Seen along the way

I’m traveling west today, sitting too long among strangers after spending several lovely days with family and friends.

A couple of weekends ago, I got to see one of my dearest friends and two of her children, now grown into amazing young women. We met in Napa and spent a fun day together.

Worried I’d get slowed down in traffic, I wanted to arrive at our first destination early. I hit traffic (of course) but still arrived with time to wander the gardens at our first stop. I thought you might enjoy wandering along with me for a few moments.

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Dwell on these things

We sat together at kitchen tables, on living room chairs, in restaurants and on park benches. I spent some much-needed and much-cherished time with North Carolina friends and family recently, dashing from place to place and trying to be present to hear each friend’s story.

We talked of books and significant others and children and new jobs, of travel hopes and dreams, of moves and looming changes. The conversations, while unique, shared a common thread: “Dear one, sit with me and hear my heart beat.” If you had passed by and seen us, heads bowed toward each other and spilling words quickly, long pent up from a too-far separateness, you would have known you were seeing friendship embodied.

These precious conversations didn’t have time to linger with toes dangling in the shallow end. Limited moments together meant a headfirst dive into the deep. Continue reading

In the gardens of my friends, final week

For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, “The exile will be long; build houses and live in them and plant gardens and eat their produce.” —Jeremiah 29:28

We’ve reached the last day of August (can you believe it?), and we’ve come to the final virtual tour of my friends’ California gardens.

My husband and I feel very blessed to know the couple whose garden we’re touring today. We share much in common, and from the earliest days of getting to know us, they began sharing food with us. Fresh fish caught in the Pacific. Tamales at Christmas. Garden fruits and vegetables throughout the year. You get the idea. We’re blessed.

While our friends focus their efforts on vegetable gardening, they have lovely flowers, too:

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Beautiful pops of color for the back patio

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In the gardens of my friends, week 4

They will say, “This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.” —Ezekiel 36:35

Summer may be coming to an end for many of you as school doors open again. I always think of back-to-school time as the start of fall. It’s not fall here by a long shot, but the blistering heat has abated some. Instead of triple digits, we’ve enjoyed low 90s for the last few days. Ahhhhh.

As I’ve wandered my friends’ gardens this summer, my love of trees has expanded. The shade they provide make this boiling hot place tolerable in summer. Backyard pools—much more commonplace here than where I’m from—help, too. The friend whose garden I’m touring with you today has both. She also has something no other garden I’ve seen has: a guard she calls Don Quixote.

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Don Quixote guards the garden.

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In the gardens of my friends, week 3

For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
To spring up before all the nations.
— Isaiah 61:11

I’m more than a little bit addicted to the Olympics right now (you, too?). Perhaps this post will encourage you to take a few moments away from the games’ coverage to walk through a garden. Today marks week three in the series of tours through some of my California friend’s gardens.

My friend whose garden I feature today loves sharing goodies from her garden. When I was going through a rough patch this spring, we met for coffee, and she showed up with a bouquet of camellias from her garden. They cheered me for days.

She’s one of my writing group friends, and invariably, she brings herbs from her garden to share. The last time we gathered, she had mint by the bag full for us.

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Tons of delicious mint

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