Archive for the ‘Celebrating’ Category

A year goes by so quickly. Recently, our precious little boy turned one. We have been the lucky witnesses, each day, of his zest for life, sweet innocence, silly sense of humor, and insatiable curiosity. What an adventure it has been! We celebrated our amazing son and his wild love of bananas with these cupcakes:

“Everything-free” Cupcakes

No gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, peanuts, or soy–and surprisingly yummy.


On this birthday, I read aloud this simple blessing, which I found in one of my books. I’d like to read it again next year and each year to follow:

Our Wish for You

May you always see beauty in the world

And hear music everyday.

May you know the touch of gentle hands

And walk the peaceful way.

May the words you speak be loving.

May laughter see you through.

May you be blessed with hope and joy–

These gifts we wish for you.

– Theresa Mary Grass

Go bananas with bliss, sweet baby!

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Our baby boy arrived two weeks early on February 7, 2009 (7 lbs., 8 oz., 19 in.). He’s beautiful, healthy, and so very adored. We’re thrilled and exhausted, as can be expected during the first few weeks of parenthood. Sometimes it’s bliss. Sometimes it’s sheer exhaustion. But we’re excited about the journey we’ve begun. We’re hoping for just enough patience and wisdom for the years ahead. That’s it for now, but I’ll be back to post more when life settled into some semblance of a routine.

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For 2009


– May there be space in my life for books and poetry and art.

– May there be abundant health for the ones I love.

– May my heart expand fully to embrace our little one.

– May I become more aware of the earth, of humanity, of the spiritual.

– May my soul be at ease just enough to be able to write.

– May the richness of love and family pervade our home.

– May I be a good friend.

– May I always choose softness of heart.

– May I encounter beauty, peace, goodness, and hope in the world.

– May I be thankful each and every day.

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Winter garden,
the moon thinned to a thread,
insects singing

– Matsuo Basho

Roses in apricot

And inside, winter fruit and poetry:
Mandarin oranges & poetry

Festive decorations:
Christmas 2008

Making more caps for babies in Haiti:
Caps for Mama-to-Mama Charity

Caps for Mama-toMama Charity

It’s that season when my heart turns inward a bit and longs for quietude and cozy evenings. I haven’t been posting regularly for that reason and because our days have simply been busy preparing for the holidays and for our baby boy’s arrival in ten weeks. I hope you’ll keep visiting despite my sporadic posts. May you have a peaceful, blissful holiday season!

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It was one year ago that I started writing this blog. We had just moved into our new home and planted flowers in the garden. Here’s what some of them look like now:


A patio pot of pink flowers:

Lily of the Nile:
lily of the nile

Much has happened in this one year of blogging–life events like our ten-year anniversary, the 8th grade graduation of a niece I’ve known and loved from the beginning, the adventure of new friendships and the deepening of old ones, losses, and journeys both internal and external. A full set of seasons passed by, documented sporadically and inadequately on this blog. What has made this experience extra rewarding is the connection with you, Blissful reader–whether I’ve known you for years, or whether we’ve only met through our blogs.

A good friend said so very generously that this is the “most beautiful blog on the net.” I know he’s totally exaggerating, but it pleases me nevertheless because this blog is about taking note of blessings and seeking to live life fully. For me, that entails recognizing and cherishing beauty.

In this season–the same one in which I started this blog a year ago–I often find myself looking out through the windows into the light and color in our garden. Outside, a few fruits are ripening on the dwarf lemon tree. The Japanese maples are flourishing. The hydrangea, alyssum, and lobelia are in full bloom. As the garden matures outdoors, so I hope that Blissful Begonia’s roots will grow deeper and that it will bloom as I continue to blog.

Thank you for a Blissful year of blogging! Let’s hope for many more. 🙂

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Day to day, hour to hour, the lake changes. Always beautiful, alive. For example:

Brilliant blue like the sky
The lake

Steel-gray on a cloudy day
Water, clouds

Dark and still as a mirror at twilight
The lake at twilight

Silver and sparkling
The lake at twilight

Opaque, reflective
Hidden Beach

Translucent, lined with rocks and pebbles

We’re back from Lake Tahoe, where we celebrated our ten-year anniversary. This is the first batch of photos from our trip. More to come….

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Japanese maple

In The Man Who Planted Trees, a solitary shepherd brings life and hope to a desolate region by planting a hundred acorns a day for thirty years. This beautiful, inspiring short film is available online, and I invite you to take half an hour to watch it.

It may inspire you to plant a tree yourself in some corner of the world:

– In the Atlantic Forest of South America, through the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign

– Or in Kenya and throughout Africa, through Nobel Prize laureate Wangari Maathai’s organization, The Green Belt Movement

The Greenbelt Movement

– Or in urban Los Angeles, CA, through the TreePeople‘s effort to plant a million trees.


Or you may want to reduce your paper usage by opting out of unwanted catalogs. I recommend Catalog Choice’s free service, which allows you to choose specific catalogs you want to decline. You know the ones you didn’t even sign up for but somehow receive? The ones you never look at anyway? It only takes a minute or two to decline them and save printing, shipping, and disposal costs.

Catalog Choice

Check out what others are doing, and consider sharing your own Earth Day story on Google’s Earth Day map.

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Cherry blossom floating candles

These cherry blossom floating candles, tiny and sweetly-scented, arrived in a package from my very dear friend in Japan. She and I have been friends since high school, and as the years pass, we’ve only grown closer in spirit. She is my “all-weather, all-season friend,” and someday I would like to live next door to her in the Napa Valley so that we can have tea and conversation together every afternoon. For now, from time to time, we send each other packages filled with loveliness from our respective corners of the world.

She sent me so many beautiful gifts in shades of pink and lavender this time:

Gifts from Japan

The coin purse is from Kazurasei in Kyoto, established in 1865 and most famous for artfully-crafted combs and hair ornaments to wear with kimono. The moment I saw this coin purse, I knew what I wanted to do with it. When the rain stops, I’m going to carry some loose change in it and walk to Starbucks for a cup of tea. I’ll wish my friend were with me, of course, but at least I’ll have these books and magazines to keep me company:


I’ve already started reading the little book on the left with its title that translates to something like Thinking of a Gentle Spring. My friend first introduced me to its poet-author in the early days of our friendship, and this volume opens with a simple, sweet tale of a friendship between two young girls named Milk and Cocoa.

One of the gifts came in this packaging the color of cherry blossoms. Like a fortune cookie, it reads, “If you understand nature, then you’ll be able to live a long happy life.”

Thank you, dear friend, for knowing me so well.

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after the wind storm

Theodore Roethke:

“Mid-country Blow”

All night and all day the wind roared in the trees,
Until I could think there were waves rolling as high as my bedroom floor;
When I stood at the window, an elm bough swept to my knees;
The blue spruce lashed like a surf at the door.

The second dawn I would not have believed:
The oak stood with each leaf stiff as a bell.
When I looked at the altered scene, my eye was undeceived,
But my ear still kept the sound of the sea like a shell.

after the wind storm

after the wind storm

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Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2007

From my home to yours, a beautiful, blessed holiday season!

Thank you, dear readers, for each of your Blissful visits and for your thoughtful comments. I’ll see you back here in 2008. In the meantime, I leave you with this:

St. Theresa’s Prayer

May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you….

May you be content knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of you.

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