Category Archives: music

Moon Dance Autumn Romance

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Moondance By Van Morrison
Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
‘Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I’m trying to please to the calling
Of your heartstrings that play soft and low…

These words were written by entertainer, Van Morrison. They express my heart this chilly autumn evening. I long to be in the arms of my sweetheart…a few more short minutes. We may not see the moon this rainy night, but will have our dance anyway.

Aging With Grace

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My home church of All Saints in St. Peters, Missouri celebrates its 190th year as a parish. A homecoming day with donkey rides, an inflatable jump house, BBQ dinner, and a concert with rising country star Candy Coburn and her band brought the parishioners and locals together Saturday evening. After dinner my mother and I strolled the church grounds. Zinnias, marigolds, and geraniums sown in our greenhouse now bloom with vigor. In contrast to this lush plant life, across from the flower beds is the cemetery. Cedars and shade trees of old shelter a bed of familiar family names engraved on stone in the 200-year old burial site. Mother and I talk about some of those people from our younger years, who now rest in the presence of our Lord.
While at Sunday Mass, we sang the Servant Song by Richard Gillard. My reflections went to what God has called me to do, just one of His many servants. And so many before me did the same.
Brother, let me be your servant.
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.
We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony.

In His Presence forever whether able to serve or not due to aging or circumstances. Live in the grace He freely gives you, and I will do the same.

The Dust of Everyday Life

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At times life can get messy or just plain mundane. A change of pace is in order, but another trip north isn’t feasible. So this past week and weekend I spent my leisure time in St. Charles, Missouri as well as worked my second job in the same historical town. The weekend I sold spices and gave out culinary advise to visitors and locals while at the spice shoppe on historic Main Street. One of my creative expressions, the culinary arts comes alive while there. Thursday night was an open house affair at the Foundry Art Centre in Frenchtown, where the French immigrants settled in this town over 200 years ago. Met some local artists, and viewed some creative art pieces in their studios. For the audience, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Aristotle tells us. I think and feel when I gander at artwork. While at the art centre I entered into a raffle for a pair of tickets to a September concert featuring the Man In Black, a Johnny Cash retro singer along with his band. And I won that raffle! Friday night was a catch-up double date with my brother and sister-in-law at Picasso’s Coffee House on historic Main Street. We talked about their trip to Hawaii and our trip to Minnesota, and about the kids and grandkids. Picasso’s has all the artsy ambiance that its name signifies and sharing “the art of coffee”. Folks sipping on coffee, tea, or spirits listening to a local jazz trio, Peaches. A couple of other locals brought their saxophones billowing high notes to the low bass, so it made the group a lively quint for a few songs. A famous Picasso quote is painted onto a wall of the local establishment. “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” For the artist, musician, culinaire, author, and gardener a cleansing is experienced while engaged in their art form. Creating pots and gardens with plants and garden art definitely does this for me. I transplanted blooming red geraniums into the large planters outside the greenhouse this weekend. These 4-month old cuttings had good root systems, ready for a broaden growing space. Coming up with our signature flower, the geranium must be it as I primp and fuss with them everytime I am at the farm. I am learning how to grow them organically, friendly on the ecosystem. Once I had a geranium for over 6 years, bringing it indoors every winter. It would shed leaves through the dormant months, and I would wonder if it would come back once May finally arrived. Every now and then it would bloom while near the kitchen patio door, white snow in the contrasting background. Always in a terra cotta pot awaiting the spring and summer months. One year for Christmas gifts I created some book marks for my foodie friends with this saying,“Friendship, like geraniums bloom in the kitchen.” Not sure who to credit for those words, as many people have quoted it, but it is true on both accounts. I want to take a try growing scented and ivy varieties. Though the old-fashioned red contrasting with the broad green leaves are my favorite palette. I will bring my geraniums inside late autumn, sheltered from the cold, non-electric greenhouse and outdoors. Pruning and propagating once again for next spring. Life continues …

Scrabble Words

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I keep a Scrabble board set up in my office at St. Louis County, available at the front lobby area for co-workers, visitors, and employees alike to play at their leisure. I borrowed the board game from our neighbor colleagues one building over. One of my office break activities is to play Scrabble. It is a stress relief with the construction projects in my office building. It is like fingernails on a chalkboard some days. Spelling a word or two takes the edge off from the noise level of the drills and saws. I can concentrate better after forming words from the letters that pop in my head. I know it is strange, but it helps. Wellness in action versus taking a “smoke break”, a drag or two of a cigarette before hitting the reports and answering the 100 and 1 questions our employees and retirees have. A “game” is completed usually in 4 or 5 days, with myself the most active player. I experience this same release when I write this WordPress blog or in my journal.
My daughters call me the “Scrabble Queen”, because I love playing it and am very competitive. Though I am competitive in other games such as Monopoly, card games, softball, tether ball, etc. I can still smack that softball over the left field fence. Ask my elementary schoolmates about my tether ball game. I would beat the snot out of the boys at every tether ball game. Well, not the boys but the tether ball! There was a boy or two I may have swung at as well… So back to Scrabble, with my family I use to make nonsensical sentences with the words we formed on the board. My siblings or children and I would laugh for what seemed like hours making up sentences with the Scrabble words. The analyst in me wonders if the combination of words I form for any given Scrabble game have a subliminal significance? Yesterday’s Scrabble board has the words “dead”, “blind”, “fist”, “knot”, “whimp”, “weigh”, and “czar”. BTW: “Czar” scores big points for a short word if you put it on a triple letter or triple word score. So the above words are fairly strong, echoing my recent thoughts of this tough world. “I wish I were blind to the world, whimpy by character, or dead to my feelings, because I am weighed down with knots in my stomach from the tight-fisted czar called life.” Woo! Simply said, I am overdone and have a tude. Feeling ready for my vacation from the house, office, spice shoppe, and greenhouse, you think?! R & R is right around the corner, tomorrow a matter of fact. Thank God! Maybe my Scrabble game will have kinder words such as “zeal”, “calm”, “smile”, “peaceful”, “love”, and “gratitude” when I return from my northern destination? Good chance of it! I want to be a colorful light to this world!


What words does your life spell today? I pray God’s best in your life: color, music, adventure, health, love, and peace!

Deep Within

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Heart Vine Plant
A beautiful song we sang at church on Sunday, which plays in my mind, heart, and voice today …
Deep Within by David Haas
Deep within, I will plant my law, not on stone, but in your heart.
Follow me; I will bring you back. You will be my own, and I will be your God.
I will give you a new heart, a new spirit within you, for I will be your strength.
Deep within, I will plant my law, not on stone, but in your heart.
Follow me; I will bring you back. You will be my own, and I will be your God.
See my face, and see your God, for I will be your hope.
Deep within, I will plant my law, not on stone, but in your heart.
Follow me; I will bring you back. You will be my own, and I will be your God.
Return to me, with all your heart, and I will bring you back.
Deep within, I will plant my law, not on stone, but in your heart.
Follow me; I will bring you back. You will be my own, and I will be your God.

The Grass Is Greener?

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Thomas Jefferson Quote
My husband, Dean and I at times wonder if the grass is greener elsewhere. Not sure where, but just elsewhere. We consider relocation, a fresh start as a second-marriage couple thoroughly in love with each other. We talk about a place called “our own”. Not raising young children any more, and in a few weeks an empty nest once again. A new beginning and more discoveries is what we sense. Is it a matter of a different house other than where I raised my children, or is it a different town, and/or new positions in a different area altogether? I came across a couple of young birds this morning enroute to another building on campus. One drank from a tiny puddle near the street curb. I said “little bird look over there, there is a fountain full of water.” Why drink from a small street puddle, when a fountain of fresh water is just one building over? Is the water fresher on the other side of the bushes, the grass greener on the other side of the fence?
Dean and I traveled to Arkansas this past weekend for a family wedding. Neither of us had been in southern Arkansas before this trip. We ventured off onto country highways from I-55 to camp at a state park on Friday night enroute to the Monticello, Arkansas wedding for Saturday evening. Cotton, rice, corn, and winter wheat fields dotted the landscape between rivers, sloughs, and bogs. Crop dusters flew over us like crows, leaving green pellets of God only knows what on the highway. The dull gray soil says it needs sustainable products rather than more synthetics. Stuttgart, Arkansas is the duck and rice capital of the world according to their signs. I do not want to venture on the validity of that statement, but it was picturesque after witnessing some desolate, impoverish homesteads before arriving in this prosperous town. Crepe myrtles, magnolia trees, snowball bushes, yuccas, cactus, and water lilies dotted the landscape with green and contrasting color as we entered into central Arkansas. The state park camp was so typical, inexpensive and loved by the other travelers and locals. Father’s Day weekend was not too terribly crowded, though plenty of children bicycling and playing ball nearby probably while their fathers wetted a fishin’ line. The bugs galore are summer-long tenants rather than visitors such as ourselves. I am chewed alive by mosquitoes, and the chiggers found me within minutes. Instead of fighting the insect population I decided to read inside the zipped screen of the tent on the comforts of the air mattress. As soon as dusk came, the clothes came off to cool down. My eyelids were shut within minutes after sundown. Early in the night a raccoon visited camp rattling a cup of ice we left outside our tent door. The people of new localities always interest me. The polite southern culture resignates in Arkansas. “Yes, ma’am, no ma’am”, the young folk say with sincerity. It was nice to meet some local folks at the wedding. The bride’s and groom’s families and friends blended well for a festive occasion. Good food, music, dancing, and laughter throughout the evening. An oldy but goody song brought Dean and I to our feet, and a Spanish-flavored tune just about sent me over Dean’s shoulder. I told my dance partner, “none of that fancy stuff, I need to be able walk off the dance floor tonight.” Castanets were in order, but none to be found. The Saturday and Sunday night hotel stays were restful.
Today reality hits, the work week is in full bloom. My more-than-busy Missouri life needs to change. Working 7 days a week with three jobs is much for anyone. Demands increase at work, with no pay raises. Change is in order, and around the corner. Let’s see what comes.

All Four Seasons

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Donald E Flood
ALL FOUR SEASONS
I met you in the autumn years of our lives.
We walked together in sunshine, wind, and rain.
We embraced the autumn colors, felt the crisp air, heard the music in the leaves.
A canvas to be completed sooner rather than later, a life to cycle through all four seasons.
You entered the winter years, though I not yet ready.
I with another stroll along a golden yellow, pumpkin orange, and burnt red lane.
You with another to touch snowflakes, lick icicles before the quiet hush of snowfall.
A blanket gray sky with woody cedars and small stone silhouettes.
In a slow-motion moment I witnessed your spring and summer years.
A beautiful blossom, the home nest welcomes sweet springtime.
Summertime love brought forth fruit twice, then eight times.
Your early autumn years, leaves on a tree trunk, your graduation cap atop long thick hair.
New roads on the horizon, friendships and love many a time, then sickness.
A life to cycle through all four seasons too quickly.
But now you are at peace and free to live forever.

Anna Marie Gall
in memory of Donald E Flood

Changes

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Mick's Tamales Changes! Isn’t that a song? It is as the saying goes “here to stay!” This week my friend Molly from EarthDance Farms shared a few words about change in her newsletter. Farming wallows in change. Our greenhouse plans definitely have! Here is a link to that EarthDance Farm publication: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/463715/e828cdbee3/1696501412/351023b5d5/. We can chose to embrace change or fight against it, and I chose to embrace it. The autumn winds, modified greenhouse designs, the death of my father, and the holidays are followed with new housing arrangements for Dean & I. The desire for a different life brought my oldest daughter and her family to our household. We are sharing our modest 3-bedroom home with 2 more adults, 3 young children, and another black lab. My father’s lab “Midnight” who we adopted on Christmas Day loves all the companionship! An adjustment for my hubby and I, young children near our feet and squeals galore. It makes for creative date nights out for us previous “empty nesters”. Rachel and Mick have a plan, to save for their own 4-walls in the countryside where their chickens and lambs will meander nearby, and a garden big enough to feed themselves and Mick’s catering clients. Mick creates these fabulous meals which are on the healthy side now. I think his mother-in-law had some influence there! Shhh! Roasted two-beet salad with goat cheese crumbles … fresh, handmade pork tamales, and that leftover pork came from his New Year’s pig roast, all on our home kitchen’s menu! Yummy! Herbs used from Deanna Greens and Garden Art, and more to come this upcoming growing season. A new opportunity is just around the corner for my son-in-law chef. And faith plays a part in change. When we expect, it happens. God is not always in the door we open, but in the hallway as my artistic son, Ben mentioned on his FB page this week. And there is an opportunity waiting for my son as well. God embraces us wherever we are. What changes are you encountering right now? And what changes are you waiting for? Apply faith and good works. Remember the movie “Fields of Dreams”? Build it, and they will come!

The Alternative

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So much of our thinking and planning seems to align to conventional practices.  This is in every area of our lives, relationships, career paths, foods we eat, medicines we take, what we spend time with or on, the house we live in, so on and so on.  Break throughs in sciences seem to tell us that some old practices have been the best practices all along.  For instance, the present interstate highway system we have has caused major traffic congestion in the cities, and kept local commerce from growing.  The lecture I attended at Washington University last week where  John Norquist gave the alternative.  Tear down some of those interstates in the city.  Allow secondary arteries, the urban streets to be available for travelers to slow down and visit the city, create more jobs, circulate more commerce, allow pride in the citizens to show off their cultures.   Maybe more walking and biking will be encouraged with sidewalk systems.  Hooray for out-of-the box thinkers!  St. Louis City and County are looking into this option.  What do Milwaukee citizens think about the similar project that took place in their city? 

Then there is the Slow Food movement.   (There is that word “slow” again.)  This started in Europe, Rome, Italy to be exact as a direct statement to the fast food construction plans for a McDonald’s back in 1986.  According to founder and president Carlo Petrini, “everyone has the right to good, clean, and fair food”. That means quality, flavorful food, it is natural form, and produced and tranported in an ethical manner at a fair price.  A person who eats locally, is called a locavore.  Slow Food includes local food.  (There is that word “local” once again.)  Foods grown, produced, and consumed on a local level will support local folks, right?  So this is where Deanna Greens And Garden Art resides.  Local!!!  I cannot wait to get those beds raised and plant some organic seeds for herbs and veggies.  We hope to sell more seedlings to local farmers, and herbs to local farmer’s market folks next spring.  And Dean & I will consume lots of our own homegrown veggies.  Veggies are the alternative to pre-packaged, processed grain products.  Herbs are the alternative to salt and synthetic chemicals the food label lists.  Check out the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis from your local library and see what today’s wheat and corn are doing to our bodies.  Or Dr. Davis has his own blog:  www.wheatbellyblog.com.   An eye opener.  Yes, an alternative diet, yet what we ate like before WWII.  Old practices return.

Dean and I personally shop local as well.  95% of our Christmas gifts are bought locally.  Wine from Chandler Hill Vineyards and foods & crafts from local artisans.  I hope you supported Local Saturday in your community a couple of weeks ago.   Last weekend we slowed our pace down, savored a local beer and satisfied our palettes while listening to local music at our neighborhood joint, the St. Charles Coffee House.     www.saintcharlescoffeehouse.com.   What is your favorite local eatery?  In our travels, Dean & I look for those local joints, and we may visit yours!

They Are Mine Alright!

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So these are my grandchildren, Libby, Ella, Brendan (in the back) with Eli and Hannah (in the front).  Yes, they are mine alright.  They are loud and rowdy when they get together, like they had not seen each other in ages and catching up with each other’s news.  They see each other fairly often as their mothers are best friends and sisters.  I love my grandchildren despite their loud presence.  I have actually learned to relax with children as I get older.  It is guaranteed, they will bring a smile to my face and make me belly laugh when I am with them.   Angels they are not, unless they are sound asleep on their pillows.  This photo was taken on Easter at my parents’, their great-grandparents’ home in Pike County, Missouri.  Libby is a precocious 8-year old, smart as a whip, and will say things as she sees them.  She is a sponge with science subjects such as plants, likes to garden and camp.  Libby thinks she is the ultimate authority on some matters; therefore, it is her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and teachers who instruct her differently with her reluctance.  School of hard knocks, you know.  She reminds me of her mother, my daughter Elisabeth.   I adore them both.  Then there is 6-year old Ella.  She is one investigator, discovers and researches things.  Inquiring minds want to know!  She is a peaceful child, though can let stubbornness ruin “the  moment” unless Mom or Dad steps in.  Ella resembles me in so many ways.  My Dean calls her “Mini Anna”.  Then there is the 1st born grandson, my 5-year old Brendan.  Reading in full sentences since age 4, on the go as a new adventure character, wrestling with Dad, yet makes time to cuddle with Mom.  Now there is one long word to describe 2-year old Eli … whirlwind!  Maybe another word … tornado!  Eli is into everything!  And definitely has those “terrible two” moments.  But he will bring a smile to my face when he says “I like ‘hot cream'” rather than ‘ice cream’ or when he sits next to me and wants to read a book.  Well, I just love to read to children, especially my grandchildren.  And finally, there is my 1st grandchild, Hannah who will be 11-years old in November.   Her nickname “bug” dubbed before she even walked fits her well.  Hannah loves nature and animals, bugs included.  I have a ladybug stepping stone her mother and her designed for me when she was a preschooler.  Hannah is a “social bug” now, loves to be in the know of the raising teenage movie and singing stars, and has limited access to online chats.  I imagine a cellular phone would be her 1st choice for a birthday or Christmas gift.  See if Mom & Dad are ready for that yet!?  Meantime, journaling and creating art are great outlets for her.  Mine, five wonderful grandchildren!