Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday ~ The Last Supper

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”  He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ “  So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. 

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.  And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”  
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?”  Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.  The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”  Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.” 
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”  Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

The above painting is one of my favorites of The Last Supper.  It was painted in the year 1562 by a Spanish artist by the name of Juan de Juanes.  This painting is said to have been inspired by The Last Supper painting of Leonardo de Vinci,  in a style similar to the another famous painter Raphael.  

If you look closely at the above painting you will see that all of the Apostles have halos, except Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus.  His beard and hair are red and, in keeping with tradition, he wears yellow - the color that symbolizes envy.  The faces of the other Apostles seem to radiate adoration as they look at Jesus.

It is so comforting to have the promise given to us over two thousand years ago on this Holy Thursday.  It is a day to prepare ourselves to celebrate the glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.

Blessings to you during this Holy season wherever you may be.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sharon's Oatmeal Cookies

Mother Nature is acting up again all across the country.  The forecast is calling for rain, thunderstorms, hail and possible tornadoes.  We have gotten the rain and thunderstorms so far and crossing our fingers with the rest.

I decided to ignore Mother Nature and just bake something delicious.  It seemed to be a good time to make the wonderful recipe my daughter Sharon sent my way the other day ... Sharon's Oatmeal Cookies.  She made some of these cookies, and shared with her 2nd grade son Lawson's teacher at school.  The story is, his teacher in turn shared some of the Oatmeal Cookies with her husband, and he said they were,  "The best cookies he had EVER eaten."  

Below you will find the Oatmeal Cookies Recipe just in case you too would like to have something delicious.  If you do make this recipe I bet you can't eat just one!

I wish you a safe and happy weekend wherever you may be.

I can't think of a better day to make these delicious cookies than on this rainy day.

Sharon’s Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter, unsalted - room temperature  (no microwave)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs - room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups self-rising flour 
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans
(I added the raisins and pecans - they were not part of original recipe.)
3 cups old-fashioned oats

  •  Cream together butter and sugars.  
  •  Beat in eggs, and then stir in vanilla.   
  •  Add dry ingredients, except oats, until thoroughly mixed.   
  •  Add oats, mix.  
  •  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
  •  Grease cookie sheet - I used Pam spray.
  •  I used a melon scooper to measure out dough.   
  •  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.  
  • Bake 8-10 minutes.   
  • Allow cookies to cool.  Enjoy!   

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Southern Garden

We have been friends for many years with a couple who enjoy gardening as much as we do.  It is always a pleasure to visit with them and see what is blooming in their garden, and see their lovely home.

During one of our visits I asked them if I could take some pictures.  They did not mind at all. When I sent them the pictures via email, they shared the pictures with their daughter, who in turn created a very pretty picture book which she gave to her Dad on Father's Day.  He is the main garden enthusiast in the family and has created such a lovely garden all around their home.

It was delightful to drive up to their gate and see the long line of beautiful blooming azaleas.

I love to look at their lovely home through the azaleas.  It always reminds me of what England must look like when driving up and getting a first glimpse of an English Manor House.

 There is a long winding driveway leading up to the home with azaleas lining the side yard
all along the way.

In the below photo notice the English looking boxwood plants lining the front flower bed.  
I think they are so cute.

I love the simple uncluttered look to the front yard.

The oak trees in the front yard were planted when they built the home a little over thirty years ago.

A better view of the 30 year old oak tree in the front yard.

Again, in the below photo you can see the nicely pruned boxwoods.

As we walk around to the back yard it was delightful to see the Kanzan Cherry tree in bloom.  The Kanzan Cherry tree is one of the most ornamental of all of the cherry trees.  When in bloom it has deep pink double flowers about 2.5 inches wide growing in clusters.

They have had this beautiful Kanzan Cherry tree for many years. 

Kanzan Cherry

The  blossoms of this Kanzan Cherry tree remind me of clusters of Carnations.

On the back patio wall we see a beautiful flowering Clematis Vine.


They say it can take several years for a Clematis Vine to mature and begin flowering vigorously.  So,  it is suggested to shorten the waiting time, it is best to purchase a potted plant that is at least two years old.  It is also recommended to plant a Clematis Vine in a sunny spot and a well-drained area.

A short distance away from the Kanzan Cherry tree is this happy faced statue in a water fountain.

On the day we visited, the wild azaleas were in full bloom.  Some call them native azaleas. Often times you can spot native azaleas growing wild in the woods.  Our local nurseries do have them in stock.  The survival planting zone is from 7 - 9.  Once these native azaleas are nicely established they require very little care.  They do need about at least a half day of sunshine and a well drained spot in order to survive nicely.

Native Azalea

As we continued walking around the yard and enjoying all the beautiful plants 
the below pine tree caught my eye.

As I walked around this tree and looked on the other side I spotted this HUGE vine going up all the way into the tree top.  Did you guess a Wisteria vine?  Well, if you did you are correct.  Our friends said this vine was planted over 30 years ago.  The vine was not blooming now but I can just imagine the sight it must be when it is blooming.

An amazingly 30 year old Wisteria vine.

I thought it was somehow so touching to see how this vine held on so completely to the pine tree it was surrounding.  And, apparently the pine tree and the Wisteria vine both were doing well together and living in complete harmony.

That is one huge vine!

Growing up, up and up.

Growing way up into the top of the pine tree.

As I was walking away from the tree I noticed in the below photo this additional root of the Wisteria vine in the ground trailing off into the distance.

Below is a photo of a blooming Wisteria vine taken during a trip to Charleston, South Carolina.  I wanted to include a blooming Wisteria vine so you could imagine what that above pine tree must look like when the Wisteria vine is blooming all the way up the tree.


Continuing our walk around the gardens it was endearing to spot the tree-house which was built for the two daughters when they were very young.  Now the grandchildren love to play there when they come to visit.

Wish I could tell you the name of this pretty little white flower, but I forgot to ask them during our walk around the garden.


Circling back around to the front yard we saw this beautiful red azalea.

A beautiful statue in the side Secret Garden area.

Phlox plants are easy to grow and do well in hardiness zones 2 - 9.
They require full to part sun.

Lily of the Nile
Hardiness zone for Lily of the Nile is 8 - 11.
They require a rich, well-drained soil area and grow 2 feet tall and from 2 - 4 feet wide.

In the below photo Southern Living calls this plant Spring's most elegant flower shrub. These bushes can grow into 12 - 20 feet tall trees and the blooms are 6 - 8 inches across.  These plants require full to part shade and can be grown in zones 5 - 8.  The blossoms look very much like Hydrangea blossoms and they make a beautiful and long-lasting addition to an inside cut arrangement. 

Japanese Snowball

That ends our walk around a beautiful private Tallahassee garden.  It is always a pleasure to visit with our friends here in their beautiful garden and to share an appreciation together in the wonderful beauty all around us.

It was especially nice to have you come walk along with us as we all enjoyed the amazing beauty the good Lord has given to all of us to enjoy.

Wishing you many blessings as we all enjoy the rest of the week.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy First Day of Spring 2013

Happy First Day
From our home to yours! 
  Blessings to you wherever you may be.
Have a beautiful day!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Tallahassee Sunset

It was a beautiful Spring evening when we went out to our grandson John Scott's  ballgame at Chiles High School to watch the Chiles Baseball Team play against Wakulla High School.  Wakulla is a community about a thirty minute drive south of Tallahassee.

Our grandson is a pitcher for the Chiles High School team and it is a thrilling experience to be there watching his high school games.  It is nice to be there meeting with friends, seeing his team-mate friends and being part of the high school experience.

As we arrived for the game I could not resist trying to capture the beauty of the evening with my camera.   In the above photo is the Chiles High School football practice field and beyond is the beautiful sunset the good Lord gave us to enjoy at the end of another glorious Spring day.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend wherever  you may be.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

An Easter Chocolate Show

It is rare to open the mailbox and have what you would call "real mail" anymore ... But, when I opened the mailbox there it was ... a pretty little envelope addressed to Pat and Daughters.  I pulled out the charming little yellow invitation showing an Easter basket full of colorful eggs and a pretty pink bow on the handle, and read the words,  "Hop on over for an Easter Chocolate Show."  How delightful!  My thoughts were, "What a great way to start Spring and the Easter season." 

Our friend and special neighbor who lives just a short distance through the woods was going to have one of her Easter Chocolate Shows to share with friends and family. Her sweet daughter was helping her host the party this year along with a little help from her four year old granddaughter.

 I love driving down this old country road to get to her home.

I could have walked through the woods to get to her house, but just recently heard on the local news that rattlesnakes had begun to come out to sun themselves .... Would not have wanted to encounter one of those, or pick up any ticks or other critters by walking through the woods, so I drove to her house. 

Both of my in town daughters were invited, but they were committed to other activities and could not join me on this beautiful day.  One was volunteering at Immigration Day at the elementary school and the other daughter was in work related meetings.

It is a special treat driving up to her beautiful home.  I love driving down the long country road and getting to the point where you can just barely see the house.  It feels like you have stepped into the movie, Gone with the Wind.

I love her beautiful Southern-style home.

Such pretty boxwood topiaries and a matching boxwood wreath greet you as you walk up the steps.

I love the simplicity of this beautiful boxwood wreath on the door in the below photo.  It is a live wreath and needs to be watered about two times a week.  Another friend here in Tallahassee is a florist and provides these wreaths for purchase.  It is such a perfect compliment to the matching boxwood topiaries.  If you would like to take a look at some of her beautiful flowers here is her website:

Such a pretty Southern-style wide front porch and rocking chairs,  just beckoning you to "sit a spell."

As Easter time nears my friend says she enjoys having her Chocolate Show to open their house to friends, neighbors and families to "Bring a Basket, Bring a Friend."  Then they can collect chocolates to purchase for their Easter dessert, baskets,  and gifts that are unique, homemade and special.

Come on in and join in the fun.

The first thing that caught my eye as I came back to the family room was the delightful purple and yellow tulip arrangement in the middle of the table.

My friend says, "This is a fun time when we sample chocolates, drink coffee punch 
and enjoy a day of pure Springtime spirit."   And, I sure did enjoy that delicious coffee punch she served to everyone.

She makes these chocolates herself.  Her goal is to use no additives and no paraffin.  After trial and error she came up with her own special recipe.  She whips the hot, but not boiling liquid to keep it smooth and then pours the mixture into plastic molds.

She includes chocolate bunnies and lambs, coconut chocolate nests with eggs, seashells, lollipops of Spring flowers, ballerinas, bunnies,  and baby chicks.

Being a dancer and choreographer she has especially enjoyed what she calls, "the pure joy" of creating a large chocolate ballerina for many of her dancers.  And there are chocolate ballerina lollipops too.

A table full of chocolates.  Each item is made of milk, dark, white or pink chocolate.

She includes gift boxes with large decorated eggs all wrapped with a pretty ribbon and bow.

What sweet little baskets for someone special on your list.

Beautiful yellow tulips decorating the foyer in the hall.

A lovely gift idea.

She has a Florida State University themed table which includes boxed chocolate golf sets with white chocolate golf balls.  Football lollipops for both Florida State and Florida Gators with coordinating ribbons.  Included also are chocolate baseball boys holding a baseball bat,  (having 4 baseball grandsons I was delighted to find these available.)  She also includes large chocolate baseballs and race cars.

I loved these ceramic "Happy Easter" eggs filled with chocolate.  A great gift idea.

What a sweet little Easter decoration standing in the foyer.

More Easter decorations.

  With a special thank-you to our hostesses and a basket full of cute little chocolate items 
to give to the Easter Bunny 
I headed out the door into the beautiful day.

Having my camera with me I decided to take a couple of pictures of some of the garden items decorating the yard.

We are so blessed to have our wonderful neighbors and to be invited to such a charming morning of Easter joy and inspiration.  As I leave the driveway, in the below photo on my way  toward home,  I have been inspired to get busy with my Easter decorating.

Well!  Thank you for coming along with us this morning and I sure hope you enjoyed your visit to our friends beautiful home,  and that you too have been inspired with the lovely Easter chocolates and decorations.

Wishing you the joy of family, neighbors and friends, and that your days are filled with happiness and blessings wherever you may be.