Color of Autumn


Grandma called them Old Maids.

Grown by her back porch,

coming inside to bunch in a Mason jar

or dry for next year’s seeds.

She let me pick the ones I wanted.

I loved them because they were pretty.

In our back yard is a row of tiny ones,

smaller than Grandma’s Old Maids,

more color in our flowers than our leaves

in South Texas Autumn.

Nora picks this one for me.

She loves it because it is pretty

Advent Blooms

paperwhitesMy first Advent post this year pictured the paperwhite bulbs Nora planted on the day her baby brother was born, November 26, 2016. My, how fast they have grown!


Today, almost 4 weeks later, Nora holds her growing leaves close and says she loves them. Their blooms should be ready to grace our Christmas dinner table!


She loves her baby brother even more!  Oliver has many adoring arms to reach for him. He has grown too, a much more amazing miracle than the paperwhites. It has been fun to watch growth and blooming. Tending the blooms and the baby has given particular grace and meaning to these days of Advent, to my reflections of another baby and the way He changed the world.

oliver3weeksOliver and his Papa Joe.


An Old House Story


Last week Joe and I enjoyed a trip with some friends to hear the history of a plantation house a little over an hour from our home. Dozens of trips to and from College Station when our son was a graduate student there took us on a highway almost at the edge of the acreage where the house is located, but we had never been able to go inside or learn about the important place in Texas History held by Liendo Plantation. The grounds were lovely and shady on a very hot day, peacocks strutted and called, a beautiful herd of Red Brahman cattle grazed beyond the fences, a one-hundred-year-old black walnut tree towered, and a small pergola at the back of the house was covered with wisteria that must have been breathtaking when it bloomed in late Spring. I took some pictures of the massive twisted vines from one side, but Joe found this on the other side.  The tiny birdhouse with a heart shaped hole must have been set there years ago. Through the years, the vines have twisted and turned their way through the house and out the “door.”  No room for birds there anymore. It is a novel picture, but disturbing thought.

What do we allow to grow inside our hearts and homes, filling them so that home is no longer a place of rest, refuge and hospitality? I wonder how long the vines grew before birds could no longer nest there. We have moved almost 2 dozen times in the over 50 years of our marriage and have recently moved again. The houses may change, but as we settle and fill each with faith and love and open doors, it becomes home. I hope to never allow something to grow that pushes the things that belong there away.