Everyday Thanks

Thanksgiving will certainly be very different this year across the country. So much has changed for all of us. For me, it will be just my husband and I, and the cats, of course. Just a simple meal, and we plan to enjoy the day while relaxing and thinking about so many things we are grateful for. However, there are so many little things to be grateful for every single day. All we have to do is observe with intention, and we see miracles everywhere. I truly believe that, and moreover, I choose to believe that in this crazy time we are living. Yes, 2020 has been though for everybody, but it also has its blessings.

This morning was cold; it was 30 degrees outside. However, I spotted two beautiful miracles.

The “rose bush that could” has a few more roses. This was a little rose bush we rescued. It was covered in weeds, but it made it and grew to be beautiful. I see those last roses in a 30 degree morning as a thank you offering.
I even spotted a few buds ready to open.
This little forsythia bush (another rescue) keeps blooming. I noticed more flowers this morning, and more are ready to open. Another tiny miracle of nature.
Yesterday, I observed one of my favorite autumn moments that I look forward to every year. When most of the leaves have fallen, the sunrays filter through and it looks as if light is dancing through the woods, and parts of it become orange-red. It only lasts a few minutes, not much longer, but it truly is a magical moment.
During that brief time the tops of some trees are set on light-fire.
It is truly a beautiful sight that doesn’t last long and can only be appreciated during this time of the year.
And when the sun sets, and that brief moment of magic is gone for the day, I am thankful that tomorrow, I might get to see it again.

Even in the midst of worldwide sadness, a pandemic, unrest, and other less than perfect situations, we can still be grateful for the glimpses of blessings we have, no matter how simple or small we may think they are; but are they? May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving day, and for the rest of you who live in other countries where this day is not celebrated, may you find much to be thankful for every day of your lives.

A Day of Farmhouse Chores

My latest post was about The Christmas Tree Project which we did last Saturday. While we were waiting for the moment it lighted up we had many autumn chores to do, and it translated on time going so fast that we hardly noticed the long wait until sunset. Around here, autumn means tons of cleaning up before winter or the first snow, prepping certain areas, and getting ready for future chores during early spring, so I figured I would share some of those.

Cutting the grass and blowing out leaves usually takes my husband the whole day. Once he is done, he sees another thin layer of fresh leaves that has just fallen. It is the never ending autumn story, but they look gorgeous when the entire grass is covered and one sees the many colors of the leaves on the ground, like a multicolor carpet.

Blowing out leaves and cutting the grass for the last time before winter takes priority. This is the fifth time for leaf blowing.
While Eddie took care of the grass and leaves, I took care of cleaning up the veggie garden, and collecting pine needles. I do this after I pick the last of the veggies and before the first snow.
Leaves are picked up, broken things go in the garbage, pots are emptied, collected and stacked in one area, large containers are cleaned up by removing dead and dried up plants, stakes are collected and placed in one area, and the remainder thin layer of mulch gets a refresher by using the collected pine needles. It prevents the cover underneath from breaking off. Overall, it gets a good cleaning.
After everything is done it looks like this.
After the veggie garden is done, the remainder of the pine needles is used as mulch for some trees. It protects them in the winter, and also looks neat. We are lucky to have cinnamon color pine needles from two pine trees in the property. They do put out a ton of them. Also it saves us money as we don’t have to buy too many bags of mulch. Bagged cinnamon pine needles are expensive, so I am very grateful to have them available here. A box of pine needles that might cover 240 sf will cost about $135 dollars.
While cleaning up the rest of the garden and removing a few weeds, I find expected seasonal gifts, such as the changing of the leaves on this shrub and the beautiful berries it puts out every year. This is one of the trees we uncovered and saved when we first started bringing life back into this garden. It will become an orange-red color. During the spring, it turns back to green and instead of berries it puts out cluster of sprigs with tiny flowers.
While cleaning up the garden, I also found the unseasonably unexpected – new flowers on the forsythia bush and a few buds. Is this a sign of a mild winter ahead? Last year, we had a mild winter and this bush flourished very early.

By the time we had our lunch break, and finally, we were both done with our chores, it had become dark and our reward was awaiting to be enjoyed.

Farmhouse Projects – The Christmas Tree

In a previous post, I mentioned twelve future projects we wish to be able to do around the farmhouse. The easiest one on that list is what I call The Christmas Tree. It was my husband’s project, and his obsession for a while. The Christmas tree is a young pine tree he was able to save when we took down a morass of weeds and overgrown bushes covering the front and part of the side of the property, near the entrance. He liked the tree, although it was in bad shape. I thought it would not make it because it had been sprayed by the city (or our electric company) with something they use to kill anything that would be a threat to utility cables. Although this tree was not nearby, when they sprayed some trees that were, some of this brew got on it and it burned some of the branches. The other trees dried up and died. Those were not on our property, but next to it. Once we had cleared out the bushes and weeds, my husband kept mowing around the tree, and trimming it. Eventually, he wanted to put white lights on it and make it a focal point. A few weeks ago, I noticed that the tree was looking much healthier, so I ordered solar lights for it without my husband knowing, as a surprise. It still has some brown spots and dead branches, but I think it will become a beautiful tree.

This weekend we were able to work on the tree. We even named it. We named it Christmas. Here are a few pictures of this first project.

First, we trimmed some dead branches and cleaned up the trunk a bit. You can still see some of the burnt branches.
We used some cinnamon color pine needles we collected, and used these as mulch around the base. We placed and secured the lights on top as best as we could and tested them for best sun exposure.
We took care of other chores until it became dark. It turned out to be a gorgeous sunset and evening.
And then we saw it happen; Christmas lighted up. It is a bit difficult to photograph all the lights because these do not light up at the same time. We used 200 white LED solar lights.

On Sunday, we visited it once more, and we love the way it looks. I think it turned out to be a very special tree. I think this tree found its purpose. As it becomes more beautiful with time, it will light up every night, and become a beautiful sight for those who pass by. Because we are not able to see it from home, we will visit it from time to time. I might place a bench nearby. Sometimes, things may look hopeless, but with a little bit of care and patience they turn out lovely.

Autumnal Miracles

Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons, from the weather to the colors, and particularly the scents. Every tone and shade seems to become richer and deeper. Around here, this is the time when I can see the colors change and the scent in the air speaks of transition. I say around here because in many other areas nearby the leaves are almost gone and it is starting to look bare, but for me, not so.

Unlike last year, the hues around are vibrant.

It is a bit of a messy season too, lots of cleaning to be done, and preparations for next year. I guess the beauty it holds makes up for it. If you look around, and you look well, there are tiny miracles happening: the last of a sprout or flower, the beginning of another, a young plant displaying the colors of the more mature and royal ones, tiny birds fluffing up, deer changing coat color, and farther views on the horizon … so much to see.

When a world goes to sleep another awakens.
A hidden world comes to light.
Nature prepares and makes the best of what’s left from the previous season.

Trees go into deep slumber to awaken refreshed in the spring. I’ve heard that trees have hidden faces in plain view, and that if you look closely, they will reveal its face to you. It is something you know as a kid and wish to see one day. I think I did.

The face of an old tree that has gone through many seasons.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Enjoy this season, and try to find the beauty in it, the hidden eternal beauty.

The Five-Dollar Miracle – On Writing a Hymn

Writing The Five-dollar Miracle was a different and exciting experience. It presented a set of new writing challenges, and took me out of my writing mold at the time. One of the challenges was writing a church hymn and a brief sermon for one of the chapters. Having no previous experience other than my writing, it gave me the opportunity to stretch the pen and to be open to receive and let the pen flow along with inspiration.

As a writer, I am open to inspiration at any time, and to different stories, even when that means stepping out of genre and running with a different type of story. I wouldn’t like to be encapsulated in a specific genre, and I understand that goes against traditional rules. Inspiration rules my pen, not genre. I will share the hymn Miracles Abound on this post.

Miracles Abound

Miracles abound,

everywhere I see.

Angels of the Lord

casting blessings here.

Hard at work in our heart,

pouring joy and love.

God has sent His thousands,

carrying blessings from above.

THE FIVE-DOLLAR MIRACLE – The inspirational story of how a small miracle, a five-dollar miracle, changed a stranger, a pastor, a congregation, and an entire country.
Available via Amazon.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and may miracles and blessings abound in your home.

After the Storm

Last week, we had tropical storm Zeta pass by our county. Our area received strong winds and lots of rain. At one point, I became a bit worried about the roof. Will it hold? Immediately, a favorite Bible verse came to mind. It is one I have written on a blackboard in the kitchen.

2 Timothy 1:7

Having experienced hurricanes Irene and Sandy when I lived in Jersey, both late fall big storms, I realized that my worries were valid, however, a bit out of proportion. Our minds play games when we feel vulnerable. We all experience many seasons in life, some more challenging than others, but through it all we survive, learn, and become stronger. Although fear is a normal human emotion, if we let it take root in our lives it will prevent growth and development.

As writers, we attempt to portray our characters as real and believable as we can. Even super heroes experience fear and face it. That is the moment when transition happens, followed by growth and development. Characters evolve through the progression of the story; they don’t remain the same. They grow and continue to evolve whether that evolution ends up being positive or negative. A character may experience fear and learn, grow from it as it conquers it, or become paralyzed and eventually, destroyed by it. The important issue here is that characters don’t remain the same, at the same level throughout the story unless the writer has a specific goal and determines so; however, with purpose.

Sometimes, fear comes from not understanding something or from denial, and many times, denial comes from fear, thus perpetuating a circle. Whatever the outcome, a character will advance the plot. Dinorah Sandbeck, the main character on The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy, resisted her birthright in part because of denial and fear of the unknown. Once she gave in to knowledge and acceptance, she was able to embrace her purpose and ultimately become. However, you can see this transition happening and evolving throughout the trilogy. At the end, she becomes what she was meant for, and fulfills her birthright. The Dinorah Chronicles is available in paperback and eBook formats via Amazon.

We face many storms during our lifetime, some stronger than others, but ultimately, the human spirit holds on and goes on with the help of God. When the winds stopped I expected to see a mess outside, and thought that the few flowers that were left in the garden would be gone for good. Yesterday, I spotted this through my window, and I thought, it is never too late neither hopeless.

After the storm roses. Their color is so rich and beautiful.

When Reality Mimics Fiction

I came across this open letter to President Donald J. Trump from Archbishop Vigano, and I was very intrigued as to why this has not been shared on the news more, and not at all on the news channels I watch regularly. It warns the president about a global reset, and a system that is created to erased our rights and freedoms, and that has been instituted in other countries, and is to be implemented by the end of this year in more countries. If you are familiar with Catholic hierarchy, then you understand why this was such a bold move from this Archbishop. I found it so interesting because of his use of words that I decided to share the letter here, and let you make up your mind about it. If anything, it makes you ponder. I also find many similarities with The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy, hence why I am sharing it.

The Damsels of Cain

In The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy, evil is personified via an organized well-funded group named The Damsels of Cain. The Damsels of Cain is a female-run organization spread all over the world, and its male disciples are under female leadership. Males wear a mark in the left wrist, while woman wear it in the right wrist – a black tulip inside a pentacle. Their main leader is Dana Ringold. The Damsels of Cain are led by evil. Their purpose is to recruit young females to establish as many chapters throughout the planet. They congregate in secret temples all over the world, where they initiate new members, baiting them with the allure of riches and power. Their main objective is to target influential men in various organizations (science, politics, technology …) to eventually obtain unified political power on the planet. Once they have achieve this, evil can reign on Earth.

The Blue Lily Society is the counterpart to this group. It is a society established centuries ago with the sole purpose of serving good and protect key individuals. They pose as ladies social clubs to maintain anonymity. They raised Dinorah Sandbeck, the main character, and the one who leads the decoding of a new Earth and the awakening of the Sunrise Souls. Together, and along with divine intervention, they must prevent the rise of evil.

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. Isaiah 65:17

If interested, you can find The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy on Amazon in eBook and paperback formats.

RAMBLINGS OF THE SPIRIT
THE BOOK OF SHARON
SUNRISE SOULS