Sunday, December 4, 2022

Squirrel, Grinch, and Joy


Did you know that squirrels eat Hibiscus flowers? I didn't.

The other day we were enjoying a relaxed visit on the back patio of our neighbors when we noticed a squirrel was very busy munching on one of the red Hibiscus flowers from Gary's bush. I ventured as close as I dared and then used the zoom on my phone to take this picture. It's still blurry, but at least I caught him in the act before he dropped the blossom and scampered away. 

This week has been kinda like that for me: life has been trying to gobble up beauty. However, I'm not undone but learning helpful lessons about how to cope, maintain, and prosper. We have to look at it that way so trials can benefit us. I am learning from Joel Osteen's book, You Are Stronger Than You Think that indeed, I am! God has equipped us with more sense, talent, determination, and strength than we realize or use. I am better for the "stuff" that gets thrown my way, and you are, too, when the hard knocks try to take you down.

For today's post, I'll show photos (not in any particular order) taken throughout the week. "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," as the song goes.

On the first day of this new month, we found Christmas wreaths at Lowe's (asking the cashier to snap this picture) and then drove to the cemetery where the remains of our late spouses are buried. It was a beautiful day, cool even. I got to wear a velour hoodie with a holiday print. Blue jeans served us better than our usual shorts. 

As we always do, we spent time at each grave. My thoughts at Beloved's headstone take me to a review of all that's happened since his passing and a prayer for wisdom, strength, and forgiveness over the events, as needed.

While I'm on the topic of our late spouses, something sweet happened with regard to them and Christmas decorations. Gary was busy outside when I was deciding where to place my table top Christmas tree. We have photos of Beloved and Edith on a handsome wood rolling cart that is clearly visible from both the living room and the enclosed lanai. I decided to move the pair from that cart to the buffet in the dining room, still in a highly visible location, and then placed the tree where the pictures had been.

Later, when Gary came into the house, I pointed out what I had done. That seemed to be okay at the time, but then later, it may have been the next day, I noticed they had been moved to a lamp table in the living room. Gary explained that "they were too far away" in the dining room. Now they are "with us" when we are watching TV. That was very sweet.

Evidences of Christmas are showing up everywhere now. There are several lit up trees in the worship center at my church. I snapped this picture during a recent sermon because I love the caption below the pastor, "My heavenly Father will take care of me."

In addition to my tabletop Christmas tree, I also put out my favorite Nativity set: little children dressed in bathrobes to illustrate the birth of baby Jesus. Teeny tiny lights are woven among the figures to add a special delight to the scene.

I will show you more of our indoor decorations in another post this month, but here's a glimpse of what we've got outside.

Technically this isn't "outside" but it's readily seen from the street. Gary's white Christmas tree with red and white balls, topped with a gold angel sits in a garage window. This window is more easily seen from the street than the window in his study. You see the hood of the blue T-Bird....

Here's the view of that same window, as seen from the driveway. I am thrilled that not only is the Hibiscus bush in the back yard blooming in December (!!!) but the Azalea bush has pushed out some holiday color, too! For a girl who spent many years in  Colorado, blooming bushes outdoors in December is a real treat!

Wildlife figures are very popular in Florida home landscapes, especially birds. Gary has two in his front yard and one in the back. All of them were given red ribbons this year... This is something Gary puts up with now that I occupy his home with him.

Not to worry, even Dawg got a bow tie! Excuse the black trash can. I just now noticed it is in the picture. Gary was busy that day removing bushes for a major landscape project that begins this week. (another post for another day)

As I close out this post about outdoor Christmas decorations, you should know that the running joke of late is that Gary is going to buy a huge blow-up of the Grinch and station him in the front yard, which we know will delight our HOA to no end (Homeowners' Association). Yeah, right. Bows on the birds are one thing but a blow-up of the Grinch? I don't think so!

Speaking of the green guy, he was a major player in the golf cart parade in our neighborhood last night. We don't have a golf cart, but were just as happy to sit on the driveway in our lawn chairs eating pizza and waving to everybody as they drove by. 

'Tis the season to be merry! Don't let the squirrels eat your Hibiscus!

The greatest birthday party on earth is celebrated every year at this time with both fanciful characters and the beauty of the Bible story. Let's allow ourselves to embrace it all because without the birth of our Savior, we would all be lost!

Until next time, joy and peace.


  1. Cute photo of you two at the bottom. Nice post.

  2. Oh, I love that photo at the end! That is so cute of both of you!! A Happy Ending! Squirrels are interesting creatures. I've never seen them eat hibiscus flowers before, but I'm not surprised. Hibiscus has a sweet nectar, and I think there is even hibiscus flowers in some herbal teas, medicines, etc. So they must get something good from it. They have also eaten every last red hollyberry from my holly trees this year already!!! Probably because I quite feeding them sunflower seeds. I enjoyed your post. You are both adapting very well to the changes in your lives, and you are a joy and a blessing to all of us who know you!! Thank you!

  3. What a nice post sharing the happenings at your home. I like the tree in the garage, a nice view for those passing. I think it's sweet that Beloved and Edith are within view. I love that photo of you two at the end!

  4. What a fun visit to your blog today!! Our HOA has gone a little overboard with their rules these past couple of years. We are only allowed to fly the American flag outside our homes. Garden flags are forbidden. A few of us are defying the rules with our Christmas garden flags. Waiting for a knock on the door but hoping it doesn't come. Maybe I should try a blow-up of Grinch!! LOL Love to you, dear friend, and to your Gary!! xo

  5. You and Gary looking mighty fine girl. I am so glad you are so happy as that makes me happy too. The squirrels at my house are huge! Not sure what all they eat around my neck of the woods but it must be mighty tasty! LOL! Hugs and blessings to you. Cindy

  6. I never forget the blessings of color in wildlife year round here in our lovely Florida. My geraniums, pansies, and a few other things are very happy, camellias are just a gift of winter. I hope you find some joy this Christmas. I hope y’all can find some new traditions to look forward too.

  7. I happen to love the bows on the yard animals!😁 And a golf cart parade…how fun! I think I want to move to Florida when hubby retires! Haha! So glad to see you two still enjoying yourselves and having fun. I love the way you two still honor your first spouses.

  8. What a precious photo of the two of you at the end of your post, Barbara! Have a wonderful week!

  9. That was a beautiful gesture on both of you in regard to the photos, smiles. Wishing you a beautiful day, my friend.