Sunday, April 29, 2007

On 2 Wheels ....

Guess who got his training wheels off today ?? Yes, Cherub 6 is officially a "big kid" and is riding on 2 wheels instead of 4. He can turn both ways and even brake to stop. Needless to say, he is MOST pleased with his latest accomplishment. (Little Big Sister - aka Cherub 5 - cheering him all along the way while telling him to go faster, faster and faster. HA !!)

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Long Two Weeks

DadToCherubs is currently waiting in Chicago at O'Hare Airport ... he is halfway home. He has been in SanJose, California, for the last 2 weeks for training (job). He will be flying into Chattanooga later tonight, and will drive home from there.

We have all missed him terribly, but alas, we survived. It has been a crazy two weeks with soccer and getting things organized here at the new house and general "life".

DadToCherubs gets VERY homesick when he has to travel, so he has been counting the days until he could return home. He said he learned a lot in his class, and enjoyed meeting / visiting with his co-workers in California .... but for him, Dorothy said it best when she said ... THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Saturday's Soccer Games

Our U-8 Girls team (which includes Cherub 5) did not have a game scheduled this weekend. But Cherub 3 and Cherub 4 had a game, and of course we all coached our VIP team. It was hot and the sun was very bright - we all got a bit of sunburn on our faces and arms. And we all had a grand time.

So here are some soccer photos from Saturday (4/21/07):

(1) Cherub 3 and Cherub 4 with team - warming up before the game.

(2) Cherub 3 and Cherub 4 with team and coach - TEAM PHOTO.

(3) Cherub 3 and Cherub 4 with team - getting ready to play.

(4) VIP Photo - Mr. J playing with Cherub 1.

(5) VIP Photo - Miss A and Miss L playing with Mrs. H.

Horse Show

We are focusing attention on doing some "new" things together as this new chapter of our lives is unfolding.

And there is a little Lion's Club park only a few miles from our house. On Saturday evening there was to be a Horse Show at this Lion's Club Park.

We decided this might be a fun "new" thing to do together. As it turned out, the show was for Tennessee Walking Horses, and had 36 classes being shown. We stayed for the first 5 classes, and walked around a bit to see the horses and their owners.

After watching the show, we preferred "Lite Shod" horses to the Tennessee Walkers. It was all beautiful, but the Walkers looked rather unnatural to us. The Lite Shod horses were still "prancing" but did not look to be moving in such awkward positions.

The riders themselves were "dressed to the nines" .... long coats, ties, some with top hats or derby hats ... and the horses gleamed in the light, with long flowing tails and braided manes. They were just lovely pairs.

NOTE: Photo 1 is of the children petting Blondie Sky, a horse and her owners that we met prior to the show. And Photo 5 is of Blondie Sky and her owner, performing in Class 5 (Lite Shod Division). She did not "win" but we thought she (and her rider) did a LOVELY job. And her owners talked to us about this type of riding, and training, and Blondie herself. We were very thankful to have met them - we learned a lot.

Recent Church Activity

Cherub 1, Cherub 2, and Cherub 3 will have their First Holy Communion in May. In preparation, Saturday was their First Holy Communion Retreat (for the day). And with DadToCherubs busy, we all got to go together.
Incidently, the Religious Education Director said that this is the biggest First Communion Class in many years. There were LOTS of people indeed.
We watched a really sweet mini-movie called Grandma's Bread .... it brought tears to most of our eyes.

And the "theme" song for First Holy Communion this year is OPEN MY EYES LORD. We sang this all together - parents and children. It was beautiful.
Photo 1: The "whole" class with parents, children, and instructors. WOW !!
Photo 2: We all sat together, so this is the Beck table.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

First Horseback Riding Lesson (Part 2)

(1) Cherub 6 is so tiny, that he needed help riding ... but loved every minute of it. And we think River took a special interest in him ... she was so sweet to him. (or maybe it was the extra carrots he sneaked to her when we were not looking - HA !)

(2)Cherub 3 took a break from his normal comedy routines to concentrate on the lessons - and did very well.

(3) And Cherub 1 learned very quickly - here is is practicing a "figure 8" to work on turning skills and and working the reins.

First Day of Horseback Riding Lessons (Part 1)

Friday was our first day of Horseback Riding Lessons at Dancing Branch Ranch. Everyone was so excited to begin lessons ... and to begin a new chapter in our lives. And we had a GRAND time. Ms. Kathy is a wonderful teacher - she is very enthusiastic and extreme;y patient. Everyone learned a lot, and next Monday we hope to stop at the library to pick up our new library cards and to pick up so books about horses.

(1) Learning to Groom and Brush "River" while bonding with her.

(2) TRYING to wait patiently while Ms. Kathy get the saddle to begin riding.

(3) Cherub 2 leading ... she was sooooo excited. Bigggg smiles. And the smiles were gigantic while she was actually riding on River.

(4) Cherub 5 riding with help. More big smiles, and surprisingly few giggles while she was concentrating.

(5) Cherub 4 is "all boy" and was focused on "thinking like a Cowboy" while he rode.

One Smart Cookie !!

Cherub 6 was thirsty this afternoon at VIP soccer ... his water bottle was in the car ... and he is not allowed to go into the parking lot so he could not go to get his water bottle. So ..... he found a solution all by himself. (we caught this before he realized it - too funny !! Then he caught us taking the photos.)
This just proves it ... necessity is the mother of ingenuity. (even at age 4yo)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Psalm 34:19

This verse has provided particular comfort these past few weeks:

"Many are the difficulties of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all."

Coffee Anyone ?

I have a confession to make .... nearly everyone knows that I have always enjoyed coffee .... but (confession) this past month since the fire I have nearly been LIVING on it. So much to do, so little energy, so few precious moments to do it .... so caffeine has definately been my friend. I will have to work on this issue in coming weeks, just as soon as we are finished getting settled.
Anyway, I stumbled across this photo online ... and it made me giggle .... so I wanted to share it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sunrise On The Farm

There are SOME highlights to not sleeping well lately ... quiet time for praise and prayer in the quiet of the early mornings. While outside yesterday morning, this is what I saw ..... one of God's latest Masterpieces. Isn't it absolutely spectacular ?!?!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Sunday (Part 4)

After Mass and the Egg Hunt, we came home and enjoyed candy, candy, and more candy. The children donned playclothes and sweatshirts and headed outside to play. (The Easter Bunny brought roller blades for the girls, and skateboards for the boys - they were all SO excited !!)

At 5p Grandpa Beck and our friend (from church) Mr. Ray Santagata came to share Easter dinner with us. It had been a week or so since we had seen Grandpa so the children were excited he came to visit. And Mr. Santagata is a retired electrician who checked our new house prior to us moving in, and who has befriended all of us. We were thrilled to hear his interesting stories today - how his parents came from Italy, and he was born in 1925, and he was in the middle of 10 children in his family growing up, and he was on active duty and served on IwoJima (brought to increased public interest lately by the book and movie called Flags of Our Fathers) .... it was a most interesting day.

For dinner we had ham, scalloped potatoes, rolls with butter, brocolli and cheese, greenbeans, corn, cranberry sauce, and deviled eggs. And for dessert we had chocoalte cake, strawberry-covered cheese cake, and Turtle cheese cake. YUMMY !! A bit smaller than our usual "Holiday Feast" (as the children call it - HA !) but a lovely dinner none the less.
Daisy and Bella had a little bit of Ham .... the chickens got some veggies ... Cocoa (the rabbit) for some celery and carrot .... the cats got some ham drippings. All creatures great and small are happy ... and have full tummies !!

We had a wonderful Easter .... and as we rest tonight we are so very thankful for all of the blessings God has bestowed on us. Praise the Lord !!

Photo 1: Grandpa Beck, Mr. Ray Santagata, and the 6 cherubs during our visit this afternoon.

Easter Sunday (Part 3)

And here are the children participating in the Easter Egg Hunt after church today. They had a GRAND time.

Easter Sunday (Part 2)

And since we are beginning anew with family photos, we took some after church as well. BOY OH BOY was it cold ... and breezy too.

Photo 1: The Beck Ladies (IN ORDER: Cherub 5, MomToCherubs, and Cherub 2)

Photo 2: The Beck Family (NOT IN ORDER: DadToCherubs, MomToCherubs, Cherub 1, Cherub 2, Cherub 3, Cherub 4, Cherub 5, and Cherub 6)

Photo 3: The Beck Men (in order FRONT ROW Cherub 4, Cherub 6, Cherub 3, and Cherub 1 - and DadToCherubs is the BACK ROW)

Photo 4: Our 6 Cherubs (in order BACK ROW: Cherub 1 and Cherub 2, FRONT ROW: Cherub 5, Cherub 4, Cherub 6, and Cherub 3)

Easter Sunday (Part 1)

Here are the children, dressed in their Easter best, before we went to Mass at 10am at St. Mary's.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


It is 20 degrees this morning ... and we had snow flurries last night. YIKES !! We need to go out today to see if we can find some winter coats or jackets .....

Photo: Our new outdoor thermometer .. complete with a rooster on it. Pretty cute, isn't it ?

Yummy !!

Photo 1: Cherub 5 and Cherub 3 "hamming" as usual.
Photo 2: Cherub 1 and Cherub 4 trying not to laugh. HA !!
Photo 3: Cherub 2 looking lovely.
Photo 4: Cherub 6 always LOVES to have his photo taken.
Photo 5: Almost the whole Beck Clan enjoying dinner ... even DadToCherubs, but Cherub 1 went to get seconds.

We went to dinner one Friday during Lent ... of course, the choices were "breakfast for dinner" or seafood.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday Post

No. 35 Scenes from the Life of Christ: 19. Crucifixion
Artist: Giotto di Bondone
Date: 1304-06
Fresco, 200 x 185 cm
Location: Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua

Good Friday1 (also called "Great Friday" or "Holy Friday") is the most somber day of the entire year. A silence pervades, socializing is kept to a minimum, things are done quietly; it is a day of mourning; it is a funeral. The Temple of the Body of Christ is destroyed, capping the the penitential seasons begun on Septuagesima Sunday and becoming more intense throughout Lent. Traditional Catholics wear black, cover their mirrors, extinguish candles and any lamps burning before icons, keep amusements and distractions down, and go about the day in great solemnity.

Jesus was put on the Cross at the very end of the third hour (the time between 9 and noon), and almost the sixth hour. He died at the ninth hour:
Mark 15:25, 33 And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him... And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour.

Because Jesus was on the Cross between the hours of Noon and 3:00 PM, these three hours today are considered the most sacred of all. A devotion called "Tre Ore" or "Three Hours' Agony" might be held at this time; if not, you can do it yourself by meditating on His Passion -- reading the Gospel narratives of the Passion, making the Stations of the Cross by yourself, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, praying the Litany of the Passion, etc. Draw the curtains, take the phone off the hook, turn off televisions and radios, quiet your environment and yourself, and meditate on what Christ has done for you. At 3:00, "The Hour" He died, the atmosphere should be as if you are standing next to the deathbed of your father who died a moment ago.

Catholics also focus their attention on Mary this day and tomorrow (Holy Saturday), empathizing with the pain she endured as Our Lady of Sorrows. In another break in the tradition of veiling statues since Passion Sunday, they might dress the image of Our Lady in a black dress or veil, placing flowers of mourning before it in her honor.

Though a somber atmosphere will last until the Easter Vigil, after "The Hour" (3:00 PM) passes, it eases a bit, and life can go back to a "somber normal." The phone can put back on the hook, etc., but candles and other symbols of Christ shouldn't be used, music shouldn't be played, raucous games should be eliminated, etc., while Christ is "in His Tomb" -- i.e., until after Vigil of Holy Saturday when Eastertide officially begins.

No true Mass is offered today (or tomorrow until the Vigil tomorrow evening); instead a liturgy called the "Mass of the Presanctified" is offered , which is not a true Mass because no consecration takes place. Instead, we consume Hosts consecrated at yesterday's Mass. Vestment colors will be black, and the liturgy consists of lessons, prayer, St. John's version of the Passion, and ends with a long series of prayers for various intentions: the Church, the Pope, the faithful, those engaged in public affairs, catechumens, the needs of the faithful, unity, the conversion of the Jews, the conversion of infidels. These intentions are called the Great Intercessions, and we kneel after each.

Then the Cross will be unveiled and and elevated to be adored by our kneeling three times before it at the words "Venite, adorémus" (come, let us adore). We kneel thrice because He was mocked thrice: in the high priest's courtyard, in Pilate's house, and on Mt. Calvary. Then the priest lays the Cross on a cushion and covers it with a white veil to symbolize the Entombment. He takes off his shoes, like Moses before God, and kneels three times as the choir chants. He and his acolytes kneel and kiss the Cross.

The Cross is held up for us, and we file past - - men first, then women -- to kneel and kiss the Cross while the choir sings the Improperia (the Reproaches) of Christ, in which Our Lord reminds of us all He has done for us and our ingratitude towards Him. Note the use of the singular "thee" in these Reproaches. Our Lord is speaking to you. The first three of the twelve Reproaches are:

O My people, wha have I done to thee? Or wherein have I afflicted thee? Answer Me. Because I led thee out of the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a Cross for thy Savior.

Because I led thee out through the desert forty years: and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land exceeding good, thou has prepared a Cross for thy Savior.

What more ought I to have done for thee, that I have not done? I planted thee, ineed, My most beautiful vineyard: and thou has become exceeding bitter to Me: for in My thirst thou gavest Me vinegar to drinkL and with a lance thou hast pierced the side of thy Savior.

A second choir responds to each of those Reproaches with a trisagion in Greek and Latin.
You might recognize its English translation if you've ever prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet:

O holy God!
O holy God!
O holy strong One!
O holy strong One!
O holy immortal One,
have mercy on us.
O holy immortal One,
have mercy on us!

The remaining nine Reproaches are answered with the response " O my people, what have I done to thee? or wherein have I afflicted thee? Answer me." ("Popule meus, quid feci tibi? aut in quo constristavi te? responde mihi."). The words evoke awe in reminding us of our ancient Israelite heritage -- and evoke humility in recalling how our ancestors failed repeatedly:

For thy sake I scourged Egypt with its first-born: and thou didst deliver Me up to be scourged.

I led thee out of Egypt having drowned Pharao in the Red Sea: and thou to the chief priests didst deliver Me.

I opened the sea before thee: and thou with a spear didst open My side.I went before thee in a pillar of cloud: and thou didst lead Me to the judgment hall of Pilate.

I fed thee with manna in the desert; and thou didst beat Me with blows and scourges.

I gave thee the water of salvation from the rock to drink: and thou didst give Me gall and vinegar.

For thy sake I struck the kings of the Chanaanites: and thou didst strike My head with a reed.

I gave thee a royal scepter: and thou didst give My head a crown of thorns.I exalted thee with great strength: and thou didst hang Me on the gibbet of the Cross.

After the Reproaches, we receive Communion, receiving Hosts consecrated at yesterday's Mass.

It is customary for churches to offer the Way of the Cross devotion on this day, especially around 3:00, the hour of His death. And, again, there may be a tenebrae service (consisting of the Matins and Lauds for Holy Saturday).

Our Lord was laid in the tomb owned by St. Joseph of Arimethea, at a site over which stands now the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, first built on the spot by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. In Jesus's time, the tomb was outside the city; by the time St. Helena was told of it, it was inside the city walls because Hadrian expanded the city's perimeter -- and had built a pagan temple over the site. The basilica built by St. Helena was destroyed by Caliph al-Hakim in A.D. 1009, and was later re-built over time. 2

The exact spot where "the New Adam" was crucified is marked inside the Basilica, and is said to stand over the place where the first Adam was buried. Matthew tells us what happened when Our Lord's Soul left His Body:

Matthew 27:51 And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent.

Tradition tells us that among those rocks which were rent were those beneath the Cross, and that His Blood dripped down into the crevices (visible today) and reached the spot where the first Adam was interred. The Blood of the New Adam covers the sins of the first Adam! 3 A chapel to the first Adam sits under the area marked as the place Our Lord died.

We know the names of the thieves between whom Jesus was cruficied from the apocryphal "Acts of Pilate" (or "Gospel of Nicodemus"), attributed to St. Nicodemus, the member of the Sanhedrin who, along with St. Joseph of Arimethea, entombed Jesus (John 19:39). Book IX:5 reads :

Then Pilate commanded the veil to be drawn before the judgement-seat whereon he sat, and saith unto Jesus: Thy nation hath convicted Thee as being a king: therefore have I decreed that Thou shouldest first be scourged according to the law of the pious emperors, and thereafter hanged upon the Cross in the garden wherein Thou wast taken: and let Dysmas and Gestas the two malefactors be crucified with Thee.

Dismas is considered a Saint -- the patron of prisoners -- and his memorial is on 25 March, the date believed to be the date of the Crucifixion. You'll note that the date is the same as the Feast of the Annunciation, when St. Gabriel visited Mary to tell her she was to have a son; it is ancient tradition that the Prophets died on the same day they were conceived. Legend has it that when the Holy Family went on their "flight to Egypt" to escape Herod's wrath, they were accosted by thieves, among whom were Dismas and Gestas. Dismas felt that there was something different about this Family, and ordered his comrades to leave them alone. His act of natural virtue was repaid by the supernatural gift of faith he received when being crucified next to Our Lord. This pious tale is recounted in the Arabic Infancy Gospel, an apocryphal book likely dated to the 4th c., and originally in Syriac. In it, the thieves' names are given as Titus and Dumachus:

And turning away from this place, they came to a desert; and hearing that it was infested by robbers, Joseph and the Lady Mary resolved to cross this region by night. But as they go along, behold, they see two robbers lying in the way, and along with them a great number of robbers, who were their associates, sleeping. Now those two robbers, into whose hands they had fallen, were Titus and Dumachus. Titus therefore said to Dumachus: I beseech thee to let these persons go freely, and so that our comrades may not see them. And as Dumachus refused, Titus said to him again: Take to thyself forty drachmas from me, and hold this as a pledge. At the same time he held out to him the belt which he had about his waist, to keep him from opening his mouth or speaking. And the Lady Mary, seeing that the robber had done them a kindness, said to him: The Lord God will sustain thee by His right hand, and will grant thee remission of thy sins. And the Lord Jesus answered, and said to His mother: Thirty years hence, O my mother, the Jews will crucify me at Jerusalem, and these two robbers will be raised upon the cross along with me, Titus on my right hand and Dumachus on my left; and after that day Titus shall go before me into Paradise. And she said: God keep this from thee, my son. And they went thence towards a city of idols, which, as they came near it, was changed into sand-hills.

See also: the footnotes of the Mary Gardens page for information about and pictures of the flowers that the women used for Jesus's funeral, and the page on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross for information about the True Cross.

(copied directly from

A Poem on the Passion of the Lord

By Lactantius, 4th c.

Whoever you are who approach, and are entering the precincts of the middle of the temple, stop a little and look upon me, who, though innocent, suffered for your crime; lay me up in your mind, keep me in your breast. I am He who, pitying the bitter misfortunes of men, came hither as a messenger of offered peace, and as a full atonement for the fault of men. Here the brightest light from above is restored to the earth; here is the merciful image of safety; here I am a rest to you, the right way, the true redemption, the banner of God, and a memorable sign of fate. It was on account of you and your life that I entered the Virgin's womb, was made man, and suffered a dreadful death; nor did I find rest anywhere in the regions of the earth, but everywhere threats, everywhere labours.

First of all a wretched dwelling in the land of Judged was a shelter for me at my birth, and for my mother with me: here first, amidst the outstretched sluggish cattle, dry grass gave me a bed in a narrow stall. I passed my earliest years in the Pharian regions, being an exile in the reign of Herod; and after my return to Judaea I spent the rest of my years, always engaged in fastings, and the extremity of poverty itself, and the lowest circumstances; always by healthful admonitions applying the minds of men to the pursuit of genial uprightness, uniting with wholesome teaching many evident miracles: on which account impious Jerusalem, harassed by the raging cares of envy and cruel hatred, and blinded by madness, dared to seek for me, though innocent, by deadly punishment, a cruel death on the dreadful Cross.

And if you yourself wish to discriminate these things more fully, and if it delights you to go through all my groans, and to experience griefs with me, put together the designs and plots, and the impious price of my innocent Blood; and the pretended kisses of a disciple, and the insults and strivings of the cruel multitude; and, moreover, the blows, and tongues prepared for accusations. Picture to your mind both the witnesses, and the accursed judgment of the blinded Pilate, and the immense Cross pressing my shoulders and wearied back, and my painful steps to a dreadful death.

Now survey me from head to foot, deserted as I am, and lifted up afar from my beloved mother. Behold and see my locks clotted with blood, and my blood-stained neck under my very hair, and my head drained with cruel thorns, and pouring down like rain from all sides a stream of blood over my divine face. Survey my compressed and sightless eyes, and my afflicted cheeks; see my parched tongue poisoned with gall, and my countenance pale with death. Behold my hands pierced with nails, and my arms drawn out, and the great wound in my side; see the blood streaming from it, and my perforated feet, and blood-stained limbs. Bend your knee, and with lamentation adore the venerable wood of the Cross, and with lowly countenance stooping to the earth, which is wet with innocent blood, sprinkle it with rising tears, and at times bear me and my admonitions in your devoted heart.

Follow the footsteps of my life, and while you look upon my torments and cruel death, remembering my innumerable pangs of body and soul, learn to endure hardships, and to watch over your own safety. These memorials, if at any time you find pleasure in thinking over them, if in your mind there is any confidence to bear anything like my sufferings, if the piety due, and gratitude worthy of my labours shall arise, will be incitements to true virtue, and they will be shields against the snares of an enemy, aroused by which you will be safe, and as a conqueror bear off the palm in every contest.

If these memorials shall turn away your senses, which are devoted to a perishable world, from the fleeting shadow of earthly beauty, the result will be, that you will not venture, enticed by empty hope, to trust the frail enjoyments of fickle fortune, and to place your hope in the fleeting years of life.

But, truly, if you thus regard this perishable world, and through your love of a better country deprive yourself of earthly riches and the enjoyment of present things, the prayers of the pious will bring you up in sacred habits, and in the hope of a happy life, amidst severe punishments, will cherish you with heavenly dew, and feed you with the sweetness of the promised good. Until the great favour of God shall recall your happy" soul to the heavenly regions, your body being left after the fates of death. Then freed from all labour, then joyfully beholding the angelic choirs, and the blessed companies of saints in perpetual bliss, it shall reign with me in the happy abode of perpetual peace.

1 Catholic Encyclopedia: "The origin of the term Good is not clear. Some say it is from "God's Friday" (Gottes Freitag); others maintain that it is from the German Gute Freitag, and not specially English."

2 Many Protestants claim that a lovely spot known as "The Garden Tomb" was the site of Our Lord's Entombment and Resurrection, but, pretty as the place is, the tombs there date to the 7th century before Christ, and there's absolutely no tradition to buttress the idea. Jesus was laid in a tomb that had never been used -- John 19:41: "Now there was in the place where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid" -- from "virginal womb" to "virginal tomb." The "Garden Tomb" doesn't fit this description, but the tombs in and around the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, on the other hand, are first century tombs, and Jesus' Tomb was pointed out to St. Helena -- born ca. A.D. 250 -- by the Christians who lived in the area.

3 It is because of this tradition that one often sees a skull -- the skull of Adam -- at the foot of the Cross in depictions of the Crucifixion and on Crucifixes, etc.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Can You Believe It ??

My absolute most favorite flower in the whole wide world is the Lilac (bush). My childhood home in Maryland had a driveway lined with them ... and I used to buy a Lilac bush for my mother every year for Mother's Day. Everyone has a "comfort" smell ... a smell that calms them and mentally soothes them ... lilac is my "smell". And nothing synthetic has every come close to the real scent. And OH how I have missed lilacs in springtime since moving South 10 years ago.

Anyway, I have probably spent wayyy too much money in the last 10 years trying to grow them in the South ... I could get them to live (barely) and to leaf-out ... but I never managed to convince one to bloom. "They just do not grow in the south" is what I was told by garden shops over and over again. I had almost given up trying ... I had planned to try 1 last time this year (at the other house of course).

Well, when we moved (suddenly) to this house three weeks ago, a friend and previous resident of this house (Mrs. O from the O Tribe) gave me a tour of the grounds, pointing out plants and trees that had yet to begin their "springtime" transformations. I asked about a bush that was completely bare and nearly half covered with overgrown grass, in a place that said "nothing special" .... she said it was a lilac. I asked if she was SURE. (HA !) ... and she said it was most definately a lilac. ( I was afraid to get too excited ... could it be true ?!??!). Then I asked ... DOES IT BLOOM ?? .... and I held my breath ... and she said "of course it blooms". I was excited ... but nervous.

So for the last 3 weeks I have been walking over to and around that bush several times each day ... waiting and watching. I mowed ever so carefully around it, carefuly not to touch it with the side of the mower. Then approximately 1 week after we moved in, the first tiny green leaf buds appeared ... then the leaves came and and I thought " they ARE like lilac leaves" but was still a bit unsure .... then tiny purple buds in clusters (just like lilacs ?!?!) .... then more clusters ....

And 2 mornings ago ... the purple buds in clusters began to explode into many many beautiful lavendar blossoms ... their fragrance filling the air.

And when I saw the first few blossoms open and breathed in their sweet fragrance ... well, I cried and sobbed like a tiny babe .... what a precious gift during such a difficult time as we have had these past few weeks. I can still hardly believe it myself ... a lilac in full bloom .... right outside my back door .... a reminder of my childhood home ... the "smell" that brings peace to my heart with every breath.

God is sooooooooo good !!

Photo Above: Our lilac bush in bloom. Isn't it lovely ?!?!?