Thursday, April 30, 2009

going to the temple with gideon

DSC04834This evening we met my nephew, Gideon at the Temple. We joined with his family and friends as Gideon takes this important preparatory step before serving his mission in Idaho.




Of course, Gideon was entertaining as always,



but  did I did catch this sweet moment with his parents.


Afterwards my brother, John took us to an Italian restaurant called Christini’s. The food was amazing. It was a wonderful and memorable evening.



Saturday, April 25, 2009

day of service

Elder Gonzalez of the North America Southeast Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints designated today as a day of service to our communities. It is estimated that throughout the southeast 36,000 members  joined by 17,000 others  participated in 550 projects.  Approximately 250,000 volunteer hours were performed. Our stake participated in 4 of the projects. 

Belleview:  Food delivery to Ft. McCoy Baptist Food Pantry, Help Agency of the Forest. 

Clermont:  Food, clothing, blankets and services for homeless families. 

Lecanto: Painting and laying tile at the Historic Hernando Elementary school that serves disadvantaged children and families.







Leesburg/Eustis: Food drive for local food bank.  Approximately 450 bags of groceries were donated.

DSC04816 DSC04818




From the Citrus County Chronicle:

By Nancy Kennedy

By 9 a.m. Saturday, the Family Resource Center building in Hernando was well on its way to getting a much-needed facelift.

About 70 volunteers, from youths and adults from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lecanto to some homeless people from the area, came together as part of “The Helping Hands and Linking Arms Project,” organized by Elder Walter Gonz├ílez, who presides over LDS church affairs for the southeastern United States.

The goal of the day of service was to bring LDS church members and community groups together to serve their common communities.

“There’s a total of 550 projects going on today across the southeast, and this is just one of them,” said Douglas Carter, stake president.

Each local congregation is called a ward, with about eight wards in a stake. The local stake encompasses Citrus, Lake and Sumter counties.

Carter said approximately 88 stakes (between 600 to 700 wards) were involved in the mass day of service.

Some of the other projects included: food and blood drives; distributing food, blankets and clothing to the homeless; landscaping an old cemetery; park clean up, health fairs and even taking kids with special needs fishing.

“They estimate this day covers 250,000 volunteer hours from 35,000 church members and 17,000 nonmembers,” Carter said.

For 15-year-old Shelby Fulford, it meant painting with her friends from church.

“We have a service project once a month,” she said. “We do things like going to people’s houses to clean behind their refrigerators or clean up the roads around our church.

“We come here (to the Family Resource Center) every Christmas and wrap presents. That’s my favorite,” she said.

For church member Heather McLeod, this day brought back nostalgic memories.

“I grew up here — went to school here for first and second grade,” she said of the Historic Hernando Elementary School where the Family Resource Center shares space with other community organizations and groups.

Currently a teacher at Inverness Primary School and a church member, McLeod said it felt good to be able to do something meaningful for the families who are served by the center.

“One of the main reasons this is being done right now — this side of the building that they’re painting had started to peel,” said Ginger West, director of the resource center. “The day care depends on the building looking nice for their accreditation, so we’ll do anything to keep our day care, because that is an important, important group. It’s the birth to (age) 3 Head Start group, and that allows moms to be able to work so they can support their families so they don’t end up being homeless.”

West said this isn’t the first time she’s benefited from the local LDS church members.

“They’ve always been helpful to us,” she said. “This is just the first time we’ve had so many all at once.”

In the past year, the church has made a concerted effort to become more involved in partnering with other churches and community agencies to better serve the community.

Last Thanksgiving, the church donated $8,500 worth of food from the Bishop’s Storehouse to help the New Church Without Walls and other agencies feed the hungry in Citrus County, plus another $30,000 worth of food at Christmas was distributed to the hungry in Citrus, Lake and Sumter counties.

“We’ve tried really hard to involve partner organizations outside the church to foster a community atmosphere and have the community work together,” said Carter. “When we work together in a unified way, we’re able to get a lot more done.”

Friday, April 24, 2009

celebrating 33 years together…

DSC04799If you don't count the two years while he was on his mission, (even though we wrote to each other every week) and the 6 years before that when we were best friends, and the 7 years before that when we just ignored each other.DSC04804DSC04795 DSC04802DSC04785



Happy Anniversary







Thursday, April 23, 2009

garden groupie

Imagine sending a fan letter to someone you admire. You know, like fan mail to a rock star. Then imagine that the very next day you receive a personal and thoughtful response. Well, that is what happened to me!

Meems is a garden blogger. To me, she is a backyard rock star. After lurking on her blog for the past year, yesterday, I sent her this note minus the picture:

Subject: earth day 2008 & 2009
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 2009 13:17:30 -0400
Dear Meems,
Last year for Earth Day I decided that I wanted to "find" a garden blog from a Floridian. I am not sure exactly how I ran into yours, but it was love at first sight. I have truly enjoyed each and every one of your posts and look forward to them. Gardening is relatively new to me. I have a lovely herb garden that was started just over two years ago. DSC04779However, I live on a large piece of property in central Florida that is quite daunting to try and manage. Since I retired from teaching school in January, theoretically, I should have more time to tame at least the parts nearer to our home.  I am trying to be patient and move forward a little bit one day at a time. In the meantime, thank you for sharing your projects, wisdom and musings. I am very grateful that you are part of my life. Happy Earth Day!
Debbie Carter


This is part of the response I received from her this morning:

Subject: RE: earth day 2008 & 2009
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2009 07:26:00 -0400
Dear Debbie,
I guess one never knows who all is reading a blog and how they are being influenced. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know you like following along.
I can imagine a large piece of property being daunting to a new gardener. I have to chuckle at "theoretically" you should have more time since retiring. I've not been working for two years now and there is never a dull moment. Admittedly, I do spend many, many hours in my yard.
The best approach in my opinion is whittling away at one section at a time. Ask yourself which places you benefit from the most. Is there a place you like to sit outdoors or is there a place you view from a favorite spot indoors. When I got serious about gardening I concentrated on the front entry because it is what gives the first impression to me and to passersby. From there I made the view around the back patio very inviting to my own eyes. I worked my way out from there to make the view from my kitchen window (which extends from the back patio) one that drew me outdoors (not that I really need any help in that area).
Herb gardens are a perfect way to start. Believe it or not I didn't have one until I started blogging. I'm not sure why except I just wasn't confident about creating one. I've learned a great deal from other bloggers which has given me inspiration to try many new things.
It's great to have you along as a reader...Happy earth day and happy gardening to you. Are you anywhere near the Tampa Bay Area?


Meems has a wonderful blog at

Monday, April 20, 2009

flower strewn paths

DSC04776The first spring that we owned the Birdhouse, Melanie and I were doing renovations. One day we looked out the window and saw yellow flowers scattered all over the backyard. The next day there were more. It continued. Finally, we had to try and figure out where the yellow flowers were coming from. We looked all around


and lastly, up, up, up.


Forty feet high in the sky, the vines that wrap the towering trees are never noticed, except at this time of year when it rains yellow flowers in my backyard.

DSC04773 DSC04774 DSC04775  It is a beautiful gift.

I spent the day working in my garden, enjoying the company of the falling flowers.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

salvaging saturday

Today I went to another class at the Leu Gardens. It is my third class. I would give the class  a 0/5 stars except that I won the door prize which was a hibiscus plant. Then again I think the door prize was rigged.  I was apparently the only person in the class who wasn't called and told that they were starting the class half an hour early because the teacher had another obligation. So I missed the first part of the class, and the second part was an old  VHS tape of some guy on a very small tv screen showing us how to graft.

The trip to Leu Gardens was redeemed by the beautiful rose gardens which were stunning today.

DSC04762 And then I remembered about the Farmer's Market in Winter Park on Saturday mornings, so I decided to head over there to check it out.

DSC04763It was a visual feast between the vegetable and plant vendors. The prices were great! I almost felt as if I was in some European city with so many folks out and about and all the sidewalk cafes full. DSC04765 I think the market actually finishes up around noon so I was glad that I got there soon enough.








But on the way home I stopped off at my very own, not very charismatic flea market and purchased my produce from my favorite vendor DSC04768 because they appreciate my business.



DSC04767My trekker arrived home safely this evening with tales of the "best trek ever".  He enjoyed the delicious salad we had for dinner. And, he will probably want to go with me to Winter Park one Saturday soon because he really likes sidewalk shopping and eating. I missed him.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the trek begins

Our house has been abuzz. Phone calls, dropbys and dropoffs have been at an all time high, and now the time is at hand. Today I drove half of this group of kids from our ward to Chiefland, Florida. It is about two hours from here.

Anabell Nunez, Nashua Lugo, Megan Berge, Nellie Lugo, Sarah Montgomery, Melissa Schaffer, Mikky Anderson, Drew Doerfler, Efren Devera, Jon Brooks and Michael BilvinDSC04706

The kids then had to pass a very important interview. Do you have any food? makeup? electronics?

DSC04732 DSC04733

If the answer to all of the above was no, then they got assigned to a family of ten or eleven. They will spend the next few days pulling their handcarts and learning about this important aspect of our Mormon heritage. There was lots of excitement and a little bit of fear!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

garden bloggers bloom day - april

DSC04703  GBBD started out early this morning with an unwelcome visit from this mama opposum and her four babies along for the ride. I did feel more friendly toward her when I learned that she eats snakes.  Did you know that possums have more teeth than any other land mammal? However, she did bring back memories of when I found three babies in my house! Heaven only knows how they got in. She and her babies enjoyed a tour of the garden, and there are plenty of blooms available today.

Our big freeze is still in evidence causing most plants to be blooming later than normal this year and a very few, like this vine on the garage to bloom earlier.DSC04702

 DSC04700 DSC04650 DSC04657 The rain lilies have been beautiful this spring blooming more or less constantly.


DSC04756The toad lilies that I transplanted from the front yard have done very well under the brunfelsia which has finally found a permanent home near the back door so that we can enjoy the wonderful scent as we are to-ing and fro-ing.

DSC04757I was sad that the rose was late in blooming as it is Courtney's favorite and was full of buds when she was visiting last week.


DSC04748This is the first time that snapdragons have been truly happy in my garden and I purchased these from the discounted rack at Walmart.

 DSC04744 DSC04743 DSC04745  These are for the butterflies.





DSC04741This new vine is growning up the birdhouse post.


Another new to my garden plant is the yarrow that I have been trying to find for quite some time. I actually found two different varieties this year and have planted both to see how they manage.

The dill has been spectacularly beautiful for months. The water glistens off of it like millions of diamonds.  I wish I could capture a good picture of that.

DSC04738The lemon and rose geranium have both bloomed for the first time this year. I almost gave up on these plants altogether as they have looked so pathetic the past two years. I do love the smell of their leaves though, and now I am really happy that I didn't yank them out when they were seriously unattractive.DSC04751

Most of the herbs are growing strong. I was able to order some more garden markers recently and look forward to their arrival.

My soul longs to spend the entire day in the garden, but my body can't take it, so I portion my time out always looking forward to the next time with my long list of things to do. It is so lovely to be outside in the garden.