Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weekend Gratitude for Family in Maryland and Longwood Gardens

Dear friends,

Here we are again with gratitude for another weekend!  I had a lot extra to be thankful for this weekend since I had the opportunity to fly up to Maryland to visit my family for my sister's 50th birthday.  She came up with the marvelous idea of going up to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.  Most of the exhibits are indoors, so this wasn't as nippy for a Florida girl as you might imagine.  I was amazed at the varieties of orchids they had on display!  I'll let pictures and captions tell the rest of the story.   

I was running errands a few hours before I went to the airport.  When I came out of the library, I found this note from my husbnd on my van seat. I guess he was passing by, and it's sort of hard to miss seeing a 15 passenger van!  Thanks, sweetie!  I missed you, too!  And thanks for "holding down the fort" for three days while I was gone!

My present to my sister was a photo montage of about a dozen pictures from the time I was a baby and she was a toddler until the one below, which my mom took on Saturday at Longwood Gardens.  Here we are with our sister-in-law.

My grandma is doing well at age 96. 
My mom takes such marvelous care of her!
I am so thankful for my sweet mother and grandmother!
They are both so nurturing and kind!
Grandma was a church organist for many decades,
and I know that our family's love of music
was part of her heritage.

I zoomed in on this cardinal in mom's tree.

I love the contrast of lichen and snow
at the base of this tree. 
I took the picture when I arrived at 10 PM,
knowing the snow would be rained away by morning.

Just enough of a snowball to toss at my sister and mom.

Someone has an optimistic sense of humor,
but it took us a minute to figure out what it meant. 
What is a "bok" anyway? 
Just read the letters, and you'll get it, if you haven't already.

The Conservatory at Longwood Gardens

My parents, brother, sister, Grandma and I

The Ecuadorian band of four brothers, Andes Manta, played for about an hour in the ballroom.  During one song, it sounded just like a rainforest!

It's a huge rain stick! (This guy had a vibrant smile
which I wish I could have caught on camera. 
I love to see people enjoy themselves in what they do!) 

My sister found a YouTube video of the Manta's rain forest song...
You'll really notice it about a minute into the piece.

I enjoyed the Sunday service
at the little Lutheran church
just down the street from my parents' house.
Mom sings in the choir. 
She knows the whole liturgy,
but I, never a Lutheran,
stumbled along through the chants and kyries
and prayers and responsive readings.
I'm grateful that Mom made sure we all knew how to read music!

This church has a strong vision
for justice and mercy ministry.
The youth had just completed
a World Vision "30 Hour Famine"
during which they fasted and did service projects
aimed at serving the needy in the USA and overseas.
Each of us was encouraged to take home a heart
with a child's name on it -- to pray for them.
I took six, to share with some of my kids.

On Sunday afternoon, just before I flew home,
my dad was kind enough to part with
some more of his vintage childhood books,
which his home schooled grandchildren
will use as part of their education
(along with plenty of modern stuff)!
He also let me video him for almost 20 minutes
as he talked about his family history,
especially during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
I'm glad I copied the video file to my mom's computer before I left,
because I accidentally deleted it from my camera card!
Needless to say, I am very grateful
to spend three days with my beloved family
and one day with beautiful flowers!
Thank you, God!

Virginia Knowles

P.S. You can find my other five related posts here:

Like the flowers?  More here: Longwood Gardens and here:

My trip was a little one compared to
the Grand Adventure that two of my daughters
are having in Italy right now!
Check out their latest blog posts
(including pictures from France and Monaco) here:

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