09 October 2009

A Walk in His Gardens: A Day of Celebration & Thanks

Every day of life
whether cloudy and gray
or sunny and clear is a gift;
as is every year that we are given here on earth.

A gift of indescribable worth
given us from the Creator of life above--
gifts of love from HE who loves us the most.

And since life is a gift of such immense value and a blessing given us by God,
we should see each day as that priceless gift--
a gift far better then money or material goods.

We should seek to love as God's Son loved
and as the One who sent Him loves
(something not always easy for me to do I admit)
And we should especially seek to give to those who mean the most to us--
those family and friends that bless and enrich our lives.
Several years back, I'm not sure of the exact date. something changed for me and I began to see the day of my birth in a different light;
I began to want to give to family and friends on that day instead of only recieving--
(after all, at my very great, totally advanced age I already have the things I really need and even a lot of the things I want)...
so I started something that year and I really liked it.

What I did was to ask family members who would normally buy me a birthday gift--or a dinner out--to instead donate that money to charity;
but this was in no way forced on them--it was only if they were OK with the concept. This idea gave me joy.
And because I really LOVE to be out in God's gardens and could think of no better place to be, I treated myself to the only other gift I really wanted--a trip in the mountains and to the PNW coast
(since Oregon's weather looked better we went there)
Of course, since I also wanted to give and not just receive, I decided to surprise my best friend and treat her to a trip too! It was really a surprise because she didn't 'catch' the hint I dropped and arrived in
'grubbies' ready to do the work we had originally planned to do that day:)
No matter--one quick stop would solve that itsy bitty problem.

I SO LOVE spur of the moment trips and nice surprises!

(it was spur of the moment as we were trying to finish some work before the BIG project began and so didn't know if there would be time to make a trip until the very last moment.)

My DH -- aka "Farmer Boy" of course gave us his blessing -- he knows a trip in God's gardens always brings me great joy
(I should explain that technically speaking this gift of a trip was from him. That man knows what his Country Gal likes!)
So we set off towards the beautiful NW coast range
Once there we spent a bit of time walking along the river there,

gazing at the beautiful reflections of the trees and shrubs along the water's edge and enjoying the silence to be found there.

We passed vine maples - red now because of autumn

and areas where the river was very still--more like a pond then a river there.
Once at the coast we walked a bit along the beach after I treated my friend to lunch at a great restaurant there (salad, seafood, dessert). Giving was really a lot of fun for me!

The beach was SO nice and the summer crowds mostly gone! We saw a few people, the usual seagulls and a kite flying.

We saw several bays too --this rocky one

and one of my most favorite ones!
I LOVE this place!

We also stopped while at the coast to buy real, totally authentic salt water taffy and chocolate--a treat for us and for family back home (eek! I forgot to give the taffy to my family when they were over recently. Good thing it stays good for awhile and good thing tomorrow is the weekend! MY DH already ate his yummy gift from me as did I--sorry but I could not resist the fruit chocolates they had there)
Thank you Lord for the gifts you've given me--the ones that surround me everyday
thank you especially for the gift of another year of life!
- "O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever."
I Chronicles 16:34 KJV
"To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—that is indeed a gift from God. People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy." Ecclesiastes 5:19b, 20 NLT (© 2003, Tyndale House Publishers)
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17 KJV
Coast range of Oregon & Central Oregon coast.

A Walk in His Gardens: Early Autumn Palette

Less then one month into my favorite season and the colors are beautiful!
The white and purple of most of the lavenders continue as the night temperatures drop but the daytime highs have been for the most part quite nice. Our new mums are a mixture of white and purple too; we also have blooming roses still in a variety of colors including white, orangish and more.

Changing with the season are the leaves of the ash trees in a nearby town--
this photo does NOT do justice to the wonderful yellow of these!
Seed pods are still forming on the Japanese maples--some a light pinkish shade like on this tree; those on the red laceleaf maples are darker.
Also with red tones are the flowering cherry and dogwood, some azaleas, the barberry
and -- of course --the crocosmia.
I LOVE crocosmia (but then you already know that!)
I love red too--in fact I am hoping to add some more of that to our home in 2010. If I survive the BIG project that is :)
Red can also be found on two of our strawberries; this one is as big as a Hood berry--one of the NW June bearing favorites. Yum---guess I will have to force myself to eat it tomorrow; unless the deer get it before me that is.
YES, there has been a Bambi sighting -- again.
And yes I missed it -- again. Super sigh.
Reddish tones on an upright maple tree not located in our garden but no matter -- our two laceleafs are becoming more red as the days pass.
I love the contrast between the light bark and that beautiful, gorgeous red, don't you?
OK. Confession time.
Yellow (like that found on aspen and ash trees) and red are my favorite autumn colors
and yet this year I find myself
really, really loving the colors of the different gourds - winter squash and pumpkin
that I am seeing too! So pretty!

This photo was taken during a trip in NW Oregon at a farm there. They also had amazing apples, honey, ornamental corn and a LOT more!
(photos and info on the trip there and to some other farms to be posted soon).
I LOVE PNW farms; really I do!
Which reminds me I need to check out apple cider at our local farms soon.
Now actually this coppery color is NOT a good sign even though it was a beautiful sight! It means the plant really is tired and stressed out over our continuing summer weather and that this poor baby longs for a long, deep, good soaking. Poor plant--I am caught between hoping it gets its wish and loving our current blue skies and warm temperatures.
And the kiwi keeps growing-although they would have probably been larger had they received more irrigation this summer. I love the fuzzy brown amidst the green leaves and pretty vines! And today, when my sibling visited, they found another one I hadn't spotted yet!!
. I can hardly wait for harvest time which should be soon---I think.
Not shown but also adding color--and later food- to our autumn garden are: Concord & Niagara grapes (deep purple and green respectively), lingonberries (red with some white blossoms still), evergreen huckleberries (dark, dark bluish), Comice pears (yellowish with red blush) and a few prunes (you know what color they are, right?) Oh we also have some yellow raspberries left, a bit of baby reddish leaf lettuce and some really, really sad looking red peppers; I never seem to have luck with peppers. Sigh.
But the two never before seen surprises for color this fall have been
the forsythia which is happily producing its normally springtime lemony yellow blossoms now amidst the green and autumn red of its many leaves
and one of our blueberries. The one--always a spring bloomer, summer harvest berry apparently thinks its spring again too! Confusion seems to have reigned in our garden all of this past year. Kind of fun though!

This was September 21st
and this just the other day.
So what's happening in your gardens and what is your fav autumn color?
As above.
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