01 May 2009


I walked outside today and saw the reflection of our red Japanese maple in the blue waters of our pond. All of a sudden the question came to me, as I was rather awestruck by the lovely, tranquil view I had just seen...am I a clear reflection of God's love to those who see me?

Blessings, Aimee

"Ye are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:14, 16 KJV

"As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man." Proverbs 27:19 KJV

Photo: Red Laceleaf Japanese Maple

Happy Birthday!!!

I remember the day you and I first met -- it was a warm and sunny one.
My daughter, her kids and I had to travel a long ways to get you and we met in the parking lot of a shopping center.
You ran straight for me and from that moment my heart was intertwined with yours!
It was as if God had picked you out for me; you were SO very perfect in every way
(and I believe He did as I really prayed that we find the right dog for our home).
We drove home that day with you on my lap---you were (and still are) so cute and so very soft. I was caught up forever in 'puppy love'.
But we were not prepared yet at home so we had some shopping to do first.
The first store couldn't let me bring you in,
but the second not only let you come in but stayed open past closing so we could get everything you would need
(they have had our loyalty ever since because of that).
The days and months passed and my hubby fell hard under your 'puppy love' 'spell' too ....in fact we added to our puppy family a bit later, all because of you!

It has been some years now and you've been with us through them all. The hot summer days when you swam with your human dad in our pond, cold winter days when you and I would have fun out in the frozen landscape while others clung to their fires and heat inside and all the times in between! You've made some trips with us, helped dad with his cyber surfing and guarded us well without complaint. You always give us a warm welcome when we get home--especially your dad who you are totally crazy about.


Thank you for coming into my life and making it so much the sweeter and most of all--thank you God for this little creation of Yours. I am forever grateful!
Happy Birthday my puppy and...may we have many more years together!
Blessings, Aimee

Puppy time (a treat, Hey dad!)
Checking out my new siblings
Cyber dog (yes, he really did have it in his own head to get up there))
In the wintertime (2 different years)

29 April 2009

I Remember Lord

In a few days I will again celebrate the anniversary of God granting me one of the true desires of my heart. On that day I will take time to remember His loving kindness and grace to me--as I do quite often these days.

Two years ago, I was employed at a job that was challenging, rewarding and fun (at times) but also very stressful. Over time it became apparent that the challenges, rewards, money and benefits of this job were outweighed by the very real and negative affect the stress was having on me--emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. Also, the true desire of my heart was to be a full-time homemaker again even though all my children were grown and had moved away from home by this time.

Yet, despite the increasing negative affects and obvious conflict between the desire of my heart to return home, and what I was actually doing, I could not bring myself to leave for two main reasons: the first was the security my job provided me (and us) in terms of wages and benefits; if something unforeseen happened (God forbid) to my husband, we or I could live on my wages--not something one can do everywhere these days (we already knew that we could survive easily on my husband's income alone ). Also, it was a job that I was well suited for, could physically do until retirement age and if I did leave, there was a big chance I could not return there to work.

Secondly, my husband was not in agreement about this. Sometimes he would say it was OK to quit and at other times he’d say it wasn’t a good idea because of the benefits I had there. So time passed, the stress increased, things changed--negatively--in some ways at work and my heart’s desire to be home grew as I continued to pray.

After some time had passed--I realized the first reason -- security -- had more to do with fear and a lack of trust in God to provide for me should the unforeseen happen. Did I truly believe HE would take care of me or was I placing my trust instead in a job and mankind? Hum, the answer was obvious here--God had a perfect track record of keeping His promises; man did not. Still I had to come to the place where I took my trust and placed it in HIM instead of looking at the world to meet my needs for future security (this doesn’t mean I am not advocating being a good steward of the money you've been given. It is wise, and I believe Biblically mandated, to stay as debt free as possible and to save for the future--we do both of these things).When I truly realized what the real issue was and the answer to the fear that was holding me there -- the first reason against leaving my job left and I had peace about it. But there was still reason #2...

At some point, my husband changed his mind about this matter and he agreed with me that it was OK for me to quit my job AND become a full-time homemaker again (I wanted us to be in full agreement on this important, family affecting decision as I feel this is right in God’s sight to do this when you are married). Both reasons against leaving were now gone

Then a few events happened at work and it became clear it was definitely the time to leave there so I turned in my 2-week notice and the burden I had been carrying lifted from my shoulders. On the day I left--almost two years ago now--I walked out that door and walked into the freedom God had given me!!! To this day I don't regret it and my gratitude to God for answered prayer is immeasureable :)

Thank you Abba Father for showing me, Your child, grace and mercy though I've sometimes doubted and not trusted You. Thank you God for answered prayer and for this precious gift of my heart’s true desire. Forgive me Lord for the times since then that I’ve wasted or misused what You’ve given me and help me to treat it always as the true treasure I know it is.

Blessings always,

"Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass."
Psalms 37:4, 5 KJV
This post was not meant to make women employed outside the home feel bad about their decision to work. For some women I realize this is necessary to meet family needs or there are other important factors to work--I’ve known women where this is definitely the case. Please understand that I do not walk in your shoes and am not judging you or saying that working is sinful or wrong for you to do; this is between you, your family and God only not me. Since my children were born I’ve -- at times--been a full time homemaker (especially when the kids were young), worked part time at jobs that had little impact on time spent with family (like at their private, Christian school and babysitting), returned to college when they were older and also worked at jobs that did have an impact on our home life.

Looking back--I would say that it is important to weigh this choice carefully--determine whether you are truly working for needs or just wants (can you honestly live on one income only -- if you are married; are you living beyond your means?). I urge you to consider the affect this has on you and your family.(in ours there were some very real negative affects --family wise and for me healthwise). Consider whether there night be another way to meet the financial strain your family may be under.

If you are torn between home and work or have the desire to be home full time with your family, as I did, I would encourage you to pray about it and make it a matter of family discussion--sometimes the answer is choosing work that can be done at home or when your kids are at school; sometimes it's a matter of looking at your priorities and sometimes--as in my case--it’s a matter of trust.

27 April 2009

Into the Shade

Most of my favorite walks have been in the forests and woodlands of the NW. When we were looking at re-doing the pond gardens this year, I wanted to include a small area which would remind me of these beautiful and very peaceful walks---a shady, cool place to retreat to on a hot summer day; a special place to relax in within the larger garden scheme.

Now, even though this area is not completely done yet, I like it so well that we're working on enlarging it already (in case you don't know a garden is never really done but evolves and changes as time goes on)

So are you ready to go into the shade and see some of the plant treasures hidden within the shadows there?

This is a brunnera, Jack Frost, and as you can see from this close-up the leaves are dramatic--beautifully shaped and colored...but that isn't all. The plant also has small blue flowers that remind one of forget-me-nots. Between the variegated leaves and tiny flowers it really stands out in the relative darkness of the shade garden.

A given in shady areas of the NW are ferns and our garden is no exception. In fact we have about 5 there so far and will never have a need to buy more. Why you ask? Well in the NW, or at least on our land, we have ample supplies of 'freebie' ferns growing in shady (and some sunnier) locations--under decks, behind buildings and in even more surprising areas! By 'freebie' I mean ones which we never planted.

The photo above is one of our larger ferns--and may have been given to me by my sibling who likes them as much as I . Don't you just love the new tendrils? The brown against the green is a gorgeous combination; unfortunately this photo doesn't give it justice:(

Another plant commonly found in the shade here (a NW native like the fern) is the trillium (see photo above; it's the little one near the hosta)). Although ours is a teeny tiny bitty plant now it will get much bigger in time. I really like to use plants native to our area---first because they are incredibly beautiful and second because they generally need lower maintenance in terms of water, light and other requirements, etc.

You've already seen our new bleeding heart. I can report she is now happily planted and doing well. I will miss her beautiful white heart-shaped blossoms very much when they are gone soon--they're something I am quite fond of (there's a good photo of the blossoms on the right side of this screen)!

Next to the bleeding heart is a hosta which has no blooms --yet. Hum, there is an odd looking area on the photo--I will have to check more closely tomorrow and make sure no slugs or snails (the bane of the NW) are dining on my hosta. Bad slugs! Later this summer the hosta will have blossoms too so she may have a 'repeat performance' here then :)

Several more shade or partial shade lovers ... an astilbe (an amethyst--will post when it's in bloom), some Mt Hood daffodils (some of my favorites; I bought even more this year), three more rhododendrons (Pioneer Silvery Pink--pic to right of screen, Hotei -- this will have yellow blossoms soon and then a photo here, a Ria Hardijzer--picture to right of screen too) and more...
Trees in our shaded - partially shaded garden include, but are not limited to, two types of Japanese Maples (I love my maples; they're beautiful year round but especially in the spring and autumn), a Viburnum (Spring Bouquet--photo of bloom on right side of screen) and a privet. Some of the main ground cover we're using in the shade are: Irish moss (for the emerald green lovin' Celt in me!), creeping phlox (scarlet flame) and native (as in born on our land) NW moss -- something we cherish and treat with all the love it deserves :) These I'll all post photos of at a later date as they're planted.

This is a flowering crabapple tree--it's located very close to the shade garden so I'm including it here. It's a Prarifire and everyone seems to really love it--I definitely do:) Today we planted it and now need to choose some plants and possibly a small bamboo fence to surround it.

Well that's it for now--hope you enjoyed your walk in the shade. I'd love to know what plants you use in your shady gardens! Have a blessed week.

Blessings, Aimee


  • Brunnera 'Jack Frost"
  • Fern
  • Part of the shade garden-plants: Bleeding heart, hosta, fern, trillium, Pioneer Silvery Pink rhododendron and more:)
  • Hosta, bleeding heart 'Alba', native NW fern
  • Japanese Maple (acer palmatum)
  • Crabapple (malus) 'Prarifire'

Note: If you are from the NW another native, shade to partial shade loving plant I have grown is salal. This is an evergreen plant with beautiful green leaves florists use in arrangements, flowers and berries. It is really a nice plant and will spread in time.

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