Thursday, May 5, 2016

Inspirations From My Mother

A few years ago, Laura @ Decor to Adore 
asked me to share my Favorite Five in the month of May, 
I immediately thought about Mother's Day. 
Having lost my mother the previous November, 
it seemed fitting that my Favorite Five would be something 
that honored my mother, Henrietta Emily.  
Perhaps some of my mother's favorite things 
that have provided inspiration in my life 
will inspire you in the month of May.

~ A Love of Gardening ~
My mother lived to be 99 years of age, 
gardening right up into her early 90s.  
Both she and her mother before her could be found 
cheerfully working in their gardens every day.  
I grew up nurtured with a love of nature and beautiful gardens.  
I don't have the green thumb of either of these admirable women, 
but I do share the love of gardening and the joys of nature 
that they instilled in me early in my childhood. 
She who plants a garden plants happiness.  
~ Chinese Proverb

~ Yellow Roses ~
My mother's garden was full of beautiful seasonal flowers, 
but her roses were always my favorites.  
Yellow roses to be specific.   
Once I left home and was living on my own, 
mother and I frequently sent each other a bit of sunshine 
~ a bouquet of yellow roses.  
The yellow roses above can be found growing in my own garden.

A bit of fragrance always clings 
to the hand that gives roses. ~ Chinese Proverb

~ A Beautiful Table ~
My mother always set a beautiful table for family meals.  
We ate on a large square oak table that had been 
passed along from my grandmother and is now 
the setting for large family meals 
in my sister's home.  
It's my Mother's wedding china that was passed on to me, 
her daughter who loves dishes and is passionate
 about setting a beautiful table.

 Fruits of the same tree have different tastes; children of the 
same mother have various qualities. ~ Chinese Proverb

~  Family Heirlooms ~
The family pieces passed on to me from my mom 
are not fine antiques or of any value other than sentimental. 
All the same they are greatly treasured.  
They are simple things that were in my childhood home, 
pieces loved and cherished through the years by my mom, 
special things that once belonged to my mother or grandmother ~ 
my family connections to the past.  
I credit my mother for my love of things that 
wear the patina of time.

A tree without roots will fall over. ~ Chinese Proverb

~ Sweets ~
I definitely inherited my mother's sweet tooth.  
Delicious baked goods and dark rich 
chocolate were my mother's favorites.  
The aroma of bread baking, 
the fragrance of sweet fruit pies wafting through the house, 
the joy of my mother's rum cake as it melted in my mouth ~
delicious memories of sweet treats from my mother's kitchen.  
My husband prepares most of the meals in our  home and
frequently bakes bread, but it is me who is the baker of sweet treats.

Patience is a bitter plant, 
but it has a sweet fruit. ~ Chinese Proverb

~ Rum Cake ~ A Family Recipe ~
1 cup shortening or butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. salt
1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cream shortening or butter with sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each one.  Add dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately, mixing well after each addition.  Add vanilla.  Bake in large tube pan @ 325º  for 1 hour or longer.  Once out of the oven, invert tube pan.  Gently remove cake from pan, and using a wooden skewer, poke holes throughout the cake.  Coat the cake with a sugar and rum glaze of your choice.  Enjoy!

Happy Mother's Day to all!


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. What a special post about your dear mother. Beautiful dishes too.

    My mother and all my aunts were quite the gardeners also and I think that is why I love my flowers and garden.
    Thanks for the Rum Cake recipe. I love that cake.
    Thanks so much for sharing such wonderful memories with us.

    Happy Mothers Day.


  2. Beautiful!


  3. This is a lovely post! My precious Mother, Edyth Muriel, had a green thumb, too. She had a vegetable garden as well as flower gardens. She also collected many types of iris, flowering trees, and roses. I loved her Turk's Cap and day lilies.
    Could you please email me the name of the lovely purple flower with white edges? The leaves look like a petunia, but I'm unsure.

  4. Sarah,

    A beautiful post. I can see (in the wee little way I've come to know you) that your sweet mother really shaped and influenced your life in so many ways. I hope I pass some loving and admirable traits down to my kids. Not for accolades, just to know they will feel the happiness I've felt in gardening, cooking and writing. And appreciating the little things in life.

    It's fantastic that she lived such a long life. We can only hope for that! You are one lucky daughter.


  5. I love this post and I remember when your mother passed away. I was amazed that she lived such a long and productive life.

    I share each and everyone of your favorite five - the sweet one a little too much!

  6. Sarah, such a beautiful and touching post. Your Mother taught you well. Your wonderful sense of adventure, gardening, design and more is always present. Thanks for sharing this post with us all. Happy Mother's day to you.

  7. Sarah, the Homer Laughlin china is beautiful and the napkins are perfection. Your mother lived a long and productive life and raised a beautiful daughter! Your garden photos are lovely. Thanks for sharing this heartfelt post with us. That run cake sounds divine!

  8. What a lovely post. I love that you have these handed down pieces from your mom and the great memories of being fed well with delightful homemade bakery goods. Having lemon meringue pie made by my mom is one of my favorite memories. My grandmother always made potato bread and I loved it. Of course I love gardening too so I love that you have that connection with your mother. My daughter will be home for Mother's Day- perhaps we can make this cake together! Wishing you a Wonderful Mother's Day!

  9. What a beautiful post to honor your dear mom, Sarah. I loved reading about all her endearing qualities that you still treasure. I was swooning over your lush flowers and of course, the gorgeous dishes. Aren't they have the prettiest pattern? The rum cake sounds wondeful and of course, is displayed with your special touch. The Chinese proverbs were such a thoughtful additon to your post, my friend. Happy Mother's Day to you, for you're the dearest, sweetest mom ever, to your darling Sadie! ❤️

  10. A lovely hearfelt post.I love your mother's things too..oh we are so much alike for sentimental things..and not all are old;)
    You will be like your mom and live a very long happy happy life.I have a crystal ball..and mother's genes play a huge part:)
    You are a dear sweet person.

  11. Such a sweet post. I am so blessed to still have my Mother with me again this year.

  12. A beautiful, thoughtful and poignant post, Sarah. You made me ponder about all the things in my life that were directly influenced by my own Mom. A perfectly timed moment of reflection. Thank you. Rosie @ The Magic Hutch

  13. Such a heart warming post. We are blessed to have these sweet memories to draw upon. Your flowers and cake look beautiful paired together. Happy Mother's Day to you!

  14. Delightful post. A nice tribute to your mother. I know you miss her.
    She would be honored to read your sweet remarks. Her rum cake is calling my name now. Looks delicious.
    Thanks for giving me things to reflect upon about my mother. Have a wonderful weekend.

  15. What a lovely post. Yes, you remember your dear Mother in so many wonderful memories and love she left you to cherish forever in your heart my friend.
    I'm loving her Rum Cake and I am going to pin it to make it soon.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
    Happy Mother's Day to you.

  16. Oh, I also wanted to tell you that your mom's china from her wedding is a real treasure and your flowers are gorgeous!


  17. This is such a beautiful post. My mother was much like yours. You also reminded me of wonderful memories. I was just thinking earlier today how very lucky I was to have been raised in a home filled with beauty. Mom always said, it's not what you have as much as it is what you do with what you have. Our mothers instilled that beauty in us. We are so lucky!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  18. Lovely post! I saved your rum cake recipe, and I think I will make it tomorrow to go with the strawberries and cream for Sunday dinner. Thank you for sharing your family recipe.

  19. Very nice Sarah! The rum cake looks like a keeper Happy Mother's Day-enjoy:@)

  20. Brought tears to our eyes. Makes us miss our mothers so very much.

  21. So sweet, Sarah. I love the fact that you share your love of setting a beautiful table, have her china, and you embody her influences through gardening and the love of sweets, Speaking of sweets, I know a certain someone who ate pecan clusters four days in a row immediately after receiving them - a kindred spirit, perhaps. :)

  22. Oh, Sarah! What a lovely tribute to your sweet little mother's memory! My mother didn't grow many flowers, my daddy grew roses, but she always had a garden and canned her veggies. Like you, my little mother got me interest in dishes! :) I don't drink alcohol and can always taste it in candy or sauces. But...I love rum cake! Can't taste the rum and could eat the entire cake! Thank you for the recipe. Happy Mother's Day
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  23. What a sweet post....I also have some precious dishes and glassware that are not of value, but so sentimental, mostly from my Nana. The love of dishes is a family trait (I blame my mom, and she blames her mom!!) Love the basket vases! I found my 6th "hen in a nest" on Cape Cod this week! I have been on the hunt and refused to pay $25 (I paid only $5!!)

  24. Lovely post! My grandmothers were gifted, passionate gardeners! One was famous near and far for her rose garden! Thanks for sharing the cake recipe, looks and sounds so yummy! And I adore the beautiful dishes... what a wonderful treasure! Happy Mother's Day! ~Rhonda

  25. Oh my goodness, Sarah! These colorful flowers just leap off the beautiful! I adore those tiny little glass know I have my Mom's big one that my brother sent BACK to me from TX. Must have been "the thing" back in their day.
    Somehow, your last few posts have gotten caught in my spam file & I am just now discovering that. I'm sorry to be late responding, as you know I'm always anxious to see what you're up to!

  26. What a beautiful post. Happy Mother's Day to all.

  27. Thank you for your beautiful flower-filled and garden post Sarah! I remember your delicious rum cake post...a slice looks so tempting at 7 am this morning. Wishing you and sweet Sadie a beautiful Mother's Day. ♥

  28. Happy Mother's Day Sarah! What a beautiful post, loved hearing about the legacy of your Mother!

  29. Dearest Sarah,
    There indeed are many fond memories that we keep till we die, about our dear Mothers!
    My Mom loved to bake sweets as well, she loved to see happy faces around the table and not only from her own children but also from our friends.
    You showed us lovely photos and shared some pearls of wisdom and treasures of your heart.

  30. DEAR SARAH! Oh my dear, thank you for this treat for the eyes and memory. Our mothers, weren't they just grand ladies? To think that your mother gardened to her 90s, that is inspiring! We just started to work in our gardens and I just turned 58 and I'm starting to feel the PAIN but it's a good pain, after bending and reaching in the garden. But maybe like the plants, after a few weeks under the sunshine, I'll stand up tall and supple again!!!!!

    Thank you so much for coming to visit my lilacs. Purple and blue, aren't they the most intriguing color for flowers?

    Happy mother's day belated dearest Sarah! Anita

  31. Hi Sarah !
    Thank you for the lovely comment you left on - My little old world - and now that I find myself in your so beautiful corner in blog land I want to follow you with so much joy !

    Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day, my new friend, I wish you a most wonderful new week ahead,



  32. O MY!! What a lovely post filled with so much beauty!! Happy Mother's Day and thanks so much for sharing!!

  33. Beautiful Sarah, from the photos, the memories and the tribute to your Mother...I especially loved the Chinese proverbs. I have been craving a rum cake for a while, I've pinned your recipe to try, thank you!

  34. A lovely tribute, Sarah, and lovely photos to go with it.

  35. What a beautiful tribute, Sarah. Love all of your images! Happy Tuesday ~

  36. What a lovely tribute to your mother Sarah. I can really see her influence in your life and here on your blog. How wonderful to have your mom's wedding china, it's such a meaningful connection to her. That recipe looks so yummy!

  37. Sarah you did get the green thumb honestly. That rum cake looks delicious! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  38. Such a lovely post Sarah. I will feature it tomorrow at Home Sweet Home!

  39. Such a lovely post Sarah. I will feature it tomorrow at Home Sweet Home!

  40. I, too, have a love of gardening, a beautiful table, pretty dishes, but not much of a sweet tooth. Salty is more for me:) I love your Grandmother's dishes, as they resemble MY Grandmother's dishes. I SO wish I had more pieces from my side of the family. I have many things from Joe's parents but not mine;(

  41. Oh Sarah, what s heartwarming post about your mother. I could feel your love for her. How beautiful that she lived to be 99! She must have been a special lady, like her daughter!

  42. Sarah, this is such a sweet post. It's so neat how different traits and loves are passed to us. I'm convinced that traits and loves of certain things like gardening bond a couple too. My husband and I both come from families who garden and who love good homemade food. Those are both things that we enjoy together very much....although loving good food can get us in trouble. ;)

    The quotes you included in this are so perfect too.

    Hope you have a wonderful day my Texas friend. Happy TOHOT.

  43. Love your wonderful post about your mother and also your fine blog.
    Greetings from Germany, Carmen

  44. What a beautiful post! Such a sweet tribute to your mom. Have a wonderful weekend! xxx Maria

  45. Sarah, I can't I believe I missed this beautiful post, I saw it while visiting other sites! For some reason your new posts emails no longer come to me.
    This is such a lovely tribute to your mom and the beautiful life she lived. Knowing you like I do I see you in the way you describe your mom, I know how proud she must have been of you. All of your flowers in your gardens are beautiful and the rum cake is a favorite of our family too (another "peas in a pod" similarity.) Your mom's china is lovely and you must enjoy memories from childhood every time you use it. I am going to sign up to again to follow so I don't miss another post!
    Happy weekend Sarah……….hugs.

  46. This was a beautiful post, Sarah. Those of us who have come to know you through blogging can well imagine what a lovely woman she must have been - after all, she passed such beautiful qualities down to you.

  47. Your mothers lovely legacy lives on through your blog with all the many wonderful skills she passed on to you. Thank you so much for linking up to Thoughts of Home on Thursday. You make our gathering a happier place.

  48. How sweet Sarah! Your mom sounds like an amazing woman. She has passed on so many of her talents to you. I definitely got my love of gardening and sweet tooth from my dear mom as well! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  49. Your Mother knew the art of gracious living. What wonderful memories. They really are an inspiration for May. Even when mom's are able to be full-time homemekers, life is lived so differently today. How fortunate to have such a rich legacy. Your rum cake looks wonderful! I need to do a bit of baking now and then. So nice to have a visit from you!

  50. Such a beautiful tribute and so much inspiration!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY.

  51. Sarah,
    So sweet and such a beautiful collection of precious memories and tender treasures.
    How blessed you were to have your dear Mother with you for all of those years.
    My Mother loved sweets too, and she was an exceptional baker as well!
    Thank you for sharing such sweet sentiments and sharing them with us at TOHOT.

  52. Lovely post! It inspires me to think about those inspirations in my life from my mother and my mother-in-law. Thank you!

  53. Sarah, this is such a beautiful post! So many of our favorite things reflect the influence of our mothers on us and bring sweet memories of their loving attentions. Your rum cake sounds delicious! My mother, who is 92, would love it. I don't know which rose you have, but I just saw a yellow rose named 'Julia Child' and the scent was truly heavenly. Your tradition of giving yellow rose bouquets to each other sounds very special. Linda

  54. What a gorgeous post Sarah. Such wonderful and precious memories to have. Your mother was a beautiful soul and you certainly shared a very special and memorable tribute.


  55. Such a loving tribute to your sweet mother, Sarah--I loved every bit of it and will be featuring it tomorrow at Vintage Charm :) Thanks for linking up!

  56. Such a sweet tribute honoring your mother, Sarah. Your photos are so lovely! Blessings, Cecilia

  57. That is a lovely post. I try to be a mother who inspires my children, toward thoughtfulness, kindness, graciousness. The five things you shared make me think that I would have adored your mother as a kindred spirit!

  58. This is such a lovely tribute, Sarah! I hope you have your mother's longevity. I, too, love having the special china and recipes my mother used and loved. Your photos are spectacular, really capturing the essence of the beautiful flowers and tasty food!

  59. What a beautiful post! I found it very inspiring. That's the sort of legacy I would like to leave for my children and grandchildren.

  60. Lovely thoughts and beautiful pictures, brought to mind my own mother's love of flowers and pretty tables, gracious hostessing and wonderful times spent cooking together. Her china is marvelous, so wonderful that you now have those memories.

  61. Sarah, this is such a warm and beautiful post! It made me smile and think of the legacy from my own mother...I too, learned to love gardening from my mom and grandmother. The love for antiques, old houses, the coast, all come from my sweet mother. It keeps me connected to her even though she is gone. Thank you for sharing.

  62. Sarah, this was such a beautiful post. Not only your photographs but the sentiment that you shared about your mom and grandmother. I have very similar memories and they are my most cherished possessions..Just beautifully done..Happy Weekend..Judy


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