Earth Day 2019

Today is Earth Day – Google said it so it must be true.  I did a bunch of extra-but-ordinary tasks.  Did they make a difference in the protection of this beautiful planet?  I don’t know.  However, they were pleasant and I enjoyed the slow-paced-yet-steady busyness of the day.

In honor of the day I did the following:

  • Picked lavender and hung it up to dry.
  • Picked lettuce from my garden and prepared a delicious side dish for dinner.
  • Wrestled a snake from Sparky the hunter cat.  Okay – maybe I didn’t actually wrestle it since it was already dead, and maybe it has nothing to do with Earth Day but I did it and I was relatively calm the whole time.  I’d like some points for that.
  • Added material to my makeshift compost pile, gave everything a good turning (it smelled so good!), flung up a second snake, still didn’t scream.
  • Went to watch my grandson, Kolbe, play touch football.

All in all, it’s been a nice day.

Happy Earth Day!

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Montserrat Love

Living in this crazy, instantaneous, social-media-driven, can’t-live-without-a-phone world these days can be distracting, to say the very least.  It can also be wild and wonderful, but let’s talk about that another day.  Taking time to disconnect for a few days – usually in the spring – has become an annual tradition of mine.  It’s both important to me and for me to do this.  The place I’ve headed to nine times now is Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas.

 

A place that is peaceful, tranquil, reflective, joyful, beautiful, and quiet.  It allows me to rest and just be, even if I’m ‘busy’ exploring the grounds, reading, journaling or walking up and down the 1/2 mile long drive.

On the days leading up to this time, the anticipation is always welcome and when I turn onto that long driveway and pass through the gate I can feel the tension beginning to ebb away and almost hear the naps and relaxation calling my name.

 

The retreat leader encourages all of us attending to let go of our expectations and agendas and to just enjoy the time.  Allowing God to lead us where we need to go while resting in his presence is freeing and takes the pressure off of finding the answer to whatever it is on my mind.

This ‘letting go’ has resulted in retreats where I did nothing but rest and other retreats have resulted in realizing things God was trying to tell me but which I couldn’t hear.  You know, because of how often I  allow myself to get caught up in the busyness of life. Either way, I’m enjoying the surrounding landscape beauty – both inside and outside.

My time at Montserrat has allowed me to experience thunderstorms rolling in across the lake as well as basking in the warmth of the sun while gently swinging in a hammock or a porch swing.  I’ve listened to the rain from a rocker on the covered lake-front porch and from an open window in my room as I lay resting while also being treated to an abundance of stunning sunrises in the quiet of a mesmerizing morning. I’ve sat in the dining room and spread notes and books out on the table in front of me while appreciating the view and writing in my journal. I’ve relished the many different varieties of birds as they’ve played, dive-bombed for fish, pecked at the ground and sang from the trees or birdhouses.  I’ve knelt in the chapel and prayed when it was so quiet the stillness was almost heavy. One of my favorites is sitting next to the fountain with the gentle trickle of water that is so soothing you can’t help but relax.  I’ve walked and prayed on the rosary path and sat in front of a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with his arms open. I’ve walked and/or run the driveway and circumference of the property countless times while marveling at the abundance of wildflowers and wildlife.  All of this leads to a reverence for the beauty of creation and appreciation of all that our Creator has given to us.

The retreat sessions or prayer conferences, as they are called, are enlightening and thought-provoking.  Each retreat leader brings a different personality and the ability to help us work through the Spiritual Exercises in a variety of ways.

So many opportunities to pray, reflect, read, write and be still.

It sounds great, doesn’t it?

Trust me, it is.

Full disclosure means I also have to share that this retreat is silent.  While I know that one element is a deal-breaker for most I would love it if more of us could find the time and, I don’t know…courage(?) to experience it.  In all fairness, too, silence doesn’t mean I don’t open my mouth for 3 days – there are opportunities to speak like offering the sign of peace during Mass or signing up to speak with one of the priests or spiritual directors.  I can also speak out loud at any time to God in my prayers – just not where I would be a distraction to those around me.

Montserrat has become an important part of my faith life.  I look forward to more wonderful, soul-refreshing experiences there.

If you would like more information about the facility or making a retreat here see their website Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House

Meandering with Lucy

Maybe it is the time change, but my 14-year-old Westie, Lucy, woke up this afternoon and was feeling feisty.  Lucy, who is mostly deaf and partly blind and spends most of her days sleeping wanted to play so – taking advantage of a pretty afternoon and the extended daylight – we went for a walk.

Cool temperatures, budding trees, blooming grape hyacinths, and one of those amazing sunsets turned a quick walk into an opportunity to meander.

These moments are always good.  And appreciated.

WPC – It IS Easy Being Green When It’s Springtime in Texas

An ordinary Sunday afternoon spent enjoying my boys, my dogs and lots of sunshine. (The Hubster was out of town)

Luxurious Green-ness is abundant during springtime in this great state of Texas!

 

 

Waiting for Baby

The ‘official’ due date for my baby girl to deliver her baby girl has come and gone so now we are all sitting around staring at her, waiting for her to announce, “this is it!”

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  We aren’t actually sitting.  Or staring.  We are keeping busy and carrying on with life as usual.

Yesterday, in an effort to remain occupied we took advantage of some beautiful springtime weather and spent time at the Dallas Arboretum.

I’ll tell you – no matter what the season this place never fails to amaze me with its beauty.

In the fall you have Autumn at the Arboretum with pumpkins galore

For the Christmas season, it’s the Twelve Days at Night

Right now, it’s Dallas Blooms.  A beautiful array of springtime flowers punctuated with carpets of amazing tulips in vibrant colors.

It is stunning.

This years theme is ‘Peace, Love, and Flower Power’ and showcased Volkswagon’s covered in blooms.

Texas-sized games were available that kids and grown-ups alike enjoyed.

Cute grandkids and lush backgrounds made for great photo ops.

In hopes that a lot of walking would help jumpstart labor we stayed for a long while. Apparently, Baby is quite comfy and all we managed to do was wear mom out.

A lovely family waiting for a small bundle of joy to join them.

Any time now Baby K…

I wish, for my daughter’s sake, that Baby comes sooner rather than later.  Even though she feels, at this point, like she might be pregnant forever, we know she will go into labor.  For now – we continue to pray for the blessing of a safe delivery and the joy of new baby snuggles.

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.

 

Countless Bluebonnets

Summer is around the corner and the countless bluebonnets of 2016 are past their peak.  Always a beautiful sight to see here is one more look before barbecues, beach parties and bug catching ( that is, lightning bugs) sets in.

Ennis, Tx Bluebonnets

See you next year Spring.  Hello Summer!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Outdoor Seating

According to my TimeHop from six years ago the North Texas area received a lot of snow.  The ‘dusting’ our weather guru’s had forecasted overnight turned into a crazy 8 1/2  inches by the time we woke up.

Generally speaking, we do not get a lot of snow in this area.  Ice, yes.  Snow – not so much.  To say we were surprised would probably be  bit of an understatement.  Particularly, since just 3 days earlier we had been dining on the patio.

For this post I give you then and now views of outdoor seating on my patio.

Patio Dining Mar 2010March 18 – enjoying family time gathered around the patio table.

3 days later everything was covered in snow.  This year, though, winter skipped us completely.  Spring is definitely in full force.

The Bistro Table: snowy in 2010 but, today, just waiting to be enjoyed.

 

A Spring Sunday

Sunday morning brought blue skies, warm temperatures and a sprinkling of clouds.  It was a beautiful contrast to the week  just finished, which had been dreary, gray, cloudy and rainy.

Having enjoyed Mass followed by lunch with friends, the weather was too pretty to stay inside.  So, with hubby out of town and, looking to spend some time with my boys, I coaxed my teenagers into putting on their shoes – and putting down the game controllers – to go for a walk.

After loading dogs, baseball gloves and the camera into the car we headed off to explore a newly completed walking/biking trail in our town.

A relaxing, laid-back time was had by all as we wandered, played, explored and enjoyed each others company.  The mild temperatures and rain ‘greened’ everything up – seemingly overnight – and the natural beauty we experienced was fresh and new.  Flowers and trees in various stages of blooming along with green, green and more green everywhere we looked.

I managed to snap a few good pictures; capturing moments on this journey called The Teenage Years.  At 14 and 16, my boys, in the blink of an eye, will be heading off to begin the next chapters of their lives and  I’m grateful for these moments of togetherness.

all copyrights belong to @terezpics  2016 and mycrazygracedlife.com

WPC: Seasons

A change in seasons means spring is coming!

Dallas Blooms 2015 (property of terezpics)
Property of terezpics 2015

At the Dallas Arboretum the flowers are blooming but winter isn’t quite finished. The topiaries still need some time – and continued warm temperatures –  to finish filling out.

But, when they do – oh the beauty abounds!

Dallas Blooms Arbretum 2015 (poperty of terezpics)
property of terezpics 2015

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/seasons/