Thursday, February 1, 2024

Flowers in February and the Hodgepodge


Camelia in our front yard

It's been a quiet week here with regard to collecting blog fodder. I've not taken many pictures, but happily, here in Florida, there is usually photo-worthy flora and fauna to fill up the space, even right here in our own yard.

Azaleas in our front yard

When I lived in Northern Virginia in the mid-1980s, we had to wait until spring to see the flowering Azaleas (and in Colorado they were nearly non-existent), but here in North Central Florida, we enjoy them for Christmas and still even now as we progress toward Valentine's Day. Our yard provides delightful eye candy year 'round.

Blue Daze surrounds our front patio

We are doing well, having thus far avoided the current threats of COVID, FLU, and RSV that seem to be making the rounds in our town. We have got all the shots/vaccinations and take precautions within reason. As we remember the pandemic and how deeply personal its effects were on the two of us, no, I don't think we can be too careful.

Worshiping at home via on-line church has become the norm for us. A congregation of two seated in front of the computer monitor is less hazardous to our health right now. Gary adds to the specialness of that by serving a caramel-flavored coffee that he saves to brew just on Sunday mornings (sometimes with marshmallows!).

Yes, we miss out on the face-to-face interactions with people, but that's where social media (in spite of its negatives) can serve us well. My ladies' Bible group is studying Peter by Mindy Ferguson. We can share our thoughts on that via emails. That's a form of the "small group" studies that are emphasized so much these days. We have participated in Zoom groups that are a help when face-to-face meetings are problematic.

With not a lot of new stuff to share with you today, I'm using Joyce's Hodgepodge meme as my writing prompt. Her title this week is, "Puzzling Over the Hodgepodge."

1. January 29th is National Puzzle Day. Do you enjoy puzzles? What kind (crossword, jigsaw, sudoku, etc)? How often do you work a puzzle?

Now that I no longer quilt and cross stitch, I enjoy Sudoku and work on several puzzles of them every day. Every day. I really like it. I get irritated with crossword puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles take up space since it takes days (weeks?) to complete them. Sudoku is very portable and can easily be set aside and then picked up later.

2. Something you currently find puzzling?

I could mount a soap box to answer this one because the biggest puzzle I see these days regards the political scene. But I don't want to get into a fuss with people over it, and I'm really not interested in what others have to say. I know what I think and over recent years nothing has been said or done to convince me otherwise. 

3. What's your go-to dish to take to someone who needs a meal (new baby, bereavement, etc)?

As I've said many times since marrying Gary, I don't cook like I used to, so taking a home-cooked meal is pretty much out of the question for me. I like to get take-out for the recipients. Deli sandwiches, BBQ pulled pork, or lasagna from the grocer's freezer case are my favs for sharing with others. (with appropriate side dishes and a pre-made dessert)

4. Do you watch any HGTV and/or The Food Network? If so, what's your favorite program there? 

In earlier years I watched both a lot and learned so much. One drawback to that was my propensity to run out to purchase the clever gadgets used on the foodie shows. My favs back in the day were Barefoot Contessa, Paula Deen, and others. The home remodel shows were great, too. The House Hunter series fascinated me to see what priorities were important to people as they shopped for a home.

5. Wrap up your January in five words, with a five word phrase, or with a five word sentence.

Important decision made and confirmed.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

my husband sealing the concrete patio behind our house

Those who follow my blog regularly know I refer often to life with the advent of widowhood and re-marriage. People tell me the experiences have helped them. This season of my life has become a platform of sorts because what has happened shook me up more than anything else I had experienced before. So please forgive me as I again make a reference to grief here. 

One of the many obstacles I had to face when Tom died was the upkeep of our home, both inside and out. While I had, up until that time, done the majority of the housework, he maintained the outdoor areas and oversaw the infrequent repairs of whatever would break down. Facing that by myself reduced me to tears many times. I was so glad to be done with that when my house sold and Gary's home became mine. 

To be sure, I have learned from that and most of the time when Gary is working outside, I am out there with him. I observe, help when an extra pair of hands is needed, and in general I am learning more about  [everything]. I tease him that I'm "supervising him" when in reality, I'm out there to learn. I can do things I didn't before and have a better idea of when to call for help and who to call.

Until next time, grace and peace.

Those who know the name of the Lord
will put their trust in Him.
Psalm 9:10 (bjm paraphrase)

back yard Hibiscus
December 2023

To see the blogs of others who are participating in Joyce's Wednesday Hodgepodge, go to


  1. Thankfully we have had very springlike days here at about late morning until the sun goes down. It's still in the mid 30's early morning and requires heat and I'm pretty sure it will be this way until the end of March at least. But, just to have sun is awesome. I'm sure it would be a big adjustment for me should something happen to Hubby and the outside work around here and any maintenance or repairs. So glad you and Gary found each other. :o))

  2. I like seeing your flowers. It's still cold and gray here...
    We have also had lots of covid/RSV and influenza. I can't tell you how many times I've had to order those 3 swabs for patients when I'm working. However, it's been better the last 2 weeks so hopefully we're heading in the right direction.
    Yes to Sudoku and the political scene.
    Good for you for learning some outside tasks. I need to learn from you, because I do the inside things, Bob does the outside; so I would be in the same situation.

  3. I am so grateful for flowers year round. It is one of life's blessings I don't take for granted. I have enjoyed the camellias. I go to so many doctor appointments with mom that I have no chance of avoiding sickness. I have had to hope for the best, but I am also grateful for online messages and all of that. It is super helpful to those who can't get out. I don't blame you a bit for enjoying those services. Looking forward to spring and more outside time.

  4. Your flowers are amazingly beautiful, Barbara! Thanks for sharing the cheerful photos here today.
    We are still trying to return to "normal" whatever that is. Praising God for all His goodness!

  5. It’s beautiful seeing flowers at anytime of the year but a special treat in winter. I’m Cheryl from Sunlitpathway but I can’t seem to get signed in to comment. I’m sure the Lord is in your midst at home too if it’s better to watch Sunday services online and you will be blessed as you care for your health. I’m so ready for winter to be over. I keep a few houseplants through the winter. Sometimes there are flowers


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