Monday, April 29, 2013

Bloodroot: Not Just a Pretty Weed

bloodroot (ˈblʌdˌruːt) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide] ---noun
   Also called: red puccoon; a North American papaveraceous plant, Sanguinaria canadensis, having a single whitish flower and a fleshy red root that yields a red dye.  ~World English Dictionary

The Ponca Indians of South Dakota and Nebraska used bloodroot as a love charm, rubbing the juice on the palm of a young bachelor. The Micmac Indians (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick) used the same plant both as an aphrodisiac and as an abortifacient. ~Daniel E. Moerman, Native American Ethnobotany
Many wildflowers which we have transplanted to our gardens are full of magic and charm, while others are full of mystery.  In childhood I absolutely abhorred Bloodroot; it seemed to me a fearsome thing.  I remember well my dismay, it was so pure, so sleek, so innocent of face, yet bleeding at a touch, like a murdered man in the Blood Ordeal. ~ Alice Morse Earle, Old Time Gardens, 1901

Bloodroot contains alkaloids similar to those of the opium poppy, including sanguinarine, which can depress the central nervous system.  Overdoses cause vomiting, irritation of mucous membranes, diarrhea, fainting, shock, and coma.  Most poisonings reported were from medicinal preparations.
~Steven Green and Roger Caras, Venomous Animals & Poisonous Plants

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Scripture: Friends

 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 
If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 
 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
 But how can one keep warm alone?
~Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

Saturday, April 27, 2013

We All Have Bad Days

There's nothing wrong or evil about having a bad day.

There's everything wrong with making others have to have it... with you.
~Neil Cavuto

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Time to Mourn

In days past, times of mourning when a loved one passed on was taken seriously.    Widows were expected to wear black (sometimes for four years) and not have any social contacts.  Men wore black coats and black arm bands.  Remember how shocked everyone was in Gone With the Wind when Miss Scarlett danced with Rhett Butler when she was supposed to be in mourning?

This photo is from Wikipedia.  It shows Queen Victoria with the five surviving children of her daughter, Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, dressed in mourning clothing for their mother and their sister Princess Marie in early 1879.  We can be assured that those children behaved themselves dressed like that.

Mourning rituals have changed in my lifetime.  It seems that today, no one has time to mourn.  We have to get back to our schedules and jobs and routines without a proper mourning period.  I'm not thinking we should go back to the old ways, but we do need to take time to heal after we have suffered a loss.  When we break our physical bodies, we know that healing takes time, and that is true for our emotional beings as well.  There is a time to mourn.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


The beauty of the Earth,

 the beauty of the sky, the order of the stars, the sun, the moon....

their very loveliness is their confession of God.  ~Augustine

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

.....and a Time to Laugh

A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: "That's the ugliest baby that I've ever seen. Ugh!" The woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: "The driver just insulted me!" The man says: "You go right up there and tell him off—go ahead, I'll hold your monkey for you."

Laughing makes us feel better.  In a world where medical miracles happen every day, where DNA has been mapped, where severed appendages can be reattached, researchers can't figure out much about laughing.  We know that laughing stretches muscles and boosts heart rate.  We know that it decreases stress, which improves immunity and our attitudes.  Some say laughing burns more calories than a workout.

One of my goals is to laugh out loud every day just because it makes me feel better.  Most days, it is easy with my amusing crowd of peeps.  Then, there are days when particular people can make me laugh until I am snorting and leaking (You know who you are!)   I don't know why, but I always sleep better after that happens.

There are some episodes in my past that bring instant laughter when I think about them.  These may not be funny to anyone else, 'cause sometimes you just had to be there.  Like the time Carol Ann and I were trying to leave a Shoney's parking lot and someone had blocked the exit.  We drove around and around trying to get out of there.  The funny thing was that we had a caravan of cars following us.  Carol Ann was driving and managed to control herself until we were able to find an exit.

Another time, I was living in an apartment in Mobile and BG and my 'lil ole sister came to see me.  BG got up early and was going to make coffee.  Unfamiliar with the layout, instead of turning on the light over the sink, she turned on the garbage disposal.  I heard the grinding from my bedroom and yelled, "You have to put some beans in it first!"  BG thought I had absolutely lost it.

One gloomy day this past January, I went to bed feeling pretty sad.  My bad knee was swollen so much my leg resembled a utility pole, and my sinus cavities were burning between coughs, and I was pretty sure I was going to die.  I turned the TV on and there was the Duck Dynasty episode where Phil, Miss Kay, and Willie went looking for a new mattress.  In no time, I was laughing and feeling much better.

Scripture is never wrong. NEVER!
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Time to Weep

No Tears in Heaven
(Robert S. Arnold)

No tears in heaven no sorrows given
All will be glory in that land
There'll be no sadness all will be gladness
When we shall join that happy band.

No tears (in heaven fair) no tears (no tears up there)
Sorrow and pain will all have blown
No tears (in heaven fair) no tears (no tears up there)
No tears in heaven will be known.

Glory is waiting waiting up yonder
Where we shall spend an endless day
There with our Saviour we'll be forever
Where no more sorrow can dismay.

No tears (in heaven fair) no tears (no tears up there)
Sorrow and pain will all have blown
No tears (in heaven fair) no tears (no tears up there)
No tears in heaven will be known.

No tears in heaven will be known...

Everyone knew each other in small communities, and it was always a great sadness when someone passed on.  Almost everyone turned out for the funeral.  The little church house had no elaborate sound system to pipe peaceful music to those who had gathered.  Instead, a small group who hopefully could carry a tune was pulled from the crowd to act as the funeral choir.

This old hymn was always sung.  It reminded the mourners that there was hope of eternal life, and the copious tears they were shedding would someday be gone.  This song was probably a great comfort to many.  However,  I think Mr. Arnold was not totally accurate when writing his lyrics.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
 Revelation 21:4

In his book Heaven, writer Randy Alcorn says there will be tears.  "These are the tears of suffering over sin and death, the tears of oppressed people, the cries of the poor, the widow, the orphaned, the unborn, and the persecuted.  God will wipe away the tears of racial injustice. Such crying will be no more."

Some of us cry more for joy than sadness.  I thinking that if I cry when I stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon because it is so beautiful, will I not cry for joy when I see Jesus?  I cried for joy when I saw the Gee's Bend quilt exhibit, because these sweet quilters were finally getting some justice.  I cried for joy at the weddings of both my sons. There have been worship services where peace and love and goodness so overwhelmed me that it leaked out through my eyes.  Can you imagine not shedding tears of joy in heaven?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Scripture: Peace

 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. ~Mark 4:39

Only Christ Himself, who slept in the boat in the storm and then spoke calm to the wind and waves, can stand beside us when we are in a panic and say to us Peace.

  It will not be explainable.  It transcends human understanding.  And there is nothing else like it in the whole wide world.
 ~Elisabeth Elliot

Saturday, April 20, 2013


I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
                                                               ~ John Muir

Friday, April 19, 2013

A View from the Bluff

Remember the Garden Tour from last Saturday? Two of the gardens were at homes on the bluff in Sheffield. I have always wanted to go there, so this gave me the perfect opportunity to see it up close and personal.

Two homes, side by side, opened up their gardens to us.  Their gardens were well tended, planned, and beautifully landscaped.

But the view was fantastic!  It would have been worth it without any plants or blooms.

North Alabama is so beautiful.  Sometimes, we get busy and forget to look at all the beauty around us.  This is an excellent time to slow down and open your eyes.  We are blessed, indeed!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

...and a Time to Build

*Photo from Wikipedia

The first thing she does after that long flight across the Gulf of Mexico and many miles of land is eat all she can find.  Then, she finds her a fella, because she has her heart set on having some babies. During the time her eggs are growing inside her, she builds a house.

Hummingbird nests are extremely hard to spot, because the mother disguises them so well.  She has to find a forked branch that will support and shelter the nest and keep it away from snakes.  She builds her nest in a shaded spot away from the hot sun that could ruin her eggs.  The nest is small, about the size of half a walnut, and usually camouflaged so well that we could look directly at it and not recognize what it is.

I held a hummingbird in my hand once, and was shocked at how little they weigh.  A hummingbird expert told me that most weigh about the same as three pennies.  Their brain in roughly 4 percent of their body weight, and I'm having trouble imagining how small that is.  Yet, it is large enough for the hummingbird to find the same feeder she fed from last year, after traveling hundreds of miles away.  It is big enough to retain the knowledge of keeping her babies warm and safe from predators, and raising them to maturity.  That tiny, beautiful creature knows when it is time to build.

Compare the size of the hummingbird's brain to that of a human.  Does it make you wonder?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bread and Beauty

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,

places to play in and pray in,

 where Nature may heal and cheer

and give strength to body and soul alike.

   - John Muir, The Yosemite, 1912

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Garden Tour

On Saturday, a friend and I went to eight different gardens that were part of the Shoals garden tour.  The gardens were all special, each in its own way.

It is totally amazing to me that some of the gardens were in small backyards, but designed to twist and turn and appear much larger that they really are.   Some had wooden fences around the garden, and it was like stepping into another world when you went through the gate.

Because spring was late getting here, some of the plants were not bloomed out as much as they usually are at this time.  One garden owner graciously invited us to return when the roses were in full bloom.

I made lots of pictures, and you will probably see all of them eventually, but I'm not going to overwhelm you with all of them   today.  The whole day was perfect, and I don't know when I have had that much fun for $5. 

 I always leave with great ideas, and hope my brain retains them until I can get some things done.  One gardener told me she had worked on hers for sixteen years, building patience along with her lovely beds of flowers.   I really appreciate all the gardeners for sharing this beauty with us.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Civil War Story: D.W. Whittle

Does everyone remember this old song from the Baptist hymnal? Yesterday, I heard the story behind it, and wanted to share it with y'all.

 I Know Whom I Have Believed

Text: Daniel W. Whittle
Music: James McGranahan
Tune: EL NATHAN, Meter: CM with Refrain

1. I know not why God's wondrous grace 
 to me he hath made known, 
 nor why, unworthy, Christ in love 
 redeemed me for his own. 
 But I know whom I have believed, 
 and am persuaded that he is able 
 to keep that which I've committed
 unto him against that day. 

2. I know not how this saving faith 
 to me he did impart, 
 nor how believing in his word 
 wrought peace within my heart. 

3. I know not how the Spirit moves,
 convincing us of sin, 
 revealing Jesus through the word, 
 creating faith in him.

4. I know not when my Lord may come, 
 at night or noonday fair, 
 nor if I walk the vale with him, 
 or meet him in the air. 

Conversion of Major D. W. Whittle:
An American Civil War Veteran

compiled by Hy. Pickering
Major D.W. WhittleMajor Whittle, of the United States Army, and a well-known preacher, thus details how the great change took place:
"When the Civil War broke out, I left my home in New England and came to Virginia as lieutenant of a company in a Massachusetts regiment. My dear mother was a devout Christian, and parted from me with many a tear, and followed me with many a prayer. She had placed a New Testament in a pocket of the haversack that she arranged for me.
"We had many engagements, and I saw many sad sights, and in one of the battles I was knocked out, and that night my arm was amputated above the elbow. As I grew better, having a desire for something to read, I felt in my haversack, which I had been allowed to keep, and found the little Testament my mother had placed there.
"I read right through the book—Matthew, Mark, Luke, to Revelation. Every part was interesting to me; and I found to my surprise that I could understand it in a way that I never had before. When I had finished Revelation, I began at Matthew, and read it through again. And so for days I continued reading, and with continued interest; and still with no thought of becoming a Christian, I saw clearly from what I read the way of salvation through Christ.
"While in this state of mind, yet still with no purpose or plan to repent and accept the Saviour, I was awakened one midnight by the nurse, who said: 'There is a boy in the other end of the ward, one of your men, who is dying. He has been begging me for the past hour to pray for him, or to get someone to pray for him, and I can't stand it. I am a wicked man, and can't pray, and I have come to get you.'
"'Why,' said I, 'I can't pray. I never prayed in my life. I am just as wicked as you are.' 'Can't pray!' said the nurse; 'why, I thought sure from seeing you read the Testament that you were a praying man. And you are the only man in the ward that I have not heard curse. What shall I do? There is no one else for me to go to. I can't go back there alone. Won't you get up and come and see him at any rate?'
"Moved by his appeal, I arose from my cot, and went with him to the far comer of the room. A fair-haired boy of seventeen or eighteen lay there dying. There was a look of intense agony upon his face, as he fastened his eyes upon me and said:
"'Oh, pray for me! Pray for me! I am dying. I was a good boy at home in Maine. My mother and father are members of the Church, and I went to Sunday School and tried to be a good boy. But since I became a soldier I have learned to be wicked. I drank, and swore, and gambled, and went with bad men. And now I am dying, and I am not fit to die! Oh, ask God to forgive me! Pray for me. Ask Christ to save me!'
"As I stood there and heard these pleadings, God said to my soul by His Spirit, just as plainly as if He had spoken in audible tones, 'You know the way of salvation. Get right down on your knees and accept Christ, and pray for this boy.'
"I dropped upon my knees and held the boy's hand in mine, as in a few broken words I confessed my sins, and asked God for Christ's sake to forgive me. I believed right there that He did forgive me, and that I was Christ's child; I then prayed earnestly for the boy. He became quiet, and pressed my hand as I pleaded the promises. When I arose from my knees he was dead. A look of peace was upon his face, and I can but believe that God, who used him to bring me to my Saviour, used me to get his attention fixed upon Christ and to lead him to trust in His precious blood. I hope to meet him in Heaven.
"Many years have passed since that night in the Richmond Hospital, and I am still trusting and confessing the Lord Jesus Christ, and purpose by God's grace to continue doing so until He calls me Home."
Copied by Stephen Ross for from Twice-Born Men: True Conversion Records of 100 Well-Known Men in All Ranks of Life compiled by Hy. Pickering. London: Pickering & Inglis, [193-?]

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Scripture: Good Shepherd

God, the Master, says:
        From now on, I myself am the shepherd. I’m going looking for them. As shepherds go after their flocks when they get scattered, I’m going after my sheep.
         I’ll rescue them from all the places they’ve been scattered to in the storms. I’ll bring them back from foreign peoples, gather them from foreign countries, and bring them back to their home country.
         I’ll feed them on the mountains of Israel, along the streams, among their own people. I’ll lead them into lush pasture so they can roam the mountain pastures of Israel, graze at leisure, feed in the rich pastures on the mountains of Israel.
          And I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep. I myself will make sure they get plenty of rest. I’ll go after the lost, I’ll collect the strays, I’ll doctor the injured, I’ll build up the weak ones and oversee the strong ones so they’re not exploited.
                                                              ~Ezekiel 34:11-16 Message

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Small Things

Is it so small a thing   
to have enjoyed sun,
to have lived light in the spring,

to have loved,

to have thought,
to have done?
~Matthew Arnold

Friday, April 12, 2013

Plowing with Mules

I was still a little girl when my daddy quit farming and got a job in town.  It has been more than fifty years, but I can still remember him plowing with mules.  I wish I had a picture of him with working with mules, but I don't.  This one that appeared on Facebook last week from an unknown photographer looks a lot like him, although Daddy never used more than two mules.

I remember opening the barnyard gate for Daddy and the team of mules to come in after the work was done. I remember the smell of sweat and dust and exhaustion on them as they waited to be fed.  A fine team of mules was something to be treasured then, although some people in the community had already been able to purchase a tractor.  Daddy loved his mules, and together, they grew a lot of food. 

The calendar pages kept turning and so did our world.  Buying and using a tiller is much more efficient and easier than housing and feeding work animals all year.  Still, it makes me a little sad that our grandchildren will not have memories like this.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring in a Red Dress

Here comes spring, all dressed up in red and yellow.

See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come
 the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
~Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Colors on Campus

I had time for a nice walk during my lunch break yesterday.  Things have really changed on campus this week.  We are lookin' good!

This is just part of the campus.  My bad knee started screaming, so I had to cut the walk short.

I have worked in some places that wasn't this beautiful.  

Sorry, no photos of all the pollen-coated cars in the parking lots.  At times, the pollen was stirring like tiny green snowflakes.  You can't have all this beauty without pollen; it is the way of life.

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.
~Rainer Maria Rilke