quick trip to some tulip fields. We are really blessed here in Washington to enjoy amazing flower festivals including tulips, lilacs, lavender, daffodils, and of course our state flower the rhododendron. I will be sharing lots of tulip photos but decided to start with a poem and a few shots since this is poetry month, too. Blessings…
Here are the photos of our lunch before we headed to the fields. We ate at Nell Thorn in La Conner. A restaurant we highly recommend. Dear had a lamb burger that was amazing and I had a quiche that was more like a souffle. I also had to taste their soup of the day which was a spicy bean garnished with cilantro. Yummy!

Night and Day…

  When the golden day is done,
Through the closing portal,
Child and garden, Flower and sun,
Vanish all things mortal.

As the blinding shadows fall
As the rays diminish,
Under evening’s cloak they all
Roll away and vanish.

Garden darkened, daisy shut,
Child in bed, they slumber–
Glow-worm in the hallway rut,
Mice among the lumber.

In the darkness houses shine,
Parents move the candles;
Till on all the night divine
Turns the bedroom handles.

Till at last the day begins
In the east a-breaking,
In the hedges and the whins
Sleeping birds a-waking.

In the darkness shapes of things,
Houses, trees and hedges,
Clearer grow; and sparrow’s wings
Beat on window ledges.

These shall wake the yawning maid;
She the door shall open–
Finding dew on garden glade
And the morning broken.

There my garden grows again
Green and rosy painted,
As at eve behind the pane
From my eyes it fainted.

Just as it was shut away,
Toy-like, in the even,
Here I see it glow with day
Under glowing heaven.

Every path and every plot,
Every blush of roses,
Every blue forget-me-not
Where the dew reposes,

“Up!” they cry, “the day is come
On the smiling valleys:
We have beat the morning drum;
Playmate, join your allies!”

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Joining in on Mosaic Monday with Mary at Little Red House.

City Scapes taken in San Diego, California. The Sunrise photo is taken at my house in the Seattle area.

Count It All Joy…

My friend Kathy B. from Count it all Joy

Kathy B. began her last struggle with her illness on August 2nd.

Since August 2nd many emails and texts have been  going back and forth among friends and family who could not stand watch at the hospital or be with her when she was released to Hospice care in her home. Here is one from Kathy’s sister in law.

“It is truly a blessing to see the many friends who have rallied around Kathy and Bill and who have bathed them in prayer and love. Kathy’s battle is continuing to be epic in her strength during this long illness. She has had this cancer for over 28 years and is the worldwide longest survivor of this form of ugly cancer. My sister-in-law has used this sickness to grow into a “woman after God’s own heart”.  Her witness is evident in the testimony of all the people who have been visiting and posting messages. Our lives have been richly blessed by her strength in her weakness.”
Kathy survived her hospital and I.C.U. experience regaining consciousness and being able to be taken off the respirator. She was released for hospice care at home where she was able to communicate and enjoy her own home surrounded by the comforts familiar to her. She helped plan her funeral service and was miraculously able to get out of her bed and enjoy going outside to her garden. The beginning of Fall brought more hurdles for Kathy as her lungs filled with fluids and she had difficulty breathing. Her “Cute Boy” and my dear friend Jeanie were at her side while she struggled through her last hours. She went from the arms of her “Cute Boy” to the arms of Jesus early on Sunday September 25th.

I Am Standing on the Sea Shore

I am standing on the sea shore,
A ship sails in the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her
Till at last she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says:
“She is gone.”

Gone! Where?
Gone from my sight – that is all.
She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her
And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me,
not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
“She is gone”,
There are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout:
“There she comes”
– an that is dying.

Bishop Brent
1862 – 1926

Her sister Jeanie married my cousin Jim. Jeanie and Kathy started a blog together called The Matson Sisters – becoming our Mother. I took this photo of Jeanie and Kathy from that blog.

Kathy and Jeanie lived a few hours from each other. They talked everyday on the phone and each morning Kathy would pick a hymn for them to sing together.

Before blogging I only knew Kathy as “Jeanie’s sister”. Over the years we’d see each other at a major family function here and there. After Kathy started her blog “Count it all Joy” and I had my blog we became real good bloggy buddies. I grew to love her and appreciate her just as much as I did my dear friend Jeanie. I thank God that our blogs brought us together in a more intimate way. I learned a lot from Kathy. I got to see her in person at the weddings of her nephews, my cousin’s sons. Two of the photos above are from Ben and Kristin’s wedding. I said on facebook after Kathy went into I.C.U. that when I was with Kathy I felt like I had seen Jesus. Those who suffer much reflect Him more. I’m going to miss my dear bloggy friend Kathy B. and I look forward to seeing her again in heaven.

I stole this photo of Kathy with her Cute Boy from Kathy’s blog…

Kathy B.! I’m looking forward to sitting at the Banqueting Table in heaven with you. Love you dearly…I’ll see you later.

Welcome May!


“Among the many buds proclaiming May
Decking the fields in holiday array.
Striving who shall surpass in braverie,
Marke the faire flowering of the hawthorne tree
Who finely clothed in a robe of white,
Fills full the wanton eye with May’s delight.”

                                                      ~ Chaucer

This is a pear tree, not a hawthorn tree. I’m enjoying it’s white blossoms with pink. I’m linking this to Mary’s Mosaic Monday.

This upcoming week is full for me with an overnight trip to Canada for our Mennonite Girls Can Cook book release party on Friday. Then we have book signings in Canada on Saturday. The following week Dear and I head to Washington D.C. for 10 days for a business conference and sight seeing. My book give-away will be coming up after our D.C. trip.


I’ll make sure and give you lots of notice and time to leave a comment with a chance to win the book. Hope all is going well for you.

I can’t let the news pass my post by today. The mastermind of the 9-11 attack on the United States has finally been found and done away with. This was good news late Sunday here in the U.S.A.  I’m praying for our Military and specifically our Marine Son In Law as the world waits to see what kind of reaction to this news there will be. Praying for protection from evil.

Photobucket replaced all my photos with blurred out versions and they are holding my photos hostage until I pay them lots of money. I’m slowly going through all my posts and trying to clean them up and replacing some photos. Such a bother.

Starting Slow…

…with the Christmas decorating.


This sign was my one new purchase on the girls day out after Thanksgiving. It will be going up on the wall in our eating area. Here’s a little Christmas Prayer from Hilltop Verses and Prayers by Ralph Spaulding Cushman that helps me focus on what Christmas is all about.


Let not our hearts be busy inns,
That have no room for Thee,
But cradles for the living Christ
And His nativity.

Still driven by a thousand cares
The pilgrims come and go;
The hurried caravans press on;
The inns are crowded so!

Here are the rich and busy ones,
With things that must be sold,
No room for simple things within
This hostelry of gold.

Yet hunger dwells within these walls,
These shining walls and bright,
And blindness groping here and there
Without a ray of light.

Let not our hearts be busy inns,
That have no room for Thee
But cradles for the living Christ
And His nativity.