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Still Looking Up….

       UNDERSTANDING                   GOODWILL   PEACEFULNESS            COMPASSION                           UNITY   FORGIVENESS                  FAIRNESS                       HUMANITY  FAITH          EMPATHY                                GOODNESS                 PATIENCE            FRIENDSHIP                  BROTHERHOOD PERSEVERANCE                 EQUALITY    COMMON SENSE                   HISTORY                DIALOGUE JUSTICE                         HARMONY              CITIZENSHIP               DILIGENCE COMMUNICATION                    GRACE  RESPECT                          LOVE     TRUST  COURAGE         KINDNESS          DECENCY    TOLERANCE  

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You’ve Got This

  For those of you who follow this blog, you may remember a post titled, Above and Beyond:  An Everyday Hero.  A couple of years ago, a major water pipe in our home broke, and a very kind and determined person rescued us. We thought he was just our plumber, but he turned out to be much more.  He was our hero…answering an emergency call late on a snowy, Saturday night, problem-solving a difficult situation, and working undeterred until, once again, we had water. During this dire situation, our plumber, Mike Walker dug five gallons of dirt out of a tiny access hole, and then, climbed into this small, dirty space. He ignored his own safety, well-being, and comfort to repair our out-of-reach pipe, but also to preserve the hardwood floors in our 200-year-old family home. He did all of this, unselfishly, to save us from a significant amount of stress, inconvenience, and heartbreak–a true hero. Since that night, I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept of  “everyday heroes.”  And, here’s the thing:  Heroism lies within all of us.  Each of us has the power to make our lives and the lives of others better.  Sometimes we may feel that life is always trying to “start something” by throwing a challenge or a truly dark situation at us.  However, it doesn’t matter if the problem is “too high to get over, too low to get under, and we’re stuck […]

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Force of Nature

  A few weeks ago, I decided to coax cuttings of a flowering cherry tree into an early performance in order to speed up spring. Persuading plants to flower out of season is known as forcing.  You can either trim branches from your yard or buy them from a florist.  There are a number of flowering trees and shrubs that you can choose for your trimmings.  I have a flowering cherry tree in my front yard.  So, that’s what I used. However, flowering dogwood, redbud, flowering dogwood, saucer magnolia, flowering quince, or forsythia work well, too. Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 1.  Prune on a mild, late-winter day.  Branches are more pliable when temperatures are above freezing.  Most spring bloomers form flower buds on the previous season’s growth. 2.  Look for crowded branches that are no more than 1/2 inch in diameter, with numerous round, plump flower buds.  Thinning is okay. 3.  Place branches in fairly hot tap water, and recut at an angle.  Next, place in a bucket of water with floral preservative.  Store in a cool, dimly lit area like a porch or garage to ease the transition indoors. 4.  When buds begin to swell, bring branches indoors.  Set arrangements in a bright area away from direct sunlight and heating vents.  Change water daily. 5.  Celebrate spring early!  After all, you just fooled Mother Nature.    

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Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

     I think someone once said that life is supposed to be challenging. Well, yes, the statement is true enough.  But, somehow, many of us believe that things should go smoothly a good part of the time.  Most of us work towards this end, and we count on it.  Then, when life goes awry, we’re upset, angry, and disappointed.  We dread challenges and vexation.  I’ll be the first to admit that I work very hard to keep my life on course. I’m an “all your ducks in a row” kinda girl.  I follow the rules, keep my word, and act decently–treating others as I would like to be treated.  I basically over-analyze most situations, teasing out the pros and cons before making a decision.  However, despite my good intentions and best efforts, challenging stuff still happens.      Maybe, if we modified our view of challenging circumstances as a normal part of life, we wouldn’t be so surprised and upset when they occurred.  Also, what if we stopped interpreting the stuff that happens as positive or negative.  It’s happening, let’s try to accept it, and move through it.  You know, let’s stop judging the stuff.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  On the surface, some stuff looks pretty negative–even devastating at times. Which brings me to a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert that I absolutely love:  “Ruin is a gift.  Ruin is the road to transformation.” What if the […]

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Love, Attraction, and Chemistry…Oh, My!

“A View to a Kiss,” 20 x 24 acrylic on canvas by Tonya R. Hengerer     “Chemistry of Connection”  Two people smiling, laughing– connected by a feeling, a flutter of energy or magnetism; moving together into a mutual understanding– an affinity: souls intertwined. ~Tonya R. Hengerer   *Acrostic poems are a kind of poetry where the first, last, or other letters in a line spell out a particular word or phrase. Acrostic poetry by Tonya R. Hengerer.   “Attraction” Attuned To someone who Totally makes your heart Race, And Clouds your thinking to the point of Inciting an Out-of-body experience– Nirvana!    “Chemistry“ Capricious state of being that Humans share with one another Evolving into More Intimate feelings with Souls synchronizing in an effort To mutually Reflect an intensity of emotion– Yearning.   “Love” Lingering On Volumes of ardent Emotion.    “Love” Lives intertwined in an Ongoing partnership, because Vows were made to Endure the test of time.   “Valentine’s Day” Valiantly Alluding to Lots of passionate Emotion through Notes To someone with whom you’re In love, Not forgetting or Excluding Some chocolates or a   Dozen roses And, of course, You must have Champagne!   Happy Valentine’s Day!        

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Got Merlot?

  Farmgirl in Saint Émilion (right bank of Bordeaux) November 2016   “You had me at hello.” A line made famous by Dorothy Boyd, the love interest in the film “Jerry Maguire.” However, if Dorothy had been a sommelier, she may have said, “You had me at Merlot.” And, with good reason. Merlot, French for little blackbird because of its very dark fruit, is naturally versatile, acclimating to different climate zones and soil compositions, which, over time, have made it the second most planted red grape on the planet, behind its brother from Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot can be big and rich, but also fruity and soft, without being overly high in acids or tannins. These characteristics make Merlot an elegant and easy choice to drink as well as pair with food. If that doesn’t spark your interest in Merlot, maybe this will.  You know all those famous red wines from Bordeaux? Wines that are considered some of the best in the world?  Well, they’re all blended with Merlot.  And, many are mostly Merlot—especially, on the right bank of the Gironde estuary in the Bordeaux appellation, where it’s the law that Merlot has to be the predominant grape.  Of course, the most famous Merlot wine is undoubtedly Pétrus (100% Merlot) from the Pomerol region of Bordeaux.  This highly collectable wine can fetch several thousand dollars, depending on its vintage. You may not be as familiar with Merlot’s positive attributes, especially post “Sideways”—a 2004 film […]

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Got Tenacity?

  This sunflower inspires me.  I’ve planted these cheerful blooms in my garden a number of times, and they haven’t come up—maybe, because the birds ate the seeds.  I really don’t know. But, two summers ago, this little sunflower sprung up in the backyard of its own volition.  It didn’t just grow….it thrived.  To my surprise and joy, it bloomed and bloomed and bloomed…all summer.  This eager little flower, in its simplicity and loveliness, grew into a flourishing plant.  And, it accomplished this feat despite a lack of proper planting, no fertilizer, and without consistent watering.  I admire this sunflower for what it symbolizes to me:  determination, perseverance, and tenacity.   “Tenacity”   by Tonya R. Hengerer   Tireless Effort to resist Negative thinking And overcome difficulties, while summoning Courage In spite of Tough times—never Yielding.     “Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” ~James A. Michener   “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” ~H.G. Wells

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Friday Farm Favorites: A Beloved View

  “Sunset on Green Hill Farm,” 36 x 48 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas Original artwork by Tonya R. Hengerer   This coming May 8th will mark fifteen years since restoration was completed on my family’s circa 1790s ancestral home.  My family’s home place was purchased by my great-grandparents in 1912. The reference photo that inspired this painting was taken from an upstairs window, and it’s the view I see first thing every morning.  I have marveled at countless colorful sunsets from this vantage point, and one of my favorite scenes includes our sheep grazing or lying peacefully in the pasture. When I look out at the mountain and fields, I have a sense of calm that I only have when I’m at home.       “I hear the mountain birds, the sound of rivers singing A song I’ve often heard, it flows through me now So clear and so loud I stand where I am and forever I’m dreaming of home… It’s carried in the air, the breeze of early morning I see the land so fair, my heart opens wide…” ~Philippe Rombi   Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

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