Amazing Grace…

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On the day of our departure from New York City, last spring- the morning was dreary and damp- our hotel was a mere half block from St. Patrick’s Cathedral- I peered out the window facing the great Rockefeller Center and could see that our block had been cordoned off by New York City Police Officers- a crowd huddled under umbrellas was forming…I heard a solitary bass drum and then the bagpipes. I motioned for my husband to come to the window. We watched as a funeral procession came solemnly down the street- right in front of our hotel. We could see the bagpipers and the drummers in dark coats with frilled shirts and dark watch plaid kilts followed by a crowd of mourners…one spot was missing in the line of bagpipers… Amazing Grace was being played solemnly and mournfully- but with an haunting beauty. Silently awed, we watched them go by, mourners oblivious to the dreary damp weather. The processional was for a fallen New York City Policeman. The Power of the Song, Amazing Grace never fails…

My husband is a guitarist, for many years he has gone to nursing homes to play for the residents. Instrumentally, he gently plays this great song- Amazing Grace. The first time he was asked to play for an Alzheimer’s Unit, he decided to do his regular list of songs…the residents sat still and unresponsive, until… softly he began to play Amazing Grace. One by one- the residents stirred, became alert and some began to sing. I want to cry every time I think of it- minds that have grown dim and dark are enlightened for a few brief moments by Amazing Grace. Down through these many years now- my husband has continued to play for these units- and every. single. time- Amazing Grace has had the same effect.

Where bitterness is shed abroad in this poor bleeding world, hardened by hatred, stumbling from blunder to blunder, the earth is punctured with even more graves this week. We grieve and  we wonder how to recover common sense, much less common courtesy. As hatred rears it’s ugly head, when evil seems to triumph- when events beyond human comprehension happen- the one thing that seems to shine through the broken shards of humanity- is the beautiful stained glass of God’s Love and Amazing Grace.

I have no answers, no wisdom to bestow- all I know for sure, is that we must lift up our hands as the spires of cathedrals toward heaven– find a way to be ministers of peaceful mercy and ambassadors of His Amazing Grace. If each of us will do what we can to live together as people who have been forgiven a great debt- if we will walk gently among those who have suffered; resolve within ourselves- not to add one more ounce of suffering or cause one needless tear to flow, perhaps, the world will rest a little easier. Will you listen with me to Andre Rieu’s dramatic, awe inspiring rendition of Amazing Grace, in honor of the injured and fallen police officers in Dallas?  May God have mercy on us and strengthen our resolve to bring His Grace, Mercy and Peace to a suffering world.

Love y’all, Camellia

Hello Darlin’

Classic-Old-Cord-Telephone-2204-mediumHello darlin’, sorry I haven’t called lately, it’s been like the Dew Drop Inn around here! The painter was here for the front door, some teenagers came by takin’ up mission trip money to witness to some folks up in Mentone, the carpenter stopped by and said yes, the screen porch is in bad shape, he’s going to try to work us in between jobs, you know how it is with an old house~ on and on…

Yes, I know I’ve been putting you off, but believe me this bloggin’ is like learning how to practice voodoo and speak German at the same time… Well, they’ve had me doin’ something called word prompts… you know I don’t use words like –  misstep…who says that anyway? Around here they say ‘you can’t mess this up’ or ‘He can’t walk and chew gum at the same time’ certainly not misstep. Yes, I used it in the Green Onion blog post. Those onion roots are already popping up!

For heaven’s sake- I told you it was a word prompt- Boot Camp Word a Day from those Happiness Engineers…they send you a word and tell you to use it in your blog post that day~ on your mark, get set …go!  The next word was incomplete.  The only time I’ve ever said that was when your roommate was sneaking out after curfew, missed so many of her classes she was about to flunk ‘Human Behavior’ and took an Incomplete ~ though Lord knows she was out practicin’ it!  The best I could do with that word was when I wrote ‘A blog is incomplete without great photographs’, I know it didn’t sound right but you have to admit Jeremy Miniard’s pictures sure were amazin’and I knew you would get a kick out of the title- ‘You really need to get out more, darlin” …you say that all the time!

Yesterday I put my foot down! The word prompt was fleeting, Lord, I about died on that one! I just sat there blank, well not totally blank….all I could think of was a Fleet’s to clear you out before you have a baby! I have never heard… not even one southern lady, coarse or common- use the word fleeting…though I will say those Fleet’s…never mind, don’t get me started! I got out the dictionary and fleeting means ‘brief, short, short-lived, quick movement’ sort of like that Peepin’ Tom …what was his name? Lightnin’ that right! Lightnin’ scared the livin’ daylights out of me when I saw his ol’ head reared up outside my bedroom window with the moonlight shining ~ before I could get out a good scream- he was gone in a flash! He was runnin’ down the alley quick as the devil! That’s what the word fleeting meant to me!  Can you imagine usin’ that word for anything? What?

No, I didn’t let them know I wouldn’t be sending in the word prompt – they’re Happiness Engineers, they wouldn’t give me an Incomplete, they’d just send me another word the next day.

The best thing those word prompts did for me was to make me sit down and write a blog post for 3 days in a row- no, I just turned in 2. I felt guilty about it though… Remember when I got the Bible App?  I signed up for a daily Bible reading, was so excited about it and the next thing you know I got busy and missed a day.  They must have ‘unhappiness engineers’ because that bossy Bible App sent me an email letting me know that they knew I had missed a day! I’ve got enough to make me feel guilty without that going on! My face looked like death sucking on lifesaver I was so upset. I put up with it until the third notice.  I’m ashamed to admit it but I removed that App! I can take care of my daily reading on my own thank you very much! I know…don’t remind me, you got a badge for reading yours everyday.

Yes, darlin’ I’m going to do it right now… I’m going to drag and drop your precious face right smack dab at the bottom of the page….yes, honey, watch for it…you’ll love it- glad you called. Bye…love you too!


 

Okay y’all, in honor of Best Friends Week and without further ado…here she is…Allie Mac! My own sweet friend who knows a whole lot more about nothin’ than I do! She’ll have her own page and everything- watch for it!  Love y’all, Camellia

Allie Mac long hair second try                                                                   Allie Mac

 

You really need to get out more, darlin’

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Now that Spring has definitely sprung, I’m stir crazy thinking about taking a road trip. I’ve been home so much lately that I’m feelin’ like this old car~ loads of good memories, definitely great style, a dash big enough for your whole life’s Lost and Found, an Alabama tag on the front ~ but a bit rusty and more than a little mired down at the old homeplace; and I thought~ ‘You really need to get out more, darlin’.

Long before this blog was any kind of reality, Jeremy Miniard’s photography inspired me, he’s one of those photographers who get out on the backroads of Alabama and capture the most amazing images! I loved the photo of this car so much I asked Jeremy to make up some notecards for me. The name of this photo is ‘Alabama Special’ and I just know y’all agree ~ it sure is special, one of my all time favorites.

A blog is incomplete without great photos. As much as I like to draw and paint, garden and read, write and laugh – I’m no great photographer, Jeremy has generously given me permission to use some of his Alabama photos every now and then~ for this I surely do thank him!

In the days to come, I can’t wait for you to meet Allie Mac! As soon as the Mail Chimps and the Happiness Engineers from WordPress help us get some of the kinks worked out, she’ll be sharing some of her ideas for great road trips right here in Alabama!

Before you leave this post, here’s another great photo from my star photographer, Jeremy Miniard – makes you wanna get out there doesn’t it? Until then… keep humming ‘Stars fell on Alabama’ and get that car gassed up!

Love y’all, Camellia

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related link- www.jeremy.miniard.fineartamerica.com

Both of these photos are courtesy of Jeremy Miniard and are his sole property not to be used without permission – thank you Jeremy!

 

Spring Green Onions DIY fun project

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These green onions have been growing all winter in our raised kitchen garden bed! It’s so nice to have something green to garnish with or perk up a dish all year round. The idea isn’t new, but one that really does work and there is no way to make a misstep on this one! It is fun to do on your own but so easy you can get the children involved too! It might even be fun to tell them they are planting food for the little bunny rabbits! So, the next time you buy a bundle of green onions, try this- cut the root ends off about 1 1/2 -2 inches and set aside. See below:2016-03-11 11.50.22

You can take the fresh root ends and plant within a few hours or save the tops in a single layer until they are dry (soak them overnight before planting if you do this) – either way don’t worry they will grow!2016-03-12 10.16.45

Next, with the straight end of a wooden spoon (I keep one set aside in my gardening bag for poking holes for large seeds or seedlings, please don’t reuse for cooking!) Poke holes2016-03-12 10.17.50 in the soil, we have a little pot here, but your potted outside-the-kitchen- door herb pot or a raised bed like we have or a well prepared spring garden plot- even a pot of its own that is well drained will do! 2016-03-12 10.18.48

Carefully ease the root end of the cuttings into the soil, they can be planted quite close, press gently but firmly on the sides of the onion roots to make soil contact. Do not cover the entire root end! Water well and in a week or so you will see the green onions begin to sprout! 2016-02-28 10.39.00

Again these have been growing for several seasons in our raised bed. When I need some for cooking- I take a pair of scissors and cut the tops off – leaving the root ends growing for the next time I need them.

The Green Onion DIY project – add new root ends from the next bunch you buy and soon, if you need a little green for garnish or some chopped for a recipe you won’t have to rush out to buy green onions at the grocery store, just step outside.

The fresh taste is so good! I prefer green onion tops to chives, they aren’t so tiny, impart more of an onion taste, can be removed easier if the diner prefers not to have them and make a dish look good with a bit of green- on top of a baked potato, on a luscious cheese omelet, sprinkled across the top of macaroni and cheese or just on a platter of tomatoes.

I am always inspired by easy gardening projects that work, are useful and beautiful!  I can’t promise the children will eat them but they will have fun watching  them grow! Who knows? those bunny rabbits might leave some colored eggs in that patch before too long!

Isn’t this spring weather wonderful? Showers and all!

Have fun y’all, Camellia

Raised Bed Gardening Books http://amzn.to/1RfjO9T