Monday Blessings

Okay, Monday can either be interpreted as good or bad.

Well, I think it is all in our decision to either be happy or not; to either look up at the brilliant sunshine or cool rain, or to look down at the sticks and brambles that hurt our feet.

This is a photo of a little donkey I saw in the countryside of The Republic of Ireland back in October 2008. It makes me smile; it reminds me of that absolutely breathtaking landscape of mountains and lakes and stone bridges, and that tiny ancient whisper of my great-grandmother Mary Ellen’s people who had to abandon those magical green fields for the unknown land way across the ocean.

I walked those cobblestone paths in Dublin, County Cork, Kilkenny and thought of those footsteps that had preceded me. And, I smile.

On this Monday in late June, I smile at the beauty of memory; I smile at how decisions can change history, for either good or bad. It always depends on who is telling the tale. And, truly, only the passing of time can really determine whether those decisions were either good or bad.

Great-grandmother Mary Ellen’s people settled in the blazing heat of Georgia, farmed the land, toiled there, raised a family, and through their decisions, I am here on this Monday thanking God for the blessings of my life.

I am thankful for this beautiful Monday; I decide to spend this day after work writing on my new poetry book.

I plan to spend this beautiful Monday in happiness and thankfulness.

And remembering those beautiful moments I spent in The Republic of Ireland patting a silly donkey behind the ears.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Beauty to Begin the Week

Well, here we are at the end of another month. It’s hard to believe that we are half way finished with 2022. Time truly flies and doesn’t wait for any of us to make up our minds how we plan to spend the hours that we are given.

Pictured here is a duck that used to hang around the lake near my house. I took this photo nearly ten years ago; but, it feels like just yesterday.

As we all near this last week in June 2022 let’s consider how we plan to spend the following months of 2022.

Is there a goal that you have wanted to complete, but you keep procrastinating? Ask yourself why you keep procrastinating? What’s holding you back? Is fear of failure holding you back?

Consider this: Tomorrow comes no matter whether we are afraid are not. Tomorrow comes whether we waste away our precious minutes scrolling through a computer screen or whether we set aside the time to learn a new skill. Or, whether we call an old friend to just chat rather than send an impersonal message via social media or text message. Tomorrow comes whether we sit in front of the television and mindlessly eat chips and watch Seinfeld reruns (I love Seinfeld so trust me I am not disparaging Seinfeld), or whether we set aside thirty minutes to exercise.

Or, whether we set aside an hour to begin that novel we have in our head.

My point is is that time pays us no attention. It is this incredible gift that most of us squander. We bank on tomorrow. Well, I will get started tomorrow. . .we say.

While, yes, tomorrow does always come, truth is that unfortunately our tomorrows are not promised to any of us. So, those that we are blessed with should be used as productively as possible.

So, as we all turn our sights toward tomorrow, let’s consider what we can do to learn and to grow, to move toward a new skill, to explore a new place, to not let our precious and time-limited existence in this beautiful world be wasted.

Indeed, this life is beautiful. Of course, there are challenges. Life is complex. However, we have control over how we are going to spend our time.

So, make no excuses or time will make the decision for you.

Get going.

Start actively to set aside time to do what your heart yearns to do.

Pursue your passion. Don’t let fear stop you. Be fearless; most of all, trust completely in God and he will provide.

But, you have to get moving.

Blessings!

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Calmness of Ducks

This life can get hectic; there always is something to worry about.

Bad news is limitless; gray clouds loom in the distance.

We hurt ourselves by allowing others to disrespect us in a variety of different ways; at times, we disrespect others by not acknowledging their basic humanity, whether intentional or not. Truth is as humans we are fallible; we are broken.

We are in need of rest; we are in need of peace and calm.

This need brings me to ducks on a pond.

The featured photo here is from about ten years ago. I had been walking on a nature trail around a pond with a heavy burden in my heart.

But, when I decided to sit on the grass and watch these ducks I got to thinking about how absolutely peaceful they are.

Truly, I wanted to morph into a duck (a mallard or whatever it is); I’m not necessarily an expert on bird names. All I know is that I wanted to imitate that calm.

I sat there and just enjoyed the day. I felt much more calmer when I allowed myself to just rest and let go of my worries.

As we approach this upcoming week, take some time to just rest, to find a moment of calm in your hectic day.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Daffodils

This world can be very ugly and often times we get discouraged.

My mama used to say, “If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”

Unfortunately, that is true.

Truth is that right now there is this shadow of darkness over us. . .It is one thing after another.

Collectively, our hearts are breaking and I am not sure quite what to do with the pain.

But, I believe that there is still beauty in this world. There has to be; there just has to be.

Take time to spend time in a garden, to enjoy the beauty that is God’s creation.

Of course, it is too simplistic to even remotely entertain the notion that just looking at flowers will make the pain of this darkness in this world go away. It won’t, but if just for a minute, maybe looking at something lovely will remind us that goodness and beauty does exist.

It just has to.

It just has to.

Our hearts are broken in this world.

I believe that God will not and has not abandoned us.

Pray for peace; pray for healing; simply pray.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Remembering Buddy

This is a photo of my poodle cocker spaniel mix. He lived to be 16 years and 22 days old. The little rascal went to the great beyond to be with my cats, Velvet and Sheba, in August 2016. My heart was absolutely broken that morning that I found him next to his water bowl. I knew his time was near, but it still broke my heart into pieces. I still cry when I think too much about him. He liked to curl up on the back of the sofa and stare out at the garden. He reminded me a lot of my cats to be honest with you.

He barely weighed eight pounds, but he thought he was as big as a German Shepherd. In fact, he hid behind a tree one time and barked really loudly at an actual German Shepherd who happened to be walking down the street. My little Buddy scared that big dog because his bark startled the big dog. Hah! Hah! I remember Buddy looking behind himself at me before sprinting back towards the step. I think he knew that his action may have been foolhardy.

So many memories come back to me during summer. I cannot believe that Buddy has been gone for almost six years. I planted two beautiful crepe myrtle trees in my yard in his honor near his grave. I know his spirit has gone on to that special place all God’s creations go to, but I still talk to him in early morning when I have my hot tea. I stand near the crepe myrtle trees and remember that sweet little dog that had a huge bark. I remember that sweet little dog that was absolutely obsessed with buttered toast. I kid you not, he would literally run into the kitchen whenever the toast popped out of the toaster. He knew it was buttered toast time! There are so many memories, so little time to tell them all.

I have adopted another dog. His name is BoBo. He is a dachshund beagle mix. And, he is total hound. He is loyal, energetic, and he has become my best friend.

I cannot imagine life without a dog (or a cat).

They just bring such unconditional love.

Unconditional love is seriously what we all truly need right now, and always.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2022

Best Friends Are Furr-ever

Okay, I am making a play on words with “Furr-ever.”

These were my best friends, Sheba and Velvet, from over a decade ago.

They have both found their way to that beautiful place in the great beyond where great cats go. I can just imagine them lounging around in a field of zinnias, swatting at butterflies, and stalking whatever might move behind trees or bushes out there in the universe.

Some people argue and speculate about whether heaven will have animals. People argue and debate whether animals have souls.

Well, of course they do!

If you’ve ever spent five seconds with a sweet cat or rambunctious puppy nestled next to you, you know quite well that there is a soul behind those intelligent, expressive eyes. I feel at least 99.9 percent sure that heaven is brimming with all sorts of puppies. kittens, dogs and cats, (and probably horses, too). I love animals. In fact, our lives are enriched by the comfort of animals.

Sheba and Velvet were more than just animals. They were my best friends. Whenever I was sad, I could depend on their undivided attention and unconditional love. Whenever I gardened, they would be right next to me sticking their noses in the soil to see what I might possibly had buried! Whenever I came home from somewhere, they would meow hellos to me and expect me to scratch behind their ears. (It was all about them, of course!)

It has been many years since they were in my life; I hope that one day out there in the great beyond when my journey in this life is completed that I will see Sheba and Velvet once again. . .And I hope I will see all my dogs, as well.

I believe I will.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Ladybug on a Leaf

This is a photograph of a ladybug that I saw resting on a leaf. I took this photo a few years ago. Just yesterday while I was planting flowers in my garden I saw a ladybug resting on the stem of flower. Resting. Resting beneath the lush petals of a flower.

Resting.

Like the ladybug, we all need to take time to just rest and enjoy the beauty that God has freely given us. God has surrounded us with an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful world.

This week, take some time to just rest and enjoy the beauty that God has so abundantly blessed us all with.

Have a blessed week.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Beautiful World

I was just over at a fellow WordPress blogger Stoner on a Rollercoaster’s site and I saw where she shared a beautiful photo of leaves.

It got me thinking about just how beautiful this world is if we just take the time to open our eyes and receive all the beauty that we are surrounded with.

So, I am sharing a beautiful photo I took a few years back at the local arboretum. It is of a monarch butterfly enjoying its day atop a lantana flower.

Rather than dwell on all the bad news in the world, please turn off your cell phones, I-phones, or whatever social media device that you spend way too much time with. Go out in the beautiful, warm sunshine and really, really observe this amazing world.

Share your photos of nature on WordPress. Just looking at nature can have a calming affect.

Also, I would like to encourage you to drop by Stoner on a Rollercoaster’s WordPress. I truly enjoy her writing. I think you might also, as well.

I hope you enjoyed my photo of the beautiful butterfly and flower.

I hope it gives you joy.

God’s world is indeed beautiful.

Go outside tomorrow and enjoy it.

Have a blessed week.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2022

Beauty of an Evening

I took this photo in spring 2017 while I strolled along my town’s riverfront. I remember the songbirds high in the branches of the oak trees behind me. The beauty of their songs filled that late evening moment just before nightfall.

Beauty of a moment.

Peacefulness.

Looking back at this photo, I feel happiness deep in my soul.

I would rather spend my time strolling along the riverfront, listening to birdsongs, and marveling at the beauty of this life than waste my life’s precious moments glued to a computer screen and worrying about what else could possibly go wrong in this world.

Sure, social media has its advantages in that it does connect people and it does give us the opportunity be more aware of the world around us.

But.

But, I never want to take for granted and miss the beauty of an evening stroll along the riverfront.

Lately, I have seen an increased in people staring into the screens of their I-phones while walking along without any concern about the beauty of nature around them.

Lately, I have seen people in groups, not talking, but staring into the screens of their I-phones while sitting together.

What is this about?

I say put the I-phones away for at least a few hours and actually look at the beauty of nature that surrounds you.

I say actually talk to those around you, rather than stare into a computer screen.

Stop and look at the beauty of a sunset.

And be thankful that you have been blessed with this beautiful, beautiful world.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2020

Pretty Pictures

100_0387_0374100_0190_0541_0001100_0082_0218_0001100_0156_0291

It’s been a very long four and half months since I’ve actually taught in the classroom. This morning I returned, but this time with a mask and social distancing. Trust me, that’s difficult when you’re trying to explain a concept and a student asks if you can check their grammar in the paragraph you’ve just assigned. My student and I giggled as we sprayed our hands with antibacterial spray and carefully handled the sheet of paper as if it were a grenade. Our masks obscured our noses and mouths. It felt as if we were either having an early Halloween, an educational masquerade ball, or were extras from the old television show Batman and Robin or the soap opera General Hospital.

While we both were a bit stressed about returning to face to face instruction, we both followed the protocol and actually enjoyed our class. I made sure to disinfect everything as much as possible. It was our first day back and it was successful.

Photography makes me happy. Looking at photos of nature and animals calm me. I wanted to share these with you all. The first picture is a beautiful white duck that used to live in a marsh next to the lake near my house. I love the calming effect of blue and white along with the orange bill of this duck.

The second photo is in Cobh, Republic of Ireland. I took this photo from the window of a tour bus. I thought it was so calming with the soft silvery shadows falling against the late afternoon sky and calm waters.

The third photo is a colorful window box attached to a a happy pink cottage in Bunratty Folk Park, Republic of Ireland.

The fourth photo is a sweet little donkey at Ring of Kerry, the Republic of Ireland.

100_0199_0537

This fifth and final photo is of a beautiful white pony at Newtown Farm Guesthouse in Youghal, Republic of Ireland.

Looking at beauty lifts my spirits. As I said, these past few months have been challenging. I feel better getting back into my routine although it is modified.  Looking back at these happy memories from my trip to the Republic of Ireland lifts my spirits. They remind me that there is still a beautiful world out there. I can go and see this beautiful world if I choose to. Protocol might be modified, but I have to believe that it will all be better sooner than later. I have to continue to hope and to believe in the future.

I thank all of you for your encouragement during these challenging months.

There is hope for tomorrow. I have to believe that. As soon as I can, I am going to return to the Republic of Ireland and retrace my steps and walk new paths to places I didn’t explore the last time I visited.

Here’s to tomorrow! Never give up hope. Never.

 

Copyright  Jenny W. Andrews 2020