Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, September 22, 2008

From The Beginning This Relationship Has Been Rocky

Commelina communis Asiatic Day Flower


From the beginning my relationship with Chez Cedar has been rocky.

My home ownership biological clock was ticking and I wanted a bigger home and yard for my family!
I wasn't so desperate that I would settle for just anything, but I did find myself thinking, "Not anywhere near perfect, but with a little work we can whip this place into shape!" So Chez and I embarked on our journey.

It became clear in those early years that
Chez and I weren't soul mates. There were many complaints. I talked endlessly with Mr. I Don't and friends about the flaws! Something had to be done or this relationship would continue to make everyone uncomfortable.

We sought advice, with endless trips to the bookstore for self help books. Our bookshelves were filled with early attempts to understand the problems.

Books like~~Complete Do It Yourself Manual (Readers Digest), Home Repair and Improvement Series (Time Life), The Home Decorator's Bible and my personal favorite Superwoman by Shirley Conran. Feng Shui, Wabi Sabi and A Gentle Plea For Chaos were tried and rejected!

No amount of complaining and grousing was going to make this relationship work. Real change had to take place! We had improved all we could by ourselves. We needed professional help.

The professionals arrive!

We saw Bruce. He was highly recommended by our dear friends. He was a relationship rehabber! It was clear to him that something had to change. He recommended getting rid of everything that was no longer working for us. He assured us that these changes would bring us a sense of calm and relaxation. We agreed to work with him. We tore down old walls that had kept us from communicating and flowing. With an open plan our communication improved....the boxed in feeling was gone. Ennui was lifted from Chez. Our relationship began to blossom.
Lantana with Gulf Fritillary

A few years later, when we felt crowded and needed a change, we called Nancy. She thought our connection to nature was out of whack; we needed to open up and breath. She said we needed to expand our presence in the universe. Positive affirmations were assigned. Cognitive restructuring was going to be necessary! She suggested reconstructive cosmetic surgery for Chez! He was looking tired. It was a big decision. Finally, after many consultations, we all agreed that it was time for a big change.
Early summer on the front path

The reconstruction was successful. Chez looked hip with his new porch. We could breath fresh air and commune with nature.
Bee and Salvia azurea

Blooming continued. We grew closer.

But still there were nagging moments. The fall of our discontent was upon us. We needed more guidance. Everything felt chaotic.
Before~ 2008

We needed a coach, so we called Sarah. She listened respectfully and suggested a few coaching sessions. During that time, she reminded me that change takes time. She suggested we begin looking at Clay and Limestone differently. She said that by making a few changes we could significantly improve Chez.
After~ 2008

She helped us focus and expand our vision.



Words like acceptance, cohesiveness, harmony, natural, openness, compromise and quirky were embraced*. We recommitted to our original vows of honoring the land; accepting the clay and limestone conditions, dealing with the dry summers and wet winters and celebrating cedar glade native plants. We opened our hearts and minds to exotic plants that would add quirkiness and fun to the landscape of our relationship.
Tricyrtis "Empress" Toad Lily

We dug in and committed to doing the work. The changes we are undertaking are often difficult, always stimulating and so much fun. Sometimes we get exhausted by the magnitude of the tasks. More often we are humbled that simple changes in attitude and vision could bring about a renewed passion and a deepening love for our home and garden!

Thank goodness there's help out there when you need it!

Gail

;-) My dear friends! Thank you for nominating me for several categories in the Blotanical Best of Awards: Most User Friendly, Best Blog Post (Have You Ever Wondered How Blogs Got Their Names) and Best New Comer Blog. What a delightful honor! Really! All the nominees and their blogs are fantastic. If you've never been to Blotanical or haven't signed up...this is a great time to pop over there to visit blogs from around the globe. You won't be disappointed.

my warmest thoughts for you all! gail


....I am hear to live out loud. Emile Zola

* Thank you Carol!

69 comments:

  1. What a sweet story of your relationship with Chez Cedar. You did such a good job of telling all about it and I am glad the relationship is working out. Sure is a bummer to move-trust me I know! I moved eight times in 20 years but am now staying put. Looks like you will too but at first I thought you were going to sell Chez Cedar:(

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  2. Hi Gail, you were right, I love love love this post. Your use of therapist jargon is not lost on me either! LOL You are so funny! I see the difference in the lonely woodpile by the side of the carport from when I was there, you have been busy and the new gate is fantastic. Your front porch is my favorite part of your lovely home, with excellent open spaces and flow inside too. May you and Chez have a long and happy relationship.
    Frances

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  3. What a wonderful love story. You now have a lovely relationship you have with Chez Cedar. We should all be inspired to be more open to counseling when needed.

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  4. tina,

    We moved like that when I was a kid; it wasn't easy. I know you must feel glad to put down roots and dig in!
    No we aren't selling, sorry to have teases you! Gail

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  5. Frances,

    I hoped you would like it! The jargon was fun to use and true, too. The porch is pretty wonderful, but the changes Bruce brought were steller. I'll bring a before photo when I visit. The gate looks so much better and there is a matching one on the other side. Now all trash cans are well hidden,

    Gail

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  6. Lisa,

    Chez is still not my dream house; but it's pretty wonderful! Professionals were totally necessary as the Mr and I haven't those skills! I'm glad you stopped by to hear this tale!

    Gail

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  7. What a lovely post Gail! Chez Cedar is such a beautiful place.

    Relationships can sure be challenging, and sometimes a person can feel like giving up and walking away. In the face of the challenges you've faced together, it's inspiring to see how your commitment to making it more fulfilling has been successful.

    May yours and Chez continue to inspire each other, and may your union continue to be blessed. May you continue to build and strengthen your relationship, and enjoy many happy years together in the future.

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  8. I love the flow of your story and the imagery. Feeling "home" is so much a part of achieving peace of mind. You've done so much and it all sounds wonderful! Cameron

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  9. Glad you can breathe a little easier now. Good Story.

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  10. All relationships require work. The more effort we put into them, the more we get from them;)
    Marnie

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  11. It's important to know when to ask for help and the right therapist makes a big difference. You've succeeded on both counts! I need to print out your closing paragraphs to encourage me when I'm feeling overwhelmed here at Wit's End.

    That toad lily is GORGEOUS. ::: sigh :::

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  12. Linda.

    Glad you stopped by this morning, I am having coffee and would love the company! It's about 67 degrees and the porch chairs are calling. Thank you for your kind compliment, Chez and C&L aren't looking bad these days! Here's a bit of history that makes me laugh, now! We didn't realize that there wasn't a central heating sytem! The whole house was heated by electrical heating in the ceilings! Our attic was toasty but our toddler was cold crawling on the floor. Electricity was cheaper then anyone can imagine when this was built in 1959! So from the beginning we have had professionals mucking about in our relationship! Have a lovely day!

    Gail

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  13. I think if we all learned to accept our surroundings as you have done we would have happier gardens! Great post!

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  14. cameron,

    Feeling home is the best way to put it! That is exactly how we began to feel! Thank you! Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone could feel peace of mind in their home and garden?

    Gail

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  15. It's good when you can admit that you need professional help:) Sounds like you met some good counselors and the therapy has been successful!
    Such an enjoyable post, Gail; I loved the story of Chez Cedar and how you have learned to embrace it, flaws and all. With all the trees and lush green around your home, though, Chez Cedar looks like such a peaceful place, almost Zen-like.

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  16. Congratulations on your Blotanical award nominations! What a labor of love your home & garden are. I also appreciated the psychiatric jargon. I like the rolling screen idea. I've been thinking about asking my brother in law to build some screens for the ac unit & the compost area when he has the time. I like the look of yours. So, are you totally digging your Tricyrtis?

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  17. MMD, I am totally digging the Toad Lily! It has everything I like! It's quirky, it's a lovely color that isn't yellow (i love the Susans, but....) and it looks like it will be happy here....if I only use my brain and water it occasionally! Do you have Empress? She is spectacular in person, I might have to embrace more of her kind!

    I want to take a shot of how the screen fits with the whole carport. It has a big visual impact. Do ask him to make your screens. Maybe they aren't absolutely top priority, but if you always notice the ac and compost, it will help.

    Thanks, it was a COMPLETE shock! It's really ironic and too funny that none of my posts are showing at Blotanical these days! The fixes don't work for me...but Blotanical are still dating! Now blogger and I might break up;-)

    Gail

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  18. Gail, I really liked this post. It gave me more insight into your world, and it opened my eyes to my own relationship with my home. I'd been feeling dissatisfied lately, and your post caused me to look at some of the changes we've already made in a new light. Yes, there need to be more changes, but just reading your post (and thinking) have raised my level of contentment considerably. Time well spent! Thank you!

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  19. I enjoyed your parable about finding contentment where you've put down roots. It's not always (ever?) the place we dreamed of, but we find ways to make it feel like home over time. Clearly you've done a wonderful job with making your house and property feel like a home and a garden. I hope to do the same with our new place...over time.

    Congrats on your Blotanical nominations, by the way!

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  20. This was a very inspired post! You have been working at this, your Chez Cedar, for some time. Isn't nice to have others' perspectives? And I can tell you are getting along famously, as your posts are so very lovingly created. :-)

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  21. I enjoyed reading of your on going relationship with Chez Cedar. Sometimes our visions do take an expert eye to help with the realization. We have done so much remodling to our place over the last 30 years, it is hard to remember what it originally looked like. But we now have a home we love. The same way with the gardens, although they are still a work in progress. Do we ever really get finished with them? :)

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  22. Just when I think my garden is going to get the best of me, I come here and see your victories. I feel encouraged. Seems like Frances visit was an inspiration and I can see how the two of you could scheme up all kinds of good gardening ideas.

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  23. Did I miss the memo where today is the day when all blogs will knock my socks off. There is some great writing going on today on the blogs I viist, inlcluding yours.

    Congratulations on the nominations. I do hope you have an acceptance speech ready. : )

    I throughly enjoyed reading about your transformation.

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  24. darla, Thank you! It took years before I ever felt like I was breathing easy! Is your home and garden an easy place to be? Gail

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  25. Marnie, So right! I wondered at times if this 'relationship could be saved"! The professionals really helped me get on track...focus and expand;-) Gail

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  26. Cindy, Friends say the kindest things! That was a kind comment and it means a lot to me! It is a good looking Toad Lily...I went to the nursery to get another plant and all the toad lilies were sold out! Is there no way that Wit's End could love a Toad Lily or two? Are you in Zone 10? I am sighing with you! Gail

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  27. Rose, I begged for help! I saved for help! It was SO worth it! Especially when it came to wall removal and adding on! It is green and shady but unfortunately...the local traffic keeps it from being Zen like! I am really pleased that you liked the post...gail

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  28. Dave,

    It took some work to get to acceptance! But you are very wise in what you say...it's applicable to many relationships we have in our lives! Gail

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  29. Kim,

    That is one of the nicest comments a blogger can get! Thank you! I am so very curious about what you are planning on doing with your place! It's exciting and scary to take on change! Gail

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  30. Pam,

    I like that; parable is a good word! Many of us are poised on the edge of our seats anticipating your move! How exciting to explore the unknowns and learn the givens! You are going to have so much fun!

    Do you se this as being a permanent home? Congratulations on your nominations! You have an outstanding blog!

    Gail

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  31. shady, Hi there! Chez and I are at a good place with each other. Now if it would start raining again our world would be Fab! Rain, I miss it! I put the seeds in the mail for you..I hope they do well. Gail

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  32. Beckie,

    Nope we never finish with out gardens...they are aging, trees grow taller, plants die (imagine that) and some thugs take over or we fall in the love with something new! It's a joy isn't it!

    How wonderful that you have created the home you all love! It is a good feeling...then add your children and grandchildren to the mix and voila...heavenly!

    Gail

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  33. Anna,

    Frances and I had a lot of fun together...we talk about plants and garden ideas! It is a good thing to have another garden addict to bounce ideas off of! I feel very fortunate to have met so many delightful gardeners this past year:) What's happening in your garden? Have you started on the shed?!!!!

    Gail

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  34. Eve,

    I haven't been out and about yet! Trapped with other jobs...my mom's estate; who knew it took so much time and energy. But now I must go out and see all the good blogs! Thanks for the nudge out the door!

    I am so glad you liked the blog post. ..it was fun to write. Thank you for the nod to the nominations, what a fantastic group of bloggers I have been lucky to have landed within. I am really honored!

    gail

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  35. Gail,

    I am continually amazed by your beautiful blog. It is different from any other blog I read - original, creative, beautiful! Just like you, my friend.

    Loved this entry...I nominate you for an award for most wonderful friend ever.... :)

    xxoo

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  36. Lynnie,

    Hey there! You sweetie pie! I love you, too! Are you in the states? xxGail

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  37. I love the story and I totally feel your pain but also your enlightenment about not fighting it but working with what you have. And you have created some beautiful spaces.

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  38. Every relationship requires some work and TLC (even those we have with our homes!). Isn't it great when we can transform something that's just okay into something we just adore? All it takes is a little bit of effort, patience, and heaps of frustration. Right?

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  39. A wonderful story of your relationship with Chez. Good help is invaluable, as you no doubt know! That goes for houses too.

    You deserve the accolades and awards.

    All the best,
    Robin Wedewer
    National Gardening Examiner
    (and chicken lover)

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  40. Congratulations on your nominations. I loved reading this post. It is so poignant that it makes one stop & think about what they already have before them. Sometimes it takes a little adjustments to the person.
    Love the toad lily. Beautiful.

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  41. Bonnie, How sweet, thank you! It was a slow process. really slow sometimes! The garden is a work in "progmess" right now!

    Lola, Thank you so very much....Sometimes you write something and you just don't know if it is anything anyone wants to read! The Toad Lily is my favorite plant, right now! Well, she's tied with a few others!

    Cinj, Now that was beautifully said! There certainly was heaps of frustration and now it's a good house!

    Thank you all for popping over for a visit!

    Gail

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  42. Robin,

    Good help is important to have and not always so easy to come by! A handyman on retainer would be lovely.
    Thank you Robin, all the nominees are stellar. There is so much talent in the blogging community. So many blogs yet to visit!
    Gail

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  43. All relationships take a bit of work and are ongoing evolutions don't you think? I'm so happy to hear that you have good 'therapists' to help with the compromises at 'Chez Cedar'!

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  44. Fantastic post - lots of little lessons we can all learn from. I love how each "professional" helped you renew your relationship with Chez. I keep whinning that I want to move, and my husband keeps reminding me that "wherever you go, there YOU are"

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  45. Layanee,

    Boy have I been lucky to find the best help; good creative people who worked hard to help Chez realize 'his' potential. On another note! I am getting excited about my visit to RI and getting to spend time with you and Tucker!

    Gail

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  46. I love this, Gail! Your home needed you and you needed your home...you grew together with all the help and inspiration! Wonderful way of "putting things" and I loved the photographs, especially of that unusual little lily!

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  47. glad you and chez have come to terms. sounds like compromise, alot like marriage.
    love the summer path up the walkway, i would be spending hours in the outdoor room.

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  48. A cute way of summing home renovations! I believe we could write an entire book on the renovations we have tackled in our 7 years here! I have called 15 different dwellings home and a bit of sadness with each departure. Hopefully dwelling number 16 will be my last move and with fingers crossed, that move will be back to TN...

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  49. omg, I can SO relate to your post (I feel another best blog topic nomination coming on). I have had a zillion issues with my house but I fell for the "bones" of it and I keep plugging away to make it work also. Your porch looks like someplace I could sit for hours. I think home ownership requires a lot of commitment, patience, time, fortitude and not in the least, a lot of money! Congrats on all your blog nominations, they are well deserved.

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  50. jgh, Can you see me smiling...Thank you for the kind compliment..sometimes a little bit of cosmetic work can make all the difference in how we feel about our houses. I am thinking that painting might refresh the kitchen and den! Another therapy visit is in the works!

    Gail

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  51. Great story of your lives. :) What a gorgeous place you have!

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  52. Tile Lady, I highly recommend the Toad Lily, it is a wonderful little member of the Liliaceae family. Imagine bloom this late! Sometimes houses and people find each other!

    gail

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  53. marmee,

    It is a great sidewalk and I do spend a lot of time right there, it's close to the porch, the bird feeders and the hose! The mosquitoes are equally happy hanging out with me....I do hope that you get to visit sometime.

    Gail

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  54. Skeeter,

    We would love to have you in Nashville! Where is Tennessee would you move? You can build your dream house! I remember you referencing that a t one time. So you could move here, Nashville is a great community! Tell the Saint Gail said so!

    gail

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  55. Kathleen,

    Thank you! I do hope that folks enjoy reading what I write. Maybe I won't write the Therapy Bible I had wanted to write way back when, but can write a few well received posts. It's fun and satisfying to blog. Don't you think so, too?

    Maybe in the next few weeks Blotanical will start picking up my posts again;-)

    Gail

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  56. So glad you got nominated in many categories. I knew you would:) That post on how blogs got their names has to be the best of the year. It was so insightful and so many responded. Very interesting indeed and a great way for us to learn about one another. When will they announce the awards? After the voting? Will be looking to see my some of my favorite bloggers names there-You, PG, and Frances for sure! Good luck and I have voted.

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  57. Tina,

    Hi and thank you for all that! You are the dearest person. There are terrific bloggers nominated, a great group. This weekend or later is the last voting, I think! I just tried to get into my plot and couldn't...that's the way it has been since the nominating started. Many of the blogs I usually read aren't showing up on blotanical picks. Very frustrating...Mr McGregor's Daughter has a post up on it!

    Gail

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  58. This is just a beautiful story. I love this post. This is my first visit and I will be back.

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  59. I saw MMD'S post and feel her frustration. Many do.

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  60. Valerie,

    You are so welcome here and thank you for your very kind words. I hope it's a fun blog and that folks can take something with them whenever they stop by.

    Gail

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  61. Tina,

    Yep frustrated is the word on the blog highway!

    gail

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  62. Gail, I am a born and bread Tennessee gal! Born in Clarksville in old downtown area! That is where I learned about nature and wildlife! I have lived all over the place following my hubby with his job supporting the military as a Government contractor maintaining computer systems. He is always looking though and wanting to get into the Civil Service for our future security. We are hoping to one day get him on a contract at Ft Campbell but just no jobs there at this point. He has also looked outside the Government contract world and Nashville is a hot spot but they don’t pay what he earns where he currently is so we must go where the money is for us and for now, that is here in Ga. … Not many good paying jobs out there for Computer maintenance any more… Sigh. I had wanted to get back to TN before retirement but at the rate we are going, we may not be back there until then…

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  63. What a fun story about you and Chez. And all those people who helped you and Chez grow loser together, how beautiful!

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  64. dp,

    Yes they did help and the wonderful thing about all of the consultants, they are still dear people in our lives!

    How are things going for you?

    Gail

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  65. That's a wonderful relationship you are having and that's great you created your own space to each other.
    It's worth reading such a nice post. Thank you.
    Magic Of Making Up

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  66. Hi Gail,

    Yes, now I'm in the states. We stopped in Napa for a couple of days on our way to Missouri. The weather is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful...I know you want rain but this is wonderful for Hong Kongers....if only we could disperse the world's rain more evenly! We left Hong Kong as a typhoon was approaching and got out of there in the nick of time, as buckets of rain poured down on the airport.....

    Hugs, Lynn

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  67. Wow that's nice and I think you are having good time...Enjoy...
    --------
    Magic of Making up

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  68. I too feel a calmness in my garden. I can relax and enjoy the flowers and the trees it is such a wonderful lucky feeling to have your on little spot of heaven.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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