Monday, September 11, 2017

Garden Friends & Our Lord Reigns

Oh the times in my garden these last few days of summer have been times of refreshing, quietness and joy.... 

Watching the bees buzz happily and busily around.  I've planted multitudes of marigolds around the garden, which bees simply love.  I've seen them just spend hours on one flower.

My neighbor was out of town for a few days and I fed her horse and donkey for her.  Now... they think I need to feed them at all times of the day... which translates to mean every time I come to the garden, lol! Their fence is catty-corner to mine, and so they can watch me as I water and work.  The donkey, Johnny, has gotten especially vocal lately, lol!

I planted Mammoth Russian Sunflowers this year, and I probably won't plant that variety again (they take too long to grow), as they are just now blooming, which is probably too late for any sunflower seeds to grow, but still, they are pretty when they bloom!

Speaking of friends in the garden... I found this handsome toad hiding out in one of my plant boxes.  I wondered why all summer I couldn't get anything to grow in this container... now I know!

The smoke and haze has been horrible here for the past week.  When the smoke first arrived had smoke so bad here that at first we were concerned there was a fire close by, but we learned that the wind had simply brought the smoke from fires burning in nearby states and Canada.

Picture taken on Labor Day in the middle of the afternoon.
 In fact, the smoke was so hazardous that even though it was the first week of school, all outdoor recesses were canceled, as were all outdoor games and practices.

Normally I can see our neighbor's place and the mountains off in the distance,
but with the smoke so dense, visibility was low. 
 It hurt just to breathe in the air.  It really made us understand just how horrible it must be for the firefighters fighting the fires, and the air that they have to breathe.

I found another friend in my garden... do you spot him?

He was very quiet, watching me as I watered, and never moved.  Quite a handsome fellow, don't you think? And the perfect little home for him! This is a little birdhouse I found at a yardsale that I painted and set on a shelf in my garden. He seems quite content in his new home. I imagine any wasps coming in for a visit... wouldn't be leaving, ha!

These Mammoth Russian sunflowers are over 10' in size, and are just now blooming.

My husband and I upgraded to "smartphones" Labor Day weekend, as both our phones went on the blink.  My screen wouldn't work, and his phone wouldn't charge.  We have kept our simple phones for many years, but decided to give smartphones a try.

Having a camera in my pocket at all times is certainly a lot of fun!  I do notice a difference in the quality of the pictures as compared to my DSLR, but the ability to have the camera in my pocket to take pictures on the spur of the moment is really nice.

However, I notice the clarity of the pictures are diminished.  It is a trade-off... having a camera in your pocket, or a big camera to carry around.  I know I will continue to do both, but I do find that having a camera to use when the moment is right has become a very fun thing :)

I really love this pose of Miss Riley, however, as you can see the quality of the picture is grainy.  But still... a fun moment to capture... she LOVES to come into the garden with me and chase grasshoppers, birds, and probably my toad and chameleon friends... lol.

Oh, I do so love the happy faces of the sunflowers!

My garden is still going strong, and it is going on the middle of September!  Most years we have a frost towards the end of August, but definitely by Labor Day weekend.  This is unusual, but I am enjoying it!

The bees love the clover I have growing next to the garden. It really needs mowed, but I hate to mow down their happy place.  So for now... the clover is staying.

This is a fun picture! I used a 360-degree panorama shot here to completely capture my garden... of course everything is skewed, but you kind of get an idea of my entire garden area.

Ha! Here is another one of my little garden-within-a-garden area, and I realized the camera captured a part of me while I filmed the 360-degree panorama shot, lol.

Oh how I love my little garden area!

Did you know I was a songwriter? No... well, I'm really not.  But, while I was in the garden this past Saturday afternoon, there was such joy with quiet peace in my heart while the storm was raging in Florida.  My heart was so burdened as I went to the garden to pray, because Hurricane Irma was hitting Florida, and the devastation predicted and the people in its path were weighing heavily on my heart.  I carried it to the Lord there in my garden and as I sat there, I prayed and prayed for so many things.  I looked up and around me, and as I drank in the beauty of the world around me, I felt that the Lord was calming my heart with the beauty of His presence, and this little simple song came to me as I sat there.

The words...

Softly the wind blows
In my garden green
Simple joys of seeing
Sunflowers faces beam
My heart is raised
In glorious symphony
Our Lord reigns, He reigns, 
He reigns in Majesty!

Oh the beauty, oh the joy
Of the wind that sings this song
Glory, glory, Glorious
To you My Lord Supreme
You reign in majesty
Glorious, Holy,Our God
Our Lord reigns, He reigns, 
He reigns in majesty.

It is just a simple song, but I can’t help but keep singing… He reigns, He reigns, He reigns in majesty. I feel so comforted in knowing that our Lord reigns over all that is happening in the world right now, and while most of it makes no sense to me… He is still the King, and my heart is raised in glorious symphony to worship the Lord for all of who He is. 

While I was praying and singing, Riley jumped into my lap, and wanted to share it with me.  Having a smartphone... well, I just wouldn't have captured this moment without it, priceless!  Together, we felt the peace of the Lord in His creation around us, as we prayed for those in need of the protecting hand of the Lord as Hurricane Irma barreled down the coastline of Florida.

Do you find comfort in the simple things, the lovely things around you?

Simple beauties of these flowers fill my heart with joy.

Riley felt the comfort and peace of the Lord... rested her head on my journal, and went to sleep.  And I knew...  the Lord had heard us, and we could rest in the comfort of His presence.  This verse was made quite real to me in that moment...

Psalms 91:1-2
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High 
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 
I will say of the LORD, 
He is my refuge and my fortress: 
my God; in him will I trust.

Again, another moment captured with the smartphone... my sweet little girl and I just praising, worshiping, and talking with the Lord.

The peace and quiet didn't last real long... we had another visitor, that immediately captured Riley's attention... and soon mine too.

This little squirrel and I have become quite good friends.  She will come and just sit on the garden fence post and watch me, only becoming vocal when Riley comes into view.

Riley and I weren't going anywhere as we prayed, and so... the squirrel decided to stretch out and hang out for the long haul, lol!

The squirrel began to sass Riley, and it quite offended her.  It would me too, I guess, if I understood, lol!

Whatever was being communicated between Riley and Miss Sassy (that's what I'm going to call her, ha!) it was quite entertaining to listen to.

 I do believe animals understand and know far more than we give them credit for.  It seemed even the squirrel knew that our prayer time was something special to hang around for.


Soon enough, it was time to get back to the business of life, but I was thankful for time spent with the Lord, and for the visits with my animal friends, and just knowing that Our Lord Reigns... no matter what disasters and calamities come upon us, we can find peace and calm in the midst of the storm, In Him.


  1. Always a pleasure to visit you...and I had to giggle over the horses and donkey...they are fully expecting you to visit and feed them now, smiles. Lovely photos, thank you for the smiles.

    I had no idea the smoke would reach stay safe my friend.

    1. Thanks for your visit Linda, thankfully we made it through the fire season without any local fires here, and now we've had rain, and a freeze, fall is here! Blessings to you :)

  2. Good morning, Marilyn! Thanks for capturing summer's final glories ... I'm especially entranced with the frog in the bird house.

    Hopefully there were no babies in there grabbing his attention.

    I'm in no hurry at all to see this season come to an end, even though fall has traditionally been my favorite. May it be a slow fade ...

    My best to you this morning, friend!

    1. I was in no hurry for summer to end either, I was enjoying being in my garden so much... but yes, a slow fade would be nice! Blessings :)

  3. Your little piece of paradise is beautiful, Marilyn, in spite of the smoke!

    1. That it is Marie, so blessed we are indeed! And now, rain has come, and the smoke, and fire danger gone, and we just remain very thankful and blessed!

  4. So many pictures to enjoy!! I think Johnny must have taken a liking to you!! Love the big sunflowers and enjoyed the words to your song. Miss Riley has grown into a beautiful lady. We've even had hazy weather here from the fires in the north west. My heart is heavy for those in the path of the fires and the storms.

    1. So much sadness, hurting, and destruction in the world. I pray for all of it, and it seems the hurricanes aren't done. Appreciate your visit Mary, hugs and blessings :)

  5. You live in such a lovely area. Sorry to hear of all the smoke at the mountain. I have a blog friend who lives in the mountains, and she said
    that the smoke has been awful around her neck of the woods cause of the fires. Your sunflower pictures are beautiful. Such a cheerful flower. And that frog seems to have found a home in your yellow bird house. That is a really cute bird house. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words about the storm in Georgia.


    ps...Yes, that plate was from the Pioneer Woman collection. I love it, and want to get more. It's so charming and they have so many wonderful items. : )

    1. Thanks Sheri, it was a crazy summer with all the smoke, but so thankful all that is behind us now, as we are now getting lots of rain! I do so love the Pioneer Woman and her line, such pretty things! Appreciate your visit :)

  6. I loved reading your song, and yes, you are a song writer, Marilyn!! I sw your little toes peeking out in your panoramic photo. Your guest in the birdhouse brought back memories of a guest that I had peeking out at me one time in my birdhouse...a snake!! Eek!!!
    I'm glad that your Texas family is doing okay. It's hard to believe how far the smoke has reached to come to your area. Take care, my friend.

  7. Such a beautiful song Marilyn. You have an incredible gift from God with words. I love the beautiful photos you've shared with us. I, too, take most of my photos with my phone because it's always with me. I loved everything about this post. I can just imagine sitting and chatting in your garden with you. Miss Riley is gorgeous and you can just see the love she has for you in her beautiful eyes.

  8. Your post is so soothing to me and I just love your song. Beautiful pictures to go with your wonderful words. It is fun to have a phone right there, isn't it? Now you have to join Instagram, which is all about posting pictures!

  9. Marilyn, such lovely photographs. I take my pictures with my smart phone too. I do find happiness and contentment in simpler things. Love seeing Miss Riley! ♥

  10. Those sunflowers are simply amazing!! I love you country place! It is so pretty! I will come back to read more.

  11. Well girl, you certainly could be a song writer. Loved the lyrics! The only thing missing was hearing you singing it. :) I love the sunflowers. Too bad they bloomed so late. I love your country garden and how you are surrounded by woods! The donkey and horse reminds me of my friends dog. I save bones for him. Every time I go there he thinks I have some for him. :)

  12. I just loved this post!! What beautiful lyrics! The Lord is so Good! I love the little critter in the birdhouse.

  13. A beautiful post, Marilyn, filled with bright sunflowers and wonderful words of praise to God.

  14. I loved this post! The 'song' you wrote, Our Lord reigns, He reigns, He reigns in majesty! Amen to that! (As I write this I'm listening to No Longer Slaves.) Your sunflowers... I adore them, they're my favorite flower! I've grown them for many years but for some reason, the last few years something is eating the tiny leaves that first appear. So frustrating. That squirrel is adorable! All stretched out to enjoy the presence of the Lord! I love that.

  15. Dear Marilyn, I loved this post and catching up with you. Your garden is so delightful, with your toad, frog, squirrel and Miss Riley. Your flowers are gorgeous and your pictures are perfect-not too grainy at all. The smoke is just starting to disappear here and we are wondering how the fires in Montana are doing-with Irma hitting Florida, the news of the fires has stopped. Your song is so sweet and such Truth. I'm once again avoiding staying outside for long-other than for walks, because of all the mosquitoes. I am especially sensitive to them and just got about 6-8 new bites in the last day.
    Oh how Precious is the Lord! Thank you for sharing.
    Hugs, Noreen

  16. Loved your photos and your beautiful song, Marilyn! Yes, God is right there in the smallest of things to bring us joy and peace and hope. He reigns, indeed!
    Oh, and was that Grey spying on the two of you? :) He never wants to miss out on his favorite folks' activities!
    Blessings to you!

  17. Oh Marilyn...I almost felt like I was there with you. Such beautiful moments in your lovely garden...and that SONG! You really are a songwriter! What beautiful words! Yes, that little smart phone will change how you do a few things and after a while, you will wonder how you ever got along without it, LOL! It took me until last year to finally get one...and you are right, at least with my phone, the pics look great on the phone screen but when they are enlarged, not so least with mine. I so enjoyed reading this beautiful post! Hugs & blessings!

  18. Those toads are really something else! Lovely moments with our Lord you had in your garden. So sweet that Riley wanted to join in on the moment with you. Our Lord reigns, yes and amen. I'm hoping all the fires are out soon and that the skies will be clear and blue again for everyone in the fire areas.

  19. Lovely days in the garden for sure, Marilyn and lovely lyrics as well. I am not surprised you are super creative and what inspiration you must garner in that lovely land of safe with the smoke. It's just awful.

  20. Hi Marilyn! Your garden is lovely as always. I love my smart phone mostly for the camera, and it's a lot easier to use than my camera, too.
    Have a great rest of the week!

  21. Oh Marilyn, as always, your posts are just so beautiful and they fill my heart with so much joy! I'm also a smartphone user, iphone to be tends to become an addiction pretty quickly since it is a mini-computer at my fingertips. I have to put it down for long stretches of time :)

  22. Hello Marilyn, this post was so sweet . . . I love your little farm and your garden is wonderful. We are experiencing the smoke too, but not so bad today. Cool weather is on the horizon and I have been getting busy trying to tear my garden out. Last year I didn't get it all done and the old plants where a mess to clean up and clear in the spring. I have the old pick-up loaded and will be going to the dump today . . . it will probably take about four trips total. I call our little hobby farm my gym membership, it is how I get my workouts, LOL.
    Have a sweet day . . . I would love to be sitting in one of those chairs out in your garden watching the squirrels play and visiting.
    Connie :)

  23. Oh, Miss Riley is so sweet! And so are the donkey and horse - and the toad and the tree frog! We had a bunny in our fenced in garden (somehow!!) who made sure that I got no peas, beans, or Carmen peppers this year. :-(( But I almost forgot anything I was going to write when I came to that wonderful song of praise. Amen, Amen!! Just beautiful!

  24. Your sweet dog looks like such a special companion! I only use my phone for pictures for my blog! Don't have a camera, so I run them through PicMonkey to fix them up if needed. I love the convenience of a portable camera! Your garden looks wonderful, and loved seeing those huge sunflowers, and wow, that gigantic toad! Amazing how that smoke travels. My mom in Denver said they had fallout from the fires, too.
    I think it is so special that you write hymns. What a wonderful way to express your gratitude to our Lord.
    Blessings, Deborah

  25. What a blessing to have such a garden! And the flowers are just beautiful, as is Miss Riley. ♡

  26. Nothing like the chattering of a squirrel to interrupt a moment of peaceful solitude. I can make no sense of the atrocities in our world, but when I'm in my garden, closer to God, I feel peace regardless of what I've read about that day.
    I loved this post and spending some time in your yard with you was so lovely. Have a wonderful weekend,

  27. This is the post I needed to read this morning, my friend lost her husband last night and it all went so fast, it was quite a shock, and so hard to understand the why of it all.
    You have such a lovely garden and how wonderful to have so many animals all around, I like how the horse and donkey are getting quite vocal when they see you :) Miss Riley is so sweet, how wonderful to have her as a companion as you have time with the Lord!
    Your sunflowers are just lovely, so very sweet!

  28. You have such a pretty garden and I LOVE your sunflowers. It's so nice to see the chickens running around and the horse and donkey.
    I do hope you enjoy fall as it must be beautiful there.
    Thanks for the visit to my blog.

  29. Oh what beautiful flowers and what beautiful photos you take.. Just love them.. SO enjoyable to just look at your blog. Thank you so much.
    Loved the toad hid out in the bird house.. tooo cute.
    I think you spoiled the horse and donkey while you were pet sitting.ha
    God is good and blesses us so much.. Enjoyed your song.

  30. I LOVE this so much...first of all, everything in your garden is so beautiful and wonderful...Love the tall sunflowers! But most of all I love that you spent that time in prayer and song, praying for us here in the path of Hurricane Irma...your prayers were answered at least for us. I know many had a much worse time and still are suffering the results, but God is with them and will bring them through. We were spared the very worst of the storm even though it was still quite scary listening to the wind howling through the trees all night long. There is a lot of tree damage in our woods...but none on or around our house...Praise GOD!! We were w/o power for 3 days, but God took such good care of us. We are just so thankful and can't give Him enough praise. I love your song. It is perfect in every way. Love the squirrel and special. Thank you for this post. I'm just reading it now as I didn't have my internet for several days and missed so much...but so thankful for how God was with us in this storm. I praise Him!!!!

  31. I love your song! Lovely and full of adoration for the Lord Jesus!
    Your garden is WONDERFUL!

  32. Hello,
    I love, love this post. Your song is beautiful. I am sharing it with my family.
    So much going on in our Nation. I do appreciate your words of wisdom. I too take time for our Lord in my garden. I did just that on Tuesday. I just sat outside watched the butterflies, bees and hummingbirds and prayed.
    Thank you again for sharing your farm with us, I do enjoy your words and photos.
    Love, Carla

  33. Oh, you are a songwriter, Marilyn; your song is lovely. I can in my mind's eye see you, with your faithful Riley on your lap, singing the words to your song. Yay for smartphones. I think your shots captured with your phone are lovely. Are they grainy?? They look perfect to me; but then I am no photographer. =) Yes, the simple things in life always fill my heart with joy. I don't know how many times I find myself in my garden thinking upon and being grateful for the simplicity of every day. How lovely for you to have such a lovely garden. A beautiful place in which to pray and reflect with the Father. Those times are so very special. I always am reminded of the quote "Time began in a garden."As always, lovely Marilyn, your post has cheered my soul and made my heart smile.

  34. What a beautiful garden you have. You are very blessed to have such wildlife come to visit!

  35. What a beautiful garden and spaces you have!!! My goodness - living near a large airport I can't imagine how gloriously peaceful it must be to live in such a spot. Your wildlife friends and four-legged friends cracked me up. I thought that little frog in the birdhouse was a BIRD at first. Sneaky little guy thinking NO one would think to look for a frog in a birdhouse. Your song/poem is lovely -- you have talent!!

  36. Your garden is filled with pretty flowers. Have fun playing with your new smartphone.

  37. What a beautiful life the Lord has blessed you with! Thank you for sharing all the sweet details. Love the pictures, and I'm glad you're enjoying your new phone camera.

  38. Oh my gosh so much to see in this post. - Loving your garden visitors, (toad & frog) You certainly have a wonderful looking garden. Riley is just so adorable. Your song was lovely and it was just such a pleasure to sit and read your post this morning.

  39. Making a quick post as I'm behind in my blog comments everywhere! I just love reading all the comments and your responses but am heading out of town tomorrow so don't have time to read it all! all I know is that this was a beautiful post, full of your love for the Lord and I really appreciated it... loved your song, and loved Riley joining you on your lap! She must have know something special was happening at that moment... same with Miss Sassy! Congrats on the new phones.. I wish I had one, if only for the great pictures the new smart phones take these days. I ALWAYS want a camera handy, but many times I didn't take it with me in the car.. an easy to carry camera would be so great. Mine is smallish but still can't carry it everywhere with me. I hope your smoke has cleared away.. ours has for now with some winds and even rain. I read your more recent post (haven't commented yet) and notice you had your freeze! I am still waiting for ours! Your visitors looked so sweet.. the big toad probably enjoyed his feasts of the summer! Oh... and how wonderful to have a horse nearby.. I've owned horses since I was 13..... almost all the years from then until I was about 60 and I surely do miss them. They are a very special breed of "friend". Hugs.. Marilyn


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