Watering Can Memories

For several years now, this little watering can has held various succulents from my garden. I bought this little watering can around 17 years ago for my first grandbaby. My mind’s eye sees Violet, dressed in her pink ballerina tutu, carrying this pint-sized watering can around and joyfully watering my flowers…and rocks…and me.

One by one, each granddaughter took her turn as a toddler helping me water the garden using this watering can. Mia, then Noelle, each dressed in various Disney princess dresses, liked to use their budding culinary skills while they watered. They’d take the bucket of water I provided for watering can refills and add handfuls of their special ingredients: leaves, twigs, grass, and dirt, of course. Together they would create imaginary “salads” and “soups” for grandma and grandpa to enjoy. Then along came the stairstep grandsons, Charlie, Henry and George, who gravitated toward using squirt-guns over watering cans to get the job of watering plants (and each other) done.

Though the sun has faded the paint and the grandkids have all outgrown using it, I can’t part with the memories.

I Spy Pie in the Pantry

There are benefits to cleaning out the pantry…

I’m not quite sure why, but a “clean out the pantry” whim hit me today. Armed with cleaning rags and my spray bottle filled with vinegar water, I spritzed and wiped dust and the sticky whatever-that-was off of the shelves. Jams and jellies tucked here and there got moved to the same proximity, as did an amazing collection of salad dressing bottles. Good thing we really enjoy salads at our house. A couple of savory items had migrated over to the sweet (baking) side of the pantry, so they were sent back to their own side. I checked things for for their “best if used by” dates and organized things by date with the oldest in the front. As I sorted and rearranged, I discovered a few slightly past-dated canned goods.

I won’t tell you how old the can of pumpkin was (lest you worry about me), but we now have a pumpkin pie cooling on the countertop!

The Peaceful Golden Tunnel

“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water…” from Psalm 1:3

A beautiful place of calm respite is just a few steps outside of my front door. This time of year, it’s not my garden. It’s the park just down the street. On this crisp autumn day, I decided to take a stroll around the park just before lunch.

I just love this weeping willow lined pathway. A row of towering trees strung all in a row alongside one of the park’s ponds, with a nice walking path dividing the pond-side trees from several willow friends reaching over the path from the other side.

The Peaceful Golden Tunnel of Weeping Willow Trees

Today, as my feet crunch through the leafy tunnel, I take in the aroma of fallen leaves and the shivering sound of the gold-kissed leaves as gentle breezes play with the dangling cascade of branches.

An unexpected blessing was finding my friend Rita just on the other side of this tunnel taking her own peaceful walk through the park. She changed directions to join me in my walk and together we talked trees, bushes, Mexican sunflowers, peonies, and all things garden-y. Her beautiful garden is on the other side of the park and is always worth a tiny detour to visit. I love her garden. Even though her garden is winding down for the growing season, I can see that it has good bones. She knows just where to plant her newest bush or tree so that it will reach its fullest measure of beauty and harmonize with neighboring trees and bushes. I learn so much from my friend. We really should visit more often.

Honestly, I’m befuddled as to why I don’t take walks in the park more often. It used to be an almost daily habit. Maybe I could make it just that once again. The first step out of the door is the hardest, but is always richly rewarded.

Six on Saturday: Last Bit of Color

No snow. Yet!

But our weather in south-central Wisconsin has been anything and nearly everything possible these days. In the past week, we’ve experienced frost on the ground most mornings, and even a frosty morning where I had to use my ice-scraper on my car’s windshield. Most days had at least a little bit of sunshine. A few rainclouds watered the earth for at least a few minutes. One day the raindrops seemed to be a little sharp with ice, but the sleet melted before hitting the ground.

Other than a few splashes of color here and there, our south-central Wisconsin colorama of autumnal splendor is definitely over. Just about any time I’m outside I can hear the sound of lawn mowers doing one final mowing and neighbors raking leaves. I’ve been out there tidying up flowerbeds too. I’m not going crazy with it this year. I’m just cutting back peonies, joe pye weed, pulling back spent foliage on daylilies and mildew-prone hostas, and the such.

Except for these few die-hard blossoms, my garden is finished for 2022. And, you know what? I’m ready for it. As much as I like playing in the dirt, I’m ready for the work to be done until spring.

A pelargonium (geranium) I overwintered in 2021 gives its final 2022 show
Hibiscus Moscheutos ‘Tye Dye’ shouts one more “ta-dah!” for 2022 (left). On the right you’ll see a taste of its show-stopping beauty showcased from mid-summer to early fall.

A trio of clematis blossoms bid me to stop to admire their delicate beauty. This vine grows nearest my front porch and is a delight most of the summer, then gives a tiny flush of blossoms in the fall.

Snapdragons really don’t mind the cold. I let them seed themselves willy-nilly wherever they please and look forward to seeing them next year.

I’m still gardening in my bare feet (barefoot lily lady, you know), but my feet will find my shoes pretty soon…if my winter boots don’t find my feet first.


If you’re finished with your gardening chores in your corner of God’s earth, you might enjoy a virtual visit to see what is happening in other gardens all over the world. Just use this link to visit Jim’s Garden Ruminations to enjoy Six on Saturday to its fullest.

Kept by God

No matter where the winding path of life may lead, I am kept by God.

I’m new this year to the growing club of Americans age 65+ who qualify for Social Security and Medicare. With the help of my husband and a good Medicare Supplement insurance agent, I’m resting easy in knowing my Medicare Supplement plan has been chosen, my account on my government’s Social Security website is set up (and I sort of understand it), and my first Social Security check has deposited into my bank account (boy, am I glad I don’t have to live off of it!).

My wise hubby (financially and otherwise) has been so very helpful during the entire decision-making process. I’m very thankful for Wayne’s guidance in navigating what would have otherwise been a very confusing pathway. I learned something from him yesterday when he informed me that next year my Social Security check will be slightly larger because my Medicare premium will be slightly lower. Sounded like good news to me, but he told me that’s not the whole story. It seems that there have been second thoughts by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) related to providing coverage for Alzheimer’s related pharmaceuticals. I found an article on Forbes which explains this news a bit and am including a link to that article here. You might also find my husband’s blog to be chock-full of wisdom, financial and otherwise.

Mom had Alzheimer’s and my brother has Vascular Dementia

This news is a bit concerning for someone like me who is genetically at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s in my lifetime due to close family history. Thankfully, I know that I am always in God’s care. No matter what physical trials I may face in my future, He is the One who helps me and keeps me. Psalm 121 reminds me that I have nothing to fear.

Psalm 121 – My Help Comes from the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

Mandevilla: Bringing the Outside In

This post is dedicated to my good friend Judy to honor her wishes for more photos of my Mandevilla plant. Judy is one of those friends everyone needs in life — an encouraging sister in Christ who is also my enthusiastic cheerleader to all of my gardening endeavors, and a friend who can see the beauty in my garden no matter what its state of weediness.

“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.” ~Proverbs 27:9


Wisconsin is gorgeous this time of year as trees put on their colorful robes of autumnal splendor. Sooner than we care to imagine, those beautiful leaves will be exchanged for a gorgeous dusting of snow. In fact, just today on this 14th day of October, we had a flurry of snowflakes and a brief but insistent windborne hailstorm–a wintry tease.

Houseplants that have spent the summer on my front porch are being transitioned indoors to my enclosed 3-season porch. Here they will slowly acclimate to being indoors while I inspect them for tagalong bugs and trim them up a bit. Each plant will get a shower before taking its place in the house proper.

My Pink Mandevilla Vine

This summer I grew a Pink Mandevilla Vine in a pot. I set it at the base of an arbor hoping that it would clamor up and create a lavish pink arched entrance to my backyard deck. It didn’t grow very tall, as you can see in the photo above, but it’s still beautiful. In hindsight, it probably needed a sunnier location. It’s perennial in warmer growing zones, but here in Wisconsin, it needs to come inside for the winter and be kept as a houseplant through the winter months if I want to keep it.

Hanging out on in my 3-season porch

My hubby helped me lug a few pots into the enclosed 3-season porch when we first began experiencing overnight frost warnings a few weeks ago, including the Mandevilla. As pretty as it looks on that porch, it’ll need to make the transition into the house for the winter because the 3-season porch gets cold enough to serve as a second fridge.

The Mandevilla gets repotted for winter’s indoor engagement.

I decided to go ahead and make the effort to overwinter this lovely plant (plus a few others). Hubby took me shopping to find a few new pots for my “bringing the outside in” endeavor. We purchased a roomier ceramic pot in a neutral color for the Mandevilla. I dug the plant out of its summer pot and inspected the roots for signs of disease and pests before replanting it in fresh potting soil in its new pottery abode. I gave the plant a thorough shower in the kitchen sink and then placed it in a bright spot on my family room window seat. According to one of my internet resources, I’m supposed to cut it back a bit, but want to enjoy the blossoms a little bit longer before giving it a haircut.

Waiting for next spring!

A Drive with Just Charlie

Growing up living in Wisconsin, many of my summer vacation memories revolved around trips to West Virginia and Ohio to visit with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and a bevy of cousins. I loved listening to my cousins (who spoke with a bit of a Southern drawl compared to my distinctly Midwestern dialect). I loved to hear their back and forth banter and all the family stories that unfolded. As much as I loved it, I recognized that my cousins had something I didn’t really have: first-hand stories to tell of times they had spent together with our grandparents.

Now that I have six kiddos who call me Grandma, I’m happy they live close enough for them to each have at least a story or two to tell about time they’ve spent together with me. My grandson Charlie has a few fresh stories to add to his collection because he took a little road-trip with me last summer. But, let me tell you a story about him first. I told this one on Facebook about eight years ago:

Charlie – age 4 1/2 showing off the birdhouse he helped paint

Conversation with my 4-year-old grandson, Charlie:

Charlie: Grandma, you smell.

Me: Ummm…do I smell bad, or smell good?

Charlie: You smell like my grandma!

Seeing that one come up as a Facebook memory made me wax all nostalgic and drove me to look through some of my older Facebook photos. Such joy this kiddo has brought to his grandma’s heart.

Charlie is now 13 and more of a young man than a boy. After last summer’s trip to Ohio, he now knows that his grandma sometimes snores and that she has a way of making the on-board navigation system say, “Make a legal U-turn at the next intersection” quite a lot.

With a short window of time for our trip, it was a lot of driving, snacking in the car on the way here or there, staying overnight in hotels without the greatest breakfasts (due to a world still reeling from Covid), listening to audiobooks, trying to figure out how to get motel televisions to play the shows WE wanted to watch, and such. Once we made it to Wintersville, Ohio it was a lot of meeting relatives he didn’t know he had (and that I haven’t seen in years), eating, driving, eating, and hanging out with (mostly) older folks who spoke with an unfamiliar twang.

The purpose of my last minute trip to Ohio was to attend the memorial service for a beloved uncle who went Home to heaven back in 2020. With Covid restrictions for large gatherings lifting, we could finally gather as a family to both mourn our loss and celebrate his homegoing. There is just something special about knowing beyond a shadow of doubt that you will see your loved one again in heaven. ‘Til we meet on heaven’s shore, Uncle Bobby.

Our trip to Ohio was over a long holiday weekend sandwiched between days I had to work. So, other than hotel pools along the way there and back, this wasn’t a trip filled with fun stops and great amusement. But it was certainly filled with family – it was so good to be together.

My family loved Charlie, as I knew they would — he’s an easy kid to love. And I love that Charlie had the privilege of meeting both my Aunt Linda and my Uncle Jim, my dad’s youngest sister and oldest brother. I am grateful that Charlie had the opportunity to hear what a godly influence and man of Christian character his great-great Uncle Bobby was as his children and grandchildren shared their stories about his life and legacy. Charlie got amply loved on by my cousins and second-cousins and even got to taste my Aunt Linda’s cooking.

One of my favorite candid photos from this trip is of my Uncle Jim chatting with Charlie (below). This warmed my heart more than you can possibly imagine. Uncle Jim reminds me so much of my dad–right down to the well appointed pocket protector. I loved hearing Uncle Jim tell Charlie some of the same stories of yesteryear that I had heard, and I my heart warmed as I watched him share a life lesson or two with Charlie and anyone else willing to listen.

My heart is a little sad today knowing my Uncle Jim joined the heavenly throng this morning and that I will not get to see him again on this side of Glory. Though my heart is heavy knowing the sorrow that his children and grandchildren are feeling right now, the sting of death is mingled with the confident joy of knowing my Uncle Jim is with his Lord and Savior. If there is a receiving line in heaven, I’m sure my Aunt Robbie was at the front of the line to see her beloved Jimmy again. Uncle Jim just celebrated his 97th birthday here on earth, so I’m sure there were a lot of loved ones who got there before him and were lined up to greet him, but I can well imagine that my dad was elbowing his way to the front of the line to be among the first to greet his brother when he showed up this morning. Jim was not only my dad’s older brother, but he was also someone who faithfully prayed that his little brother Jerry would come to know the Lord. I will forever be grateful for Uncle Jim’s faithful witness and God’s answer to his prayers.

Orange is for Sunny

I’m especially thankful this week for the beauty of my garden, bountifully brimming with daylilies. The riot of color brings my husband Wayne and I joy as we sit on our deck recovering from the Covid that finally caught up with us. I find that if I stay on the deck and squint a little, I don’t notice the weeds so much. Last night I ventured into one flowerbed armed with an empty 5-gallon bucket, emerging only minutes later when my bucket was full of weeds and my body said “enough!”

I have often been asked what colors I enjoy in my garden. Honestly, I would have to say ALL of them, but will admit that I seem to gravitate toward a lot of pink, purple and yellow. Over the past few years I have added lots of orange (or shades thereof) and splashes of vibrant red. Much of it is in garden splendor right now, so I thought I’d dedicate this post to photos of the sunny oranges in my end-of-July garden.


Well, friendly readers, that’s all for now. Thanks for joining me in admiring the color orange in its many luscious and sunshine-filled shades. I hope it brought a sunny smile to your face too. I tried, but just couldn’t whittle the orange-y beauty down to only six photos for Six on Saturday, the all things gardening meme hosted by The Propagator.

What Splashes Out of My Cup?

A conversation with a caregiver yesterday brought this previous blog post to mind. I’m reposting it here just in case someone else can learn by my example and my own life-lessons. God bless all of you dementia caregivers out there.

Barefoot Lily Lady

Lest anyone who regularly visits ‘Barefoot Lily Lady’ think that I’m living in an Alzheimer’s caregiving utopia where we are always sweet to one another and I always execute Pinterest-worthy caregiving ideas at every opportunity, let me share a slice of reality.

If you had a little window into our world, yesterday wasn’t pretty. And today I wasn’t exactly setting the best example either.

The fact is, I make mistakes in caring for her daily.

Let me confess that I am sometimes not very kind and respectful in my dealings with her – especially in the wee hours of the morning or after a night (or several nights) with little to no sleep.

Right now, as I am composing this post, I am viewing her via the camera in her room and she is ripping her blanket off the bed. I don’t think I have fingers and toes left to…

View original post 498 more words

Psalms and Peonies

“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for I trust in you. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”

Psalm 143:8

“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

Psalm 145:8

“Prove me, O Lord, and try me, test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.”

Psalm 26:2-3

“But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.”

Psalm 59:16a

“O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.”

Psalm 59:17

“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.”

Psalm 63:3-4

“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me….”

Psalm 86:12, 13a

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the work of your hands I sing for joy.”

Psalm 92:1-4

“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”

Psalm 33:20-22

“For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.”

Psalm 33:4-5

“When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”

Psalm 94:18-19

“For the Lord is good, his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”

Psalm 100:5
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