Heading toward a new year

P1290158-1I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday, whether Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa…or another celebration.

Our “Family Christmas” was held yesterday, the day after Christmas.  The two little ones lit up the room at my sisters’ home and the rest of us just relaxed, shared a meal (and too many candies!)  The weather has been unseasonably warm but that is supposed to change in the next day or so and we should see our first measurable snow.  Then sleet and freezing rain.

As the new year approaches, I have abandoned the habit of wishing for a BETTER year but for the grace to appreciate whatever comes.  Shortly after 2015 began I broke my shoulder/arm and still somewhat feel some limitations in other ways.  We grow older, things change.  Life changes.

But we can embrace life in its fullness each and every day.  We may have new limits but new horizons also open up for us.  Do you see these as stumbling blocks or stepping stones?  I prefer to see them as the stepping stones.

Wishing all of you the very best, and thank you for being with me these many years.  Happy New Year!!

It’s Getting Close

NativityI can’t believe Christmas is just a few days away!

A few reasons…we have had no measurable snow, and it has been warmer than usual (although the past 2 days were more seasonal and a couple of small ponds showed slight signs of beginning to freeze.) Another thing, I’m just about ready which in itself is a miracle, if you know what I mean!

It just seems like each year summer ends and Fall whizzes by.  Maybe because we are all so busy in the Fall…and it is such a beautiful time of the year.  But winter comes in and things for the most part slow down.  As you move along through life that’s not such a bad thing. In the meantime, we have our holidays.

The Christmas season (or whatever holiday you celebrate) reminds us that we are called to be people of hope in the midst of hopeless situations and world affairs.  Each observation reminds us that we are more than just pieces on a cosmic game board. That there is something greater than ourselves to keep the hope alive.  That we may pass it along and hopefully watch those coming up behind us take the torch and run with it.  To work together.  To respect one another.  An age old longing rekindled at this time of the year, year after year.

Wishing you peace, health, happiness and most of all…love.

Where IS the summer going?

sunset81415I can’t believe it is getting near the end of August!

I have been busy getting ready to lead a couple of retreats up in the Adirondacks.  I have all year to do this and always seem to wait until the last minute.  But I seem to work better under pressure.  And I am not changing things all the time.  I found over the past 10 years that it works out better overall.

The garden was particularly lovely this summer.  Things are beginning to fade somewhat but it is still lovely.  Hard to believe that Fall is just around the corner.  About a month from now.  But there is still time to enjoy wearing sandals, not having to find a sweater when you go outside…you know the drill.

I hope to get another post up before I leave.  The house will e in capable hands, and I DO miss family when I am gone but it makes coming back all that much better.  Conditions where I will be going are rustic but the place still has a pristine charm, and although I will be working, I will also be taking in the best of nature.

It’s a win-win deal.

In Full Bloom

7We are at the end of July (just about) and the garden is peaking.  The yard is filled with birds and critters and the occasional neighbor cat.

For a couple of days we had cooler temperatures and a great breeze that kept the mosquitoes away enough to get some weeding done.  It’s a jungle out there…



I will have just a few more photos in this post…to share some of the sights I am blessed to see each day.  Rain or shine, you can’t help but smile at nature’s beauty…enjoy!




Hosta flowers in bloom.






Visitor at the cone flowers







Humming bird at the bee balm






Female Cardinal at the fountain







Female red wing blackbird






Chipmunk on seed cleanup detail.



Belated Happy 4th!

Foggysunset2Hope you all had a safe and happy 4th!

We didn’t get to the fireworks in Albany because we attended a 90th birthday party for 2 people…both turned 90 this year and they just happen to be married also.  It was a grand celebration! Quite a milestone – and they are both still alert and active. What a gift!

When we got home, the sun was just beginning to set.  I grabbed the camera and practically flew over to one of the locks near home in time to get a beautiful sun setting…and fog settling in.  This area was devastated during Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Irene in 2011, and has just been reopened this year.  It’s one of my favorite places to catch a sunset.  No wires..just water and hills…and the sound of frogs and crickets.  There are usually a couple of people fishing, and perhaps a boat moored for the night.  In my opinion, it was a wonderful end to a wonderful day.

May YOUR days be filled with wonder.




The First of July

come sitI can’t believe it is July already!

As you can see, things are really green around these parts.  The rains we had in June (and it is raining off and on today) have helped the deficit we DID have.  After the snow this past winter it seemed we would be abundant but dry months from March through May dropped levels significantly.  But things are lush and green now, for the time being.

Summer is fully upon us, even though the air has been cooler the last few days. junegarden Gardens are flourishing and somehow, even when the skies are dull it is still beautiful out there.  The birds are most likely raising their last broods and soon the outdoor sounds change from new life to quiet fullness.  I’ve been able to get out for photos and opportunities abound.  There are still things indoors that could be done but I think I will put them off a while longer as I soak in this fullness.

How about you?

June…Bustin’ out all over!

rgsm1We bounced back and forth from warm to cool, then sunny to finally much needed rain (although we really didn’t need some of the heavy storms we’ve had)

But in the middle of all of this flux…life was building and growing in gardens – especially the rose garden at Central Park.  I stopped by last night for a few photos and was blown away by how much bloom took place since I last passed by.  The Rose Garden is a crown jewel in Schenectady…it was maintained for years by the City and then the job was taken over by a committee of hard-working citizens when budget constraints rgsm2caused the city to give up the greenhouse and the Rose Garden operation and maintenance.  Since the committee took over, the area has been improved, a central fountain was added, and the “bridge” area has been expanded with a larger waterfall feature added.  It truly is an amazing place and a testament to how hard work and determination can save a landmark.

Of course, the park is beautiful as well…Iroquois Lake, the Duck Pond, picnic areas, tennis and softball courts, Music Haven…just to mention a few.  But my focus today is on the Rose Garden itself, and the beauty that is appreciated by thousands yearly.

rgsm3I will head back over quite a few times before the season is done.  Breathing in the scent of roses…listening to the splash of fountain and waterfall…hearing the birds and watching people come in with their cameras, kids, or just for a stroll.  To read more about the Rose Garden, visit their web page:

Schenectady Rose Garden

Back to real life

8Since my last post, I did get out for a couple of wonderful days at Still Point.

In this photo, I was standing at the door of one of the cabins (not the one I stayed in) and took a picture of the other ones.  It was raining and/or very overcast most of the time which made for a wonderfully restful stay, and some dreamy lighting.  I enjoyed listening to the birds – especially very early morning and at dusk.  In the evening, I could hear a couple of peepers as well.

John Muir wrote “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”  This is where I do both.  The cabins are small, perfect for hermit time.  I listen to my internal clock rather than look at an actual clock and even in that short time, benefit from tapping into the natural cycle of nature.

In a couple of days I hope to update my Still Point page here…with newest photos from this retreat.  Have yourself a day filled with wonder!


Life All Around Us

goslingsThis is one great time of year…when the baby birds (of all kinds) are out in the parks, yards and waterways.

These goslings were down at a local park…I haven’t gone up to Saratoga to see the baby duckling that are always at Congress Park but I have plenty of pictures from previous visits.  I think I have more water bird photos than anything else…except maybe flowers and sunsets!

It’s a hot and humid day today, with storms due later and then a return to temperatures that will be 20 degrees cooler than right now.  It seems to be the pattern…hot and humid, then cool and breezy.  Not complaining, we need the rain, just not as much as some poor folks are getting.  After all the snow we had over the winter, it has been dry since the beginning of March.  You just wait for the cycles to stabilize.

Heading off soon on a “hermit retreat” and will have new photos.  Got the gas grill tank refilled so that cooking can continue on the homestead in my absence.  I hear that steaks are usually on the menu…not that I don’t like steak, just that I don’t make it much.  So when I’m away, its feast time on the home front!  Enjoy your weekend!

New life all around

robin nest smWarm days…and new life!  This robin’s nest was actually in a shrub yew, kind of surprising to have it relatively low to the ground.  Mama Bird may have erred in putting the nest where she did, I can only hope the little family can survive predators.

Otherwise, I came back last week from a weekend at the retreat house where I helped out with a couple of things, gave a retreat on Saturday the 9th, and caught up on various tasks once I got back home on Tuesday.  I did get a few photo ops in my free time, and took a couple at a local park on the river as the sun came up.P1160105 A few people were already out at 5:30 AM, jogging, walking their dogs…getting ready for their day.  For me, it was a great opportunity to get some shots before the day got hot, and the mosquitoes come out. I heard that the black flies are out up north, so I think I will stay local for about a month.

Signed up for a hermit retreat for a couple of days in a little while…and I am looking forward to that. Voluntary solitary confinement.  And a very good time to get my thoughts in order – preparing for 2 more retreats in August.  Time just seems to fly and I look forward to seeing old (and new) friends up north at that time.

Also, it’s time to go off to the garden center and pick up annuals for the plant pots here at home.  After a long, cold, snowy winter it is wonderful to see color again.  All we need is rain (believe it or not). And a little bit of precipitation is due tonight and tomorrow.

Keep smiling!