Saturday, February 28, 2015

What is Love?

I am late for Coffee Chat this week. Thank goodness Ms. Rory Bore always has coffee on! This week we are discussing the topic of “Love”.  She has asked us the profound question, “Love. How do YOU know love?”

There are many kinds of love in life. We benefit from all of them. There is the love that we first feel, as an infant for parents and family. As we grow, we love our friends, and also we learn to love our pets. Inevitably, as we mature, we develop feelings of romantic love.

Love comes into our lives in many ways. The love of friends is a constant, sharing the many stages of life with us. Some friends may be a temporary force at a time in our life, while others remain there by our side. This does not make any less effective or more important, though. Love always helps us to grow.     

Some love prepares us for the future. Young love teaches us about mature romantic love, preparing us for the responsibility of commitment. We learn how to accept love, and how to give love in meaningful ways.

I have been blessed to have been married for nearly thirty four years. Upon meeting, we became close platonic friends. There was respect, trust, and love. Romantic love grew slowly from these essential elements, which remain. A solid foundation for commitment in any relationship contains respect, trust, and love.

There are endless thoughts on love from a great many minds and teachings. Those who have taught on this important element of life include prophets, poets, philosophers, theologians, sages, and countless humanitarians.  The Bible tells us that love is the greatest gift of all. I believe this, as in numerous ways love benefits those who give it, as well as those who receive it.

I cannot leave out the unconditional love given to us by pets. I have learned so much from loving and being loved by critters. They truly love without question, without reservation. There are no pretenses or conditions for them. If they love you, it is genuine.

Love has deep value, no matter what form it comes in. Love lifts us up when we are down. It accepts us as we are, validating us. Love gives us security in an insecure world. Love binds us together, making us stronger. Indeed, love is a blessing that makes life worth living for everyone.

It is important to always remember, “Love isn’t love until you give it away.”

Linked to:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Watching & Waiting

Cooper's Hawk
Watching from the woods down near the bog,
at the dead end of our road. This is one of 
a pair. They live in and hunt around our 
neighborhood, along the channel and lake.

Bald Eagle
Watching the meadow next to the frozen marsh, 
as the snow and temperatures fall, yet again.
Bald Eagles have fought hard to make a comeback 
in our area of North East Illinois. Several nests can now
be been found throughout the chain of lakes region. 

~Both pictures were taken locally, near our home.
I was recently in the right place at the right time,
though unprepared to capture their beauty.
Still, I felt blessed to see them. So, I share.~

Linked to:
Curious as a Cathy

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Cure

It has been a long, cold, wicked Winter. Most of us have some form of cabin fever and are trying to "think Spring". We just need something to help get us there, so we rely on our favourite interests, activities, or hobbies. Sure, there are movies and TV, but some of us need a bit more excitement than "awards" shows. We need something to cheer us up, or maybe something just to cheer for. There is something just right for that! 

Yep, it is time...for the Daytona 500! NASCAR is back. Let's Go Racin'!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Filled with Compassion

The "Follow Four Fill-In" is hosted by Hilary at Feeling Beachie. Each week, she posts statement with blanks. Our mission, should we choose to accept, is to copy the statement and fill in the blanks on our blogs. Then link up to her blog for sharing. Hilary is always looking for co-hosts and more statements for us to fill in. Please visit her, and let her know your suggestions!

The statements & My Answers: #201:

1. Showing compassion  is the best thing that you can do for the world. It should show in everything you do, every day, not just for "special" things. It should be a way of life. If we each took time to always show that we care, we could and would make a difference. Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Act upon feelings of compassion; show that you care. Just do it...always.

2. Do you follow or break routine on the weekends? When Bill is on the road, my days are usually all the same, with little change. Routine is key. There is no “looking forward to the weekend” and no “hump day”. Here, we look forward to Dad being home, whenever that is, because that is what matters

3. Pasta is my very favourite comfort food. It is even better when shared. We all need to be comforted sometimes, and sharing definitely makes everything better.  

4. Being with critters always makes me happy. There is no pretense with critters. There is no judgment from critters. They have no hidden agenda. Critters are always genuine to their feelings, whatever the situation. I love that about them, and try to give back to them when I can. It is their world, too. This is what rescue and advocacy is all about: I try to be their change, too.

Linked to:
Feeling Beachie

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me"

Please join me as I visit Les for a “Coffee Chat”, over at the Time Out for Mom blog. Les hosts a wonderful weekly discussion of interesting topics. This is one of my favourite places to hang out. This week Les has asked, “Who are you when no one is watching?”

When I read this, I immediately thought of what my Grampy taught me when I was very small. Grampy was a very devout Southern Baptist. He took me to church, read the Bible to me, and taught me lasting morals and values. His faith in God was strong, and he was steadfast in his beliefs. I have never doubted his or God’s love.

Grampy always told me “You are never alone. No matter what: God always sees you.” This made a profound impression on me as a young girl that has lasted all of my life. I may do something I shouldn’t and think I got away with it, if no one else saw me do it. But, sooner or later it always comes out because God sees everything. And God is just.

This was proven to me when I was four years old. I was told not to take any of the beautiful hard Christmas candy from the fancy bowl, because I always managed to choke on it. This was for my own good, I was told. Of course, this made the candy more desirable because it was now beautiful and forbidden. I took some, hid in the bedroom, stuffed the candy into my mouth, and while thoroughly enjoying my success…I began to choke.

Oh no…see?! Grampy was right! Gasping, I immediately ran to him, sure I was dying! Of course, he saved me. Then, hugging me, he turned me to face him and said, “You took the candy after being told not to, didn’t you? Crime didn’t pay, did it?” Apologizing, I admitted that, “No, crime didn’t pay.” I was sure that God knew what I had done and had told Grampy. God and Grampy were obviously in cahoots.

I still do things that I shouldn’t, or perhaps are not in my best interest. Just like everyone else, I am very human and have made many mistakes throughout my life. I deal with them, learn from them, ask forgiveness where appropriate, and move on. That is all we can do, as humans. However, at the back of my mind is always the knowledge that I am never totally alone in anything I do. God is watching…and so is Grampy.

So, to answer the question posed this week: when alone, I am the same person that I am when I am with other people. I don’t have any weird habits or quirky behaviors that I feel the need to hide. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) I am pretty much just “me” 24/7. 

Oh, don’t misunderstand me. I am a known “Dork”. Not being ashamed or embarrassed by that, I just don’t feel it necessary to “dork out” in private. Maybe this is because I know that Somebody is always watching anyway. 

Linked to: 

Think Spring!

Stella: wishing for the green grass of Spring

Linked to:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

First Frost

By Sarah Addison Allen

In this long awaited sequel to “Garden Spells”, we are taken back to the town of Bascom, North Carolina. Ten years have passed, but some things remain the same. The Waverly women still live and love there. Now they wait for the “first frost” of the season to set the world back in balance for them.

For generations, each Waverly woman has possessed a special gift or talent. Sisters Claire and Sydney have successful businesses in town. Claire runs an organic bakery, while Sydney owns a hair salon. The area locals have come to rely on their unique talents.

Now, the next generation of Waverly women is dealing with history and tradition. Sydney’s daughter is a teenager exploring feelings, including first love. Claire’s young daughter is just learning about the Waverly colourful history.

Some things in Bascom, N.C. have changed, however. A mysterious older man has come to town. He seems to be stalking the Waverly sisters. He has both secrets to share and a mission to accomplish. 

Sarah Addison Allen never disappoints. Her special talent is in telling magical tales. Each of Sarah's novels is a  welcome treat, sweet and special. If you have not read “Garden Spells”, now it the perfect time to do so. Then do not miss “First Frost” to complete this delightful story. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Valentine

Wishing you all that your heart desires.
~Happy Valentine's Day!~

Roses were delivered to me, from my Sweetie.
Thanks, Bill! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Good Luck

I don't consider myself superstitious. I don't avoid walking under ladders, nor am I afraid of handling mirrors lest they break, and I certainly do not worry about black cats crossing my path! In fact, if I don't have a black cat cross my path every few minutes, I worry! That usually means they are up to something...well, Chloe Jo usually is.

Black cats are often misunderstood. (Chloe Jo will tell you this is true, at least of herself.) In some cultures, including America and most of Europe, black cats are considered harbingers of "bad luck". Frequently they are associated with the occult, witches and black magic. They have become symbols of both Halloween and Friday the 13th.

However, in many countries & cultures it is believed that black cats bring blessings and good luck. In Scotland, black cats are believed to bring prosperity into a home. In Japan, black cats are believed to attract many suitors to its lady owner. In Germany, if a black cat crosses your path from left to right, it is offering good things...but from right to left it is a bad omen.

In England and Australia, it is said that black cats are able to ward off negative forces with their "protective color". Young brides were often given a black cat as a gift of good luck and prosperity.

It is said that early pirates felt if a black cat walked towards you it was very bad luck. But if a black cat walked away from you that was very good luck. They also felt that if a black cat walked onto a ship and then left it abruptly, the ship was doomed to sink. 

Early sailors often chose black cats to keep on ships, considering them an asset to attract good fortune. They believed that black cats were essential in keeping them safe and secure on their journeys. Many wives of fisherman also kept black cats at home for these same reasons, believing they would help keep their husband safe at sea.

We happily keep two black cats in our home. I don't know if they keep us safe or secure, but they do keep us entertained. We love them both and believe that we are doubly blessed!


Chloe Jo

...or two!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Walk Softly

I am healing, very slowly but surely. I cannot sit comfortably for very long yet, so my time and focus is still short for using the computer. As soon as I can, I promise that I will be back at it. I am trying to keep up with reading posts, even when I can't comment.

Chloe Jo is feeling better. A new medication and dietary change got her back on track. She is a real trooper. 

Thank you all for your good wishes and prayers. We appreciate each and every one of them, and you. It may be awhile before I am back up to speed. However, I will be back as soon as I am able, even if it is a little bit at a time. Hugs.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Weather or Not...

We are digging out of nearly 18" of snow,
here in the Great Lakes region of the U.S.

If this guy does not show up, 
he may just be snowed in.

~Think Spring!~

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX

Regarding the Big Game...

Here's a party animal for your 
Super Bowl festivities.
Be safe, but have some fun today!