Wedding by the Bay

Few things in life rival the beauty of a bride on her wedding day.


That beauty combined with all the laughter, love and joy-set amid the landscape of the Chesapeake Bay, made for a very memorable “all things beautiful” kind of day.


After several, unseasonably hot days on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Saturday was a mild 70 degrees-a perfect temperature for an outdoor wedding.



The scenery was spectacular…sailboats, ducks, seabirds, sand, even the infamous…


…Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Dwarfed only by the bay itself, it rose in the distance, a rock-solid symbol of strength and support-a very fitting backdrop to the culmination of a relationship that had already stood the test of time.


The very handsome groom is my nephew, Joe.  He was the first grandson, first nephew. Needless to say, I think we drove his very patient parents a little crazy in the beginning with our baby-loving frenzy!  He is named after my brother, Joseph III, so that would, of course, make him Joseph IV.  That information, however, was not relayed till after a few pranks had been played on my dad, allowing him to believe his first grandson’s name was actually… “Henry!”


My family remembers well, I’m sure, the t-shirt my ever-comical brother, Steve, bought for him with the phrase “Don’t call me Henry” printed across the front! I don’t recall if the t-shirt was given before or after the real name was revealed….I only remember the huge relief that shone on my dad’s face after finding out his first grandson would indeed bear his name and not some guy named Henry!

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Thirty  years and many out-grown t-shirts later, my first nephew said “I Do” to his gorgeous high-school sweetheart. They are an absolutely perfect couple and we are so thrilled to welcome his beautiful bride, Valerie, into our family!

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Here’s wishing them a long, happy life together…and maybe, some day, a little  “Henry” of their own!

Modeling the famous “Henry” t-shirt






And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13


♥ Jen

Rainy Day in May

American male bullfrog swimming among the drops

There is not much I enjoy more than a rainy day with nowhere to go.  Sometimes I love a good thunderstorm, and sometimes just a gently falling shower-when I can sit on the porch and enjoy the sounds and even the sweet smell that often accompanies a spring rain.

Drops of rain on Azalea leaf

When my sons were young, we used to gather in the living room where we could watch the lightning-show through the French doors and count the seconds till the thunder boomed….it was my way of getting them to focus on the beauty and awesomeness of a storm and hopefully prevent them from becoming fearful of them. Our dogs, however, were another story-one even had to be sedated during storms….a large shepherd no less!

After enjoying the serenity of a peaceful shower recently from my porch rocker, I decided to venture out with my camera and capture a few rainy-day moments.  Join me and let’s soak in the beauty of a lovely May shower together….

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Last of the spring-blooming azaleas
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Coral Bells peeking up among the Daylily foliage
Vibrant pink columbine
Delicate fern fronds unfurling against a rain-soaked oak
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Bright orange hanging begonia

And lastly, the first daylily bloom of spring…..

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I hope you enjoyed our brief but peaceful nature-walk in the rain and hope you’ll join me on another, as spring slips gently into summer.

∼ Jen

Taking Time to Smell the “Roses”…

and the rest of life’s little pleasures.



This little fellow has the right idea. He is also the inspiration behind this post.  When I photographed him, I loved that he had a flower stuck on the end of his nose!  Then I thought, wow, he really is taking that “take time to smell the roses” thing literally!!  Since photographing him several weeks ago, I think of him every time I stop, pull over, or just pause to soak in the unexpected beauty that sometimes just hits us out of the blue.

I’d love to share a few of my spontaneous photos….unexpected moments of beauty…


This was taken when the Dogwood trees were in full bloom a few weeks ago.  I was leaving the grocery store by a different route, and at the end of the road, there they were in all their glory! I was so glad no one was behind me so I could quickly snap a picture with my phone.  I just loved how the white intertwined with the pink!


I took this last night as my mom and I were leaving a Mother-Daughter dinner in honor of Mother’s Day.  We walked out of the church hall, rounded the corner to my car, and were met with this gorgeous view!  I was captured by the golden hues of the sunset and grasses surrounding the rustic looking barn. This scene may warrant a special trip back another evening with a real camera!


Minutes later on our drive home, we spotted these families taking a sunset stroll. Without hesitation we decided to take a U-turn.   They did not enjoy the intrusion as evidenced by them abruptly turning their backs on us and waddling off in the opposite direction.

We, however, loved the sight of all the “families” congregating together, so they just had to deal with us.

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Lastly, today running errands, I rounded the corner and spotted this lonesome fellow sitting on a log. The picture is so horrible I really shouldn’t show it….but I HAVE to!  Why? Because, doing yet another U-turn to snap this picture, I was almost hit by another vehicle I did not see in my blind spot….oops!  He was not happy, and I was more relieved than I can say at his quick reflexes. Somehow I don’t think he would have understood my explanation that I simply had to turn around to go take a picture of a Heron! Don’t tell my husband.


So, so bad, I know! This picture proves that I am simply shameful in which photos I share! It also convinces me, more than ever, that I should never again leave the house without a real camera on the passenger seat.  I can only imagine-and that’s what it takes here-what a great photo this would have been. Right now though, think of it as a form of “Where’s Waldo.”

So, there you have it. My pictures obtained by taking the time to stop and enjoy the daily and sometimes unexpected beauties of life… all inspired by my flower-nosed frog!


∼ Jen

They’re Back….

Well, today was the day, finally! Each spring I wonder exactly when they will appear and try to have the feeder filled and waiting for them.  Occasionally they have beat me to it, but this year it was up and waiting for them at least three weeks ahead of their arrival.  I had just looked at the feeder late afternoon, and wondered why they hadn’t yet arrived, moments later I looked back, and there they were:

Ruby-throated hummingbirds

The first time I ever saw a hummingbird was not till my mid-twenties while on vacation in Colorado.  I could not believe the beauty of these tiny, hovering birds.  When I was older and married and moved into our first home, a hummingbird feeder was put in place the first spring and I have enjoyed them every spring since.

I have sweet memories of the first time our sons noticed hummingbirds….we had a feeder hanging in view of our breakfast nook so we could enjoy their comings and goings throughout the day.  We first noticed them one evening around dinner-time, a male and female.  The boys quickly named them “Kiwi” and “Cherry” since the female is an olive green with iridescent touches and the male has pinkish-red iridescent markings around its throat. This worked out great since my younger son loved the color  green and my older son loved red-they each had their own personal hummingbird:) We could almost always count on them for our dinner-time show, and loved watching their quick stops in for a drink before buzzing off again.

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  For small birds, they can be very feisty towards others wanting a quick slurp of nectar, so it wasn’t long before I realized we probably needed at least one more feeder. They also know how to communicate their needs, which astounds me…. I was very surprised one day to see one hovering and peeking in my glass doors to “let me know” the nectar had run dry! For a  really great article on their behavior and other fun facts, visit this site.

Fuschia-a hummingbird favorite

If you have not yet welcomed these beauties into your yard, consider putting up some feeders or plants that will attract them-you will be greatly rewarded, I guarantee! Though it’s easier to buy pre-mixed “nectar” at the store, the red food coloring in these is not recommended….try the recipe found here instead. Happy watching!!

∼ Jen


Little Flying Thieves!

It was early morning, time to make that all important decision: where would I drink that first cup of  morning joe? Finally nice weather-wise, I contemplate the porch, then realize I’m still waaay too tired to sit up straight on a porch chair, so, off to my comfy, pink couch I go, ahh….

Turns out, that decision was a good one. I could keep an eye on my little chickadee nest from there and watch for any action…and action there was!


This, however, was not the action I was looking for!! This little guy/gal was definitely not Mr. or Mrs. Chickadee…..and what was that in it’s tiny little beak?!!!  This little rascal was not only breaking and entering, it was taking the moss that rightfully belonged there and tossing it out in a total take-over, the little home-wrecker!!


The last time I had seen the sweet little chickadee couple, the gentleman was bringing his little lady tasty treats as she sat on a branch nearby the nest – now they were nowhere to be found as this little land shark dismantled their tiny abode!

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Don’t let the innocent look fool you, this little cutie is a thief through and through!


It obviously prefers sticks to moss, not much for comfort or manners!

Blurry, but wanted to show size of some sticks it tried to get in hole before finally dropping them!

So, sadly it  appears my little black-capped cuties have been evicted by this little house-wrecker, I mean,  house  wren.  I was looking forward to watching their offspring, as I have never observed a nesting pair of chickadees before.  However, I have never observed a nesting pair of house wrens either, so I guess this is the year! They really are adorable, and I do love their cheerful little song:)


I hope my little chickadee couple, wherever they may be, find other happy, comfy lodging. Though I doubt it will be anywhere near as cheerful as this colorful gourd, here’s hoping!

∼ Jen

Black-capped Cuties Update…

So, as promised, I have an update on our little chickadee family that is building it’s nest in the colorful gourd house just outside our bedroom window.  I am able to observe them nicely from inside, and usually during my morning coffee time. I’m starting to think I should have named this blog “coffee with the birds.”


On this particular morning, I didn’t observe either bird going into the nest, only the female sitting on a branch just off to the right of the house.


 I knew this was the female, because it was not long before the male brought it a morsel, which is what the male chickadee would normally do.

Ah, the chivalry of it all.


Handing off a tasty treat

I am assuming the nest is complete, and quite possibly there are eggs already being incubated.  The female simply covers the eggs when she leaves the nest, and the male brings food to her during this incubation period.


After eating what looked like a green caterpillar, mama flew off-I guess she just needed some fresh air!


I can’t wait to see the little fledglings appear, no doubt it will be while I’m sipping my morning coffee! Stay tuned!!

∼ Jen


“Wild” Night!


Well, I can tell you, we had close encounters of the wild kind last night that were just a little too close for comfort for me, and for the rest of my household.

There will be no critter pictures in this blog-for one thing I don’t photograph this particular member of the wild, and also, I don’t generally sleep with my camera.

I went to bed around nine with a nasty head cold.  It was too early to sleep, but I thought I’d listen to my i-pod and just rest.  Not too long afterward, I heard quite the commotion, and the sound of agitated voices told me something was amiss.

Somehow, I knew…..probably because of my distrust, dislike, distaste, ok, total hatred of these critters…. exactly what was amiss!

I had heard of these things getting into homes before, so it was always tucked away in the back of my mind. We all have them, those things you hear about happening to others, but you just pray you never have to encounter yourself.

It wasn’t long before my younger son, who discovered the intruder, came to confirm what my worst thoughts had already surmised….we had been invaded by, none other than, a snake. There, I “said” it-I don’t even like to type the word.

You have to understand, I do love nature, I really do, but these things are in a class all by themselves.  I’ve heard all the arguments….”They eat mice, and moles… we need them to keep the rodent population down” and, my favorite, “Black snakes eat copperheads.” Ok, I’m not sure of the truth behind that one, but just in case, the black ones may remain. So far, however, the only populations my eyes have witnessed them trying to control have been frogs, fish, chicken eggs and birds. My outside cat does a wonderful job of keeping down the rodent population, and she doesn’t slither.

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“Gladiator Gabby”

Ok, back to the story, and why on earth there is a sword leaning against my pink couch.  After two hours of trying to find this snake, my husband and sons finally call it a night and decide to give it another go in the morning. As for me, my groggy head overcame my fear of snakes, and I was just ready for some sleep.  This is where the sword comes in.

My younger son, who we can always depend on for high security, informed us he was sleeping on the couch in our bedroom, yes the pink one, and is prepared to battle the foe should it get past the rug he insisted on stuffing under our bedroom door. Funny thing is, well, actually not so funny, he had had awful thoughts of a snake attacking me in my bedroom before this event, so he was foregoing sleeping in a bed to protect his “snakeophobic” (ophidiophobic -for you proper folks) mother. Trying to hurry things along, I told him there was no need for a rug under our door….boy am I glad he didn’t believe me.

After collecting Miss Priss-and all her creature comforts-to sleep safely in our bedroom as well, he stuffed the rug under our bedroom door-thank God-and we all got some sleep, well, a little anyway.

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I awoke to the sound of thumps in the hallway….right outside of our bedroom door.  My husband, who as he says-and I’m so glad it’s true-has the “reflexes of a cat” was stomping the thing into submission (in his slippers) after throwing the rug, yes that rug, over him to keep him from escaping!

Well, there you have it, the story of our wild night that I lived to tell about…because, as everyone around here knows, there is no innocent until proven guilty, all brown snakes  are copperheads. It could have very well ended up in our bed, which would have very well been the end of me. So, I have much to be thankful for on this lovely spring day- though I am keeping a very wary eye out for movement!!

∼ Jen