Ladies, I want you, today, to compare yourselves to the rays of soft, warm and  glowing sunshine that sifts through the windows of your home to make it a brighter and more cheerful and pleasant atmosphere. Because that is what you are…

You brighten the home, first, by your attitude. This is most important because, as we know, beauty comes from within.

But, there are other ways to brighten the home, too. This is an external brightness that adds to the overall picture of what you are portraying to those who live in your dwelling and to those who enter its doors.

Vincent and I bought these 6 acres that we live on now when we were young parents. There was a little home on it our relatives called a “shack” – (maybe they said it with an endearing inflection in their voices…but probably not). 😛  It was a small, one-bedroom home that, when you entered, you thought you were on the waves of the Great River of Narnia!

But it was home. And it was home for us for 10 years! We moved in with two small children and by the time we moved out we had seven children! Vincent had tacked on two little rooms (more like boxes..hehe), big enough to hold two small, homemade bunkbeds… one for the boys, one for the girls.

By the time we moved out, we could see the outdoors through the floor, the kitchen sink was caving in and we had to pump the septic out every day!

If you were to ask my kids, they would tell you those were the best years of their lives! And I didn’t mind either. We made it a home…yes, we did.

I had read Emilie Barnes books and I knew that it is not the dwelling that makes the home….it is the spirit within! So we proceeded to add our touches to our little home.

A central place for Our Lady was established and adorned with flowers whenever we could (many times from the fields around us). The little old lady who had lived there before us had many perennials planted and two lovely, blossoming crabapple trees! We also planted our own annuals each year. We used these blossoms to adorn the table and Our Lady’s altar.

I would use a lot of tablecloths to make things look prettier and more homey. I didn’t do many candles at that time since my children were quite young. I did have candles up by Our Lady since it was high enough to divert little fingers.

Every little bit helps to make a home look loved….and welcoming.

So don’t ever give up, no matter what circumstances you are in, to beautify your home. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Little things mean a lot!

I’d like to give you a little “tour” of our home this year. Hubby built the home we are in but it has taken time to get established….lots of time. Now we are enjoying the fruits of our labor.

The Tour:

This is our table, generously adorned with our summer flowers. In the winter, we lean heavily on silk flowers, but sometimes we get fresh ones from our local market.

Notice my lovely St. Anne statue (my patron saint and the patron saint of Finer Femininity). It was given to me by a friend just lately.

I love zinnias! They make great cut flowers. I call these two particular colors together my “bouquet of sunshine”!

The following bouquet is kind of the wild, woodsy look. If you want a flower that will be profuse and quite hearty, coming up each year, then choose the double Knock-Out Roses! They are lovely all summer long! This bouquet also has what we call “Hawaiian Peas” (the long stems with purple flowers on them). They are actually called Hyacinth Bean. They are a quick-growing vine that can cover a trellis quickly and become so heavy with leaves, it may topple it!

One of our many Hyacinth Beans that we planted this year.

This is our Infant of Prague Statue on top of our covered wood stove. In the winter, He will be moved to another prominent spot so we can use the stove. The little door on the left is the wood shed. I bet you thought it was where the hobbits slept!

I recently purchased this vintage St. Anne statue from the online local garage sale. All these years I have not had a St. Anne statue and then I get two in one season! The relic of St. Anthony is behind her.

Our round table is awaiting a bouquet. Rosie crocheted the lovely doily adorning it. Underneath the lace tablecloth is a puzzle that is half done. Whenever the kids have a chance or get the urge, they will tear off everything and continue working on the puzzle. It will then be glued and added to a wall in our “Play Room”. Last week one of the kids spilled the flowers in the vase and water went all over the puzzle! We whipped everything off and it seemed to dry ok. 😀

And now we go outdoors to take a peek at what is blooming out there! Vincent has his own greenhouse this year. One of the plants we love is called purslane. We bought one plant and he took many cuttings from it to produce lots and lots of vibrant colored flowers. They close early each day so in order to enjoy them you have to be home during the day. Vincent appreciates it on the weekends when he can see their bright faces smiling at him! 🙂

The following are pictures of the swing Vincent made when he was working for the railroad. All the materials that he used were ones off of the railroad including the insulators that decorate the top of it (not pictured).

Margy’s so silly! 😀

Mandevilas are our favorite climbing flower! They are just annuals, though, so have to be purchased each year. Maybe this year Vincent can carry them through in his greenhouse…

A few years ago, I received this lovely little statue/fountain of the boy and girl. Rosie spearheaded the building of this rock planter around it. Lovely.

Some of our rock gardens….

This is the new rock wall and steps that Vincent built this year. We can now bound up to Grandma’s apartment if there is an emergency….or if we just want a lollipop really bad! 😀

The following are two types of hibiscus. The first is a hibiscus tree that we snag when they are on sale at Sam’s. The second picture is the hearty hibiscus that comes up every year. Their blooms are huge and profuse…usually. The Japanese Beetles have taken their toll this year.

Normally, all these lovely flowers stick around until at least October. But it has been a very dry year and we only have a well….that is too low to water too many plants. So we shall see if they last for the whole season.

Thanks for hanging out with me as I meander through our flowers. I hope it has inspired you to grow some yourself! Start small…but start. 🙂

“Where flowers, these emblems of purity are found, you may rest assured that they represent a hope, and speak of a goodness of heart not to be found where they are absent.” -Fr. Lasance

“I have always noticed that wherever you find flowers, no matter whether in a garret or in a palace, it is a pretty sure sign that there is an inner refinement of which the world is not cognizant. I have seen flowers cultivated and cherished by some of the lowest and poorest of people. Where these emblems of purity are found, you may rest assured that they represent a hope, and speak of a goodness of heart not to be found where they are absent.” -Fr. Lasance, My Prayer Book http://amzn.to/2peMnkT (afflink) Illustration by genevievegodboutillustration.com

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