Sunday, May 17, 2015

An Airplane Birthday Party and New Baby Gender Reveal

My third grandson, Lucas, turned one yesterday!

His mommy (my daughter Julia) and his Aunt Lydia put together an airplane themed birthday party for about 30 guests in a local park. What I didn't know ahead of time is that they were also revealing the gender of Alex and Julia's baby due in September. That's what they meant by "CO-PILOT INTRODUCTION" and "REPORTING 9/19" on this sign!

Lots of photos taped up
on the pillars in the
picnic pavilion

Time for the traditional 1st birthday smash cake!

The twist is that the color of the cake inside reveals the gender of the new baby!

PINK!!!! The new baby is a GIRL!!!!!! Little sister Lyla is our fifth grandchild, but our first granddaughter. On Alex's side of the family, there are two grandsons but nogranddaughters. You can imagine that everyone let out a roar of cheers - so much that Lucas was startled and began to cry for a few minutes. He just doesn't know what all the fuss was about.

Don't you just love these signs!
"Baggage Claim!" Ha!
He got lots of toys, clothes, and books!

Besides the blue ball and the froggy hat pictured above, I got him a train with pieces that stack and nest, and a sturdy plastic airplane toy that we had thought about putting on the cake. Instead we put it on the table along with two airplane banks and some vintage metal prop planes. My daughter Naomi hung a few inflatable ones from the pavilion roof, and Lucas's older cousins got to take those home!

And here I am with his
younger cousin.

Lucas with his two grandmas

Such a fun birthday for a sweet and fun little boy!

We love you, Lucas!

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Images of My Month of May (So Far)

Our annual Mother's Day family photo -
two parents, seven daughters, three sons,
two sons-in-law, four grandsons,
and one unborn grandbaby due in September.

...and the silly version.
Picture frames from two of my grandsons

I just signed up as a
Compassionate Entrepreneur (CE)
with Trades of Hope,
a fair trade company which distributes
accessories and home decor
crafted by artisans in the Third World.
The goal? Empowering women
and ending poverty.
Check out the Trades of Hope story
and the products on my page:
Trades of Hope with Virginia Knowles
If you live near me,
I'd love to come do a home party.
Or you can do a Facebook party!
(I'll write more later about this!)

Andrew turned 18 this week!
He is deep and sweet,
and I love his hugs.

Joanna graduated from UCF
on Friday with a degree
in Interpersonal & Organizational
She starts grad school in
counseling in August.

Joanna with her sweetheart David,
who graduated on Thursday.

One of my favorite UCF
graduation traditions -
a pair of bag pipers!

Lydia at her first piano recital
with her teacher Erin VanWinkle

Speech therapy at A.LL Therapy Connection
I love this place!

Reward for a
job well done -
the climbing wall
in the OT gym area
at A.LL Therapy

Sisters at soccer
In other news, Rachel and Joanna are leaving in two days for three weeks in Europe. I can't wait to see pictures of Iceland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales... So jealous. Cottages! Must see cottages!

I hope you enjoyed these pictures of my month so far.

If you would like to read a little more and see some links on motherhood, click here: Simply Spring #9: Mother's Day and Meltdowns.

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Florida Through My Lens: Garden Gathering on Lake Bell

Our friends Bart and Judy invited a bunch of us over for lunch after church. As usual, I walked in the front door and within a few minutes I was right out the back door with camera in hand. It's something of a tradition...

Lake Bell

Who moved the canoe?

Caladium in three color combinations...

Canna lily

Spathe flower

An old wheelbarrow

Not sure which tree,
but I'd recognize the
Spanish moss anywhere.

Fallen trunk, two views -
- notice the little details
of fibers like a broom
and holes like a sponge

I had a lovely time chatting, eating, and of course taking photos. Remember the kids leaning over the lake in the top picture? Yes, they caught plenty of polliwogs in cups to take home.

I am grateful for the hospitality and the fellowship of dear friends!

Other photo posts from Bart and Judy's house...

Virginia Knowles

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This is Where I Am in Time

This is where I am in time
I think as I glance at the
Calendar on my wall
A block for today on the page
For this month, this year, this lifetime:
Here I am

Yesterday I had been traveling 
Around and about
Finding my way on a map
Looking ahead to each
Place I would visit
Before my ending destination: home
Where I am now

So I thought as I looked
Curiously at this calendar
That this too was a map
Of time, my time, my place in time:
Here I am
Here and now
For just one moment
Then on to the next now and the next

Though I still meander around and about
In my memory, my history, gathering
Stories and images and vintage beauties
These souvenirs I bring along
Still, I cannot go back in time
I only move forward
With the wisdom I hope I have gleaned
Into a future unseen

This is where I am in time
I am here and I am now
On my journey day by day by day
Toward home

Last Friday and Saturday I went to a church ladies retreat in a quaint little historic town. I walked with a new friend and fellow poet, Debbie Burton, and we were talking about fresh inspiration. I told her that I don't make myself write poetry. I wait until an idea comes and grabs me.

Afterward, I wandered around and looked at the art and vintage stores before heading home. Quite exhausted, I fell into bed early, fully clothed, then woke up again in the wee hours. I snapped on the light and there by my bed was the calendar.

And these words started tumbling in my brain. Or, as I said before, the idea came and grabbed me. So I got up and wrote, first scribbling on the back of scrap paper, then typing in my computer. Then I went back to bed. I woke up and, mind a bit fresher, worked on it a little more. And the day marched on.

Here it is Wednesday afternoon, three days and how many moments passed? Sleeping, eating, cleaning, driving, teaching, dreaming, scheming, cooking, shopping, reading, writing, playing, gazing, smirking, smiling, consulting, consoling, arguing, sighing, twiddling, fiddling...

This is where I am in time.

Virginia Knowles

P.S. #1: This poem reminds me of the song "Tick Tock" by Chris Rice.

P.S. #2: This is not my only poem that talks about the passage of time and life as a journey. Here are some others:

Or, if you would like to see a whole PDF book of my poems and essays, you can click here: Pilgrimage and Jubilee: My First Fifty-Ish Years in Poetry, Prose, and Pictures

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pilgrimage and Jubilee: My First Fifty-Ish Years in Poetry, Prose, and Pictures

Dear friends,

For many years, I had been plotting to compile a book of my poems, favorite essays, stories, and photos to chronicle my first 50 years of life. I knew I would call it Pilgrimage and Jubilee. My initial goal was to do it in time for my 50th birthday, but that was over a year ago. However, I did manage to pull it off in time to print up several copies as Christmas presents for my family. I finished it on Christmas Eve, so I was cutting it close!

Anyway, I thought you all might like to see it, too, so I have uploaded the PDF file to Scribd and embedded it here in this post. You can scroll through it or download it as you like. If you want to view it full screen, you can click on the rectangle button on the right side of the Scribd bar underneath the document window.

It even has color pictures, which the printed version didn't. I created all of the art work and most of the photos.  
If you are one of my relatives, you might be particularly interested, because I put in a lot of information about our mutual ancestors, too. Even if you aren't part of our clan, the historical details might intrigue you. What can you find out about your own family?

Let me know what you think!

Much love,

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tabebuia, The Brilliant Yellow Flowering Tree of Spring

The brilliant yellow tabebuia trees are in bloom everywhere around the Orlando area, but only for a short time. I see them in every neighborhood as I drive around, but this tree is only a block from our house.

I meant to get out and photograph it earlier, but by the time I found my way over there, camera in hand, so many blooms had already fallen. Even as I clicked away, dozens more floated to the ground. I do love the yellow carpet effect, though. I had to watch where I stepped, because the bees loved it, too, and were buzzing around my feet, busily gathering nectar and pollen. I'm not afraid of them, but I do have a healthy respect and don't wish to disturb them from their labors.

We do not have the traditional "seasons" in Florida. No snow, not much autumn brilliance. But I do try to stay attuned to blooming times of the magnolia, camellia, rain tree, flame vine, and tabebuia. I try to stay mindful in the moments and appreciate the beauty where I can find it. Then I memorialize them with my lens so I can enjoy them all year long.

How about you? 

Flowers in the Neighborhood:
All flower posts on this blog: Flowers

Most recent flower post from Leu Gardens, with links to botanical gardens posts: Flowers in Florida (A Bit of Spring)

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