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Happy Earth Day! Tweaking The Perspective A Little!

Celebrating Earth Day But Tweaking The Perspective A Little

wheat farming

Growing up, I watched the intimate relationship my dad had with the land on our wheat farm so he could provide a good living.  I saw first-hand how my father truly respected his little corner of the earth so to speak, and the deep sense of satisfaction he received from the hard work his farm provided.

For my father, each day he was able to spend tending to his farm was an “earth day” celebration of sorts.

He recorded the following in his autobiography…

“To go out to the farm in the spring with the birds, the sky, the soil and all the machinery and get everything going, and then to see the hills cultivated in such a nice way was very satisfying.”

In considering the events of the past week, perhaps we’d all be better served if we paused a minute, took a deep breath, and celebrated earth day by looking around us and realizing once again, that we truly are blessed!  We might ask ourselves, “Am I doing what I was put on this earth to do?”   (I know, maybe a little intense–it’s just where my mind has been lately.)

As I’ve said in this previous post, I often feel a deep sense of kinship with mother earth while working in my yard.  If I get discouraged or feel a bit overwhelmed, I literally turn to earth’s dirt to give me better perspective of what a wonderful place this world really is, and how fortunate I am to share a small part in it!

Happy Earth Day–Be Inspired By It’s Beauty!

I hope that these artful pictures taken by my daughter-in-law, Whitney Wilding, and my son-in-law, Cole Gibbons, (both beautiful photographers) help us all to remember again, that no matter what, we really can all work together to make this wonderful planet earth a better place to live!

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Butterfly Conservatory in Buffalo, New York

Adirondacks

Breathtaking view in Letchworth State Park, complete with rainbow!

Big Sur-California

Big Sur, California

Flower in pond at Conservatory Garden in Central Park

Conservatory Garden in Central Park in New York City

Lower Manhattan from 850 ft

  A beautiful view of lower Manhattan!  A view Cole and Mandi see each morning!

Central Park in winter

 A winter wonderland view of Central Park!

Hurricane aftermath

 Hurricane aftermath in New York City–Mother Nature reminds us of our vulnerabilities!

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What I’m learning now is…

As we look around, it doesn’t take long to realize that we are indeed privileged to live here on earth.  What I’m learning now is that more often than not, it seems like it takes some sort of tragedy or unusual circumstances to startle our senses into helping us remember the fact that we truly are so blessed!  Getting older has helped give me a better appreciation for most things in life, and yet, we are all prone to take some things for granted.  

 

I’d love for you to share any photos or thoughts you have about this great place we call earth!

–Mary

A Special Tribute To Boston and God’s Promise!

A Special Tribute To Boston and God’s Promise!

StethoscopeOn Monday morning, April 15, 2013, I arrived early at the hospital where I work to attend the birth of a family’s beautiful twins.  Much like I did on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I witnessed new life being brought into the world while so many others experienced the sad devastation of lives lost!  I first heard about the tragic news of what had happened at the Boston marathon later on Monday afternoon when I went to check on the twins with their mom in her room.  The TV was on a news station that was giving the sad chain of events as reporters tried to piece together bits of information as they learned of them.  We were all stunned as we watched the details of what had taken place in Boston.  As I glanced over at the twin’s parents, they seemed to be holding their babies just a little tighter.  The Boston bombings reminded me of the wise words of a doctor I worked with on another horrific day in our nation’s history when a young mother who had just given birth couldn’t help but wonder aloud that her baby’s birthday would always be overshadowed by the attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001.  I remember feeling so sad about the torn emotions of this new mom at what should have been a joyous occasion for her family.  However, her thoughtful delivering physician stated, without reservation, that her baby’s birth was a positive exclamation point to a sad day of painful heartache!  Monday’s events in Boston serve as a good reminder for us to always pay special tribute to those we love and the positive influence they are in our lives!

I have a family of runners!  Like so many of the people who lined the streets in Boston on Monday, I have been the spectator along the sidelines cheering behind barricades with my camera poised, ready to capture the perfect picture of the tired, yet triumphant smiles of family members as they anticipate the finish line.  It’s always a cumulative celebration of the sheer grit and determination sustained throughout the race, as well as the many training hours endured!  I can’t even imagine a race ending like it did at the Boston marathon this past Monday!

Marathon runners www.mytributejournal.com

Due to super storm Sandy, New York’s marathon was cancelled last year, but my daughter, Mandi has qualified to run in it this year and her dad hopes to join her.  The race will definitely serve as a tribute to the tenacity of the people of this great city…also, to the people in Boston–to everyone in America trying to be strong during hard times!   

Recently, while reorganizing some papers and files, I came across a poem that my daughter, Mandi, wrote for a grade school sponsored “Reflections” contest when she was perhaps eleven or twelve.  Her words seem wise beyond her years at the time.  I hope that at the very least, this poem will provide some sort of healing perspective to the unbelievably sad circumstances in Boston this week.

gods promise poem

What I’m trying to learn again now is…

My parents always taught me to cherish life…..perhaps that’s why I chose my profession!  It’s so hard to even conceive of a world without our loved ones in it when we lose them.  Despite so much tragedy in the world today; most recently at the Boston marathon, what I’m trying to learn again now is that there really is such decency in the world too.  May we always strive to be examples of all that is good and decent in life, so that our children and grandchildren can carry that influence forward for their generations and the ones to come!

I know this is just a small little blog, but I hope you’ll share ways to heal our hearts from these tragedies and how we can stay strong and be happy in looking forward to the future.   

–Mary

 

The Fruits Of Our Labors…Take Time To Enjoy Them!

The Fruits Of Our Labors…Don’t Forget To Take The Time To Enjoy Them 

Vintage lawn mowerOf all the things my parents taught me about cultivating a good work ethic, working in the yard and gardening are ones that I enjoy the most!  Even as a young girl, I looked forward each weekend to working in the flower beds while my dad mowed the lawn.  I liked going to the garden nurseries with my parents to help pick out the beautiful flowers and plants that gave a much needed burst of life and energy to a winter worn yard!  I’m also impressed that my parents seemed to listen to my input with genuine interest while picking out their plants.  I’m not sure I gave that much credence to my own children’s gardening ideas.  They did however, indulge my passion for yard work and were good to contribute their part to the upkeep and maintenance of our yard…if asked, they might suggest that they really didn’t have a choice!

yard work

(My youngest daughter had many opportunities to mow the lawn and help in the yard after her older sister and brother left home!  Mandi now lives in New York City in a small tenth floor apartment; she’s told me how she sometimes misses the days spent working in our yard!)  

My Grandma Mecham (my mom’s mom) was my most adept mentor as I grew up and first started developing my gardening skills.  My grandma had a calm demeanor and kindly taught me, even as a young energetic child, the art of planting vegetable seeds and flower start-ups.  Grandma MechamMy grandparents had a long, more narrow backyard, with a winding stone path that curved down the middle of their beautiful garden.  The garden’s artistic mix of vegetables and flowers became my own “secret garden”!  My mom often went to help my grandma with her gardening tasks so our family could reap some of the rewards at harvest time.  Countless hours were spent working together with my grandma in her garden, but one very distinct memory I have that left a lasting impression on me was that my grandma always took time after we were finished for the day, or before the sun went down, to sit on one of her garden benches or her front porch swing to enjoy little homemade treats with a tangy fruit drink.  She’d talk about all we’d accomplished and how beautiful everything looked.  Sometimes, even before she took her dirt-caked garden gloves off, she’d reach over and hug my shoulders and tell me what a wonderful day it had been.  It was hard not to be totally enchanted as I magically seemed to see things through my grandmother’s delighted view of the world!  Too often, I just run from one task to another and forget to take time to enjoy what I have done.

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Long before it became such a trend, my grandma made beautiful planters out of unique items found in a storage shed.  All the more reason to take time and really enjoy the “fruits of our labors”!   

Enjoying Delicious Fruits Of Our Labors

rhubarb plantsAlthough my parents didn’t plant a big garden like my grandparents, they did grow rhubarb plants along the back fence of our yard.  When the plants were ready, my mom would ease the rhubarb gently out of the ground, then it was my job, along with some of my siblings, to cut the leafy tops off and rinse away any dirt left on the stalk.  I know I didn’t really appreciate the value of this rhubarb ritual at the time, but I have a transplant from my parent’s yard in my garden now.  One of my favorite desserts is made with rhubarb. rhubarb plants My thoughts are flooded with special memories each time I smell rhubarb cooking!  It’s something my whole family really enjoys and now many friends and neighbors do so as well, since we have shared our rhubarb cobbler at many neighborhood gatherings.  We serve it warm with vanilla bean ice cream.  Talk about literally enjoying the fruits of our labors!   (I wish I could say that all my gardening endeavors produced abundant crops, alas, that is not the case!) 

strawberry rhubarb cobbler

Rhubarb-Strawberry-Raspberry Cobbler

Biscuit Topper:

1 cup flour   2 tbsp. sugar   1/4 tsp. salt

Cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Combine 1/4 cup milk and 1 slightly beaten egg.  Add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just enough to moisten.  Set mixture aside.

Fruit Mixture:

sliced rhubarb

2 cups 1 inch cut rhubarb

2 cups sliced strawberries

2 cups fresh raspberries

Combine 1 cup sugar  2 tbsp. cornstarch 

 1/4 tsp. cinnamon  1 tbsp. water  1 tbsp. butter.  Bring to boil. Cook and stir for one minute.  Pour filling into 8 1/4 X 1 3/4 inch round baking dish (or comparable square dish).  Immediately spoon on biscuit topper in 6-8 mounds. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  So good, you’re gonna love it! 

What I’m learning now is…

Just like the Dr. Seuss quote in this past entry, sometimes it takes getting a little older to recognize that you really are wiser and truly appreciate so many of the things that your parents taught you.  What I’m learning now is that although your children may not verbalize aloud that they are glad they’ve learned a few things from you, I think that deep down in their hearts, (maybe in a crevice that may never surface in our lifetime-ha!) they really are grateful that you helped them know how to work.  I just hope my kids are doing a better job at taking the time to “enjoy the fruits of their labors” more than I did when I was younger!

Please share any rhubarb recipes you love.  Also, any gardening tips that make the yard work process easier or how you stop to take a breath and “enjoy the fruits of your labors”!  

–Mary