For the Bride: Today is our Wedding Anniversary

For The Bride: A scrapbook for brides from 1920’s. My mother gave me this as a sort of joke on my anniversary one year along with a book called, The Silent Hostess, also another inside joke. .

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My husband and I were married 14 years ago today. I was 22 years old. It was 70 degrees in Michigan, and the leaves were still brilliantly colored on all the trees. We were indeed blessed. It was before everyone got really creative with wedding pics. Ours are very standard and professionally posed. Nothing fancy like people all jumping at the same time or pictures of shoes and rings, etc. Some details I remember: Our photographer had been hit by a car that day and had managed to limp his way to our wedding despite this. There were ladybugs flying all over the place, got themselves caught in my veil, on my gown, in the hair of bridesmaids and groomsmen. My uncle Jack flew in from California to surprise me on this day, and my dad asked if I was nervous before he walked me down the aisle. I denied being nervous but hummed Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture because I WAS nervous (and because I’m a weirdo). I couldn’t find Bryan for most of the event, and everyone kept asking if I was pregnant. 😂 .

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Here’s to all the brides out there!

Cheers 🥂 .

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The Gospel of Matthew

Disclaimer: I have no authority to teach you about any of these wonderful books, so if you read on, please take what I say lightly. As a writer I find the Bible an interesting home for allegory, I could decipher every line for a lifetime of endless fun for me, but for you, I can only communicate what I learned. Perhaps you disagree and that’s OK!*


“‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” He said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, so he cried out, ‘Lord, Save me.'”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand & caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why doubt?'”
-Matthew 14:28-31

Doubt is a very dangerous emotion, and can indeed make us sink. We can feel on top of everything, then if we allow doubt to enter our minds, our moral sinks like a stone in water. The wind here can represent persecutors in any form–people at work attacking us, our friends, our family. It could be an obstacle in the way of our success, addiction, or our own phobias. Peter took his eyes off Christ for a moment and noticed the wind–his body began to react (a fight or flight scenario), and he began to doubt. But if he had total faith, he would have stayed afloat. Sort of like Peter Pan which could have very well been written based on this story from the gospels. “PETER” needed a happy thought to fly. If you are a Christian that happy thought is Jesus and his perpetual guiding hand of comfort and safety.

Amen.

Adam Bede by George Elliot

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Today, if an agent were presented a query letter and the manuscript of Adam Bede, they would have rejected it over and over again and society would have lost a fabulous story. But I doubt that many people today would have the patience for this book. It took 100+ pages for me to get into it where I didn’t want to put it down. It was like a really innocent pastoral soup opera. Every sentence is delicious and every character is well developed to the point that you are sad when your journey with them is over. .

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Pictured is a 1909 edition set against a 1972 sketch of a cobbler. This print was originally hanging in the shoe department in the old Hudson’s in Downtown Detroit, which has since been demolished.

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My Summer in a Garden by Charles Dudley Warner

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ As the summer draws to a close I’m compelled to remember the stages of my garden with Mr. Charles Dudley Warner. In 1870 he documented one summer in his garden recording every week. He talks about women voting, his neighbor Harriet Beecher Stowe, the visit to his garden by Ulysses S. Grant, and the curious life of his pet cat, Calvin. I read this on a road trip to Cleveland where I visited the most beautiful cemetery I had ever seen. (Pics of family crypts posted below)

Reaching the end of this book, with my kids and husband in the car, all restless, hyper, and obnoxious, I began to cry because Warner’s beloved cat was dying. He described his passing in such beautiful detail while granting the animal humility and grace. My family saw I was crying and made fun, of course, but I couldn’t stop and continued shedding my tears—laughing at myself also—as we checked into our hotel. .

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Pictured is the 1888 edition. Some weathering with inscription: Lizzie W. Nothe (?) from Parents—Xmas 1889 .

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Vita’s Wish For Nasturtium…

What about Tropaeolum speciosum, the flame nasturtium, with brilliant red trumpets among the small dark leaves?  This is the glory of Scottish gardens…

-Vita Sackville-West
In Your Garden
November 24, 1946

Something rather peculiar happened when I was planning my garden back in April.  I knew I wanted to plant seeds, two in particular; the zinnia and the morning glory.  But a picture of a brilliant red flower caught my eye so I picked up the packet to examine it.  I had never seen nor heard of the nasturtium before.  However, I didn’t want to bother with new seeds I knew nothing about so I put it back…or so I thought.

I came home that day and discovered the packet in my purchase bag as if Vita herself had put it there.   I took this as her spirit coaxing me to try them.  I carried her spirit with me a lot in those early days of spring, unsure and uneducated in the way of gardening.  But she helped me very much, and I do believe this was her way of coaxing me along to experiment.   So I did.

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They soon came up in these cute little clumps of lily pad-like leaves and they grew and multiplied; covering the ground, expanding and taking over my bare areas where I needed the extra growth.   I love the leaves with their defined veins reminiscent of exploding stars, and the tiny flowers hide inside their abundance as if they were a secret.   My Grandma came over and noticed them.  She told me that her mother, my Great Grandmother use to grow nasturtiums all the time.  This I never knew.  However, I waited a long time for them to flower.   They took all summer to do so, but they are lovely!  They are indeed like flames among the green, coming in bright orange and brilliant red.

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The other day I experimented by clipping a few of the flowers for a vase.   Although they didn’t last more than a week it was a good opportunity to see the flowers close up and get a whiff of their delicious scent, which is like a delicate baby powder.  They are so low to the ground one would have to get on one’s hand and knees to smell them.  I’ve often thought that next year I should try them in pots.  That way I can move them around to my liking and have them burst and melt over the sides of the pot.  They will also be at eye and nose level for my ultimate delight.   I do recommend these curious ground loving plants. Go ahead and grow something different.  As Vita would say, “Try“.

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Just In Time For Tea

The marvel of Peru, Mirabilis jalapa, is familiarly called four o’clock, because it opens only at tea time and shuts itself up again before breakfast.   It is an old-fashioned herbaceous plant, seldom seen now, but quite decorative with its mixed coloring of yellow, white, red, or lilac, sometimes striped or flaked like some carnations.

-Vita Sackville-West
A Joy of Gardening
1958

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Indeed, the four o’clock flowers show themselves every afternoon and until morning, then shut themselves away again. I suppose they are conserving themselves for the next show.  It’s rather intelligent of them to expel their energy only after the blaring heat of the sun has gone.

I’ve found that mine don’t open until dusk.   They’re scent is subtle, but increases as it gets dark. It is a sweet fresh scent that I can’t really describe specifically.   Next time I happen to catch it wafting through the humid night air I’ll do my best to detect it.   You can cut it, the blooms will open for you.  But to get its second bloom, one must be diligent to trim the stem every few days to keep it fresh.

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I planted them last year.   My Grandma had given me some left over seeds and I thought I should try them.  Assuming they were annuals, as told to me by the package, I planted a few seeds to try my luck, jam-packing them in a neglected corner.  They came up yellow that August.  Not that impressed, as yellow was not my favorite color last year, I vowed not to plant them again and didn’t give them much thought after that.

Imagine my surprise when the pesky things found their way into my garden this year!  I failed to take note of their self-seeding quality.  Happy in their random places they have found for themselves, they are popping up everywhere in the most unexpected nooks and crannies.  But a couple pink plants have emerged!  Magenta we’ll call it, as my daughter argues it has a purple tinge.  I rather like the places they’ve turned up.  They seem to keep politeness and punctuality about them – showing themselves on schedule every day and not treading on my rose bushes or my other coveted plants.  Perhaps they know best as they’ve shown up in spots that were left bare by me and now my garden has filled out in a lovely way.

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What Is A Tussie-Mussie? 

A dear neighbor brought me a tussie-mussie this week.  The dictionary defines tuzzy-muzzy, or tussie-mussie, as a bunch or posy of flowers, a nosegay, and then disobligingly adds that the word is obsolete.  I refuse to regard it as obsolete.  It is a charming word; I have always used it and shall continue to use it, whatever the great Oxford Dictionary may say…

-Vita Sackville-West
In Your Garden
February 26, 1950

The other night I set off to visit a friend.  We would share a bottle of wine and some conversation. According to the old rules of etiquette, one should never go to a friend’s house empty handed.  But what does one bring for a casual visit between friends when the wine is already supplied?  Having no time to venture into a store, I thought about my garden.

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 A garden gives us an abundance of thoughtful gifts throughout the summer.   And when summer is the time most people are out visiting neighbors and friends it seems the perfect setup.  There would be nothing better, in my opinion, than someone sharing a bit of their garden with me.

Vita has mentioned the gift of a tussie-mussie. I would consider a tussie-mussie a sampling of one’s garden, a bouquet of you will, that represents all that is in bloom at present.

So next time you’re to visit a friend, choose instead a gift from your garden, instead of purchasing an object of superficiality.   Rather, you’d be better off saving your money to buy more seeds, because best gifts are the ones nature brings.  

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