Resolutions vs Rules

When I woke this morning, I read from The Daily Word:

New Year
The life of God within reassures me that new adventures await.

With a new year comes new beginnings. As I bid last year goodbye, I greet today with an air of anticipation. This new year holds the promise of a new dawn, an adventure waiting to be fulfilled.

Prayer is a powerful resource on my journey, and every thought of God is a prayer. So I keep myself centered on divine life within. There, faith encourages me to believe that all things are possible. This new year holds within it the promise of love, joy, health, prosperity, harmony, and so much more.

With gratitude, I recognize and give thanks for the many blessings in my life—those received and those coming my way. I live in confidence because the life of God within reassures me that new adventures await.

Be renewed in the spirit of your minds.—Ephesians 4:23
In the book, Balancing Life By The Rule, Debra Farrington shows us the difference between self-help and spiritual growth in her article on creating a “rule” to guide everyday life, based on Christian monastic rules. Contrasting a rule with a New Year’s resolution, she says that the latter is based on what we think is wrong with us (too fat, too poor, too tired, etc), while a spiritual rule grows from a desire to become more fully what we were created to be.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.” – James 3:13

I went down to the river to pray. “I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also.” – 1 Corinthians 14:15

Some “rules” for this year include: 

More Spiritual Study. Read the Bible every day and other spiritual texts. Pray.

More Charity. Help those in need. Continue to volunteer with the 3rd grade class here in town. Look for other opportunities to volunteer.

More Meditation. Rise early and pray/meditate. Practice yoga.

One Pointed Attention. Listen empathically (getting inside the other person’s frame of reference so you listen with one purpose: understanding) until you truly understand the other person’s position. Then work on ensuring that you clearly communicate your thoughts and ideas.

Think Outside The Box.

Remember Who I Am. Know Thy Self. Namaste.

Humor. Find the humorous in the everyday.

Read more books.

Write more poetry.

The park, for me, is a place of grace. A church. A temple of nature. A sanctuary. Birds singing songs of praise and joy. Doves, finches, woodpeckers, crows and robins. On one walk I saw a fox on the path in front of me. Another time hawks circling overhead. A Green Heron in the water. I walk my dog, Freddy, a mini-labradoodle, there a few times every week. One time, without incident, we walked, and every few minutes I talked, “Good dog. Good dog.” On we walked past Meadow Trail and Beaver Brook. All the time my dog acutely aware and when I wanted to stop and photograph, I said “Freddy, sit.” And he sat. And he waited. And when I said “okay” on we went.

More story-telling.

In church the book calls How did you find me And do you believe Her neighbor says I Bet he found you through Me, I believe in Beauty, do you, too Yes, take me, take me Home says this book with The light of sunshine I know I am this A young simple gift See the butterfly And in the second Chapter we read, no Not yet, please, let me Did I ever tell You I was raised Not from the dead but From the living word Wrapped in ancient Stories when all I Want is to go home Angels I hear Come to protect me I am being held Lifted off the shelf Where I have waited Patiently for you Or you or you to Take me with you home Read my sad story Once upon a time No it does not start Quite like this, listen I hear them singing Do you hear singing See under this book A Garden for Rose

More Portraits.

Continue to count daily gifts.

Self-publish books, including a cook book.

Bruce, they say. When is the cook book coming out? And I saw, now, this year. Tonight I made this–Cheese Tortellini Soup with Kale and Kielbasa.

Market my photography better.

Nymph Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Be more like Jesus.

“Imitate me, as I also Imitate Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

I think the more I grow to be like Jesus, the more I develop into the person I was meant to be all along.

“Come. Follow me.” Jesus said.

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

Do You Love Sunflowers?

I do. I have a garden of them planted along with zinnias. The first one bloomed this morning!

sunflower

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

Do You Love Zinnias?

I do! I have hundreds planted in my garden. This is the first one to bloom.

zinnia16071954PineappleSage

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

Matthew 7:7–8

ASK. SEEK. FIND.

Matthew 7:7--8

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

Happy July 4th!

American Flag

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Continued here:

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

My Wife, The Blogger

My wife, Susan, is a great story-teller. And she has recently started writing a Blog, STORIES ABOUT SUSAN.

Susan and Freddy

Stories about her family. Her faith. Her career. Her craft—soap-making.

Soap by Susan

She is, I believe, a spiritual force. The tagline for her Blog, Stories About Susan, is “stories that will touch your soul.”

I remember once driving home from MassMoCA. “May I read aloud to you?” she asked. Susan read to me a chapter, “Your Heart’s Desire,” from a book entitled “Power Through Constructive Thinking,” by Emmet Fox. The chapter begins: “An old adage says: ‘God has a plan for every (person), and He has one for you,’ and this is absolutely true.”

I can’t stop smiling. Who is this Susan? Not yet my wife, but madly in love with her. I knew the night we met we would spend the rest of our lives together. I loved her. Love her. Her gift of words. Of story-telling. Of love. Of faith. Her stories make me laugh. Her stories make me think. Her stories inspire me. Her stories make me love.

Her memory astounds me. How can you explain memory?

The legendary surrealist Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel on the existential importance of memory: “Life without memory is no life at all, just as an intelligence without the possibility of expression is not really an intelligence. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.”

Susan once said to me:

Put your trust in God.
My mother was a saint.
To this day.
I hear the birds soaring.
Our purpose in life.
God has a master plan.
The leaves are ablaze.

Are you looking for inspiration?

If so, please visit my wife’s Blog, STORIES ABOUT SUSAN.

Susan

Susan inspired this:

She who taught me
To count gift and after gift. Today
Seven tomato plants growing
In the garden. Two jalapeno plants
And two rows of beets.
Three rows of lettuce.
Two eggplants. Twenty-five
Bright yellow marigold plants.
One large butterfly bush. Zinnias
Bordering on the garden
On three side. There is
Much to see. A pink clematis
Growing up the garden arbor.
A garden gate opening into
The slate path leading
To the ripening red tomatoes
And green jalapenos.
I keep looking.
I keep counting.
Three basil plants.
Cilantro. Tarragon. Oregano.
In the middle of the garden
The garden fountain spray and
Birdbath. Three purple
Finches drinking at it and
A monarch butterfly circling 
The garden. I keep looking.
What am I missing?
The six decorative croquet balls.
The cucumber vine I am 
Training to grow up the arbor.
A gargoyle on the fence.
The cosmos.
Fern-leaf dill. Parsley.
A bright red fuchsia plant
Potted in a painted yellow colander
Hangs from a garden hook in the corner
Of the garden. This is our garden.
The garden of Susan and Bruce.

Be inspired and visit STORIES ABOUT SUSAN.

February Notes of Gratitude

Birds
February 1.
Psalm 107:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!”
A short walk with Freddy.
Coffee with Susan.
Roasting a chicken.
February 2.
Up at 6.
Snow.
Matthew 7:7.
Effective Prayer;
“Keep on asking, and you will receive
What you ask for. Keep on seeking
And you will find. Keep on knocking
And the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks; receives.
Everyone who seeks, finds.
And to everyone who knocks,
The door will be opened.”
A short walk with Freddy in the snow.
Birds at the feeder.
Cardinal
Chicken on rye toast for lunch.
Making chicken stock.
A call from my son.
February 3.
Matthew 7.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.
For you will be treated as you treat others.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Photo of camper with logo.
Camper
Picadillo for dinner.
A call to my sister, Darlene.
Now home after surgery.
February 4.
Up at 6:15.
Matthew 7:24-29.
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise,
like a person who builds a house on solid rock.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Coffee with Susan.
A meeting with Janel of Web-tactics.
Leftover Picadillo for lunch.
Ordering out for Chinese food.
Watching Mass on Catholic TV.
Reading The Economist.
Reading The Cantos.
February 5.
Up at 5:30.
Acts 1:1-50.
The  of The Holy Spirit.
Coffee and toast with Susan.
Contractors arrive at 8:00.
Dinner at Shortstop Bar & Grill.
Chef Monica
February 6.
Up at 6:00.
Acts 2:1-4.
The Holy Spirit Comes.
February 7.
Up at 6.
Zechariah 11:1-3.
Open your doors, Lebanon so that fire may devour
Your cedar forests. Weep, you cypress trees, for all the ruined
Ceders; the most majestic ones have fallen.
Weep, you oaks of Bashan, for the think forests have been cut down.
Listen to the wailing of the shepherds,
For their rich pastures are destroyed.
Here the young lions roaring
For their thickets in the Jordan valley are ruined.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Bacon and eggs and toast for breakfast.
Making Catalan Beef Stew.
Catalan Beef Stew
February 8.
Up at 5:45.
1 Timothy 2:1-15.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people.
Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf,
and give thanks for them.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Coffee with Susan.
Smoked Salmon on Bagels for lunch.
A call from my daughter, Danielle.
“Dad, I made Tamago-Yaki.”
Pasta and meatballs for dinner.
Pasta
February 9.
Up at 6:00.
James 3:13-18.
“If you are wise and understand God’s ways prove it
By living and honorable life, doing good works
With the humility that comes from wisdom.”
A short walk with Freddy in snow storm.
Coffee with Susan.
Leftover Catalan Beef Stew for lunch.
Roast chicken for dinner.
A call from my son.
February 10.
Up at 6:00.
James 4:10.
“God opposes the proud
But favors the humble.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Making chicken stock.
Picking out tile for bathroom.
Happy to write a check for Janel of Web-tactics.
Dinner at Shortstop Bar & Grill.
Working on new letterhead.
February 11.
Up at 6:20.
Luke 8:4-10.
Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed.
“And the seeds that fell on the good soil
Represent honest, good-hearted people
Who hear God’s word, cling to it,
And patiently produce a huge harvest.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Coffee and toast with Susan.
Playing with Freddy in backyard.
Freddy
Contractors working on bathroom renovation.
Ordering out for Chinese food.
Watching Jeopardy.
Burning incense.
February 12.
Up at 6:00.
Psalm 4.
“Answer me when I call you,
O God who declares me innocent.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Coffee and toast with Susan.
Snow falling.
Susan making us Ham Salad sandwiches.
Fluffy snow.
Beef and Barley Soup for dinner.
Beef Barley Soup
Watching Mass.
Watching Jeopardy.
Watching Market Warriors.
February 13.
Up at 6:15.
Psalm 113.
Praise the Lord!
A short walk with Freddy.
Egg on marble rye for breakfast.
Writing check for contractors.
New magazines at Post Office.
Cooking Light and The New Yorker.
Leftover Beef and Barley Soup for lunch.
Brewing tea. Tension Tamer.
Making pizza dough.
Meatball and mushroom pizza for dinner.
Mushroom Meatball Pizza
Watching Mass.
Watching Jeopardy.
February 14.
Up at 6:15.
Matthew 7:13-14.
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow
Gate. The Kingdom to Hell is broad, and its gate is wide
For the many who choose that way. But the gateway
To life is very narrow and the road is difficult
And only a few can ever find it.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Very cold. Minus 2.
Leftover pizza for breakfast.
Tuna on rye for lunch.
Cleaning my closet.
Haddock for dinner.
Valentine's Dinner
February 15.
Up at 6:15.
Wind and snow. Cold.

church snow
Matthew 8:1-4.
“I am willing. Be healed.”
A short walk wit Freddy.
Organizing closet.
Farro and Broccoli Frittata for breakfast.
Susan making us tea.
Letting go of all my ties.
And a few shirts.
Roasting a chicken with grapefruit and ginger.
Watching Father Brown with Susan.
Watching The Great British Bake Off with Susan.
February 16.
Up at 6:20.
Matthew 13:31-32.
Parable of The Mustard Seed.
Jesus used this illustration.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed
Planted in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds,
But it becomes the largest of all the plants; it grows
Into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Cold. Minus 7. Windy.
Coffee with Susan.
Buying paint for bathroom.
Running ad on Facebook.

FB AD Becky
Western sandwiches for lunch.
Haddock rice cakes for dinner.
February 17.
Up at 2:15 to feed Nadine.
Up at 4:00. Nadine meowing at door.
Up at 6:20.
Matthew 13:36-43.
Parable of the Wheat and Weeds.
“The son of man is the farmer who plants
The good seed. The field is the world
And the good seed represents the people
Of the Kingdom……The righteous will shine
Like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom.
Anyone with ears to hear, should listen
And understand.”
A s short walk with Freddy.
Seven degrees.
Coffee and toast with Susan.
Again the contractors arrive at 8:00.
Contractors arrive bearing gifts.
Three bottles of wine.
Thanking us for our patience and understanding.
Shower floor completed.
Turkey on rye with avocado for lunch.
Dinner at Shortstop Bar & Grill.
Tired.
In bed at 8:30.
February 18.
Up at 5:45.
Matthew 13:44-46.
Parable of The Hidden Treasure and the Pearl.
“The kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure
That a man discovers hidden in a field.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Cold. Minus seven.
Coffee and toast with Susan.
Susan making chocolate pudding.
Chicken chilli for dinner.
Watching Mass.
A call from my son.
Falling to sleep reading The Economist.
February 19.
Up at 6:45.
Matthew 13: 47-52.
Parable of the Fishing Net.
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net
That was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind.
When the net was full, they dragged it up onto shore,
Sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates,
But threw the bad ones away.
That is the way it will be at the end
Of the world. The angels will come and
Separate the wicked people from the righteous……”
A short walk with Freddy.
Coffee with Susan.
Western sandwiches for lunch.
Chicken breasts for dinner.
February 21.
Up at 6:30.
Matthew 13:53-58.
Jesus rejected at Nazareth.
“A prophet is honored everywhere except
In his own hometown and among his own family.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Cold. Minus ten.
Coffee with Susan.
Susan making us oatmeal.
A short walk with Freddy.
Freddy
February 22.
Up at 6:00.
Matthew 15:21-28.
The Faith of a Gentile Woman.
Roast chicken for dinner.
Watching Father Brown with Susan.
A call from my daughter.
February 23.
Up at 6:30.
Matthew 16:13-20.
Peter’s Declaration about Jesus.
“Now I say to you that you are Peter
(which means rock)
And upon this rock I will build my church,
and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Coffee and toast with Susan.
Contractors arrive at 8 and finish cleaning.
Western sandwiches for breakfast.
Eleanor visits to see new bathroom.
Shower Floor
Meatloaf for dinner.
Watching documentary on William E.B. DuBois.
A call from my son.
February 24.
Up at 6:00.
Matthew 19:13-15.
Jesus Blesses The Children.
“Let the children come to me.
Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven
Belongs to those who are like these children.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Cold. Minus 10. But birds singing.
Coffee and toast with Susan.
Making Pasta and Bean Soup.

Pasta and Bean Soup
A short nap on the couch with Freddy.
Pasta and Bean Soup for dinner.
Watching Mass.
Watching Jeopardy.
A call from my daughter.
Falling to sleep reading The Economist.
February 25.
Up at 5:45.
Matthew 19:16-30.
“……keep the commandments……and those who seem
Least important now ill be greatest then.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Mailing cards and prints to Janel and Deborah.
Filling bird feeder with sunflower seeds.
Leftover pasta and bean soup for lunch.
Pecan-crusted chicken for dinner.
Watching Mass.
Watching Jeopardy.
February 26.
Up at 6:30.
Matthew 18:21_35.
Parable of the unforgiving Debtor.
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied,
“But seventy times seven.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Coffee and toast with Susan.
Western sandwiches for lunch.
Dinner at Shortstop Bar & Grill.
Watching Jeopardy.
Watching Market Warriors.
Falling to sleep reading The Economist.
February 27.
Up at 6:15.
Mark 11:1-11.
Jesus’ Triumphant Entry.
“Go into the village over there…As soon as you enter it,
You will see a young donkey tied there that one has even ridden.
Untie it, and bring it here. If anyone asks,
‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it
And will return it soon.'”
A short walk with Freddy.
Birds singing. Sunny. Ten degrees.
A mushroom spinach omelet for breakfast.
Vacuuming the house.
Meatloaf sandwiches for lunch.
Susan buying Shetland Salmon.
Salmon, Farro, Brussels Sprouts for dinner.

Salmon
Watching Mass.
“God loves me!”
A call to Darlene.
February 28.
Up at 7:00.
Mark 12:1-12.
Parable of the Evil Farmers.
“The stone that the builders rejected has now become
The cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing,
And it is wonderful to see.”
A short walk with Freddy.
Coffee with Susan.
Watching A Chef’s Life.
Bacon and egg sandwiches are breakfast.
Meatloaf sandwiches for lunch.
A visit from a friend, Dianne Provost, bearing
Wedding gifts. Great conversation.
A walk with Freddy.
Dinner at Karen and John’s home in Granville.
Eastworks Snow

Catch A Wave

“Catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world”
~The Beach Boys
 
I have been thinking of this post for days.
 
I have been wanting to bring all my blogs together in one place.
 
I have kept an online journal since 2000. And then started this Blog. And the poetry Blog. And the recipe Blog. And the prosperity Blog. And I started another titled My Mom’s Bible to promote my Christian Totes & T-shirts online store.
 
I stopped updating my online journal one month ago. Most of my time has been devoted to journaling in a paper notebook;

 

counting gifts throughout the day. I have Ann Voskamp to thank for this and Jennifer Dukes Lee to thank for the title of this post.

 
The counting of gifts has become the record of my days, from the time I wake till the time I fall to sleep. Counting gifts and giving thanks. Catch a wave? I caught the wave of Christ. It is like this. No, it is this:

Thank You God
For these GIFTS
I am about to receive
Through Chirst
Our Lord.
Amen.
All day. Every day. All is grace. The counting of gifts has become the music of my life. I counted:
 
On Sunday, July 20 I woke at 5:00 to feed our cat, Nadine. I then went back to bed and got up at 6:15. I woke Freddy and went on a short walk with him. We played Frisbee in the backyard and then I had a cup of coffee and a piece of toast. I trimmed the cucumber plant in my garden. I weeded the garden. I watered the garden.

 I edited photos. I made pickled Jalapenos.

I sat in the backyard and read. Freddy sat at my side. I wrote.

 
Sunday afternoon spent
Waiting for the bright yellow
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
And the bright orange
Monarch Butterfly.
There is now
A Hummingbird Moth
At the butterfly bush.
Yesterday I saw two
Bunny Rabbits, one zig-zagging
Across my neighbor’s lawn and
The other still as a statue
Like the Robin I saw
Dead on the side of the road.
I was a witness
To my granddaughter’s Baptism


Last Sunday and afterwards
Attended a party. We celebrated
Emily’s Baptism and the birthdays
Of my son and his girlfriend.
She received from us
A bracelet we bought
At the Christian bookstore; Peace
Inscribed on the bracelet and 
My son received a photo album
Recalling our trips from Boston
To Austin. I made
A salad for the party.
Two night ago I grilled 
Shetland Salmon and made a sauce
With dill and cucumber from my garden.
Last night I made Salmon Cakes and
Tonight I’ll grill hamburgers and
Make a toasted millet and bean salad.
There will be wine, too and
Desert–a cake or ice cream cones.
On Monday the 21st I got out of bed at 6:30. I had a short walk with Freddy. I made Bacon and Egg Sandwiches on Pittsfield Rye for Susan and me. A long walk, then, with Freddy.

I watered the garden. I read The Wall Street Journal in the backyard. Tuna on Rye Toast for lunch. I mowed the lawn. I enjoyed a beer in the backyard. I made Tomato, Basil (both from my garden) and Mozzarella Salad for dinner. We watched Mass on Catholic TV. We watchhed a documentary about an baby elephant, Eisha. I fell to sleep reading Exodus.

 
On Tuesday the 22nd I got up at 5:30 to feed the cat. Back to bed and then up at 6:30. A short walk with Freddy. Coffee and a bowl of cereal. A long walk with Freddy. Picking up our car at the auto body shop. I photographed a Cone-flower in the garden bed in the front yard.

I photographed a Zinnia. Made pizza for dinner: Mushroom, Mozzarella. We watched Mass. We watched Jeopardy. Finished reading Exodus and started Leviticus.

 
On Wednesday the 23rd I got up at 5:30 to feed the cat and I stayed up. Spent time of the computer before waking Freddy at 7:15. I made Bacon & Egg sandwiches for Susan and me. A long walk with Freddy. Watered the garden. Leftover pizza for lunch. Read New York Times and The Wall Street Journal in the backyard. I saw a new butterfly at the butterfly bush.

In and out of the house numerous times with Freddy to play Frisbee or tug-of-war. Slow-cooked pork for dinner with corn-on-the cob and carrots. Watched Mass. Watched Jeopardy. Thunderstorm. Freddy frightened. Sleeping next to Freddy on couch.

 
On Thursday the 24th I slept till 7:15! A short walk with Freddy. Coffee. A long walk with Freddy.
A drive to the recycling center. A piece of toast. Sitting in the backyard. Leftover slow-cooked pork for lunch. An afternoon nap.  And I remembered:
There is a dead peony
In the garden
Behind the house
Where Wallace Stevens lived.
We could sell the dead
Peony on Etsy to raise
Money to buy the house;
I hear it is still
For sale
And a good location.
 
My garden? Green.
Lime green.
Forest green.
Apple green.
Avocado green.
Moss green.
Olive green.
A half eaten green
Tomato on the grass.
My dog found it.
Where? A squirrel I know
Took it out from the garden
And an eggplant, too.
 
On Friday the 25th: Woke at 6:00. Woke Freddy at 7:15. A short walk with Freddy. Went for blood test. Made bacon, scrambled eggs and toast. Watering garden. Playing Frisbee with Freddy. Vacuuming house. Food shopping. Mowing lawn. Reading New York Times and Wall Street Journal in backyard. Bacon, Swiss Chard over Linguine for dinner (Susan found the recipe; YUM!). Watching Mass. Watching Jeopardy. Making Dilly Green Beans for us and our sister-in-law (for bloody mary’s).

Watching the comedy network. Falling to sleep reading Numbers.

 
On Saturday the 26th: Up at 5:00 to feed the cat. Back to bed. Up at 7:00. A short walk with Freddy. Coffee. Making Corn & Raspberry Muffins. A long walk with Freddy. Watering garden. A kind note from Debbie Taylor Williams about being moved by my photography. Editing photos. A trip to Enders State Forest with Susan and Freddy.

A visit to The Garlic Farm. Where there is field of Zinnias:

A visit to Eleanor’s. Bloody Mary’s and Martini’s at Eleanor’s. Ordering out for meatball grinders. Watching a documentary on The Real McCoy. Falling to sleep reading Deuteronomy.

And then this:

One Thousand Gifts

One Thousand Gifts
 
I counted to one thousand
Gifts on Friday, June 27, 2014;
The same day I wrote a poem
“Table of Grace” for Ann Voskamp.
I did not know this at the time
As I transcribe from a journal
Of scribbles once a week to a another journal.
She who taught me
To count gift and after gift. Today
Seven tomato plants growing
In the garden. Two jalapeno plants
And two rows of beets.
Three rows of lettuce.
Two eggplants. Twenty-five
Bright yellow marigold plants.
One large butterfly bush. Zinnias
Bordering on the garden
On three side. There is
Much to see. A pink clematis
Growing up the garden arbor.
A garden gate opening into
The slate path leading
To the ripening red tomatoes
And green jalapenos.
I keep looking.
I keep counting.
Three basil plants.
Cilantro. Tarragon. Oregano.
In the middle of the garden
The garden fountain spray and
Birdbath. Three purple
Finches drinking at it and
A monarch butterfly circling 
The garden. I keep looking.
What am I missing?
The six decorative croquet balls.
The cucumber vine I am 
Training to grow up the arbor.
A gargoyle on the fence.
The cosmos.
Fern-leaf dill. Parsley.
A bright red fuchsia plant
Potted in a painted yellow colander
Hangs from a garden hook in the corner
Of the garden. In this journal
I started counting on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.
I have been counting all along.
Years I ago I wrote:
 
There is an Edward Weston photoOf a woman naked on the sand

Perfect too as my son is here bathing

This morning and there is

Danielle running back toward

The wildflowers, her red and green

Party dress blowing round her as she

Twists and turns round the dreams

And nightmares going on for days

And days until she has settled down

To catch her breath and stand alone

In the field among the flowers

Her dog whose journey is the same

Standing beside here alert and steady

Her mind at peace overflowing

No reason to hurry anywhere

She holds something in her hand

And she laughs and laughs and laughs

When I woke

In the middle of the night

I saw a black bear outside

I heard a baby crying

At the window the bear

Stood and he knocked

I opened the door and invited him

Inside he sat on the couch

I offered him tea

I told him I read

Some people say we are the dreams

Of animals, their nightmares, he spoke

As someone who knows and rising

From the couch he said “Come

Come with me.” I climbed

On his back and we

Walked out the door

And he took me to a time of long ago.

And last summer I wrote
A poem called “Our Path:”

Without incident we walked
And every few minutes I talked.
Good dog, Good dog.
On we went through the park.
All the time my dog here
There, everywhere
A scent sensation.
And when I wanted
To stop to photograph
This late September early morning
I said, Freddy, sit, and he sat
And he waited and when I said
Okay on we went
Our way past Meadow Trail And Beaver Brook.
This is my path. Our path.
We came to a hill.
I huffed and puffed to the top.
And my dog wagged his tail To the top.
We made our way Home.
I cut zinnias.
Red, orange, yellow, cream
And purple cosmos
For a vase that rests on a table
Next to my garden.
Soon I will be dead-heading
All the cosmos and zinnias flowers.
There must be thousands!
Still bright and bold and colorful In the garden. I change
The water in the three bird baths.
I prune the rose bushes and I am
Not sure at all of what I am doing. I water
The potted plants. So many bumblebees!
They fly from zinnia to zinnia
To cosmos to cosmos.
They do Their job.
Never I imagine
Thinking I am so busy today.
They follow their path.
Gary Snyder wrote: 

“Reality-insight says get a sense of immediate politics and history, get control of your own time; master the twenty-four hours. Do it well, without self-pity. It is as hard to get the children herded into the car pool and down the road to the bus as it is to chant sutras in the Buddha-hall on a cold morning. One move is not better than the other, each can be quite boring, and they both have the virtuous quality of repetition. Repetition and ritual and their good results come in many forms. Changing the filter, wiping noses, going to meetings, picking up around the house, washing dishes, checking the dipstick—don’t let yourself think these are distracting you from your more serious pursuits. Such a round of chores is not a set of difficulties we hope to escape from so that we may do our “practice” which will put us on a “path” — it is our path.”

I made dinner. Black beans
And rice. And wine.
And our dog and cat
Slept as we watched Nashville.
And I am Blessed.
Our house.
Our family.


So I reached one thousand gifts
A few weeks ago; the gift was
Visiting my mother-in-law and
Ann has taught me the counting
Ceaselessly, the praying ceaselessly
Is another gift, grace and gifts
From God; a poem
Of my life, a symphony and
Have I shared with you 
The sounds in the garden?
Listen.