Better Luck Next Year

Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes. ~Author Unknown

What a difference a year makes!

Last year, for the first time, I decided to try growing a tomato plant.

It succeeded. In spades.

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Sleep Interrupted

There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast. ~Author unknown (applies to dogs, too!)

Rain morphs to downpour
Lightning flashes; thunder cracks
Get up now, Mama!

Sunday’s Gem — Rhodonite

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

The name Rhodonite comes from the Greek rhodon (meaning “rose”). This lovely gemstone is a manganese silicate containing veins of iron, magnesium, and calcium.

Thanks to http://www.geology.com for this photo of tumbled Rhodonite stones.

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Kindness Doesn’t Cost

Make the other person feel important — and do it sincerely. ~ Dale Carnegie, American writer and developer of courses in self-improvement, public speaking, etc.

Several days ago, my path crossed with that of a stranger, and every time I recall it, I smile.

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Help Me ID Her

What a significance wild flowers have, more than the tamed productions of the garden! They seem Heaven’s own messengers sent straight to man to bear glad tidings of universal and undying love. ~Henry James Slac, English journalist

What is this beauty?

She arises every year

Unplanned, yet welcome.

Another Loss

For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. ~Martin Luther, German professor of theology

A knot
Just big enough for a little girl’s rear
To sit astride, pretending she’s riding a pony.

A hole in its trunk
Ideal for concealing notes and trinkets
Meant for sharing with friends.

A canopy of shady branches
Perfect for three girlfriends to lie beneath
And find pictures in the passing clouds,
While whistling with the helicopter seeds.

Four trunks wide enough
To camouflage two Hide-n-Seekers
Watching ‘It’ and gauging when
It’s safe to race for Home.

Halloween brought friendly mischief
In the form of toilet papering,
That rite of passage in small towns
Delighting teens and vexing parent cleaner-uppers.

Countless birds and squirrels
Made nests and raised young here.
Cats became frozen statues at its base
Waiting and watching for something to fall down.

Mother Nature can be wrathful
Whipping up a wicked summer storm
That fells trees and costs homeowners
Not only money but memories.

Note: This Silver Maple sits on the property line between our house and our next-door neighbor. It was immense when I was a child, and part of me expected it to live forever. Sadly, a storm thought differently — two years after Domer’s Sugar Maple blew over. R.I.P., old friend.

Sunday’s Gem — Agate

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

A variety of polished Agates (courtesy of http://www.geology.com)

First found in a river in Sicily between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, Agate is a banded Chalcedony, a mineral of the Quartz family. Known as the “earth rainbow,” it’s found throughout the world, and there are perhaps thousands of types, typically appearing in stripes, “eye” markings, colored specks, fossilized inclusions, or no color at all.

Ancient Islamic and Babylonian peoples thought Agate could ward off evil. Long ago Egyptians and Persians prized it as protection against natural disasters. Ancient Chinese expected it to cleanse their minds, making room for good fortune. Medieval peoples tied it to the horns of oxen to bring about a plentiful harvest. It’s believed to be the middle stone in the third row in the breastplate of the High Priest in early Israel.

Agate is a translucent, semi-precious stone whose color is caused by embedded minerals, typically iron oxides and hydroxides. A seven on the Mohs scale of hardness (ranging from 1-10), Agate is a relatively inexpensive gemstone which, when cut and polished, becomes cabochons, beads, cameos, statuary, knife handles, and other ornaments. Children’s marbles — “aggies” — once were made from polished agate.

The healing properties of Agate are slow, steady, and gentle. Agate fosters self-confidence, helps us multi-task, and lessens our desires for things we don’t need. Agate promotes marital fidelity, protects against traffic accidents, and helps writers espress their ideas in marketable form (okay, I’m convinced — I’ll take a wagon-load!!)

Chinese Rain Flower Agates — thanks to http://www.agatelady.com for this photo

The zodiac stone for Gemini (May 22-June 21) and the mystical birthstone for September, Agate’s Chakra healing energy depends upon the color of the stone. For example, Blue Lace Agate clears the throat Chakra; Fire Agate stimulates the base Chakra; green Agate is beneficial for the heart Chakra. Likewise, Feng Shui experts believe the different varieties of Agate resonate to different purposes.

Agate is said to be helpful for digestion, headaches, arthritis, fever reduction, throat conditions, and physical strength. It’s believed to help you overcome addictive behaviors, heal bitterness of the heart, improve communication, banish fear, and improve longevity.

Clean your Agate with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid exposure to heat and harsh chemicals.

Note: The claims here aren’t meant to take the place of medical advice. They’re based on folklore and other sources, and likely “work” best if one’s belief is strong enough!

Flowers and Trust

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. ~Chinese Proverb

Why is it that we labor extensively over choosing flowers, planting them, locating them in what should be ideal spots, watering and fertilizing them, and even talking to them, only to have this happen:

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R and R for the Soul

The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it.  ~Author Unknown

Outdoors the clouds roll overhead
Racing one another to a destination unknown.
Trees bow; wildlife seeks shelter against the tempest.

Inside, one’s emotions toss about
Like a dinghy caught in a blustery sea.
As our to-do list swells, the hours of daylight shrink.

We know we must rest, debrief, kick back
If we’re to have strength for the tasks ahead.
Why, then, are we so reluctant to do as we ought?

From youth, we’re ingrained in busyness.
Productivity, activity, restlessness.
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop and all that.

We race about trying to prove we’re accomplishing something,
Warding off the evils of idleness and sloth,
While tempting Fate to substitute ill health and exhaustion.

Maybe more of us need a river bank or park bench,
A place of solitude and rest for mind and body.
Stolen time to recharge, energize, restore, renew.

I crowded far too many tasks into Yesterday. Today is now demanding music, chocolate truffles, and sporadic dancing, as compensation. ~Dr. SunWolf

Note: Along with the good doctor above, I’m going to take a few days’ break. Maybe even a week! It’s time for Fourth of July, a visit with Domer, and some much-needed “Debbie-time.” I’ll be back (don’t forget me!)