Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Last night we dropped our son off at his event, then drove fifteen minutes to the beach. We walked out to the edge of the ocean and sat on the sand. Others walked or jogged by, their long shadows across the sand, but it was our evening to sit. To sit and watch the waves, a couple of surfers, the couple with their little dog who wore a bib, "Adopt me," the sun drop lower in the sky.

I listened, attempting to put the sound of the waves into letters. It was as if the ocean was breathing. The waves broke on the sand with an exhale, "Wwhhrshsh."

The waves, pulled back out to sea with an inhale, a whistle, like someone softly snoring, "Sssfftt."

Rhythm. Consistent breathing, in, out, in, out. Motion, a reliable pattern. A painting or a photo of the ocean is only one tiny time slot, a small still life of the perpetual energy, always changing, alive. I could sit for hours, listening to the slow breath of the ocean against the shore, the rhythm as it exhales, then inhales.

The real purpose of going to the beach was to pick up a jar of sand. (Well, my purpose is always to watch the waves, to listen, to enjoy the feel of the wind and smell the salt in the air.) Our son is getting married this weekend in Arizona. We will drive there, taking sand from the Pacific Ocean. His fiancee's mom flew in from Houston,Texas, where she grew up, with a jar of sand from the Gulf. As part of the ceremony, they will combine the sands, west coast and southeast, symbolizing the joining of their past and combined lives. A symbol of the rhythm of life, the breath of their new married life, together.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Steeped in Prayer

"Great God,
In public and in private,
In sanctuary and in home,
May my life be steeped in prayer,
Filled with the spirit of grace and supplication,
Each prayer perfumed with the incense of   atoning blood.
Help me, defend me,
Until from praying ground
I pass to the realm of unceasing praise."

                                                             -Valley of Vision

joining with others at for quiet Sunday worship

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lincoln's Letter

This poignant letter of condolence, written by Abraham Lincoln to Mrs. Lydia Bixby toward the end of the Civil War, was printed in the Boston Evening Transcript on November 25, 1864.

Dear Madam, 
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts, that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.
Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln 

Mrs. Bixby
Boston, Massachusetts

Although there is historical question as to the loss of all five sons, Lincoln's heartfelt point recognizing the deep loss to families remains true and accurate.

The lines from the second verse of the Star Spangled Banner say it so well:
"O thus be it ever, when free men shall stand,
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!"

This Memorial Day, remember to give thanks for those who have gone before us, those who have suffered and died for the freedoms we appreciate today. Don't take them for granted. They come at great cost.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Topsy Turvy

Five Minute Friday. Topic by Write, five minutes, go with the flow.
Today, Opportunity.


Opportunity? We are renters. I am a gardener. I love plants. Flowers. Growing things. It is kind of an obsession. No, it is an obsession. I have to have plants around me. Have to. What is a renter to do without roots in the ground? When we have to move, it is a literal tearing out the roots for me. So, I stopped (well, almost) planting anything in the ground.

I resort to pots. There are still lots of possibilities with pots. Flowers do well in pots, and pots are moveable, transportable, flexible. Like I have to be. No roots in the ground. Or, roots that are easily pulled up. Roots that are adjustable, but sometimes, when we move, I have to leave the pots behind. Tough for this gardening girl to do. Throws me topsy-turvy. Out of kilter, dumped upside down.

Like my topsy-turvy tomato plant. Don't they know plants are supposed to grow from the roots up? Who got the idea to grow them from the roots down? But you know what?? They still grow. They still insist on growing, even upside down. Even if you throw me upside down, even if my roots are uprooted, I will re-plant, I will insist on still growing. In new soil, in a new place, I will take the opportunity to grow, even if it means being upside down.

Time is up.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lessons Learned. Again.

One of our sons is part of the Civil Air Patrol, an organization for young people affiliated with the Air Force. They are trained in leadership, teamwork, and life skills. We are pleased with the caliber of training they receive each week, and the growth we see in our son.

This week, they were divided into four groups, about five in each group, and given a puzzle. Three of the groups had a 100 piece 3-D puzzle, the other group a 1,000 piece puzzle. The instructions were to complete all the puzzles in the time given, 30 minutes. Each group was assigned a leader. Go.

The group our son was in worked together, laughed and completed their puzzle ahead of the allotted time. They sat back, watched the other groups, and wondered what great prize they were going to receive for winning, proud of their efforts to work together and complete the task, quickly and efficiently.

Time is up. The Commander asked, "What were my instructions?"

"To complete the puzzle."

"No, to complete all the puzzles."

Realization dawned. Oh, no. They missed the point. The group, proud of being first, suddenly became last, the one yelled at for not paying attention to detail and turning it into a competition rather than the unit working together as a whole. Wow. An impressive lesson for these young people. The point is not the competition. Leadership. They had worked well within their team, but those same skills should have been extended to the other teams once their task was accomplished.

This is a challenging lesson. We are a competitive people. (At least I am. More competitive than I'd like to admit). We watch others succeed, have more, be more, do more. We wonder why we can't succeed like that. It is hard to understand that the best way to succeed is to help others succeed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Live a Good Story

I sit at the computer. What is this idea of living a good story?

My three (at home) boys. Not so little now. Teens, manhood knocking at their door, waiting for them to open, escort them through. My guys are in the living room, watching the movie, Transformers. Caught, absorbed, living Sam's story by osmosis.

I wash yesterday's dishes.

A robin bounces across the lawn, hop hop, pause, hop hop, pause. Watching for the worm that will become part of its story, that may become part of the stalking cat's story. (I hope not).

One of the guys sits forward on the edge of the couch, enthralled with the intensity of the scene. What is this ability to tell a good story? The ability to capture the attention, the emotions, the heart and intensity of a life well lived?

I don't know how Transformers was written. I imagine someone asking, "What if?" One of those days when their car was driving like it had a mind of its own. What if it really was being driven by aliens? Add a pretty girl, a cool car that goes really fast. Not to mention turns into an alien robot. Make the robot of epic proportions, the conflict, the heart of the universe. Not just saving our world, the universe. The story every boy [man] wants to live.

I swat an annoying fly in the kitchen. Fold a load of laundry and put it away.

Cars flip and explode. Soldiers yell and rally, a team, working together, sacrificing all to save all. Each other. The pretty girl, dirt smudged on her face, her hair not so perfect now.  Sam says, in a light-hearted moment, "I bought a car that turned out to be an alien robot. Who knew?" An ordinary action became an extra-ordinary story.

Mix the meatloaf, put it in the oven. Peel the potatoes, simmer them in the pot.

The robot is willing to give of its heart.To sacrifice all in order to save the universe. "I will sacrifice myself." "A necessary sacrifice to bring peace."

Interesting. My story, closely intertwined with others. Willing to give of my heart, to serve others for a greater cause. As I give of my time, my work, my efforts to make others' stories happen, my story is written, too. Not in the literal sense of the robin or the cat, but in an intertwined, interwoven pattern. Interrelated with the stories of those around us. My story, it cannot be just my story, but a story that involves many others. And the stories of others involve me.

When those around us ask a lot of us, do we respond, "No, you are interrupting my story." Or, do we weave the stories together, theirs and ours? My story is not just my story, but a part of the story of all around me, influencing them, them influencing me. Our stories, interwoven.

The closing line of the movie, "There is more to us than meets the eye." Live a good story. What is your story, today? What is there, more than meets the eye? Isn't that what makes a good story? Characters, growing, changing, challenged, meeting those challenges, becoming more than who they were. To live a good story, we meet the challenges of today, grow, and alongside others, become more than who we were.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


"How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand."

Psalm 139: 17-18

joining for a quiet Sunday with jumping tandem,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Old Piano, or Short Shorts

My other blog, WordsbyMo, for short stories, sits quietly for months. A short story I began before Christmas sits in its file folder, incomplete since December. I do a lot of thinking about writing and reading about writing, but the actual writing--is set aside.

One of my goals is to experiment with really short short stories. Five hundred words max. I've played with it a little, but haven't followed through. Did you see the March, "Reader's Digest" magazine? My mom showed it to me while we were at their house on Mother's Day. They had a contest: write your life story in 150 words or fewer. Published in the March issue, they were amazing. The article inspired me to get going on my short short stories.

I've also wanted to experiment with writing about an inanimate object, as if it had personality. (Like my computer on the days it has a mind of its own...) This story, The Old Piano, comes in at 496 words.

My first writing class, on my very first assignment, gave me a hard lesson. Editing. A word count. I couldn't do it. My words were too important, the story too critical to edit down. I started a letter to the instructor, explaining why I couldn't do it. Deep down, though, I knew, it had to be done. I faced it, and started deleting. And, guess what? The story was better, stronger. And, guess what? I really could edit it to less than the maximum word count.

A 500 word short story involves editing. Pruning. Clarifying. Rid of the excess. Streamline. Slim, trim.

Traveling Lighter. Editing out the unnecessary. Eliminating the apparent important, that isn't important at all. When it is gone, what is left becomes even better, stronger.

Good lessons. For writing and for life.

(Usually, I would link to the other blog for the short story, but for today, this is posted in both blogs)


The old piano, alone and forgotten in the dark, cold garage. Days, months, years.  Unplayed.  Silent.  Still. Deaf, mute, the black and white keys paralyzed.  Without a voice.
The piano ached for music. To vibrate and hum and ring out melodies that blew across its strings. To feel the little fingers tapping, stacks of music books thumped on its top. To hear the chords and the notes tickling up and down its keyboard, played over and over and over. To once again know the power of its voice, of sounds rich, deep, powerful, resonating, full. To know the quiet whispers, the sweet breath of a pause, a moment hung in the air, a breath before beginning again.
It was so much fun. Each bottom that had plunked on to its bench had a unique style. It knew the feel of each one, the style of playing, the sounds drawn out by the different sets of fingers.
One girl, lightweight, never still, scooted along with her hands, up and down, back and forth, filling the afternoons with voice and song. Her foot pumped the pedals, the sound resonating through each fiber of its frame.
Another girl, sure, solid, rooted on the bench.  She leaned side to side as she reached, sounding the chords, as solid and sure as she sat.
The boys never sat as long as the girls. Their music was rowdy, full, alive, fun. One  laughed, making up tunes and chords and silly sounds, playing, exploring, his enthusiasm spilling into song.

Moved to a new house, it sat, quiet most of the days. Peaceful, part of the home, but quiet. The bustle continued around it, but not from it. Music, no more. No one sat to play, to set its strings humming.

Another move, this time, set aside in the garage. Cold, dark, alone. Silent. A quiet ache to be a tool, an instrument to be played, to have music coursing through its every part. Oh, someday?

Again, a move. Darkness, noise, motion that set its strings vibrating, but not music.  Humming  through its strings. Like a warm up? Maybe the people would play it again, soon?

Bumping, bouncing down a ramp on its wheels. Clunking with a thud at the bottom.  Lifted, hands grasping, grunts, laughter, voices, “Wait, right, another step, okay, got it.” Rolling along a carpet, pushed up against a wall.
The cover opened, light fell across the dusty keys. The old piano wanted to shake like a dog waking up. Free. Stretch. 
A new bottom on the bench. Larger, but strong. Fingers on the keys. Tentative. Parts of songs, experimenting, a piece of music, a bit of melody, here and there.
Music books, again against its stand. Partnered with hands and heart, ringing out. Oh, the relief to be playing again, resonating loud, full of song and soul.  With a voice to carry beauty and melody across the days, to fill a home with music. The old piano, heart and soul.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Details of Perspective

Five Minute Fridays, sponsored by The topic this week, perspective. Write for five minutes, winging it with the timer ticking, watching the words form, to see where they will soar.


The details of perspective are what makes a drawing work. If the lines are out of perspective, it will look tweaked, surrealistic, deformed. You will tilt your head, puzzled.

Details. Not always the tiny, like an ant or a scratch or a dust mote drifting in the sunlight. I get lost in the minute details of making a home, a meal, a life. The big picture, though, must be kept in perspective. If I look at everything through a magnifying glass, I miss many details. If I look through binoculars, I see much more. If I look through a telescope, I see things in cosmic proportion.

Across the valley, on a really clear, crisp day, we can see the white domes of the observatory on Mount Wilson. From there, they observe, analyze, gaze at the stars and galaxies. From here, from my house, I tend to focus on dust and mess and mistakes. It is good, to stand back and keep the big picture in perspective.

Time is up.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Ordinary Extraordinary

Ordinary, extraordinary. They sound like opposites. In reality, they can be identical, depending on perspective.

In Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg says, "That's the great value of art--making the ordinary extraordinary. We awaken ourselves to the life we are living."

My artist friend, Jane, has deeply affected my work. She paints. I write. But as we talk, the similarities in what we do and the choices of how we do it consistently surprise me. In one of those vividly remembered conversations, I commented that I didn't have anything profound to write about. She opened an art book to a famous painting and pointed to a little dark haired girl sitting in a red velvet chair holding a lacy white handkerchief. Profound? Only in its ordinary simplicity. She told me that all of life is profound. The artist's job is to point out the beauty of everyday, ordinary moments. The ordinary extraordinary.
I couldn't find the painting she showed me. This is a photo by Richard Brown, from A Time to Blossom, by Tovah Martin. It conveys the same idea. Two young girls, enjoying, appreciating a bouquet of flowers. Simple. Ordinary. Profound.

Have an ordinary, extraordinary day!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

You Deserve It

"You deserve it."

When something really good happens, something pretty or chocolate or fun or better-than-it-was, someone says, "You deserve it."

"Deserve," is all about me. Benefits bountifully heaped on me because somehow I earned the right to own them.

Those are dangerous words. Full of self and pride and greed. Full of an attitude that creeps into my thinking, that sets me at the center.

Or, the brother who slugs his brother, and says, "You deserve that."

This is the negative side. You deserve to get that speeding ticket after all the times you didn't get caught. You deserve to have something bad happen after that rotten thing you did.

Those are dangerous words, too. After all, what do any of us deserve, really? Even the best of us (no such thing...) have thoughts and actions to incriminate us. Or, good things we have done that have "earned" us blessings.

Last night, my head on the pillow, gazing at the silver stars through the uncurtained window, I thought about this. Finding the balance between guilt and debt. What I deserve, what I owe. The point of realizing all we have is a gift, nothing deserved.

This attitude, I deserve it, for good or bad, has a built-in antidote. Take off the "de." What is left? "Serve."

Serve. A heart not grasping, greedy. A focus outward toward others. Reaching a hand to give, not to take.

I have to closely guard my attitudes. If I don't get what I think I deserve, I am grumpy, ungrateful.

But if I don't deserve anything, anything I get is more than I deserve. I can be grateful for everything.

If my desire is to serve, whatever I can give is good.

This is a key, for me, to traveling lighter. To hold things loosely, in an open palm. Not grasping, hoarding, holding things tightly. Let go. Give. Serve.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee."

                                                           Psalm 56:3

"Jesus repeatedly stated, 'Do not worry.' The underlying principle and promise? You are more valuable to God than birds or flowers. He knows what you need. He will take care of you (Matthew 6: 25-34)."

                                                   -Poppy Smith, Reaching Higher

joining, for a quiet Sunday

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On Wings

No photos today. Visualize, see it in your mind.

There is some quote, I don't know it exactly and found several versions, to the effect that we should give our children roots and wings.

I like the roots part.

Planting, growing, nurturing, pruning, feeding, watering, watching the blossoms unfurl and the fruit develop color.

The wings part, for me, is tough.

Like plucking a dandelion puff, blowing across it, watching the seeds float and drift, land where they will, unwanted weeds.

Like watching a crow sail over the fence in a field just evacuated by a weekend of young campers, stuffing as many Cheetos as it can into its beak and soaring off. Ooops, dropped one. Stop and cram the piece back in with the rest, greedy. And be back in two minutes to claim another mouthful. This was repeated over and over and over while I waited to pick up our camper.

Like a hawk, lazily drifting, floating overhead, watching below, heading nowhere in particular, catching the drifts, circling.

Like a winged seed pod, floating down from the tree, helicoptering, spinning on its wings, circling, descending, catching the wind to wherever.

Like the flashy neon Western Tanager pair in our loquat tree, thriving on the peachy fruit in their pretty, colorful style.


Like the mockingbirds with their variety of songs, singing day and night, bossy, chasing, dive bombing other birds out of their claimed territory.

Like the hummingbirds, their wings buzzing, drumming so fast they are a transparent, fairy blur.

Me, the mother. Holding winged creatures in an open palm.

Released, free to go.

Not tight fisted, grasping.

Relaxed, open.

I don't have to give them wings.

They take them.

I'll stick to the roots part, offering them a place to roost as they fly on their ways.

Disclaimer: These examples of wings are not intended to relate to specific children or give examples of the character of specific individuals. They are merely examples of wings I have noticed in the past week.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Five Minute Fridays, with Her given topic this week, Identity. Write for five minutes, winging it with the timer ticking, watching the words form to see where they fly.


Who am I? Without the houseful of kids and husband, who am I? Just me, me alone, who am I? Or, is that even possible. I have been a wife longer than not. I have been a mom longer than not. I have been a homemaker, a home teacher, a cook and maid and gardener and laundry folder and grocery shopper and reader and walker and dog feeder and ...for so long that, who knows, what would I be without all that?

 Many women my age are on their own, kids grown and flown. I still have three teens at home. Some women my age are raising their grandchildren. My four are being well cared for by their parents. Some women my age live alone.

 I am grateful to have a husband and these three guys to cook for and clean up after and keep busy with. My identity? I don't mind being a mom and wife. It is a good thing. I hope it lasts.

Time is up.

Cheating. A second attempt.

Who I am is too closely intertwined with what I do. Is it possible to separate them? Perhaps identity needs to be defined. Am I defined by my job (wife, mother, homemaker, home teacher), my character (serious, practical, casual, flexible...), my purpose (creative), or by my career goals (writer). No, there has to be more than that - those are all temporary. Many of those could change in a moment's time. An accident could take all the people I care for. My goals could be unfulfilled. My creativity ignored, useless. My character tested by life's chaos. Then, what would I be, who would I be? Are those just labels - permanent, or is it really me? It is a challenging question. And time is up again, already.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Files, Progress, Computers, Age

Almost done sorting through eight drawers of files. Emptied four, limited the papers to four, consistent with my "get rid of half" mantra.
The drawers aren't full, either, a good feeling to have the freedom of space. With the amount of work this has been, I will be much more cautious about what I choose to file.

In a file (two of them, actually) of old cards from birthdays, anniversaries, Mother's Day, etc. I found this card. Thought you would appreciate the sentiment.

"Ever notice, the older we get,
the more we're like computers?
We start out with lots of
memory and drive,
then we become outdated,
crash at odd moments,
and eventually have to get
our parts replaced."

-Carlton Cards 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Less Life Clutter

Traveling Lighter. I write about it sometimes. When I'm not distracted by life. By the clutter of life.

The obvious - the practical, like de-cluttering the countertops, the cabinets, the closets.

But it goes deeper than that, much deeper.

In Decorating Without Fear, Sharon Handy-Robie says,
"I believe that there is a direct correlation between the chaos in our home and the chaos in our lives; if either is out of balance, the other will be affected. We may not be able to control the outside world and its chaos, but we can bring a little peace and order to our lives simply by cleaning a little clutter from our homes."

To that, I would add, adding balance by cleaning a little of the clutter from our lives.

What would that be? What is it that clutters up our lives, creating chaos and disorder?

 There are stress points, I admit, I prefer to pet and coddle, care for and protect. Focus on.

That sounds funny when I look at it that way, doesn't it? Pet and coddle, care for and protect what stresses me? From the outside, it is easy to see the mistaken perspective.

Don't we all know people who prefer to fondle and pamper and caress their stress? They carry it around like a chihuahua in a bag, its head sticking out, petting it and carrying it everywhere for everyone to see. They talk about it, name it, carry the weight of it with them. They want everyone to see and appreciate the burden they carry. To pay attention to them, adore them and their baggage.

(I don't have a photo of a cute little dog in a bag. Our dogs are too big to carry around in a purse.)

Perhaps we know those people a little too closely. Ourselves. Me. What I perceive as horrible, could be an exciting adventure to someone else. What I perceive as a challenge, someone else could be eager to meet as an opportunity.

Our internalized conflict becomes a heart condition and blocks our ability to travel lighter. We are cluttered by the anxious attention we give to what stresses us.

If you want a pet to fondle and pamper, get a dog or a cat. At least they can love you back. Stress will not. I am not a psychologist, and I don't mean to over-simplify tough issues, but how we choose to perceive our situations will make a critical difference to whether we travel with a heavy load or have a lighter journey.

I let things get to me. The tension builds, the fog settles in clouding my ability to see clearly. My husband is great at pointing out my imperceptions. Last night, as things piled up, I let the weight of it all get to me. He reminded me to take it one day at a time, to focus on what was needed just for today. Good words. I am grateful.

As I continue to work through our house, clearing out clutter and the unneeded stuff we carry around with us, I also watch for the clutter of life. Letting go of the unnecessary and finding joy and gratefulness for all we do have. As I pay attention to all that is there, I pay less attention to all that I perceive is not there.

 Luke 15 tells of two brothers. One did not realize all he had, wanted more, and demanded his expected due from his father. The other brother did not realize all that was his, either, and resented the attention placed on his brother. Neither of them understood their father's love and care and concern for them, all he had given to provide for them. Their incorrect perceptions influenced their attitudes. Their perceptions biased their actions.

My friend sent me a link while I was writing this that ties it up nicely. It links to an artist's blog, which links to her source (as it goes in the blogging world).

Her burning question: What do you want that you already have? It is all a matter of perspective. She says, "...wish lists can distract us from what's already working in our life...notice how rich you already are..." We can change our perspective from what is lacking, to all that is already there. From all we think we want, to what we have.

Change my perspective. Look at my stress points, smile at them, and use them as tools to grow and build strength. Rather than caressing my stress, smile and laugh and gratefully appreciate all that I do have. I can clear off my counters and cupboards and appreciate the peace and order it brings to life, all of life.

                                                  The ability to travel lighter.

images above from the book, Decorating Without Fear, Sharon Handby-Robie

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Quiet Waters

"He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul..."

Psalm 23: 2-3

joining with for a quiet Sunday

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Realer Than Real

Today's topic for the Five Minute Fridays, linked to, is REAL. Write for five fun minutes, without worry and without working it too hard. Just write.


The first thought that comes to mind, for real, is tangible, measurable, visible - easily discerned by the five senses. Something you can touch or see or buy or taste.

As age moves its hands around my clock, though, I am understanding more than ever that what is real, what is realer than real, what is most important, is rarely touched by the five senses. Real is not always touched or seen or bought or tasted.

What is real? Love. Connection between two hearts, communicating in unspoken ways. A look, a glance from across a room that speaks volumes.

Our dog, blind now for three months, learning to see in so many ways we had never considered. She knows where we are by scent, by the slightest movement. She is sensitive in so many unseen ways that give her sight. She plays hide and seek with her boy while he hides in plain sight. She picks up his scent - we can't see it, but it is there, realer than real to her.

The qualities that make us strong, the character that makes us who we are, the choices we make, those are the reality, the realer than real within us.

Time's Up.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day

May First. Did you, as a kid, make May Day baskets of flowers and hang them on neighbor's doors?  We would make folded paper baskets with a handle, or weave paper strips in strawberry baskets, fill them with flowers, hang them on a door knob, ring the bell and run. Ding Dong Ditch with a gift.

I can't hang a basket for you on your door knob today, but here are some photos, flowers from our house this morning, a drizzly, misty, gray morning. Hope these brighten your day and make you smile!