Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sad news about my husband Will

The worst day of my life was two weeks ago, when my beloved husband Will died unexpectedly.
Our sons and I are in shock, stunned and finding it hard to believe.
The above is a recent photo that shows him smiling and in our back yard.
Below is Will with one of his several mountain bikes.
Our sons stayed with me at our house 24/7 for two full weeks, and then returned to their homes and work. It was wonderful to see them treating each other and me so beautifully and tenderly.
They stayed busy at our house doing an amazing job of home improvements including buying a rug cleaner and cleaning the rugs, clearing out the back addition to our house, buying a big shop vacuum and cleaning and clearing the garage, buying and putting up new curtains in the living room, had our fireplace inspected so we can use it, bought me wood, bought me an Alexa Firestick and taught me how to use it (you talk to her and she plays what you want on tv) and so much more. Together we made 5 trips to 3 places for rescue dogs to find me a dog and we found a cute Chihuahua terrier mix at the animal shelter.
I will post more about Will soon, he was a super good husband, dad and very talented and creative.
Still, there is no way around it. We are heart broken. I am exhausted and sad, sad, sad. But Will and I had 45 years of marriage, so we were blessed in that. Please, hug your loved ones. I know you will.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Rudy Day and a Bible Christmas gift idea

Rudy Day is each month on the 25th and helps us get ready for Christmas.
This is the "ESV Daily Reading Bible: Through the Bible in a Year". I treated myself to a copy last Christmas and I find it very easy to read about 15 minutes a day in this Bible. At the end of one year you will have read the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice. Today I looked at and it is only $6.99.
No, I have no connection with that online store, but love that low price!
A wonderful Scottish pastor, Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843) created this reading plan. I was stunned to see he lived to be only 30 and yet left this lasting treasure.
I think this Bible would be a great Christmas gift to yourself or anyone on your gift list, and then they could start in reading on January first.
What gifts are you planning to buy?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Retirement and finances, for those thinking about retiring

I notice when I write about retirement those are among my most read posts. So today I am inspired to write what you might like to read. This post touches on retirement and income and is aimed at people who have not retired yet. I live in the USA so that is the retirement info I know.
If you are already retired leave us a comment telling us how you are doing.
Many people worry that they won't have enough money once they retire.
That could be true if you are in the USA and will only have social security for retirement income. If you will also have a pension and/or investments likes a 401(K) or a 403(B) through your job you may be in good shape financially for retirement. For 30 years I worked at a place that has pensions and that pension is one reason I stayed there. Lots of enjoyment in my job and with my co-workers but some blood, sweat and tears too! I retired from full time work a few years ago. If you are still young you might want to consider working at places that offer pensions, cuz I notice we get old fast. Ha ha!

If you live in the USA one good thing is that when you retire you will no longer pay into social security, so that is hundreds of dollars each month you will not have taken out of your check. Plus you will not have hundreds taken out for Medicare and money taken out for unemployment / disability insurance (in California they take money out for that). Plus where I worked charges $60 a month for parking which of course I no longer pay. That cost was due to my work place being on top of a wooded hill surrounded by forest and grass lands and they built multi-story parking buildings to save the forests, the parking being expensive to construct.
All this is to say that you may have more money in retirement than you thought you would have.
If you will only have social security as income, I hope you are saving money as a nest egg. If your job allows you to put pretax money in to a 401 retirement account be sure to do that. Some employers match the money you put in to a 401 account, that is a great incentive to put in the maximum you can. If it is pretax, that means that 100 dollars put in your 401 account will not result in take home pay of 100 dollars less, but a smaller amount will be taken from your paycheck, perhaps 90 dollars. Even 20 dollars a month in a 401 plan adds up over time. When our children were young and finances were tight, we managed to put in even a small amount like 20 dollars a month.
Hope you like the happy photos of Kermit in the snow and people hiking.
This post is about USA retirement. I am interested in people who live in other countries and how retirement works in your countries. If you don't live in the USA I would love to hear how retirement finances are good or bad in your country.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Horse and flowers in the garden on a neighborhood stroll

Look out friends, I have been on a stroll around our neighborhood and took some photos.
My neighbor's horse made me smile.

I was very surprised to see their horse.
In another garden I saw this pretty Mexican bush sage. The flowers feel like velvet and I have some in our yard too.
Isn't this palm tree handsome? I am guessing this is a date palm. What do you think?
That was a fun walk, and I hope you enjoyed it too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Heliotrope, a favorite plant and scent

Heliotrope has a sweet scent, light and like sugar. I love scented plants including some Asiatic lilies like Tom Pouce, with beautiful flowers whose scent can fill a room. Heliotrope has a more delicate fragrance and is not overpowering the way some lilies and other flowers are. Once I brought a Tom Pouce bloom to work and a co-worker said it was a bit much so I took it home the next day.
I planted three kinds of Heliotrope this year, which can grow in compact form to ten inches tall or other varieties as tall as 2 to 3 feet tall, and is good in zones 9-11. I put two in pots and will bring them inside before weather gets too cold. The other two are planted in the ground so I hope they will winter over ok.
The above photos are of my True Beauty Heliotrope which I planted September 10, 2016 in a large container. I also planted two Atlanta Heliotrope and one Heliotropium Scentropia Blue. Heliotrope is often called Cherry Pie Flower due to its delicious scent.  As you can see, the leaves are dark green and very attractive. The Heliotropes I mention here are Common Heliotrope or Heliotropium arborescens, not to be confused with Garden Heliotrope or Valariana officinalis (which I have not planted).
Do you have favorite or unusual fragrant plants?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Beginnings: Enchanted April

Here is the beginning of "The Enchanted April" by Elizabeth von Armin.
Mrs. Wilkins at her Woman's Club in London on a miserable February day read the following in the Agony Column in the London Times.
"To those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine. Small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be Let furnished for the month of April. Necessary servants remain."
Wow, I think her life will take an excited turn this April.
I am linking with Book Beginnings

Here is a quote from 56 percent of my Kindle book.
"Often she had met wives who didn't want their husbands either, but that made them none the less indignant if they thought somebody else did, and none the less sure, when they saw them hanging round Scrap, that she was trying to get them."
I am linking to Friday 56
There was a movie made of this book in 1935 and in 1992.
I just finished reading "The Enchanted April" and it now has a place of honor in my top 25 all time favorite books. Easy to read and full of happy surprises for these four troubled ladies.
Thanks to Jennifer for recommending this book, on her blog at Sparrow Tree Journal

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Mary

Serene beautiful Mary who has been in our garden for twenty years.
I am linking to Wordless Wednesday
Here is quote from Saint Therese of Lisieux, April 1895, which has the image of a shower of roses.
"I have given nothing but love to God and He will repay with love. After my death I will let fall a shower of roses."
I first read this quote quite a while ago on the blog Shower of Roses