Rain and violets…


Dearest readers, well, a week or so ago I was lamenting that the annual wild violets that I’ve come to take for granted were offering me a hard lesson: they may not be taken for granted. Not at all. Particularly midst the worst drought California has experienced in a long time. And in my many decades living here I’d never experienced the likes of months without rain, with only a faint whisper of hope that it might change. I’m certain I was not alone in praying to the Rain Gods that Be, asking for a miracle of a wet winter, even though February had arrived. And then the deluge. Last week the miracle arrived and our creeks filled to overflowing. Is it the end of drought? Perhaps not. But nearly overnight the garden was transformed. The dry grasses turned green. The roses sprouted all manner of leaves. And the violets emerged in sheer hours. Where tiny stunted stems had prevailed, pink, white and purple flowers stretched themselves at the ends of tall straight stems and we all collectively breathed a sigh of deep relief and gratitude.


The flagstones were embraced with their loveliness.


Tiny white flowers embedded themselves into previously all lavender violets. Where do they come from? I have no answer.


Curbs are suddenly graced by the beauty of a single small plant, insistent on its place in the world as I know it.


Happily, after weeks of dry winter and somber questions I’m escorted into a fertile generous reality that enables me the simple expanded pleasure of gathering this tiny bouquet, reminding me of the blessing of clear, pure water.


(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands


I hope you are feeling abundance wherever you are…

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxo


The Good Things Jar and Gratitude


“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder

Rare it is for me to revisit a topic covered on this dear blog, but revisit I will the Good Things Jar and with good purpose. Last January it was an idea. This January I speak from experience! I want to share with you what it ultimately meant to me, and thus perhaps inspire those of you who have not explored this simple practice, or maybe hear from those of you who did try and had a lovely result!

“For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Good Things Jar (mine pictured above, and more offerings from readers at the original post) was intended simply as a place where we might jot down blessings as they came upon us in our daily lives, dropping said notes into and kept in our own chosen Good Things Jar, with the intention of opening it up on New Year’s Eve as a wonderful opportunity to take stock of the many ways we had experienced the graces in our lives, and to reflect with gratitude on those events and experiences. I thought it would be a fabulous way to end the year, and to set the tone for the upcoming year, and, in fact, it was.

Write the wrongs that are done to you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble. Let go of all emotions such as resentment and retaliation, which diminish you, and hold onto the emotions, such as gratitude and joy, which increase you. —Arabic proverb

Equally, if not more importantly, having my Good Things Jar sitting on my private altar all year long actually encouraged me to be thinking of things to add to it, thus directing a positive orientation, in a quiet anticipation of the miracles, large and small (if one can make such a distinction), that visited me regularly, as I’m sure they do you as well. I saw immediately the value of this, of course. The Good Things Jar set my course towards gratitude, a blessing in itself. My dearest teacher, Angeles Arrien, in her book Living in Gratitude posits, “Perhaps the key reason we do not make gratitude a part of our daily lives is that the accelerated pace and multiple distractions of modern life have simply made it all too easy to forget gratitude’s importance.” The practice of having a Good Things Jar is a shortcut to expressing gratitude that will live with you throughout the entire year. Imagine the joy of sharing all the good things that will happen to you throughout 2014 with those you love on New Year’s Eve. Imagine the joy of sharing with those you love on New Year’s Eve the ways in which they have contributed to your heart and soul throughout the year, and the loving impact that would have on your relationships!

“There are three medicines that you should put in your medicine bundle every day: the power of acknowledgement and gratitude, genuine apology, and the spirit of laughter and joy.” ~ Angeles Arrien

In opening my Good Things Jar on New Year’s Eve I found myself reading of my gratitude for a new red Jeep (!!); for continued praise, coverage and sales of my book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy; for designing and putting in place my own headstone [Oh, yes, I did; eventually will be posted. I promise!]; for the love and joy of my daughter in beautiful Hawaii; for good health; for the invitation to work on my all time favorite client’s new book this year (!); and many many more wonderful things to be grateful for. I also learned something. One note expressed great joy that my beloved kitty Sweet Pea had finally gotten “the right treatment” and was well. And in that moment it appeared like that. Still, within a month she had crossed over out of that broken body, leaving that particular note as poignant and giving me perspective. I could also express gratitude, however, that within two hours of leaving that body she appeared to me distinctly on the back steps, in the exact spot she had been sunning herself that morning, in the form of an alligator lizard–never seen before or since in my many years in this home. Thank you, Sweet Pea, for that reassurance. Very kind.
And so it goes, my dearest readers, life unfolding. The graces and miracles acknowledged, remembered and appreciated. I hope you will consider finding a jar–any jar would do, really. The original idea I’d found on the Net featured a mason jar. Why not? Whatever works. I found this to be a simple enlightening practice, and I could readily see a mother or grandmother introducing this fruitful idea to the young children in their lives. What a memorable gift that would be! I can also see couples having a shared jar that they read from at the end of the year. Wouldn’t that be enlivening and romantic?

Let me know what you opt to do, will you? And how it works out.

Meanwhile, please allow me to express my deepest gratitude to all of you who visit this blog and have for years and years. It is the readers who make the blog meaningful, a blessing to the blog writer. Thank you. Happy New Year!

Love and many blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Footnote! Received following from friend Carol, whose yellow pitcher Good Things Jar was featured on original post:

Kathryn. here is my NEW 2014 Good Things Jar. Had the jar and had decoupaged it in October but not happy with it. Spent a couple of days looking at images, cutting and gluing (use Mod Podge, white glue and a little h2o) and then, the fun part, creating an embellishment to dangle ’round the top. Have it up front and center on the table this week so I am in the habit of almost daily Gratitude slips. (I cut a few strips and have them easily accessible.)

Thank you for the inspiration and do enjoy your blogs,


Love this! So creative! Thank you, Carol! :)

Book News: More gratitude here expressed for the continued five-star reviews that are being posted on the Amazon page for Plant Whatever Brings You Joy! My heartfelt thanks to those known and those unknown. Each is a treasured gem for which I give thanks daily. Knowing my book has touched your heart encourages me to continue spreading the word in various venues. Thank you! <3


Book Notes: Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book


Longtime followers of this blog most likely know I love to bake! “Nothin’ says lovin’ like something from the oven” was a refrain I grew up on and apparently took to heart. Baking is fun and magical. So Christmas season, as in every kitchen, is a time to have every excuse to play, exploring all manner of recipes from all over the world as women (I’m imagining) worldwide created sweet delicacies for their friends and families and those recipes made their way into other women’s kitchens over centuries, really. How fascinating. And so when I noticed Betty Crocker had a book, Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, that assembled many of these recipes in one simple book I immediately purchased it and am gradually making my way through some of the options. This week I learned to make date pinwheels, which I actually thought I had made decades ago, but realized as I was rolling the sticky dough into a log and wrapped it in waxed paper, this was new territory. I think I managed pretty well for my first time. And they are delicious! And they have made lovely gifts for neighbors and friends!


Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book is easy to navigate. It begins with a cooky primer, covering drop, bar, refrigerator, rolled, pressed and molded cookies. There’s an inspiring section on Holiday cookies, appropriate at this time of year. Then moves on to Family Favorites, Quick ‘n Easy Cookies and Company Best Cookies, a bit more challenging, perhaps. My favorite section, however, is the Best Cookies section which covers cookies from a historical perspective. The Best Cooky of 1880-1890 is “Hermits”. Best Cooky of 1890-1900 is Cinnamon Jumbles. Oatmeal Drop Cookies were apparently Best of 1900-1910 and Ginger Creams were Best of 1910-1920. This section extends into the 1960′s and recipes are given for each Best Cooky!

My next endeavor will be to learn to make the German traditional Christmas pfeffernüsse. I will let you know how that goes! :)

Cookies at Christmastime have a special container in our household, so I will close this post with a peek at our endearing Santa cookie jar! All good yummy baked cookies live in here!


I wish you all the warmest end of year wishes, dearest readers! Merry Christmas, happy holidays and all good cheer!

Love and blessings,
Kathryn xoxox

Footnote to subscribers: Some of you might have noticed a little gremlin sneaked in some spam at the end of the Feedblitz announcement of this post. Rest assured that the combined efforts of Phil at Feedblitz and my trusty techie we have unearthed the code and it has been eliminated. Not to worry. Thank you!

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