Thursday, May 27, 2010

Simple Pleasures


Spring-to-summer seems to have finally arrived in northern Colorado. I have showed the flowers so many times, but they just keep getting better and better, and I have enjoyed sitting on the patio enjoying the gifts God gave us during this very wet spring.

When the sunshine hit the white patch in this bed of tulips, it was as if God was highlighting the purity of the white flowers.



The white tulips were new this year and they were so tall and majestic, at least 3 feet tall, as if standing on guard over all the rest --





As I as wandering around the yard, once again soaking in all the various colors and shapes of the tulips that were new this year, I realized something I'd never noticed before. The inside of each flower was unique. It got me thinking about how we so often only look at the outer person and don't delve into what makes them who they are because of what is inside.

















I will never understand how anyone can doubt the fact that there is a divine design and Designer of the universe.


The lilacs have been fabulous in our town this spring - absolutely filling the air with their fragrance. We've had this large lilac bush for most of our 32 years here in this house, with few if any lilacs. DC has pruned, fertilized, and babied these bushes to no avail. Today he discovered this -- hope for the future?!




The daffodils are all gone and the tulips will be in another day or two, but thankfully the summer beauty is doing well ---

























And - hope for the future! You may remember that my iris-expert friend shared her abundance with us last year, and it looks like we'll be enjoying many new colors this summer - so exciting.






Once again I have some great books to share with you. I've been reading fast and furiously, because 3 of the new books came in at the same time and can't be renewed after the 3 weeks. They were all wonderful.


Earlene Fowler is one of my favorites - she writes a very good story and all of her books are clean and well crafted. This is her first book in over 2 years, so I was glad to see it finally here. I learned from her web site that she's been dealing with her father's health - writers are just like the rest of us.


Believe it or not, this is only my second Francine Rivers book - the first one, of course, was Redeeming Love. I can go in my mind to where I was when I was reading it - that is how much of an impact it had on me. The new book is fabulous, and I can hardly wait for the sequel. I can tell you for sure that she is now on my list to read everything she has written. That list is getting very, very long.


If you haven't read Carol Kent's first book, When I Lay My Isaac Down, please read it first. It is the emotional story of their only son, a Naval Academy graduate with a bright future, who is imprisoned with a life sentence for murder. This book, A New Kind of Normal, is a sequel, but so much more. I will have much more to say about it in a future post. Stay tuned!


If you haven't discovered Alexander McCall Smith, treat yourself. The "Ladies' No. 1 Detective Agency" books take place in Botswana, and I get such a peaceful feeling when I read them - somewhat like the African version of Mitford. The quotes below agree with me, I think.

From
The Christian Science Monitor - "Mme Ramotswe's observations not only inevitably expose her suspects, but also reveal much about humanity as a whole . . . [McCall Smith] is a master. . . There's beauty and revelation of one kind or another woven expertly into every line."

"These novels . . . lift the spirits. They make the reader feel good -- about life, the world, the basic decency of people . . . They are wise."
Winston-Salem Journal


I read Lynn Austin's kings of Israel series many years ago, and have only recently rediscovered her. This is one versatile writer and I have loved everything of hers that I have read. I'm currently working my way through all of her books, and need to go back and read the first ones again. She has another series of three about the Civil War era that were gripping. The rest are stand-alone books, and this one I'm reading now takes place in modern day Israel.

I have mentioned before that I don't buy books very often, but utilize the library. I broke my rule this week when I ordered this . . .



. . . the entire series! When I was a young mom, I wanted to read favorites from my childhood, so got "Anne of Green Gables", "Anne of Avonlea" and a couple others. Then I discovered that there were books clear into her adulthood and motherhood, and I loved them all. I can't wait to read them all again. I have plans to try to acquire two other favorite series from my youth - I'll keep you posted when I can afford them.


Well, simple pleasures - flowers and books. They make my life so much better.


73 comments:

Glenda said...

Your many flowers are beautiful, Dawn! The white tulips are really unique! I love your analogy of looking inside a person with your close-up shots of those gorgeous flowers. You gave me some good ideas for books to read; I've read Francine Rivers' latest and loved it! I've read many of her books; some favs are Redeeming Love, Leota's Garden, and When the Shofar Blew.

Books and flowers - two of my favorite things, too! Have a good weekend!

Sioux said...

Wow, the flowers are beautiful. Never saw a white tulip before...and so tall! Wow! I love iris...my very favorite!

Linds said...

Simple pleasures are perfect - I love all your flowers, Dawn! So pretty. Spring flowing into summer is such a beautiful time. Now if we could just stay warm, that would be excellent.....

SentimentsbyDenise said...

Your flowers are gorgeous! I love lilacs - so glad you're seeing some blooms now. They smell so fabulous!
Thanks for sharing some books - I'm always on the look out for new ones to read even though I have a huge pile from the library set up for summer reading.
Francine Rivers is a fav of mine - I've read most of her books. She's an incredible writer!

Gigi said...

Oh my gosh - what a FUN post!!

First of all...can I tell you that your flower pictures made me cry? But in a good way...memories came flooding back. We had the most beautiful flowers and flowering bushes in our yard when I was growing up - my Dad has quite the green thumb (arm!!) and my Mom loved working in the yard while the kids played. I remember we had 3 absolutely stunning lilac bushes that were sooooooo prolific and would perfume the air from late spring straight through to fall. Those bushes were old, old, old!!! And Lily of the Valley...it is my favorite flower of all. So dainty, so delicate, and such a short growing season. But bring some inside and they can spread their fragrance throughout your entire home! I love them so...

I am excited to check out the authors you reviewed! I read using a Kindle and am always looking to add new authors to my radar, so thank you! I'm also looking forward to finding out about your other childhood favorites! Mine were the Trixie Belden books and of course, Nancy Drew! In fact, I named the GPS in my car "Nancy" because she solves my navigational mysteries ;)

I hope that Kevin has recovered and is doing well. And Kristin? They have both still been on my heart and my prayers continue for them...

I so enjoyed my time with you this morning! I wish you a wonderful weekend full of sunny skies and lovely breezes! xo

Susan said...

Yes, simple but great treasures. Those are the BEST kind!! I love your pictures of the inner part of the tulip and the analogy of how God makes each and every one of us with our own unique qualities!!! Thanks for sharing that wonderful insight.

Needled Mom said...

Your flowers are all just gorgeous, Dawn. I can imagine how sweet the air must be with all of the lilacs in full bloom.

How do you find the time to read so many books? You must be loving this retirement time?????

Have a wonderful long weekend.

Dawn said...

To answer the question - I read while I am on the elliptical machine and the stationary bike at the gym. On the days I don't have the kiddoes, if it's nice outside, I read on the patio. And I read fast.

Linda said...

The flowers are just so lovely Dawn. I do miss little lily of the valley. Much too hot for it here.
Earlene Fowler is one of my favorites. I have all of her books except the last one. I met her a couple of times when her book tour made stops in S.A. She is wonderful!

groovyoldlady said...

Hurray for flowers and books and time to enjoy both!

Hootin' Anni said...

I'm late in getting around to visiting with my blogging buddies. Yours is my first stop.

What a glorious, GLORIOUS array of beauty you've shared. Oh I remember my mom's yard...she and dad had a hedge of lilacs that were about 8 feet tall and boy howdy did they ever bloom. I miss them, and I've been told by the nurseries here in town it doesn't freeze here and lilacs need to have that dormant season to thrive in the Spring. Well, darn. Those tulips are wonderful. And your iris...mmmmm, mmmm, MMMM!!!

Bud and I spent the morning at the waterfront, went to the book store for about an hour or two aftewards then out to a late lunch. I bought two books...The REAL Man in the Iron Mask [from the Three Musketeers era], and one I've been looking for for months ---Senora DaVinci a novel about Leonardo's mother. I like the history fiction best of all for my book choices. I'm reading now Wolf Hall about Henry VIII and the Church of England....hope it's as good as the first three chapters promises.

Hope your day is going well!!! Dawn, you have a super beautiful yard!!!

nancygrayce said...

The flowers are absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for the book reviews too, I'm going to order books right now! I love Francine Rivers and her Mark of the Lion series (3 books) based on the early church is "can't put down" reading!

Brings the girlies on down and we'll all swim a while!

Robin said...

It's amazing how similar we are in our taste of literature! I have read every single one that you reviewed, except State Fair and believe it or not I was just looking at that on Amazon wondering if I would like it!
And Francine Rivers? The absolute best, top writer ever. Period.

And I LOVE tulips - they are my favorite flower ever!

We just have to meet in person someday!

PEA said...

Oh, Dawn, all of your flowers are absolutely breathtaking! I could sit and look at flowers all day long, I would never get bored:-) Any time I look at flowers, their shapes, colours, designs, etc, I always marvel at the magnificence of God's creativity. My tulips are now all finished but the irises are getting ready to open.

I've had a lilac tree for over 6 years now and it's either had tons of blooms with hardly any leaves or only leaves and no blooms. This year it's finally got leaves AND blooms! lol Up the street from me, there are two houses that have huge lilac trees in front of their houses and they are just loaded with blooms, always makes me envious...wonder if they'd notice if I dug them out and planted them in my yard??? hehe

It's been so gorgeous over here but we're really in need of rain, everything is much too dry and there are bush fires all around us. I was looking at the long range forecast for next week and it says rain every day...not going to complain:-) xoxo

Sharon Lynne said...

I love reading through your book recommendations. I wish I could print your whole post and file it somewhere for when I'm ready to read.

The double purple flower (Iris) about two thirds into the post is amazing.

Yes...the designs in flowers...and even in FISH are so stunning, that it takes a ton of faith to believe there is NOT a God!

I should read that book "...laying Isaac down". But I almost feel it might make me too sad. (I'm pretty sensitive...and struggling with my own son) But I'm glad for the reminder, because I've heard of it, but forgotten about it. I will have to toughen up and read it.

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