Walls can talk!

imageYou’ve heard the old saying- ‘If walls could talk…’ . In New York City, walls really can talk! Look at this one we found in NoHo! Really good advice, don’t you think? And what about Times Square? All of those buildings sport advertising, the revenue from these ‘talking walls’ is so good, the offices they cover are almost empty!


And what about this brick wall, found beside a sports bar near Rockefeller Center?imageWho knew? So, this week…slow down a bit…Stop, Look and Listen. You might start seeing that walls really can talk!imageHave a great week! Love y’all, Camellia

Psst! Couldn’t resist one more… If these walls could talk- they would tell you they house the homeless at night for inside shelter, but this building started out its life as an orphans home, and became the site of a very famous movie- ‘ Miracle on 34th Street’ with the equally famous child star- Natalie Wood !image

Call the Midwife!

Settle down…nobody’s havin’ a baby at Camellia’s Cottage …we don’t know nothin’ bout birthin’ babies and less than nothin ‘ bout midwives but what we do know is…

2016-01-31 17.44.51Alabama Public Television has been offering up some wonderful programming for many years. I was late findin’ out about Downton Abbey but truly loved the seasons I did watch.  In the meantime, I began watching other programming such as ‘Mr. Selfridge’,  ‘Home Fires’, and ‘Call the Midwife’ . They have become such a breath of fresh air in television programming, such anticipated Sunday night favorites, that I researched ‘Mr. Selfridge’, bought the book ‘Jambusters’ which inspired the series- ‘Home Fires’ and loved author Jennifer Worth’s ‘Call the Midwife’ so much I ordered the series of 3 memoirs and they are page turners! The setting is in England for all of these dramas but ‘Call the Midwife’ is set in the late ’50s, early ’60s and I can remember many of the medical discoveries, the fears of infectious diseases and for sure can recall that in rural Alabama there was a lack of adequate medical care. I’ve known people who were delivered at home and heard of the high infant mortality rates . The music and clothes, the makeup and hairstyles are amazingly accurate in ‘Call the Midwife ‘ as well. You won’t read many television reviews here but these are worth checking out. We are long time supporters of public television and radio, with programming that just gets better all the time. ‘Call the Midwife’ does have mature subject matter simply because it’s about ‘birthin’ babies but even that is expertly filmed in a discreet manner. And if you’re looking for a few good reads I can highly recommend Jennifer Worth’s memoirs . Also the DVDs for the others are highly popular. Support public broadcasting, a national treasure! tell me what PBS programming y’all like!

Well… we’re excited about this too- Camellia’s Cottage is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Program, an affiliate program which is designed to provide a means for sites like this to earn advertising fees by providing our readers with links to Amazon.com. Click on those links below to check out PBS programming and more! It helps us keep the lights on! And while you’re shopping with Amazon, go through to the Amazon Smile program, designate your favorite charity- ours is YWCA Central Alabama- and a portion of all of your purchases will support these charities! Have a wonderful week!

Love y’all, Camellia

Call the Midwife http://amzn.to/1VvOoEH

Author Jennifer Worth http://amzn.to/1Sm2TpB

Home fires http://amzn.to/1U1iiy2

Mr.Selfridge http://amzn.to/1VvOxGM

Downton Abbey http://amzn.to/1VcwUfoh



The Stalwart Pear Tree…

This little dogwood tree struggles and survives every year despite it’s poor location, yet it reminds me of another tree,  ‘The Quickened Stalwart Pear’, found in chapter 38  of my book- ‘Four Days- the Lazarus Principle’img_1996

Here is an excerpt with some added emphasis…

“Go with me…to New York City. While we were there we visited the 911 Memorial. I was expecting to be moved by it. I was expecting to feel anger. That is not what I felt – I felt an overwhelming sadness for what America had lost…the loss of a type of innocence which turned many of our people into distrustful cynics. A harsh rhetoric, indicative of anger and fear has descended on our people…the-stalwart-pear-planted

The most hopeful thing of all in that tragic somber place was a Stalwart Pear Tree, known as the Survivor Tree. It is now 30 feet tall and was the last living thing to be removed from the rubble. The tree was moved to a park in New York to see if the broken charred remains could be revived. By the spring of 2012, having survived two collapsing skyscrapers, several moves, and one hurricane, the stubborn little tree is a testament of resurrection power; a living lesson that we can survive, we can be quickened after the worst loss imaginable. Many Wounded Warriors come to the 911 Memorial to have their photo taken by the Survivor Tree. Native New York Swamp Oak trees were also planted, they are alive but are not yet thriving.

Isn’t that the choice we have? We can be alive, cloaked in grieving clothes-south-tower-world-trade-center-stalwart-pearor we can yield to the Savior who has breathed the Breath of Life into us while we are bound by our circumstances… We can struggle and thrive like the Stalwart Pear or we can merely survive like the New York Swamp Oaks. When I saw the Quickened Stalwart Pear, it gave me so much hope amidst all the sadness. So, hear this-

‘For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for your welfare and peace, and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome….you will find Me…when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you…and I will release you from all captivity…’  from Jeremiah 29″


Whatever it is that is holding you back, whether sorrow or sighing,  alive but not yet thriving, the survivor of disaster or dogged with depression, I hope on this blessed Lord’s Day, you will read of the survival of the Stalwart Pear Tree and find sweet comfort in this – and in the Love of God.

Love y’all, Camellia

The Stalwart Pear – New York, 911 Memorial -images from AOL images

The Survivor Tree The Survivor Tree

Four Days- the Lazarus Principle Four Days-the Lazarus Principle

Life’s unexpected gifts

This orchid is one of those unexpected gifts. I love orchids and consider them valuable and economical house plants. If you buy one when it is in ‘bud’ the foliage is pretty and the flowers may last a good six weeks as they unfold. Their needs are few considering how much pleasure they bring. 2016-03-10 15.45.24But the one thing I have never been able to do is get an orchid to re-bloom, oh I know some who get theirs to re-bloom and to be honest I’ve just told myself ‘you can’t do that’, ‘don’t fight it, just accept it’. ‘Go ahead and buy orchids, enjoy them, enjoy the foliage for a while and discard’. And that’s what I always did, until I needed a filler in my little tabletop greenhouse. So in this spent orchid went.2015-06-17 20.15.34Do you see it there? It had been there a year, a whole year, when this photograph was taken late last summer! And there it stayed, basically a place keeper in the little greenhouse. Well, in January of this year, I was sitting on the sofa beside this table and for some reason I peered inside and it looked like something was going on…what was that?

Can you see it? (Ignore the plastic redbird, that was meant to be edited out!) But look at the stem! Do you see it, the slight swelling on the stem?2016-01-18 15.32.55Okay, I took the weird orchid out, put it in a container and began to water it ~ thinking this could not be, this should not be happening, I have never, ever had an orchid re-bloom! I believed that the stem would wither and probably go the way of all orchids in my care. But not so, by February….2016-03-03 09.32.33I was totally enchanted, the dance of life- the unexpected gifts! The opening photograph of this orchid is proof that occasionally life will surprise you, prove you wrong, delight you in ways you never expected. Have I mentioned I love Spring? When daffodil bulbs push up so bravely, when buds on camellias swell without a quiver against the cold winter air, when peonies emerge in tightly wound burgundy shoots and soft delicate lamb’s ears and the pale iris leaves come around ever so softly, I am reminded of the old gardeners who shared bulbs, cuttings, perennials that needed thinning out ~ most of those gardeners have long since died ~ but because of them, every single Spring, I believe in the Resurrection all over again! Those things which we think have died and we no longer see are under cover, putting down roots, gathering strength, doing work we know nothing about. Oh we may know the botany of it, but we don’t know the delightful mystery. As we begin this Easter Season may we allow Spring to be our beautiful reminder of Life’s Sweetest Gift, the Resurrection of our Savior.

Love y’all, Camellia

The Southern Pantry

2016-03-16 16.45.00
Spring Green for the Southern Pantry!
There’s nothing like a few good things to add to the pantry, here are 4 I really love to have on hand ~ hot pepper jelly, mint sugar syrup, pickled peppers and lime zest sugar.
Hot pepper jelly can be made or purchased and I always have it on hand, last year when we were at the Guenther House in San Antonio, the home of Pioneer Baking Company, pepper jelly was served with everything from hot biscuits to waffles. I love it on top of spring greens, when stirred into a salad dressing, a dollop on top of hot buttered cornbread is out of this world and recently I topped a meatloaf with it. Try it you’ll love it and want to keep it on your shelf year round. The next item is also used all year round, mint sugar syrup- yes, you read that right! My grandmother loved to grow mint and she also was the only one in my family who regularly served mint iced tea, one of the most refreshing drinks of summer. Mint tea is also good hot and some of this simple sugar added to taste in a cup of peppermint tea, you’ll sleep like a baby! Mimi might not have known what detox-ing was but she sure did know a thing about spring tonics! Mint tea. Add fresh mint when you’re making a simple syrup, then spoon it in to taste, add a squeeze of lime juice, a sprig or two of fresh mint and you’ll have a spring in your step! Speaking of lime, take a cup of sugar, add the zest of several limes to the sugar, the sugar will dry out the zest and you have lime sugar; with this in the pantry you will have a treasure welcome in any southern pantry! I love homemade flavored salts and sugars, all year round~ anytime you think of it, zest a lemon and add to salt, terrific finishing for asparagus or a warm fresh spinach salad. Just zest limes when you have them, add them to sugar and sprinkle over fresh hot shortbread cookies or stir into a homemade graham cracker crust for key lime pie or mix the lemon salt and lime sugar together in equal parts to rim glasses for lemonade or limeade so festive and refreshing anytime. Another favorite is ‘vanilla sugar’ ~ take vanilla beans ~I use the hulls of them~ cut them or leave whole and add to a cup or two of sugar ~ let all the sugars and salts sit a bit before using, especially vanilla sugar. When if you have fresh made biscuits or even leftovers ~top with melted butter, sprinkle vanilla sugar on top, run them back in the oven until warmed ~ split, add sweetened strawberries and whipped cream, that vanilla sugar adds a little extra something ~ yum! Finally on my shelf for the southern pantry is a jar of pepper sauce, it is used in and on all types of foods but one of my favorites is to add a little of the liquid to homemade pimento cheese ~ adds a zip you can’t get any other way! Fashion may change but these four things never go out of style! If you have them on hand you can make any meal sing!
Love y’all Camellia