Category Archives: seasons

Hearts Among the Treasures Found in February

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February has so much to enjoy and appreciate, despite some of us

who have to endure such cold weather.  I have fun thinking about

what will good ole’ Punxsutauney Phil do on Groundhog’s Day,

how will we celebrate each of the Presidents, along with will any

of my grandchildren make me handmade Valentine’s Day cards

or will they give me a Sponge Bob Square Pants, Batman, Frozen

or Angry Bird valentines?

February is “Wise Health Care Consumer Month.”

There are choices in your reducing health care costs

and making good ones in your physicians, too.  Learn

more about over-the-counter and the prescription

medicines you take, asking what dosage is the least

you need to be the most healthy. Although it is not

always suggested, I like to take nutritional supplements

to ‘back up’ the fresh vegetables, fruits, fiber and protein

sources I choose to consume.

I take out a few decorations for this festive month, including a

couple of American flags which I put two on my door, along with

Cupid, a heart and a laminated Snoopy giving his pal Woodstock

a Valentine. This about covers most of the main ‘holiday rituals.’

I have had the cupid and “Peanuts” laminated pictures, ever

since my years of teaching middle school in the 80’s.

Amy Poehler, comic, actress and “SNL” show alumni

gives us good, comforting advice for February:

“I think sleep can be really magical

because sometimes Balance is only

a day away.”

FEBRUARY

Birthstone: Amethyst

Flower: Violets

Purple is a beautiful color echoed in both the gem

and the flower of the month.

Feb. 1-

“National Freedom Day”

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in

the world and that is an idea whose time has come.”

~* Victor Hugo.

It is Super Bowl Sunday!

Are you rooting for the New England Patriots or

the Seattle Sea Hawks?

What snacks will you serve? If you wish to read

about the history of hot sauce on chicken wings,

you can push your clicker on the side panel of

my topics to read about. Recipes included from

past posts, too.

Feb. 2-

“Candlemas”

“If Candlemas be dark

with clouds and rain,

Winter is gone and

won’t come again.”

(“The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 edition.)

Groundhog Day.

You know the results, don’t you? If he sees his shadow,

he will run and hide, means a longer time until Spring.

If it is a gloomy day, and he doesn’t see his shadow, we

are that much closer to warmer weather.

Another special occasion is “The 14th Annual AARP

Movies for Grownups Awards.” Kevin Costner will

be honored to receive the career achievement award.

I would like to see his newest family movie that deals

with his character raising his bi-racial grandchild.

Viola Davis plays the other side of the family’s

grandmother, scenes look funny and uplifting.

It is called, “Black or White.” (Nothing ever is. . .)

Feb. 3-

Full Snow Moon.

On February 3, 1913 the U.S. Congress was

authorized to impose a federal income tax

under the 16th Amendment of the U. S.

Constitution. The beginning of our tax ‘woes.’

Feb. 5-

Personal special day, will go to see my Mom if the

weather is good the weekend after this day. It is

the 60th anniversary since my Mom and Dad got

married. In only 9 months and a week, I will be 60.

So many family members of my parents counted

back to make sure I was “legitimate!”

Feb. 9-

Family Day in British Columbia.

This is the beginning of a great week titled,

“Random Acts of Kindness Week.”

Feb. 11- Last Quarter Moon.

Feb. 12-

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.

The way he read books by the fire and the “Honest

Abe” nickname, made this President special to me,

as a child. Later, when his assassination was more

emphasized in Social Studies, I felt sad to have lost

this fine hero.

The military services always wish for U.S. citizens

to fly their flags for past presidents.

Feb. 13-

This is Friday the 13th… ooh! Some people

believe you may wish to be more careful.

Are you superstitious?

Feb. 14-

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Flowers or candy? Special jewelry or friendly

exchange of Valentine’s Day cards, however

you celebrate, hope it is a fun day for you.

I happen to like heart cookies with vanilla

frosting, what is your favorite ‘treat?’

Flavia quote:

“Love lives forever and belies the passage of time.

It is what we take with us wherever we go.”

The shiny ‘heart shaped’ flowers of the tropical

anthurium are perfect fir a romantic bouquet,

suggested by “Old Farmer’s Almanac,”

2015 edition.

I happen to like peach roses or pink-tipped

carnations. The scent of the roses is sweet

while the carnations smell ‘spicy’ to me.

Last but certainly not least, this is also our

“National Have-A-Heart Day” where the aim

is to raise awareness of healthy eating and

taking care of our hearts.

Feb. 15-

National Flag of Canada Day.

Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

In 1808, on this date in history, the U.S.S. Maine sank.

Remembering veterans and servicemen.

Feb. 16-

Presidents’ Day observed, United States.

The American Veterans request you proudly

fly your flag.

President George Washington’s birthday is on

February 22nd, but most calendars say we

“observe” his and all other presidents’ today.

Celebrate the tale of young, honest George,

who said, “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down

the cherry tree,” by having a piece of cherry pie

with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Yummy! I suppose if you were dieting you

could simply eat some fresh cherries or

have cherry yogurt.

A book recommendation from “AARP Magazine” is

of Robert Middlekauff’s “Washington’s Revolution:

The Making of America’s First Leader.”

Celebrate “Family Day” (Alta., Ontario, and Sask.)

The mid-month “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 suggests

planting winter beets. They are hardy, which surprised me

that they can be planted in the winter time. (Should your

ground not be frozen solid.) They suggest harvesting beet

greens when they are a couple of inches tall.

Did you know the ‘new green sprouts’ can be added to a

salad and are considered delicious?  I learn something

new every time I open and read the almanac. They are

most tender before they reach 6″. This will not disturb

the growth of those red or purple beets, which provide

sorts of healing powers, through their nutritiousness.

Feb. 17-

“Fat Tuesday”

or “Mardi Gras.”

Celebrating the last day before you go on a ‘fast’

for Lent. This seems early and I re-checked this

fact. We have forty days of Lenten Season, before

Easter, should you be Catholic or another church

which celebrates the ‘walk’ of Jesus’ last days by

not indulging in what you crave.

I like the idea which my friends and coworkers do,

eating pancakes with sausage, bacon and eggs. The

Filipino coworkers have a traditional feast full of

a variety of savory and spicy foods.

What I remember from my childhood was receiving

those Lenten “fish” cardboard boxes where we would

put our leftover lunch or allowance money into. On

the last Sunday before Easter, (Palm Sunday) we could

turn them in and they would go to a needy cause.

These days the church I am affiliated with uses the

money for preparing and serving twice a month free

meals for those who wish to come. We also collect

products once a month for local humane shelters,

the battered women’s shelter in Marion (“Choices”)

and  P.I.N. which stands for a food pantry that is

called, “People in Need.” If you wish to do something

extra this month and the next, check out local centers.

You may make a big difference, “in the spirit of Lent.”

Feb. 18-

“Ash Wednesday” is the first day of Lent. Some

Catholic and other churches use ashes to form a

cross on a person’s forehead denoting the start

of the Lenten Season. Mass or communion is

usually served on this day at churches.

New Moon.

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs

and tints the buds and smells the leaves within.”

~*Written by William C. Bryant

(American Poet,  1794-1878.)

Feb. 19-

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

This calls for my going to our local Chinese

restaurant and ordering Sweet and Sour Chicken or

Shrimp, or if I am in a spicy mood, General Tso’s

Chicken or Pork. I will ask for a fortune cookie

should they forget to throw one in. I will let you

know my fortune, hope you will let me know yours.

Feb. 20-

Heritage Day, (Y.T.)

Feb. 22-

If you still have some leftover cherry pie, you may

wish to celebrate George Washington’s ‘real’

birthday today!

This is the Academy Awards or Oscar’s night.

If you are one who likes the Red Carpet, the

guests and singers who will perform the “Best

Song” nominations, or just like to have a fun

time watching all the famous people, this is

one of my favorite nights of the year! I get

some snacks, popcorn or chips and dip, some

nuts and a piece of fruit, sometimes if there is

any leftover wine, or if I need to stay awake,

(more likely) I drink some flavored coffee.

Feb. 23-

The infamous photograph represents this real

event in history today, 70 years ago today:

The flag was raised on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Feb. 25- First 1/4 Moon.

Feb. 27-

Battle of Java Sea, 1942.

Here is a pray or words to consider for February:

“Extra Things

We thank thee, God (or Higher Being) for extra things

You send along our way,

Both when our days are sunny bright

And when our skies are gray.

The little planned surprises dropped

From Thy great, loving hand,

Like unexpected showers on

A parched and desert land.

The meeting of an old-time friend,

The lifting of a care,

And sunlight breaking through the clouds,

To tell us You are there.

Just why You do these extra things

Our finite minds don’t know;

It must be you delight in them

Because you love us so.”

~*Written by Alice Hanche Mortenson.

The above prayer could be just pleasant thoughts sent your

way, as if someone sneezed and you say automatically,

“Bless you!”

What special things do you do to celebrate the month of February?

Winter Awakens Jack Frost

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There were only shadows and silhouettes when the little sprite-like

one awoke from his long, extended nap. The seasons had changed

while he slept and he looked around, not seeing his special ‘touch’

upon the land yet. He stretched his arms out and shrugged his thin

shoulders, shaking out his stiff joints, while wrapping his coat closely

around him.

The elfin man crept out from under the bridge, ready to dip his toes

into the chilly stream. He shivered with excitement and knowing it

was TIME.

As the water changed from moving sluggishly, freezing into a sheet of

ice, he tiptoed up the bank and left his tiny, crystalline footprints behind.

He hopped over the rock that led to the grass and he slowed.

He stopped.

He took one big breath IN! His lungs burned with the extremely brittle air.

He let one foggy (water vapored) breath OUT!

He prepared himself.

He took his hand from under his woolen blanket jacket and raising it

high above his sweet head, he waved it in a circular fashion.

From the end of his fingertips, little droplets flung through the air,

slowly drifting downwards. This gave them the appearance of a flour

sifter delicately releasing sprinkles of powdered sugar.

The icy landing and covering of each blade of grass transformed them

into miniature, stalagmite soldiers standing stiffly in formation. They

were holding their posts and guarding the night.

He grinned, his face all pink with its color returned. He hurried and

scampered up to the top of the highest evergreen now. He was ready

for the Grand Finale of his mighty annual performance.

Jack Frost released his magical powers upon his surroundings. Ever

widening the circle of his reach, he spread glistening, sparkling diamonds

over the branches of the trees.

J. F. gazed and spied the undecorated eaves and cornices of the houses

and cottages. He pointed and  spread a layer of lacy icing over them,

creating a look as if bewitched gingerbread houses. He allowed this

brilliantly white frosting to drip in a beautiful way into icicles.

Dainty, dancing snowflakes began to fall from the dark, majestic

midnight blue sky.

The moon yawned and closed his eyes while the shining stars twinkled

ever so brightly.

In the stillness of that

first frost…

first snow…

first ice…

a crisp, crackling frozen moment lingered and left its impression of

Winter.

Jack Frost pulled his knit cap over his ears and whispered,

“Be of good cheer.”

Postscript: my friend, Brenda, the creator and author of

http://friendlyfairytales.wordpress.com

inspired me with a post with crystalline branches in her

photograph of a tree. This was the “crystal” that led to my

writing this fairy tale! Thanks, Brenda!

Beloved Companions

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This is a simple post with some quotes and thoughts about pets,

especially the four-legged creatures that are pups and hounds.

If you are a cat-lover, as my dear friend Jenny is, you may still

enjoy the quotes. One had a photo of a group of pets, two dogs

and a cat looking out the window for their owner.

I believe domestic animals of many kinds, can be our ‘children’

or our ‘angels in disguise.’ Native Americans believe their are

special ‘spirits’ inhabited in wild animals, too.

 

“Some of our greatest historical and artistic

treasures we place with curators in museums;

others we take for walks.”

(Found with a photo of a beagle pup, leash in his cute

puppy mouth.)

~ Roger Caras ~

 

“One of our oldest human needs

is having someone wonder

where you are when you don’t

come home at night.”

(Accompanied by a photo of a cat, beagle and Labrador

retriever gazing out the picture window.)

~ Margaret Meade ~

 

“I always say,

Friends are the family

we choose,

Is it any wonder dogs are

called,

‘Man’s best friend?'”

(Anonymous. Accompanied by a photo of an Irish retriever

licking the face of an elderly man in a wheel chair.)

 

“Family Circle,” February, 2014 had this collection of

subscribers’ comments about the ways people cherished

their pets, who had passed on.

 

“In Memory Of. . .”

 

1. “We used her ashes on the two dogwood trees we

planted. Which you can see outside our windows.

She’s helping them grow.”

 

2. “I put his name tag on my key ring.”

 

3. “I donated to the animal shelter in her name.”

 

4. “I have his paw print and his picture in a frame.”

 

5. “I bought a beautiful hand-stamped, personalized

necklace with her name on it.”

 

6. “I made a memorial shadow box for our beloved

boxer.”

 

There was an interesting pie chart that included the figures

of how long it took to get another animal after the loss of a

beloved pet, labeled:

“Healing Heart.”

 

It was divided into four quadrants:

27% answered, “I still haven’t replaced my pet.”

26% mentioned it took them, “Over a year.”

26% said they were ready in, “A few months.”

Only 21% waited a ‘few weeks.’

 

It reminded me of my Dad, when he had taken our dogs to the pound

to get them euthanized. He was unable to come back home without

another dog or puppy in his arms. He had never owned a pet while a

boy. The house and walks in parks and neighborhoods, he felt, would

never have been the same without them.

Mom often says her dog, Nicki, who she got a year after my Dad passed

away, (when she had the veterinarian take her Cassie out of her painful

existence) will ‘break my heart when she goes…’

 

I only hope her heart will heal.

Aside

These four simple quotes are meant to bring you some bright thoughts along with

your daily walk in life. Finding meaning in any one of these will make me feel good,

passing on some gems I found.

Please let me know what is bringing you special smiles around where you live lately.

 

~* There are 1440 minutes in  a day. Remember to use them wisely. *~

 

~* “How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” *~

(John Burroughs)

 

~* “Every leaf speaks bliss to me,

fluttering from the autumn tree.” *~

(Emily Bronte)

 

~* “Winter is an etching.

~* Spring a watercolor.

~* Summer an oil painting.

~* Autumn a mosaic of them all.” *~

(Stanley Horowitz)

 

This just reminds me of James Taylor’s song that begins with those memorable lyrics:

“Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall,

All you have to do is call. . .”

“You’ve Got A Friend.”

 

Simplicity While Seasons Change