Scents of Summer

Gardenia1

I love the smell of gardenias. Don’t you?

Their distinctive perfume transports me back to evenings on Pear Street when we threw open the living room windows to catch summer breezes.

Hear the murmur of voices? Mother and Daddy talking with someone–maybe Miz Batson or Chapman, the Spauldings, Lily Fay & William, the girls from the office, aunts and uncles, my in-laws–or even you.

Mom is probably encouraging someone to talk about their latest endeavor, little one, job, love of their life . . .

Someone else could be telling a fish story—dare I say embellishing it like Daddy did so well when he related how he accidently tipped both mother and him out of the boat? (I wish you could have heard his version of events.)

Opinions aplenty–Please Do Not get the men started on politics.

But it was all done in fun.

Gardenia2For me, somewhere along the way, gardenias became synonymous with laughter and stimulating conversation. Their aroma conveys simple hospitality—something my folks were gifted at extending.

Maybe that’s why I’ve always wanted a gardenia bush near my front door. The only problem is I haven’t had much luck growing them. Where Daddy could make a gardenia thrive so it was loaded with shiny green leaves and blossoms, mine offer only a few blooms each year.

But I’m no quitter. We moved our two bushes last summer, and I have hopes for abundance this year.

Plus this week, I planted another gardenia in the large pot by the front porch where it will get plenty of sunshine.

GardeniaPot

I’d like to think folks will be enveloped in its luscious fragrance when they come to visit.

I hope you’ll stop by to test it out. I’ll fix us something to drink and offer you a cookie. Let me know ahead of time, and I’ll make something special.

I promise to ask you about your latest endeavor, your kidos, or your main squeeze. And I’ll listen to what’s on your mind.

I think I can smell the gardenias already.

How about you?

Is there a summer scent that reminds you of home and hospitality?

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,

for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2

A WHOLE LOT OF LOVE GOING ON

change-calendar

Today’s the 28th of February. Are you ready to flip the page on your calendar?

Although the shortest month of the year, February was always big at our house because of my birthday on the 14th, as was May for Will’s. It still is. As usual, I started celebrating early over lunches, dinners, and coffee dates. I loved being with everyone who wanted to help me celebrate.

Valentine’s Day fell on the second Tuesday, the day my writing group was to meet at my house, so heart-pansI decided to make a cake for the meeting.

What fun to use my mother’s heart-shaped pans and copy a Valentine cake from the February issue of Tea Time, a beautiful little publication devoted to the art of creating memorable tea parties. You can see theirs at Tea Time.

In fact if you want a clue as to what my decorations looked like, you’ll have go there because I FORGOT to take a picture of it. (But the group can vouch for my slightly lop-sided strawberry hearts.)

heart-cake

Although my hearts weren’t perfect like Tea Time’s, we had a great party–even if I do say so myself.

happy-birthday-to-me
My guests surprised me with cards and little gifts.

Several folks read some serious pieces they had written about the love of God that seemed appropriate for the month dedicated to love. After all, writing about Him is the central purpose for our getting together.

But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:8

Afterwards we laughed and talked over cake, candy, and coffee. It was a joyful celebration. I wish you could have been here. 

Looking back at the month, I asked myself if I made good use of the time.

Concerning revisions to Thomas’s story, I confess, I didn’t do much on that front. But I spent lots of time with family and friends or thinking about th consider that a high priority.

And I did ponder Thomas’s fate as I crafted Valentine boxes to give as little gifts and bookmark favors for the writing group that were inspired by the February issue of Better Home and Gardens.

heart-bookmarks
You tuck a little piece of candy inside.

valentine-boxes1

 

There’s no doubt about my enjoying all that crafting.crafting

I  also read a blog, Novel Rocket, every day and considered the advice of successful writers. As I cut and pasted pretty papers, I pondered what I might need to cut or add to Tom’s life to fill out the plot. How I could enhance his character so you’d know him better. How to add atmosphere for a greater sense of place.

revise

Today, the craft supplies are back on the shelf, and I’m returning to Thomas–or Tom. (His mother still calls him Tommy.) The’s jury still out on what I’ll call him in the final version, but at the moment, it’s Tom. Maybe you have an opinion on that.

All in all, I’m happy with the way my February began, progressed, and ended. But I’m also eager for the  next thing, which is March. I know it will be filled with lots of love, too.

And once again, I find myself praying to the One who loves me best.

Lead me, Lord. Help me complete what we’ve begun. Guide me in all I do in the coming days.

That’s my prayer for you, too.

May God lead you in the way you should go today and everyday.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.

Ps. 36:23

HEARTS EVERYWHERE

I love heart-shaped things.

I see them everywhere, all the time, but especially at this time of year.

hearts-true-shape
This little red stone is the only thing I brought home from the Crater of Diamonds State Park. (You may have to tilt your head to see its heart shape.)

Just this week, I marveled at how often hearts appear in nature. From the dried pods hanging from a tree, a piece of quartz in a neighbor’s flowerbed, to the African violet leaves in my den.heartcollage

Terry picked up this rock heart on a work site. Do you see it?

heartrock

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A bit of moss

Hearts are everywhere.

And I love them—probably because my birthday is February 14, the day of hearts.

I’ve written before about how my mother made me heart-shaped birthday cakes. I’m going to use those same pans to bake a cake for my writing group that meets on Valentine’s Day.

Through the years, friends have given me all sorts of heart gifts.

heartgiftscollage

Thanks to Grace Johnston, I have a wall of framed vintage Valentines.

valentine-gallery

Even if Valentines Day wasn’t my birthday, I would love it.

Remember making Valentine boxes for school parties? We colored away with red and pink crayons and adorned them with paper doilies and ribbons.

This week I made a Valentine box.

It started with the last shoes I bought.

Fergalicious Westin Booties.

The box top was so pretty it made me think of the boxes we used to decorate.

fergalicious

The next thing I knew, I was digging out craft items I picked up on clearance last year. I repurposed cupids and hearts from cupcake kits and added ribbon, gluing and taping to my heart’s content.

fergiebox

The curves in the crown reminded me of a flower punch I picked up for a pittance at Tuesday Morning. I dug it out and I made a bunch blossoms, stacked them together, fluffed them up and added button centers.

fergieflowers

Here’s the final product.

 

fergie-valentine-box

Prissy.

Perhaps a bit overdone.

But I had a blast.

May I spend as much time working on the condition of my heart–especially when I find it challenging.

For the Lord sees not as man sees:

man looks on the outward appearance,

but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I Samuel 16:7b