Monday, October 30, 2017

Bucket List, The Baha'i House of Worship

 After over forty years of driving past and  admiring the stunning Baha'i House of Worship from afar,
my dearest and I parked and visited for the first time.
 Standing at the bottom of the stairs, I was awestruck.  To say it is beautiful is an understatement, it is divine.
The Baha'i Faith is an independent world Religion.  I was actually introduced to this religion by the music of Seals and Crofts in the 1970's.  They were public advocates of the Baha'i Faith and many of their songs reflected the themes of peace, freedom of prejudice, equality of men and women, all principles of their faith. 
 The grounds were beautifully landscaped and a friendly and enthusiastic security guard greeted us warmly. He told us how the grounds were beautiful in every season, and we told him that we have been passing by for many many years and have admired it's beauty in every season over the years.
 My reaction to actually being on the steps was to cry.  The beauty struck my heart.  It was a such a beautiful day, and we had just walked on the beach at the Lake, and my sweetheart was equally amazed and filled with wonder.
 The building itself was all cast with concrete and quartz.  The whole of it sparkles in the sunlight.

 The gardens are still lovely at the end October.
 It was humbling to stand and admire the exquisite beauty.  It's so much bigger and  more intricate
than a drive by glance can capture.

 We went inside to the most quiet and respectful interior.  There were other people in the room but it was absolutely quiet. Not the hollow sound of an empty church, but peace.  We sat, amazed and felt for lack of a better word, God.  No photos are allowed inside.  This photo was from a display in the visitors center.
 There is no admission fee, there was free parking, and in fact, they do not accept donations from anyone not of the Baha'i Faith. Everyone is invited, open daily to all for prayer and meditation. 

We will not pass by again without visiting. 
 It was moving, spiritual and an amazing experience for us both.
My admiration for this place has increased, it is a treasure and a gift, and right on Lake Michigan.

 Here's a few photos from earlier i the day at the Lake.

Just one lonely sailboat, one surfer and my eagle eyed darling saw another boat way out in the choppy water.  The water temperature was 55 and the air temp was about 39 degrees.
As you can see we had the beach to ourselves.
That close to God feeling I had starts in nature, and the Lake restores me.

Some vintage textiles.
 An accidental rummage sale, meaning we accidentally ran into one in our Saturday travels.
 I used to make dolls just like this one.  I have an Amish inspired quilt I made many years back, and she will be a perfect accent.  I have to watch Penny though, she said she could draw a face on her for me.
 I loved this little bucket, a certain other Penny does too. We were on Face Time or she would already have it.  I can't resist string.
This beautiful duvet set went home with Mikey.  I went to a Registering Fair, I guess that's what they are called at a local store.  Amanda was out of town and Mike asked if I would go with him.
Shopping is not my idea of having fun, but when your baby boy asks you out, YOU GO!
It was a nice experience.  Mike picked out many nice things, and many of the companies gave out gifts to the bride and groom.  The lovely lady that took us around thought I deserved a few gifts too.
I came home with some loot... a paring knife,  a whisk, serving spoon and ice cream scoop plus sweet memories of spending time with my baby boy. (Pssst..he's gonna be 33 next week.O M  Goodness!)
I received these Hollyhock seeds from my new friend Mary.  We met in the summer during our visit to the UP of Michigan, and I asked for seeds within the first five minutes of meeting her. I had purchased a card she photographed with Hollyhocks on it, and she said the flowers were hers.  I apologized later, I really have a hard time asking for things, (except more grandchildren;-)  but I must have felt instantly comfortable to ask.  Anyway, thanks Mary.  Looking forward to seeing Mary again next summer, and having a garden of amazing Hollyhocks too.

Thank you for stopping by and for your friendship and kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, October 23, 2017

Enjoy the Garden of Life.

 Beautiful Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin.  My dearest invited me to ride along with him as he attended a business meeting in Madison.  I looked for a place to spend the the three or so hours he'd be busy.  The garden called, and I was on my own. 
 Olbrich is small compared to our Chicago Botanic Garden, a fraction of it's size, but charming and beautiful.
 This large leaf sculpture greets you as you enter the Garden.  Every child I saw climbed this leaf.

 It was a perfect Autumn morning.  The sky was crystal clear and the leaves were just changing.
 There were so many places to sit and contemplate.
 The painted lady butterflies were everywhere.
 A pop of a perfect rose.
 Interesting structures leading to beautiful spaces.
 These are for a night time light show they call Gleam, when the garden and paths are lit up with fun sculptures.
 Beehives.  The bees are kept busy, many beautiful flowers were still in bloom.
 Flying Saucer, perhaps.
 Part of the Gleam show after dark.
 It was very cool in the morning, so I found a sunny place to warm up.  I was frightened by a squirrel that was equally scared by me.
 I love seeing the garden reflected in water.
 The amazing Thai Pavilion and garden.
 From a distance it looks like a dream.
 You cross this quiet bridge, well,everything was quiet...I had the gardens to myself.

 I sat on a bench and drank in the beauty.

 This might be my favorite spot, the Birch Walk.

 A little path to the water.
 All the architectural pieces add so much to the beauty of the garden.
This little bench said it all, "Enjoy the garden of life".

After walking and taking photos, I visited the conservatory.  There were quail wandering the  paths.  So beautiful.  The scent of blossoms, jasmine, honeysuckle, something sweet and heavy.
 A quail!
 I couldn't find a sign identifying this sweet smelling flower.
 The koi were hiding.
 High humidity and sweet smells sent me back out into the fresh cool air.
How about this girls... thirty or more orchids!
Elizabeth has all of us trying our luck, bringing orchids back into bloom.
Some are better at it than others.

I spent some time in the library at the garden.  Reading all the periodicals on gardening. I shopped at the gift shop and bought a few things for Mike and Amanda's wedding next year. Then I bought a cold bottle of apple juice, and enjoyed it on a bench under a oak tree that was golden.
 Nothing has tasted as good as that cold apple juice, under the oak tree, in the garden, on a perfect Autumn day.

Then my sweetheart called to say he was finished and on his way to pick me up.

On Sunday we spent some time with our favorite little pony named Penny.  We had a rainy day for pumpkin hunting, so we went to a local nursery instead of the giant pumpkin farm.
 That's the My Little Pony mask.  She is Rainbow Dash!  Know your ponies!
 This is the nursery that we got all the decorations for Jon and Charlotte's wedding last year.  One hundred baby boo pumpkins, Stalks of broom corn, gourds and plenty of pumpkins, white, blue and orange.  This year Penny picked a small orange pumpkin and a carving kit.
 My girl.

 More koi.
 We had a great time carving the pumpkin, and turning it into a kitty.  We watched a opera on PBS that Penny really enjoyed, and also watched a movie she chose. Time is too short now that our girl is in school and has a social calendar.
 A photo of the local forest preserve.  Deer Grove is the first Cook County Forest Preserve acquired in 1916. With 70,000 acres across the county and millions of visitors, our forests are the first introduction to nature for many city kids.  This city kid loves having these spaces so close to home.  We are blessed with forest, a golf course and a reservoir all just a stone's throw from our home. 
But for all the trees in the forests, our girl loves this tree best.  Every time Penny leaves her home with us, she runs around the tree, and I sing, She'll be Coming Round the Mountain.  Now she can sing the song herself, and runs like the wind around it. 
Yes, we are enjoying the garden of life.

Thanks for stopping by.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny