Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Mother

Eight years ago today, I was at Baptist Hospital in Nashville.  My mother was dying of cancer, and I had been flying back and forth from Maryland to Tennessee for months, guilt-ridden no matter which direction the plane was going.  South meant I was leaving my very young children and husband; North meant I was leaving my very sick mama.  

But on this day, our journey would end.  I knew my mother's illness was terminal, a very rare form of ovarian cancer, so I didn't pray for her recovery.  Instead, I prayed that she wouldn't die alone, that my brother and I might be at her bedside.  I wanted to hold her hand.

It was an oddly gruesome yet beautiful scene.  Her suffering was evident and difficult to watch to say the least.  But the room was white, sun filtered through the window, and her sheets were crisp and clean.  When it was over, I covered her, then spotted a vase of coral-colored roses on the window ledge.  The whole thing had been so ugly—surgeries and treatments and tests and setbacks and loss of dignity, but there on that ledge was something beautiful.  I began to pluck off the petals and scatter them across the white sheet.  Death hadn't won.  Cancer didn't win, either.

Later that day I drove to a friend's house.  Her forsythia bush was in full bloom, its color so bright it felt almost blinding to my sore eyes.  I remember staring at it, thinking how odd it looked and how strange I felt in a world without my mother.  I also remember thinking that spring would get me through.  There was the promise of green and warmth.  God would get me through, too.

On this day so many years later, I am thankful to have been there with her, grateful to have had such a loving, quirky, sometimes crazy, sweet mama.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I've Been Featured at Northern Nesting!

I would like to thank Martina at Northern Nesting for featuring my home on her blog.  I love Martina's blog and her style, so I was very flattered when she asked to feature my home.  We work so hard on our homes, so it's nice when someone appreciates our efforts.  Not that my husband and children don't (they do!), but they don't get quite as excited about my Easter vignettes or that new lamp shade or floor mat as y'all do.

Thanks so much, Martina, for making my day!  This bouquet is for you:-)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Thrill of Daffodils

Yes, that's right, daffodils thrill me.  You might have gathered that, given the name of my blog.  I have always found these flowers to be a sign of hope and promise and renewal, pretty but with great strength, too.  And the fragrance!  Don't get me started on that fresh, clean scent.  Heaven.  Plus, they're yellow, and yellow is my favorite color.  Can you tell?

Note the vase—$2.99 from Tuesday Morning.

More daffodils in the foyer.  I love the yellow pop against the white bookshelf.  The other day I put three daffodils in a small vase and left them in my office with the door closed.  What a happy room that was the next morning, far better than any perfume or room deodorizer!

This is just a little blog of happy today!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Little Blogger

For the past few months, my family has observed my increasingly odd behavior.  Armed with camera, I slink around the house, climb on furniture, lie on the floor, or slip around outside under the cover of darkness.  I spend a great deal of time sequestered in my office, and am frequently heard mumbling something about "followers."  Lately, I don't change a roll of toilet paper or scrub the kitchen sink or wash a load of towels without thinking, Hey!  I should blog about this!  

A couple of weeks ago, I came home to find my 10 year old daughter snapping pictures of random things in her bedroom.  When I asked what she was doing, she informed me that she was "blogging." This blogger thing is catching, I fear!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Where I Went Part II

On the heels of our trip to Oxford, Maryland, I had a book talk at a middle school in Charleston, South Carolina.  It was so much fun!  Perfectly planned and organized and promoted, and it made all the lonely days I spend at my computer worth it!  There is nothing quite so inspiring and uplifting and funny and heartwarming as a bunch of excited middle school girls.

This is like Where's Waldo, except it's Where's the Old Lady?  

After a morning of talking and answering lots of questions, the middle school staff and volunteers had a reception for me—Southern Hospitality at its finest.

This beautiful spread was prepared by a school volunteer, the grandmother of one of the girls.

Isn't this lovely?  And I can't remember the last time I went to anything and there was a punch bowl.  I got seriously excited when I saw that punch bowl!

After we had a chance to snack, the girls who attended the reception had lots of questions.  Toward the end one girl said, "So what happened to Rosie and all those other characters?"  Rosie, short for Rosemary, is the protagonist in Artichoke's Heart.  I paused and glanced around at all these sweet, young faces.  Instead of answering, I said, "What do y'all think happened to her?"  I kid you not, nearly every hand in the room shot up.  Honestly, it choked me up a little.  To think that I had created characters that these girls cared about was slightly overwhelming, a dream come true, actually.  I realized something, too.  Once you put a book, even if it's your book, out into the world, it belongs to all those who read it.  

To make the trip even more wonderful, one of the teachers donated the use of her beach house.  It was such a pretty place.  And I got to take one of my oldest and dearest besties so I had company while staying here.  Two days of non-stop catching up!

On our last night in town, the guidance counselor who put this whole fabulous visit together came out to dinner with bestie and me.  

I kept threatening to stay in Charleston forever, but I did finally return home with lots of happy memories and a renewed spirit.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Where I Went Part I

I knew it was going to be impossible to blog this week.  I knew I wouldn't have time to link up or read blogs, either.  What I didn't know was how much I would miss blogging and linking up and visiting blogs! Now that a very hectic week is behind me, I intend to catch up.

Last weekend a dear writer friend of mine turned sixty, and there was a surprise par-TAY for her in Oxford, Maryland.  Oxford just so happens to be one of my favorite places on earth.  For starters, it's where we keep our boat.  And, it's where the hubby proposed so many summers ago.  In fact, we got engaged on our sail boat at this very marina.  There was a full moon, and I kid you not, swans swam by.

Spring was starting to work its magic, and it was interesting to see how different everything looked in late winter.  Normally, we only spend time here in the summer.  I'm going to stop "talking" now, and let y'all enjoy the pictures and the quaintness and the sheer magic of Oxford, Maryland.

Obviously, the water makes this place special, but the houses, at least if you're an old-house lover like me, take my breath away.  Old and pretty and picket-fenced with lots of color and gardens and details that truly inspire.

Check 'em out.

The house below was completely restored a few years ago.  It's been for sale for quite a while.  Trust me, if I had TWO million, it would be mine all mine.

The inside is as gracious and lovely and welcoming as the outside, and it overlooks the Strand, the avenue below.  I could definitely wake up to this every morning!

The Robert Morris Inn, also the location of my friend's party, has a great atmosphere and exceptional food!  Sorry, lady on the porch, whoever you are:-)

This house is currently being restored, and it's the husband's favorite.

The Sandaway has been a hotel for several years now.  We've stayed here, too, and it's amazing!

A side view—so magnificent!

Yellow rays of hope!

So nice to have the hubby all to myself for a change.

This tree is called a weeping birch.  It's twisted and gnarled and majestic.

Love the carvings.  People don't do this anymore—not good for the tree—but kind of romantic back in the day.

You should see this gorgeous crepe myrtle in the summertime!  Yet another fabulous home.

The hubby and I stayed here.  We've been to the Ruffled Duck a few times now, alone and with the kids.  The owners are nice, and the breakfast is delicious.

Gotta love this porch!

This is my favorite house in Oxford.  Sorry to say I've never been inside it.  Doesn't it look like the sort of place where the characters live happily ever after?

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