Moments of Joy: July 2016

In last month’s post, I mentioned the pleasure gained from having a simple family vacation and then coming back home to sleep blissfully in my own bed.  In today’s story — oh, baby! — how I’m reminded that pure love comes in small, sweet packages!

collage of adorable baby girl from birth to four months old

A vehicle pulls up to our house, and I look out the window in surprise.  I step outside with my daughter and call toward the driveway, “Hi!  I didn’t know you were going to come in your police car!”

My friend steps out of the car in full uniform and returns my greeting as he reaches into the back seat.

“Oh, no,” I add, “my neighbor is home.  He’s really going to give me a hard time for seeing your car at my house!  He teases me all the time.”

Pulling a baby carrier out of the seat, my friend stands up and faces me.  “What does he tease you about?”

“Everything!  He has quite a sense of humor!”

The words barely escape my lips before I hear a loud voice behind me slowly calling,  “Haaa!  Haaa!!  Haaa!!  HAAAAH!!!”

I shake my head and look over my shoulder as Mr. Ferguson‘s screen door clicks closed across the street.  My friend and I look at each other with raised eyebrows and burst out laughing before heading into the house.

The cool air conditioning feels refreshing compared to the midday sun outside.  “You can set her carrier on the couch for now, if you want,” I suggest as we cross through the kitchen and into the living room.

As he places the car seat carrier onto the sofa lounger, my daughter and I eagerly crane our necks to peek inside.  The beautiful blue eyes of his four-month-old baby girl look back at us, blinking sleepily.

I, of course, comment on how adorable she is and then begin to chat about her with my daughter.  Suddenly, I realize that my officer friend has grown silent and still.  I look up to see him staring at his tiny girl with a serious expression on his face.

“This is so hard,” he states aloud while continuing to stare at the precious bundle cradled in the car seat.

After a fleeting moment of contemplation, I ask in a surprised voice, “Is this the first time you’ve left her with a babysitter?”


“Not even family?!”

“No,” he answers, briefly glancing my way before continuing to gaze at his daughter.  (He later explains that they had left her in relatives’ care before, but “not for long” and “we were never more than a block away.”)

I gape at him incredulously.  “Wow, I’m honored! I’m really honored that you trust us to watch her!”

After several cuddles and kisses with his baby daughter, my friend reluctantly leaves to attend a special police training drill for the afternoon.

My daughter and I thoroughly enjoy an hour of entertainment with the now-alert infant.  We watch her explore her wiggly toes, work her gums over on her teething toy, and react to the silly faces we make at her.  She practices her new-found skill of rolling onto her stomach, but becomes more fussy each time she is unable to roll back.  It’s easy to see that nap time is overdue.

Rocking in the recliner fails to lull her to sleep, so my daughter hands her to me to try a different method.  I hold the tired babe against my shoulder as I walk around the room, patting her rhythmically on the back as I had seen her mother do during past visits to our house.

She is such pleasant and quiet girl.  Even her loudest cries seem to be half the volume of most babies I’ve encountered.  Her protests dwindle as I stand near the living room window gently swaying back and forth.  Her sweet smell and warm snuggles send memories flooding back to my mind — memories of dancing my daughter around her room each night while singing “Jesus Loves Me” into her tiny ear.

That bedtime ritual was especially loved by my daughter.  As she got older, she would sometimes ask me to sing to her “like you did when I was little.”  The last few times, she was so tall that her feet nearly dragged the floor when I held her.

I am stirred out of my reverie when I notice a small forehead tapping on my shoulder.  Our young guest is finally losing the fight to stay awake and can successfully be transferred back to my daughter’s arms in the recliner.

My tall teen smiles in pure contentment while studying the sleeping baby on her shoulder, and I get a glimpse of what the future may hold for her in a few short years.  How amazing…where has the time gone?  My heart swells with feelings of love and peace, and perhaps a twinge of nostalgia, too.


Uninspired (A Summer Photo Gallery)

This seems to be my central theme this summer — uninspired.  For the first time in several years, I have had a slow summer where I’ve had time to relax.  Rather than use that time wisely, I seem to have fallen into a lazy, selfish slump with an “I don’t care” attitude.  How very unusual for me!

My husband claims I am having my midlife crisis.  Lol  I think that claim is merely retribution because I accused him of the same thing last fall when he planned an expensive spur-of-the-moment vacation.  😉

Regardless of the cause, my blog has been a bit neglected as a result. I simply could not think of a single thing that seemed worth sharing here over the last month.

After looking through my WordPress reader this morning and seeing the blogs listed below, I decided to whip out my old Canon camera and search for inspiration.  If you are interested in great photography, encouraging thoughts, and/or interesting info (about photography, nature, famous landmarks, etc.), check out these blogs:

Dusting off my camera and playing for far too long on has enabled me to present you with a summertime photo gallery. I hope you enjoy!

fluffy cloud over a park filled with pink crape myrtle bushes

We’ve been blessed with several pop-up showers this summer. Today the clouds passed us by, and it was too hot for the joggers and the “Pokemon Go” players to fill up the park.

dwarf marigold called "Legion of Honor" (red and yellow blooms)

“Legion of Honor” marigolds are supposedly a dwarf plant, but they are still over knee high!

orange sunflower framed by a fluffy white cloud with bumblebee flying by

Bumblebees and honeybees were buzzing all around my garden, but I only managed to capture one in a photo.

milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) nymphs on milkweed seed pod

There were no monarchs in my neighborhood this year, so I let the milkweed bugs take over the plants. The nymphs of these bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) love to cuddle in groups on the seed pods of the milkweed plants.

"Suyo Long" cucumbers hanging from a vine on a black trellis

“Suyo Long” cucumbers are wonderful and easy to grow. The cucumbers are burpless, never have bitter skins, and grow to 18 inches long. You can buy seeds for these from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

"Ali Baba" red watermelon shining in the sun surrounded by vines and leaves

Treasures are hidden among the greenery!  To me, eating melons (and sugar snap peas) is the best part of gardening! One of my favorite melons is a honeydew type called “Boule d’Or (Golden Perfection);” seeds for it can also be purchased from in the link above.

hot, panting chickens in many colors drinking from a water bucket

Our poor chickens are about to melt in the triple-digit temperatures this summer. Can you see the optical illusion of the long-legged hen on the left? It’s actually two chickens!  Let me show you…

white chicken with clump of feathers sticking up on the back of her head

This Leghorn mix got a unique “hairstyle” because of her stubbornness. In 2014, she refused to get out of the older hens’ favorite nest box and got her scalp peeled back by a dominant hen. With a little super glue, raw honey, and several weeks of care, we had her patched up. Unfortunately, the super glue didn’t work long to seal the wound. The skin on her head regrew, complete with new feathers. Strangely, the flap of skin lived as well, forming a unique pom-pom on her head.

dayflower bloom with two blue petals on Commelina weed, front view

I researched this cheerful vine-like weed that grows in the shade around our property. It’s called a dayflower, or Commelina plant.

dayflower bloom with two blue petals on Commelina weed, side view

Here’s another dayflower from the side. The chicken pen has never looked lovelier! ha ha

ant's view of tiny weed in yard, surrounded by moss

Here’s an ant’s-eye view under a bush in the yard. I often find that beautiful things are “hiding” all around me, if I look closely enough.

framed photo of dragonfly resting on a twig

The dragonflies are thick this year! I finally managed to snap a photo of one that paused on a bush.

As you can see, I experimented with framing the photos today. Do you think the frames enhance or take away from the photos?  Are certain ones better than others?  If you wish, you can compare these photos to a spring gallery I did last year without frames.  You can also compare them to an early spring gallery of garden seedlings, which is presented in a tiled format.  Which do you prefer?  Please let me know in the comments below!