Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Song

Spring Song
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself
for the leader."

- The Elders, Hopi Nation
Excerpted from "This is the Hour..."

Today I hope that you will hear your Spring Song,
and recognize the music of your garden.
Thank you for your goodness,
and for this creative community of belonging.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Garden Friends

Lavender in Mirror
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"However many years she lived,
Mary always felt that she should never forget
that first morning when her garden began to grow'."
— Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden)  

Looking Right
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

 "If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden."
— Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden)

Jan and I have been celebrating each other’s birthdays for so many years now that it makes us laugh for joy as we try to remember when this beautiful tradition really began… On Sunday, it was Jan's turn. Jan loves the book "The Secret Garden", and so do I, which is probably why we find ourselves celebrating with little trips to garden places that inspire us in magical ways. I like that her birthday welcomes spring, and that my birthday welcomes summer. I like that we also meet at Christmas… and try to do an autumn meeting (at her husband’s suggestion a few years back). Four seasons of celebration…so lovely...
our very own Secret Garden of Friendship.

Happy Year to you, Jan!
Such a charming day of goodness!


Garden Inspirations
Photographs by: Karen Holmes  

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Flirts

Flirty Tulips
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Inspiration is always a surprising visitor."
- John O'Donohue

I heard there was more snow back east... but I know a sweet secret... spring will be visiting them soon, too. Just when it seems as if the rain (or snow) will never end, and the cold will never stop finding its way deep into your bones and fingertips, and heavy coats will never find their way to the back of the closet ever again - it is then that she arrives on a whoosh of fresh-air! And, lo and behold, lady-like spring is at it again - such a flirt, she turns even the most reluctant heads to make them smile... such allure... such engaging inspiration! Such exquisite joy!

Photograph by: Karen Holmes

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sea's Bedtime Story

Bedtime Story
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks.
Most of the time we are simply not patient enough,
quiet enough to pay attention to the story."
- Linda Hogan

When the sun sets over the ocean, the familiar rhythm is there – that ever constant high-low lullaby of tidal confirmation touching sandy edges to sing an evening song. Standing there facing west, toes to chilled damp sand, the salty-air is carried on an evening breeze announcing week’s finish… how lovely of God to get out the paints and brushes…

Wishing you a blessed week's end...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yard Trees

Photograph by: Karen Holmes

“If you would know strength and patience
welcome the company of trees.”
- Hal Borland 

Yard Trees … the comfort of their company lives in such medley over years and days. There are so many... the gently-swaying, whispering willow; a grandparent's gracious cherry tree nicked and notched by climbing cousins; the mighty pine that was once a tiny slender seedling; the showy Jacaranda fluttering petite purple blooms upon fresh-mowed grass; the generous orange tree – abundantly sweet in both heavily-scented blossoms and fruit; and, oh yes, the surprise rose-white flowered tree leaning against a Victorian on a much-walked pathway...

Yard trees do much to soften the harsh-edges and angles of our familiar yards… sometimes it is simply courteous to open your eyes to the goodness of such things…and be grateful...

Where are your beloved Yard Trees?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Praise Spring

Praise Spring
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"The more you praise and celebrate your life,
the more there is in life to celebrate."
- Oprah Winfrey

There are so many places on earth to practice the art of finding joy... walk into a shop where unseen hands have created a spring fest for the eyes (look how the tulips bend as if in prayer, and the books just wait to be discovered); listen for the cheerfulness packaged in a child's laughter; step your foot on the softened ground that is saying good bye to a tired winter and hello to a new-born crocus; stop for a moment to praise the love the finds its way into your life in all forms... perhaps today you will practice more praise and celebration in your life... and will find it bloom for you in ways you never imagined.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Strawberries

Spring Strawberries
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Doubtless God could have made
a better berry (than the strawberry),
but doubtless God never did."
- William Allen Butler

This is the recipe intended for the punnet (basket) of fresh-from-the-farm strawberries... instead, one by one, they disappeared into the sweetest kiss-along-the-lips indulgences... ah, the generous charm of a fresh new season of life...

Balsamic Berry Salad
- Sara Haws Frost

2 punnets strawberries, hulled and sliced in quarters
1 punnet blueberries
Balsamic vinegar
White sugar

Toss berries in a large bowl (you can add additional berries if you like), add balsamic vinegar and white sugar by tablespoons until you reach your preferential balance of tang, sweetness and stickiness. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Small Stones

Small Stones
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"You can begin to move mountains
when you start carrying away small stones."
- Doris A. Dillon

Remembering and praying for those in Japan...

The devastation comes
and afterwards
with small, kind-hearted efforts
mountains of sorrows are moved towards hope... 

Life Goes On...
(link here)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Good Waiting

Good Waiting
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Creativity is harnessing universality and making it flow through your eyes."
- Peter Koestenbaum

I took this photo while waiting for friends who were late...very late... and what I loved is that I found creativity - instead of aggravation - in those moments. See the sweet little bird on the rock, and the surfers waiting to ride the waves off in the distance? They are kind reflections of finding goodness in simply waiting. The tiny bird - all on its own - was singing away like a rock star not caring if it had an audience. And the surfers were most likely enjoying the sunshine as they bobbed gently on the blue waters and had a good visit with their friends until the next wave came in. It turns out that my wait brought me joys that I may have missed otherwise...

Wishing you a weekend of sweet discoveries... especially if you find yourself needing to wait...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Sometimes you don't need a goal in life,
you don't need to know the big picture.
You just need to know what you're going to do next!"
- Sophie Kinsella

Sometimes it is nice to just relax, and allow the "next step" to be something as simple as buying a bouquet of tender spring flowers, and breathing in deeply the fragrance and grace of a new season.
And then, you will probably more easily notice the arrow pointing "this way"...

(thank you, heather...)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Road Trip

Road Trip
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Life is pure adventure and the sooner we realize that,
the quicker we will be able to treat life as Art."
- Maya Angelou

This weekend was a road trip... family and celebration waiting at the other end...
I love how the world opens up like a spring flower when you dare to venture outside your doorstep. You never know what you will find... kind smiles, warm hugs, spectacular vistas, the scent of a baby fresh after a bath, rainbows... love and adventure - such beauty... so simple... so much joy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lucky Irish Soup

Irish Birthday Soup
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Love doesn't sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new."
-Ursula K. LeGuin in The Lathe of Heaven

My firstborn son was born just days before St. Patrick's Day, which made his arrival even more festive since we have an Irish heritage. We gave him a Gaelic name, and down the line passed to him a strength of spirit and goodness of heart that I continue to celebrate each and every day and year. This birthday, I made him our family's traditional and well-loved potato mushroom soup with dill... very good Irish fare! 

Wishing each of you a wonderful weekend overflowing with blessings and the "Luck O' the Irish"...
Happy Birthday, Son... you are so loved! 

Friday, March 11, 2011

In Harmony

In Harmony
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"The place to improve the world is first in one's
own heart and head and hands,
and then work out from there."
-Robert M. Pirsig

"How long have you been knitting?" I asked the eighty-four year old woman (she told me her age). 

"Since I was thirteen, and it has always brought me great joy," she replied looking up at me with cornflower blue eyes touched with a schoolgirl's twinkle. "Just come on back on any Saturday morning, and I will be right here, and I have taught many people how to knit. Knitting is like meditation; it calms you and it is not hard to learn..."

I do hope to learn to knit someday, and perhaps I will learn from Grace on some sunny Saturday morning. What Grace does not realize is that there in the knit shop overflowing with color and softness awaiting creation, in those few moments of kind conversation, she had already become my teacher. Grace taught me the importance of never losing sight of our sweet passions that are in harmony with our "own heart and head and hands"... and if we do this, well then, it will simply "work out from there"...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Morning Bird

Morning Bird
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance."

- E.E. Cummings from poem "You Shall Above All Things"

This line from E.E. Cummings' poem teaches me about the importance of right mentorship, and the importance of learning how to do something (learning how to sing from one bird), as opposed to learning how not to do something (like teaching "ten thousand stars how not to dance"). Life brings along many opportunities to stretch ourselves with new and different experiences... hopefully, we will have the grace to choose how to learn what puts a song in our heart and decline what does not allow us to dance.

Monday, March 7, 2011

In the Garden

In the Garden
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess."
- Czeslaw Milosz from the Poem "Gift"

They say that doing mindless activities can go a long ways to getting you out of ruminating over the "tough stuff" that life naturally brings along. To me, gardening offers that natural reprieve. How kind the world seems with the sun resting on the back of your neck as you bend to dig in the earth. How hopeful things seem when you place a small seed in its tiny pocket of rich dark dirt and anticipate the abundance of a shared tomato harvest, or when you plant a ball of twigs looking forward to clusters of highly-scented rose bouquets gracing your tabletops. How softened the harsh edges of life become when you keep company with singing birds, fluttering butterflies, and dragonflies. Yes, indeed, "a day so happy"...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Beach Balloons...

Beach Balloons
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

Why is there no one in the chair?...

Simple - they are off living life…
  • splashing with crazy abandon into the chilly ocean...
  • smacking a sandy volley-ball with a killer overhead serve...
  • roasting hot dogs blistering on an open-air charcoal grill...
  • gathering shells and picking up only heart-shaped rocks...
  • exchanging affectionate salty kisses
  • scooping up sand-buckets of custom-made moments to cherish and revisit... forever. 
There is so much there beyond the chair... such joy being in the company of others who lift you higher…

Unfetter the balloons... get up out of the chair…life is waiting for you to be in it!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"She knew how to keep her serenity..."
- Jenny Stevnings

Sometimes your heart is caught off guard and you feel as if you have touched the hem of a place much closer to heaven ... that is serenity to me, and I find I am able to keep it best when I remember to pray. Today, a prayer of mine for another was answered in a most unusual and touching way... and, tonight, I feel not only humbled, but also sweetly serene and profoundly grateful that God listened and responded in ways I could never have imagined... ah... sweet serenity... hope has come to visit with me.

(jenny, thank you for your words and inspirational artwork yesterday...they linger beautifully)
visit jenny here...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Naps Matter

Naps Matter
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Happiness is a warm puppy."
- Charles M. Schulz

I recently read that being in the company of a good dog boosts your oxytocin levels (a hormone responsible for making you feel calm). I feel lucky that I have kept company with quite a few really good on some level that theory strikes a familiar chord of truth for me. And I might add that dogs have taught me some really handy things, like how important it is to fit in naps in your day, and when you do nap it is best to find a warm place, cuddle in, and be lavish with all the things that matter most to you ... include many pillows, blankets, favorite toys... and, of course, someone you love to wrap your paws around. Yes, indeed, happiness is a warm puppy...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ocean's edge

Ocean's Edge
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Breathe. Let go.
And remind yourself that this very moment is
the only one you know you have for sure."

-Oprah Winfrey

God speaks to me with such refinement when I am in nature – I understand the language-without-words perfectly. When I see something as simple as a seagull tucked in at ocean’s edge ... I naturally breathe in deeply, let go, and welcome the goodness, grace and gift of that one single magnificent moment...

About Me

My photo
I have always been inspired by my Grandfather's particular generosity and encouragement, along with his love for others and nature. His spirit lives on, and the influence is quietly with me as I write and share. This is my small offering that I pray will bless others and allow them to become Simply Inspired. warmly, karen -xok.
Each day provides its own gifts.

- Marcus Aurelius

Thank you for visiting with me here...welcome.

please be courteous

Unless otherwise indicated, the photos and writings are by Karen Holmes. You may link; however, the material on this blog is copyrighted and requires consent for duplication. For permission to use information from this site, please contact Karen Holmes via email. Thank you for your consideration.