Reflections on Thankfulness

Thanksgiving is going to look different for most of us this year. Rather than a large gathering with family and friends and the table groaning under the weight of an excess of delicious dishes, there will just be the two of us (plus an ever-hopeful pup!) and a simplified meal. In fact if the weather cooperates, Andy and I plan to take a picnic lunch and go hiking for the day. One thing that will be the same, however, is taking time to reflect on all that I am thankful for. After a year that has been rife with fear, loss, disappointment, and frustration it is easy to focus on the negative – yet perhaps all the more reason to "count my blessings" as my Nana used to say. And my role as Nana is a good place to start.

Thankful for Time

Having the time to really bond with our fun-loving granddaughter Anna has to be the greatest blessing of all. When her childcare closed for five months I was delighted to be able to step in and offer to help, little realizing that I would have at least as much fun as Anna. From making slime to counting slugs, learning the alphabet and blowing bubbles, every day was an adventure. Is there anything more precious and heart warming than the unconditional love of a child? Having Anna throw her little arms around my neck and squeeze me tight is the best gift ever.

Thankful for Family

While we were fortunate to be able to include our daughter, husband, and granddaughter in our 'bubble' during the year, our son and his wife live farther away. Travel restrictions and lockdowns meant we hadn't seen them since the New Year. However, in mid September, they were able to take a COVID test, quarantining until they received the results, then meet the rest of our family for a really special camping trip in eastern Washington. We timed it for the week after Labor Day so the campsite was largely empty, the weather was perfect and the memories made were nothing short of magical. We are already planning this as an annual event!

Thankful for New Adventures

Little did I realize when I nervously took my first private lesson in January that swimming would become central to my physical and mental well-being for the rest of this year and undoubtedly for many more years to come. It wasn't that I couldn't swim at all, but I had never been taught how to do freestyle and with osteoarthritis in my neck now making breast stroke too painful it was either learn or give up swimming entirely. Our pools closed for three months during the summer but otherwise I have been able to swim several times a week and while I'm still refining my stroke I can now manage a mile or more with relative ease. I even bought a wetsuit to enable me to swim in our lakes and the Puget Sound through winter  meeting some lovely new people in the process. (And yes, it's COLD!) Learning to swim freestyle has been far more than just exercise, however. There is a sense of freedom as I glide through the water that is akin to a languorous body massage. The world slips away and my focus narrows down to the rhythmic sound of bubbles as I exhale underwater. I feel a sense of power as I catch the water and move past it, time after time, stroke after stroke. The world slows down, perspective is restored, and I'm at peace. In a year of chaos, this has been an incredible gift .

Thankful for Friends Near & Far

A fuzzy picture but just had to include it. This is just one of the many books kindly shared by a friend. Anna loved to read it to me.

This year perhaps more than any other I have learned to truly appreciate my friends. When I started Nana Camp I was initially at a loss for ideas on activities that would be both educational and fun for little Anna, so mentioned this on Facebook. So many of you stepped up with links, ideas, recipes, photographs, and words of encouragement. Friends from Australia, England, Hong Kong, and all across the United States suddenly became my village. Many of these are friends I have met in person at some point in my life but a few are known to me only through social media, yet each of them took time out of their day to help me in some way. Local neighbors and friends offered colored paper, markers,  boxes of books, stickers, children's scissors, and more. My heart overflowed with gratitude. On a more personal level, friends simply kept in touch. I'm a hug person. Not being able to see my friends during lockdown, and then not being able to hug them when we could eventually meet (at a distance) was hard for me. Yet a few of my gym buddies managed to meet outdoors as weather permitted and included me in their small group. The exercise was great – but seeing their smiles and sharing a laugh was priceless. Regular texts from overseas friends reduced the sense of isolation as did video chats. And in warmer months we sat at the end of our rural driveway on a Friday night where our neighbors would join us for a glass of wine, with ample space for us all to spread ourselves out and for kids and dogs to play. Priceless.

Perhaps Most of All…

…I am thankful that I have enough. Actually I have far more than 'enough'. I am blessed. Every single day is a gift.

Wishing you all a sense of peace and a spirit of thankfulness wherever you live.

Subscribe to Receive Blog Posts

Gardening inspiration delivered right to your inbox from Le Jardinet

Layers in the Winter Garden

Nov 10 2020

Layering is a way of life here in the Pacific Northwest where on any given day, regardless of the season, you may be reaching for a fleece jacket one minute and peeling down to a T-shirt the next. As I looked outside early this morning the sun was just beginning to rise over the tree…
Read More

The Role of a Garden Designer Part 2: Deck Design

Oct 30 2020

A beautiful home, a delightful young family, and a garden full of potential; I knew this was a design project that I was really going to enjoy. Adding a family-sized patio, kid-friendly play spaces that would encourage adventure and exploration, a new kitchen garden within an enclosed courtyard, and low maintenance, easy-care plantings that offered…
Read More

Planning Fabulous Fall Combinations

Oct 13 2020

Stop what you're doing for a moment, look out of the window, and take a long, hard look at your fall garden.  What do you see? I'm sure there are individual trees or shrubs that are breathtaking, but are they shown off to their best advantage? Do they read as random sparks here and there,…
Read More

Fall Clean Up for Lazy Gardeners

Sep 29 2020

I refuse to be a slave to my garden, which is why I designed it to be low maintenance; employing a variety of strategies to select plants that were both reliably easy care and suited to the space I had planned for them. Yet, there's no denying that even for me, fall is a busy…
Read More

September Successes: planned and serendipitous

Sep 1 2020

I've admitted already that this year my garden adventures have been more misadventures; moments here and there with little time, budget or frankly incentive as other priorities took center stage. Thank goodness nature – and serendipity often make up for my lackluster attempts! I went out into the garden with my camera just now to…
Read More

Short Term Groundcovers for Hot, Dry, Deer-Prone Areas

Deer-Resistant Garden Design

Aug 18 2020

Generally I'm not a huge fan of groundcovers. While they do suppress weeds they also prevent me adding soil amendments such as compost and in some case they are downright thugs, covering every spare inch of ground and smothering everything in sight! Some of those thugs are also very difficult to remove as they grow…
Read More

Life and Gardening After Slugopocalypse

Aug 4 2020

Anyone else feel as though this year has got away from them? In theory, my garden should be magnificent this year since I haven't been traveling. Somehow that's not my reality. Between a biblical plague of slugs that is STILL ongoing, crazy wet weather in spring (summer didn't even start until about a week ago)…
Read More

A Garden to Grow Into

Jul 7 2020

It was the all too familiar scenario; a charming new home with a small, non-functional back garden. With a patio barely big enough to accommodate the BBQ and a lawn that was saturated for much of the year there was nowhere to sit and enjoy a family meal, let alone a spot for a child…
Read More

Testing for you; New Deer-Resistant Annuals & Perennials from Proven Winners

Jun 23 2020

Gardeners that share their space with deer don't have the luxury of being plant snobs. If it thrives and is left alone by troublesome critters we NEED to learn to love that plant – and buy more in every color and size! (Rather like finding the perfect T-shirt or pair of sandals). So when Proven…
Read More

On Trial For You: 8 New Deer-Resistant Shrubs

Jun 9 2020

I'm always excited to see new plants come on the market that offer a new color, shape or size from existing varieties. Yet so often I am faced with the reality that I can't grow them here because of the deer. (And yes those darn rabbits too). Feel the same way? Well I've got some…
Read More

Welcome to My Garden Adventures

SE6A7058

I'm a serious plant-aholic. In other words I'm usually covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large tarp for impromptu plant purchases and I'm truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening.

Buy My Books Here!

 

 

Container Gardening Course

Enter KCHAPMAN20 to get 20% off

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

Use the help of top home decorators to select matching bedside tables and a new lamp shade for your own bedroom design.
Collect and share photos of bathroom tile, bathroom vanities, shower curtains and bathroom mirrors to create your perfect home decorating style.

TV Interview

Archives