Category Archives: Generosity

On the Wall by My Desk

From time to time, I get cards from friends near and far. Usually, the cards have gone on the door of our refrigerator, where I seldom see them because most of the time I am working on my computer. Therefore, I decided to get a metal bulletin board to put on the wall by my desk. That way I could easily glance over at the cards and  admire them.

The bulletin board came in last week, and Clif put it up for me. When it comes to reading measurements, I am terrible at judging how big something is. This bulletin board was no exception, and it’s a little smaller than I would like. Clif suggested I get another one the same exact size and hang it above the current one. I just might do this.

In the meantime, the board is big enough for the four cards I have recently received and are very dear to me.

The one on the far left is from my blogging friend Jodie in honor of our dear dog Liam, who died two years ago. This card both made me smile and brought tears to my eyes.

The card just beneath it is from my blogging friend Jill. The picture was taken of a tree in front of her house. She wrote, “The pecans were just leafing out—they are the last to get leaves.” Such a lovely description.

Right beside the Liam card is a sweet, delicate water color by Dawn,  yet another blogging friend. On the back she wrote, “Enjoy the little oak.” I surely am.

Finally, the last card is a humorous one, sent to me by my long-time friend Dawna. Although the message is humorous and a reflection of how an everyday commodity became scarce during the early days of the coronavirus, the message inside was heartfelt: “Miss You!” We only live about five miles apart, but we have not seen each other for months. I miss her, too.

I, too, have been sending cards, pictures of flowers taken from my garden. I joke that I am sending flowers through the mail.

Now it is my turn for generosity. If you would like a flower from my garden, let me know in the comment section, and I will send you one, no matter where you live.

During this dark time, getting something lovely or funny is such a comfort.


Which Way to the Great Library?

Awhile ago, my friend Beth texted me to ask if I would like a special garden ornament featuring signs to various places in the fantasy world I have created in my novels. She knew I was decluttering—an ongoing process—and  didn’t want to add anything that might seem like a burden.

My fingers couldn’t type “yes” fast enough. First of all, my clutter is inside, not outside in my gardens. Second, gardens fall into a special category, where less is not more, and more is better. Third, a sign with fantasy places from my novels? Yes, yes, yes, please!

Beth delivered the sign a few days ago. (Alas, because of the crappy coronavirus, we couldn’t invite her in for tea.) Yesterday, Clif put together the sign, which we placed in the back garden by the patio, where we can look at it when we sit at the table. As a bonus, I can admire the sign when I do dishes and glance out the kitchen window.

I smile every time I see the sign. Many, many thanks, Beth!

A Sunny Gift on a Cold Day

Normally, I don’t post two pieces on my blog in the same day, but I just received a box of these beauties from my blogging friend, Betsy, all the way from sunny California. So today I am making an exception.

Holy cats, this gift of oranges and lemons made my day! Many, many thanks, Betsy, for  your wonderful generosity. Oh, how beautiful they are.

And to think they grew in Betsy’s own backyard. While I love living in Maine, I have to admit that I would be thrilled beyond description to actually be able to pick oranges in my backyard.

Again, Betsy, thanks so much!

A Circle of Generosity

The first week of December has nearly skipped past, and what a nice week it has been. After working so hard on Library Lost for so long, I have decided to wait until January to tuck into my third book in the Great Library Series. (I am still uncertain about the title.)

Instead, I am going to celebrate this cold season of short days and twinkly lights, a time of year I love dearly. For various reasons, we no longer enjoy hosting big parties, but we do like inviting friends over for tea, coffee, and cookies or warm apple crisp, and that is what we are doing this December. Then there is the Christmas bustle of cooking, wrapping presents, and decorating. I don’t want to rush through the season. Instead, I want to savor each day, each activity.

Christmas can be seen as a time of excess, and to some degree it is. But is also a time of generosity, a time of giving, a time of thinking about what someone else would like rather than what you would like. All to the good, as far as I’m concerned. Simply put, we can’t have too much generosity, a virtue that is often in very short supply, especially in this country.

In the spirit of encouraging generosity, here are a few stories. Last Sunday, we went to our friends Judy and Paul’s house for tea. For a Christmas present, she gave me this lovely vintage post card that she had picked up at a seasonal pop-up called Yuletide in a Yurt. (For readers who live within driving distance of Monmouth, Maine, this is a lovely place to buy locally made gifts.)

Here is the front.

And here is the back. In 1913, Marian sent Bessie this card. Now how cool is that?

Then Judy told us a story of unexpected generosity that had come into her life.  A week or so ago, she and Paul went to a local restaurant to have lunch. As they were making their way to their booth—Paul has health issues and walks very slowly—a woman in the next booth smiled at them as they took their seats. Then, later, when the woman left, she looked directly at Paul and Judy and smiled as she passed by. When it came time to pay the bill, the server told Judy, “The bill has been taken care of by the woman who was sitting in the booth next to you.”

Judy was flabbergasted as well she might be. How often does this happen? It has never happened to me, and I think it was a first for Judy. There was no explanation left with the server as to why the woman paid the bill, but I have a notion that the woman observed Judy and Paul and how loving, patient, and kind Judy is with Paul as she helps him cope with his disabilities. (Readers, Judy really is a wonder.) I expect the woman was moved and wanted to do something nice for them. This is all speculation, of course, but I think it’s a good guess.

After lunch, as Judy was going home, she stopped at a light and noticed a woman standing nearby, with a sign asking for money. Judy noted how worn, tired, and discouraged the woman looked. Digging frantically in her pocketbook before the light changed, Judy found $20, about the same price as lunch, and handed it to the woman.

Now it was the woman’s turn to be flabbergasted. “Thank you, thank  you, thank you! You have no idea how much this will help.”

The light changed, and Judy had to drive away.

And that, dear readers, is a perfect circle of generosity, a lesson to keep not only for Christmas, but for the rest of the year as well.


In the United States, today is Thanksgiving. Because we are taking a more honest look nowadays at exactly what happened in this country when the Pilgrims came over, the holiday has lost some of its luster. And rightly so. However, even though the scales might have fallen from our eyes, a day of gratitude where we celebrate the harvest with family and friends can only be a good thing.

And speaking of gratitude…yesterday, our neighbor, a young woman, came over bearing these little gems from the hens she keeps in her backyard.

What wonderful variety and color! I tried to pay her for the eggs, but she wouldn’t take any money.

This brings us to another g word—generosity. When the two words—gratitude and generosity—are twined together, the world is definitely a better place.

So on this holiday, I am grateful for the generosity of my neighbor, who gave me these eggs without expecting anything in return.

And while I am on the subject of gratitude, I also want to express thanks for my many blogging friends near and far. You all make my world a brighter place, that’s for sure.

Many, many thanks!


A New Hat, Courtesy of Johanna of Mrs. Walker’s Art and Illustrations

Yesterday, the most delightful package came in the mail. It was a hat, for me, knitted by Johanna of the blog Mrs. Walker’s Art and Illustrations. (I won it in a contest she sponsored on her blog.) Along with the hat came a charming note, drawn by the talented Johanna.


I absolutely love the hat in every way. It has my favorite color—blue—along with other complementary colors. The hat fits beautifully, and it is ever so soft. I never thought I’d be writing these words, but I can’t wait until the weather is cool enough so that I can wear this lovely hat.

The Internet, and blogs, can be a mixed bag, I know.  However, for someone like me who turns her attention to the things she loves—gardening, food, writing about everyday life, art, books, nature, and photography—the Internet has been a source of great pleasure.  I follow a number of blogs, which I am gradually adding to my blog roll on the Hinterland homepage.  The blogs are written by people from all over this country and indeed from around the world—from England to Australia.

Johanna’s hat is warm proof, if you’ll pardon the pun, of the generosity that is out there on the Internet. Now, I am a firm believer in generosity at home and in the community, but generosity can also ripple farther afield, and it makes the world a better place.

So thank you, Johanna, for the wonderful hat. When I wear it, I will think of you and your generous spirit.

As for the card, well, that will be going in a special place, either in the kitchen or the dining room, for all to see.

As we Franco-Americans might say, merci, merci!