Sunday, December 26, 2021


                                                       This Holiday Season

This has been a rough two years. The pandemic seems to want to hang around in its various forms. Yet this time of the year is supposed to be cheerful and bright. So with that in mind, we took a ride around our local towns looking for the brightness of the season and found some homes lit up for the holiday.

This one, in particular, was a sweet illustration of the light that we share. There is nothing fancy, no multi-colored lights or air-blown snowmen or blinking snowflakes, but it seems to reflect the light that shines within each of us.

I hope it’s a reminder that no matter what is happening in the world, we can still see the brightness of existence. And, perhaps, if we shift our way of thinking, we can offer compassion to all those who are suffering and bring light and joy to ourselves.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Lots and Lots of Boxelders


                                            Lots and Lots of Boxelders

Everyone is worried about Lantern Flies and rightfully so. They come in large groups and destroy plants and trees. But there are other bugs that come in flocks. We have been having boxelders gathering at our front door this past week. It seems that the bugs like to find sun-warmed places to spend the winter and our front door and the east-facing side of our house welcome the warmth of the morning sun.

I can understand their motivation. As we open our front door, we are embraced by a delightful heat even when the outdoor temperature is cool. So I can’t blame the boxelders for congregating at this spot but I don’t want them here, either. 

They aren’t harmful to humans, yet having so many insects meet us at our door is not exactly a welcome greeting. They take winter refuge on boxelder and ash trees, which we don’t have, and maple trees, which we do. So we have started spraying them with diluted dish soap which was suggested instead of pesticides and we’ve noticed a slowing down of their invasion. I hope they will be gone soon. I hate to be so stern with Mother Nature but sometimes it’s necessary to balance how we live together.


A quick insight into boxelder bugs: 

Friday, October 29, 2021

Creepy Spider Webs

Creepy Spider Webs

Fall is making itself known. Pine cones are falling all over our backyard. The maple leaves dazzle us with their bright colors and then turn brown as they let go of their branches and cover our grass. Spiders seem to be having a field day making webs up against our garage, capturing food before the cold settles in.  

I usually sweep away the webs as they appear but what better time than Halloween to let them stay? They add an eerie ambience to the front of our house which should offer a little creepiness to the trick-or-treaters coming on Sunday.

Creepy as they may be, spider webs are pretty amazing. They have an artistic quality about them, and a variety of purposes. Not only do they catch insects for food but they provide help for the spider to travel from one place to another, they protect a spider’s dwelling space and also provide safety for an egg sac.

I can appreciate a web’s value but I won’t be able to keep them around. After the holiday, whatever spiders have built the webs, I’m afraid they will have to find new places for them. Hopefully, not near my garage.

Some web facts:

More about why spiders spin webs – if you can bear to read further:

Monday, October 11, 2021


Corn Rows

I love sweet corn. I remember munching on the kernels when I was a kid and then sucking out the juicy sweetness left on the cob. It was one of my favorite things to eat.

During the growing season, fields are bursting with corn! New Jersey has lots of farms that grow corn. The stalks cover acres of fields but they only produce one or two cobs each so it’s understandable why so much land is needed.  

Now, traveling by local farms reminds me that Autumn is here. The cornstalks, so plentiful during growing season, are turning brown and wilting. Farmers are cutting them down, leaving the fields covered with the remains of summer’s corn crop. It’s nature’s reminder that all things flourish for a time and then release their energy. We need to enjoy life in its many forms while we can.

Lots of facts about corn:

Corn facts and activities for kids:


Thursday, September 9, 2021


Hurricane Ida

The cleanup from Hurricane Ida is underway. Residents of Lambertville, NJ, were putting out broken chairs and toys, damaged kitchen appliances, split tables, soaked mattresses, wooden slats from porches and shingles off houses. It wasn’t every house that experienced such devastation but enough to emphasize how strong the hurricane was.

Mullica Hill, NJ, was hit by an Ida-created tornedo that whipped through the town, causing houses and farms to be stripped or even flattened! Sometimes one side of a street was effected while the other side was left alone.  

Ida hit lots of places along the eastern coast hard and like all such storms, it was erratic. Some towns were flooded, others just wet from the rain. We were lucky in our area. There were downed trees but nothing disastrous.

Climate change is definitely happening. What we need now is a new way to look at our environment. Perhaps by changing our interference with nature we can modify the strength and number of storms in the future.

Climate change and hurricanes:

Friday, August 13, 2021


Yellow Bird

There are many kinds of birds around our house – sparrows, crows, blackbirds, cardinals, pigeons, robins, chickadees and geese, just to name a few. They hang around our gardens, munching on seeds, and each time I open my front door I am greeted with the flapping of wings as sparrows vacate our front bushes. That’s usual. A few days ago, however, there was something not usual in our driveway; a brilliant, yellow canary was munching on a plant strip right outside our door.

I wondered where it came from. Did it escape from a cage in someone’s house? Was it a wild variation that flew in from somewhere else? I thought that I might offer it some food and shelter in case it was a loose house bird and unused to being outside but as soon as I took a tiny step forward, it yelled at me in bird talk and flew off.

I watched for it later that afternoon and the next day, hoping that if it had been a needy house bird it would find its way back for shelter. But I didn’t see it again. I hoped that it would be safe on its own. It was certainly a surprise to see a canary in the wild but also a joy that remains in my visual memory.

A canary is part of the finch family:

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

New Growth


I kept seeing what I thought was a dead tree on my walks through my community. The trunk and upper branches were severely cut and mostly bare. I wondered how long it would be before it would have to come done. Then something happened – it started to show new growth, with new bottom branches putting out lots of green leaves. It wasn’t done with its life yet.

The new growth was coming out just as the pandemic was easing. It seemed like a it was speaking to all of us. For the past year we have been huddled into ourselves, like the tree, but we were just waiting for enough of us to get vaccinated so that we could extend our activities, expand our personal connections, and get back out in the world.

I smile at the tree metaphor whenever I pass. I hope that it continues to flourish and show the world its power and beauty. And I wish the same for the rest of us, too.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Colorful Spring


Colorful Spring

I love to browse in plant nurseries. There are so many flowers to discover. This spring I found a beautiful pink bush called Steffi Blush Pink Gaura. I never heard of that plant before so it was a treat to see. It blooms from early Spring through fall and grows to be mid-size bush, which is perfect for the space in our front yard.

Spring is such a grand time for awakening. It starts out kind of grumpy, not sure if it feels like leaving the hunkered-in days of winter, but then takes a deep breath and blossoms into color and growth and potential before summer settles things down.

Colorful plants have a way of brightening our day, even during this current time. Even a potted plant on a windowsill can encourage a smile. Thank you, Mother Nature, for helping us celebrate Mother’s Day 2021.

These are long-flowering perennials:

Friday, April 16, 2021

Delicious Herbs


The organic herbs on my windowsill are thriving: oregano, parsley and basil. I bought them in small pots at the supermarket and they seem to like it here. I’ve transplanted them twice already and shared some with my daughter. Now that Spring has come, I’ll separate them again and plant some of them in my garden.

I tend to talk to my herbs as I water them. I compliment them on how big they’re getting and nuzzle them so that I get whiffs of their delicious scents. It reminds me of the time my friend tried an experiment with two of the same plants. One plant she spoke to daily and smiled at as she passed it during the day. The other she merely watered but didn’t try to connect with. The spoken to plant thrived while its twin barely survived.

I think all living things interact through energy. When we offer positive energy, whether to plants or people, we encourage connection. And that stimulates growth and our relationship to all around us. It opens a door to the broader sense of life and helps us to feel how important our input is in our world.

If you want to grow your own herbs, here are some helpful hints:

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

My Buds Are Back!


 My Buds Are Back!                                                           

Buds are popping up everywhere in my garden. I actually think of my trees and plants as my buddies, my friends. They send their new leaves and flowers to visit us each year at springtime, almost as if they had been away to a warmer climate for the winter.

These friends are sprouting on the peach tree in our backyard. We get lots of them starting to grow but don’t get any to eat any because the squirrels and deer munch on the unripe fruit as the season matures. But that’s okay. The beauty and possibilities are still welcome.

There is a joyful promise with the buds that come onto bare trees or that present color from newly emerging flowers. I can hope for peaches to ripen so we might one day actually eat them. I can look forward to seeing positive potential when the landscape looks barren. And I can hope that will grow to include how I, how we, interact in this currently difficult world.

Friday, March 12, 2021

A Tree Hug


A Tree Hug

I was on my daily walk when I came upon an evergreen tree. I have seen this tree before but suddenly it seemed different, almost human. Its branches were spread out in what looked like an invitation to hug. In this time when hugs are not the best thing to do, I felt appreciative and I walked into the embrace.

Hugs are so important in our interactions with those we care about. I recently wrote a picture book with Beth Savitz Laliberte called How to Love Without a Hug. It addresses how kids can show caring without physical contact. We are looking for an agent/publisher now; this is the time when kids need our support.

I was invigorated by the tree hug and went along with a bounce in my step. It helped me to be more aware of what I was seeing now, even if I had seen it all before.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Life Carries On

Life Carries On

It snowed. Then it didn't. Then ice fell. Then more snow. Now the temperature is just above freezing and everything is melting. An intriguing winter, I must say. 

But even with the snow, life (in its current weirdness) carries on. The big, snowy footprints were left by our letter carrier, who delivered our mail regardless of the weather. Those mingled with delicate rabbit, squirrel, and bird prints. They were hopping, running, and sprinting around our house as usual, looking for a winter treat to eat. As I take my afternoon walk, I shift from sidewalk to street, trying to avoid the puddles of melting snow and the slippery spots of ice but I'm still getting out there.

Each day seems more of a meditation now than just a function. Whether paying attention to footprints or working at home or avoiding crowds at the supermarket, we need to be consciously aware of our attention. It's not a bad thing. Being present keeps us connected in lots of ways - with our health, with the people around us, with ordinary living.    

I know that Spring is on the horizon and it will be interesting to see if it comes gently or on the heels of a large, final winter storm. It sometimes does, though it didn't last year. And will this Spring bring more vaccines to help more people be healthy and safe? I hope so.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Hearts and Lovers

Hearts and Lovers

 It's snowing today, the second snowstorm in a week. It's easy to get into the "Oh no, not again." mode, anticipating the shoveling that will be needed when it stops. 

But when I looked out the window to see how much snow had fallen, I got quite the surprise. A car had backed into the driveway across the street and left an incredible image in the snow. Two interconnected hearts! They stayed that way for a while. No other cars came down the street to disturb them. Then two people came by, chatting happily as they walked their dog, and it seemed to be an affirmation of the snowy hearts.

What a way to start the day? So what if I have to shovel? I actually don't mind doing it. And I know that when the snow stops and I get out there, shovel in hand, I will be thinking of the unexpected hearts that were so delightful to see. And maybe it will be a reminder that in our present difficult time, there is still much to be appreciated and enjoyed.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Ah, Memories


                Ah, Memories

This is a time that nourishes memories. Some of my friends are going through their closets and rediscovering things they had forgotten. One friend found a coat that she used to wear on cold days when walking her dog. Now her daughter wears the same coat while walking her own dog, appreciating its physical and emotional warmth. Another friend looked back on her quilting days and thought it might be good to re-explore that craft.

An African Violet plant on my kitchen windowsill brings back memories of my mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, who was a nature lover. She planted gardens outdoors and pots of plants indoors. She especially loved African Violets and gave me the plant that I still have. I’ve separated it several times, giving plants to my daughter, to my friend, to my sister and another one to myself.

Earlier this year I noticed that my poor African Violet seemed cramped so I replanted it in a little bit bigger pot.  It started to blossom. And it hasn’t stopped! I look at it each time I wash dishes or start to cook, amazed by its continuing beauty but also reminded of the gift my mother-in-law had with plants. Her skill continues to impress me but it is the plant itself that keeps a loving memory alive.

Caring for African Violets: